Friday, November 18, 2011

Success : Auto update of Ubuntu 11.04 to 11.10

Did the "click the button" update from Ubuntu 11.04 to 11.10. Zero problems. I did have to ask Mr. Google how to get the old Gnome desktop back. This is the 2nd time I have done a hands off (mostly) Ubuntu upgrade...previously from 10.10 to 11.04. That upgrade was also flawless, but I did have to answer a few questions about keeping files that were to be replaced. I have been using Ubuntu as my primary desktop for the last 3 months, and have been very impressed. The biggest problem with using Ubuntu at NCSU is the problem with configuring the VPN. Which is totally a Cisco problem....their client assumes that Firefox is installed and tries to save the certificate in a .firefox directory. If that directory does not exist, the VPN client fails with a generic message. Why this dependency even exists is puzzling.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Roland - Why such cheap connectors on expensive gear?

I just finished repairing the 2nd piece of Roland music gear in the past two months. Earlier, I removed the audio output jacks from a Roland SPD-S Sampling Pad and replaced them with a cable to an external breakout box. The 1/4 in output jacks are used more than any other connector on the device, but the parts are of poor quality, and mounted in such a way that guarantees their failure. No strain relief is provided -- all the stress of plugging and unplugging audio connectors is absorbed by the connector and its' solder joints. While the connectors are threaded for a mounting nut, the design does not allow them to be added. Original retail on this device was between $500 and $800. Earlier this week, I repaired a Roland RD-700SX Stage Piano. Original retail was likely between $1000 and $2000. The contacts of the power connector were totally mangled. Rather than use a replacement part that would likely fail again, I used a connector from an old piece of test gear.