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Back to Vinyl

Quite a few years ago I bought an inexpensive Bush record deck with the intention of transferring my old vinyl collection to CD. It turned out to be a labour of love with many technical problems. The Windows' software didn't always play ball and the process was of course carried out in real time, making it particularly laborious. When I learned that 'burned' CDs could deteriorate over time, that was the signal not to bother. The deck was relegated to a corner of my study.

Bush record deck

For 2019 I decided to make room for the deck on my desk. As my last stand-alone amplifier was retired a long time ago, I fed the output into my little Sony Micro HiFi system, which is connected to a couple of circa 50 year-old Goodmans' Mezzo 3 speakers. As I write this I'm listening to Gershwin's Greatest Hits on CBS records dated 1971. Quite nostalgic hearing a record I bought so long ago, which even allowing for the budget setup, and my ageing ears, sounds so crisp compared to the ubiquitous compressed music formats that we have to endure today.

However, whether I will invest in the vinyl offerings on sale today remains to be seen, some of which seem a bit pricey.



Echo & Alexa

I bought the Amazon Echo earlier this week on a bit of a whim. Amazon had reduced the price from £149.99 to £99.99, but that's still expensive of course. I thought that this was a permanent reduction, but checking the Amazon site today it has reverted to the higher price.

Set up was fairly painless using the app on iOS. Reviews of the said app weren't great, but this perhaps relates more to accessing content than the set up process. Having signed in with your Amazon details you first need to connect to the Echo's WiFi network, which appears in the available WiFi connections in iOS Settings. This done you need to connect to your own WiFi. At this point I did have a problem in that Echo failed to connect to my BT Hub, which was literally right next to it. The Amazon help information recommended that I switch Echo off, and then power up again. After this going through the process worked.


Amazon Echo with Alexa


Having spoken to Alexa and tried a few simple commands, next I set up the two 'Skills' needed to communicate with my recently installed HIVE system. This was painless, and I've tried asking Alexa to increase the temperature. This worked, although while the new temperature was shown on my iOS HIVE app, it didn't alter the target temperature on the physical thermostat. Time will tell how this will perform in practice, but not while the weather is still warm enough to not need the central heating.


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Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)?

Peter Sarstedt will always be remembered for one song, but what a song. It will be engrained in the memory of most of us who first heard it in 1969, and will continued to be played as one of those ageless ballads that enter our emotional subconscience, never to be forgotten. A simple but beautiful tune, certainly, but the power of the song is in the lyrics. We can easily imagine the two street urchins growing up in Naples, and can visualise a beautiful woman who rejected her past while rising to the top of society, but who could never forget her humble beginnings. For me, who has always been fascinated by things French, such references as the Boulevard Saint Michel, and Juan les Pins were the icing on the cake.


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