Placement can affect playback performance

This happened to me yesterday and I thought it was funny enough that others might get a kick out of it.

Friday night, my wife and I were playing boardgames and I was frustrated that my RaspberryPI+HifiBerry AMP was struggling to play music. Worse, it was just not responsive. I’d try to stop playback and it would keep playing until it dropped out again. Then 5 minutes later it would start playing again. This went on for sometime until I unplugged it. I couldn’t even access the web interface to turn on ssh so I could shut it down from the command line.

next day, I plugged it back in. By now I figured the microSD card had gotten corrupted and would need to be re-imaged. After a couple aborted attempts at getting to the ssh interface to make a backup, I gave up and unplugged it again.

I opened the cupboard with our spices and baking ingredients and moved the bottles and jars around to uncover my Pi. “This is heavy,” I thought to myself pulling up a big canister of sicilian salt flakes and that’s when it dawned on me.

“How long has this been here?” I asked my wife, vaguely remembering her doing some rearranging in that cupboard a couple of days earlier.

“Oh, forever, I don’t know.”

“But… like, how long has it been exactly right here?” I pressed.

“I dunno. Why?”

at this point I’m laughing. Salt, being a mineral, is probably radio opaque. The canister was positioned right in front of my Pi blocking all the signal to the tiny inadequate antenna. A literal pillar of salt.

So! Next time some crazy audiophile tells you that “placement is important,” you should give them the benefit of the doubt.

Here’s salt in your pi! Seasons greetings.

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