Archive for April, 2014

Early April Update: WordPress glitchy bullshit; RSS; school–drugs–psychiatry; dogecoin; DIY update

April 1, 2014

WordPress Reader Sucks: Apparently the reason I’m not showing up in some peoples’ readers is that when I changed my name, it left you all subscribed to my OLD name and not following my new name. Yes, EVEN THOUGH it says you are following me in your reader, you have to click unfollow and then click follow again. Basically, this is the deal: never ever change your wordpress name. Not only will you lose all your followers, it will LOOK like you didn’t, and none of your followers will think there is any problem.

RSS: Of course, if everyone just followed via RSS instead of via WP’s built-in Reader, this would not be an issue at all. The fact that RSS is a dying technology angers me to no end. My suggestion is to subscribe to everyone ever on RSS. Get a deskop-based RSS reader or if you want, a cloud-based one. With Google Reader having bit the dust IDK what the best cloud-based ones are anymore.

Mental Health: Life is basically terrible. I had to confront my teacher today to give her an explanation about my absenses and late assignments because they became too great. She was sympathetic and we bonded over our hatred of the Office of Disability Services personnel. Now, of course, I have to complete three assignments in the next two or three hours, but the actual source of the actual paralyzing anxiety is actually gone.

Drugs, Typography: Today I took half a NuVigil at 4:30AM and a whole Klonopin at 7:30AM. Class was at 8:00AM. To the chagrin of most of the other students, I spoke more in class today than usual. I blame drugs. Everyone else was basically asleep while I interrogated the professor about different style-guide’s recommendations for dash typography. A reader may have noticed that I am a big fan of using dashes instead of parenthesis. My professor recommended using a dash in that way about once a page or so. Dash usage is a habit that can get out of hand really quickly.

About class. Did I mention I missed a full week last week? I couldn’t do anything! I’m considering upping my Vibryyd dose but I have an appointment in a week, so I might as well wait until then to discuss it with the pro. Thank the gods for the “emergency” drugs.

Dogecoin and Cryptocurrency Day-trading: I currently hold 23,000 Dogecoin, which has been sitting at an ask price of 121 Satoshi for a few days. The price reached 120 the other day but never touched 121 and I’m very disappointed. It’s now trading at 111 and 110, so I think I’m going to play market maker for a while today before placing another high ask, maybe at 118 or so. I bought at 114, and the price is almost 100% guaranteed to reach 115 eventually, so I’m not worried. I am not currently doing any automated trading.

DIY projects:

  • Single-transistor-dirtbox: I populated and drilled the board I etched. There is too much gain and the transistor saturates with almost any input at all. I replaced the 1M miller resistor with a 500K potentiometer. At 500K it sounds close to what I envisioned, but when reduced the miller capacitance dominates and an odd effect occurs: the lower the gain the more high frequencies are rolled off. I’m thinking that I like the actual idea of this kind of effect, but the pedal overall is now too dark. I’m thinking about adding a treble-boost cap in parallel with the top resistor above the diodes, and also reducing or eliminating the capacitor in parallel with the diodes. That way the pedal will still have idiosyncratic controls that inspire through their simplicity, but will also be usable. Also considering changing those resistor values to add more distortion anyway.
  • Champ-inspired tube amp: I love it, it’s great, the few glitch aspects of it are relatively minor. I still want to paint it, which will be a pain since everything is already bolted on. I’m thinking about replacing the epoxy’d in standoffs with screwed in standoffs, for no real reason other than the epoxy keeps breaking. Possible additions include adding a power brake–if I do this it will be done shittily, with just some wirewound resistors. I also need to redo the speaker jack wiring so that the output transformer is less likely to be damaged in the case of a cable malfunction. Also I want to build a cabinet. My dad has some leftover hart pine from building floors in his house like ten years ago that have just been sitting around for eons. I don’t know how to work wood. I think I can figure out the joinery–basically I will just hack stuff together and if it doesn’t work, use metal brackets instead. It’s the sanding and finishing that I’ve done the least work with. How exactly does one finish hart pine? I suppose it would be a shame to paint it or cover it in tolex, so I’ll just leave it looking like some expensive antique furniture, lol. Is staining ever used on pine? If so I might be able to do something cool. I’m thinking about naming this amp the “Baby Whale”, by the way.
  • Found Amp: I found a $60 Ibanez practice amp by the side of the road. It turns on but does nothing but makes a loud buzzing sound–this is probably because the power cable is missing the “earth” pin. Someday I’ll fix it, even though it almost certainly sounds worse than my Roland Microcube (which is of similar wattage and speaker, but is a modeling amp) or either of my Peavey Combos (which is of a similar solid-state design, but are much higher wattage and have better speakers).
  • Found Chassis: I also found a tubedepot.com blank amp chassis. It’s about four times the size of the one I used for the Baby Whale. I supposed some day I’ll build an amp into it. Maybe something Plexi inspired? I’m honestly not sure that I would ever want an amp that uses a quad of power tubes. I love the 6V6 in the Baby Whale, so maybe I would go for a dual 6V6 or dual 6L6 design. If I gigged in a room big enough to warrant a quad, I’d be mic’d up anyway … right?
  • Antique Radio Restoration: I have made no progress on this. One thing I need to do is purchase a set of “all american five” miniature vacuum tubes from ebay. Apparently a full set of five can be had for ten to twenty USD. One thing I learned about the five-tube design is that the use of these particular tubes is what allows the lack of a power transformer. The tube filaments, when placed in series, demand a total of precisely 110VAC. Guitar amps usually use a power transformer that drives all of the tubes at 6.3VAC in parallel. In this radio all five of them are stacked so that the total voltage is what matters, and it has been designed so that the total is the same as the standard line voltage. IDK why this is considered to save money, however, since there are two isolation transformers present that I would omit if designing this radio myself today. Perhaps high-voltage quality capacitors were not available or reliable in the 40s. This radio might also need woodworking.

So basically I have made tiny amounts of progress in a wide variety of things. It could be worse. Which of these topics would you like an in-depth post about?

(I.e. What do you want to see pictures of? Getting my recording studio running again would be yet another project, so sounds must have to wait.)