solarbird: (molly-content)

The Raptor has this huge cargo area in two-seater mode, larger than that of all but the largest SUVs. It’s also got a three-seat mode, which might actually be useful, as well as four and five (if one person is small) modes. Three-seat mode will be particularly useful for Leannan Sidhe gigs, since that’s usually a three-person band, and we’ll still have quite decent room for cargo in that configuration.

The vehicle comes with a cargo-area tray for all-seats configuration (again, in theory five, really four adults), but you can’t even buy something specifically made for two-seat mode. Even most universal cargo-area liners simply aren’t big enough, which is hilarious – all these SUV toys being too small for my Honda Fit Raptor, lol – but I found a one that was, and stared modifying it.

Pictures below the break…

Read the rest of this entry »

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solarbird: boring bit (boring bit)

I’ve set up a redirect so that mobile users going to the front page from outside the site will, by default, go to the mobile version. But unlike with the blog (where I can’t do this because reasons), you can actually and properly exit to the desktop view – there’s a link at the bottom of the mobile page to do it.

It’s the same mobile version as the one you’d get by default if you went to the blog on mobile, so there’s not really much new. But I didn’t want to have to add a “go to mobile” link on the front page or anything, so this seemed like an adequate solution for now.

Anyway, if you’re curious:

Browser-dependent: http://crimeandtheforcesofevil.com

Forced desktop: http://crimeandtheforcesofevil.com/index

Mobile front page: http://crimeandtheforcesofevil.com/blog/mobile-home

That’s not perfect because the mobile front page will be shown as a desktop blog page but with mobile content if you go there from desktop, because again reasons.

Next version won’t do that sort of foolishness, but that can wait a couple of years – I hope!

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solarbird: (korra-grar)

The old record label system isn’t stupid. It’s surviving only on artificial scarcity at this point, but it isn’t stupid. Never forget that.

They’ve been working with Google/YouTube over their new music streaming service. It’s a big change, and there’s a lot going on – and it was negotiated with the Big Four labels on their terms. That’s never good. Zoë Keating‘s post is going around, and is well worth reading. SJ Tucker – in our release show on Sunday – is looking for ideas. Hell, so am I.

But for now, what you need to know is that Google is telling indie musicians that they have one of two options:

  1. Take their new deal, which includes things like “ads always on every video,” “YouTube is a required point of first release” (not exclusive first release, but no more crowdfunding rewards going out first), “complete catalogue required,” “five year contract,” and so on, or
  2. Have your channel blocked and all your music deleted from the service.

Now, there is a caveat here: this refers to artists who participate in the ContentID programme, which gets them a share of royalties for uses of their music, as is more or less required by law. If you want to forfeit that money, then you can continue to be Some Random Youtuber, but at that point you’re just handing YouTube all that money that’s owed to you, and none of the infrastructure that’s built up around YouTube music will work for you. That’s not really a bonus.

For the record, even with all those downsides, that’s how I’m currently set up. I have been thinking of changing that, however. But to do that, I have to deal with this new ring of hell, and it’s a pretty good strike against crowdfunding and indie/self-funded artists. And against anyone who wants control over their how their work is released and to whom.

One thing I’m seeing is a lot of people commenting with variations on, “Fuck ‘em! They aren’t worth your time!” Except that the last numbers I saw had YouTube at about 70% of online music plays. That data is a few years old now, but Pandora was already huge, and even with that, it was still All About YouTube.

I’m sure that number has moved around a bit. Soundcloud wasn’t as big then, for example. But I don’t imagine it’s an overwhelming shift – and there are all these newer music streaming and DJ systems which use YouTube as their infrastructure, to balance it. It’s why Google are pushing this new system: to make money off of all of that.

So yes, you absolutely can ignore 70% of the online market or whatever it is. But that’s a serious decision, and not even a little bit the “no-brainer” that people seem to think. It’s just not.

Honestly, I don’t have a good answer. There’s a suggested hack floating around in comment sections – starting a little company that is separate to but controlled by the artist, having that company sign up for the service, and only leasing some of your work to that company, and then that company leases all of its music to YouTube. It’s clever. It might be legally viable. It’s certainly an extra layer of expense, trouble, and time, and having to do that kind of hack is certainly yet another barrier to entry to new musicians.

