Archive for November, 2013

cd burning robot

Whelp, the CD burning robot seems to have packed it in pretty good this time – doesn’t respond to commands, does randomly flail tiny arms around… I’ve managed to revive it before, but it’s never been this random.

I’m thinking of getting a multi-disc stacked CD duplicating controller and some CD burners – I was looking at this controller and this case (which appears to be fine as long as you don’t get a dodgy power supply with it) and a bunch of burners.

The problem is that SATA burners are all multi-layer and Blu-Ray (and thus expensive), while PATA/IDE burners are exactly right and cheap, but PATA controllers are hard to find, particularly given that Amazon has started blowing off search terms like SATA and LIGHTSCRIBE, because apparently they just hate everyone now.

Or I could buy this off of eBay, assuming it actually is five burners and Lightscribe – since the description does not match the title which may not match the photo (the photo looks like Sony Optiarc burners which lack the Lightscribe logo), I’m not sure!

Adventures. Any thoughts?

weekend postmania

In addition to today’s DIY post on monitor speakers, this past weekend was more or less nirvana for Doctor Who fans. If you missed them, I did a 50th Anniversary reaction post called Okay, Moffat, You Can Live, and a second post on the surprisingly delightful related short features. Enjoy!

monitor speaker isolation: shelves are not your friends

While recovering, I’ve been reading bits of Mike Senior’s Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio. It’s rather pleasant on the ego that a lot of his secrets are stuff I’m already doing, I have to admit. Ah, smug mode. But I have encountered a couple of facts I didn’t know about, regarding monitor speakers.

Senior is a big fan of dedicated speaker stands – heavy ones – to prevent bass resonance through floors and walls. Resonance leads to inaccurate bass mixes. I have in fact had bass resonance issues, and they have mislead me, so this is relevant to my interests. But if, like me, you lack room for stands, or have other issues that force your monitor speakers onto walls or shelves, he suggests these isolation pads, essentially to prevent the shelf from becoming a soundboard and creating resonance.

Now, as soon as I saw that product photo, I recognised the foam they used. It’s the same foam I used when building my mandolin and zouk travel cases. You can buy it for a few dollars a square foot, locally.

Even better than that, I have some left over from the case project, along with my trusty $3 thrift shop electric carving knife.



Now, I did not have enough left to pad my Bose that way. I don’t use the Bose for monitoring, so it’s not that big a deal, but I did want to add some of that isolation since I tested them anyway, and found huge resonance off the shelf and wall. To some degree, that’s by speaker design – Bose wants that – but while I shouldn’t really use them for monitoring, I have done in the past, anyway.

So I studied the effect Senior described, and ended up building a mat out of alternating layers of reasonably thick leather (for mass) and this weird semi-corded velvet (also for mass, but also for motion-absorption) that I already had.

even cheaper

I did some before and after testing, and the differences were stark in both cases.

In an earlier post, I mentioned that to my surprise Bose speakers could have a bit of definition and precision, given ludicrous amounts of room treatment. But the bass was still a bit unfocused. With this padding thrown in, the low end has finally joined the party. The low bass popped right into focus, becoming genuinely crisp and well-defined. It was unanticipatedly, almost shockingly better. And the x77s’ low end – insofar as it has it – became almost laser-like.

It’s super-fun to listen to recordings with really well-engineered bass parts now, just to follow along. I’ve been listening to lots of recordings with particularly good bassists, just for that.

So, there y’go. $10 or less to improved monitoring. Who knew it could be so simple?


This post is part of The DIY Studio Buildout Series, on building out a home recording studio.

and for dessert

Honestly, for Who fans, this whole weekend, it’s like it’s raining candy and bacon.

The latest treat is a short feature, The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot. At the start, it makes you think that it’s going to be kind of kind of pathetic and terrible, but don’t worry: it is, in fact, hilarious. Give it time.

Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor: The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot

Okay, Moffat, You Can Live – A Doctor Who 50th Reaction Post

Well, my goodness, that was very exciting, wasn’t it? So many bits and pieces, but still put together so nicely – you have your bit of a runaround, you have your bit of a base under siege, you have a bit of your timey-wimey, you have your bit of a change of history that doesn’t rewrite everything but still doesn’t end up feeling cheap as it often does; just fun.

I think it’s not spoilery at all to say that John Hurt played Eight and a Half in the Classic Doctor style, which I was entirely happy to see. Best of all, he did it so so well that it integrated seamlessly with Tennant and Smith’s portrayals of their doctors. And did anyone else note the parallel scene with Hurt and Louise-Coleman versus Bradley’s Hartell & Grant’s Carol Ann Ford in An Adventure in Space and Time last night? You can’t tell me that wasn’t intentional.

