Wednesday, May 02, 2018

The DC Hi-Fi Group Blog

I recently created the new DC Hi-Fi Group website to support this fledgling organization. If you are in the greater DC Metro area and have a passion for Audio and Hi-Fi topics then you would enjoy being a member. I am posting blog posts fairly regularly hence my neglect of this blog. I'll try to balance things out in the future.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Installing old print drivers when Windows won't help

I'm not a heavy user of printing but when I do print documents I like them to look their best.

I do have several laser and inkjet printers that I use for various purposes.

My workhorse printer is a HP 1320 laserjet printer. Amazingly, this printer was released in 2004 but 14 years later it is still working great. With cheap large capacity toner cartridges available from Amazon, its cost per page is very low. I do remember upgrading its memory years ago but that's the only thing I've done to it.

I was looking at print samples for color laser printers recently and was pleasantly surprised. I've been put off by the high cost of consumables, but again there are alternatives to make things more palatable. So, I settled on a new M254dw HP color laserjet that I ordered online for a little over $200.

The M254dw is a very compact wireless and duplexing color laser printer. It is a logical upgrade to my aged HP 1320. So far I am very happy. The HP consumables are about $300! Thankfully there are third party options for about a two thirds of that.

Since my HP 1320 was still working fine, I decided to move it to my Server (aka laundry) room and hook it up one of my QNAP servers. QNAP's OS is incredibly full featured and it was truly a plug and play experience of connecting the USB 1320 to the QNAP. The Server immediately recognized the printer and setup a print queue that was accessible over my network.

I was able to quickly configure a printer connection from my main computer to the new QNAP print queue. This computer already had drivers installed for the 1320 so it was quite easy to redirect to the printer now on the network.

The trouble started to come when I attempted to attach various laptops I have to the newly created print server.

Unfortunately, the drivers for the HP 1320 are no longer in the default Windows 10 distribution. Supposedly you can download drivers using Windows Update but every time I have tried this Windows Update says it is unavailable?

I spent a lot of time searching drivers or other ways to solve this problem. I looked at things like Apple's Bonjour which looked promising but in the end did not work. I scoured HP's website which has its own issues and downloaded their supposed drivers which all did not work. HP could probably provide a generic driver that would work, but obviously they are not motivated to do this for a 14 year old printer? I also looked at Microsoft Update CAB files but found that the DSIM command line install method does not work for Printer drivers?

Finally, I stumbled upon a solution that I will document here.

In this instance, you need an existing computer with working drivers for the printer in question installed and working. If you don't have this, you will probably have to connect the printer directly to the USB port of a computer and let windows install drivers. Once this is done you can proceed.

You need to run the Microsoft Management Console (MMC). Type Windows Key+R and type MMC and hit enter. Next, you need to install the printer plugin and then export the installed printers to a file. The details may be read here.

Once you have this file you can take it from computer to computer and do an import into MMC to install your printers. Simple in the end but very frustrating in finding this solution. I believe this is the definitive way to install an old printer into the latest version of Windows.

Addendum: I just discovered that the the Print Management Snap In is missing from Windows Home. So this solution only works with Windows Pro. Sigh.

Monday, October 09, 2017

LG V30 followup - V20

While pondering my next move with smartphones, I received an email flyer from Newegg which featured the 2016 LG V20. The price caught my eye - $299! Wow. After reviewing the features of the V20 I was even more impressed. The high end audio specs were there (ESS Sabre Dac) and a very good camera as well. Other positives were removeable battery and a slot for a microSD card. It has a Qualcomm 820 processor which is the same as my S7 Edge. It does only come in one color but the phone is completely unlocked so that's another positive since my carrier is T-Mobile.

On the downside, it does not have wireless charging, the newest 835 Qualcomm chip, and the latest camera lens refinements.

But at a differential of $500 (V30 $800), the lack of color choice and other improvements melt away in importance. So, I have ordered the V20. At the least, it will make a very good portable audiophile music player and a fine phone.

Six months down the line, maybe the V30 will drop in price to make it a no brainer upgrade?

Friday, October 06, 2017

LG V30 limits color choice to silver in US Launch

I have become interested in purchasing a new LG V30 phone as a an upgrade to my current Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge? I am interested in the V30 because of its enhanced quad dac audio features and its advanced two lens camera and video capabilities. Also, the V30 is the first phone to support T-Mobile's 600 mhz band 71 channel.

To my dismay when I attempted to order the V30 through my carrier T-Mobile, I found that only one color (Silver) was available even though the phone is being manufactured in four colors. I had my heart set on the Moroccan Blue color.

I  have attempted to contact Frank Lee who runs the Mobile Phone division of LG USA by phone and email. LG USA is making a major blunder by limiting the color choice?

Please LG, fix this mistake.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Google Wifi

I just setup the relatively new Google WiFi mesh network devices. I have been using the Google OnHub for more than a year now. The OnHub replaced the massively crappy Actiontec Router that Verizon Fios foists upon their unsuspecting customers and now charges a monthly rental to add insult to injury! The only issue with throwing out the Actiontec in the Fios arrangement is you need a Moca Adapter to provide the networking to the Fios Cable TV boxes so they can get their channel guide data.