Which is, of course, exactly what the labels want.
 
 


This is Part Ten of Music in the Post-Scarcity Environment, a series of essays about, well, what it says on the tin. In the digital era, duplication is essentially free and there are no natural supply constraints which support scarcity, and therefore, prices. What the hell does a recording musician do then?

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solarbird: (molly-computer-all-lit-up)

I may have spent my Sunday off – my first day off in like three weeks – debugging UNIVAC Star Trek game code that was ported to TRS-80 Level II BASIC some decades ago. That may be a thing that happened.

(Well, I found some bugs. No, I did. One crashing! That doesn’t happen anymore. Also, now if you enter your name wrong, instead of hanging, it names you Captain Dunsel. It seemed appropriate.)

Here, have a copy of the audiocassette. Or a printout, if you’d prefer that. 16K required.

Did you know Level II BASIC’s built-in programme editor was based heavily on TECO? I feel a bit like Scarf Doctor stumbling across Shemp Doctor’s TARDIS console room and tin whistle. Or maybe it’s kind of like I spent Sunday afternoon flossing out my brain. For SCIENCE! Or something.

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solarbird: (molly-oooooh)

I need this. I need it like burning. It’s a device that basically turns anything, and I mean anything, into a percussion instrument.


Including the coffee cup.

I see how it’s made and I’m kind of thinking, y’know, maybe I should build that.

Then again, maybe I should stop adding new projects and finish ones I’ve already started. Maybe that.

(Thanks to Klopfenpop for the link.)

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solarbird: (molly-computer-all-lit-up)

Thank you very, very much to everybody who threw data at me during the XP-to-Windows 8.1 migration, particularly dw:dreamatdrew for all the back-and-forth on Dreamwidth, which was critical. Thank you.

A few impressions about the process:

  1. Win8.1 handles multimonitor really pretty well. It has bad data about one of my cards or monitors (not sure) which means I can’t run one at best resolution yet. I’m hoping to find a way to override that. But otherwise, it’s really good, and the whole weird-tiles-UI thing works a lot better when you have one monitor where you’re actually working, and another where you’re sometimes desktop-working and sometimes letting the tiles live there. It’s much less crazy that way.
     

     
  2. There are no circumstances under which software on the compatible list should require this kind of misadventure to install. I should not be downloading hax0r toys from GitHub to make it work. One of the other commenters on the thread called the process “Linux-like” which … is about right.
     
  3. Awwww, QBASIC doesn’t work anymore! XD
     

     
  4. 8.1 is convinced nothing is plugged into my front sound output jacks, so won’t play to them. I eventually figured out it would let me use the back sound output jacks, even though it specifically said to use the front ones. WHY ARE THEY EVEN DIFFERENT?
     
  5. Adventures in Open Source Documentation: the official support docs told me to install a package which no longer exists, and the live discs for which it does exist don’t start correctly on my machine, because who even knows. Something about my graphics cards and startx buggering off, it’s ugly. But I managed to manually boot via the grub command line and get enough installed under 12.04 LTS on my hard drive that boot-repair could run and FWOOM! We’re off.

That wasn’t so bad, now, was it? Well, okay, it was. But everything survived, and I didn’t even have to use the backup images I made earlier in the day! Any landing you can walk away from is better than an OS upgrade.

Anyway, I did indeed get it done, a new backup is running now, which means making it just under the wire for another hammer dulcimer recording session. Not the last day of that; there’ll be one more brief session in early June. Talking of, got to go get ready for that.

Don’t forget to stop running XP! Even if it leads to adventures like this, it’s better than what’ll happen with XP on the net after support ends.

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solarbird: (utena)

Seriously, that’s what this is, more or less. Da Vinci took a hurdy gurdy and designed a huge one that goes all the way down to cello range, and set it up to be shaped like a harpsichord. He called it a “viola organista,” but it’s basically a giant hurdy gurdy.

Da Vinci never built his design, but Slawomir Zubrzycki has:

That’s… pretty awesome, actually. ^_^

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solarbird: (molly-thats-not-good-green)

UPDATED: See below.

