:Archive Of April 2003:

Tuesday, April 29, 2003 - 12:18 AM -

That was fun. I finally built a headphone amp.

Saturday, April 26, 2003 - 12:29 AM -

(Victor will like this.)

Oddmusic Musical Instrument Gallery. Just wonderful.

Aeons ago i worked as a clerk selling upper end woodworking tools. It was one of the few store outlets of a primarily catalogue based company, so the deal was there was one of everything on display and a customer would fill out a purchase form and then hand it to a clerk to scoot around the warehouse for them. Primarily you answered questions; a little about the product but mostly about woodworking because there was a huge amateur market. It was very social. I spent most of my day talking how-to and project strategy and giving encouragement. Knowing a vast amount of obscure information was necessary, so the shop tended to hire weirdos like myself.

An example customer interaction:

"I need a saw that would be particularly good for cutting a lot of very small pieces of spruce precisely."

"What kind of airplane is it?"

(full few seconds to recover) "... a five-eigths scale Spitfire."

"Oo! The Issacs's?"

"... Yes."


Whereupon I brought out some nice dozukis and some wood and trained him in the special way of holding them so he could decide for himself. In this, it was a very nice job.

Anyway, being a catalogue company, people could fill in their name and address at the top of the form so we'd be sure to send them the next catalogue. A lady said she needed advice on our gouge chisels selection since she was making an archtop guitar from curly maple. I paused. Building an archtop guitar is pretty high art, and curly maple is gorgeous and very difficult to do this with. Adding this up, I'm looking at the chisels past her clipboard, and notice her name. Linda Manzer. My brain drops out. For a woodworker geek, the art of the luthier is something of a high plateau, almost monklike elevation. And here is the person who makes Pat Metheny's guitars. In form with being speechless, I said "Don't you live in LA?"

After delivering that unintended surreality into her day, we had a very nice conversation about gouge chisels and her handmade brass planes. Not only was she perhaps the most genuinely humble person I have ever met, but she invited me to visit her shop.

Which I still regret to say I never did. I was busy burning out just then due to the new store having an undertrained new manager, out of touch upper management, and horrendous understaffing. We sold twice the product of the home-base store with less staff. Head office were nice folks, but weren't paying attention to the spreadsheet. Their business was expanding something like 60% every year and this was one of the inevitable slips during that kind of acceleration. By the time I got out and away long enough to enjoy waking in the morning again, too much time had passed to ring and say "remember me?"

Sunday, April 12, 2003 - 2:30 AM -

Solex - Low Kick And Hard Bob. Not what I was expecting and very good indeed.

What's missing in the reviews is there's a real understanding of 50's-60's girl-bop's musicality. She's got the sound. And then drags it through the very best NY art rocker colander to remind you of the few cafe gigs that made the scene worth it. If you like the Art Of Noise and Thrill Kill Cult and Takako Minekawa, then this is nothing like them, and you'll like it fine. This sounds very much like some furniture I want to make.

Saturday, April 12, 2003 - 11:42 PM -

Alrighty, it was bad js on my part. Score 1 for Opera.

- 6:00 PM -

After three betas, Opera 7.10 is out. Still no joy here; my mouse scroll software still doesn't work with it, and Opera's middle button version is too annoying for words. They did fix ctrl-n ctrl-space so you can have your homepage in an instance, but absolutely unbelievably, js focus for forms no longer works. It worked in everything including 7.0, and has been broken in each beta since. Which means to use the search function on my homepage -- the thing that was a wonderfully easy zero interruption ctrl'n-ctrl'space-type_your_word-return to have google's answers in front of you -- requires me to reach for the mouse.

Dammit, Netscape 4 is the only other browser that screws up focus.

Anyway, I'm disappointed. I've been so keen to have a modern Opera and they just can't seem to deliver the new ride without a kneecapping. Considering how much time I spend online, kneecapping isn't an option. It's still better to keep using 6 and have Moz as backup to view modern websites. What a downer.

Sunday, April 6, 2003 - 1:34 PM -

So, if I've got this right, a tractrix curve is a pretty cool thing. Draw a line across a sheet of paper. Cross one end with a perpendicular. Set a compass radius of around a quarter of the first line and mark that perpendicular using the compass point where the lines cross. Now walk the compass point down the line in even intervals, say cm or quarter inches; whatever is convenient on your ruler. At the first interval, use the compass radius to mark the perpendicular again. Create lines from the crosses to the interval. Move the point to the next interval and repeat, this time marking the new lines. Repeat down the axis and you get a roughed shape of a tractrix horn as described by Voight in his 1927 loudspeaker patent, and also neatly described by Leibniz as a hound curve.

What Voight seems to have been after is a horn that has the sound wave propagate out without creating any interfering reflections as it expands.

That's a round horn of course [1,2]. Depending on what's available as materials, people tend to simplify the shape [1,2]. Further equations are needed to deal with that. Many people build four sided horns with one pair of sides as a straight taper, which is a lot easier [1,2]. There's argument that these sides induce reflections that are the point of the tractrix to get rid of, but I note several people have gotten good results [1,2]. I wonder if the criticism is more relevant when the straight sides are parallel, as is common in folded back loaded horns [1].

Meanwhile I'm still wondering what Kobayashi is up to. At the moment I'm guessing the front bit is somewhere in the range of 150 to 200Hz. I haven't yet figured out the math to deal with a 2:1 shape like that.

(Well, it's not like I do crosswords on a Sunday morning.)

Saturday, April 5, 2003 - 10:28 PM -

"This site looks best in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device. Even IE6."

Thursday, April 3, 2003 - 10:33 PM -

Now this is a very fun link. To tempt my humour back I've taken some time out to study speaker enclosures. Oh for a workshop.

And I need to build some shelves.

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