I should confess that I am the worst kind of obsessive high-end audio weenie. Fortunately, it’s my only really expensive hobby; I distinctly prefer beer to champagne. Anyhow, this creates a problem: when you upgrade your system to get better sound, what do you do with the old stuff? High-end gear tends to last more or less forever, and unlike computers, is usually 80% as good as what you replace it with. So, I’ve used some of that stuff to cobble together a home-office system. I’m taking the audio feed out of my PowerBook via USB to a (now apparently discontinued, sigh) Stereo-Link D/A converter, then through very decent Linn interconnects to an all-tube (and very beautiful) Cary Audio Design “Rocket 88” power amp, driving a pair of the original Totem “Model One” speakers (a dozen years old now). You can bet that I’m happy that iTunes now includes a lossless music encoder; I’m going to have to go back and junk all the existing MP3s I’ve ripped and grab ’em again. Anyhow, I just had my first audio iChat talk since I got this wired up, with Paul Hoffman, on the subject of Atom and the IETF. It was astounding, remarkable, unlike any mere “telephone” experience. Had I shut my eyes and you’d told me that Paul was sitting across the desk, I would have believed you.