Okay, so the latest: we’re pretty sure this is not actually xorg now. We’re back to session saves. Not I/O in general: specifically session saves, which is to say, saving the entire project.

See, the every two-minutes thing turned out to be a new feature in Ardour I hadn’t noticed: scheduled auto-saves, which turned out to be… every two minutes. Saves also happen whenever you enable master record, which is the other time I see it. So we’re pretty damn sure it’s Save Session.

We know it’s not I/O in general. Recording is actually far more I/O intensive, and once record is enabled and the save process is done, you can record all you want to without any problems. Bouncing existing material is also a complete nonissue.

It’s also not a filesystem issue: it happens even with RAMdisk, which is faster than anything else. And the behaviour reproduces itself perfectly on my non-USB on-motherboard Intel HD Audio card, so it’s not USB.

Now, to get into more details, I’ve gone digging deep into Ardour source code. BUT I HAVE AN IDEA, so bear with me.

In the source code, most of save happens in libs/ardour/session_state.cc

Save works fine when plugins are deactivated but triggers XRUNs – which means buffer overflows due to more than 100% digital signal processing capability (DSP) is available – when plugins are active.

That’s any kind of plugin, and it doesn’t seem to matter how few.

Save session calls a lot of things including get_state(), which in turn gets latency data from plugins via (eventually) latency_compute_run(), the code for which is the same! in both lv2 and ladspa plugin interfaces.

latency_compute_run() calculates the latency by actually running the plugin. Not a copy: it runs in place the actual plugin that’s in use.

This is all in here:
libs/ardour/lv2_plugin.cc
libs/ardour/ladspa_plugin.cc

latency_compute_run() activates the plugin even if it’s already activated (!) then deactivates it on exit (which I guess is stacked somehow because they don’t deactivate in Ardour itself) and runs a second thread on the same instance of the plugin. (Presumably, because how else I guess?)

This strikes me as a minefield.

And so, an hypothesis: this is causing the hyperthreading predictive Intel cpu I have to retrace because of bad prediction and/or bad hyperthreading.

Penalty for this in Intel land is large, and I have seen commentary to the effect that it is large in the Intel Core series I have. I suspect that the two versions of the active plugin may be continually invalidating each other(!) for the duration of the latency test. It may even be causing the on-chip cache to be thrown out.

This would explain why it stops being an issue when the plugin is not active.

Thoughts?

ETA: Brent over on Facebook pointed me at this 5-year-old bug, which led me to try fencing Ardour off to a single CPU. And when I do that… the problem goes away. Now, this sounds terrible, but I’m finding even with my semi-pathological test project (which I built to repro this problem) I can get down to 23-ish ms latency with a good degree of safety. So clearly, no matter what’s happening, it does. not. like. multicore.

That said, with hardware monitoring (which I have) that’s plenty good enough. I could live with 60ms if I knew it was safe. 23ms being safe (and 11.7 being mostly ok but a little iffy)? Awesome. Still: what is this?

ETA2: las, who wrote most of and manages the plugin code, popped on and said what I described would totally happen … except the latency recalculation doesn’t actually get called during save. I appear to have just misread the code, which is easy to do when all you have is grep and vi and an unfamiliar codebase.

ETA3: Well, hey! Turns out that setting Input Device and Output Device separately to the same device directly instead of setting Interface to the device (and leaving input and output devices to default assignment) means that Jack loads the device handler twice, as two instances – once for input, once for output. Thanks to rgareus on Ardour Chat for that pointer.

I can see how they get there, but there really ought to be a warning dialogue if you do that.

That means on a single-processor I can get down to 5.6ms latency and past my pathological repro tests cleanly. This is the kind of performance I’ve been expecting out of this box – at a minimum. Attained. I could in theory not even hardware monitor at these speeds – tho’ you really want to be down around 3ms for that ideally. (I can actually kinda run at 2.8ms – but it’s dodgy.) Since I have hardware monitoring I’m setting it all the way up to 11.6ms just to keep DSP numbers down. But any way you look at it – this is awesome.

I was really hoping to get this system back to usability before heading off, and – success! Thanks to everybody who threw out ideas, even if they didn’t work, because at least there are things we get to rule out when that happens.

