The Big Think

May 14, 2007

Rockets Red Glare

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 11:58 pm

Why Austin is awesome. 1000 model rockets launched at once.


Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 11:54 pm

Some neat bent object sculptures.

Studio Construction

Filed under: Studio Construction — jasony @ 11:13 pm

I think I’ll just edit my MarsEdit preferences to automatically put “Studio Construction” into the title field of every blank post window. Geeze…

So I decided to bite the bullet and make the smaller cabinet. It turns out that practice does indeed make perfect. It was a breeze for me to cut the stock for the walls and laminate the sides with leftover laminate from the first cabinet. It took me about 90 minutes to get that much done. Tomorrow I’ll go back to the lumberyard for a bunch of lyptus (now that I’m sold on the wood) and a couple more hours to finish up. In about 3-4 hours I will have made a hardwood lined rolling 12 rackspace cabinet that would sell for around $300. Not too bad. Maybe I should make these things professionally!

I had more fun that I thought I would making both cabinets. There weren’t any tricks to them (90 degree corners and easy to handle pieces) and they went together admirably fast. The lyptus is a dream to work with and the Tried and True goes on like butter. SO much better than the overpriced junk you get from the music stores.

Deep Thoughts

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 10:19 pm

Some very interesting thoughts on the future of technology from SF writer Charles Stross. Read the whole (long) article.

This century we’re going to learn a lesson about what it means to be unable to forget anything. And it’s going to go on, and on. Barring a catastrophic universal collapse of human civilization — which I should note was widely predicted from August 1945 onward, and hasn’t happened yet — we’re going to be laying down memories in diamond that will outlast our bones, and our civilizations, and our languages. Sixty kilograms [of diamond atom recording media] will handily sum up the total history of the human species, up to the year 2000. From then on … we still don’t need much storage, in bulk or mass terms. There’s no reason not to massively replicate it and ensure that it survives into the deep future.

And with ubiquitous lifelogs, and the internet, and attempts at providing a unified interface to all interesting information — wikipedia, let’s say — we’re going to give future historians a chance to build an annotated, comprehensive history of the entire human race. Charting the relationships and interactions between everyone who’s ever lived since the dawn of history — or at least, the dawn of the new kind of history that is about to be born this century.

Total history — a term I’d like to coin, by analogy to total war — is something we haven’t experienced yet. I’m really not sure what its implications are, but then, I’m one of the odd primitive shadows just visible at one edge of the archive: I expect to live long enough to be lifelogging, but my first forty or fifty years are going to be very poorly documented, mere gigabytes of text and audio to document decades of experience. What I can be fairly sure of is that our descendants’ relationship with their history is going to be very different from our own, because they will be able to see it with a level of depth and clarity that nobody has ever experienced before.

Meet your descendants. They don’t know what it’s like to be involuntarily lost, don’t understand what we mean by the word “privacy”, and will have access (sooner or later) to a historical representation of our species that defies understanding. They live in a world where history has a sharply-drawn start line, and everything they individually do or say will sooner or later be visible to everyone who comes after them, forever. They are incredibly alien to us.

Studio Construction

Filed under: Studio Construction — jasony @ 4:13 pm

So I’m installing my pile of equipment into the new cabinet when I realize something… I don’t have enough room. There is a stack of equipment that I’ve stored away for several years. I don’t use it very often, but it would be nice to have handy, and the lights are a good addition; clients hear with their eyes after all.

Anyway, while I was deciding how to orient all of the equipment I realized that there was nowhere to put about 12 rack spaces worth of gear. I have a DAT player, a DA-38 digital 8 track (it’s much more modern than it sounds, the DA series was THE system to have in the 90’s for TV, film, and commercial production. Everyone has gone to hard disk based recording systems now, but I still can’t bring myself to sell the unit for the $200 or so it would get. I paid $2500 for it new and it has less than 10 hours of operation on it. Ouch. It remains my single biggest gear purchase “whoops”), a patchbay, a couple of reverb/fx units, a sampler, and a few other things. I’m afraid I might have to spend a few days making another, smaller, version of the equipment cabinet I just built. This one could sit under the mixer. I’m going back and forth on this. I could just stick the stuff back in the closet, or I could sell the stuff (for pennies on the dollar). Of course, if I build the case I’ll have a nice box full of stuff I don’t need and never use. But it would give me room to grow. I’m over capacity now and the extra space would provide some ventilation.

Studio Construction

Filed under: Studio Construction — jasony @ 11:52 am

The equipment cabinet is built! I’m finishing the lyptus with Tried and True Varnish Oil. It’s a great product that creates a beautiful surface. The grain of they lyptus positively pops out and there’s no thick film between the user and the wood like there is with polyurethane. It’s not as durable as poly but the T&T can be reapplied easily. Best of all, it’s completely non-toxic (you can apply it with your fingers) and a little goes a long way. I found a pint for $18 and thought WOW, that’s expensive. But based on the advice of a friend I bought some a few years ago. I have now put multiple coats on several pieces of furniture and still have about 1/4 of the quart left.

Unfortunately, you have to let the stuff dry for a long time. Like, a LONG time. In high humidity (is there anything else in Texas?) the first coat can take a week to dry. I’m going to give this a few hours and then move it up to my studio so I can start the rewire. It’s so easy to apply and so thick- more like putting on face cream than oil- that I can reapply it any time with little risk to the electronics. And if I get it out of the shop I can keep making dust while I build the desk boxes and desk top.

I wasn’t 100% sure of the lyptus/oil combination, but lyptus was about a quarter the price of cherry and has the same tight grain and similar color. It’s heavier, too. I have to say that after seeing the Tried and True on the lyptus I’m really happy. It’s exactly the color/grain that I had in mind. The cabinet looks beautiful- even better than a store-bought plastic trimmed cabinet. I can’t wait to show it off.

*UPDATE* Thanks to my neighbor James the cabinet is now in the studio. Thanks, James! Let the rewiring begin.

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