solarbird: (pingsearch)

Over on Livejournal, where this post is echoed, lj:blues_kun asked:

Would you mind posting a recording of that funky thing? Also what the hell is it called?

…I actually have no idea what it’s called. It’s called Seven Dollar Bin. Or “that shaker with the seed pods.”

Seven Dollar Bin

But I imagine it must have some proper name. Anybody know? I don’t.

However! I can be useful in other ways. Recording? Sure thing! This is me doing several different things with it – schlumping it over in the air, turning it on its side, turning it shakers-down, shaking it, spinning it around, tipping it into (and back out of) my hand, things like that.

The weird breath-like sounds are not me. They’re the seedpods rubbing against each other. SO WEIRD. Check it.

Seven Dollar Bin Noisemaker Makes Freaky Noises

Technical details: recorded on a single Oktava MK319 large-diaphram condenser microphone at close range so the preamp wouldn’t have to be turned up. (Neighbours were running a woodchipper and I didn’t want that included.) Recording was at 44.1Khz mono, exported dual-channel mono and encoded into a 320kbps-maxed variable-bitrate mp3, because there is no twinkie I cannot sandblast. It sounds reasonably like it did when I was playing with it, at least on my reference headset, so there you are.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

solarbird: (Default)
Our water heater is leaking. Anyone replaced one lately? We have natural gas, and I'd like to go tankless, but I'd like it to work during blackouts like our current thermocouple-driven one does now.
solarbird: (music)

Over the last few days, I’ve realised there’s a studio toy I really want, but can’t quite find. If I can’t find it, maybe I can build it – or maybe that should be the other way ’round, eh? Regardless, maybe some of you guys can help.

One of the many cool things about midi is how you can have arbitrary controllers in variety of functionalities. You can, for example, buy banks of knobs and sliders. And all they do is send MIDI signals. This is great, because then you can assign them in whatever software you’re controlling to any function you want controlled. There are also banks of buttons, and so on. More commonly, you get mixed devices.

drool pad not included… or needed, really, but I would like this one or this one

I want that, but USB (or wireless-to-USB), and sending user-settable keyboard character combinations. I want a small remote pad that I can set up to have one button send a space, another button to send Shift-R, another button to send HOME, another to send END, and so on. Ideally, it should be able to send any button combination from a 101-key keyboard.

There are two reasons I want this.

One: If you’re surrounded by drums and mics (just for example) in my studio and you want to enable record and start the virtual transport, it’s difficult to do so in time to sync up with the pre-existing tracks you might be working against. Not that this was driving me crazy over the weekend or anything.

Two: Ardour is FULL of keyboard shortcuts. No, I mean full, like every goddamn key on the keyboard does some damn thing. If you’re reaching over something to get to some key or other (say, SHIFT-R, to enable master record), or in the wrong mode (which this mostly won’t fix), it is really easy to either hit the wrong key(s), or hit the right keys, but have them do different things, because not only are they loaded, they’re overloaded.

overconfidence not included

Basically I want a control panel that isn’t so overloaded, and I want it to go anywhere in the room.

I’ve thought about getting a minikeyboard, maybe a wireless minikeyboard, and hax0ring it. I may well do this, because I don’t want to build a USB interface and I don’t want to build a keyboard interface for that USB interface, and besides, I might want to add some more buttons later. But I worry about how easy (or difficult) it might be to send numeric keypad keys specifically, and how reliable soldering to surface pads will be, since I want to move this thing around a bit and it will get knocked about.

Now, there are some gamepads out there that might be good. The cheaper one I found doesn’t actually let you reprogramme what keys the pads send, and as annoying as I can find Ardour’s spaghetti of hotkeys, I don’t want to change them. I might want to use someone else’s workstation at some point. The ones which do let you reprogramme the pad’s keys are a bit spendier, and tend to be large and/or weird. But more importantly, they appear to require external software. This may just be for the purpose of changing key assignments, so I could run it once on a different machine and forget about it – but the data pages don’t make that entirely clear. If someone knows for sure, tell me?

Also I’d need to take a hacksaw to parts of it because of all the do-not-want.

Really, do I need to go all Arduino for this? I don’t want to. Anybody got ideas?

