I’ve been so busy with work and my band that I’ve neglected this blog for a loooong time. I’ve posted gig updates and not much else. However, I have accumulated tons of draft posts and notes over the last 3 years that I never published, just for lack of time and focus to get em done. The longer I waited and further behind I got, the harder it became to commit to doing the work to catch up. More
- Gear Diary
- Guitar Circuit Wiring
- Guitar Potentiometers
- Guitar Preamp Cable
- Guitar Tone Capacitors
- Guitar Treble Bleed
- Pedal Building
- Photo and Video
- Semi-Hollowbody Electronics
- VOX AC15
About a year ago, I started up a band – the Drop Daddies – with some of the other Dad’s at our kids’ elementary school. Originally, the idea was just to get together on weekends to play some music and have fun. Almost immediately however, a friend invited us to play at her 2012 end-of-the-world party. That humble little gig by the Christmas tree kicked off a very busy year for the band. So far, we’ve learned 60+ songs and played at least a dozen gigs- bars, an auction, carnivals, and parties large and small.
A few observations – each of which should be its own blog post, but I’ll collect them here for now and maybe expand on them later:
You wouldn’t believe how often I get asked this, in the comment-responses to my electronics videos. (I’ve just added this to my FAQ)
In the US, solder is pronounced “saw-der” (ˈsɑːdər) without the L. My family is Australian- I grew up doing electronics projects with my Dad, pronouncing it with the L as “sole-der” (ˈsɒldər). I have to really make an effort to say it the American way.
Here’s an interesting etymonline entry that shows the original mid 14th century word was “sawd” with no “L”. It seems unlikely that this is the reason Americans pronounce it without an “L”, but it’s as good an excuse as any
mid-14c., sawd, from Old French soldure, from solder “to join with solder,” from Latin solidare “to make solid,” from solidus “solid” (see solid). Modern form is from early 15c. The -l- still is sounded in Great Britain. Related: Soldered; soldering. The noun is first attested late 14c.
For reference, here is the entry for “solder” in the Oxford English Dictionary, including recordings. The pronunciation with the L is listed as British English, while the other is listed as American pronunciation.
And here’s a fun article about other words with missing L’s.
It seems not that long ago, I was celebrating 100,000 views. Now, I don’t regularly check and obsess over my YouTube channel view-count. But this week, while trying to catch up on my replies to an ever-increasing backlog on my YouTube inbox, I noticed that my view count was in the high nines. Well, this morning, this is what I saw:
This is truly a mind-bender.
I recorded a quick video to say thanks to everyone, and to solicit some feedback for my future projects. I also talk a bit at the end about Jerry Seinfeld’s motivational technique for tricking yourself into getting things done. Don’t Break The Chain!
In a fit of uncontrollable nostalgia, I went through some old files, and found a likely candidate amidst a pile of other detritus: fame.rmf.
Now, all I needed was something to play it in. The Beatnik Player Plugin, circa 2001, looks like it’ll work great in Netscape Communicator from the same epoch, but unlikely to work in Chrome 2012 (!!!)
So, I managed to scrounge up a barely-working copy of the Beatnik Editor, loaded it up, and was surprised to see that the file played and I could solo the various tracks. It’s very low quality- the entire RMF is only 325Kb- but it’s all about the magnificent vibe! I recorded a bit of the fun:
It’s an interesting philosophical/psychological question whether it’s even possible for the human brain to be objective about anything. There is a disconnect between perception and reality—our brain is an imperfect interface to the world around us, doing its best to interpret the signals it receives, and occasionally totally falling down on the job.
I’m sure you’ve seen these great mind-bending optical illusions, like the spinning dancer above (which way is she really spinning? I see her spinning counter-clockwise, but my wife and kids see her spinning clockwise), or the Ebbinghaus Illusion at left (yes, the orange balls are actually the same size).
But have you heard any good auditory illusions lately? Try these:
It was truly inspiring to see and hear some great musicians playing KRONOS, including Korg’s own Steve McNally, Jack Hotop and Rich Formidoni. But the highlight for me was getting into the packed standing-room-only demo room while Jordan Rudess of Dream Theater talked about his inspirations and masterfully improvised on the KRONOS.
I captured this video on my handheld camcorder. Unfortunately it’s only using the built-in mic, so the audio isn’t great. And people kept bumping into me! But in spite of that, Jordan’s musicality and skill shine through, as do the fantastic sounds and capabilities of KRONOS. Enjoy!
I think in this picture, I was saying “sorry about that voice stealing bug we heard during your playing- I just tweaked the stealing algorithm, so it’ll be fixed in the next update!” Thankfully, he was very understanding, and was asking Rich “When can I get one? No seriously, when?”
At long last, the KRONOS workstation is being unveiled at this year’s NAMM show. This is the successor to the acclaimed OASYS, which was released back in 2005 . As some of you may know, I work at Korg Research & Development. I’ve spent nearly 10 years (that’s a quarter of my life!) working on the technology that lives inside this beast!
The big “nine” in the teaser announcement hinted at the number of synthesis engines in the KRONOS. In addition to the seven outstanding engines from the OASYS (HD-1 high definition PCM, AL-1 analog modeling, CX-3 organ modeling, STR-1 plucked string physical modeling, PolysixEX analog modeling, MS-20EX analog modeling, and MOD-7 waveshaping VPM), there are two exciting new synthesis engines: