Picture day…

While the photographer was taking the really cheezy photos of all our on-air personalities looking unusually formal and stuff, he saw me lurking in the shadows and insisted on taking my picture too.

Photo by Carlos Rollon:

Everyone kinda wonders what I’m doing at a *jazz* station. 😉

Comcast BVE / Business Voice Edge settings you should hopefully never need

Useful info for the Comcast Business Voice Edge service:

The portal login is at https://voiceedge.comcast.com/ – at the time of this writing the security certificate is expired (way to go Cumcast)
To log in as admin, you must add TA to the end of your username authorized as administrator. For instance: rmutt1917TA

If your phones lose their settings including the provisioning server they will act really stupid. Press Menu -> Status -> Network to find the phone’s IP address then log into it from a web browser. On Polycom phones the admin password is 456

Go to Settings -> Provisioning Server. The Comcast business voice / Comcast BVE provisioning server address is http://bvedms01.wdv.comcast.net:80/dms/bw/host/wdv-7/dms-psip/
No password.
Server user: PlcmSpIp
Tag SN to UA disabled

If you have other WORKING phones on your network when this happens, please confirm the provisioning address on those first – the fact that it ends in 01 makes me wonder if this may vary regionally. (???)

Note that if the DHCP on your network provides an option 66 response to point phones to a TFTP server, the provisioning WILL fail as the phone is too dumb to proceed to the programmed provisioning server address. Once it gets a tftp address passed to it and this provisioning method fails, it will give up immediately and throw the toys right out of the pram. Wondering if your lan’s dhcp provides response 66? Did you set it to? If not, then it doesn’t. End of story. Honestly, most embedded device/router DHCP daemons don’t even support it.

You can use firmware versions later than what Comcast provides and I’ve had much better results doing so (better audio quality, fixes phone UI hangs/reboots….)
Go to Utilities -> Software Upgrade in the web UI. If you’ve never done this before, go ahead and select Polycom hosted server, click check for updates. The software version selector will populate. Choose the latest version and make it so.

If you HAVE done this before, do not click check for updates. The web UI and then the phone itself will freeze*. Uhhhh, it’s a feature, not a bug?! Click clear upgrade server. The phone will reboot, DOWNGRADE to whatever Comcast provides you, then you’ll be able to do the aforementioned procedure. Hey, we didn’t become Comcast customers because we wanted sane, reasonable, and logical services, did we?

* may be a model dependent thing. The SoundPoint 335 locks up like a dumb brick and eventually reboots itself, but the SoundStation will just do it all right. Who knows. I hate these things, they always make it sound like the person you’re talking to is actually talking waaaay too close to your ear and like you’re half expecting to spit down your ear canal or drool on your shoulder

Tollation

A fool and their money..

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Here, I have a stupid wild idea: give us functional mass transit and stop leaving us trafFUCKED all the time. Grrr!

As a bonus, here’s what you are treated to when you use the free lanes. The horrible imitation of the Lincolnshire Poacher is not necessarily part of the experience.
http://youtu.be/GatHBeVAKkI

Okay guys, you win this game.

If

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there was a game on for spookiest “we know people are stupid” warning labels, Continental-Girbau won it with this baby. I’m not sure how old these machines are, but they do have a hilarious number of safety features to them including a 30 second countdown followed by another 10 second countdown before the drum starts turning, and a stop button on the front panel. You know, just in case you didn’t realize for a few seconds that throwing someone in there with your laundry was a bad idea.

‘Twas a time before CCTV

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Postal Panopticon

Found this in my local post office above the counter. There’s probably a darkened little room behind it where someone could sit and look down. I’m guessing the slots are the audio monitoring system. 😉

Radio Shack has lost it…

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What you are looking at is the prime endcap space in the middle of my local RadioShack store.

Years ago, this would have been occupied by a home theater system, high end stereo, or something that someone would have actually bought, and it would have made the salesperson who helped them with the transaction a good amount on commission.

Now, it’s stupid t-shirts.

