April 27, 2006

LPFM Practical Workshop Evening #1

It was a small classroom, and to be honest... thank god for that. Almost two hours after starting, we'd only got through perhaps half of the intended cirriculum. Part two later in the year - definitely. I learnt a lot about the different types of cable to use for transmitter applications, what the pros and cons of each were, and HOW to actually do it, and SEE how it worked. There was a whip aerial, a dipole and a J-Pole on display.

Particuarly of interest on the night, was the deviation meter and the frequency analysis machine (is that its name?) of what a radio signal looks like in relation to its strength, next to its neighbours on the dial. I saw how much bandwidth a signal can occupy and what a good and bad signal actually looks like. I learnt about the massive amount of filtering there is on the top of Auckland's Skytower and why the big networks are extremely nervous of the LPFM operator gaining more power.

This night certainly explained why doing things the right way is actually the better way. Its with great comfort knowing I have been doing things correctly, and after this night, I suspect the other operators who turned up are now much more 'switched on' about their own broadcasts, but also aware of what 'other' sneaky/dodgy players are actually doing to this fragile spectrum, which has been so kindly given to us all to use.

I for one will be much more vigiliant in protecting my own operation, and listening much more carefully for rogue operators, or abusers of the spectrum within my broadcast area. I suggest highly, to the handful of operators who did not attend, perhaps you'd better do so next time. You are being watched, and I think its best you know why.

I must confess to you my reader, that my humble station was commended on the night, of "sounding great". It was a nice compliment to receive. It has been a process of learning that has so far taken the last 7 of my 11 years in radio to fully understand and appreciate. I think it sounds just awesome today. A radio jock/tutor/artist friend of mine rang me recently and commented that it sounded 'polished' like I was using an Optimod. That really made my week.

If the best radio processing is transparent and shouldn't bring attention to itself, then what have I gone ahead and concocted? *sfx: lightning strike*

Thanks to Barry Ewen, Ricky Huntington and Dave Dingley for hosting an absolutely superb night of technical nouse. If you are a LPFM operator, potential user or enthusiast, I highly recommend you attend the next night. Keep your eyes to the boards for future events like these. Choice.

The Society Of Low Power FM Broadcasters Incorporated is pleased to announce that it will conduct the first in a series of planned "Practical Workshop Evenings" on the evening of Thursday 27th April 2006.

This will involve part presentation and part demonstration by people well qualified in their field. The emphasis will be on the practical side of things.

We will welcome anyone who would like to attend, but will charge non-members of The Society $15 as a contribution to cover the costs of hosting the evening.

Venue :-
Avondale Community Centre, 99 Rosebank Road, Avondale. Auckland

Time :-
7.30 pm.

Subject :-
Brief overview of a "typical" setup (mic, computer, mixer, tx). Then expand on the Tx side (compressors, stereo generator, tx proper, aerial) in more detail, particularly comp / limiter setup.

April 25, 2006

Aphthous Stomata

Without sharing too many intimate details, I have sore gums today and a few ulcers. Its highly likely I've been doing far too much kissing, so in light of this - perhaps this post could become a worthy bookmark in the event YOU get an ulcer.

Some common causes
Accidentally biting your tongue
Allergic reaction
Auto-immune system reacting to another persons saliva or bodily fluids (or in my case - too much kissing).

General ways to avoid ulcers
Check your diet first. If you're eating bad food, get some fruit and greens inya - but cook the food so its soft enough to eat without pain. Carrots, Pasta, Fish etc
No toasted breads, crispy bacon or any hard food that could pierce any sensitive gums.

Most ulcers will vanish after a week or so, but check these:
• Swab the sores with sea-buckthorn fruit oil or hydrogen peroxide
• Rinse the mouth with Listerine. This can relieve pain for a few hours.
• Pouring salt directly on the ulcer can prove effective, however this can be extremely painful and can scar. Avoiding pressure on the ulcer after applying the salt minimizes the pain.
• Apply glyoxide directly to the sores and swish around mouth
• Rinse the mouth with salt water—1 teaspoon of salt dissolved in 1 cup (250 ml) of warm water (aka. a saline solution)
• Take Lysine-L supplements
• Rinse mouth and especially the affected area with sage tea 3 times a day. The improvement is said to be seen as early as within 24 hours.

*update 1/5/2006*
In the last week, I've learnt a lot about eating only soft foods for breakfast lunch and dinner, and moreso, what not to eat with ulcers. Tomato is definitely bad, and salt is for sea-shanty types.

Fish is good. Macaroni, or any cheese pasta, yoghurt, porridge, baked beans and creamy rice all receive ticks. Surprisingly, not bananas. Drinks: Water, Milk, Ribena, and if you want something fizzy, my only offering is Ch'i (the drink that knows its own name, but a dentist will refuse to do the same), as its herbal and quite yummy.

