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Windows 10 upgrade–a bunch of thoughts and experiences

Filed under: infrastructure,software,Windows — 2015-11-29 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2016-06-28 by Richard L. Hess

Here is a rambling discussion of my experiences and thoughts on the Windows 10 upgrade experience. I am now happy that I’ve done it. I’m still learning about it, but work is progressing with few (if any) glitches. Cutting to the chase: a worthwhile upgrade at the right price with few downsides. (more…)

“All your files are just where you left them” EXCEPT the ones in AppData (Win 10 rebuild)

Filed under: software,Windows — 2016-03-23 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2016-03-23 by Richard L. Hess

I had a bit of an issue with a Win10 upgrade from Win7 for my wife’s laptop. Nothing short of a full reload of Win10 would stop FileExplorer from resetting and restarting every few seconds. This did not allow me to use Control Panel, either. Settings worked.

So, it told me that it removed Thunderbird and Firefox.

It ALSO removed all the AppData files (like all of her email). (more…)

Taming Windows 10 File Explorer

Filed under: Windows — 2015-11-30 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2015-11-30 by Richard L. Hess

Here, now you can have the benefit of a day’s research and tweaking.

Windows 10 File Explorer provides vast quantities of information that can, at times, be overwhelming.

My goal here was to simplify the interface and provide only what I needed. There was lots of good help on the Web and many options. This is what I decided to do, at least for my five machines. Fortunately, much of this is the same from Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, so there is lots of documentation out there, but it’s not all in one place. Here’s my attempt. I WILL BE USING REGISTRY MODIFICATIONS. IF YOU ARE NOT COMFORTABLE DOING THIS, THEN DO NOT DO IT. Make a backup. There are other ways of making things work if you wish to take a different approach, but I will leave that exercise to you. YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN. I cannot help you if things go awry. I have tested this on two desktops.

Cyber Tweaking

Filed under: networking — 2014-09-20 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2014-09-20 by Richard L. Hess

There were a few functions that were not operating as well as I had hoped in the home network now that we have DSL and Cable again and two VOIP telephone lines, one configured per incoming service.

Since we have double NAT which is generally a bad thing, I needed a work around to fix NTP time updates that had broken. This did the trick on the main router (downstream of the modem/routers). Note that I’ve added this to the Connection Hub (DSL Modem/Router) as well.


And while on the subject of router tricks, this port forwarding scheme was suggested by TekSavvy to keep the VOIP Adapter working well on a SageMCom wired port.


Mouse alternative … the graphics tablet

Filed under: computer/data,tools — 2013-10-30 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2013-10-30 by Richard L. Hess

When I made a 30th anniversary photo book to give my wife, I nearly killed my mouse hand working in Lightroom. Also, a mouse is a difficult way to do fine adjustments of the cursor. (more…)

Open Source software…and other tools

Filed under: education,software,tools — 2011-01-01 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2013-02-15 by Richard L. Hess

I have been having a lot of fun recently looking for specific software tools that avoid having to purchase multiple licenses of the high-priced programs. Here are a list of my picks of free and low-cost software tools. I am sticking with Samplitude Professional for audio and Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for photo-graphics. The other alternatives, however, are wide open. (more…)

File backup strategy and utilities

Filed under: data storage,infrastructure,tools — 2008-07-25 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2012-05-19 by Richard L. Hess

My storage systems have grown to keep up with storage needs. I am currently running two NAS units in RAID-5:

Unit #1 for client audio projects is a Netgear ReadyNAS NV+ with four 1500 GB drives, providing about 4.3 TiB of storage.

Unit #2 for personal projects and general data is a Thecus N5200 Pro with five 1000 GB drives, providing about 3.6 TiB of storage.

These two units are then duplicated off-site and connected by a fibre optic link (currently running at 100 Mb/s while the rest of the network is running at 1000 Mb/s).


Data storage options — small scale

Filed under: computer/data — 2006-03-07 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2012-01-05 by Richard L. Hess

Large-scale, enterprise-class storage is using combinations of both disc and tape. LTO tape appears to be growing more than any other format.

What is described in this article is obsolete in a large part. Please see the Data Storage category for current thinking.

For those of us who are working at a much smaller scale, I have provided references on what I do for fairly robust storage on a budget. Please see these two attachments: description and map. It shows a unified (I hope) approach useful to small archives and businesses. (more…)

Obsolete data formats

Filed under: archive operations,audio,computer/data,history,video — 2011-11-22 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2011-11-23 by Richard L. Hess

This is a reminder that data formats come and go just like audio and video formats. On this, the 48th anniversary of the JFK assassination, this article was posted at the Library of Congress website. It talks about first locating and then converting research data held on IBM 80-column punch cards. I remember working with those my first summer job back in 1967! I guess I have a penchant for obsolete formats, as I learned a good deal about IBM’s unit record equipment, including the amazing 407 (introduced in 1949). That certainly was not as useful as knowing about analog tape now.

