Saturday, November 29, 2003

Enjoying the post Thanksgiving holiday.

My GradParty 2003 video went over well. I feel this was my best editing work. I am glad to have this finished. I am planning on distributing all of my family videos to family members around the country this Christmas. I'll need to dupe about a half dozen or so.

Catching up on computer maintenance. I installed the latest Adobe Album 2.0 upgrade. Also installed the recently received Serif Page Plus 9 software.

Recently, I saw a news item that Microsoft and Computer Associates were offering free antivirus and firewall software for download. I generally dislike antivirus software because I am behind a hardware router so I have some immunity. In addition, I keep the Windows update current. So, I've never really had a problem. I have tried several anti-virus programs over the years. Panda Software was truly awful. Trend Micro's PC-cillen was just okay. I've used Computer Associates antivirus in the past and found it to be competent and unobtrusive. In fact, Computer Associates was the vendor for anti-virus at Microsoft when I was there. What's surprising is how little coverage this offer has received. It seems like a great offer.

I am still thinking over my new motherboard purchase. I updated my wish list at to the Abit IC7 Max3. This looks like a killer board. Still thinking about if this is the right time to make this purchase.

New digital camera purchase is on hold. Too many choices. I can't make up my mind.

On a whim I bought a new CD/DVD/SACD player for my tube based living room audio system. I bought the Philips DVD763SA from Music Direct who I have bought from over the years. They had it for $125 which was pretty attractive for the features. So, I ordered it. About the time it arrived, I saw an ad in a PC Connection catalog for the same unit for $89! That was quite a difference in price so I called up Music Direct and after some discussion they agreed to give me a store credit for the difference. I posted the $89 dollar link on Audio Asylum.

So how does it sound? I think some break in is still needed. SACDs sound the best. CD playback seems to be okay but maybe a little harsh. I may play with cables to see if this has any effect. Break in is probably the answer. I did put some spongy rubber feet on the bottom I had lying around. Maybe this will help? I am tempted to open this up and take a look around inside. Supposedly, these cheap units have horrible switching power supplies. I don't know if there's much one can do from an upgrade standpoint. This unit also purports to play MP3 based disks. This would be useful for casual background music listening. Well after much testing and burning of various test disks I have determined that this feature is broken on this unit. It will play a few MP3s but then get lost and either stop or get stuck and require a reboot. Additionally, sometimes for no apparent reason the MP3 sound output will be soaked in a harsh digital distortion. The distortion is intermittent and appears at random times. I have tried many different ways of burning MP3 compilation CD-Rs and none of them work successfully with this unit all the time. This must be one reason this unit is being discontinued. Oh well, it would have been useful but the important bits, SACD and CD playback, seem to work fine. Curiously, I cannot find any mention of the Philips MP3 problem on the Net. I can't believe I am the only one to encounter this.

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