Monitoring Line In on a Mac

Drivel 1 Comment »

At work I use a combination of Mac OS X (Tiger) and a Windows XP laptop (mainly for developing web applications running in a Linux environment — go figure). I currently use Synergy to share the keyboard and mouse on my Mac with my XP machine. This really is an awesome program. It can be a pain to setup on non-windows machines, but it’s well worth the time and effort. I plug my headphones into my PC for mail and instant message notifications and to listen to music. My problem arises when I’m doing something on my Mac and I come across something that I want to listen to. I could blast it over the built in speakers, but I’d prefer to not have other office inhabitants loathing me.

I finally took the time to get a 1/8″ male to male stereo cable to connect the two audio systems together. At first I connected the headphone out of the Mac to my line in of my laptop. This worked fine, but the SNR on the laptop of the line in port wasn’t all that great. I wasn’t about to pollute my ears with the subtle sounds of a hissing cat. I decided to reverse the process: the output of the laptop goes to the line in of the Mac. Perfect — I play the sound on my PC, and I see the meter pumping in the sound settings. But I can’t hear a darn thing! Apparently, an out of the box Mac cannot route the line in port to the ouput.

After a few minutes of “Googling”, I found LineIn. This allows you to take any input and assign it to any output. Go figure. At least it’s freeware.

Housing Woes

Shelter 3 Comments »

When I took my current position in San Francisco, I was living in Stockton. It was clear that I needed to move closer to the job in order to make the position work on a daily, ongoing basis. Since my wife works in Manteca, we needed to be in a location that allowed me to get to head west towards SF and my wife east towards the valley. We ended up in Livermore, CA. This put my commute at 1hr 45mins, and my wife’s at 30-45mins. As our current lease is expiring at the end of April, we’re actively researching other places to live.

Enter Castro Valley. We’ve driven around there for a while looking at rental prices as well as home prices. It is a beautiful town, but the majority of it is older residential areas. There does not seem to be too much to do in terms of shopping and entertainment. It seems as if we’d need to go into San Leandro to get anything done. Yet these days it seems as San Leandro has a worse rap than Oakland in terms of crime rates. My wife is friends with a police dispatcher who works in the area. She relates many horrible stories that she’s heard of the area. Although her viewpoint may be skewed a little bit, San Leandro wouldn’t have such a bad stigma about it if the crime rate was low.

My wife and I do plan to raise some sort of humanoid life form, perhaps even multiple, and the time is now to begin thinking of the best places to live to provide a safe environment for our family. I think the days of being able to live in your house and not lock your door are forever gone. However, there still remain places that don’t make you wonder if you’re going to get jumped when going to the mall.

Therefore, we have stricken Castro Valley from our viable community list. We’re now back to the Dublin/Pleasanton area. Now if we could only afford a house.

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