Audyssey rocks

About 10 days ago I visited someone who takes home cinema serious – very serious! He built a cinema under his house, roughly the size of our living-room; what I saw and heard there was astonishing, overwhelming and amazing in every way!

During the demonstration of his Home Cinema he also showed some of the things he had done to improve the performance of his audio & video equipment and 2 things were very clear – Audyssey and the Darbee Darblet were the keywords.

I was particularly struck by the influence that Audyssey can have on the sound. Wait, wait… Audyssey, doesn’t my Onkyo TX-NR709 also have that on board? Yes it does! So around midnight when I left on my way back home in my car, I was already making plans for the next evening – I’m gonna hook up the Audyssey mic to my AV receiver and do a Audyssey run!

Audyssey mic on a tripod

So that next evening I managed to get everyone else upstairs around 10 o’clock (“you’re all looking very tired”) and I was ready to perform my 1st Audyssey run. I was curious if I would witness that same big improvement in sound quality as I did the day before, where I heard the difference between sound with and without Audyssey influence.

Half an hour later the Audyssey test was completed – and WOW, I just couldn’t believe it, but my ears didn’t lie – everything had changed! All surround speakers now performed equally well which gave a tremendous boost to the ‘surround’ experience, the highs and the lows were all present in the way they should be – well, I just can’t describe it but this was really a huge improvement! The next day the rest of the family was just as surprised by the new sound as me – unbelievable..

So why didn’t I do this when I started using this AV receiver? Stupid me… I never thought it would make such a big difference and after a month or so the Audyssey mic disappeared in a box in the garage and I never thought about it again. But it only takes about half an hour or so and the impact is really worth it. Even if it would take a whole afternoon, now that I know the end result, I would always do a Audyssey optimization from now on.

So if you also have a AV receiver with Audyssey mentioned on the casing or mentioned in the manual – use it, it’s Highly recommended!

Fast, quiet server consuming 32W

In a previous post I wrote about a new server I was building; well, it’s finished and in use for a couple of weeks now; only some minor issues like some scheduled tasks that need some fine tuning, that’s all. It’s working great and it’s very quiet – so quiet, that I suddenly feel the need of playing music in the background, just to avoid the ‘complete silence‘ I’m experiencing now 🙂

After moving all the VM’s to this new i3 server, power usage went up from 28W to an average of 37W; power usage became more jumpy but with the power monitor I use, I can also monitor the average power usage, so the 37W mentioned must be quite accurate.

After the PicoPSU arrived and was installed, the power usage dropped to 32W; that’s 5W less (and almost 14% reduction!) compared to the 80+ BRONZE PSU I already used in this server before the PicoPSU.  I must say that it still looks a bit odd to me, seeing a jack plug coming out of the rear of the case…

Merry Christmas!

The kids are having a good time with all the snow, and I think there’s still more to come. Winter has just begun! A white Christmas doesn’t happen that often, so let’s enjoy it while we can and forget about the ‘problems’ it causes for some of us. I mean, it’s always either too hot or too cold, too much rain, too much snow.. we humans do have an influence on the weather, but we can’t control it yet.. 🙂

Live with it; have fun with it!

New Nikon D90 body

Nikon D90

Nikon D90

Last thursday i bought a new camera body, the Nikon D90. Compared to my previous camera body (D50), the D90 is a huge leap forward. A large LCD screen, great viewfinder, camera instantly available after power on, in-camera image processing, HD video, more customization; the list is to long 🙂

Together with my AF-S DX VR 18-200mm 3.5-5.6 G lens and SB600 Speedlight i’ve got a great tool to make the best pictures i can. I’m also planning on buying the GP-1 GPS unit to Geotag all the images.

Plugwise energie systeem verzamelt uw verbruikgegevens

Plugwise houdt zich bezig met ontwerpen, ontwikkelen en produceren van energie management systemen.

Plugwise heeft een plug ontwikkeld die tussen het stopcontact en de stekker van een elektrisch apparaat kan worden gezet. Die plug kan daardoor het energieverbruik van dat apparaat meten en stuurt deze meetgegevens draadloos door naar een PC. Software op die PC geeft de gebruiker inzicht in het energieverbruik en kosten van individuele apparaten of geaggregeerd. Prachtig!

Tot zover het mooie verhaal. Maar er zijn dingen gaande met dit energie management systeem van de eeuw, die maar weinig mensen kennen maar waarvan zij zich wel bewust moeten zijn alvorens men overgaat tot aankoop.

