Feckless fools, piffling lives

There’re hundreds of complete cnuts meandering the pavements on my journey to work. These feckless fools bother me with their piffling lives, swinging their arms about like they’re trying to land a plane, or stopping dead, right in front of me with no warning and for no apparent reason. They are always wearing huge backpacks or gesticulating like a mime. Other equally twatty gangs of gormless ghouls walk five abreast expecting me to stumble out into the road just so they can continue their moronic shared opinion massaging without me getting in the way… ‘oh, like I really like movies’ ‘yeh, wow that is so weird, I really like movies too’ ‘oh wow yeh, like the way the whole story thing unfolds in a visual aural kind of thing way’ ‘yeh, like that’s it isn’t it, yeh, movies’ ‘spooky how we are sooooo alike’ ‘I know, right?’. No it’s not you morons, that’s like saying you like fun.

Aerial view taken this morning of my walk to work

Aerial view taken this morning of my walk to work

Anyway, I don’t move for them so eventually they realise they’ll have to take a break (shouldn’t be hard as they’ve probably managed to take at least one year-long break recently) from their self-centred clowncloud and get out of my way. Have a nice day.

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The female burper of North Street

Last night I was in my local off licence, Drinks 4U. This fairly typical budget booze outlet, run by a friendly Armenian is a handy little oasis of liver-challenging fluids and flammable dried leaves positioned opposite my favourite local, The Old Bookshop.

As I stood chatting with the owner a charming woman came in and immediately released a startlingly loud, audaciously sustained burp right behind me. ‘What the f#@k did you do that for?’ I asked politely. ‘Ooh, I’ve been in the bar needing to do that for hours’ she said. I quizzed her on this, suggesting her wind could perhaps have been encouraged to usher forth from her guts via her gullet on the short stretch across the road between the pub and the offy. She pondered my postulation momentarily before finally retorting ‘Well, what would you do if you needed a poo?’, to which I replied:

‘I wouldn’t do it in here.’

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No can be a positive word

Whilst it’s clear that a lot of Scottish people wanted independance and are no doubt now very dissapointed with the results, it’s even more clear to me that a lot didn’t and of those, many were genuinely scared of what Yes would mean for them, their country and the rest of the United Kingdom. Those people are now experiencing relief and the subsidence of fear as opposed to the pride and ecstacy of victory.

That notion is enough for me to believe the right result was found. Sorry for anyone who is dissapointed today and I wish you great and fair success in finding new powers of independance within the United Kingdown, rather than without.

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Uninstall DirectAccess Connectivity Assistant 2.0

You can find the ‘DirectAccess Connectivity Assistant 2.0’ here:


This handy little tool is provided as an msi, which operates as a wrapper for the msu contained within. I was finding it hard to uninstall so I asked my colleague and software deployment expert and he provided me with this magic:

pkgmgr /up:Microsoft-DirectAccess-Connectivity-Assistant-Package-TopLevel~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~7.1.7601.18340

Which did the trick (at least for the x64 version).

This info came from https://support.microsoft.com/kb/940410 combined with some poking about inside the msi with 7-zip.


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An unemployed man and an employed man

An unemployed man and an employed man had an argument in front of me today as I walked past Colston Hall. The employed man was riding his bike on the pavement and his ample girth combined with bulging panniers resulted in him presenting a fairly wide load to oncoming pedestrians. The unemployed man, accompanied by a fellow jobseeker, was expressing concern that his dog was at risk of getting squashed issued a bitter complaint to this effect. Whilst I don’t wish to cast aspersions on their respective characters, it was noticeable that neither man had considered their argument or had invested them time in intellectually engaged with their own viewpoint, let alone that of their newly met acquaintance. Using short sentences liberally scattered with poor grammar and expletives the situation was not improved.

It was eventually resolved when the two men were sufficiently far apart that sustaining argument had become near impossible – you see, neither party stopped perambulating in their opposing directions. The employed man, now busy navigating a tricky sloping pavement on his overladen two-wheeled chariot gave up speaking altogether, whilst the parting shot of the unemployed man summed things up rather nicely… ‘go to work, mate; you’re an idiot.’ As I continued winding my way to work it left me pondering whether the employed man was, in the opinion of the unemployed man at least, an idiot for riding on the pavement or simply for going to work. Now I’m in work, just like I am most days of my life and have been for over twenty years, I’m starting to think it’s the latter, and he may have been right.