Also, I’ve started putting together a dev envrironment (with help from Tom – thanks!) so I can explore this further when I get back into town. Saves shouldn’t be doing this. It’d be one thing were it just to HD and not to ramdisk, that’d be fine. But to ramdisk? No. Just… no. And the processor core thing, and the plugins-active-vs-not things are just odd. Maybe I can find it.

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solarbird: (utena)

Apparently whether you can be a great violinist resides in large part in your left pinky finger. I mean, it’s the kind of thing that makes more sense once you read it, but who knew? I wonder how many serious violinists and fiddlers can’t do that. I’ve always had a large amount of “yeah? go fuck yourself” to “you can’t do that,” so I wonder whether this is one of those brick walls I’d throw myself against.

Tho’ not literally, because I have that left pinky finger property. Which clearly in and of itself does not make you a great violinist, because “Doctor, will I be able to play fiddle once the cast comes off?/Yes, yes, you’ll be fine!/That’s weird, I couldn’t play the fiddle before!” I guess you have to study and practice and stuff. But I do have the viLOLin – the $36 violin I picked up at a pawn – and I do want to learn to play sometime.

But that’s the thing, isn’t it? Too many pieces, too many parts, too many things to learn in not enough time. For me, it’s a bunch of music things, and languages. Now there’s a brick wall I throw myself against – I’m great at grammars, my accents are too good (in that people assume I’m fluent or even native-speaker and firehose at me), but I can’t learn vocabulary to save my life. As in, I’m so bad at it, my secondary school let me out of the language requirement, as long as I just kept trying.

Really, that’s what I need the brain enhancement for: memorisation. Particularly of language vocabulary, but not just that. If I could stick a chip in my brain and fix that? SIGN ME THE FUCK UP.

Should that be a poll? “What enhancement would get you to try it?” That might be fun. Suggestions in comments, if you got ‘em.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

solarbird: (molly-thats-not-good-green)

We’ve been having trouble the last few weeks with apache runaways on our webserver. We thought it was related to the dying hard drive – it’d throw a read error, maybe apache would freak out and go crazy, maybe it would pull bad data of the swap partition, we didn’t know; we were guessing.

Now, that drive was dying – hard, we barely made it to our scheduled replacement downtime weekend and getting back online by Sunday took lots of work – so none of that time was wasted. But we went down under similar circumstances almost immediately.

So this time I was on watch, with a bunch of utilities running, when it happened again.

We were under what amounts to a smallish DDOS attack. I don’t have the right kind of counting software, but I estimate it was northward of 10,000 requests per minute, mostly of GETs on random points throughout angelahighland.com and crimeandtheforcesofevil.com that invoked php. It was coming from a range of machines in Israel and Europe.

That all looks pretty standard, except for the part where they all go back to the same ISP. So now I’m wondering whether it’s less DDOS attack type intentional and more DDOS attack type incompetent websweeping software under development.

I’ve sent mail, but they’ve had a business day to respond, and haven’t.

Anyway, we handled it, via blocking and tools. Seeing one of these in progress – there were actually two separate rounds – was kind of exciting. The great part is that we stayed up throughout. They didn’t take us down, and while we were dropping a lot of requests, we never fell off the net. If this is affecting anybody I’d be really surprised, but if it is, let me know.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

solarbird: (korra-no-fucking-around)

PLAN 34!

http://www.luth.org/plans/instrument_plans.html#plan34

This is not what I’m actually trying to do, but not completely different either. Swap the guitar stick with a bass stick, move the harp strings below the bass and have them going higher in pitch, not lower. BUT IT COULD BE DONE.

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solarbird: (Default)
After Woot! offered an HD video camera cheaply enough that I went for it, I realised I really need a better - or at least a second - tripod, and I went thrift store spelunking again. Tomorrow I'll write up a more general post on the band blog, about pawn-shop spelunking, but I'm gonna geek about this first because it was fun.

First I hit UW surplus (nothing good) and checked out an actual camera store (goddammit tall tripods are expensive) so I hit Goodwill and the pawn shop next to it on a whim and found a Slik U-210 for $15. It's a total monster of a device - the U-212 is the shorter current version, if you're curious.

