Sun. Sept. 22, 2019 – awake, moving, sore

81F and 96%RH at 930am. I think it’s gonna get hot today.

I’ve got a bit of shifting stuff around in the driveway and going over to my buddy’s place scheduled for this morning. It would be great to get some of the stuff out of the driveway! We’ll see if he calls.

Slept late. Feel a bit dehydrated and sore. Not young anymore. Can’t really do everything at the same pace or time. I KNOW that, but I still bump up against the edges without realizing it. Gah.

Kids have eaten and are going out for a bike ride with my wife. I’M gonna take it easy until my buddy calls.

n

35 thoughts on “Sun. Sept. 22, 2019 – awake, moving, sore”

  1. Finally getting all the connections in the church studio configured the way we need them. Had to a box to take in 4 SDI inputs and output in a 2×2 configuration. That box will also display the audio levels on the monitor. This was needed for the person mixing the sound and provided larger images for the person doing the lyrics on the graphics computer.

    For those that are mildly interested bored, this is the current connections. Documenting this stuff, labeling, etc. is time consuming. Necessary as I know what it is like to inherit a system with no documentation. Chasing down cables and connections was not fun. Currently all the cables are labeled on both end with the function.

  2. Nice drawing. It will go completely unappreciated by all, except for one person 10 years from now. That makes the effort worth it. Also, you will likely find it useful next week if, like me, you forget what you did the previous week…

  3. @ray,

    WRT labeling, I used to provide a cable number at each end that was unique and matched the drawing. I ALSO provided a label with and english functional description, like pod mic or AUX IN 1.

    The best labeling solution I’ve found, after literally 10K+ cable ends, is the dymo system, FLEXIBLE VINYL, in 3/4 or 1″ width. These are the only ones that will stay on long term, without going to a Brady system or shrink tube overwrap . Don’t be stingy with the label either, it should wrap over itself a couple of times.

    I set a custom length, change the orientation to across the label, and repeat the lines.

    Some subtleties- be very careful when peeling the backing to only touch the sticky on the part you will apply to the cable first. Don’t touch the tail end that wraps around and sticks to the label itself. This prevents premature failure. Always orient the label the same way, and keep the distance from the end similar. IE- I always hold the end facing to the left, and wrap the label so I can read it with the cable passing to the right. This is personal preference, but it means you are reading the label from the gear OUT to the cable. Works best for me. If the connections are dense, move the label further onto the cable. Right up against the connector is bad.

    If what you have is a Brother style printer, with long skinny tape, “flagging” the labels can work well. Doesn’t look as neat, but works ok.

    Sony had a whole guide book and a jig for applying cable labels consistently when building studios, but that’s not necessary for most people. Whatever you do, just do it consistently.

    n

    (there is a whole lot of science behind labeling and materials, mainly because the adhesive interacts with the cable jacket material over time. Dymo Flexible Vinyl is the only tape I trust to stay on the cables long term without an overwrap. )

    (oh, and I spent almost $200 on label tape the last time I redid a whole house AV rack, labeling every cable end and piece of gear. It is SO worth doing though.)

  4. FWIW, I use the Dymo Rhino 4200 and 5200, and the private label Thomas & Betts version of the 5200. Genuine Dymo tape works best.

    n

  5. Well, moved a bunch of stuff out of the driveway. More to do, and I’m off to check on my secondary location.

    n

  6. “Pelosi hints at impeachment over Trump-Ukraine whistleblower complaint”

    Plugs was supposed to have bowed out gracefully by now but didn’t. As a result, the “whistleblower” dropped the dime this week with the expectation that Trump would want to avoid the bad press by releasing the transcript immediately.

    I’m guessing Trump didn’t release the transcript in time for the Sunday news shows in order to suck all the media oxygen out of DC. Is anyone running recent quotes from the Dem candidates … beyond Tulsi Gabbard’s like about the US being “Saudi Arabia’s bitch”?

    Those Sunday shows set the tone for the week. They’re so important to the people who live in the bubble that the Museum of Broadcasting in Chicago has the Russert “Meet the Press” set enshrined and roped off.


  7. The best labeling solution I’ve found, after literally 10K+ cable ends, is the dymo system, FLEXIBLE VINYL, in 3/4 or 1″ width. These are the only ones that will stay on long term, without going to a Brady system or shrink tube overwrap . Don’t be stingy

    No numbers. Hard to see buried in an equipment rack. Most of the cables were created from scratch, majority BNC, one F type for the cable box, two RCA for the recorder. When creating the cable shrink wrap labels were created. A few cables were added with ends already attached and those were labeled with Brother system wrapping around the cable. The HDMI cables were done with the brother system.

