My home began as a tiny two-room house on a hilltop in the middle of nowhere back in the late 1800s. A century later, I’m sitting in a cubbyhole office in the original upstairs section. Old and new sections butt up against one another. Some of the home’s old elements have been remade to look new, while its new parts have a patina of old. Straight lines and level floors are few and far between. With two totally separate (in both location and age) upstairs areas, it almost qualifies as a human Habitrail. As they say in the real estate business, it has character.
Although it's too late to become eligible to submit a surround sound music release for the 47th Annual GRAMMY Awards in February 2005 if you're not already a member of the Recording Academy, fans of surround sound music will have a new award category - Best Surround Sound Album - to heatedly discuss around the office water cooler. While it's certainly not as exciting as Best Hawaiian Music Album, another new category to make its debut in 2005, it's good to see multichannel music getting more professional respect and attention. All genres of music for commercial releases on DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, and SACD with an original mix of four or more channels are eligible. We'll know multichannel music has finally come into its own when a release wins both the Best Surround Sound and Best Hawaiian Music Album awards. Could a surround remix of Zamfir's (Master of the Pan Flute) Greatest Hits be next?
Nakymatone has a unique approach to invisible in-wall sound with two stealthy speakers called the Echt and the Mooi. Both speakers measure 23” x 9.75” x 3.5” (H x W x D) but are designed to be fit behind drywall using a 16 5/8” x 9.75” (H x W) hole. The speakers utilize a special removable handle that allows installers to slide the speaker into the hole and then pull it flush up against the drywall before fastening it in place an applying a 1/16” plaster skim to blend it in with the surface of the wall. The acoustic panel consists of an aluminum honeycomb core with doped paper skin. Both models have a sealed, acoustically tuned aluminum enclosure; while the higher-end Echt’s enclosure is also anodized for higher performance sound quality.
According to Nakymatone, the frequency response of the Mooi is...
No, they’re not stylized Daleks from Dr. Who or PVC termite mounds. The objects pictured above are actually a couple of pretty impressive all-weather speakers from NEAR. There are a couple of things that are newsworthy about these speakers, not the least of which is that they are the first environmental speakers designed by NEAR specifically for the consumer/custom installation market in about a decade and a half. In fact, it’s been exactly 14 years since NEAR last had a booth or display at a CEDIA EXPO.
ihiji is a service company aimed at helping custom installers help their clients. It’s a neat concept for two things you won’t see: the graph above that kind of reminds you of a nuclear fallout pattern, and the install company’s truck that won’t be parking in front of your home. ihiji’s servers constantly monitor your home’s AV and automation system and can pinpoint problems with IP communication (which are then displayed on the network connection graph), allowing the installer to potentially solve the problem (by sending a reboot command, for example) without ever leaving the shop. It saves on service calls, service fees, and aggravation on everyone’s part.
I’m not a terribly big fan of Nest, but I don’t hate them, either. I own a Nest Thermostat, and I like it—for the most part. What I don’t understand is the gushing amount of praise a lot of writers give it, both as a standalone thermostat and a major smart home device/controller. You get the feeling that if God needed a thermostat, the Nest would be the one He’d buy. Despite what you might read, the NEST thermostat has its flaws, two of which are its inability to detect occupancy in other areas of the home and its requirement for an always-on Internet connection when used with other smart home systems.
But I have to give the Nest folks a great deal of credit for doing a very honorable thing recently...
Among the many that will be vying for the “Wireless HD Streaming Champion” is Netgear who announced a new HD/Gaming network kit that they say will provide seamless wireless streaming of up to 1080p video around your abode. It’s supposed to be easy to set up and can be added to an existing wireless network without requiring any special software installation.
I have two problems with my Internet connection. First, I have to get Internet access at my home through satellite, and the inherent latency issues are sometimes a problem. As bad as the first – or even worse – is that the AC power coming into my house fluctuates quite a bit. So gadgets and devices with microprocessors tend to get confused and irritable, and I wind up having to reboot or restart said devices often enough that it makes me confused and irritable.