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

solarbird: (music)

I’ve been learning to play melody parts on zouk and mandolin – you might notice the lack of zouk or mandolin solos in the studio album? there’s a reason for that – and I started playing this tune, which I’ve known for forever, and which, in my headcanon, everybody in the world knows.

I’m wondering what it’s called. None of the tune recognition software knows it, and I’ve been asking people and turns out in reality, almost nobody knows it at all! It has an A part and a B part so I thought it was perhaps Irish, and I have it in my head it might be French in some way, but Ellen (whose mom is from Japan) says it sounds Japanese to her.

Here, have a quick recording I just made on my cell phone. Do you know this? If you do, what is it? And is there somewhere that everybody knows this song, or did I just make that part up:

What is this song? Clickie for mp3!

Also, last weekend, I got BONGOS! at a yard sale for cheap and fixed the cracks and refurbished everything else. (I like reclaiming abandoned instruments.) They look like this now:

If I hold them vertically with the smaller drum on top I can play them like some kind of two-tone bodhran, which sounds totally weird but kinda awesome.

Someday I’ll learn to play instruments the correct way. Hopefully not too soon tho’. XD

Finally! I remixed the Cracksman Betty version of “Paddy Murphy,” with new vocals on the first verse and chorus. I like this one better, I think it’s more fun. (Go ahead, you try to sing “O’Leary came with the bagpipes, some music for to play” sober. Can’t be done. BOOST THE ALCOHOL LEVELS TEN! MORE! POINTS!) It’s also a pay-what-you-like download. Enjoy:

Paddy Murphy
Dara Korra'ti
I think I’ve really improved as a vocalist – and certainly become more consistent as one – over the last few months.

No time to post Friday, busy. Have a good weekend!

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: (Default)
What's the correct word for the metal edge reinforcement used on trunks, anyway? (And why do all the photos I find in google only have metal on the corners? Or are the edges just darker metal?) My old trunk - now used to hold the Hugo award exhibit trophies between Worldcons - had metal all along the edges, and that's what I'm planning for the mandolin case.

Failing that, anybody know a good place for thin brass metal strips? I want something thick enough to take an impact (once cornered, anyway) but think enough that I can hammer it into an edge piece, lengthwise. I have a bench vise so it won't be difficult, just tedious.
solarbird: (music)
So Shure themselves say that the ONLY differnce between the SM57 and the SM58 is the windscreen, and that the tests on the mics aren't even affected below 13kHz by that, and that the difference people hear is mostly due to people not being able to get as close to the diaphram on the 58 as on the 57.

Taking all that is read: is there any reason I shouldn't just stick a foam windscreen of the same size on an SM57 for live outdoor vocals and call it good? Also, is there a better alternative at a reasonable price that I might find used?
solarbird: (pindar-most-unpleasant)
I need a window glazier who can replace the glass in a single-pane 1908 wooden window in Seattle, after someone kicked in both panes last night at murksouth, apparently for fun. I was trying to fix it myself but I can't get the tacking strips up without doing damage to the outer frame, so I want a professional. Does anyone know someone appropriate?

eta: I got a rec from someone in my neighbourhood association. Hopefully it'll go well, but I'd still be interested in recommendations. These guys are more expensive than I'd prefer rly. ;_;
solarbird: (cascadia dance dance revolution)
This is my last year of doing the daily 'zine at Norwescon. Last year was going to be my last year, but I relented when I hadn't managed to find anyone to train, but this year I srsly mean it - I am so burnt out on this it's not even funny. But fortunately I have someone to train this year! And I'm treating it a lot like her first year more than my final.

Anyway, she had this idea for The Singular Voice, wherein the conceit is that the writers are post-singularity intelligences trying to talk back in time to those of us before the technological singularity, which is a lot like you and me trying to talk to the goldfish So we've decided it is the goldfish, along with other household pets, who are the ones doing the talking. C.f.:
Fido: "...oh for the... it's like... it's like... talking to the cat."
Mittens: "I'm offended by that! It's like talking to the fish."
Goldie: "That's it! I'm done. I'm not fixing your computers for you anymore."
And so on. I think this could be fun and I'm trolling you lot for more lulz to add to the 'zine. I have a few (in particular, thanks to Regis's recent tweets relayed to me by [ profile] annathepiper, I think UNIMOG will be making a cameo appearance or two) and we've tossed a lot of stuff back and forth but we always need more.