The punch cards were found and converted. This is a much happier fate than that suffered by the original IRIG 14-track 1-inch tapes of the Apollo Moon Walk from 1969! I am currently digitizing 14-track 1-inch seismic tapes surrounding the Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980. (more…)

Open Source software…and other tools II

Filed under: education,software,tools — 2011-03-01 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2011-06-30 by Richard L. Hess

This is the second installment of my open-ended quest for great software. The previous (and inaugural) article is here.

The excitement is that the current version of LibreOffice has removed a good deal of the startup sluggishness. While still not as fast as MS Office 2003, remember with LibreOffice, you are starting the whole suite essentially. There is an option to load it at startup, which I do not use. (more…)

Another NAS contender…

Filed under: computer/data,data storage — 2010-11-03 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2010-11-03 by Richard L. Hess

revised 9:15 AM to add Synology

I was reading some additional NAS discussion on a photography list serve and was introduced to yet another NAS vendor that deserves consideration, QNAP. They appear to have wide distribution in North America (I found two online retailers that list them, CDW.CA and While the comparison was made to the Drobo products in the discussion I saw, these products appear to be similar in pricing and quality to Thecus and Netgear and offer some interesting options. Thecus units are more difficult to obtain, but Netgear units are also available at the two online dealers listed for QNAP. Yet another name just came up in the discussion, Synology. QNAP, Synology, and Thecus are all headquartered in Taiwan, while Netgear is headquartered in the U.S.


IASA TC04 Guidelines on the Production and Preservation of Digital Audio Objects available online.

Filed under: archival practices,cassettes,computer/data,digital,education,history,reels,Tape Aging — 2010-10-08 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2010-10-08 by Richard L. Hess

The International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA) has released their landmark Guidelines on the Production and Preservation of Digital Audio Objects as a free web (HTML) edition, available here.

I provided some information for the listing of tape equalizations, and I find the compiled table (here) most useful.

Thanks to Kevin Bradley and the IASA team for their work in making this available. If you want a PDF copy, join IASA and it’s available.

MD5 Checksums bring peace of mind

Filed under: archival practices,data storage — 2008-05-04 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2009-11-03 by Richard L. Hess

If you ever worry about a bit error happening to your files and not finding out about it, you should use MD5 checksums (or some similar method) to be able to verify that the file has not changed.

The general theory behind a checksum (or “Message Digest” = “MD”) is that it provides a unique 128-bit number for each and every file, based on its content. If one bit changes, the MD5 checksum (sometimes called “hash”) changes. The checksum is repeatable, does not permit discovery of two different files that produce the same checksum, and is non-reversible (i.e. you can’t create the content from the checksum). (more…)

Zoom H2 line input

Filed under: archival practices,computer audio,live sound and recording,recording/mastering — 2009-04-13 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2009-07-27 by Richard L. Hess

The Zoom H2 HandyCorder is perhaps the lowest-cost digital recorder on the market that provides reasonable and useful results. While I have a Sound Devices 722 for my more serious work, I bought the Zoom to test it out to see if it could be part of a simple tape digitization system for archives on a budget who wish to do the work themselves. It does this reasonably well.

As with much equipment–and especially with lower-cost equipment–the performance specifications and the actual operational data is not published. There are reports of the H2 clipping on the line inputs in some of the reviews and it appears that a lack of understanding how the inputs were configured exacerbated that situation.

There is nothing wrong with the line inputs on the H2. BUT there are some caveats: (more…)

40th Anniversary of Apollo 11 Moonwalk and the loss of data

Filed under: archival practices,data storage,history,oral history,video — 2009-07-17 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2009-07-17 by Richard L. Hess

There has been much discussion over the last few years about finding and saving original tapes of the Apollo 11 Moonwalk videos downlinked from the moon. There is also an exciting project going on to restore and digitize the Lunar Orbiter tapes from more than 40 years ago.

