anarag's blog

some plug and socket naming

I was trying to explain this to someone verbally, but ended promising to do a diagram.  No, an IEC 60320-1 C-14 connector is not the same as a 60320-2-2 E connector.  Maybe someone else can explain it more clearly, but this is my take on it:

diagram of input and output plugs and sockets

(SVG version here)

scaling the depths

Hereʼs a weird comment:

"But it is important to say we simply don't have any evidence in this paper to suggest that any carbon coming from these seeps is entering the atmosphere."

This quote comes from Professor Adam Skarke of Mississippi State University.  Context: this is an article about recent research into releases of methane from clathrates in the seabed off the American coastline.  As we know, a warming ocean is highly likely to lead to a greater trend of release of methane than has hitherto been the case, because the equilibrium level of clathrate formation and melting changes with temperature.  The released methane mostly is oxidised in the sea, adding a 2:1 molecular ratio of water and dissolved carbon dioxide to it.

Itʼs understandable that Professor Skarke would want to hedge his comments a bit.  But hang on...

The fact that a strong solution of CO₂ is being added to the sea in this way is not unimportant:

Поливокс / Polivoks Notes

(Anorak Adventures in Synthland 2)

polivoks

Hey, got a Polivoks.

First, some points of nomenclature.  Iʼve had no occasion hitherto to consider it, but I now realise the correct English plural of Polivoks is Polivoksen.  With that established, on the Polivoks:

  • Generator (Генератор) = tone generator = (audio frequency) oscillator = VCO.
  • Modulator (Модулятор) is mainly an LFO.  (The control can select noise as well as periodic functions, so LFO would be incorrect ... a less cumbersome term than Korgʼs ‘modulation generator’.)
  • Glissando (Глиссандо) = portamento (a.k.a. ‘glide’).
  • Pedestal (Пьедестал) = sustain level.

Iʼll use the Polivoks terms here, mostly.

This Polivoks was made in 1987, and came with lid, pedal and cables (5-pin and 3-pin DIN; donʼt know what the 3-pin one was for...).  No power cable but has an IEC C-14 power socket mod. [1]

External Condition

Case: not great; sticky tape residues, heavily scraped and rather indented.  So much for all the “built like a tank” guff.  Built like a fake tank for to confuse the enemy, maybe.  Sheet aluminium bends (like plastic, unlike steel) but doesnʼt rebound.  It seems to have had carry handles at either end; not sure if they were original, but gone now.  The rubber feet on the underside are different sizes – presumably two were replaced at some point.

MagSafe – the Last Straw?

(This post is the long-promised update to A Disturbing Shade of Green.  I had intended to take update photographs of the adaptor previously bitched about, but had no decent working camera for a while.  Now I have camera and two adaptors worth a gripe, so here goes.)

This happened over the last 48 hours.

Apple L-tip Magsafe connector cable with a cracked sheath

In 2013, after a long spell of financial difficulty during which it wasnʼt an option, I replaced my laptopʼs sadly deteriorated MagSafe [4] power adaptor.  That adaptor (Nº2) went up on a high shelf in the interim.  And the new adaptor (Nº4) was good.  But early this year I noticed the onset of the same deterioration.  I might have blogged about it all the way through, but the last few months have been intense...

The progressive deterioration whilst in normal use of the new (c.2011 and on) cable for these adaptors seems to go like this:

battery troubles

Oh.

Anorak Adventures in Synthland 1

Rehab & Upgrade the Jen#2, stage 1.

(There will be a stage 2, as Iʼm not currently in a position to do the whole refurb.  No decent working space for soldering right now.)

Jen#2 cleaned, with knobs

Jen#2 (not a “Jenny”, thanks) is a newly-arrived Jen Synthetone SX1000, s/n3326, later-type keyboard, with veneer ends, in moderately poor condition.

After unpacking & supply lead check – 13A plug fuse replaced with 2A here '~' – external condition and basic audio function were checked.  Minor issues: some knobs are scratchy, some are loose.  This should be resolvable, but will require checks at stage 2.

External Condition & Issues

upper storeys

In the news today, NASA adds weight to the common – but curiously inert – conclusion that ice sheets are melting and seas will be rising.  One thing Iʼve not seen much of is actual adaption strategies to this.  Of course in the longer term it remains to be shown that there is any possible adaption which will avoid human extinction or reduction to a form of subsistence economy which makes the concept of adaption moot.  We can hope.

