Theo Verelst Local Diary Page 48

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  Sun june 15 17:53, 2008

Daring theories, interesting things I´m doing, questions.

AES Demo day

I happen to be a member of the Audio Engineering Society (a primary american org), and I presented my main audio amplification setup at the ´end of year´ meeting. So I packed 2 main speakers and the sub and the amps in a car, got a notebook, a disc with music along, and I even brought a mic to the meeting. Worked great, like it has in various places and for various occasions for years already.

I might have played ´A touch too much´ (AC/DC) but that seemed not needed.

I played some Chesky (neutral audio recording) CD songs (classic, a capella with rythm, a blues), hits from 10cc to Rose Royce, a short piece from Jimmy Hendrix (not very loud), a song from Jean Michel Jarre´s Oxygene, I think David Sanborn, a decompressed piece of Bostons´ "More than a feeling", and I shortly used a ´live´ amplified AT2020 microphone on a lexicon preamp without AD/DA conversion on my amps and speakers. And I used half the time Linux (Fedora 8) and Windows XP (pro) with the same external disk with songs.

No processing, no effects, only wavs straight to the Lexicon, and only very few mixes with the Pulseaudio mixer at the beginning, so the whole system was only used straight, and most of the time not loud enough for itself to take notice of. The space wasn´t very big, maybe two or three classrooms, only at the end I pushed the volume very shortly a bit so that  with mic outside the direct feedback range, and with I think the Boston song people probably for a number of seconds couldn´t hear eachother anymore. The volumes of the amps weren´t full, and if I recall correctly, the whole chain driven by the Lexicon cannot overdrive the amps as it is, I´d need to rewire some things a bit for that, but I guess a good 50 Watts was nice and loud to make clear that is possible, too, but it´s a relatively moderate club, certainly not a disco or Rolling Stones 64 channel Mix demonstration!

The system can do what I call small PA levels without problems, as I have demonstrated already at a musical instrument fair 2 years ago, the amps in total should be able to do over 500 Watts of sine power with probably quite some to spare, which of course is REALLY loud, and could only be demonstrated when properly set up.

I found out a automatic fuse easily blows when the main amp is switched on, so I use an improvised softstart:

Which puts a 150Watts Halogen light in series with the amp mains cord, which after startup is shorted with a heavy switch, and the wires are all thick, so no extra losses are imposed. The light flashes up and dims out after about 2 seconds, and makes the startup nice and smooth.

Professors ?

Ouch, Theo, not those kind of difficult words, please, we all can profess a bit, huh, and uhm, no need to make clear what the difference between a paid university professor and a lot of bozos who think by knowing what they all know they are better at that. It´s a normal competition, but in a reasonable world a quite non-sensical one. Normally the people who are either very good at academics or those who are good enough and not that much talented or interested in other things probably are a reasonable choice for the role of official and paid professor though I guess my university experience may not lead to average opinions, even in EE circles. In the US I think normally the honour in that area would be better (I wasn´t there, but met more than a few examples), on the other hand various european blood groups would be more rigid about Herr professeur or something.

Remember I wrote the thesis that the average intelligence of a group of people is quite probably lower than the most intelligent member? I dare to go on a bit: even when a reasonable intelligence test is made in a much longer time, and when the smart management of taking the smartest of the group and making sure that person is feeling really good and confortable and maybe has a good second is applied, still the score will not be much higher probably than when that person would do the normal IQ test.

I recall a relevant meeting being put on dutch television in the 90s where R. Sheldrake took place amoung totally famous scientific names like Steven J, Gould, Freeman Dyson, Oliver Sacks and others. The subject was "A glorious Accident" possibly refering to the big bang, evolution, original sin, and what else.

There are long watchable video fragments here:

The subject of morphogenetics is actually also a medial subject, but I think many people including new agers are bound to go wrong or to become oppressive about why a plant or animal grows like it does, and what the spiritual is actually made of.
Neerhof I don´t think was a professor, but a good university lecturer, teacher (sound wrong), assistant professor (wasn´t it), anyhow in my first year of electrical engineering university he tought Network Theory, which was also the name of the section I graduated in. I think I liked the theoretical electronics and the powerfull computer simulation schemes. Subjects of this kind of power and beauty laid out neatly is like forbidden somehow now I think, while in fact sufficient intelligence and transpiration of the students should be enough of a filter.

from here
Well, hum, what does this mean? An extensive, accurate simulation? Oh it´s a frequency picture, so it´s probably a steady state wave solution. Ough Theo, you can´t say that! Why not, it looks that way. Because that´s making you right about certain types of science! Oh is it...

