Avoiding Adulthood

I fell in love with computer games (or video games, as we called them back in the beginning) at an early age. Pong came out when I was around 10 or so, and I can’t think of any phase in my life since in which I wasn’t at least occasionally playing arcade games or computer games. There was a particularly exciting time around ’83 or ’84 when arcade games were nearing their height of popularity and the arcades near campus were having price wars. You could play games for a nickle, rather than the usual quarter. One arcade always had one game set to play for free, just to lure customers. (It was on such a day that I got to level 85 on Tempest.) read more

Spin Your Own Leek!

If you happen to have watched the leekspin videos (which I previously blogged here and here) and thought to yourself “that looks like a good deal of fun, except that leeks are, in truth, far too stiff to spin well,” a solution is now available here in the form of a flexible plastic leek.

Yes, that was indeed a problem waiting to be solved, wasn’t it?

All God’s Chillun Got Algorithm

Some clever person has built a little robot that runs around looking for things to drum on, drums on them, records the sounds, and makes little rhythms by playing back the sounds while drumming some more. There’s a web page about it here and here’s one of the several videos of it:

[The video is getting hit pretty hard so it may tell you that it’s not available; try back later if so.]

This is probably the sort of thing I’d be doing if I had more time on my hands. Robots were what got me interested in computers in the first place, but 30 years ago it was a lot harder to build robots than it is now and I never got much further than reading every book on robots and computers that the public library had at the time. read more


It was a pretty morning here. It snowed some last night and the snow stuck to the branches of the trees in a very picturesque manner.




Using a Newspaper To Protect Yourself Against an Atomic Blast

Here’s a lovely little period piece here. It’s a genuine Civil Defense film from 1951. I’m pretty sure that my mother told me she saw it when she was a kid in school. They stopped screening it sometime between then and when I reached grade school. I do remember that they still had sirens in my home town when I was a kid in the early 70s, and I think maybe they still tested them occasionally. Tracie says she remembers doing these drills when she was in grade school in southern California. read more

Buy My Keyboard!

I’ve got a nice little MIDI keyboard/audio interface up for sale on eBay. Please, someone take this off my hands and give it a new home. It’s in great shape; the only reason I’m selling it is that I decided I needed a 4-octave keyboard to sit in front of my computer.

I used this keyboard for testing the MIDI controller feature of all of Audio Damage’s VST plug-ins, so hey, if you’re an Audio Damage fan, this keyboard has extra mojo. 🙂

Click here to go to the auction listing. read more

I’m Not the Only Developer That Hates AudioUnits

There’s an interesting post here from a fellow plug-in developer who thinks about as highly as I do of AudioUnits. Actually I suppose it’s overstating the point to say that this fellow hates AudioUnits. He just spent three months trying to write the silly things and ended up with no usable results and the opinion that Apple’s support for developers of AudioUnits, and the code they provide for developing AudioUnits, is so half-assed that there’s no business sense in continuing the attempt to write AudioUnits. read more

R.I.P.: Allen Strange

Sigh. Another electronic music icon has died. Allen Strange died on Feb. 20. He somewhat literally wrote the book on analog synthesizers, back before we differentiated analog synths from digital ones because there weren’t any digital synths to speak of. His book, titled simply Electronic Music, one of the best references on both modular synthesizer programming and tape-based studio techniques, now changes hands for large sums of money. I first read it when I was about 15 and was reading everything about synthesizers that I could find. Later I was amused to discover that the binding on the copy in the university library was labeled “STRANGE ELECTRONIC MUSIC” with not quite enough space between his name and the title. I was lucky enough to find a copy for myself in a used book store some years later. read more