World, meet Fergus! My 2013 Nissan Leaf SV

Earlier this summer while I was toiling away in Seattle, I asked my dad a crazy question:

What would you say to car sharing a Nissan Leaf and your Passat?

Needless to say that was the beginning of a very slippery slope. By mid-August when I returned we had visited a used car dealership in southern MA to take a look at our options. We decided that this was to be a year long experiment. Continue reading World, meet Fergus! My 2013 Nissan Leaf SV

Nick’s List of Nutritional Fallacies

Anyone who has started to read into some of the controversies of nutrition will quickly find that there’s a lot we don’t know. Answering questions that appear to be trivial can end up taking 40 years and costing billions of dollars… and somehow we still don’t have an answer. Why?

A trivial example: If you take fat out of your diet by cutting out one hamburger, you may have added extra veggies or chicken or candy to your diet. Suddenly, simply determining what happens when you remove one serving of red meat from your diet becomes a multivariate matrix of macronutrients, micronutrients, fiber, and other strange considerations. And then you can repeat this for every feasible item in the grocery store and realize how futile your quest to answer simple dietary questions has become.

Beyond the universal understanding that “less processed is more better” we are left without a lot of understanding about nutrition, and for good reason: it is impossible to say definitively whether a vegan diet is more healthful overall than a ketogenic diet or vice versa.

Nevertheless, there are some basic considerations to which we can apply fairly straightforward logic. What follows are just a few of the examples of false nutritional hypotheses and general stupidity that I will address in kind. Continue reading Nick’s List of Nutritional Fallacies

What do I eat today? A discussion of food.

I’m going to take a brief detour from my usual rants and raves to blast an opinionated rant and rave about a another non-technical subject that I am under-qualified to discuss 🙂

The topic of food and dieting is very big in the old USA (no pun intended). There’s an epidemic of epic proportions, with the percentage of overweight population in the US reaching 75%, and a lot of interesting research about the causes, effects, and issues at hand.

I’m going to share a summary of my research and thoughts on the subject as part of my plan to “get fit” this semester. I’ve switched to a low carb, high fat diet over the past 5 weeks or so and I’d like to share my findings. Take it with a grain of salt (hah) but definitely read on. Continue reading What do I eat today? A discussion of food.

My DIY Security System

A while back (during construction of my new house), I wrote an article about the capabilities of the DSC 1832 alarm panel. Well, time got the better of us and I wasn’t able to wire the house myself. Instead, we had a third party alarm company provide “a la carte” wiring service. This included (all 22/4):

  • Phone line to the outside utility area
  • Front + Side door
  • 4 motion detectors
  • “Basement” wire (which I used for freeze)
  • Siren Wire
  • Keypad

Continue reading My DIY Security System

24 Bit Audio

Take a look at this article on the myths and truths of 16 vs 24 bit audio:

So yes, I am justified in running my console in 24 bit. 24 bit or higher is important when mixing because if the audio comes in only up to a quarter of the usable dynamic range, you still have 22 bits of range to work with. In addition, when summing, it’s important to have greater latitude (but that’s mostly within the effects processors themselves). If you tried to do the same stuff with CDs, you could end up with less than 16 bits of range especially if you begin applying effects. Using additional bits in mixing allows you to ensure that you maintain an even level of quality in the final product despite variations in source levels and processing. But all ye enjoy ye CDs.

Particularly interesting is the point about dither. When you put the dither in the frequencies that humans don’t hear as well (15-20k), the randomization of the quantization errors still achieves the same effect but it’s less noticeable.

Definitely worth sharing to the audio nerds though. Of course, sampling rate is not covered here and that’s a different discussion 😉

The Shannon-Nyquist theorem guarantees complete reproduction of the input signal given a sampling rate at greater than twice the maximum frequency. This is true for a discrete signal, however that doesn’t account for quantization and in the digital world would require infinite precision of the ADC. Obviously that’s not possible. Hence the dither.

Why you should care about The Beatles’ mono mixes

My mono box set with cute little insert describing this mono tom foolery
My mono box set with cute little insert describing this mono tom foolery

Well the precondition to your reading this article is that you think that the Beatles are pretty cool. Why are they cool? Well, that’s a different article. This one is going to focus on the availability of their music and a little bit of a timeline here.

The year is 1963 and a bunch of yahoos named Paul, John, George, and Ringo are sitting in this studio with another man named George Martin and they’re recording some of the crap they like to sing. Continue reading Why you should care about The Beatles’ mono mixes

Fastest Ways to Break Linux: chown of death

Have you ever wondered how to break Linux real fast? Here is a great example:

I mounted an external drive where you usually do (actually just /mnt … I was lazy). Also, I had previously used that EXT4 volume with my ParagonEXTFS driver on OSX (which, by the way, is terrible). To rectify the permissions, I wanted to do a recursive chown because naturally, everything on the drive should be owned by me. Continue reading Fastest Ways to Break Linux: chown of death

Research on the DSC 1832 Series Alarm System

3/11 – Updated the smoke detector wiring per HSC tech support.

The DIY alarm system is not a new idea, and there are plenty of wireless “ready to go” systems where you just plunk the old thing down and it’s ready to go.

But that’s no fun. Meet the DSC 1832 PowerSeries alarm panel:

A simple kit for the 1832 from the website
A simple kit for the 1832 from the website

Continue reading Research on the DSC 1832 Series Alarm System

DC 12V UPS for your whole house – 12V Socket!

So there’s a reason (or several) why your house isn’t wired for DC electrical operation. But there are a variety of situations in which you may want to add DC capability to your house — for example, off grid situations or if you want a house-wide 12V UPS backup.

A 12V DC NEMAish plug with receptacle.
A 12V DC NEMAish plug with receptacle.

Continue reading DC 12V UPS for your whole house – 12V Socket!