BOSE Sleep Buds, and a note about fraudulent websites

Bose Sleepbuds have helped me sleep this past week, so they appear to live up to the claim of using white noise and nature sounds to mask outside noises. The question is, was it really worth the $325 price tag?

Other reviewers have complained about the earbuds not fitting properly, despite the three sizes of earbud attachments that come with the device. Others have complained about the discomfort of trying to sleep with earbuds stuck in your ears all night. To the first charge (the price that is), it really comes down to how badly you want to have a good night’s sleep, and if it works for you, then it works.

To the discomfort issue, I must say that we all have different sized heads and ear canals. My buds weren’t exactly perfect, but they also weren’t totally uncomfortable. And it did make a difference in how I slept. The sleepbuds end your sleep with a pleasant sounding alarm, which woke me up feeling alert and relaxed.

I found that getting a full charge is not straightforward, unless you remove the buds from the earpieces each morning. If you try to connect the earbuds with their rubber earpieces still on, as depicted here in the ad (see left), it is not always guaranteed you will get good contact, and hence a full charge by the next evening. There were some mornings I woke up with the batteries nearly dead and the alarm didn’t go off.

Also, if you were expecting to go to sleep with your favourite music, then these buds are not for you. These buds only play the white noises/nature sounds programmed into them. They are essentially loops of shorter sounds set to repeat all night. The loops of leaves rustling or rain falling were more obvious, and were more annoying after I noticed it. The best sounds were the fairly uniform sounds, such as the airplane cabin, river sounds, warm static, waterfall, or ocean sounds.

The earbuds are not big enough to fit Bose’s noise-cancelling technology. Thus, they do not detect or cancel surrounding noise, if you were expecting it to. All they do is produce is a sound, which is designed to mask other sounds. The rubberized coverings over the earbuds are made to fit snugly into your ear canal, and act as another sound barrier as well as not falling out at night (they never did in my case, unless I chose to sleep on my side — I mostly sleep on my back).

I also found that the re-charging is often unreliable, and you have to be absolutely sure the contacts are engaged between the earbuds and the charger. I found that you need to check the screen that tells you the battery levels. It is charging both earbuds if both earbuds are not detected. This often takes a couple of extra minutes out of your morning. Before knowing this, I had taken my earbuds out of the charger at night, to find out that one of the earbuds could be as low as 1% charged.

Last night was the first time in a week without sleep buds, and I have to say I tossed and turned and woke up into the night, so the quality of my sleep did suffer without them. For me, the sleep buds was worth the money, despite its limitations.

I also want to say that fake Bose sites are out there. A couple of days ago, boseaen.com came up in a search engine with a high ranking, as a clearance house for Bose products. I saw sleep buds there for $69. Too good to be true, since these sleep buds have only been selling for the past couple of months. I even saw their uber-expensive aviation headset for $79. I know you can’t get those for under $1400 in Canada. I checked the WHOIS database on my shell account, and found that boseaen.com, while looking mighty convincing, is based in China. I called a local Bose retailer in the Toronto area, and he tells me they are a fraud. Nice to know, before you give them your credit card information, as well as other private information. If you find you have been scammed for any reason, and your credit card is involved, notify your credit card company as soon as possible, to have your card cancelled and issue a new one.

For the record, I purchased my sleepbuds from a real person at a real Bose store, located at Toronto Premium Outlets, an outdoor mall located in Halton Hills, north of Oakville on Regional Highway 3 (Trafalgar Road) and Steeles.

Commentary

These are some rambling thoughts on things I have found lying around on YouTube and other locations.

My jazz station plays too many jazz covers of hit songs. If I wanted to hear Woodstock, I would tune into an oldies station to hear the original.

Americans are being offered Tim Horton’s Poutine doughnuts. Yuck. My biggest worry is that Americans are thinking “Canadians eat this stuff all the time!”. It is not offered in Canada.

Youtube is littered with spectacle and it threatens to over-run the good stuff on there. Videos currently tread on the topics of dog tricks, Trump vids are ubiquitous, Cyanide and Happiness, the Kardashians, Marvel comic characters, and other trivia.

One topic buy tramadol 100mg that comes up at least as often as these is regarding search engines as a topic, usually discussing the absurdity of auto-complete. One person did a vlog on someone who google’d himself, and another more constructively (but not much more) did a vlog on the web’s most searched questions. It just ends up being goofy.

Popular musicians for the next hour or so according to YouTube appear to be Ed Sheeran (1.6 billion views on one video); The Chainsmokers with Coldplay; DJ Khaled; French Montana; and Bruno Mars. There are many others, most of whom I have barely heard since I started preferring to listen to Jazz and Classical music.

A hate on SWAG

From Planet Minecraft

SWAG has by now been so overused that no one, not even the generation that wear their hats sideways and wear their pants so that half their ass shows, seem to know what it means anymore. And I don’t mean that older people don’t know what they mean, but I am not sure that even young people do either.

Sure, you could come across a blog that has some kind of definition fo SWAG, but if it is from a blog appealing to today’s teens, I can guarantee you that 10 websites will garner 10 different and conflicting definitions. Quite often, if the website, such as a blog, has a message to say, then they often must take the trouble to inform you of which definition of SWAG they are referring to. The Urban Dictionary has over a hundred of definitions for SWAG (I gave up counting after the 20th page of definitions). Some of them seemed to get it right when they note that it is the most overused expression since the major media accused Pol Pot of being “Communist” (he was many awful things, but never a communist). And “overused” has a way of soon becoming synonymous with “meaningless”.

