Review: iSilencer3.0 USB Audio Noise Eliminator

Sometimes, you learn something new that changes everything. I have read about jitter and quantization with digital signals for some time but I didn’t know there were small, affordable devices that correct it. I have always read about really expensive devices that included a noise filtering technology. Well, I was poking around looking for a smaller, cheaper DAC for work – my Samsung Galaxy S7 doesn’t cut it by itself for high fidelity and my old Fiio E7 DAC won’t work with the newer OS updates for IOS and Android. I stumbled on something called a Dragonfly which had high praise. A little smaller than a thumbdrive, the AudioQuest Dragonfly acted almost like an inline DAC. Hmmm. Then I found something new. AudioQuest also makes a USB jitter filter called a Jitterbug. Reviews mentioned a better device – the iSilencer 3.0 by iFi Audio.
So I bought one and wasn’t able to try it out until I got to work. Here I am, just blown away that I’m listening to a phone and not a high-end stereo. I had my little setup (phone/laptop, audioengine D1 with Sony Headphones MDR-7506) at work and was so frustrated by the USB noise from the one portable working DAC that I have. For some reason the signal that comes out of my laptop and my phone sucks connecting to this thing. The iSilencer3 really does work and it’s amazing! Not snake oil as I feared. The signal is clear and lets the DAC do it’s job without any digital artifacts and most important from the phone – no intermittent disruptions. Bass is tighter and the headroom is wider. I am not sure exactly how this is accomplished but for $50, this little gadget is an incredible value and a needed accessory for any audiophile on the go.

Rethinking Music Streaming

According to The Guardian, an artist is paid $0.001128 per song stream after the label gets it’s share. A million streams of a song will pay $1,128. How many songs will get played a million times? Is this a sustainable business model for artists?

Spotify could be seen as a vehicle for promotion. If a trending song lead to higher CD/LP sales, I could see the angle. There will also be many who feel any media beyond streaming is antiquated. There will be others who simply refuse to pay for physical media as well as streaming. These are obvious points.

What’s the answer? Should Spotify pay artists more? We will find out how profitable the company is once it goes public and must disclose their sales revenue numbers. I believe at that time it will be easier to reassess the streaming business model. There should be a fair ratio of profits to artist payout. What do you think? Do you use Spotify or other music streaming services? Do you buy physical media and support your favorite artists?

Interesting interview with AI Guru Danny Lange

If you are interested in AI (Artificial Intelligence), this is a very good read from Fast Company.

I think a lot about the voice systems like Siri and Alexa. They’re more like branded, hardwired systems, built to give you a safe voice interaction with their corporate owners… All Siri’s jokes are written by creative writers in Cupertino—nothing that Siri learned.

Trust Project = establishment silencing alternative media

A new corporate/government effort is underway to silence news that isn’t to their liking. It’s called the “Trust Project”. Ten media companies are creating a new system that can label a news source as trustworthy. Just like the Twitter blue-badge, the label is bestowed up the fortunate and taken away from anyone that disagrees with their establishment views. In other words, the alternative media was a little too effective in getting news out that conflicted with their propaganda. Despite their rigged polls and fake news, Hillary Clinton was not elected. Oops, they can’t let that happen again.

Media companies should not be trusted to verify their own trustworthiness. A collection of independent sources should validate. is NOT TO BE TRUSTED. It is the first step toward shutting down free speech. A “trust logo” will be a symbol of establishment propaganda.

Honda’s self-balancing motorcycle

Using technology invented for the ASIMO robot, Honda was able to develop a self-balancing motorcycle. This incredible advancement is the size of a lamp and mounts over the front wheel. When the bike is running, it can not fall down due to an advanced gyroscope and a computer controlled steering bar. If the rider steps away from the bike, it remains in an upright position. Hopefully this new technology will find it’s way into saleable vehicles in the near future.

“sensorveillance”

Our phones, fitbits, home security systems and voice-assisted speakers are gathering data about us and being used against us .
While law enforcement might have good intentions by using this data, who is to say that their interpretation of it is foolproof? Could one be framed by misuse of data interpretation? Are we better of not using these devices? I would argue that it’s unethical for any company or government to spy on us through these devices and the data should not be admissible in court. With the “internet of things” on the horizon where simple, everyday devices without ample data security are all around us (whether an individual voluntarily uses them or not), no one is safe from intrusion. Imagine having a cloud of data points around you at all times. Your movements, words and actions are accessible, tracked and even recorded at all times. Do you really want to live in a world like that where privacy is non-existent?

