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We live in litigious times, so I should say that content reflects only my opinions!

Wednesday July 20 2005

Got to love

the Student Loan Company. Loads of tender concern about my ability to make the repayments when I offered (voluntarily, as I do just about qualify for yet another deferment), but all dealings conducted at 7.5p per minute on their rip-off non-geographical phone numbers. Why the hell do they have to provide a service to the presumably fairly skint via such a rapacious medium?

Oh well, life's full of contradictions.

In other news, there is no other news. I have been spending my time mugging up on various aspects of sound recording and mastering, although I'm painfully aware that hands-on experience is far more valuable than the theory. Then again, I have a duty to not go ignorantly to work on other people's stuff. Computer is far less obtrusively noisy than before thanks to living god Daniel the Manual's proper power supply. I am now a convert to expensive hardware. I rely on the computer, and have frankly had enough of the kind of instability and quirkiness that cheap stuff exhibits. I'd like to put together an audio workstation specifically to do music, but I'm not sure that I can justify the expense at the moment.

Tukey's ridiculously expensive hifi, which anyone who's into their music would probably just term really quite expensive, has been duly vetted and found very nice. Really nice, in fact. Remind me to get my hands on an Electrocompaniet CD player when I next find myself with two and a half grand floating around spare. It has all the qualities I like in my Trichord - a quarter of the price some time ago - but more so. Lovely.

Little else to report. Keep an eye on Inchoate Satellite for the usual generous spattering of what I consider to be interesting links, while I revel in the warm weather and watch ol' Lance Armstrong win the Tour de France for a record-breaking and final seventh time.


Posted at 5:14 pm by Jim Woods

Monday July 18 2005

Catching up on my rather nebulous schedule

of maintenance, I pulled apart my venerable Trichord Genesis CD player tonight. It had been proving a little recalcitrant in the matter of playing CD-Rs, which research had proven was an early symptom of the laser going out of alignment. Yet more research had divulged that re-aligning the laser is not a job for the optimist with an Argos screwdriver. I had therefore, as no doubt I've said here before, resigned myself to the idea of having to cough up a lot of money to replace it with something equally nice at some point in the near future. Notorious audiophile Tukey, though, told me that when his equally glamorous CD transport began to do the same sort of thing he'd pulled it apart - and at this juncture one has little to lose, of course - and thrown away all the contents, replacing them with a mouse and some string and cotton reels in conjunction with a laser pointer he bought at a computer fair for two quid.

I made the last bit up. It was more interesting than the truth. That's mainly why we make things up, isn't it?

Since you insist, this is what he really did. He found a load of fluff and crap on the sliding track raily thing upon which the lens bit traverses, and he vanquished that for a start. He polished up the laser lens with a cotton bud and some mild isopropyl alcohol solution too, and bunged a little silicon grease on the moving bits. This restored his ability to listen to some really shocking stuff, delighting him. When I took his advice and did the same disassembly job, I found little or no crud. I cleaned my lens though, as a decade of being well charged in company had to have left some residue on it. I tightened a few screws that seemed to need it a little, and I removed what looked like a build-up of snot on the rail; this was probably the proper and correct lubricant, but you don't want much of that sort of thing in a high-precision mechanism. Generally if there's enough to actually see it's too much.

Things seem better. The player now reads CD-Rs much better. I may have saved a load of money. All is joy. We'll see if the joy lasts. I remember the MiniDisc player saga - thought I'd fixed it but then I hadn't. Fingers here are crossed, and wallet clenched.




Posted at 3:17 am by Jim Woods

Sunday July 17 2005

I am probably the last living musician

to cotton on to MP3 Unsigned, but here it is anyway. A lot of freely downloadable music, all sorts of genres. I'm quite liking local outfit The Evenings at the moment. Were I to suddenly begin writing and recording again, this is one place I'd be sure to put my three tracks-worth. Which you can do for free.

In other news, there is very little. I am the grand adjuster of bottom brackets and tweaker of plants, and my thirst is tremendous. I want to uprate all the pots on my new working bass, since they rather let the side down by their flimsiness, but I'm having a hard time establishing the values. Life is a struggle and a journey. Wonder what's for dinner. I ate rather a lot of sausage rolls at the party last night, and I discovered an interesting and eclectic band called The Bees.


Posted at 5:04 pm by Jim Woods

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