It wasn't perfect - it tested okay in store, but needed serious cleaning, a new camera mount screw (trivial, hardware store), and so on. And something I thought was a mechanical fault turned out to be a design feature - at least, after the tripod was disassembled, cleaned, lubricated, and reassembled. That's the fun part. ^_^

The fault was that the elevator crank started slipping when I tried to raise the camera platform. The elevator is used to raise the camera platform beyond the already-quite-tall maximum base height provided by the tripod legs. The slippage wasn't so bad that I couldn't work with it, so I didn't mind that much; even were that hopelessly broken - and it wasn't - it'd still be a better (and taller) tripod than I've been using. It hadn't done this in my quick test in the store, though, and experiment showed that the elevator post could rotate, for no clear reason. And when it rotated, the gears no longer meshed correctly, and slipped.

Separately, all the camera adjustment points were rather more stiff than they should've been. On a good tripod, you can elevate the camera (see above), tilt back and forth, tilt left and right; it's called six-axis motion. All this worked, but it was all pretty resistant.

So instead of just doing a deep cleaning, I took the whole tripod apart as far as I could, and scrubbed and lubricated all the parts I could reach before putting it back together. I also figured out more about the mechanics and features, through experimenting, as part of the process. And I have to say, once cleaned and lubricated? "Slik" is totally the right name for this tripod. Everything mechanical is super smooth. It's nice, and the design is clever.

Anyway, that all done, I started playing with the elevator post again. I found the post's centre point and set various adjustments to try to keep it there, and everything worked great - and far more easily than before. So I thought I'd see how badly the elevator crank would slip when the centre post got rotated again, because it's not difficult to put it off-centre at all. In fact, it's so easy that it looked like a design flaw - the same things you do to rotate the camera itself left and right can also throw the elevator post off, if you forget to loosen the camera rotation clamp. (As would be inevitable.)

So I put the elevator well off-centre intentionally, and gave it a good crank - and it recentred itself, then elevated. I tried it again, all the way off the other direction, and then a couple of more times to be sure: it turns out the tripod's elevator shaft re-centres itself first every time you change elevation. The ability to get off-centre at all is apparently part of its recentring ability, and also a way of handling the torque if you try to rotate the camera body without loosening the appropriate clamp first.

And it was just dirty and jammed, and now it's not.

It's still a little weird, honestly. Maybe it's some sort of fallback feature. Fault-tolerance in hardware? I'm for it! Either way, I love it when spelunking pays off. :D
solarbird: (assassin)
So I was looking at some of my own posts on LJ, like the one with the Coyote video embed (which, like, nobody played from LJ?) and it turns out that the embed was only loading in my browser, because it was cached, and LJ seems to have broken YouTube video embeds again.

Insert picture of headdesk here -->

OH WAIT YOU CAN'T BECAUSE EMBEDS ARE RANDOMLY BROKEN.

I guess. Fuck, idk. This shit used to work, goddammit. Now I have to keep coming up with New Hax to keep LJ from breaking my shit. I'm having to make Bandcamp hand me MYSPACE code to make players work. SERIOUSLY, MYSPACE?! Goddamn.

There's a way to make YouTube spit out its old-version HTML, does it work? Let's find out!


Coyote


eta: Who knows? LJ isn't accepting posts, at least not from me, at least not right now, not even on its own site. I wonder why? NOBODY KNOWS!
solarbird: (assassin)

I made a another little thing.

It’s another one of my little cable devices, a really simple one, but I’m pleased with it because as I’ve failed to find a match for my PA’s main speaker, I’m trying two smaller ones with similar sound on either side, at lower power, instead. The idea is the main will be primary output, and the small sides will fill in weak spots.

But since my amp doesn’t have discreet output controls, I had to haxx0r something, so I did some circuit math, and hey! It came out just right! Or as right as I can tell without field testing. Aheh. But I’m optimistic! The numbers are good and things sound fine.

This is actually an old pre-stereo HiFi trick. The only reason it didn’t stick around into the stereo era is because it required too many discreet amplifier components to avoid channel bleed, and so was a lot more expensive. The EICO ST-40 tube amp I found at a garage sale was wired to do this (L, R, CENTRE) but somebody modded it to pure L/R.