Onderzoek heeft uitgewezen dat alle verbruiksgegevens die door de Plugwise software wordt vergaard, ook over het Internet naar een centrale server wordt gestuurd. Tot op het meest gedetailleerde niveau! Deze server heet portal.plugwise.com… Op deze server wordt een database gevuld met gegevens over wanneer en hoe lang de verlichting brandt, wanneer de wasmachine in gebruik is en hoe vaak de vaatwasser wordt gebruikt en wat dit voor energie verbruik tot gevolg heeft.

Dat u als consument hieraan niet wilt meewerken omdat dit nooit duidelijk aan u kenbaar is gemaakt, is voor Plugwise geen onderwerp van discussie. En bent u in staat om bijvoorbeeld met een firewall dit ongewenst lekken van naar uw mening privacy-gevoelige informatie te voorkomen? Jammer, daarmee verspeelt u bepaalde rechten die plotseling alleen zijn voorbehouden aan consumenten die er geen bezwaar tegen hebben dat hun hele energie-huishouding daarmee al praktisch op straat ligt.

Is het normaal dat er zo wordt omgegaan met privacy van de consument? Zijn wij als consument dan nergens meer veilig voor? Moeten wij het maar accepteren dat onder onze neus heel ons hebben en houwen wordt weggesluisd naar wie-weet-waar? Is dit de nieuwe moraal van het bedrijfsleven, waarbij er handig wordt ingespeeld op het gegeven dat als gevolg van technologische ontwikkelingen tegenwoordig alles aan elkaar verbonden is?

Laat de consument goed geïnformeerd besluiten over aanschaf van het Plugwise systeem. Daarbij mag kennis over het wegsluizen van verbruiksgegevens niet ontbreken!

Remeha Calenta or Avanta?

Next wednesday i have a Remeha representative coming over to my house to see what’s the best heating system for our house. Remeha has got a new model since recently, the Remeha Calenta. Probably with a much higher price than the Avanta, my choice so far. Another very important issue is that the Calenta needs to have the ability to be operated with the Remeha Gateway just like the Avanta. The recommended thermostat for the Calenta does like very nice, BTW. And maybe i’ll add a solar water heater to the system, who knows. Alot of questions, hopefully to be answered next Wednesday.

Remeha iSense

Remeha iSense

Remeha solar water heater

Remeha solar water heater

Remeha Avanta

Remeha Avanta

Remeha Calenta

Remeha Calenta

Switch to WordPress as Blog Engine

I was never really satisfied with my former Blog engine dasBlog, so i decided to switch to WordPress. Main concern was ofcourse how to get all my posts from dasBlog to WordPress. With some links and some tools i managed to get the most important posts over to WordPress without having to type them all over 🙂

http://www.aaronlerch.com/blog/2007/08/23/breaking-up-moving-blog-engines/

http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/DasBlogML

New freezer: minus 440 kWh per year on power consumption

Yesterday our old and broken freezer was replaced by a new A++ class freezer, a Liebherr GP1466-22.

While hunting down the large power consumers in our house, i found out that our old freezer had a defective thermostat. It was constantly freezing, 24 hours a day! Something had to be done about that, since constantly cosuming 65-70W is way to much! Now that the new freezer has been working for 30 hours or so, i can see it has an average power usage of 16.5W. That’s 145 kWh per year, where the old freezer used 587 kWh. That’s another 440 kWh saved on a yearly basis…


Now i wonder how the manufacturer has come to the advertised 135 kWh…

A ride with my motorbike

Every year we (2 friends i know since the HTS Arnhem and me) go for a ride on
our motorbikes.
Today was a beautiful day; not to hot, not to cold; just
perfect. Normally we go for 3-4 days to Belgium or Germany, but this
year we stayed in Holland and only went for 1 day.
The tour took us
over the winter dikes of the rivers de Rijn and de Waal. We started in Westervoort and from there we went to Huissen, Nijmegen along the north side of the Waal
all the way to Neerijnen.

There we went north, through Geldermalsen
towards de Rijn, where we took the south side of de Rijn back to
Arnhem. When we got back to Arnhem, we had driven about 200 km, mostly
dikes. Riding the dikes is very much fun; very low traffic and very
much nice curves. Plans for next year have already been made: in 2009
we’ll go to the region of Koblenz, Germany.