Well, you could, but I’d mock you pretty fiercely.

Oh, let’s have some spoilers about moments, shall we?

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all the medias

So let me make sure I have this right: this weekend we have the series 2 finale of The Legend of Korra, and An Adventure in Space and Time, and the 50th Anniversary special episode “Day of the Doctor,” and Anna and I should finally get to see Thor: The Dark World, and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is out.

Am I missing anything? Because this is more TV and film in one weekend than I usually get in, oh, two months.

comp sheet version 2b

So I used a couple of Version 2a comp sheets on a track, wrote down change notes as I went, and implemented them; I think this version is pretty solid.

Comp sheet, Version 2b
Download PDF

What’s new:

  1. Little tics every five seconds down at the bottom of each section, to help me place marks more consistently across takes. This gives me a better “big picture” look at a set of takes;
  2. A “page __ of __” label at the top, for parts which have more than six takes. I found myself writing that in today, and this change means its always in the same place, making it easier to find. And:
  3. A repeat of the total-time-into-song markers at the bottom, in light blue. This is so I can look down as well as up to verify where I am on the page. That’s mostly useful only when working on lines 5 and 6 – particularly six – but I had room, so why not?

I don’t know whether anybody is still following along on these, but if you are: Download Comp Sheet PDF for legal-sized (8.5″x14″) paper.

the opposite of yes


Configuration file `/etc/apache2/apache2.conf'
 ==> Modified (by you or by a script) since installation.
 ==> Package distributor has shipped an updated version.
   What would you like to do about it ?  Your options are:
    Y or I  : install the package maintainer's version
    N or O  : keep your currently-installed version
      D     : show the differences between the versions
      Z     : start a shell to examine the situation
 The default action is to keep your current version.
*** apache2.conf (Y/I/N/O/D/Z) [default=N] ? n
Installing new version of config file /etc/init.d/apache2 ...
Remove obsolete configuration file /etc/apache2/httpd.conf
Removing obsolete conffile /etc/apache2/mods-available/version.load ...

This should only affect people trying to hit (as opposed to or or any of our hosted domains), but it’s still insane. And if you see any problems, this is probably why. We’ll have to pull the old files out of backup and Anna (webmaster) is out for a couple of hours.


yet another eye update

Another week, another appointment. I was getting really worried, because a few days ago (same number of days past surgery as the first time when things went wrong), I started seeing some dot floaters in my right eye. Then on the way downtown, the sun was out, and I saw a lot of them, and kind of panicked.

BUT: despite all the dots, the retina is still well-attached. I made Dr. Saperstein do a second, higher-magnification check and it passed that too – though he was a little nonplussed about a second check. But it helped when I saw the device he needed to use on my eye and instead of squicking said, “oh, this. I don’t mind this,” and he settled down and did the extended check.

So at this point, things should be okay. I have another appointment in two weeks; I will be able to wear contact lenses again (if not with full vision) by this coming week. This is a big deal, because seriously, glasses? Even with two normal eyes? No depth perception. As in, none. As in, I have more with one eye in a contact lens.

This is because there’s more to depth perception than parallax, which is what two eyes gives you, and apparently the parallax data I get from two eyes through glasses is so very very out to lunch that my visual processing centre says NOPE and goes on vacation.

Plus, my glasses are heavy, and hurt my nose.

So I’m really looking forward to contacts again. And seeing things. You know. Stuff like that.

I still have a few more days of restricted activities, but only a few. It’ll take longer than that to get full vision back, but it’ll follow eventually. Can’t come soon enough, either. Still: most of the way home. Just keep thinking that. Most of the way home.

comp sheet version 2a

I made that new version of the comp sheet I talked about this morning. GIF embedded, PDF linked, in case somebody likes it that much.

PDF version

Changes: “Project” label added. Pink subsection lines (very faint in print) added. “Notes” section moved; “Legend” section added (see below). In-worksheet numbers changed from black to light blue, for easier visibility of marks made by pen. Top-sheet labels moved up a little.

I’ve got a fair bit of comping to do, so I’ll get to try this one out soon. The pink lines are just there as guides and print very faintly on my printer, by design. I thought about adding a leftmost column to indicate what each subsection meant, but that cost marking space, so I added a legend section down at the bottom instead.

I tried pink lines in notes, too, but they were really hard to see and I want them more obvious there. So I either needed to change them back to blue, make them a lot thicker, or introduce another colour, so I kind of decided it was best just to go back to blue.

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