The Lunar Orbiter tape digitization folks have just posted a commentary that bears reading by all archivists who are holding tapes. You may link to it here. The main site is

NASA, in their press conference yesterday held at The Newseum, admitted that the original 14-track 1-inch instrumentation (IRIG) tapes that contained the slow-scan video direct from the moon were most likely recycled and reused for later missions. Apparently, over 350,000 reels of instrumentation tape were recycled by NASA over time. No one apparently thought to preserve the 45-odd reels of the original moon walk. (more…)

An unorthodox dual-WAN approach

Filed under: networking — 2009-03-12 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2009-03-12 by

Since moving to Aurora in the fall of 2004, and going into audio tape restoration full-time, I have struggled with the correct mix of connectivity. My rather unique needs require that I have upload speeds as fast as reasonably possible. (more…)

ARSC Journal Tape Degradation article available online

Filed under: archive operations,audio,computer/data,Tape Aging,video — 2009-01-03 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2009-01-03 by

My paper on “Tape Degradation Factors and Challenges in Predicting Tape Life” that was published in the Fall 2008 issue of the ARSC Journal is now available online. Click here.

DSS and other compressed digital files in an oral history archive

Filed under: archival practices,computer audio,dss — 2006-08-17 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2008-06-03 by

With budget limitations, it appears that oral histories are being recorded with little thought to their long-term preservation. While this appears to have been the case in the past as well, with purchasing agents buying the cheapest white-box tape that they could find, continuing this into the digital age needs to be reconsidered.

The cost savings in using bargain-basement digital speech recorders are offset by the labour required to reformat these files upon their receipt by an archive and also the fidelity of the recording suffers, and with fidelity, intelligibility also suffers.

DSS was an industry standard agreed upon by Olympus, Grundig, and Philips in 1994. (more…)

Hard disk formats for interchange

Filed under: data storage,storage-care-handling,tools — 2008-02-03 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2008-06-03 by

The question of how to format hard disks (i.e. what file system to use on them) for easy interchange is another FAQ. A recent experience brought home the fact that it is more complex than one might hope. The computer industry is headed towards universal readability, but it is not there yet. The most-able-to-be-read-and-written format appears to be FAT32, although my friend Eric Jacobs makes the point that NTFS is a more robust hard disk file system, and I have to agree. (more…)

Digital storage file systems and topologies

Filed under: archival practices,audio,data storage,video — 2008-03-04 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2008-04-15 by

Once again, an interesting post on Jill Hurst-Wahl’s Digitization 101 Blog. She started by discussing tape backup issues. In the comments, I discussed my solution of using multiple spinning disks. Another commenter, Ike, provided an extensive review of file system options and his opinions on what works (and doesn’t) for long-term storage. Ike’s comment is fascinating and has lots of food for thought. Here is the post. (more…)

How to archive recordings — a quick guide to resources on this site

Filed under: archival practices,cassettes,computer audio,digital,recording/mastering,reels — 2006-03-15 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2006-03-20 by

You’ve been asked to digitize recordings in your collection and don’t have any idea where to start. There are  several resources on this site which might be of use.  

What I use is shown on my facility page. That\’s one of the main reasons it is there. If I’m using it, it’s because I like it or it solves a problem for me. If I’m not using it, either I don’t have an opinion about it, won’t spring for it, or don’t like it. (more…)


Filed under: archive operations,audio,computer/data,digital,infrastructure,reels,tools — 2006-03-06 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2006-03-20 by

I have made a variety of static pages for my tape restoration Web site, but thought it was time to add a more user-friendly, article-based location to discuss various topics, tools, tricks, and techniques that I have come across in various ways.

What is easier to use than ready-made BLOG software, so I guess Richard is finally Blogging!

I hope you like this and find it of interest. Please let me know of any changes or topics you might like addressed.


Note: This post has been put in every top-level category because it appears that a post is needed in each top-level category if the sub-categories are to be visible.

Note 2: The Tips  & Notes blog and the  Formats & Resources  static pages of this  sub-site replace the Tips and Resources static pages on the Web site. And, there is integrated searching across both the blog articles and the static pages.

Computer audio interfacing

Filed under: computer audio — Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2006-03-14 by

It just came to my attention that computer architecture is transitioning from the PCI interface to the PCI Express interface.

This supports my contention that Firewire (IEEE 1394) and USB 2.0 are the preferred methods for connecting high-quality, high-resolution audio interfaces to computers.

While I have two RME Multifaces (the original, not the Multiface IIs shown in the link) that use dedicated PCI cards, this means that if I purchase a new computer with a PCI Express interface, I’ll have to purchase two new PCI Express interface cards for the RME Multifaces — and hope that RME makes it at the time I need it. Many users have expressed satisfaction with their Digital Audio Labs CardDeluxe.

This sounds a lot like the Zefiro Acoustics ZA-2  ISA card that is languishing in a Dell Dimension XPS PII 333 MHz machine.

My recent foray into an audio interface via IEEE 1394 was the MOTU 828 MK II. So far, I am happy and it’s finding uses in the studio as well as the remote notebook-centric applications I originally acquired it for.

I would think that a good audio interface might last longer than a good PC, so consider this approach.

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