I’ve been working in radio for close to 30 years now, and I have access to all kinds of recording equipment, including some great microphones. Most of the gear I can get my hands on is pretty high-end stuff that uses XLR connectors and would require elaborate equipment that I just don’t have at home. So I was really interested when the MXL Studio 1 USB microphone ($130) landed on my desk. It’s a portable condenser microphone that connects to your computer via USB. MXL boasts that it’s plug-and-play, and that’s not a joke: No installation discs. No drivers. No preamps, mixers, or extra gear. Nice.
It seems like it was only yesterday that I was writing this very column about Hurricane Irene for our November 2011 issue. And now we’ve just lived through Hurricane Sandy, which came with huge warnings and delivered much devastation. Me, I was without power, landline phones, Internet, and cable for 6 days.
I’m trying to get my holiday shopping done early this year. I have my wife, my kids, and the gang at work to shop for, so I need to make sure everyone gets exactly what they need. My 18-year-old is probably the easiest. He’s the one away at college (I wrote about him in November), so for him, I’ll get the Slingbox 500 ($300).
My wife and I sent our oldest son off to college this fall. On the ride up, she and I laughed as we told him that when we first went to campus back in 1979, there was no Internet, no cellphones, no e-mail, no fax machines, and Federal Express was an overnight service strictly for businesses and rich people.
I remember preparing for a flight to Los Angeles in the late ’90s. I was packing my carry-on and laboring over what books to bring. I didn’t want to carry more than two. Then I packed my portable DVD player. I also packed an extra-bulky battery because the one that the DVD player came with only lasted 2 hours. Finally, I threw in a pile of magazines.
I live in Connecticut, just about 30 miles from my daily gig in New York City. That technically makes me a New Englander. I mention this because New England winters can be brutal. (I know it’s still late summer, but bear with me. The weather will change soon enough.) For a guy like me who leaves for work at 4:30 a.m., early-morning temperatures can sometimes be in the single digits.
I recently mentioned how much I really dig my network-attached storage (NAS) hard drive and how I like to keep all of my music, photos, and videos on it so I can feed the whole house with media via Apple TV or Roku. Since I have a huge investment of both time and personal memories stored on this drive, I really need to protect it properly — and that’s why I’ve recently moved to a RAID drive.