I asked prof. Spergel, who is quite a quite famous astronomer/astrophysicist in the US and whom I saw in the very interesting BBC documentary "The Six Billion Dollar Experiment", some question about the theory surrounding the well known big bang idea, and I got an interesting answer back. I´m putting a few pages or so of theoretical treaty considering a fundamental physics book (Negele and Orland, "Quantum many particle physics") in my thought pipeline, because I´ve done that in the past and that combines great with my theoretical EE knowledge.

Interesting montage edit in a picture from his Princeton home page.

Well in software land the term is problematic. I recall reading some computer science magazines (scientifically orieted) at university and they were never any good, really. They´d at best do some stuff and be not all too pricky about it all, but usually worse. Science like trying to patent algorithms is another computer disorder I think. I saw Google summer projects, which I find interesting open source effort being managed by at nest software bachelors or so in practice but it sounded like so cool and so daring and interesting as if it were professor  Moog teaching his year 3000 synthesizer design to top designers but then really cool. Somehow that´s wrong though probably not so important.

I made this comment on my graduantion (and nearly EE PhD) university website.


Recently I was looking at this instruction from Avideh Zakhor about digital signal processing from Berkeley (CA). I saw 1 through 4 or so while doing other things (viva multitasking), which of course covered things I knew, but certainly I would not hava all knowledge on top of my mind or remember by heart all the formulas, but sure I could follow the main thoughts about the transforms for instance. Could you ?

This is from the BBC documentary about the new collider at Cern in switzerland (where I visited long ago):

More 70s music that influenced me (and why not other decades)

Of course I knew more than a few of the famous music, though I think in holland not even all of the US number one hits were even necessarily played at all.

I suppose it pays to look these up on youtube or equivalent.

  What's The Mattter Baby -- Ellen Foley

I thought it was a cynical song at the time about bad relationships or so.

  Kim Wilde - Kids in America

Catchy, it sounded not like a commercial for the principle.

  Hey girl -- Gruppo Sportivo

another well known song from them "Disco really made it":

Great school party performance in the gym at the time. I recall well the warmth, the equipment, the live sound, the band and singers, great.

This was from the other place at the (whole not just a class) school parties, which was downstairs with the big (certainly for the time for teenagers) disco, resonated great with the big speakers at 500 watts or so:

Rotating light on, "the Rolling stones, with ehhh Miss You" should last forever, but this one is only the 9 inch version of 8:33... Maybe I heard this one, but honestly 9 inch or import version at the time was more for disco suckers. I for years amplified the school band for rehearsals at friday afternoon and for performance for the school, but I had only the 80 Watts Tandy (Radio Shack) PA system for that.... In fact my self built home system from about ´80 which I brought to school too at times for my own purposes (not the school band) was better and probably louder (twice 75 measured sine watts, but the 100 Watt transformer, borrowed from dad, wouldn´t last that way for long) but the speakers were ´only´ 45 Watt a piece, and horribly expensive for me at the time ( about a hundred I guess) so there was no way I wanted to blow up my great sounding system (much better than the Tandy or the disco).

I made mixes at the time, and tape edits (with the mechanical pause buttons of two good cassette decks), which was an idea from what is called the Hit-Test from a program called the avondspits (means evening traffic jam) which was a famous daily program of an hour on the public popular music channel by a rather poetic person. There is an example show here , mind the productions and how they sound, that interested me at the time.

The number ones from the beginning of the 80s that I knew:

15/12/1979 3 2 3 Weekend - Earth & Fire
12/1/1980 3 3 2 I have a dream - ABBA
2/2/1980 3 2 4 Rapper's delight - Sugarhill Gang
23/2/1980 5 5 3 Crying - Don McLean
29/3/1980 1 2 2 Pearlydumm - BZN
5/4/1980 2 2 3 Sajang E - Massada
19/4/1980 3 3 2 You and me - Spargo
10/5/1980 3 2 2 Sun of Jamaica - Goombay Dance Band
31/5/1980 3 2 2 Funkytown - Lipps Inc
21/6/1980 3 3 2 Cara mia - Jay & the Americans
12/7/1980 3 3 2 Late at night - Maywood
2/8/1980 3 2 2 Xanadu - Olivia Newton-John & Electric Light Orchestra
23/8/1980 6 3 2 The winner takes it all - ABBA
4/10/1980 2 2 2 One day I'll fly away - Randy Crawford
18/10/1980 6 3 2 Woman in love - Barbra Streisand
29/11/1980 1 2 2 Never knew love like this before - Stephanie Mills
6/12/1980 2 3 2 Super trouper - ABBA
20/12/1980 2 2 2 Santa Maria - Roland Kaiser

from here . Some rubbish, some great. Most pretty good. The singer from "Weekend" which in fact is a great sounding dutch pop classic later became director or what that is called properly of the other "legalized" pirate station from holland, radio Noordzee, I listened regularly tot that station as a kid and later as teenager.