To further improve my WiFi in my approximately two thousand square foot house, I got a recent sale price on a 3 pack of the Google WiFi. I had already centrally placed the OnHub in the center of my house on the first floor. I first placed a Google WiFi remote cylinder in  my bedroom. This went smoothly and streaming 4k to my Samsung UHD TV worked well. I also have a Squeezebox Touch setup for a headphone listening station that did not play well with the Google OnHub. I had bought a cheap Ethernet wireless bridge by Vonets that initially worked but then stopped working. I then got the bright idea that I could directly connect the Google WiFi's unused ethernet port to my Squeezebox Touch and bypass the Touch's wifi issues. This is now working very well.

My next location for Google WiFi was my basement. Since all my Internet and network connections come into my basement I decided to hard wire the second Google WiFi into my ethernet network. Basically you setup your mesh location wirelessly first, then plug it into a switch and it will automatically use the faster wired connection while also providing fast a WiFi hotspot for all your devices. Pretty neat!

I highly recommend the new WiFi mesh products such as Google WiFi for all your home networking needs.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Allan Holdsworth - A Personal Remembrance

It was a sad day in modern music and for guitarists in particular when we learned of the death of legendary British guitarist Allan Holdsworth on April 15th, 2017.

I first became aware of the awesome talents and music of Mr. Holdsworth in the mid 1970's. My small group of friends and I were aspiring guitarists and were heavy vinyl record collectors. As our tastes matured we gravitated towards Progressive Rock and then onto Jazz and all its variants. Allan Holdsworth was right there at the nexus of Rock, Fusion, and Jazz. For most guitarists and even other so called guitar Gods, Allan's sound and approach to playing the guitar was just plain confounding and bordering on incomprehensible for mere mortal musicians. Ironically, Allan never seemed to be satisfied with his playing or albums and always claimed it was sub-par. I think this played a role in his untimely death as he seemed to have an unending series of bad breaks that left him apparently impoverished at the time of his death. In a just world, he would have been showered with riches that his talent deserved.

I was lucky to hear Allan play many times throughout his career. One particular encounter remains lodged in my brain.

In the summer of 1982, I embarked on a grand tour of the European continent. I had just finished my junior year of college at Syracuse University, and like so many before me obtained my Eurail Pass, shouldered my backpack, and took off for an adventurous summer. Being a huge music fan and erstwhile guitarist, I planned much of my travels around the numerous music festivals that take place every summer. I first landed in England, the place of my birth, and stayed with family friends. Eventually, I made my way to France via Ireland and then spent a couple of weeks in Paris visiting museums by day and attending Jazz clubs by night. It then became time to travel to The Hague in Holland for the famous North Sea Jazz festival. Highlights of the 1982 schedule that I saw included Sun Ra and his Arkestra, the John Scofield Trio, and the Carla Bley big band.

From the North Sea, I worked my way south to Switzerland for the famous Montreux Jazz Festival. Through a connection with a friend at home, I had hoped to actually work at the Festival as an usher or something but that failed to materialize. Even so, just enjoying the beauty of Lac Léman in the Summer was wonderful. Of course, musicians were everywhere. I remember running into a young Wynton Marsalis on the Promenade and having a brief chat. Wynton and his band had just played in Syracuse earlier that year promoting his debut CBS recording. I had another brief encounter with David Sancious as he was enjoying a beverage at an outdoor cafe.

As I studied the concert schedule, I zeroed in on one particular concert as a must attend. It was rightly billed as a Super Group under the billing of famed drummer Billy Cobham. The assembled musicians included David Sancious (keyboards), Didier Lockwood (violin), Jack Bruce (bass), and Allan Holdsworth (guitar). I made a beeline to the ticket office and obtained my precious seat for the event.

Being a student and traveling on a budget, I took advantage of many youth hostels for my lodging. I believe this is where I made acquaintance with other fellow jazz fans. At some point, I became friendly with someone claiming to be a Yugoslavian Jazz journalist. I only spoke English and a smattering of high school French. My new Yugo Jazz friend spoke quite good English so we stuck to that. He then told me that he had arranged for an interview with none other than the great English guitarist Allan Holdsworth! Quite unexpectedly and bizarrely he then asked if I would accompany him to the interview to help translate even though it was clear I did not speak a speck of Yugoslavian! Not being one to let small details get in the way, I quickly agreed to his invitation.

At the appointed time, we made our way to Allan's hotel room. My recollection given that has been some 35 years ago, is of Allan sitting on the bed with his Gibson SG guitar plugged into something like a JHS Rock Box portable headphone guitar practice device. My remembrance is he was furiously practicing the music for that evening's show. It is my understanding that Allan did not read music which I believe put more pressure on Allan to learn the music quickly for the show. I may also remember a certain nervousness coming from Allan. His wife, Claire, was quietly sitting in a corner while my new Jazz journo friend proceeded with the interview. Claire never said a word during the entire time with the exception of a possible hello and goodbye. Unfortunately, my memory fails me as to what was actually discussed. I am sure the usual questions that musicians are endlessly asked and become bored by. I don't recollect at all what my contribution was beyond sitting there wide eyed and slack jawed and mumbling how much of a fan I was of his music.