In the short to medium term, though, say we are looking at a 4–5m rise in average sea levels.  The timescale for this may be a hundred or two hundred years (the viability of current models for this is questionable; new points keep coming along to make it worse).  Iʼm particularly thinking about the impact this will have on the town nearest to me.  Much of the existing commercial centre will at some point be under water at normal high tides (rather than parts of it, every few years, at some high tides with a heavy swell).  How can adaption work?  Arguably there could be viable approaches which retain the existing town footprint – flood barriers are popular in some places, but I have doubts about it in this case; spending that amount of money for very small populations may not be an option.  So perhaps a more sensible approach is to require all new buildings or refurbishments to take sea levels into account over their intended lifespan.  (Though buildings are often used beyond their expected lifespan, especially during prolonged economic downturns.)  At this point, if a given piece of work is only intended to last a decade, probably there is no new requirement.  If fifty years, well, maybe occasional protection against higher storm surges than weʼre used to for all but the lowest-lying or most exposed.  Beyond that, we probably need to think bigger.

reasons to switch

One more reason to switch to a normal BSD or Linux.  OSX (10.5, and I donʼt know if fixed in 10.{6,}) makes hard links difficult to use.

Situation:  I have one stylesheet file to be used in multiple ePUB files.  I develop ePUBs with a web browser (in current practice, Safari).  Hmmm ... Safari doesnʼt read MacOS aliases.  Actually I remember that coming up with web browsers before.  It does read symlinks or hard links, good.  But the Finderʼs contextual menu compress command doesnʼt include symlinked files.  Oh well, use hard linking.  Errr...

It turns out that OSX GUI applications, including BBEdit, write new inodes at every save.  (I probably knew that years ago but never had a reason to consider this implication.)  This means the filesystem link to a given inode is replaced at every save – if you make a hard link to a file and then edit the file, the new save (under whichever link you go into it) will be a new inode, while the other links retain the original inode.  You just lost the automatic update of the file which you intended to achieve by hard linking in the first place.  Essentially, hard links and the Aqua interface donʼt mix.

The effective solution in this case isnʼt especially difficult: zip -r <output_file>.epub <input_file> -x \\*.DS_Store ... and this could be stored in the contextual menu or accessed in a variety of ways; or maybe some of the X11 editors avoid this problem, donʼt know.  But BBEdit is probably the biggest thing still keeping me using OSX as my main client OS ... switch++?

The Wrong Anxieties

scottish and hypothetical ewnicish flags

I see David Cameron is getting round to supporting his supposed cause of unionism.  Or Brand Britain at least.  This is basically whatʼs wrong with the United Kingdom.  Itʼs not about a nation, in the sense of a group of people with something shared – however illusory.  Not according to the Tories and their ilk.  Itʼs a marketing opportunity.  A brand.  A way to allow shareholders to turn a profit.  That non-shareholders, and even the small scale shareholders, arenʼt now, nor will regularly in future, be getting anything worthwhile out of this is of no relevance.  Itʼs not even relevant that the large shareholders arenʼt from any particular part of Great Britain or its associated islands.  International capitalism requires successful brands, be it under Saʼudi, Chinese or British ownership, and the beneficiaries of the branding exercise are few and from around the world.

Well enough of it.  I had started out a couple of years ago assuming that the arguments for separation were mixed, which they are.  What has taken me by surprise is how abysmal the arguments for remaining in the UK are.  A reheated serving of romantic nationalism about a Britain that never was, but which has been getting increasingly ladled out by UK media for the last decade.  British sports, British baking, British monarchy, British reality TV, British I-donʼt-know-what-any-more.  You can tell that an identity is in trouble when it has to be so massively hyped, and that was before the referendum came over the horizon.  And underneath it, what?  More opportunities for the rich to become richer at the expense of everyone else.  I used to be amusedly tolerant of it, at least, so far as it wasnʼt the kind of malevolent Britishness of Ulster Unionism or British Imperialism and Nationalism.  After the last few years of brand exposure, Iʼm seriously sick of it.  Can has some clear headspace please?

Learning, and Learning From, C+cean

You might think – given a world in which there are uncountable ‘computer languages’, – that computers had evolved in the familiar way, from primitive valvifera to increasingly inquisitive and playful large-brained transistaria, maybe living off a foraging/scavenging diet supplemented with occasional catches of wild mice and trackballs, through a process of increased capacity for group relationships and pack hunting among the tape herds, developing the ability to communicate complex plans to each other, finally becoming able to consciously invent new words and grammars, write poetry, and construct spamming schemes.

But they didnʼt.  (Yet.)  Thatʼs not what computer languages are, itʼs a trick of the randomly imprecise natural language weʼre using; they are ‘computer control longuages’ (CCLs).  Thatʼs a whole different thing.  They are actually human languages, but formal extensions of our usual grammars, used to control computers.

Thereʼs a kind of implication here ... more interesting random imprecision ... could it be that normal human languages are actually ‘human-control languages’ (HCLs)?  Sometimes?  Maybe.  Itʼs probably more accurate to think that human languages are general languages usable for a range of functions.  One of these might be controlling humans, but we tend now to attempt to control each other through legal mechanisms which are themselves – ideally – controlled with semi-formal legal language.  Or just with money and/or weapons.  Adverts are another example of an attempt to control human behaviour with unnatural (often counterfactual) language.  Meantime we have also developed CCLs because, so far, we have to use more formal languages to control dumb machines, though the day may come when we can make smart machines that really are fully programmable with natural languages.  (I await a formal proof of this with interest but little hope.)

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - anarag's blog