Biometric data rollout and the implications of being chipped

Comerica Park baseball field in Detroit, MI is featuring a new way for sports fans to get through the lines quicker: fingerprint scanning. You can order a hot dog and a beer without carrying your wallet! Just register your biometric data and you are now in the system. They are promising the ability to use your fingerprint in other venues…

The company contracted out for the biometric data scanning is called Clear. Their biggest contract is with the Transportation Security Administration. This technology has been installed at airports, including Detroit Metro Airport. The company also specializes in eye scanning equipment.

What are the implications of mass use of biometric data? Sure the convenience is attractive, but can the technology be misused? Once you register your fingerprint and eye scan, you are in the system. The NSA and other government organizations will be able to run searches for individuals through this database. The more the system is in use, the more they can keep track of you and monitor what you are buying, who you are visiting and what events you attend. This data can be sold to advertising firms. They know you go to Jazz concerts and you love hockey. They also know that you like to buy expensive mixed drinks and go a chiropractor. Once all these pieces of information are indexed, they have a profile on you. Are you likely to commit a crime, get divorced, buy a new home, become delinquent with credit cards or need car repairs? They can tweak their ads, affect how much you pay for insurance and raise/lower your interest rates. Your value as a consumer or a citizen, not a human being will become a score. There will be no where to run or hide. Are you more likely to cheat on your taxes? The IRS will know. If you are trying to get custody of your children, the court system will access your data to find out if you can pay more and whether or not you are worthy enough to take care of your children. Imagine what it might be like to be on parole. They will be watching every location you visit, everything you buy etc.

Now imagine the implications of having a chip implanted in your hand. Threesquare Market, a technology company that makes devices for break rooms and small markets is in the process of implanting microchips in their employee’s hands. The employees will be able to enter secured areas, pay for food and access computers with the chips. Once this system is studied and the bugs worked out, how long before large companies like GE, IBM and Apple require this of their employees? How long before prisoners, government employees and school children be required to have them? Will newborn babies be implanted for their security? Once the ball is rolling, will it even be possible to live life without a chip implanted? Will the chip allow for universal access or we have multiple chips?

The chips use RFID technology. Your every movement can be tracked. Imagine if your employer had access to this kind of information. The implications of bio-metric data and implanted chips are incredible. Without a push-back from the public, a future where privacy is a myth is inevitable.

‘Netflix for theaters’ MoviePass disrupting movie theater industry

Yet another industry-shaking paradigm shift is underway: a theater subscription service that lets users see as many theater movies as they wish for only $9.95. How does this work? The user pays MoviePass $9.95 a month and for each movie they attend, the company reimburses the theater. Unless there is some genius way to make the accounting of this work, MoviePass is doomed to fail. Each movie costs an average of $8.65. If a user sees more than one movie, MoviePass is losing money. Is this just an future IPO scam where investors pump cash in and the founder walks away rich? Do they plan on raising subscription costs? What do you think?

China aims to create new regulatory oversight for crypto-currencies

China has embraced bitcoin and is now reacting to the upheaval from competing currencies that can dilute it and offer safe-havens for tax cheats. Sixty-five new crypto-currencies have appeared and now China is setting up new regulations for them. They may even ban them altogether. The anonymity these new financial alternatives offer, coupled with the loss of control from the central bank may prove to be a threat to China’s tight grip on it’s populace.

GPS location + instant face recognition = Welcome to the Matrix sheeple!

Apple’s new iPhone 8 will recognize your face in 3D in millionths of a second. This “feature” allows you to avoid the cumbersome fingerprint sensor. As of now, it is believed that unlike Samsung devices, the new iPhone will not include the fingerprint sensor.

If there was someone watching you, they would know exactly where you are and could confirm it really is you using the phone. Your logging into your bank account, checking Facebook and so on would be carefully monitored by law enforcement, government agencies or bad actors. At one point you would think people would connect the dots. Personally, I feel like I’m being forced to move back to a flip phone as these technological developments encroach on our privacy.