From @swagsteppin on Twitter
From @swagsteppin on Twitter

In my day, which wasn’t yesterday, I confess, we had something called a “generation gap”, where parents often complained that they couldn’t understand us, but knew that we young ‘uns understood each other. That is, we may have invented some words to express everyday emotions in a way that seem to give an impression that we were the first generation that ever felt them, but at least teens could talk to other teens.

But what does it mean when “your SWAG is not up to my level?”, or “Mark and I are SWAG?” It might be letters that stand for something like “secretly we are gay”, or “style without admitting greatness”, or “stolen without a gun”, or “stuff we ain’t got”, “scientific wild-ass guess”, “something we all get tired of hearing”, “sexy with a bit of gangsta”, or … well, after 30 pages of SWAG, I can only conclude no one knows what they are saying to each other anymore. The young generation has reduced the dignity of adolescence to incoherent baby-talk.

From Return of Kings

I am genuinely worried about this since I feel that young people are losing the ability to communicate with each other. A lack of definition means that SWAG is a marketable word in advertising. SWAG means whatever you want it to mean, and so if you want to buy clothes that are “Simply SWAG”, or rings that are SWAG, then your only admission into this exclusive club of users of the word SWAG is to have heard the word previously. People who can’t express their wants or needs properly are also likely not to be able to think too critically — an ideal target market for salespeople. A mere generational gap has now become a huge interpersonal gap where the young have lost the ability to express their feelings, emotions, and opinions to each other. Relationships have become shallow, even by 1970s and 1980s standards, when many older people of that generation lamented that us young folk lost touch with seeking out fulfilling relationships, and afraid to be in touch with each other.

The YBF blog

It was not too long ago that SWAG was a word used at conventions and meant “Stuff we all get”, like T-shirts, pens, note pads, and so on. These things were often handed out at convention booths by vendors advertising their businesses to attendees.

When you brought your SWAG home from the convention, you had their names, their logos, their addresses and phone numbers, so that should you need their services, you knew who to contact.

#swaggeriest yo
Found on Tumblr

The Obfuscation of Electronics: The Behringer Xenyx 502

This is more like a meta-review. I have gone to Canada Computes where nearly the entire Behringer line is sold, and was impressed by the specs. But does it do what I want, the way I want it?

I face a number of obstacles, being a fuddy-duddy former college DJ. For one thing many of the commonplace terms have changed, obfuscating what I think they’re saying, versus the actual intent when I purchase the stuff and find out for myself. It’s a Wittgenstein thing. Sussing out the exigetical intent of the interface, even as explained by the user manual available online, is an essay in near-futility only to be appreciated by interpreters of ancient Hebrew texts or Egyptian hieroglyphs. That is, knowing the words on the labels and diagrams isn’t enough: what is the meaning?

Watching the audio reviewers on You Tube try and tackle this interface (and there were a surprising number of them, and we’re only talking about this particular product, the Xenyx 502, made by Behringer) revealed a litany of awkward hesitations and skipping of knobs and jacks they knew nothing about. This was even true of the professional reviews. The YouTube review on the Behringer site, done by a kid who looks and acts not a day older than 15, is an embarassment and should be taken down. The only good parts occured when he was reading from the manual.

Indeed, what do they mean? And I am going beyond the obvious: no-one needs to tell me about the function of the phone pot or the main mix pot; I think I can figure out the RCA ins and outs on the middle right of the unit; nor about the LED level meter; nor about the balance or panorama (Pan) settings. I also managed to figure out that the PA-system style mike connectors are called XLR connectors. That’s that 3-pin jack on the top lefto corner of the photo. Then there are 8 of what used to be called “quarter-inch jacks” across the top of the unit, but are today called TRS jacks (for tip/ring/sleeve). Fair enough.

But what puzzles me to no end is the TRS jack just below the XLR jack. This is where the exegiesis comes in, and all that Wittgenstein stuff. And the reason it drives me crazy is because, really, I don’t have XLR plugs on my microphones. Instead, I have a pair of mikes with TRS plugs. These plugs are the most common in existence. We even used quarter-inch plugs when I worked as a college DJ. XLRs were something you hooked up to a PA system at your local school. XLRs often suffered from not being sealed all that well, resulting in a low-frequency electronic “buzz” that would have made them unsuitable for recording.

On one of the You Tube demos, a guy on the video (HobbitAssassin08) says that the “Line In” for Channel 1 (that is the TRS jack in question) can be used with TRS-style mikes with their own battery (and therefore have no need for the “phantom power” feature that Behrninger brags about). This is almost perfect. However, my mikes (TRS in my case probably means Tandy/Radio Shack, with the requisite quarter inch mono jacks) have no power of their own. They are basic professional mikes with a magnet and a diaphragm, which produces the current and the signal for my voice. It needs an amp or a recorder to process the signal. The specs say the mixer jack has a minimum of 10,000 ohms impedance. My mike is rated at 500 ohms (30% tolerance — depends on the frequency).

The power supply is proprietary. Also, channel 1 only works with line or mike inputs but not both. The other four channels are part of two stereo channels. If you plug a source into the left channel only, you get mono.  5 channels in, 3 out: the three are for two separate stereo outputs and one headphone output. The whole mixer board is slightly larger than your hand.

Will I buy it? That’s the question that has been driving me batty this past week. Looks like this mixer board is not compatable with my existing mics, and that I will have to purchase yet another mike or a pair of them if I am to buy this one. Looks like I will have to look elsewhere for a mixer board.