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President's Message
June 2005

1.  "Microphone sells for more than $50k." An anonymous bidder snatched a piece of TV history, offering $50,787 for the microphone that sat prominently on the desk of late-night king Johnny Carson until the 1980s. The label on the 10-pound shure model SM33 ribbon microphone bluntly declares: "Johnny's Mic...Not Ed's...Not Fred's"--a reference to announcer Ed McMahon and producer Fred DeCordova. The microphone was saved from a trash bin two decades ago by "The Tonight Show" chief boom operator Stan Sweeney. Carson, who died in January and age 79 was host from 1962 to 1992 when he retired. AP 25Ap05

2.  "Live free and go deaf." A proposed bill in the New Hampshire legislature would limit motorcycles at a speed of greater than 45 mph to a level of 110 dB. This compares with other states that have limits at 70 to 84 dB. Union Leader 25Fe05

3.  "Dumbing Down Over-Engineered Cars." BMW's iDrive clusters important controls on a joystick on the center of the dashboard console. A reporter for National Public Radio tried out the iDrive and said on "All Things Considered," "it took me and a colleague 20 minutes just to tune the radio to a local NPR station. Obviously, iDrive was smarter than we were."

For Greg Amy, the speed dependent volume control on the stereo built into his twin turbo 2000 Audi S4 was unbearable. The faster the car went, the louder the stereo frew (supposedly designed to compensate for additional engine noise). Annoyed, he got rid of the faster-louder function. "It's pretty easy," he said. "You use keystrokes on the front of the unit." But he is a computer engineer. He also invested in software that, when plugged into the Audi's computer, can make adjustments, from turning off the check-engine light to reprogramming the transmission's shift points. That software is not for the faint of heart, he acknowleged. "If you're not careful, the car will end up on the back of a flatbed."

Sam Later, a systems integration analyst, found that the automatic climate control in his Suburu Forester was letting him freeze in the winter and boil in the summer--despite a temperature setting of 76 degrees. After complaining to the company and being told "the system is performing as designed," he got out his toolbox and traced the problem to a badly placed temperature sensor. His solution: a 12 volt fan that blows air over the sensor. "It forces the sensor to react to the slightest changes in temperature," he said. Mr. Later has now sold 20 kits to other Forester owners who can make the repair with a Phillips screwdriver, a 10-millimeter socket and some duct tape. NYT 18Fe05

David Hadaway

President, Boston Audio Society



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updated 7/13/05