An OrangePi for my audio system

Posted by jplesset on February 20, 2016 under Audio Technology, Computer Audio, Computers | 2 Comments to Read

What’s an “Orange Pi”? If you’re a geek, you’ve heard about “Rasberry Pi”. If you’re not geeky enough, then here’s the short explanation. An Orange Pi is a single board computer, about the size of a deck of playing cards. Costs about $35. Comes with a 4-core ARM processor, and can run Android or several flavors of Linux.

I’m running Ubuntu Linux 15.04 on mine. Everything I needed to install, that I had on my old PC in the audio system is also available for free, so the total cost is just for the hardware. $35.00 for the board, $15 for the “wall wart” power supply, and that’s all you need. I spent another $4.00 for the clear box for it.

The good part? It’s small, silent, and plenty powerful for the job of managing well over 5000 music cuts, managing the crossover to the subwoofers, and feeding another output un-filtered for the rest of the house. Oh, yeah, I use a USB sound “card”, same one I used before, cost me about $25.00. Yes, I’m kind of cheap, when it doesn’t really matter… It sounds great, I’m very pleased with how it turned out.

The bad part? The documentation to get it running is really poor to none. It took me nearly a month to get it all working, mostly figuring out how to get the right configuration for the board in the Linux OS. They figure you know to copy the right “boot” file. If you don’t know, then the network isn’t recognized, the drive isn’t recognized, etc. *sigh*

Once I could talk to it over the network and not plug it into our TV to see it, things went really well. I used standard Ubuntu commands to install:

ecasound

sox

mpd

ladspa plugins

and a bunch of other stuff. All up, I see the system using just 9% of the  processor, leaving 90% idle.  What else can I load on this thing?  Hm.   Another post, later.

 

Yes, if you’re interested, ping me. I’ll help.

http://www.orangepi.org

What do I do with this?

Posted by jplesset on October 8, 2015 under Computers, Did That Really Happen?, Working with Support | Be the First to Comment

Scenario:  Customer has a case open with me about a feature he wants added to the product. He’s really adamant that the feature needs to be there.

Today, he adds three files to the case, but with no explanation of why these files are important to the case. I guess I need to read his mind.  Sorry….

A New Computer for Diane

Posted by jplesset on October 19, 2014 under Computers | Be the First to Comment

Well, not really “new”, but “newly upgraded”.  In fact, I replaced everything except the case and the monitor. Cost $700. Here’s what she got:

1. New motherboard. Required for the new processor

2. New processor. 8-core AMD

3. New memory. 16 gigs RAM

4. New Solid-State drive (not actually a hard disk)

5. New power supply (quieter)

6. New video board

7.  Windows 8.1

This thing is a WHOLE lot faster than the old system. Programs load almost instantly, and boot-up is about 20 seconds. Diane is pleased….

Are you really clueless?

Posted by jplesset on September 3, 2014 under Computers, Did That Really Happen?, Real Stories of Support, Working with Support | Be the First to Comment

I’ve been trying to help answer questions on http://fixya.com but.. .

Much of the time, the questions are so incomprehensible that I have no idea what the question really is, like this:

Could you please tell me where i could obtain a user manual for

No, that’s all.  It’s in “cell phones”, but that’s the entire question…

Or, this one:

I got this box from a chines site but only says f5s on box

That’s in the vending machines section.  So, ok, what did you expect?

How about this one, in the laptop section:

Need case removal instructions. Need to repair screen.

Might get more answers if you include the product and model.  Or, I could say, “remove screws until the case falls open”?

And, those are the ones I could read.  Some of the entries look like the person neverheardofthespacebar.

Buy a New Computer, or Upgrade?

Posted by jplesset on January 26, 2014 under Computers | Be the First to Comment

I hear people talking all the time about getting a new computer.  I always wonder why they’ve decided to throw away the old one, when likely there’s little wrong with it, and most of the parts are no worse than what they get in a new one.

Personally, I haven’t purchased a completely new desktop/tower computer in many years; I just replace what needs to be replaced for upgrading. I save hundreds of dollars, spend an hour or so unscrewing and removing the motherboard, and installing new.  Larger hard disks take just a few minutes to install, too.

OK, I understand that most people aren’t able to open up a computer to “fix” it. I think that’s mostly fear.  For example, adding memory to a computer is just about as difficult as putting bread into a toaster. Many local computer stores are willing to help you. No, not the big chain stores. Most big chain stores have limited knowledge, except for the “service department”, and those people will charge you for help. Find a small, locally-owned store, and most likely the sales people will know what you need, and are willing to offer help. In Portland, I like, Pacific Solutions. The owner and all the sales people seem quite knowledgeable, and have always given me good advice. Their prices are competitive, too.

When my wife needs more performance, I get her a new motherboard, processor, memory.  I take the old out, which is likely better than my system, and put it in mine. My old stuff goes to another system, until all are upgraded. I never buy the “state of the art”, because I refuse to pay the premium for something that’s going to be reasonably priced in 6 months or a year. I buy what was state of the art a year ago. Typically, that means under $100 for the motherboard, another $75 or so for the processor, and maybe $80 for memory. The DVD burner/player is fine, the case is fine, the video adapter is fine, as is the monitor. Why replace stuff that’s good?