Also, the new speakers look like smaller versions of the main, so Rule of Cuteness nr. 7 is in effect!

Here, this needs more plays! Almost none of you have seen it yet, so play it:


Coyote

Meg Davis reports we’re already halfway to her fundraiser target! This is awesome. If you didn’t read Monday’s post, the TL;DR is: Meg Davis was awesome, was hit by MS and forced to retire, wants to try to return to music on at least a small scale, is asking fans to help, go help already.

Well, what’re you waiting for? MOVE, SOLDIER! XD

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

solarbird: (music)

Thanks to Zorp, who was in the audience at the Gypsy last month, I have a couple of live videos on my YouTube channel! If you’re reading this on the band site, you might notice a new videos tab, to match. Guess what it does! XD Here, have a video:


Live at the Gypsy Cafe; Video courtesy Zorp

That’s “Something’s Coming.” I’ve also posted the first recording – from the same performance – of “World Trapped in Amber,” which will appear on Din of Thieves.

I celebrated Seafair Weekend by rebuilding a 1978-era Pioneer power amp. I’ve had this thing kicking around for a while, and have used it as a monitor amp in the studio, but it’s always been noisy and kind of cruddy, and I was going to replace it until I found out that audio fidelity in my price range has actually been going downhill for the last 10-15 years as more and more money gets put into remote-control/iPod and iPhone interfacing/digital output/etc and less into basic sound quality.

I’ve never thought much of this amp, really; I picked it up used, for no money to speak of. Turns out replacing a whole fleet of really old capacitors makes it A GOD AMONGST AMPLIFIERS. Well, okay, not really. But – re-capped – it has one of the cleanest transistor preamps I’ve ever heard. Cranked all the way up to maximum output on all drivers, the preamp noise level in studio reference headphones is ZERO. You hear nothing. It’s fucking inaudible. And silence on speakers, too. It’s kind of shocking.

I still have some more work to do – I’ve got distortion on channel two on speakers only (headphones are pristine) caused by me trying to hack together the correct replacement cap value when I didn’t have it, and the tone control board is still a noise fountain and still needs the other half of its caps swapped. (Right now I’ve got it bypassed, and you shouldn’t be using that shit in a studio anyway, but I like having all the functionality of a piece of equipment available.) If finishing the rebuild doesn’t solve the tone board noise issues, I’ll leave it bypassed. Or maybe add a switch, to cut it in and out. ‘Cause this amp sounds great now. Seriously, I had no idea.

It’s no Dynaco ST70, don’t get me wrong. But I never knew it was capable of really sounding good. Turns out, in fact: fuck yeah! And that’s the kind of surprise I could use a lot more often. If you have some hackery in you, and see an old Pioneer (or similar) amp hanging out in a garage sale or thrift store or something, and it powers up at all – buy it and recap it, it’s probably worth the rebuild. This one was.

That’s what I did with my Seafair weekend. What about you?

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil.
Dick Tracy Must Die is out! Buy at CD Baby, Amazon, iTunes, eMusic, or through Bandcamp!

solarbird: (music)

It looks good:


Trash-O-Matic 68000, First Complete Assembly (1)


Trash-O-Matic 68000, First Complete Assembly (I/O ports)

…but it’s picked up some new noise somewhere that is not outside interference. I’m going to have to debug it some more to find out what. Some of it’s kind of awesome, but it’s a little excessive, even for the kind of crunchy trashnoise I want, so I hope I can pull it back a bit. Wish me luck!

Oh, and Happy New Year, everybody!

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil.

solarbird: (music)

So I went back and forth with John at panicStudios about Shout at the Desert vs. the iTunes “Enhance” setting, and he’s in agreement with, well, everybody I can Google, who are all saying, ‘do not play with it, do not mess with trying to work around anything iTunes is doing, turn that shit off on your own machine and forget it exists. You can’t control what people have at home. Deal.’ So I’m dealing. It is amazing how much “Enhance” blurs and crappifies music all kinds, listening on headphones.

I’m also talking with another musician about maybe providing some live instrumental work as backup for a couple of their performances; we don’t know whether it’ll work out, but I hope it does. I don’t really have the kind of instruments they want – they don’t do the same sort of music I do – but they’re kind of fond of some things I can do on octave mandolin, so I’m in the running.