    I have a BNC compression tool, no crimping involved. So I can easily make my own cables and have made many. I use RG59 rather than RG6 as RG6 is too stiff. For the frequencies involved there is more than enough bandwidth. All the signals are digital, even the SD stuff.

    Finding enough plugs for all the racked equipment was a challenge. I have 4, 12 outlet strips in the rack with 8 free slots. Lot of power bricks involved, majority of the devices. Very few power buttons as most stays on all the time. Monitors just go black with no signal.

    The router has 40 inputs and 40 outputs. Any input can be sent to any output, or more than one output. All selected with software running on a computer. Most of the equipment is networked and controlled by software. Equipment has Ethernet in and out so short cables are used to daisy chain the connections. Only need an 8 port switch as a few devices only have input, no output. Plus I need to have a couple of computer to access the switcher. Most of the equipment has an IP address.

    I can run the switcher from the control deck or a computer, or both. It is easily done to run the switch from the sanctuary using my laptop. Thus the majority of the network ports. I also have wireless if necessary.

  8. Nice job Ray! More complicated than anything I have.

    Labeling cables… I write on a piece of paper and trim to less than 1/2 inch. Sometimes I have different colors of paper. Attached with 3/4 wide Scotch tape about 6 inches from the end. Write on both sides of the paper. And yeah, like Nick said, “reading the label from the gear OUT to the cable” works best.

  9. Well, moved a bunch of stuff out of the driveway. More to do, and I’m off to check on my secondary location.

    We have been pouring down rain here in the Land of Sugar. Cause, you know, we need more rain after last week.

  10. Impressive labels. Just looked them up. I haven’t done any wiring labeling since 1977, when I wired my house and installed my Touch-Plate lighting system. Back then, the only convenient and affordable choice for a small project was the adhesive numbers from the electrical supply store. Those were some type of cloth strips that came on cards. They had to be able to legibly label #12 building wire, so small diameter. I recently had to look at some of these, and they are doing fine after all these years. I think I will use them for new work, as I still have a supply.

    When I worked in aerospace in about 1970, the company used all white bulk PTFE wire insulation and jackets, with lengthwise colored stripes that were applied (thermally?) during construction. That way, the entire length of the wire was labeled, not just the ends. Might be overkill.

    Re PTFE, I remember it was eliminated over toxicity concerns when using thermal strippers. Too bad. I have used it in harsh environments, and it holds up better than anything I know of. Just have to protect it from sharp edges, because it cold flows. Since it is probably no longer available, not sure what I would use for critical work. Silicone? PVC is OK for indoors, but must be protected from UV.

  11. I bought one of the power switches from the eBay link Nick gave. Pretty slick gizmo. So I bought another, as a spare. They are smooth metal boxes, no feet.

    The first box is older. Just by the brightness of the neon light in the power switch. I tried to update the firmware. That worked fine on box #2 and cleaned out a lot of the Chinglish in the web interface. May have added features but nothing new stood out. Box #1 will not update. Even after a hard reset. No matter, it works as is. When it dies I have a spare.

    Where I want to install it, my router will sit on top. It doesn’t get too warm, 95F on my kitchen counter. But I want air gaps so the switch doesn’t cook and my router doesn’t cook.

    In some very safe place, so safe that the location is unknown after a couple of weeks of searching, I have some stick-on feet. Well. Amazon prices don’t suit me. I found a seller in eBay, but, no, delivery between Oct 10 and Thanksgiving isn’t going to work.

    I’ll make my own. Scraps of paint stir sticks and dabs of silicon caulk as glue will work. I’m not trying to impress anyone.

    And then I walked out the back door and on the washing machine is an egg carton. I think half of the egg side will be perfect for the air gap I want. Better than glopping chunks of paint sticks together just because of “more space”. Cheap, too. Way cheap.

    I won’t label the cables. I can see both ends. 🙂

  12. Paul, next time you need feet, consider just RTV silicone. Be sure to get the real stuff, not caulking that “contains” silicone. Clean the surface with rubbing alcohol, and apply dabs. Set the item on a nonstick flat surface. You might need spacers if the item is too heavy. After about 24 hours, you will have tough feet that won’t slide. Cheap, and lasts longer than both of our combined remaining lifespans, or forever, whichever comes first. 🙂

    For a nonstick surface, I have an old sheet of PTFE (Teflon), but I think a polyethylene bag would also work. I have wondered if greased glass or another scrap smooth surface would work, but never tried.

