Another July, another Yeovilton Air Day and this year I took the family along. As ever it was a tricky day for spectators and photographers as the flight line has everyone looking up into the sun. It was lovely to see the Vulcan fly one last time before her retirement at the end of the 2015 airshow season. The highlight of this year's show for me was the Sea Vixen, it's such an amazing looking fighter - fast jets tend not to be that pretty anymore.
You can pay an absolute fortune for a good headphone amp but much of this money goes into snake oil. A decent DAC chip is not expensive and amplification is not rocket science. SMSL is a Chinese company that's making waves with good quality audio gear that means you don't have to break the bank to get good sound.
This DAC/Amp receives optical/coax digital PCM and sends it out of the headphone output at the front and via RCA line-out at the rear. The volume controls the headphone only - as it should - leaving the line-out to be a fixed volume. I've got this DAC set up on my desk where I feed it an optical signal from my motherboard, the line-out then goes to a hi-fi amp and speakers. The sound quality is excellent both in the phones and via the line-out. I've used the line-out to feed an SMSL SA-50 amp and a Marantz MR-603 hifi and in both cases the results were superb.
Be aware like most headphone amps there is a little channel imbalance through headphones at the quiet end of the volume taper but this is gone at normal listening volumes. Also as is often the case with excellent but inexpensive Chinese audio gear the power supply lets the side down with cheapness and potential electric death. My 793ii came with a two-prong switching power supply and a travel adapter. While the power supply seems fine - I didn't like using it with the travel adapter and bought a 9v switching power supply from Maplin with a proper UK plug.
Just jotting down my initial thoughts having just got back from the cinema, having watched Colin Trevorrow's Jurassic World in 2D. It was great. The trailers weren't exactly representative - a few red herrings - and that's a really good thing. I liked all the leads, I like that it set up some well worn tropes then didn't go through with them in the cliched way.
I thought the effects were very good. It was all very grounded, very little CGI swoopy cam, and the realistic cinematography really helped sell the dinosaurs as animals. Certainly in 2D I was sold. I liked the look of the film. Obviously colour graded - but not in the over the top way of many current films. It had a much more natural look - closer to the original JP. It was also shot in quite a tall ratio and I felt the overall tone, look and atmosphere of the film was not very modern - and I mean that as a huge compliment.
Deadly goings on in our garden this morning as a Sparrowhawk captures a small bird. The prey was still very much alive at this point and screeching. The reason the hawk was standing like that was to defend itself as all the birds in the garden were dive bombing it in little squadrons to try to get it to leave. Meanwhile the poor sparrow wasn't being finished off quickly and was very loud. So I went outside with the hope of either getting the hawk to move off with its prey or leaving the prey behind. It picked up the sparrow and flew down under a tree, then over the wall and out of the garden - followed by lots of small birds trying to scare it away.
The primary school our three children attend use a system called Parentmail. It's simple and easy - we just get sent emails with information from the school - such as newsletters, parent's evening appointments, school policy etc.
This worked very well. We can file the school emails and keep them together, star, highlight and keep control of the diary and information as one would expect. We parents are in control and can work with the information as we see fit.