Trying everything

September 5, 2016
 by Paul McGowan

“I’ve tried everything!’

“I’ve looked everywhere!”

And both are almost always incorrect.

Exasperated people often contact us with one of these two statements and are ultimately relieved when we are able to point them in a different direction, suggest the one thing they missed, the one place they didn’t look.

It happens to us all.

Recently I was contacted by my credit card company. My card was about to expire. They encouraged me to update the info just as soon as I had received that new card in the mail. And the card never came. And the expiration date came and went. And now I am in a panic. I’ve looked everywhere!

But I haven’t yet tried everything.  I email the credit card company with my problem. Of course they respond with an automated email giving me a list of places to look and things to try. Harumph! I pick up the phone and wander through the endless maze of useless options, none of which apply to me, and talk to a machine which claims to understand, but of course it does not. Finally a friendly young man comes on the line.

“I’ve looked everywhere, yet the new card never came,” said I, confident of my facts.

He calmly says he’ll take a look to see what’s up with the account.

“I tried everything!” and, of course I have. Everything that occurs to me.

Turns out my card hadn’t expired. They were referring to another card that was linked to this card. Indeed, that card had expired and I needed to simply update the info. Blush.

We rely on each other for help and thank goodness we don’t try to do everything in a vacuum.

Feel free to email us when you’ve run out of options with your system.

We’ve been there, done that.

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19 comments on “Trying everything”

  1. Halo, my name is Jeremy, i’m here in Trenton New Jersey, how may i provide you with exceptional customer service today? Music on hold blasting in your ear after navigating through 5 minutes of menu options only to be kept on hold for another 7 minutes.

      1. The comment was intended as a parody of the call center experience. I phoned your office once two years ago after hours and reached a voice mail that was a pleasant and soothing voice, Terri perhaps?

  2. This what I call “the two brain effect”, also related “brainstorming”.

    Everybody has a blind spot twice the size of the moon. There is an area on the retina which is completely lacking in photo-receptors where the optic nerve gathers all the signals for transmission to the brain. The brain fills in that space when the eye moves around, or copies and pastes the nearest part of the visual field. If something comes into your blind spot or if you stare at the same point for long enough, things can hide in there.

    It makes perfect sense the blind spot is next to the fovea, the small bump that has the high resolution part of your eye. The fovea generates a disproportionately large amount of the visual information, so making that the shortest “interconnect” is efficient. When you point the fovea at things you want to map in more detail there is an adjacent zone that disappears. The same thing happens in other areas of your cerebral cortex. There are gaps in your mental map where any object or concept can hide.

    You need another brain with different blind spots to see the thing you missed. This effect is so strong that even explaining a problem to somebody else, which forces you to find common ground to communicate, often shifts your perspective enough to find a solution.

    This is why I assume everybody I meet knows something important that I don’t. This has proven correct in every case…

    Of course, this has been said in different ways, notably cartoonist Scott Adams, who formulated the Dilbert Principle:

    “Everybody is an idiot”

    1. “This is why I assume everybody I meet knows something important that I don’t. This has proven correct in every case…”

      I’ve read your postings and I’m hardly surprised. Thank you for your candor.

      Sorry acuvox, I couldn’t help it. The devil made me do it.

      1. SM I think a couple of years ago you provided a link with photos and/or description of your system? Can you blow out some cobwebs and provide again if you don’t mind?

        1. I have two kinds of innovative systems. I never photographed any of them. It wouldn’t matter even if I did because the same system can be built many different ways with different hardware. Looking at photos would be meaningless. There are only two alternatives I can think of, understanding what I did and why, and hearing the experimental prototypes for yourself. I can do the first here but for the second, you’d have to go to where it can be heard and the only place is at my house. So far only one person here was invited and that was our host and moderator Paul. He didn’t talk about it much here and I can’t say I blame him. Blasphemy would get him excommunicated from the audiophile temple of conventional wisdom and would be bad for business. However, I will let you in on a little secret. Upon first hearing the system based on my patent, I was surprised that jaw dropping was not a metaphor but actually happens. What he heard was so totally unexpected and different from anything else he’d experienced he seemed stunned, speechless. Even to this day I am sometimes amazed that what this machine does is even possible given how many compromises and lucky guesses there were. One second his ears were in a 4,000 cubic foot room with sounds coming from within arms reach and the next they were in a 1,000,000+ cubic foot room with sounds seeming to come from a hundred feet away. BTW, that part of the effect came as a surprise even to me the first time I heard it. It took time to learn why it happens and how to control it.

          1. Having seen some videos of Paul building music room one I cannot detect a missing jaw in his face. 🙂 But maybe he has undergone some plastic surgery afterwards. There are many blind fields (!) of perception for instance if you are desperately searching your keys lying just in front your eyes. But the stored patterns of your keys and it’s normal surroundings do not fit the actual situation. Maybe this phenomenon is also evident concerning hearing, learning, feeling ……

          2. I am interested in the range of control. What is your repertoire of rooms?

            I generally avoid Stern, Fisher, Koch and Metropolitan Opera House because they are too big for most music. I prefer Boston Symphony for Orchestral music from 1895-1920, and I enjoy concert productions of opera in venues like the Harvey Theater. Baroque and Classical are better in halls under 600 seats with smaller forces – Baroque orchestras are under 40 players, and preferably more like 18 depending on the piece.