    I also noticed that an artist friend put a very thin coating on the bottom of her ceramic wares. I told her that was a good idea, and she added that it was the only stuff she had found that held up through the dishwasher.

    Can you tell I looove RTV and PTFE?


  13. You have to select Sugar Land and skootch over there.

    Oooh, a technical term. Love it! I haven’t heard that in a very long time. +100


  14. Did you use some dedicated program to draw it?

    I would like to say I did it freehand but all of you would know I was acting like a politician, lying through my teeth.

    I used VISIO to do the diagrams. I have used VISIO from long before Microsoft bought the product. I have used it to do many diagrams including a shed roof. VISIO was able to give me the angles and the lengths of the pieces that needed to be cut.

    Any project I am involved with that needs network or signal wiring I always do a diagram and label the cables or the network plates on the wall. I have found over the years that documentation, in programs and physical, saves a lot of time a couple of years later. Chasing down a cable, figuring out some block of code, etc. is not fun. And if like me, I tend to forget several years down the road.

    I was assigned this video system with no documentation. I had to chase down connections when something did not work. I eventually documented the old system that was used a basis for installing the new system. Helped the vendor when ordering equipment and determining connections.

    The old system (SD) was completely abandoned, everything removed from the racks. All the new equipment was installed and wired. Over the last couple of months I have made a few changes, added a couple of devices, all made much easier with the diagrams and cable labels. The entire project has taken two years from the start up to the finish of the last item which involved replacing the old projectors (2 of them) with new laser projectors. 7K lumens each, significantly brighter than the old projectors.

    People can now read everything on the screen. Lot of old people in the church who said they could not read the screens. Still driving which is scary. They can now read the new screens as everything is now HD. Old system was doing a lot of conversions from VGA to SD, and back, and that caused a lot of resolution loss.

    New system is entirely SDI HD with the only exception being the SDI SD that is sent to the cable modulator. There are some conversions from SDI to HDMI and HDMI to SDI. Those conversions do not cause any degradation in the signal. Only one conversion in any signal path. Audio is carried on the SDI and HDMI signals along with the video.


  15. hey, can you jack in a Roku?

    Indeed I can. I have a spare HDMI to SDI converter and can use an input on the switcher. There is an internet connection in the rack. The network for the equipment is separate from the internet network and has no connection to the world. That is an entirely different diagram.

  16. Ray, I probably mentioned before, but your church has an impressive setup. I was a summer hire (two summers) broadcast engineer for WXYZ-TV Detroit, one of the five ABC owned stations then allowed. They had about fifty engineers. Everything was first class. It was a joy to work with such good people and equipment. Broadcast engineers did everything except lighting, telecine, and directing: those were other unions. I had, and still have a First Class Radiotelephone livense, a requirement to operate the transmitter, but also a condition to get a job there. I was familiar with all aspects of the video path, but did not do maintenance.

    Anyway, that was in 1964-65. It is amazing how far TV has come.

    I saw an intermediate point in about 1995, when I was a volunteer director-production manager at a local church. This was an all analog system built by a guy who had also been in TV. All I did was direct, switch, and edit. The tape was put on the local cable community access channel. The equipment was definitely inferior to broadcast stuff, but it was impressive what we could do. Simple assemble editing was used to cut the service down to the allotted half hour. The most fun was working with and teaching HS students, who were about half of our crew.

  17. ” I have used VISIO from long before Microsoft bought the product.”

    –me too. I have created many custom blocks (templates) for visio over the years. There were several industry standard cable packages that were built on the visio engine, but those have mostly moved to using autocad as the backend. Love me some visio. I was very worried MS would MF it up, but it mostly just got better. I love autorouting cables, and connection points.

    Haven’t had much call to use it in the last couple of years though.

    Very well laid out and very readable drawing Ray.

    n

  18. I really prefer dark modes for anything that runs in my systems. Very few sites offer a dark mode theme and I would never ask Rick to waste time on such a thing for this site although I would have really, really liked to have that option.

    No sweat. Thurrott today actually talked about the Dark Reader extension and mentioned it works on his site that does not provide the option either. It works here, there and everywhere else!

    If you, like me, want to have a Dark view of all web pages then go for that Chrome extension. I use Vivaldi and it works with it as well (obviously).

    https://darkreader.org/help/en/

    In development since 2014 and still around. Stable and polished. Lots of options I have not bothered with. Works OK with defaults.

  19. I used Visio at my last job to create detailed diagrams of our data center installs. I didn’t let it auto-route and connections, did them all manually to better show the flow.

