Caldigit TS3 Plus Audio Jack and Spotify

Jan 12 2024 update: Zoom is definitely triggering the issue. Turning off the EQ in spotify has solved it for Spotify. I think when Zoom is trying to aggressively process audio it can sometimes trigger the issue across the system. Leaving the zoom call fixes it. As near as I can tell there isn’t a way to adjust Zoom’s settings to fix it.

Dec 19 2023 update: Zoom seems to trigger this issue somehow.

Currently attempting a fix by disabling the equalizer in Spotify. Will update this post if that doesn’t work.

This is one of those “blog about it to save someone else the hassle later on”: I use the Caldigit TS3+ dock with my M1 macbook(s) and have had a persistent issue with audio playback slowly becoming garbled and distorted when listening to music in Spotify. For whatever reason it seems that selecting a different audio source and then going back to the Caldigit one fixes it for a while.If I plug the audio cable directly into my macbook it never seems to have a problem.

The actual audio input shows up as a USB 3.0 device in System Report called: “Caldigit Thunderbolt 3 Audio”.

It also seems to effect Zoom, although I haven’t determined if that’s because Spotify is also open at the same time Zoom is open.

Something I discovered today buried in a forum is that the Spotify Equalizer might be a problem. I’m going to disable that and see how it goes for a few weeks. An hour in and it seems to be doing better.

Do you have any thoughts on programs or stacks for learning web development?

A friend asked me this recently and I wanted to capture my response. I’m curious to look back on it in a few years to see what will have changed.

Assuming they want to work on the web: there’s a few primary categories of programming computers you need to know about:

  • Command Line
  • Scripting language (with a backend focus)
  • Database
  • HTML, CSS, and plain ol’ JS
  • Frontend framework
  • Version Control
  • Hosting

I do think it’s important to understand a little bit of everything above. Even if, say, you end up as a front-end engineer you’ll be happy if you know about databases. Likewise back-end engineers should understand how all those services they’re writing will be used to present that information to the end user.

Command Line

If I could go back in time I would take a whole class on the command line. The reality is that you’ll be using it every day and without understanding the basics a lot of other parts of coding will just not make sense. Plus, it’s useful to understand what you _can_ do on the command line since sometimes that’s the best place to do your work.

Oh, and learn just enough Vim to open a file, make a change, and save it.

Backend Scripting

Some sort of backend scripting language. JavaScript could be an answer! Python is another strong choice. It used to be PHP and still is if depending on your company. What you use here will probably change at some point in your career so don’t get too attached. The core idea here is that you can use this language to do “backend things” like changing data in the database, or processing files, etc.


A relational database of some sort. MySQL or PostgreSQL. If you get into this it goes deep, but to start with you just need to understand how to make some databases, tables, and data.

Front End

HTML, CSS, Javascript

You should have some foundation of how to put a page together using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. All frontend frameworks are just fancy ways of using these basic tools. My soapbox rant is that we’ve lost sight of that in the web world. You need essentially nothing to get text on a page at a domain name!

Frontend Framework

In 2023 I would recommend React. In 2024 it will probably be something else. The concepts should, mostly, transfer easily to whatever the next thing is. Get used to pining for some feature of some other framework. Get used to conversations about frameworks that start with “I’ve heard good things about…”

Version Control

Git. You don’t need to start with version control, but as soon as you can you should start implementing it into your workflow. If you work with other people you HAVE to use version control otherwise you’ll end up losing work or reinventing a worse version of Git in dropbox (ask me how I know!)


You can make all of this work on your local computer, but the magic is putting it somewhere else and seeing it work elsewhere. There’s a deep rabbit hole here. Pick a cheap host and figure out how to get it live. You do not need to dive into AWS/Azure/Cloud infrastructure right now. You will need to later on!

What about Bootcamps?

If they want to go to a bootcamp the answer to “Which boot camp is best?” is constantly shifting. I would ask very recent graduates (as in: graduated in the past year) if they would recommend it. I certainly wouldn’t go to a bootcamp that doesn’t have a money back guarantee or some sort of job placement scheme. Your goal with a bootcamp is to get enough knowledge to land your first job. Everything you do in that bootcamp should be oriented around that goal.


I’ve been making websites for years and years and there’s still so much left to learn and everything is changing constantly. Getting comfortable with learning (or just being confused) is a key part of the job. The reward is that when you get things working the feeling is amazing. There’s just a lot of times where it’s not and that’s okay!

DuPage County Hardcore

There was a surprisingly robust hardcore music scene in the extremely suburban county I grew up in. I was never fully in that world for a lot of reasons; however, I hung out on the periphery and have a fondness for it.

Recently I ran across the work by Dave Hofer to digitize the music and video from that time period. It’s amazing to me just how much of that exists! This was before the ubiquity of cell phones and digital cameras. Apparently a lot of people thought to record what was going on and I’m sure I rolled my eyes at this effort back then and now I’m very glad for it.

Hofer’s youtube channel is full of concert videos and it’s wild to watch these. The music is often unlistenable (a really “you had to be there” sort of sound), but seeing glimpses of people I knew back in the day having a lot of fun playing music or just jumping around is delightful.

Strength in Numbers

I quickly scanned through this video and while I don’t think I was at this concert I was definitely at similar show in that basement for Strength in Numbers. As a parent I have to admit I’m a little alarmed at all these kids throwing elbows in a finished basement. That said, I also not-so-secretly hope my kids do the same someday:

A Stand for a Card and a Deck

Made this stand to display a single card from the Inquire Within Oracle Deck. There’s a slot to hold the deck in its box and a slot to hold the card.

