DIY replaceable headphone cord mod to use Sony MDR-7506 with a straight coord (yes… “like beats” but still better)

23 Feb

I love music and am almost always listening to music if I have the choice. I also usually listen to headphones while working (depending on the job). I always just used whatever crappy earbuds came with my current phone and they, for the most part, got the job done. However, recently I had the (very delayed) realization that as a music lover, audiophile, and someone that is the developer of an android and kindle app that depends on extremely high audio quality I should probably have some nice headphones.

I searched through all of the consumer reviews and the only thing I learned is that I DON’T want to get a pair of “Beats by Dre” regardless of how trendy they are they are certainly not the highest quality headphones and I just want them to sound great the rest is extra. So I contacted my audio engineer friend and asked him what I should get and his response to my half page wall of text was very simple: “Sony MDR-7506.”

This isn’t meant to be a product review, but I will say that the Sony MDR-7506 headphones are AWESOME and for under $100 I don’t think you can beat them. They are insanely comfortable, light-weight, very adjustable, durable, and they fold up nicely for transport. The audio quality is amazing and after a little research I realized they are pretty much used in every studio ever so there is a good chance that the song you’re listening to was, at least in part, mixed using them.

 Now on to the bad news……

horrid curly Sony MDR-7506 coord replace it

horrid curly Sony MDR-7506 coord replace it

 

The Sony MDR-7506 is only available with the phone-cord-style coiled cable. Truthfully it makes sense, they are meant for use in a studio and the average consumer was not considered. However, I want to throw these in my backpack daily and detangling the headphone cable everyday would almost certainly be the bane of my existence. Luckily, the headphones are extremely well documented and replacing the cable with a straight cable or an 1/8” jack was incredibly simple.

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Instagram is draining my battery on my android phone (and probably spying on me)

14 Jul

2014-07-12 02.57.19I wasn't sure if it was a new "upgrade" to Instagram or an issue with Android KitKat 4.4 but on my Samsung Galxy S5 running Android 4.4 the battery life was amazing. I was honestly shocked at how great it was. That is until I made the mistake of installing Instagram.

I installed a bunch of stuff because it was a new phone and I wasn't sure what was really doing the damage, but luckily android provides this nice battery burn-down chart complete with individual app battery consumption.

On this particular day I just so happened to NEVER load Instagram. I didn't even open the app, but some how it managed to use 37% of my battery and my phone was extremely hot. Additionally my phone used a very curious amount of data that day despite the fact that it spent most of the day in my pocket. It's an understatement to say something seems a bit fishy.

Then I remembered a while back when facebook asked me for some additional permissions that really freaked me out and I decided rather than agree I'd just delete the app. I didn't even look at the permissions for Instagram when I installed it and it turns out it asked for the same permissions which included the ability to record audio without my permission, access my address book, and prevent the phone from sleeping. In summary it can be used to listen in on what I'm doing and apparently that's what it was doing (and destroying my battery life in the process).

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How to control individual permissions of android app with App Ops

14 Jul

Recently Facebook issued an update to their Android app which added some permissions including the ability to record audio without the users permission and the ability to wake the device from sleep. Never have I seen such a seemingly nefarious combination of permissions. Is it the NSA monitoring us or just Zuckerberg?

Facebook permissionsLater word got out that Facebook was "just" monitoring audio to determine what kinds of music and shows their users enjoy so they can better cater advertising. I'll set aside my moral obligations to companies spying on me for a second and just  focus on the fact that they are stealing my battery life and I'd like them to stop. The best option is probably to just stop using the offending apps, but if you still want to use facebook (or instagram) you're in luck because there is an alternative. A hidden feature called App Ops allows you to have granular control of app permissions.

 

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Using git to deploy to live server based on branch aka how to git push to server

02 Dec

I often see people asking how to push their changes to the dev or live server. I agree with the common sentiment that you should probably use a proper deployment script, but I also think for most simple sites git is fairly sufficient.

To accomplish this I made a git hooks script that executes a pull from the appropriate web root depending on the branch.

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non-fast-forward updates were rejected Merge the remote changes before pushing again

02 Dec

When I first switched from a centralized version control to decentralized (or distributed) version control I ran in to this error:

non-fast-forward updates were rejected Merge the remote changes before pushing again

 Well,

you just have to –force or use a bare repository they told me.

First of all, don't –force. If you just started using git you almost certainly should never need to use the –force command. If you come across something that requires it there is a good chance that you simply don't quite understand git yet.

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Unable to configure network interface / waiting for network configuration (Bitnami / VirtualBox)

26 Nov

I recently had my computer crash hard while my bitnami Ruby on Rails stack was running in VirtualBox. When I tried to start up the virtual machine again it said "waiting for network configuration" and hung for about a minute. Then it said "Continuing to wait for network configuration for another 60 seconds." Once the system started I noticed it didn't have a ip address assigned and if I typed ifconfig I only got the loopback interface (no network interface to speak of). Luckily, there was a simple fix for this, but it took me a little while to figure out so I figured I'd share it here in hopes others with the same problem will wind up here and I can save you some time.

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Hacking furniture – Turning a bookshelf in to a kitchen counter

07 Nov

They say that when life hands you lemons you should make lemonade. Well life handed me 4 bookshelves so I made a kitchen island. In our attempt to furnish our apartment as cheaply as possible we found a set of 4 tall, narrow bookshelves on craigslist for free with the caveat "Must take all 4." What we wanted was 2 bookshelves and an island counter, but we've had no luck finding a counter in the right dimensions. So we went and strapped the 4 bookshelves to the top of our Hyundai and brought them home. We figured we'd either find something to do with the other 2 or give them away to someone else. They are made of a material that is similar to a butcher block counter top so I decided to see if I could convert a bookshelf in to a counter. (spoiler: it worked).

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Weird javascript / cdata in e-mail fields on wordpress blog possible xss or injection

06 Nov

So I started noticing odd code in the e-mail fields of the comments on my wordpress blog recently and I was certain it was some sort of injection or cross site scripting attempt. It turns out it's not anything like that. It was just the email obfuscation feature of cloud flare. So if you're reading this because you are seeing similar on your wordpress blog in the e-mail fields of your comments and you're using Cloud Flare. Go to Cloud Flare and turn off E-mail address obfuscation under security settings. Problem solved.

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We built a bench (DIY upholstered bench)

06 Nov

Finding a large bench on a small budget is pretty hard. Seattle is great for having an abundance of free furniture on craigslist. In fact, we were able to almost entirely furnish our apartment for free. However, we couldn't find a bench that suited our needs. We wanted something that ran the full length of the window. It also needed to be open underneath because of the baseboard heater below the window.

 

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Eclipse No repository found at download.eclipse.org/tools/pdt

06 Nov

Recently I was trying to do some work on an android app in Eclipse and I hit a weird issue where I needed to update to Android SDK 22 or it wouldn't run, but when I tried to update I got an odd error. What was even more weird and frustrating was I got stuck in a weird loop in the preferences pane where it would tell me I had invalid data, but not tell me what invalid data and wouldn't let me click "apply" to change the data. After banging my head against the wall for a while I found a solution and I thought I'd share it here incase anyone else has this issue.

 

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