Archive for January 6th, 2005

The Boat Show

Today is the Press and Serious Buyers day at the London Boat Show so yours truly went along with his trusty camera and here is a brief description on what he saw.

The 2005 Boat Show – photo by Andrew Taylor

Yes, there were boats there! I was wandering around enjoying all those lovely slim trim crafts and I spied a bunch of press photographers a-leaping up and down with flashguns going off as if it were a November the 5th, or New Years Eve fireworks display.

It seems that a model, who is, or was, Miss England at some time, was draping herself all over a boat. Naturally I had to join in and after I finished I wandered off, only shortly to return. I mentioned to one of the press photographers that I had forgotten to photograph the boat which he found very amusing!

I had to write an article on the larger Gin Palaces and I must admit, my favourite was one of the top of the range Fairline models, The Fairline Squadron 74. The first thing on entering is the sumptious lounge then, as you walk through, a neat dining area and kitchenette.

Then there is the “drivers” position and, next to it, the Navigators position. Looking at the controls, this is definitely a “two man” job. Every bit if electronic gear imaginable was there, and the Navigatior had an extra set of panels on the side with between 40 and 60 switches.

Just past the cockpit were stairs going down. Immediately to the front you see the luxurious double bed suite with shower, toilet, bidet (for washing your…) dressing table for Milady and plenty of space for your clothing and evening dresses.

Then there are two very small cabins (each with two single berths in them) for the nippers, all four of them sharing a washroom with shower. Then the “piece de resistance”, the “Master Stateroom”. Much larger than the guests double bedroom and a bedroom I could get used to living in, let alone sleeping in.

On the upper deck, many of the controls were there in the pilots cockpit. and all over the entire top deck were sunbeds, settees, tables drinks areas and even a barbeque!

At the stern (back) was a small entrance that lead to the huge engine room, and leading off were a double berth room and a single berth room and a shower and toilet room for the crew.

The overal cost of the boat is two million pounds. Running costs per year would be in the region of forty thou’ or so – and this wouldn’t include the crew’s wages, food, laundry and all the “top of stairs” costs.

Nice work if you can get it. But it would be cruel to leave you without a photograph of the boat in action “borrowed” from the Fairline website…

Fairline Squadron 74

There will be communal dreaming sessions every Saturday in West Finchley – all my readers are welcome to join.


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Transferring old cassettes to a CD

Wow, this certainly wasn’t – for me – as easy as it looked. I have a lot of tapes which I wanted to make into MP3s and then transfer back to Music CDs.

I set up a spare tape Deck near my computer and connected up the output sockets at the back of the tapedeck to the line-in socket of my SoundBlaster sound card.

I then played a tape from my tape deck to the computers loudspeakers and all performed as it should. So that part of the operation was successful.

I then downloaded the excellent freeware program called AutoGrabber. And whilst on the site, downloaded a couple of recommended add-ons with links from this site.

This is where my problems began. I picked my first tape which was “Neil Diamond” Album called “The Jazz Singer”. I tried, and tried, and tried but could not get much of a sound at all, and certainly not a decent recording. so, being a member of Cix, I asked for help. I received four replies as follows:

[1] I suspect that you don’t have the RECORDING source set correctly; Open your Mixer control, if its the normal Windows one, then it first displays by default the Playback path connected to the Speakers, now select Options, select Recording (rather than Playback) now click OK, you will have the Mixer desk for the Recording path selected now you can unmute / select / turnup the Line In path and you will be able to record.

OK, I did that…

[2] Open ‘Sounds and Audio Devices’ in Control Panel. Click on the Audio tab and then on the Volume button in the recording section. Make sure that Line In is Selected.

… and that.

[3] You need to say what operating system and sound card you are using, behaviour varies. In W98 this could be because your recording settings are on mute. To find them open the volume control, the full panel, not just the master slider. You will see you have no control for microphone or line input. Go to options and select recording to see the input control and check that mutes are not ticked and that the sliders are set to a reasonable level.

OK, I use Windows XP but this helped me, by experimentation, to sort out the advice given.

[4] Have you clicked on the Mixer button on the line in sample page and made sure that line in is the selected audio source i.e. has a tick in the box. Also that the level is up high enough to register?

Yup, OK – thanks fellows – let’s see what happens!

Success, I got a perfect recording of the recorded track. Tested it on playback and loked at the wave forms in the appropriate program. Everything looked fine.

But when I tried using the auto-split-tracks bit, I started to have problems. I played with the altering of sensitivity but as all tapes were different I decided not to use the auto-split device, but rather the manual device.

This means I record the whole tape as one track. (My tapedeck will record the entire cassette, both sides, in one go) and Autograbber will work this way as well.

I then put the resulting MP3 into a Wave Editor and copied and pasted each track into a different file. I will try to persevere with the auto-splitter but at least I can achieve my immediate requirements without too much extra work.

I cursed AudioGrabber for making things so difficult but now I can see their point. Microsoftkeep changing the goalposts so AutoGrabber have decided to try and teach the user how to do this sort of dubbing so they will know what to do with whatever operating system comes next.

Later I will try, in a few words, to explain what the Cix Community is all about.


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