CRM114 Discrimator at Toorcamp

Tue Jul 28 2009 21:40:45 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)

tags: toorcamp crm114 dorkbotpdx dorkbot

The midi controller I posted earlier was used to great depth in the missile silo performance that CRM114 Discriminator gave at toorcamp.

The Dickhole Keypiss MIDI controller

Tue Jul 28 2009 21:29:43 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)

tags: avr teensy dorkbot dorkbotpdx toorcamp midi

I built this little midi controller to trigger samples and control a few Pd parameters: dickhole keypiss It's based on an old touchtone telephone keypad, a rotary encoder, a two digit LED display, and a USB-based AVR breakout board (the Teensy++). The PC board was hand-etched at home, and it's mounted in a solid white, repurposed jewelry or makeup box, purchased at the Goodwill. Click the above to view more images, read the brief technical spec, and to download the code and circuit/pcb design artifacts.

Rock the Cradle Of Love Grunts

Wed Jun 24 2009 22:59:18 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)

tags: billyidol sound noise audio cutup

Sometimes when bogged down by responsibility I can find it rejuvenating to embrace the right kind of distraction.

billy idol

So my distraction involved hearing a radio cut of the Billy Idol hit "Cradle of Love" and finally following thru on a long-time desire to cut the thing into its most fundamental (read: important) parts: The grunts.

"That's right!" Sir Cyborg Himself. Despite having such a HUGE hit in the 90s, there are probably between zero and 3 people on the planet who actually know all the lyrics -- it's a slurred bozo fest of nonsense sexual innuendo and rockstar spittle. Simply brilliant.

So I leave you with "Rock The Cradle of Love Grunts".

Classic product packages.

Sun Apr 19 2009 13:57:45 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)

tags: retro style junk

There's a new Goodwill very close to my house, so I'm able to visit frequently.

I'm constantly amazed by the quality of the packages on vintage/retro merchandise. The just don't make them like this anymore:

cassette tape recorder weights for women

There's really something to be said for not having that photoshop-polished picture perfect glossy sheen.

Over a million points in Robotron 2084

Sun Apr 19 2009 13:53:18 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)

tags: robotron gaming

I had a milestone in Robotron gameplay last week:

robotron million

This is the first time I've cleared a million points! Probably the best classic arcade game of them all!

Pd shirt idea

Thu Apr 02 2009 23:11:55 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)

tags: pd puredata shirt

There's been a fair amount of talk on the pd list lately about doing a new batch of shirts and since I've long thought it might be nice to have a pd shirt, I decided to bang out a design:

pd shirt

Now it's up to the community to decide how much they love it!

Make sound on Fluxbox volume changes.

Wed Apr 01 2009 23:38:20 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)

tags: msi msiwind wind fluxbox debian linux sound audio

scream that sound

I recently acquired a certain netbook so that I could be frugal but still have the ability to hack while mobile. Of course, I have to run's a curse...but it rules.

Surprisingly, things work altogether very very well. I still don't think I'm that savvy, but I've gotten things to play together quite nicely. I will create a real page and post my results/settings/findings soon....but I made a stupid simple hack tonight that I thought I'd share.

So I'm running Fluxbox again. It's clean, simple, and takes up very little screen real-estate. It's been a few years, but it's as elegant and non-intrusive as I remember it.

The default keys file for fluxbox has commands that grok asla (via alsactl) and are able to nudge the volume up/down based on the magical function modifier keys (like Fn+F7 or Fn+F8 on the Wind). That's all great...but at least with the sound apps I run (including Flash!), the defaults aren't enough because this "Front" control keeps stomping on things (eg. it apparently needs to be massaged after the Master is massaged). I wish this wasn't the case, it's stupid, I should complain...Whatever.

Scripts to the rescue.

For the MSI Wind, I made three scripts, one does muting, the other two do volume up/down. They look something like this:

for control in Master Front ; do
        amixer sset ${control},0 1+
aplay ~/media/sounds/volume_change.wav

The 1+ indicates volume up, change to 1- for volume down.

And then in ~/.fluxbox/keys we can map things like:

176 :Exec ~/bin/volume_up
174 :Exec ~/bin/volume_down
160 :Exec ~/bin/volume_mute

What this provides is two things. First, when you press Fn+F7, for example, the Master and Front volume levels will both decrement. The Front is changed last, so that the actual volume output level is applied. Secondly, the 'aplay' line gives a little chime to audibly indicate the volume level...something akin to the sound that those $2000 Macintoshes make.

I found this bink sound on freesound and think it works quite well.

Until I can create a real page for my Wind setup, scream loud and enjoy the hack.

First kolpxnty boards chained.

Mon Mar 09 2009 01:43:44 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)

tags: kolpxnty circuitbending dorkbotpdx dorkbot

Just a quick peek at the first set of 3 kolpxnty boards that I had fabbed:


They are not without problems and have not yet been instructed to bend the circuit things, but they will soon. The above is being driven from Pd via MIDI by way of Benito.

More to come...

Noise and the future is now.

Sat Feb 28 2009 01:20:28 GMT-0800 (Pacific Standard Time)

tags: archive archive org internet

MySpace has always fock MySpace. Well fine, it has it's place, so do the other social nets... Not only is officially and formally a nonprofit with library status, they are also classified as the bee's knees, the good stuff, what's good, what matters. Although this is nothing new, I have to keep reminding myself (and you!) just how fundamentally RAD it is that I can listen to an amazing recording of a noise performance in Estonia a mere day after it was made. The future really is now. This is what radio should be, or at least will be...once we all work around the restrictions. I keep coming back to this idea...about ditching the restrains of monetized networks, for-profit tools, and encouraging people to seek enlightenment. Seek answers through knowing the potential of your tech..... Learn what's out there, what can be done freely, truly freely, let's build tools to help people get free...

Retinal tattoo gun

Wed Feb 25 2009 23:22:25 GMT-0800 (Pacific Standard Time)

tags: dorkbotpdx dorkbot portland pdx lightbar

So my pal Mykle has done this EPIC event called LIGHTBAR to cheer people out of their seasonal affective disorder during February in Oregon. If you can't see the victory in building a GIANT and BRIGHT bamboo-event-party-dome, by hand, in the middle of winter, then you need to be poked (with sharp bamboo).

A few of us from dorkbot PDX have been peripherally involved, even contributing some works.

retinal tattoo gun

My friend Brian and I collaborated on a light-based project dubbed the RETINAL TATTOO GUN. The concept involved a series of bright flashes intended to [temporarily] imprint iconic imagery directly into the retina with strong after-images (ghosts).

We had a semi-working prototype up at LIGHTBAR last weekend before it collapsed(!!!) this week. This iteration of the retinal tattoo gun was a pretty big technical failure, but it was a fun project and we have a nice foundation going forward.

The circuit I designed/built had a series of issues, the worst of which was some form of ground bounce or inductive jibber jabber that caused all 8 flash channels to fire when any of them fired. Turns out that yeah, it's nontrivial to sequence a bunch of disposable camera flashes.

The day of installation we also found out that the repurposed viewmaster switch was connected in a way that caused the flashes to trigger when the advancer jobby was directly in front of the most of the light power was dampened. Whoops, doh!

We hope you enjoy the above image, and we hope to have something dangerous, compelling, and electrical to mount to your face in the near future.