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March 21, 2007

The 17-foot iPod Dock Extension

It's been a few weeks since I first posted about the iPod Dock Extender Cable I hacked together. Since then I've sold a few of these through CableJive, which gives me a good excuse to play with the soldering iron and som every tiny soldering points in the evening after the kids are asleep.

I recently got an email from a fellow in Sweden who was looking to put an extension in his car and wondered if there was any chance an extension cable would work properly if it were 17 feet long.

Seemed like an interesting enough experiment. I figured at some point it would be good to know the upper limits of this hack. So I cut a length of cable, attached the necessary adapters, and plugged it in to see if the iPod worked 17 feet away from my SoundDock.

The answer is yes, it works.

Now you must note that the dock extender cable featured in my hack only connects power, control, and sound from the iPod. If you were attempting to do video across 17 feet of 28 AWG wire the picture would probably not be so great. But the sound is good, and power and iPod control come through just fine. I broke out the multi-tester for some hard proof just to be sure the voltages were still correct on the far end of the cable.

With that good news I shipped the cable off. Somewhere in Sweden there's a car with an iPod in the front seat and an iPod dock and stereo in the trunk.

Magically connected.

Posted by mike at 8:49 PM

March 12, 2007

Ruby on Rails and Reporting at Boston MySQL Meetup

Made it out to the Boston MySQL meetup tonight. I haven't been out for awhile, is nice to be back and see folks.

Tonight Brian DeLacey talks about Ruby on Rails and Reporting, looking at MySQL through the eyes of Ruby. Interesting that when Brian asks MySQL folks about the languages that they use there are folks from all walks; Perl, PHP, Ruby, Java, Python. And many hands that go up for two, three or four languages. I wonder how MySQL users compare with other DBMS system users as far as multi programming language experience and use.

Brian essentially is giving an introduction to Ruby, Rails, and then digs down into how it interacts with MySQL looking at ActiveRecord and concluding with how to get down to the direct SQL layer.

A side note: Brian lives right cross the street from me and also works at home. A post is brewing about that and some of the interesting intersections of our work.

Posted by mike at 7:12 PM

March 11, 2007

Blog Post Number 1000

It is incredibly hard to believe that this post is number 1000 (according to internal database numbering). Is that possible? I guess it all adds up, everything from the long posts that take hours to the small notes that don't take more than a minute to jot down.

What will happen in my life, my family, and in the world during the next 1000 posts? It is hard to remember what things were like before I started this weblog, so I imagine things as they are now will be hard to remember then.

Posted by mike at 1:19 PM

March 10, 2007

Back in the Good Graces of Surround Sound

For the past 9 years we've been watching movies on a 25" tube TV, with sound from the small speaker on the TV. Actually, life has been pretty crazy lately and we haven't really watched movies for the past year (cancelled Netflix membership 6 months ago).

Back in the mid-90s we had an early surround sound system (center speaker, two rear, no subwoofer) but with college life, moving around a bit, and living in small or odd shaped apartments, surround sound just never worked out.

Last weekend Heidi was in California with our youngest and it was just me and the two older kids. I decided to rent a few movies that had been on my list for awhile. The first night I watched Inside Man and had Mission Impossible III queued up for night two.

It dawned on me that the experience would be much better with decent sound, so on the morning of day two I dug around online and went to the store and picked up a fairly inexpensive all-in-one Phillips home entertainment system with DTS, Dolby Digital & Pro Logic II surround sound.

It has definitely improved the experience. It is hard to believe we've lived without this for so long.

Next I've got to figure out how to weasel my way into a decent sized flat-screen plasma or LCD TV.

Posted by mike at 10:22 AM