Monday, October 26, 2009

WSCA - FM Portsmouth Community Radio 106.1 FM and streaming

My friend and WSCA on-air jazz docent Gary Lowe sent me a link to Portsmouth New Hampshire's WSCA FM.  WSCA has a live stream and I am now listening to an Orbital remix at 4pm local.  Great stuff.  Check out WSCA - they need your help!  Send money, PCs, equipment etc.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

New CD "The Juggler's Progress" from True Margrit

I met Margrit Eichler at the 2006 AES in San Francisco and have subscribed to her mailing list ever since. Just got her band's new CD today, (which has not left the changer since it arrived here last week!) and it reminds me a little of Zamcheck, from the 70s, and Stormin Norman and Suzy, but not really. Here's an entertaining clip of True Margrit from Youtube.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Stylophone

World's first vacuum tube ribbon mic - pre WWII

I've scanned in and posted an excerpt from Electronics Magazine of this fascinating article about early ribbon microphones using phantom power and with tube amps on board.  Julius Weinberger  was a well known writer in various hi tech magazines of the day, and this particular gem caught my eye recently.

This article is 75 years old!  It is amazing that nearly all of the advancements in ribbon microphone technology were demonstrated that far back.  The only fundamental aspect that has changed is the ribbon - and the elimination of "foils". And that occurred in 2007.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The current front page artwork of Anthony Resta's Studio Bopnique home page, with enough contrast so you can see the music lessons in progress.  It's amazing how photoshop can bring an image out of the fog, making details visible, restoring tonal gradients enough to delineate shape and form.

Old movies have this high contrast look after many years of reprinting. Each successive print loses dynamic range, and eventually the images are all black and white, with no greys.  The Three Stooges sometimes look that way, same with The Little Rascals, if you can find 
them.Visit the liquid centre of the rhythm factory,
the heart of the sci-fi mambo lab

Thursday, October 15, 2009

WZBC 90.300 MHz FM Newton/Boston

As I type this entry I am listening to the program "Rare Frequency" on my favorite radio station WZBC in Newton, at Boston College.

Ambient, progressive, experimental, unclassifiable.  This is where I discovered Heiner Goebbel's Eislermaterial, P5, Demos of Saturn, and numerous other heady favorites.

From their own website:

" 1979 when our broadcast signal became stereo. However, arguably the most important change in WZBC history occurred later that year, or perhaps the following one (depending on whom you ask), when the station changed its format to something called modern rock. The frequency formerly home to James Taylor and his ilk became inundated with innovative new bands which commercial radio would not touch. At approximately the same time, WZBC also began broadcasting more experimental music under the moniker, No Commercial Potential, thus changing the future of WZBC irrevocably. Since the initial format change, WZBC has grown to become one of the most influential and respected college stations in the country"

Indeed!  Tune in on iTunes to Alexandra or Phader at 8am Eastern time on "Melody du Jour" for a selection of gems sure to make your music exploration explode, and stimulate your hunger once again for the new, the innovative, and the ear-opening sounds.

iTunes 9 is an artless disappointment

If you are thinking of upgrading to iTunes 9 and you don't have an iPhone, you might want to wait. The problem is that Apple has changed the color scheme in such a way that viewing iTunes 9 on the glossy screen of the Macbook Pro is nearly impossible unless you turn off all the room lights. I made this mistake and now find I can't go back to the previous version. To all those (including me) who have griped about Microsoft, I can tell you I feel no better about Apple, and find them to be at least as draconian, and more simple-minded than MS. For instance, there are no controls that you can access to change simple items like screen colors and backgrounds.  Amazingly thoughtless, and artless. from a company that depends on those who speak, think and live aesthetics. Or at least used to.

Monday, October 12, 2009


KSM 313 and KSM 353 at the Shure Booth - AES 2009

Hands fondling a KSM313 (previously Naked Eye Roswellite) and next to a KSM353 (el Diablo Stainless) at the Shure booth.

Nice to see these mics go into a big channel like Shure!

Neumann and Sennheiser Booth

A lot smaller than previous years, especially the Neumman section, which was literally a corner of the larger, but very modestly-sized Sennheiser booth at this year's AES show in New York.

AES Antennas

Bunch of antennas at the Shure booth.  L-R Helical circularly polarized, above that some little antenna or something, two shark fins, AKA "paddles" and some wireless mics and gadgets.

Wireless is in a state of flux these days, with TV Band Devices (TVBDs) that are going to occupy the so-called White Spaces, and other band changes from the FCC expected, including a possible future rule or order from FCC for wireless mics to vacate the 700 MHz band, maybe within a couple of years.

The performance wireless space is peopled by a lot of ham radio types, already familiar with the vagaries of coax, RF connectors, antenna patterns and other things not generally well known or appreciated by the audio crowd.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Roger Hooper - Composer

I just now happened to see a tweet from Roger Hooper, who I remembered from his brilliant VOA themes that had caught my attention before.  Roger must be at AES right now and was attending some of the sessions today.

What I like about theme songs, news bulletins,film scores and incidental music for film and TV, is that it is Art with a Purpose.  Art with a purpose is sometimes spoken of as mere craft, but it is not so.  Well-directed, clear musical concepts that work in their specific context are rare in "art" music today.  Sometimes it takes the limitations and to-the-point requirements of commercials to distill the essence into concise, strong and satisfying minute-long segments.

Here is a link to Roger's website.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

FUBAR III Headphone Amplifier

Apparently just in time for the Holiday Season is this nicely knobbed FUBAR III headphone amplifier.

