The Rolls SL33B – An awesome compressor/limiter for PC audio!

I’ve found that online video is REALLY inconsistent in terms of audio volume, particularly advertisements that are inserted into streaming programs. I knew I needed some sort of compressor/limiter to automatically reduce loud sounds and amplify quieter sounds, creating a more uniform volume level overall. I had hoped to find a simple software solution, but was surprised that nothing good really exists. Switching my search to a hardware solution, I stumbled upon the Rolls SL33B Stereo Program Limiter.

The SL33B is designed specifically for consumer-level equipment and keeps things simple with only two controls. One control sets the threshold, that is, the level at which the signal will be processed. The other is Makeup Gain which controls the volume after the signal is processed–basically an output volume control.

The SL33B has both RCA and 1/8″ input/output connectors so it’s perfect for a PC set-up. It’s housed in a small but rugged metal box and requires a typical AC adapter. It would also be quite suitable for a TV *if* you used external amplification/speakers and not the TV’s built-in speakers.

I love this little gem for its simplicity in connections and controls. It’s also great for movies which often have audio levels all over the place. The only thing I wish it had was a bypass switch for listening to music, since you typically don’t want to mess with the dynamic range of music. However, since I don’t typically listen to music on my PC, this is not a deal breaker. So far, the SL33B has really been the answer to my prayers!

Getting Flash to run in Chrome

Despite the movement to kill it, Flash is still used by many sites. For me, Flash is particularly problematic when using Chrome. If you are having problems playing video and aren’t sure if Flash is the culprit, check the right side of the address box and look for an icon with a red X. Click it and a pop-up box will appear giving you the option to temporarily Run all plugins this time. Clicking that option should temporarily fix the Flash issue on that page.

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A must-read post on life lessons

A link to a very thoughtful post on life lessons and a must-read for everyone, particularly my older friends.

As I get closer to retirement, I see myself beginning to truly learn these very lessons and the post has moved the needle a little more. I suppose it’s confirmation of some sort. Now, while I agree that we learn these things too late in life, I feel that learning them is a slow and long process that can’t be truly sped up.

This quote included in the post really spoke to me:

“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”

–Lao Tzu

https://www.inc.com/quora/5-lessons-most-people-learn-way-too-late-in-life.html

Canon Pixma MG5320 not compatible with Asus RT-AC88U router wifi

I have determined that my Asus RT-AC88U router is just not compatible with my Canon Pixma MG5320 over WiFi. I’ve read and tried several “solutions” I found on the net without any success. Honestly, the connection setup is not very complicated and as simple as connecting your phone to WiFi. Also, the printer works fine, if I connect using a wired USB cable.

From the printer’s side, things looked fine. The connection light was on and it seemed to acquired a legitimate IP address. However, from the router side, you could tell there were problems. The printer would usually not appear in the list of connected devices. After repeatedly powering the printer on and off, I could sometimes get it to appear, but you still couldn’t connect to it over WiFi from a computer.

I also tried setting up a dedicated IP address for the printer instead of using DHCP. Again, on the printer side, it acquired the proper IP address, but on the router side it still only showed up as a connected device intermittently. When it did show as connected, as before, you couldn’t actually connect to it from the computer.

Since it had been working before I got the Asus router, I tried a little experiment. I connected one of my old router’s normal ports–not the WAN port–to the Asus router. This way the old router would act as a switch/AP. Then, I connected to the old router’s WiFi. Voila! The printer appeared instantly as a connected device and I could connect to it from my computer.

I’ve got the latest firmwares installed on both devices. The only conclusion I can come to is that there is an inherent incompatibility between the Asus router and the Canon printer. I suppose that I really shouldn’t be too surprised since the printer is relatively old. Still, it seems kinda odd.

Oh well, the solution isn’t the cleanest and kinda kludgy, but it works.

YETI Rambler Lowball cup is perfect match for Keurig K15 Compact Coffee Maker!

I found it odd that in the disposable K-cup world of Keurig, there isn’t a disposable cup (with lid) that works well. Most are too tall and the few that fit just don’t hold much coffee. My issue with using ceramic mugs is that my coffee gets cold too fast.

The other day I brought home my YETI Rambler Lowball 10 oz Stainless Steel Cup from work and it occurred to me that this just might fit in my Keurig K15 Compact coffee maker. Well, let’s just say that it’s a match made in heaven.

At first, I was disappointed that it didn’t fit with the lid on as I thought that would be a good way to store it. After further thought, however, I realized that if it did, there was a high probability that I would run the Keurig with the lid on the cup which would have ended in a mess. It’s a good thing it didn’t fit or I would have had to learn the hard way.

After a week of daily use, I’m extremely happy with this new discovery. I can now sip my morning coffee slowly and not worry about it getting cold!

Wacom Intuos Pro tablet (model PTH660) thoughts

I’ve had the Wacom Intuos Pro medium tablet (model PTH660) for a few months now and thought I’d post just a few thoughts.

First off, if you use Photoshop or Lightroom, the Wacom tablet is a game-changer. After you get used to using the pen, drawing is much more natural than with using a mouse. If you’ve ever tried to draw a circle or draw a selection around a person’s head with a mouse, you’ll appreciate the difference. Read more

Nebraska/Iowa Trip

Kimberly took me up to Nebraska/Iowa to meet her family. It was my first trip up to that part of the country and I had a wonderful time. Her family is just great. Spring hadn’t arrived yet, so it was pretty brown and overcast for most of the trip. There still were a few hints of winter snow. I only pulled out my DSLR at her Dad’s farm near Sioux City. Never been on a farm before. Lots of interesting stuff. Porter the cat, who is in a lot of the shots, was more dog than feline. He followed us all around just like a farm dog.

Water Softener: Fix a flooded brine (salt) tank that doesn’t drain

I have literally spent weeks trying to fix a flooded brine tank in my Kenmore water softener. It took me a while to understand how the darn thing worked, but once I figured it out, my problem and, more importantly, the fix seemed obvious. NOTE: I’m pretty sure that most water softeners work very similarly, so even if you don’t have a Kenmore, the information here should be helpful. Read more