28 May 2017
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Ham. DeX.


For once, nothing whatsoever to do with ham radio. Rather, I'm sad to mention the death of my oldest audio industry friend, and possibly the person responsible for the survival—if not necessarily the success—of Eventide, the company at which I strive. Ham Brosious died a few days ago at 93, as I found out today from multiple posts and heartfelt obituaries from his son Matt and others.

I first met Ham when I got involved in the audio industry, around 1970. As I recall, he was representing Scully, a manufacturer of tape recorders and record cutting lathes. But we already had all the recorders and lathes we needed, so Ham's visits were more or less social. When he found out we were starting a recording equipment manufacturer in the same space as the Sound Exchange studio, he took off his sales hat and installed a far more capacious one as a mentor. He gave us invaluable advice as to how the industry worked, what might make our gear more appealing, and most critically, how to get paid. I was so naive then that I had to be told that it was necessary to send an invoice, not just a product! (Naive but not totally stupid - I probably would have figured that out eventually when I called our first few customers asking about payment.) The other gem of wisdom had to do with payment terms, which I credit for our survival in what was then a totally flaky business.

Ham continued dropping by for 14 years until we moved across the Hudson to New Jersey. Even after that we kept in touch, albeit casually. The System finally got him, after, fortunately, a "very brief illness." Other than the usual "giant of the industry" and personal cliches, I'll add a critical one of my own. Ham: THANK YOU.


Is this the end of life as they know it for frequent flyers? Already the United States has banned travelers on international flights from some countries from carrying and using laptop computers in the cabin. Homeland Security secretary John Kelly is thinking of expanding the ban - see quote.

Reading between the lines, can domestic flights be far behind? What about smaller devices such as iPads? Will we remember the years between the repeal of the FAA ban on electronics and the institution of the Homeland Security ban as the halcyon years of flying?*

I don't know what will ultimately be banned, but I have seen the future of computing, and it is light, compact, and secure. I recently returned my precious Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which presumably destroyed no surface transportation vehicles on its way home. I became convinced the new Samsung Galaxy S8+ was a satisfactory replacement, and promptly ordered one. I've had it for a month or so and am quite content with it. I was and am planning to do a proper RIKL Review, but offer this quick and topical preview of an accessory dock Samsung calls the DeX.

The DeX is a cellphone dock Here it is with a Galaxy S8 (Which properly looks more like this)

You plug the phone into the dock, which charges it, provides USB connections for a mouse and keyboard, and video connection for a monitor. The DeX together with the phone is the equivalent of a PC, or so Samsung's advertising suggests. I bought the dock mostly out of curiosity to see how well it might work.

How Well Does it Work?

Very well. Surprisingly well. As well as it needs to. In fact, well enough, at least in terms of speed, memory, and display resolution to literally replace a PC. Your phone becomes the complete guts of a PC minus the display, keyboard, and mouse. Those items are cheap and can live securely and variously at home, at work, and on the road.

Does the Road Include the Air?

Well, not quite yet, since you don't want to carry all those items with you on the plane, and they won't let you if you do want to. That's what laptops are for. But, bless the evil airline scum's greedy little "charges and fees," if they were to offer for rent on a per-flight basis their own "laptops," would it not solve the problems of Mr./Ms. International Traveler? The airline "laptop" would simply be a cellphone dock with a display, mouse, and keyboard. Your cellphone/PC would stay with you at all times. And it's small enough that the terrorists can't cram enough explosives** into it to breach the aircraft pressure vessel and so it is unlikely to be banned. Terrorism problem solved, airline greed assuaged.

I could elaborate, but I'll save further thoughts for my pending RIKL Review. Creating one industry on a holiday weekend is more than I expected to accomplish.

* No, we won't. Flying still sucks, although it's made more bearable by repetition and, to be sure, personal electronics.

** Or can they? Chemistry pretty much says "No." But how much does Chemistry know about metastability? Perhaps we'll find out in a future blog.

"Plastic Palace People"
Scott Walker




It's a little hard to read this plastic KISS logo bonded on the front of an ordinary T-Shirt. The shirt is much too small for me to wear, so I tried to give it to a big Kiss fan. Don't remember if I was successful.

Richard Factor

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