I assume that FUBAR had a FUBAR 1 and 2 that preceded the III, but I never spotted it before today.  Companies sometimes spend a lot of effort on naming their products, or, like us, let the customers make suggestions.  If that was the case with the FUBAR III, then you should know what FUBAR has stood for since at least World War II.

FUBAR - acronym

Army definition -- Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition

FUBAR is a close cousin to SNAFU.  Hopefully, new owners of the FUBAR III won't have one. FUBARITE, the mineral is also interesting.

The Naming of Roswellite - Advanced Acoustic Nanomaterial

Quite a few people have asked recently how Roswellite got its name.  Since I will be at AES this year and might run into you, here is a piece written before Shure Inc. purchased the rights to Roswellite for use in their KSM313 and KSM353 Ribbon Microphones. If you haven't heard, Shure Inc. manufactures the mics in Illinois, using the same methods, materials and tooling that we used at Crowley and Tripp.

ONLY Shure has this material. No other ribbon microphone manufacturers have it.

Here is a link to that article in which the naming of Roswellite is mentioned.  It happened at Tape Op Con 2007,  and was helped by some of the attendees who were at the booth who had a hard time with "acoustic nanofilm", which meant nothing to them, but a world to us!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Birds are Missing in New England

Where have all the birds gone?  A month ago I noticed a sharp drop off of goldfinches at the feeder. The local bird seed supplier has seen his sales of birdseed go to almost nothing, as there are so few takers at the feeders.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Time for a ride

It's that time of year, cool, crisp days and long shadows in the afternoons, the most comfortable time for a bike ride through the multicolored Fall foliage New England is famous for.  This year looks like a good one for the leaf peepers, with brilliant maple reds and other intense and vibrant colors in evidence on the higher hillsides and frostier valleys. 

Reviewed Proposal Paper - a new form of patent publication in scientific literature

I am developing, and proposing, a new subclass of scientific paper called a "Reviewed Proposal Paper" (RPP)  that allows an author or group to propose new scientific inquiry, thought, research, technology development or other advances, while supporting the rights and proprietary nature of the work, which is often funded by private investors.  Today, patent applications are usually ignored in the academic literature, yet patent applicants must consider academic publications as a matter of law.  This inconsistency has led to a knowledge disparity and unproductive conflict in the industrial sciences, in particular, which slows progress, and wastes or misdirects funding from both private and public sectors.

In addition to peer review, an RPP will track the disclosure format necessary to satisfy an improved, more well-vetted patenting process geared toward higher quality and valid patents.  Additionally, the RPP, if adopted, will open the vetting process for patents earlier than presently supported by the United State Patent Office publication rules, allow public, scientific, academic and industrial comment on patent applications, and provide a process for the supply of pertinent so-called "prior art", which would be collected in a database, and other public disclosures and publications made at a date earlier than the date of the RPP or its attendant patent filing.

The first RPP hasn't been written.  The review process hasn't been ascertained, nor have the potentially varied paths to publication, which could include academic journals, online publishing, and perhaps even multimedia been given enough consideration yet to propose.  These are the minimum requirements: A system, possibly one put in place on a for-profit or not-for-profit basis, could supply a framework to regulate the accumulation of qualified comments and contributions in the idea vetting process.  The barest essentials might consist of the following:

1. The RPP, available online on or after the date of first filing at the USPTO or other patent office working within the rules of the Patent Cooperation Treaty.
2.   A references list of all references supplied initially (if any) by the author(s) of the RPP.
3.   A submitted references file in which any interested party may submit qualified references that are pertinent to the novelty, teaching and realization of the matter disclosed in the RPP, before the first date(s) of disclosure.
4.   The commenting section, in which submissions are either accepted or rejected, based upon relevance, date and other criteria, populated by at least one peer.
5.  The summary section, containing all the accumulated references-to-date, in a form that can be readily used and accessed by academia, industry, patent examiners, attorneys and others interested in the prosecution course.
6.  The response section, in which the author(s) of the RPP can further explain the matter in the RPP, and make amendments based upon newly uncovered prior art and other preceding publications and verifiable knowledge.

The system would run in stages paralleling the traditional patent process , such as the filing stage, the prosecution stage, the post-grant stage (where the standards for introducing new matter might require a higher materiality criteria), and even the reexamination stage, which this system would possibly reduce the need for.  Reexamination is a process of challenging a patent at the patent office, sometimes well after it has been granted.  It is sometimes used by well-funded entities to "clear a path" through patents they would otherwise have to pay royalties to use, and it avoidably wastes greater resources, time, money, and opportunity than if a more open system was in place.

The most fundamental concept of such a system, if adopted, would be to continue and make better the important deal between inventors and innovators, and the rights-granting bodies: In return for bringing forth the idea for the benefit of the public, the inventor receives a short period of exclusivity so that he or she may benefit from the value of the invention, and after that time, the invention becomes available to all. Today that short period is approximately 20 years.


Thursday, October 01, 2009

Motorola Dome

I have quite a few old radios lying about, and some of them have interesting details such as this Motorola table radio from the 1950s, complete with an atomic domed tuning window against a greenish plastic cold war motif.  If you look closely, you can see the mandatory Conelrad marking on the dial, put there in  US radios as part of an early warning system in the event of incoming Russian ICBMs.  Remnants of Conelrad, which is a contraction of "Control of Electromagnetic Radiation", can be heard in the occasional Emergency Broadcast System alert.  For many years, we also had a weekly warning siren that could be heard across America, usually at noon, on Fridays. We called it "the twelve o'clock whistle".