Day Two: Cambridge 

On the second day, we got a ride to Cambridge, to visit the home offices of empeg.

Our destination in Cambridge was the offices of empeg. Of course, it's not called empeg any more, that was their name before being bought by the Rio Audio division of Sonic Blue. Which went belly up recently and was again bought, this time by Digital Networks North America, the parent holding company of Denon and Marantz.

I thought the door buzzer was particularly cute. I think there's room for a few more names on there.

They're the ultimate geeks, of course, this button doesn't just make a buzzing sound upstairs, it interfaces with their network server, which pops up a systray icon on the desktops of each of their computers.
Our destination in Cambridge was the offices of empeg. Of course, it's not called empeg any more, that was their name before being bought by the Rio Audio division of Sonic Blue. Which went belly up recently and was again bought, this time by Digital Networks North America, the parent holding company of Denon and Marantz.



I thought the door buzzer was particularly cute. I think there's room for a few more names on there.



They're the ultimate geeks, of course, this button doesn't just make a buzzing sound upstairs, it interfaces with their network server, which pops up a systray icon on the desktops of each of their computers.

Rob Voisey gets ready to run a dog-slow recompile of the Rio Music Manager software because I reported a problem with creating playlists.

Perhaps I should explain what I'm doing here, for the benefit of those who are visiting this site who don't know about this side of my life. In my spare time, I'm a beta tester for Rio, the company that made the first portable MP3 player and still makes lots of cool MP3-related gadgets today. I do this for free, all I get in return is to play with all of the newest stuff before it hits the market. But there are other benefits, such as making great friends like Rob. Rob's role, as I understand it, is to be the project manager for all the audio software development for Rio.

He looks a little ragged because it's past 5:00 on the last workday of a very long week where they're trying to button down some software for something very new but still very top secret at the time of this writing. It's Thursday, but tomorrow is day one of the Fourth Annual European Empeg Owner's Meet in Holland, and much of the team is taking a three-day weekend to attend it.

I decided this year I wanted to kill two birds with one stone: See a bunch of Europe, and attend this owner's meet. So that's why we're here.

On the desk beside him is the coveted trophy for the 'worst install' competition at the owner's meet. It's a busted up Empeg Car Mark 1 that doesn't work any more.
Rob Voisey gets ready to run a dog-slow recompile of the Rio Music Manager software because I reported a problem with creating playlists.



Perhaps I should explain what I'm doing here, for the benefit of those who are visiting this site who don't know about this side of my life. In my spare time, I'm a beta tester for Rio, the company that made the first portable MP3 player and still makes lots of cool MP3-related gadgets today. I do this for free, all I get in return is to play with all of the newest stuff before it hits the market. But there are other benefits, such as making great friends like Rob. Rob's role, as I understand it, is to be the project manager for all the audio software development for Rio.



He looks a little ragged because it's past 5:00 on the last workday of a very long week where they're trying to button down some software for something very new but still very top secret at the time of this writing. It's Thursday, but tomorrow is day one of the Fourth Annual European Empeg Owner's Meet in Holland, and much of the team is taking a three-day weekend to attend it.



I decided this year I wanted to kill two birds with one stone: See a bunch of Europe, and attend this owner's meet. So that's why we're here.



On the desk beside him is the coveted trophy for the 'worst install' competition at the owner's meet. It's a busted up Empeg Car Mark 1 that doesn't work any more.

Hugo Fiennes, one of the original founders of empeg, reviews the schematic for the display board of the Rio HSX-109, in an attempt to help me solve a problem with mine. He also just got done fixing the docking station for the piece of top secret Rio hardware I brought with me. Yeah, I show up at their offices and within ten minutes I've got them all working for me.
;-)

The purpose of this photo was to show that he's got an actual Be Box on his desk, it's the PC box at the top of the picture. 

For those who don't remember, the Be OS was a startup company that attempted to create a new PC operating system from scratch, from the ground up, and do it right the first time. It was an ambitious project that fizzled due to lack of consumer interest. Too bad, too, because it really did a lot of things right. Anyway, the Be Box was an actual computer they were going to market that came with the Be OS preinstalled. I didn't think they even really existed, but there's one sitting right there.
Hugo Fiennes, one of the original founders of empeg, reviews the schematic for the display board of the Rio HSX-109, in an attempt to help me solve a problem with mine. He also just got done fixing the docking station for the piece of top secret Rio hardware I brought with me. Yeah, I show up at their offices and within ten minutes I've got them all working for me.

;-)



The purpose of this photo was to show that he's got an actual Be Box on his desk, it's the PC box at the top of the picture.



For those who don't remember, the Be OS was a startup company that attempted to create a new PC operating system from scratch, from the ground up, and do it right the first time. It was an ambitious project that fizzled due to lack of consumer interest. Too bad, too, because it really did a lot of things right. Anyway, the Be Box was an actual computer they were going to market that came with the Be OS preinstalled. I didn't think they even really existed, but there's one sitting right there.

While I'm upstairs geeking with the empeg guys, Rachel and Jenny are having fun in the rec room downstairs...
While I'm upstairs geeking with the empeg guys, Rachel and Jenny are having fun in the rec room downstairs...

One of the shelves in the empeg offices holds all the obsolete stereos that were removed from employees' cars when they installed Empeg Car stereos.
One of the shelves in the empeg offices holds all the obsolete stereos that were removed from employees' cars when they installed Empeg Car stereos.

Rob gives Patrick directions on how to get to our hotel in Cambridge. He's going to take us over there to check in and drop off our bags before we all rendevous back at the Indian restaurant for dinner.

The pins on the map are all of the pubs in Cambridge. :-)
Rob gives Patrick directions on how to get to our hotel in Cambridge. He's going to take us over there to check in and drop off our bags before we all rendevous back at the Indian restaurant for dinner.



The pins on the map are all of the pubs in Cambridge. :-)

Thursday evening's dinner at the Indian restaurant. Delicious!

From left to right: Jenny, Mark Lord (visiting from Canada), John Ripley, Patrick Arnold (invisible behind John), Rachel, Hugo Fiennes, Rob Voisey, Me, Roger Lipscombe, Peter Hartley and John Graley.
Thursday evening's dinner at the Indian restaurant. Delicious!



From left to right: Jenny, Mark Lord (visiting from Canada), John Ripley, Patrick Arnold (invisible behind John), Rachel, Hugo Fiennes, Rob Voisey, Me, Roger Lipscombe, Peter Hartley and John Graley.

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