Trying (unsuccessfully) to get a video synthesizer to talk to a video recorder. Along the way I reconfigured a power supply and watched obscure video demos until my brain hurt. Try again tomorrow and/or just buy an old TV and shoot video off the CRT.
Thinking about APIs & event-handlers. Call-and-response. Picking up leaves.
Just found out that my childhood friend Steve Bakken (sometimes performing as Steve Bacon) passed away. Probably more than anyone he was responsible for introducing me to many interesting and experimental sounds in rock music and beyond, turning my ear more towards the nascent grunge/alternative and punk. In those pre-internet years he had a subscription to Rolling Stone and would buy a large number of any well-reviewed album, playing the best of them for his friends, making mixtapes that included the real gems.
He was the primary creative force in my first rock bands. I'd lost touch with him, would hear about his challenge from mutual friends on occasion. I regret not reaching out to him when I got sober. Or any time since I've been sober.
One of my favorite lyrics of his is "You'd better stay in the limelight, or you might get scurvy." His guitar tone was often a solid-sheet-of-frozen-rain, nearly entirely treble. He could get the most interesting recordings and mixes out of his Yamaha 4-track. He beat me in chess every single game we ever played.
For years when I'd run into my former bandmates, Tami (drums) and Luke (extremely tasteful guitar), we'd talk about getting the band back together. Or one of the dear friends of the band, Josh, would send us a bootleg from a show I didn't even know had a recording in the hopes of a 20th or 25th year reunion. Well friends, looks like the band isn't getting back together.
A man who has himself as a printer tech...
Steps to make the Versalink C7000 Xerox printer do one-sided (aka disable two-sided) printing on a Mac:
Use the stripped down printer driver (not sure how I got that, but I did, it has an ethernet ID or something appended to it and lacks all of the customization stuff that Xerox has in their regular driver).
Uncheck two-sided printing on the first page of the printer driver.
Go to the Media & Quality setting and set that to high so that type looks good.
If the document really is black and white, select the black and white checkbox on the first page of settings.
Still having trouble? If the printer is throwing an error about print resources, turn the paper 90º in the print tray.
As you can tell from the above list, part of todays efforts involved making the printer work. It's a fabbo printer, which matters when it prints sheet music and scores and typography, all things that we do every day here. But holy smokes it's a nightmare when it comes to making it operate when something gets off the rails.
Fixing multitrack cassette machines
Speaking of cassette multitracks, here's a video on the basic maintenance/repair for a multitrack cassette machine. It has has 7 main parts:
Power: make sure the wall wart is right polarity and voltage, make sure jacks are properly soldered, check the caps
Visually inspect: are there obvious unplugged/broken things inside
Clean & lubricate: get the pots and faders clean,
Change all the rubber parts: belts, pinch rollers, etc
Rebuild and test: take it apart and put it back together
Use deduction: trace signal flow etc.
Iterate: try it all again until you find what is broken
The "Deduction" section is good in particular, with a few tips on how to chase down problems in a machine.
On choosing a four track cassette recorder
I use all kinds of magnetic tape in my music. As a result, I spend too much time thinking about the various machines involved, especially for the consumer cassette format. Here are some thoughts on selecting a 4 track cassette machine for tape joy:
They’re all fun, whichever one you get is great so long as it’s running. Tascams tend to have per-channel EQ as 2 or 3 parametrics which is fun for tracking. Yamahas tend to have bus EQ as a graphic EQ which can be nice for the mix. Both are good machines though there’s more info and forum-love for the Portastudios.
On the Portastudio side the MKII is most common and very capable. The MKIII might be the best 4 track cassette machine Tascam ever made but the differences between them are truly small (I own and run both).
Since the Yamahas don’t have the same level of mystique you might bet a better price. Also, they are way way smaller because they don’t have XLR inputs. So if you don’t need the XLR input I’d recommend looking into them as well. They fit in a backpack.
I might avoid Fostex because they supposedly break down a little more–but I have no personal experience with them and they might be super rad for the price.
If you’re in the US you can get multi-track cassette decks repaired by Recursive Delete, takes time but does a fantastic job getting all the usual stuff worked out: fresh belts, lubrication, cleaning, etc. and the pricing is always very fair.