Daily Giz Wiz 804: Terk Audio Regulator

Episode 804 of the podcast

Terk Audio Regulator
Subject: Review of Terk Audio Regulator
Released:Thursday 9 April 2009
Length:about 16 minutes
Download file:dgw0804.mp3 (7.3 MB)

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Short info

Tone down loud television commercials with the Terk Audio Regulator.

Detailed information

Back in Episode 140, a listener wrote to Dick about the TV Volume Regulator.  Dick said he would try one out, and so he did.  Dick bought the Terk or AudioVox VR1 from heartlandamerica.com.  The VR1 works with any audio input via RCA connectors and automatically levels out the volumes of the audio so it doesn't get too loud, e.g. during a commercial break, or between different channels.  Dick finds that unfortunately it also reduces dramatic moments in a movie to a pop then a whisper. 

What's MAD got to do with a PDP8?

Kevin was listening to Security Now! Episode 177 in which Steve Gibson (whom Dick advises from time time on security matters) and Leo discussed the vintage mini-computer PDP8.  He looked it up in Wikipedia which has a photo of a PDP8 on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.  In the background of that photo is a MAD magazine with the bar code cover.  Kevin wonders what a MAD magazine is doing there.

As Dick explained back in Episode 107, for a long time MAD had resisted putting a bar code (or the Universal Product Code) on the magazine because it interfered with the design of the cover.  MAD was given a deadline by distributors to do it or the magazine would not be sold by them.  MAD had to give in, and on the first MAD issue carrying the bar code (April 1978), MAD made a giant bar code which occupied the entire cover, as a sign of protest, with the caption: "Hope this issue jams every computer in the country ..."  You can get a copy of this issue at antiqbook.com.

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