Radio Shack is not much longer for this world. They’ve been my go to place when I need a connector or some simple part on short notice, but I don’t think they’re going to be there for me much longer.

They’re the last venture of the Tandy Corporation, which renamed itself to Radio Shack. Tandy Corporation has engaged in many potentially successful ventures over the years, yet methodically run every single one of them into the ground in flames. Some that come to mind, of course, were Incredible Universe, the Tandy Computer brand, TechAmerica, and Computer City.

I used to love Radio Shack in the late 80s through mid to late 90s. They used to have a lot of components and supplies for my tinkering, and it was with the assistance of a Technician class study guide that I purchased at a Radio Shack in 1999 that I got my ham radio license. Back then they still even carried some ham radio equipment in their stores. I remember they still had the HTX-202/404 brick handhelds in their stores, and a 2 meter mobile radio, along with some Vectronics stuff (was this before or after they were part of MFJ Enterprises?). TechAmerica, a mail order only venture (as far as I know) had even more ham gear available when they were around.

What they didn’t have in their stores, they had available in a 200+ page catalog, available for shipment straight to you or to your local store.

In the late 1990s they started to lose focus on what their core business should be. They began to heavily push cell phones, then gradually cut more and more into their retail planograms* to devote more space to cell phones. Eventually, half the store was occupied by cell phones and accessories. Components were pushed back into organizer drawers in one back aisle. They stopped carrying home theater and stereo gear entirely as of about 2010, instead just focusing on low ticket items and cell phones. The commission based sales model would have seriously stopped working for their employees at this point in time, as there’s no longer such a thing as making a $50 commission on the sale of a $500 TV, for instance…

Now, today, I walked into one of their stores and this was in the middle. The cell phone display was pushed against a wall – there’s a good chance they haven’t sold a phone in quite a while, especially since their prices (up front or hidden!) are not competitive with other retail outlets or buying directly from the carriers.

At some point they did make an effort to reconnect with the electronic hobbyist and education markets, but it was all too little, too late. A line of kits they worked on in conjunction with Make Magazine got liquidated en masse at clearance prices…. then promptly reordered. They also carry a number of Seeed Studio kits and boards, but haven’t made any effort to promote this; they are merely just… there.

Despite the large uptick in interest in ham radio, they have not re-entered this market. They don’t even sell TV antennas for those who want to hook up their television sets for over the air programming.

This of course leaves a space for other businesses to fill. Systemax/TigerDirect is now starting to carry electronic kits in their stores. Who knows, maybe you’ll be able to get an oscilloscope there too, just like you can at a Fry’s. Alfa Electronics has been doing great business at their two store locations, and one of my fellow broadcast nerds has started doing some electronic parts sales from his business, Smiling Dog Systems.

It’s just a shame about Radio Shack. The mighty have truly fallen.

He had the audacity to ask me about Audacity.

To celebrate WDNA-FM successfully surviving a direct lightning strike (although just about everything needed a reboot — ever seen an Eventide BD120 profanity delay unit light up like a Christmas tree and flash Err?) I made this.

I kind of accidentally wound up with these two songs playing at once and found they worked way too well together so…. voila.

Call Our Mexican Wrestlers To Port:

Direct Link, if so desired.

In other news, I feel a little old now. I still remember my days of helping the guys at Miami-Dade College’s little parking lot AM station keep everything running, and we were all nuts about Homestar Runner back then. Heck, I still remember when Badger Badger Badger first showed up.

And then of course we horribly abused this little riff for a while. (Track #25 on They Might Be Giants’ “Apollo 18”, part of “Fingertips”. The song is in a bunch of segments which are mastered as separate tracks so playing the CD on shuffle will cause pieces of “Fingertips” to be interspersed between the other tracks.)

Good times, man.

Things that make you go NOPE.

NopeMeter
I’ve been shouting NOPE way too much as of late, haven’t I?

It just happens that the world of engineering presents me with way too much nope.

Here, have some nope from my collection.

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