Distortion when ripping audio CD’s in any program

I have a small CD collection which I decided to digitize, some albums being rare and not available in Spotify or other streaming services.

However on some of these CD’s I had distortion in the rips.  Turns out that I have the same distortion when I listen to the CD on my computer.

I was able to resolve the issue by updating the firmware of my TSSTCorp CD/DVD drive. If you have the same issue you can get the firmware update software on this page: http://tsstodd.com/eng/firmware/faq/ . Even though it looks like Windows 98 era piece of software it works fine in Windows 10.

Hooked on Windows


Yesterday I was doing a quick check-up of the computer inventory at my work. The software I used was something homebrew which ran on Windows. I did not want to walk around with my laptop because it’s not very handy, so instead I used an old Surface RT tablet I happened to have brought to work that day. Using Citrix Receiver I was able to use the software.

Whilst doing this I received a remark from a colleague mentioning that I apparently refuse to use anything but Windows devices.

I was quick to deny this, due to the fact that I’ve used macs for the past ten years. But I kept thinking about the remark. Turns out my colleague was right. But I can explain my reasoning.

My last Mac was sold last month, I had grown tired of the IOS-ification of MacOS. Having used it since MacOS Tiger I’ve seen the quality going downhill after Snow Leopard. Probably due to the fact that Apple’s attention was going towards the iPhone and iPad, making the Mac a low priority. With the release of Windows 10 I had stopped using MacOS completely.

Tablet wise I find iPads just too expensive, whilst the iPad 2 has served us well over the year I could not convince myself to get a new one. For my wife I got an Android tablet, the main motivator being the wide selection in the App store. I myself use a cheap 2nd hand Surface RT tablet and a HP Stream 7 entry level tablet. Both devices are far from perfect, but I love the battery life I get on the RT. The HP Stream was just an experiment, in my opinion it is a flawed design where corners were cut to make its cheap price possible (Yes, I’m talking about the audio jack and poor battery life).

When we get to the phone department I must admit that I’ve been hooked on Windows Phone since Windows Phone 7. I firmly believe in the platform, I hope that with the release of Windows 10 mobile popularity will increase and that the app gap problem will be resolved. The main issue I have with Apple devices is the pricing, they are just too expensive. I also steer away from Android. I don’t consider the Android OS bad, but it is very fragmented. Support from manufacturers also ends prematurely. Most devices get stuck with the OS version they got released with.

What about Linux? I use it, but usually for specific virtual appliances. I don’t use it as my main OS. The main culprit remains sketchy driver support (mainly wifi drivers). Not the fault of Linux, but of the manufacturers. I’ve been keeping my eye on chromebooks, but I’m not 100% hooked to the cloud (and probably will never be).

So yes, it turns out I’m hooked on Windows.

Acer V3-331 quick review

acerv3Last month I was looking for a cheap notebook as I needed something to replace the 5 year old HP DM1z. Something small enough to take everywhere (on trips, classes, work etc) but still powerful enough to get some work done.

I ended up with a refurbished Acer V3-331. Normally I avoid Acer because of poor build quality, but the price was a steal.

It contained a 500GB HDD, Pentium low voltage CPU and 4GB of RAM. As an added bonus the machine was very lightweight.

The machine was easy to open up. Just unscrew the screws on the bottom. Using a smal plastic card you can release the tabs holding the bottom plate in place.

Once inside you get greeted by a 4GB RAM module, a free ram slot and the HDD which is a standard 2.5″ drive. No complaints on the serviceability. One nitpick, the power connector is soldered to the mainboard, no manufacturer should do this.

There is one large downside and complaint I have about this machine. And that would be the clickpad… Acer cut corners in this department and did not properly ground the clickpad. Often the clickpad will stop responding, the only way to get it working again is to disable and enable the clickpad. I’ve seen other Acer users correcting this issue themselfs by adding extra grounded tape of even soldering an extra ground wire.

Instructions on the fix

I haven’t applied this fix yet myself.

If I had bought this machine at new Retail price I probably would have sent it back to the store. Let this be a warning for people thinking of getting an Acer laptop.