Look, I have more Trash-O-Matic build photos!


input, output, and battery – I’m pleased with that battery cut


This grid will host six setting buttons.


Epoxy set, Round Two

So, what am I showing here? The first picture is the new case, with holes cut for XLR input (mono, balanced, mic level), TRS output (mono, unbalanced, line level), and the battery case from the original toy. The battery case is epoxied into place now, and seems pretty solid.

The second shows the control button grid – the Voice Changer has six various distortion types, and I’m keeping the original buttons. I cut the grid box out of the original toy, sanded off the paint, and recess-mounted it into a hole I cut into the new case’s cover. It’s epoxied into place. I was originally going to surface-mount it, but that complicated an already complicated mess – anchoring the circuit board.

The third photo shows the case assembly right now. I put the balanced-to-unbalanced-signal wire harness on the XLR input jack directly – even preserving the noise-cancellation effects of XLR, it’s trivial – and I’ve got the signal wires coming off that but not hooked to anything yet. The TRS output has wires already soldered in, too, and the battery pack is installed (with recessed external access door out the bottom) and positive lead run to the new power switch you can see from behind on the lower left of the cover.

I’ve made some mods to the circuit board; the old power switch (still mounted) is bypassed, as are another couple of controls that aren’t meaningful if you aren’t using it as a toy – little things like that. Right now it’s mostly serving as a weight, as epoxy sets for the new circuit-board mounting poles. The three screws visible in the circuit board are actually bolts to new mounting poles, to hold them in the right places as the epoxy sets.

I’m pretty sure I’m not going to trust these mounting poles, so I’ll add insulating foam as a back-support to the circuit board, braced against the battery pack. That should help with the button-mashy-mashy.

Originally, I was going to have balanced XLR in and out, and have the output be microphone level, but when I realised I’d have to generate balanced output from a nonbalanced source and reduce the signal because that the onboard preamp would be too difficult to bypass, I decided, eh, fuckkit, line level’s better for noise purposes anyway. Particular with electronics this cheap. XD

You’ve read this far, you must make things. What’re you making?

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil.

solarbird: I made this! (nano9win)

Remember that noisebox project I had, to take this little sound changer toy I won at a white elephant and see whether I could turn it into a distortion box?


Test Harness

The Trash-O-Matic 68000 LIVES!


RESULT!

It’s noisy as fuck and trashy as hell. I love it. It’s also totally unshielded right now so I do actually want to fix some of that, but nobody cares about that right now. The test harness works! It proves out! Clickie for horrible, horrible mp3! Now I just have to build it for real. XD

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil.

solarbird: Cover of the first Crime and the Forces of Evil EP release, Sketchy Characters (sketchy characters)

Anna’s book Faerie Blood is on Google ebookstore now, which means you can also get it at places with Cafe Press machines, in actual paperback! Go! Buy! Read! It’s good. MOVE IT SOLDIER

In band news, while we wait for the mastering engineer: 1) somebody hit the band site by googling for “i fight crimes and the forces of evil and that means you sailor moon.” I wonder what they thought of My Boyfriend? XD 2) Also, I think I’m going to do “Old Black Rum” for the next Trad of the Fortnight – I spent some time rehearsing it yesterday – but I’m going to change some lyrics, because lulz. And 3) last week, at the Norwescon white-elephant gift exchange, I got this toy:

…and some of the distortion effects are actually pretty neat. I like the not-called-a-Dalek-voice one in particular. So I’m gonna hack it into a proper effects box – XLR input, all that crap. I already bought the parts! Pics will certainly follow.

What’re you hacking today?

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil.

solarbird: (music)

I woke up sick yesterday. I’m still sick today, too. But one of the advantages, such as there are any, of being ill is that you lie around and don’t do much – which is the perfect time to rebuild a website!

So http://crimeandtheforcesofevil.com is rebuilt. It’s several pages now rather than the previous single-page WTFery of yore, and I added some extra stuff. I still have more little things to put on it, and I want to fiddle with the menus a bit, but – whaddya think? Did I miss anything important?

Also, if you missed it: new song! A live track. Enjoy:

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil.

May 2017

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