As quickly as it had begun, the interview was concluded and we left Allan and his wife in peace. The concert that night was amazing for it's assemblage of musicians but was probably not Allan's best performance. I remember specifically that Allan had problems with his amplifier rig at the beginning of the concert which impacted his performance.

Amazingly, some twenty five years later, a recording of this exact performance appeared on the fan download site Apparently, the concert was broadcast on FM Radio. The download is titled "A Gathering of Minds, Casino De Montreux, 23 July 1982". The setlist includes: Crazy Eights, Mysterious Conversation, Ursula In Summer, Drifting Into The Attack, Theme From An Imaginary Western, Uptown Breakdown, Sleight Of Hand, Bloody Mary, and Improvisation in B Flat. So, decades later I had an audio souvenir of my time with Allan Holdsworth! My understanding was that this group was scheduled to go into the studio to record an album but sadly this never came to pass so all we have at least is this radio broadcast to document the event.

I even have the 1982 Montreux Jazz Festival poster still hanging on my wall today:

Montreux Jazz Festival July 1982 Official Poster

As a postscript, upon returning to Syracuse University I resumed my education and activities for my Senior year. I had been active as a music DJ on the then totally student run 50kw FM radio station WAER. I spent a lot of time ploughing through the record and tape stacks of the station and eventually uncovered a forgotten live radio broadcast labeled Soft Machine at Crouse College, March 13, 1974! I nearly passed out. When I got to play it on the reel-to-reel tape machine, I was overjoyed to hear that was in fact Bundle's era Soft Machine featuring Allan Holdsworth. During a school break back at home in Maryland, I borrowed my friend Steve's (Owner Cuneiform Records) Teac reel-to-reel and made copies of the tape on my Nakamichi 600 cassette deck. I have been an audiophile all my life so I tried to use the best equipment I had access to at the time. I made several copies and of course gave a copy to Steve to thank him for lending me his tape deck. I believe Steve once considered the possibility of publishing this recording on his Cuneiform label but maybe never did because of copyright issues? He was later able to obtain the rights to produce another concert of this era. I have since uploaded my original copy of the recording to to replace inferior copies that were being circulated. I returned the original reel-to-reel tape to the WAER library. I now regret doing this since I am sure the original tape was discarded at some point. But, at least I have a fairly high quality copy.

Here is the CD Tray insert I made for the CD cover:

Soft Machine Live at Syracuse University, NY March 13, 1974 CD Front Cover

Soft Machine Live at Syracuse University, NY March 13, 1974 CD Tray Insert

So ends my reminiscence of my encounter with one of Music's greatest icons. My wish is that his music will live on and more people will become exposed and come to admire, if not worship, Allan Holdsworth's great contributions to the world.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

No Posts in 2016

Sorry to say I did not post anything in 2016. I guess I have been lured away by things like Twitter, etc?

Maybe a return to things like Photography and Music in 2017?

I am optimistic about the future!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Download more free full fidelity lossless FLACs at

A while back, I wrote a post about finding interesting free music posted on CDBaby now that they support lossless FLAC downloads.

The ECM Jazz label is one of my favorite labels so I am always on the lookout for music in a similar vein.

My current favorite download service is It has always supported FLAC lossless downloads and even High Resolution Audio in the form of 96k/24b FLAC. Sometimes these are available for free or at a low price.

I devised a google search that will find artists who have a "Name your price" and ecm and jazz on their Bandcamp page.

Just use: " "name your price" ecm jazz"

There are some nice things out there to find!


Chris Conway's Happy Landings

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Pat Metheny Unity Group and Bruce Hornsby Wolf Trap 08-06-2014

The Pat Metheny Unity Group made a spectacular appearance at Wolf Trap on a steamy summer Wednesday night. Along for the ride was the always effervescent Bruce Hornsby accompanied by Sonny Emory on percusssion (including vest frottoir) and drums.

Bruce opened the nearly three hour non-stop concert with some "campfire" songs featuring dulcimer with Pat Metheny sitting in on a couple of tunes. Bruce moved to the piano for more music that included nods to 20th century composers such as Anton Webern (Hornsby pointededly pointillistic) and Elliot Carter. Bruce seemed in good cheer and frequently interacted with listeners in the front rows. Bruce also mentioned he has a new album out now called Solo Concerts.

Pat's Unity Group is a very fine tuned engine that has only improved over time - this concert being "gig 118" according to Pat. Chris Potter on sax and flute continues to be a strong foil to Pat's all encompassing guitar orchestra. Ben Williams has massively matured since I first saw him with the Unity Band several years ago.

The concert finale was a rousing full Pat Metheny group featuring Bruce Hornsby playing his signature song The Way It Is.
Pat Metheny Bruce Hornsby Encore Wolf Trap 08-06-2014

Friday, August 01, 2014

Preston Reed Delayed Train

Very cool new video from acoustic guitar pioneer Preston Reed. I will be attending his concert this fall at Jammin Java!