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Ashby Open Baffle progress

You may have seen my earlier ramblings on the subject of using PC-based DSP to provide an active crossover with filters for an open baffle speaker system. I got on reasonably well with Richard Taylor’s excellent notes on the subject however I was struggling to settle on an actual baffle design, along with the usual problems of actually building them. Enter an auction on ebay for a pair of ‘open baffle speaker’ with the following description:

‘Here is an open baffle project that could not get quite right. The bottom drivers are eminence alpha 15 drivers. the mid drivers are Vintage B&W 8″ drivers and the top drivers are Tang Band W4-657D. they are currently fitted with a 2 way crossover made with decent parts from Falcon audio. In their current form they sound bright to me.’


The crossover was not implemented correctly and would have given very poor results, as implied in the advert. The good news is the baffles are very solidly made. They appeared to be made from two slabs of MDF sandwiching some internal wiring (that I won’t use as it’s been hacked about) and of course ending up at about two inches of thickness. There’s some equally impressive bracing for the baffle and the whole thing is mounted on a massive chunk of MDF. It’s been fairly well finished and is in pretty good nick. I’ll likely repaint at some point but for now it’s brilliant.

I swapped out the B&W midrange unit with a pair of Vifa 8” (P21WO-20-08) as used in some of Siegfried Linkwitz’s early tests. I’ve retained the Tang Band 4” for ‘tweeters’ (yes, I know they don’t go very high, but neither do my ears) and of course kept the 15” Alphas as they should do the trick for me.

Building a six channel volume control

One thing that quickly became apparent was that I would need a volume control between the line outs of my sound card and the inputs of my amp. I’d bought an Alps 6 gang potentiometer months ago and after a trip to Maplins for an enclosure and some phono sockets I settled in for the evening and knocked up a little control box.

pot and socketssockets

wired internals

You can see from the pictures that I should probably have mounted the input and output around the other way or spun the pot around to avoid crossing all the wires, however I used a solid copper connector for the grounds and didn’t want to go unsoldering things. The most annoying thing was wiring in the six pots. For that I offer the reader some tips….

Soldering the Alps 6 gang potentiometer

First thing to note is that the diagram below (as is typical) shows a view from the top of the pot, ie as though you are looking through it from above with the pins pointing down. Sometimes this makes things hard to translate when you look at the bottom of the pot, however as you will note the pins 1,2 and 3 are all in line and therefore simply rotating either the diagram or pot through 180 degrees gives the layout as though are looking at it from above (harder to explain in words than do – just spin the pot around so the shaft points the opposite way from the diagram).

Alps six gang pot

Pins 1 are ground – so I just wired all those in together. The outer pins on the left and right of the pot are just dummy pins for location – I chopped these off and the whole thing look a lot less intimidating. 3 are the inputs and 2 are the outputs (assuming you want the volume to go up as you rotate the pot clockwise). That’s about it. It took me about an hour of staring and checking with a meter to work out that nonsense!

The end (or at least, interim) is outstanding. At present they’re in a far less than ideal position and I can’t get far enough away from them to really listen properly. That said there is some astounding imaging and beautiful openness. The nicest thing is how they sound in the rest of the house, it just sounds like someone is playing in another room, live – there is not obvious source of the sound. Running some Peter Hurford organ classics through them is quite lovely.


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Russian Speakers–thanks freecycle

I like picking up old speakers on freecycle. I’ve had some lovely examples of Kef, Heathkit, Celestion etc. over the years.

Yesterday I grabbed a pair that were advertised as ‘unbranded but made in Russia’. Actually they are branded and would appear to be made by MПИ – I can only find one reference to this company, at the bottom of this article:


I can see some pairs have sold on ebay for next to nothing, often claiming to be made by MON – this is just a misreading of the Cyrillic characters as you can see in this picture:


Inside they have some lovely alnico type bass drivers and closed back tweeters One of the drivers has the date 1972 on it, which feels about right. I replaced the speaker leads and they are now working very well – quite sensitive too.

Condition-wise they aren’t great, but they look nice to my eyes:

russian speaker 

Thanks to Andy from Cadbury Heath!

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