My wife puts a card out every once in a while and this one hit me hard. I have not been woodworking much lately because I’ve been waiting for a “perfect” project to work on rather than just doing it for the joy of it.

Woodworking is not really “worth” my time. In just about every situation I’d save money and time by buying something off the shelf. But! That’s not the point.

Also, like, you can’t easily buy whatever it is that I made. I don’t even have a proper noun to refer to it.

Maybe if you had that noun in hand you could search and find something like this, but this one? You can’t buy this one.


I cut the board to length and width the bandsaw from a scrap I had on hand. The slots were made custom to the deck and card. For the mortise I drilled out most of it with a forstner bit and then finished it with a chisel. To add stability and protection I added leather.

The card slot was carefully done with the same chisel. Draw a line and then put the chisel upright and smack it hard. The bevel on the chisel helped with the “resting” angle of the card. And, for kicks, I put a slight chamfer on the front edge with hand plane.

Finish is simply paste wax because the point of a stand is not the stand.

iPhone audio not working on a 2015 Mazda5

If your iPhone isn’t working with your Mazda5 the fix might be as simple as adding a song to your Music library. On a Mac I needed to do this by plugging the phone into my computer and choosing an album to sync to my phone. Once I did that everything else I cared about on my phone started to work with the car: Spotify and Overcast. I was ready to replace the stereo in our car before a kind person in the Mazda5 Owner’s Worldwide Facebook group mentioned this as a potential fix.

I believe the car will start auto playing the first track in your library whenever it starts. While I love the Chrono Trigger soundtrack I might change it out for some tracks of pure silence.

To be determined is why this works. The Mazda5 is old enough that when you plug in an iPhone it puts it in “iPod” mode. I’m guessing that Apple sets Music as the default audio app in iOS. If there’s nothing in there the car must not have a way to otherwise query the phone for an audio source. If anyone has a definitive answer I’d love to hear it!

Small Box For Beach Treasures

On Friday we went to the beach in Port Huron, MI and my daughter collected rocks and shells. The rest of the weekend I worked on making a small box for her to keep those treasures in. Final dimensions came out to about 3.25”x2.25”x2”. Materials were white oak and Titebond III. Finished with three-ish coats of shellac buffed to a satin finish with steel wool.

Pictures taken in every woodworking project’s natural environment: outside in the grass on top of a scrap of figured walnut.

A small box is much harder than a big box.

The boards for this were resawn on the band saw from a single piece of scrap wood and then planed down to roughly 1/4″ on a thickness planer. I wanted crisp mitered corners, but the small pieces kept tearing out on the table saw and, frankly, I was closer to the blade than I wanted to be for those cuts, so I settled for simple butt joints. Now that it’s all together I quite like the look of the exposed end grain all around it.

You make boxes like this by gluing it all up as a solid rectangular cuboid (aka “a box”) and then cut around four edges to pop the lid off. Cutting the lid off is moderately harrowing; however, the upshot is you get continuous grain from the base to the lid and that makes woodworkers happy.

After the lid was free there was another hour or two pairing down high spots and squaring everything up with a sharp chisel. Then another hour or two hand sanding everything smooth from 100-220.

The little jagged tabs that align the lid and let it stay snugly in place were made by snapping some offcuts off with a pair of pliers and then artfully sanding them down. It’s a fun look and gives the design some teeth. It’s very satisfying to pop the lid on and off. And you can fit the box in the upturned lid as well. An unintended affordance, but delightful!

A Dad Goal of mine is that my kids grow up with little handmade curiosities like this littered about the house. My daughter smiled when I gave it to her and said “I’m going to put it in my room!”

Front Garden

We had A2 Garden Guides design and landscape our front yard and it looks SO much better! Super happy with it:

And here’s the map they drew for us of what is what. This is really useful because our kiddo keeps asking us the names of things:



Varieties ‘Hino Crimson’, ‘Boursault’, ‘Gaiety’.


PJM Elite’


Mt St. Helen’


Hydrangea are shrubs grown for the large globes of flowers in the summer that dry and give winter interest. Varieties ‘Annabelle’ and variety unknown.


Variety ‘Jeanne”


We rounded out your hosta collection with a few more.


Shade plant with striking foliage.


Shade plant with feathery leaves and flowers.

Bleeding Heart

Late spring bloomer of pink and white heart-shaped flowers in a line on tendrils.


Variety ‘Globe.’ Evergreen with soft flat fronds.


Viburnum mariesii is a shrub with white puffs of flowers.


Amalanchier (common name Serviceberry) is a native shrub that produces white flowers in spring and edible red/black berries in June.


Oakleaf Hydrangea ‘Peewee’ are shrubs grown for the large globes of flowers in the summer that dry and give winter interest.


Low growing evergreen provides winter interest.

Solomon Seal

Shade plant with white bell flowers.


Carex pensylvanica is native to Michigan.

Strawberry flat

These are strawberries cultivated for eating, so make sure they stay well mulched to prevent rotten fruit. They will spread over the whole area.

Mulch (Hardwood)

Hardwood mulch is medium to dark brown, and will fade to a lighter brown after about a year. Thick applications will last 2 years.

Holly-tone (50lb)

Organic, natural fertilizer for acid-loving plants.

Plant-tone (50lb)

Organic, natural fertilizer to “ensure superior plant growth.”


Ribes americana is a native shrub with edible black berries.