So! Got any ideas, anyone? Big themes, little themes, anything that seems good.
solarbird: (Default)
[ profile] vixyish points her readers to two more cases of people without health insurance; Cheyenne Wright, the colourist for Girl Genius, who recently had an "alarming" hospital stay (without insurance), and, worse, an SCA fan whose family needs help with funeral expenses following his death, a result of loss of medical coverage and job. (Diabetes+inadequate money for meds=dead.) I don't know the family of the deceased - I'm not in SCA - but I do know [ profile] cleothyla through fandom.

I also don't know any of the details of Cheyenne's hospital stay. But I can tell you that over the six years of medical hell Anna and I went through ending in 2009 (touch wood), we did have insurance, sometimes through me and my self-paid business coverage, sometimes through Anna's employer. It wasn't bad coverage; some pretty high deductibles at times, but we didn't have to go to war very often with the insurance companies or anything. (Mostly billing fuckups, but nothing with intent as far as we could tell.) During this time, I got hit-and-run by a car while out biking, Anna had two rounds of thyroid tumours followed by breast cancer, and a few other things.

Our co-pay cost - the chunk we had to fork over - was over $100,000. That's just the "patient responsibility" portion (tho' it does include premiums) - the hospital stay portion alone of just my bike accident was over $150,000. That doesn't include physical therapy (some significant portions of which I delayed, to my detriment, for cost reasons), meds, and things like that. We've paid all of the direct expenses off; we have about $8,000 left in accumulated other debt we stacked up while shovelling money at hospitals. If you do the math - and I of course do - that balance is entirely from interest payments, not money we actually spent on things.

Cheyenne doesn't have health insurance. Whatever his total bill is, he's looking straight at it.

So. If you can, go clickie and throw a few bucks at people. It won't help fix the system, but it'll help some individuals, and that, at least, is worth doing.
solarbird: (gun good job)
So this happened to our HP 1200 (clickie) yesterday morning. I tried talking to HP about repair services, and this is what happened:
[ profile] solarbird trolls around for a long time on HP's website trying to find ANYTHING about repair services and finally finds a phone number. No other contact methods allowed. 866 234 1377 <calls>
[ profile] solarbird oh for the love of FUCK HP DO NOT GIVE ME A PHONE NUMBER ON YOUR WEBSITE THAT IS WRONG. And don't have that phone number point me BACK to the goddamn WEBSITE.
[ profile] solarbird also gets a number 800 474 6836
[ profile] solarbird sends openly ** the new number does not give me an option for repair **
[ profile] solarbird lies to it and tells it that she's checking on a previous repair order status.
[ profile] solarbird sends openly ** ...and I get a new number. 800 334 5144 **
[ profile] solarbird sends openly ** matthew reports: no support, no repair options. new unit discounted price in trade-in available, list available by phone only, B&W network-ready 30ppm 1200x1200dpi laserjet p2035n $269.99+taxes incl. shipping and return box for damaged printer fuck you HP. **
So we appear to need a new laser printer. MUST haves: 1. 1200 dpi. 2. Postscript. (let me make it clear: MUST. TALK. POSTSCRIPT. The HP p2035n doesn't.) 3. Ability to handle 176 gsm/65 lb. cover stock. 4. USB connectivity so it can talk to our print server. It does NOT need (but we wouldn't hate on): onboard networking, autoduplexing, colour. I am hearing that HP has let hardware quality become Job 1.1, or maybe Job 3.0 or 5.7, so I'm open to other suggestions.

I also don't want to blow the budget on a high-end office printer. Anybody got anything?
solarbird: (molly-thats-not-good-green)
Go help [ profile] annathepiper repro this annoying bug. Details at the link.
solarbird: (mandolin-and-flutes)
So! Anybody taken two instruments somewhere by airplane at once? (In this case, I'm talking about mandolin and Irish bouzouki. The former is the size of ... hum, a very large violin? And the latter is roughly the size of a guitar.) If so, how'd that work?
solarbird: (music)
Hey, Lazyweb! What do I need to know about cheap midi keyboards? (As in, midi keyboards to be used with a digital audio workstation, not home keyboards that happen to have midi in/out pairs.) I am strongly considering one for studio work because I can't afford, you know, an orchestra. I'm seeing things like Miditech used for <$100, is this any good?

