Professional Audio Gear

This is a current list of equipment used by my audio setup. I hope to be upgrading the mixer very soon as this is considered very low entry-level.

SonicWall Packet Monitor

I’ve never really understood Packet Monitor. So a kind SonicWall tech was able to explain it to me. Hold onto your packets!

  • Packet capture is found under Investigate > Tools > Packet Monitor.
  • Make sure it is Stopped and Cleared.
  • Click Configure.
  • Monitor Filter:
    • Ether Type: ip
    • IP Type: tcp (usually)
    • Source IP Address: <source IP>
    • Source Port: <optional>
    • Destination IP Address: <also optional, but helps>
    • Destination Port: <optional>
  • Advanced Monitor Filter:
    • Check ALL the boxes
  • Click OK.
  • Ready your test and click Start Capture.
  • It is important to Stop Capture once you’ve concluded the test otherwise you will have an overflow of packets and fill up the buffer quickly. You can also click Clear to empty the buffer and start again.

Definition of Statuses

ConsumedPacket stops at the firewall. Could be due to the packet being destined for the firewall such as a ping to the SonicWall’s IP address.
GeneratedThe opposite of Consumed. It means the SonicWall generated the packet. This is rare in troubleshooting.
DroppedPacket is blocked at the firewall. This is usually due to a faulty or missing rule. Check the Packet Detail for more information. This is what you need to be looking for if you suspect the firewall is at fult.
ForwardedThis means traffic is passing normally and all is fine. The SonicWall forwarded the packet to its intended destination.
ReceivedThe packet came to the firewall, but the SonicWall does not have a destination of where to send it. Usually caused by a faulty ARP table entry or the server is offline. Eventually the packet will become discarded.

Long Live Essential Phone

2 years, 4 months, 4 days. This is the time that I have carried the Essential Phone PH-1 as my “daily driver”. I believe that is my record of any phone.

Words cannot express how frustrated I am to be forced to move on from Essential. It has been the most favorite phone I have ever carried. The physical size of the phone is perfect. The updates have been solid on-point and I even got Android 10 before the Pixel series did (look it up). The state of mobile phone selection in America right now is terrible.

It should be noted that I never factory reset the Essential. The phone received all the following updates without any issue whatsoever. Operational speed has always been excellent, smooth and responsive.

  • Android 7.1.1 “Nougat”
  • Android 8.1 “Oreo”
  • Android 9.0 “Pie”
  • Android 10 (current)

You may wonder why I decided to get a new phone. The answer is simple: security. While Essential regularly released Android security patches, this has not happened since Febuary 2020 when the company announced full shutdown. Therefore, as time progresses, the phone becomes more and more vulnerable to zero-day flaws and exploits.

Choosing a replacement was very difficult. My priority was centered around security. Apple, Google, OnePlus, and Motorola were all viable contenders. While I seriously considered an iPhone for longer than 30 seconds, I couldn’t really choose this as I am married for life to Android. However, Apple’s code is completely closed and written in the United States. Therefore it (usually) is secure, as long as the humans writing it that work for Apple don’t accidentally leave open a huge vulnerability as they have in the past.

OnePlus tempted me greatly, especially with the OnePlus 7T for $500. Hardware specs are awesome but the OS is written in Shenzhen, China. This is not secure. Same with Motorola.

Better the enemy I know than the enemy I don’t

Therefore, the only choice is the Google Pixel. While I have no trust in Google remaining to “do no evil”, better the enemy I know than the enemy I don’t. Also, if Google is caught violating our privacy in a way that is unforgivable, I have a bit of faith in the FCC to lay down the law to protect the American citizens.

Amazon has the Google Pixel 3a XL on sale for $319 plus taxes. This is in preparation for the launch of the upcoming Google Pixel 4a. My plan is to carry the 3a XL as my daily driver until the 4a is released, or the Pixel 5 is announced and that might change my mind. I only want the 3a XL for a few months.

Initial review of Pixel 3a XL versus Essential Phone

  • Bigger
  • Lighter
  • Much better battery
  • Camera is epic
  • Bezels are huge
  • Software is nearly identical in every way

Downloads

I have determined that it is in my best interests to continually ensure the Downloads folder in my user profile directory be kept as clean as possible. Allowing clutter to build up is detrimental for the following reasons.

  • Size: why are we saving a duplicate copy of an online download anymore? You can find anything on the Internet again.
  • Not in cloud storage: redirecting the Downloads folder does not work well with Dropbox or OneDrive.
  • Lost files: a cluttered Downloads folder promotes the possibility of losing an important file that was retrieved via downloading through a browser. If it is important, it does not belong in the Downloads folder.

Do yourself a favor and don’t do as I once did. Keep your Downloads folder empty and clear. Delete program installers when done and move important files to better storage folders.

NIC Teaming on Windows 10

Sure, you can debate that you don’t actually exceed 1 Gbps on the connection and so far I have not successfully done this. But here’s how to do it. Start with PowerShell (as Admin).

Get-NetAdapter
Windows will then display a table of network adapters in your system. You should rename the adapters giving a descriptive name to each and appropriate numbers if you have multiple ports per NIC.

New-NetSwitchTeam -Name "Name of Team" -TeamMembers "Adapter 1","Adapter 2"
Substitute the entries in quotes with what you want to call the team, and the actual names of the network adapters.

Get-NetSwitchTeam
Windows displays the current network team(s) configured.

Have fun!

Intel Bloomfield and Windows 10 1803+

This was a “dumb problem” to have that made me waste a few hours of my time. Intel and Microsoft became incompatible in a specific way on April 30, 2018. Here’s how to fix it.

The Combination

  • Intel Bloomfield (Core i7-920, etc.)
  • Intel X58 chipset
  • Windows 10 version 1803 and later

The Solution

Disable Intel Virtualization VT-d support in the motherboard BIOS.

Disabling Turbo Boost on Intel Procs

Long gone are the days of adjusting your maximum processor state to 99%, or dealing with complex ThrottleStop settings. If you don’t want your machine to go beyond the stock maximum clock, this registry setting will unhide the “processor performance boost mode” drop-down in your current power plan.

So Complicated!

Why has the world of technology become so complicated? All in the name of “we can do it”, right? But this is almost unfathomable. It really makes my head hurt.

  • In VMware, you have a choice of UEFI or BIOS mode. Good luck figuring out which one is the better choice, because there isn’t.
  • Ubiquiti has twenty UniFi products to choose from, not counting the new UniFi Dream Machine. This has become almost impossible for even a VAR to make the best decision of which product to recommend.
  • Ad blocking has become a huge nightmare battle as the content providers have become even smarter in their detection of ad blockers. Yet what is a privacy-conscious consumer to do? The choices are not clear at all.
  • Everything has a microphone and camera built-in and even the super-liberal Engadget and I agree that consumers have no privacy left.
  • The efforts to keep hackers at bay seem trivial compared to the massive horde of bad people growing every day. It’s like endless wave of zombies attacking your stronghold. Why does convenience come at the price of security?
  • Google Assistant is broken badly on my Android phone. I asked it “remind me when I get home to wash my car” but even using my most clear voice it just wouldn’t understand me. This is supposed to make my life easier but all it did for about 2 minutes was make my blood pressure spike into unhealthy levels.
  • My Dell PowerConnect broke a few months ago, so I “upgraded” to an HP ProCurve. It has frequent issues that require me to restart devices. So I am waiting for a Juniper EX2200 to arrive from eBay.
  • I need a new Android phone but there is definitely no clear decision. Instead I’m just going one day at a time wondering if something new will be released that will be the right decision.

I wish life was simpler.