August 19, 2005

Danny Deckchair

Danny Deckchair might sound like a dreadful confluence of Lawn Chair Larry and Eddie Murphy.

But really, it's a very good film. Highly recommended.

Bright spark

Dangerous. But it's a great picture nonetheless.

August 17, 2005


A minor milestone: my "feeds" workspace, which has a Groove Forms tool fed from my bloglines subscriptions using a little Groove Web Services application, reached 20000 records today.

Twenty thousand newsfeed items, in exactly 9 months (about 100 per day).

The design center for the forms tool is around 10000 records. Performance is still just fine (this is my main newsreader application).


August 15, 2005


Since buying a Squeezebox, I've been slowly hatching a plan to remove the stereo rack from the sittingroom. Everything on the rack is a "legacy system" now -- turntable, cassette deck, CD player, integrated amplifier -- and will soon seem as quaint as eight-track or reel-to-reel.

All I need is a power-amp, with reasonable heft and minimal (15db?) gain.

Daniel recently pointed me at diyaudio.com, which is a treasure trove of project ideas, and frequented by a fascinating mixture of clueless Darwin-award material and radical guru innovators. The chip-amp approach tickled my fancy -- there are a few very interesting designs there too, but I want to stick with something ultra-simple.

The electronics should be straightforward, but I also want a nice-looking enclosure. Something to match my minimal skillset, but which will look good underneath the Squeezebox. So, armed with a few sheets of paper and a pencil, a sketch emerged. A copper box with wooden legs.

How to source the materials? Newburyport's Port Sheet Metal does copper, but only up to 48oz sheet, which isn't substantial enough for what I want. Luckily I found Admiral Metals, only a short drive away. They have a warehouse and walk-in shop, with offcuts, sheets, flat bars, rods, and various other bits and pieces. Copper, brass, aluminium, steel, and more. The offcuts selection was wide enough for me to pick up a couple of 9x11 x 0.1875" plates and some 2.5" x 0.25" flat bar -- sold by the pound (and this stuff weighs about 20lb, altogether!). Vastly cheaper than onlinemetals. If you're looking for metal (or just up for a tactile experience) I'd unreservedly recommend giving Admiral a visit.

Now I just need the wood. And a few months to put it all together.... :-)

August 08, 2005

Richard Thompson, Newburyport

At the High School last night. Pop quiz:

Say you put on a concert, and it's quite popular -- people start arriving at least two hours beforehand, and form a queue. Do you
[a] Open the doors some time before the scheduled starttime of the concert, so people can take their seats and the line move?,
[b] Split the head of the line across two doors if necessary, to allow lots of people to enter quickly?, or
[c] Wait, then split the line three-quarters down just before opening the doors, so latecomers get in at the same time as the two-hour-plus waiters?

Beardy man and ditzy girl decide [c], of course. (Who are these people? The promoters? Hmmm.) Note: method [c] guarantees that many of your longest-standing (literally) fans are extremely annoyed even before they get through the door.

Then, of course, nothing resembling a decent seat left. When punter complains about this, given the multiple choices available to your Neanderthal brain, would you choose to insult said punter and call him an asshole? Beardy-man does. We leave.

Heptunes, we won't cross paths again. Not if I see you coming.

Mr. Thompson, I don't know what your latest record is like, and I likely never will. It's good that you play gigs in Newburyport - the 2003 show at Nock was great - and we're all big fans, actually. But we'll not be seeing you play live again, not here.