Also, toothpastes are bad at this time, instead wash with Savacol. Just like the Dentist spitting cup solution.

Dom Walton has been writing about this for a while. To suck the info from his page to this one, read up - otherwise go there to learn more.
Theory of Ulcers: Ulcers start as a result of physical damage like biting yourself, or by an allergic reaction or auto-immune system response to chemical or biological agents. A wound in the mouth is made by either of the events. In the mouth there are many good and bad micro-organisms and bacteria, which now have access to the wound surface. If too many bad bacteria get to colonise the wound, they take over, and produce toxins which in turn promote further cell death causing the ulcer to get larger (this is the stage it which it really hurts). Also at this stage the bacteria lining the ulcer surface can produce a fibrillous exudate which effectively makes a protective coating over their new home (this can often be seen as a whitish covering to the ulcer surface). This situation now continues until the causative agent is gone, and the body’s immune system comes up with the solution and the bad bacteria are quashed.

Anthony Smith has also been in touch. He's also asked to have the Ulcer Treatment & Information website mentioned here as well. He makes note that while there are a number of different ulcers there are some very common similarities between them. Check it out.

Also in fine fashion, a couple of appropriate songs to laugh it off ;)

Peter Gabriel - Kiss That Frog 1992

Debbie Harry - French Kissing In The USA 1986

April 23, 2006

Everything is a ghetto

I've been reading a creative thinking book, on and off for about a month now. Sadly Im only at the 3rd chapter, but it does get me thinking, and makes light of how we as humans, process information.

Take something devastating like 9/11 or the Asian Tsunami.. its pretty difficult to joke about it. Ask any comedian.

So when something requires improvement, is it easier to look at where it fails and fix that particular problem? Efficiency say most, but the real thinkers will not settle on taking the easy way to improvement. There is a bigger picture and a much more creative way to not only improve this situation, but also make a sweeping and radical change which results in far better performance/results. As in Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events - a VERY clever movie (you should see it if you haven't), there is the repeated phrase "there is always something", and thats very true.

Creative thinking entirely depends on how you process information. Some people at funerals scream and cry, whereas others bottle it in, or god forbid others might have no feeling whatsoever.

In situations of unfortunate circumstances, you might have a feeling of impeding doom. Its emotional and very hard to control, much like mourning a lost loved one, for example. Its this mental catchnet that keeps us from moving on from that moment, and not being able to see a way to overcome it (or how another person is dealing with the same thing). People plough through these emotional times and is an important process.

Now given that example is passed in your mind, I want you to think of a dilemma you may have recently come across. Perhaps deciding on a traffic route in the city at 5pm on a Friday, or how best to repair something like an old clock that is broken (fix it yourself, or hire someone). Its intriguing how some people can offer you an idea which may influence your rational thinking, to go one way or another as a solution.

You really have to become neutral to the information presented. Strip it of all context, and then design half a dozen hypothesis to create a solution to any dilemma requiring a creative solution. "There is always something". Go crazy. Be absurd with your hypothesis.

Try your best to both crush every one or all of your hypothesis but at the same time, try and rescue them. The great thing about our brain, is that it will most always make compromises to accept a reality, or make a judgement. Creative thinking entirely depends on how you process information. Some people at funerals scream and cry, whereas others bottle it in, or god forbid others might have no feeling whatsoever.

Taking this reality, you can then choose to zone in on specific information presented, or generalise. Now bring back its context and fit your jigsaw pieces together. You would not have got this solution by looking at a failing, and just fixing that. This new idea has come because you took in the entire picture.

Hollywood Studio Orchestra - Pink Panther ogg/1Mb/1964

*pick up Ogg before 30 April, 2006

April 19, 2006

Absent pass

Oh crap. Forgot I had a blog. Life's been busy as you can probably tell.. has been for a lot of us. Whats up with that? Where ya been Phelps?

Chicago - Beginnings ogg/1.1Mb/1971

*pick up Ogg before April 27, 2006

April 4, 2006

Fast Cars

Its a song that makes your hips move.

Over the course of the Vertigo Tour, U2 must enjoy playing this song, as the crowd really dig it too. Bono even does an Elvis/Jackson and invites a girl up on stage to dance with him [read story]. This song is featured on 'How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb' and various torrents [1][2].

Here is the Jacknife Lee Remix. Enjoy.

U2 - Fast Cars (Jacknife Lee Remix) ogg/1.6Mb/album track

*pick up Ogg before April 11, 2006

April 1, 2006

INXS tour New Zealand

INXS - The Switched On Tour 2006
September 22 & 23, 2006

from INXS.com
31.03.06 New Zealand Dates Announced
Two dates in New Zealand have been announced for the next leg of INXS's Switched On world tour:

- Christchurch, NZ on 21 Sept. at Westpac Centre
- Auckland, NZ on 23 Sept. (venue tba)