eta: to clarify, I don't know anything about these, other than they exist. So what I need to know really starts with the list of things I need to know. ^_^

eta2: I think I want semi-weighted keys. I have a piano background and don't like standard low-end synth/keyboard keys. But am I wrong?
solarbird: (mandolin-and-flutes)
Anybody have experience with the M-Audio Nova studio condenser mic? I found a pawn shop with a couple. Reviews on the internets think they're good for the dollar, but in this field I don't know who are real reviewers and who are shills. Clues, anybody?
solarbird: (molly-content)
Okay, so, except when airplanes are around - and yeah, this is a legitimate issue, what with Kenmore Air Harbour down the hill - the ambient noise level on my SM57s is metering a little above -80db. I don't know how big a deal the airplane noise will be, but at least it's transient. There's also some traffic noise from Bothell Way, also down the hill. So people with recording experience: is this good enough? Can I safely notch-filter this kind of distant low-frequency annoyance out? Will that fuck up the sound otherwise?
solarbird: (Default)
Hey, anybody in LA know of an open venue in late April? [ profile] s00j and [ profile] yuki_onna haven't been able to nail down a location for the last stop of the Palimpsest book-and-music tour yet, and they really want to hit Los Angeles. S00j is accordingly looking for venues there akin to the one she describes in this post. If you know of a useful venue of the right type, please go over there and let her know.

nnngh h8

Feb. 24th, 2009 09:08 pm
solarbird: (Default)
Macbook dropped off: sucks to be me until next week. Or later. NNngh.

I've been working with kimo trying to get that machine to have a new HD and dual-boot WinXP and Linux. I think, or thought, I had all the partitions set up and the Windows partitions from the old HD copied over, but only one of them mounts properly under Linux and I have no idea what's wrong with the other one but NTFS-fs thinks it's horribly corrupted. In both cases, I made new partitions larger than the originals; the one that worked is FAT32, the one that didn't is NTFS. Would this have fucked things up on NTFS?

Also, and even more annoyingly, I can't write the old MBR onto the new drive, so I thought np, I'll run repair from the WinXP Pro install disc that I of course still have. So I boot off it, and XP checks hardware, and hangs. Hard. No idea why. This is the same install disc I used for this same machine with identical hardware except for the new hard drive, and the new hard drive is just a plain old ATA/EIDE single drive, so I doubt that's it. No error messages, no nothing; black screen and GTFO.

Oh, the linux partition is so I can run ardour. Eventually. I hope. I suppose I could throw out the old media drive (which is dying of plate rot anyway) and make a non-boot NTFS partition on the new drive to replace that, and boot Linux off the second partition on the new drive, but I don't want to keep the original crap drive because it made XP performance a world of pain, and I'd like this 2.7Ghz machine not to be slower and more painful to use than the PIII/550 I'm using right now.

So other than RAGE, anybody got any suggestions?
solarbird: (Default)
So if I were to buy a new HD to dual-boot an existing Windows machine into Windows+Linux so I could run Ardour or Rosegarden instead of Audacity and as a result need a soundcard other than the lulzblaster built in to the motherboard, what would you suggest?

The M Audio Delta series comes suggested on the Wiki, and this is one of the cheaper ones. The box I'd be using it is a 1.8Ghz Intel machine so it shouldn't have the click/pop problem people report on slower machines. But that's still $150. I like that this model has the actual A/D interface outside the PC unit, which should reduce noise.

(And yes, I'm going to continue to go ahead and record a demo of sorts using Audacity on my laptop, but the clicktrack functionality is so unsuited to what I want to do that I'll end up re-recording all this stuff on something else. I'm torn between GODDAMMIT I NEED A DEMO NOW and BUT I WANT TO DO IT RIGHT. Wibble.)
solarbird: (cascadia dance dance revolution)
So King County voters, in their infinite wisdom, voted to make the Director of Elections an elected position. Leaving aside the whole WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU of that idea, I'm annoyed at having to vote for this position at all, so can somebody tell me which of these cranks is least likely to be a disaster? Thanks.

eta: it is very tempting to vote LIZARD PEOPLE. But there are comments.

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