    Then we got bought and my new boss (“that’s not how we do things here”) admitted to never diagramming anything. I have no clue how that guy made it to Director level.

  20. Then we got bought and my new boss (“that’s not how we do things here”) admitted to never diagramming anything. I have no clue how that guy made it to Director level.

    Most of the time, you don’t want to know.

  21. To quote one of my favorite “Far Side” pieces, “Cat Fud”: “Oh, please. Oh, please”

    https://www.thefarside.com/

    And my wife says that there is no practical use for a personal flame thrower. 🙂

    Where are the cateye glasses on the cow?

  22. If you, like me, want to have a Dark view of all web pages then go for that Chrome extension. I use Vivaldi and it works with it as well (obviously).

    2ND vote for Dark Reader! Very occasionally some site will have some text / background that won’t render in a human readable form. There is a hotkey to turn Dark Reader off…

    I’m also using a dark theme for Chrome and Win10. OTOH, some programs are hard set with standard theme colors / text. Fortunately, I’ve used my Youtube scraper long enough that I don’t have to read the invisible text on the radio buttons. 😛

  23. Funny how I was thinking about painting restoration and cleaning, and I get this guy in my youtube suggestions.

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvZe6ZCbF9xgbbbdkiodPKQ

    It’s not that far off of the normal restoration and repair videos that I watch for it to be unlikely or impossible that it’s just the algorithm kicking it up.

    On the other hand, it’s pretty dang unlikely, since I’ve never been offered one before. AND I was asking questions on Saturday (last) out loud, in front of my phone, about cleaning a decoratively painted surface- whether, how, and how much was appropriate…

    Funny how timely that suggested video was.

    n

  24. On the other hand, it’s pretty dang unlikely, since I’ve never been offered one before. AND I was asking questions on Saturday (last) out loud, in front of my phone, about cleaning a decoratively painted surface- whether, how, and how much was appropriate…

    Funny how timely that suggested video was.

    I doubt that it was coincidental at all. We know that they have very good voice recognition services now.


  25. Funny how timely that suggested video was.

    Speaking of Big Brother, my Android head unit install went well. I did find a literal black box mounted under the OEM stereo, not mentioned in the several installation videos I watched. Big battery cover, 3 apparent antenna ports and 2 x 20 pin connectors. The sticker identifies the box with a Subaru part number and “Continental telematics” Though I didn’t disturb its connections and remounted the thing, there were a couple of OEM cables left over, a 4 pin and one I’ve tentatively identified as the OEM GPS antenna. Starlink, the Subaru version of OnStar doesn’t seem to be working. No loss to me. The “Continental” website is actually pretty vague about what it is they do and StarLink is advertised to provide remote starting, remote unlocking, and vehicle location services via an app.

    Velly interesting.

  26. “Funny how timely that suggested video was.”

    I doubt that it was coincidental at all. We know that they have very good voice recognition services now.

    The Firefox suggestions are really getting creepy.

    While discussing the “Aladdin” remake at work a few months ago, I shared my opinion that “Dead Again” was Robin Williams last drama role where he really brought his ‘A’ game, suggesting the flick to one of my younger co-workers, and within a day, I had an article appear in my suggestions, something like “‘Dead Again’ – 28 years later”.

    (Everybody brought their ‘A’ game to “Dead Again”.)

    Most recently, since picking up the “Car Talk” podcast, an interview with the surviving brother also showed up in the same list.

  27. I think The Birdcage, with Nathan Lane was a showcase for his real talent as an actor. Thank god he got away from them manic drug fueled insanity of his early comedy.

    n

  28. I think The Birdcage, with Nathan Lane was a showcase for his real talent as an actor. Thank god he got away from them manic drug fueled insanity of his early comedy.

    IIRC, Robin Williams was the last person to see John Belushi alive.

    Yeah, I’m old enough to remember the “Club Paradise” years, the cr*p Williams turned out up until “Live at the Met” and “Good Morning Vietnam”. Though, ironically, I think both performances, which arguably started his comeback, haunted him and contributed to his suicide, much more so than the big artistic and financial mistakes like “Popeye” and “The World According to Garp”.

    Though I’ll give him leeway on “Garp”. On paper, that looked like something that couldn’t miss.

    If you haven’t seen it, go find “Dead Again”. Williams is on fire in a supporting role, and I imagine Branagh just let him improvise for a couple of hours in that cooler scene, harvesting the best lines and stepping in front of the camera at the end for the reaction shots.

    Williams makes the preposterous premise of the flick work with his exposition. I never saw him that good in later drama roles, and I could never decide if it was age or Branagh wisely letting him roll.

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