            As an extreme case, we sampled “Fidelio” with the Orchestra of St. Lukes from the back row at Caramoor, an open walled tent! The stage area is a masterful acoustic construction with three sides, sprung floor and projecting ceiling that provides power and intimacy, and the roof line is defined by six poles with 12 catenary planes. The third row at Caramoor is perhaps my favorite opera acoustic, with the orchestra on the stage instead of buried in a pit.

            1. There is no fixed adjustment for any one particular sized room. As the numbers go up, so does the perceived room size. Here are some of the salient numbers that characterize the performance of this prototype. The settings used are arbitrary and these represent the maximums tried so far.

              First major induced time delay 135 ms max, 5 ms min. RT at mid frequencies up to 6.5 seconds. RT mid to RT high ratio from 10:1 to 1:1 adjustable in 10% increments. Reverberant field to direct field ratio infnitely adjustable. Front to rear reverberant field ifnitely adjustable. Lateral source spacing 22.5 degrees average but baffled. Lateral arriving reverberant field non-uniformity (vector gaps causing source localization) undetectable. Vertical uniformity excellent heard seated, very good standing. IACC range 0 to 1 adjustable. Maximum perceived room volume, probably over 2 million cubic feet. Total number of vectored electrical delay channels 4. sources 16. Maximum perceived vertical height, over 50 feet (estimated.) Number of digital processors used 3. There are more than half a dozen more processors available here but the system is already as complex as I care to make it.

              In principle it would be possible to create two or more different acoustic spaces at the same time. It would also be possible to create many novel incoherencies such as one field at one tonal pitch and others at different tonal pitches as the DSPs are capable of pitch changes as well.

              1. Most recordings I hear have too much reverb and lose articulation. Bach sounds like it is being played in a Catholic Cathedral, even though he was a Lutheran, and secular chamber music sounds like it is in a chapel. Sometimes these come from microphone placement in the actual room, but more often it is either augmented by statistical reverb or completely fake, being added over a dry studio capture.

                Does your system work better for relatively dry recordings? Does it work better in un-adulterated live reverb or digital reverb in the recording? Do you have a method of de-reverb of the source so the room reverb is consistent? Does it work better with CD or vinyl? What about SACD?

                1. The reverb you hear from a recording comes from the same directions as the source. There actually isn’t that much of it but it creates close in time phase interferences that blur the source. Also to prevent the reverberation from being too bright, the treble of the source is often attenuated, if not in the recording than in the speaker. One of the technical papers I cited railed against these interferences from strong early reflections. The first reflection in good concert halls occurs at around 13 ms, 39 in poor ones. But the real explosion of reflections in Boston Symphony Hall occurs starting at around 85 ms. The “fill in” between them is enough to avoid the dreaded Haas Effect.

                  I used vinyl back in the 70s and 80s. One problem with vinyl is that a pop or click sounds like a canon shot. CDs are much better with rare such extraneous noises. I’ve got one SACD and one SACD player but I’ve never tried playing it in the SACD mode even in another room. The system really isn’t set up for SACD and I am very doubtful that it would be of any value here. Only the two front channels are required.

    2. This is why it is important to keep your eyes moving while driving. Especially at night when deer are dancing in the streets. I find it also helps to keep the dashboard lights dimmed at night, as that allows the pupils to open wider, allowing you to see deeper into the shadows where the Wild Things lurk.

      Enjoy the holiday, folks.

  3. Yogi Berra, America’s greatest philosopher said “When you reach a fork in the road, take it.”

    For a lot of stubborn people when you reach a brick wall at a dead end hit it as hard as you can to try to get it to move out of your way. If dynamite doesn’t do the trick, try an atom bomb. That’s what spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on the inherently failed concept of two channel stereo is, an atom bomb that doesn’t work. It feels so good when you stop hitting your head against a brick wall. If you’re lucky, eventually the headache goes away. If you’re not lucky you run for President of the United States. What to do? If you’re a mouse pretend it actually budged a little when it didn’t. If’ you’re a bird, think in terms of a different dimension and fly over it. That’s the difference between knowledge and running around in every direction in panic like a headless chicken.

    “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

    I wonder if Einstein was talking about audiophiles.

  4. So it took a live person to solve the problem. How easy it would have been if instead of the time wasting automation a live person would have answered your call in the first place. With the automation rigmarole you wasted your precious time and still got no answers. That is the wave of the future as the technically obsessed say. It seems that more complicated something is made more a wave of the future it becomes. Regards.

    1. This is what John Nash called “local sub-optimization”. It is cheaper for the vendor to supply 100 hours of voicemail than ten minutes of live person. This is where the “stakeholder” model of business is ignored. In terms of global efficiency, a live person will save customer time – and we are all customers.

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