Month: April 2010

Is Hi-Fi klubben selling NAD Electronics amplifiers against the law?

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My over 25-year old Sanyo JA 220 stereo amplifier has been in trouble for a while, and I was looking for a new one – amplifier or receiver – small but with many inputs and reasonably looking. Furthermore I would like one that could be turned off, so it wouldn’t be using any power when not playing and for fire safety reasons.

After some store visits I bought the cheapest (I think) NAD Electronics amplifier, a NAD C 315BEE, from the Danish audiophile store Hi-Fi klubben. It looked ok, had many inputs and quite enough Watts, though the front panel power button was only a standby button… However, a Hi-Fi klubben staff assured me that due to new regulation new electronics devices would only be using less than one Watt in standby mode. So I guess that would be ok…

After some days I noticed that the amplifier was hot after having been in standby for many hours! What on earth was wrong? Did I get a faulty one? I googled and it turned out that others on the internet have had the same experience. One person emailed NAD, and their response was that standby power usage is 20W! This is ridiculous. Looking on the online NAD data sheet I see no mentioning of the standby power consumption. apparently they are too embarrassed to mention it. The same goes for the description of the amplifier on the Hi-Fi klubben homepage. No mentioning. What Hi-Fi magazine also manage to to describe the amplifier without mentioning the standby power consumption.
Someone should email these guys and tell them we are living the 21st century.

Dan J??rgensen, Danish member of the European Union parlament, claims that the average cost of standby power consumption in 2006 Denmark was 2000 Danske Kroner per year per household. That is quite a lot. In 2006 my total household power consumption was around 5000 Dansk Kroner (excluding the power consumption of “ejerforeningen” – the appartment owners organization). Thus there is a good reason for combined efforts on lowering the standby power consumption.

Already in 2001 George W. Bush signed an Executive Order on “no more than one watt”, and in the 2008 European Union adopted a “one or two Watts by 2010” regulation with Commission Regulation 1275/2008. For some strange reason the the issue has not been published very much: If you search on the homepage of the responsible Danish minister you get almost nothing, just a press release and searching “standby” on Danish law information web site you also get very little – a law proposal. It may have caught Danish manufacturer Bang & Olufsen by surprise and they had to use real (oh dear!) power buttons.

I wonder if the NAD amplifier is legal? It has a power button, – but inconveniently on the back panel. The language of the Commission Regulation is convoluted. In my opinion the NAD standby button is out of line. Should we see a European-wide withdrawal?

Regardless of regulation, 20 Watts on the NAD amplifier is simply too much. The reputation of the NAD engineers has in my view hit the ground, incompetence galore in a bunch of audionerds. The NAD has been on sale in the Hi-Fi klubben for a while. Perhaps they want to get rid of this vampire power monster.

So what is "tm-2010-03-07T00:44:11.w64"?

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The meaning of files is not always clear. I got a file named “tm-2010-03-07T00:44:11.w64” in my Linux Ubuntu home directory. It is on 121MB. I didn’t put it there… And there are a few others with the same file pattern. Can I erase them? Googling on w64 gives the information that it is some kind of audio file “Sonic Foundry”. Writing $ file tm-2010-03-07T00:44:11.w64 just tells that it is “data”.
Nautilus file manager has not associated the file with any program. Rhythmbox won’t open it. Further Googling identifies it as a recording by the Jack “timemachine” program. After trying a few audio programs I finally got Ardour (ardour2) to import and play the file…

Third party cookies on Danish public radio web site

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Dr-thirdpartycookie

I have recently switched on ‘ask’ for the web cookie (HTTP cookie) management on my Web browser. And I must say I am surprised by the number of web sites using not only their own cookies, but also cookies from third parties.

Danmarks Radio (DR), the Danish publicly funded radio and television, has no commercials neither in the radio, the television nor on the associated web site. I was therefore somewhat surprised that I got a cookie for www.mybanker.dk after browsing on the DR Web site. It turns out that some of the financial data displayed on the DR web site are coming from a server in the domain “six.se”, and it seems that the cookie is coming in from included content. So by browsing DR web site data is send to a company. A cookie is not quite an advertisement. However, it must be of commercial value. Why else should the company have the trouble of adding the cookie? I would think that DR is on slippery ground here.

Besides www.mybanker.dk DR third party cookies is also transmitted from the Polish Gemius company that presumable is doing Web statistics for DR.
Also cookies from dr.adservinginternational.com and .addthis.com show up.

In a modern browser the user can control how ordinary cookies are set. Disabling it completely is not usually an option, because cookies are widely used for web service login. A further issue is Flash cookies, – also called Local Shared Objects. These cookies come from Flash content and are not (at the moment) disabled with the web browser configuration. Many users are unaware of that. Flash cookies can be used by advertisers to circumvent user deletion of web cookies.

A 2009 study found that 98 of the top 100 web sites used ordinary cookies in a standard browsing session (with wikipedia.org and wikimedia.org as the two only exceptions) and 54 sites used Flash cookies. 37 of the 100 web sites had matching web and Flash cookies from advertisement companies. Even whitehouse.gov used Flash cookies.