Honestly these number one hits from two years before would be able to break everybodys heart if they would turn bad:

24/12/1977 5 2 2 Mull of kintyre - Wings
28/1/1978 7 2 5 If I had words - Scott Fitzgerald & Yvonne Keeley
18/3/1978 3 3 3 Denis - Blondie
8/4/1978 3 2 8 Stayin' alive - the Bee Gees
29/4/1978 9 4 2 Rivers of Babylon / Brown girl in the ring - Boney M.
1/7/1978 9 2 2 You're the one that I want - John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John
2/9/1978 4 3 2 You're the greatest lover - Luv'
30/9/1978 2 4 2 Grease - Frankie Valli
14/10/1978 4 2 2 Hopelessly devoted to you - Olivia Newton-John
11/11/1978 3 2 2 Dreadlock holiday - 10cc
2/12/1978 2 2 3 Get off - Foxy
16/12/1978 1 2 2 Trojan horse - Luv'
23/12/1978 3 2 2 Paradise by the dashboard light - Meat Loaf & Ellen Foley

From the year before the summer of love, probably essential for the advent of Jimmi Hendrix´s 70s, 1968, this is a recording from a famous pirate radio station ( a ship at sea) Veronica, which much later became "legal" and "incorporated" the show is the top 40 with great and pretty good sounding hits fromthe time. Holland had begon to decay in that time already, listen to it, and laugh and cry, or decide what you think. I was two years old at the time, I remember more the beginning of the 70s bright and interesting, American music as most influencial.

This was fun but I suppose about great badness (beginning 80s I think it was):

The "Spider Murphy Gang" with Skandal im Sperrbezirk was less funny but a strong song:

A total classic, Fisher Z:

Late 80s for instance Terence Trent D'Arby "Rain" (from "Introducing the hardline", example is on amazon from that album).

In fact some of the influential music fro me was from the 60s:

  A boy named Sue -- Johnny Cash

My point of course being: this is music, it was influencial because it should be and of course certain aspects talked to me, and then it is a very high form of art and craftmanship.

As cold as ice...

In fact Larry Graham as he examplifies important Funk bass music with a capital F in the for me famous TV music course Rockschool was one of my main examples when I started to play the synthesizer (the DX7 mainly). Exciting. Great. No mother for ya...

"Release" from "The Essential Patti Labelle"  is on with a small mp3 example, the youtube movie has been removed, I suppose justified, I´m not at all sure if I´d like my great music to end up there the way it is. Great song.

Taking about other eras anyway, the 90s were really poor till downright evil, only a few noteworty performers and songs made it in the hit lists without getting compromised or simply not there.

This was a (modest ?) hit in the 90s, De Mosselman:

hardcore protest, what a rare occurance.

I think this sums up important issues from the 90s era, I don´t like to translate the title from the Raggende Manne song, which in fact I saw live once at what in Delft Univesity was (is?) called the IO festival because somebody I knew was a fan of the band;

Nineties, but different: try "The thrill is gone" with the great B.B.King (it´s on youtube, too, appearantly with permission). In fact that song, also with Mr. King but with some great jazz names in the performance was one of my important examples for playing complicated blues in the time I was rehersing for and playing in all kinds of band constellations.

To not end this lineup so incredibly depressing (and with the functional dirty language of such songs), the 80´s had great synth based songs:

The korgies, beautiful.

Stricktly from the 70s, Dan Hartman:

Sounds funny with a the Hague accent.

The eternal band SUPERTRAMP

Aka "The crime of the century" and "Breakfast in America".

So 70s? Eh no man, I think evolving beyond that. Few bands are really the top in world history in relevance, advanced and pretty lifting up music which most of all tells the truth and edifies musically more in one song than the most of the rest of the historic hit songs together.

Cynic ? No, I mean it.. And no, it is bluesy a bit, and no party-rock, but it does bring hope and for me was not feeling like ironic or so. I suppose some american music should be better for ancestral reasons, though there is no law against foreigners of that major cradle of rock and everything else that matters in modern music (almost) winning a high place in the pantheon or maybe a well placed podium on the Olympus. I think the drummer is from California, and it is obvious the music is more american than english in nature. Joe Jackson is another example I think.

Maybe americans thought they wouldn´t need the weight of the bands´ works (not the name) or simply think not those ways much because they do not like the message type. ´Let the crime blow over´ Lets hope it does, but a lot of peoples minds need to change for that to happen.

So can I play the music of this band? Yes, and a bit no, I can´t fellow-invent it when I play along, it isn´t exactly what I would do harmonically and tune-wise. But like with most music I know well, I can play along and do impersonations of more than a few instruments on a good instrument (I use a Yamaha S90 a lot) but getting the feel and the whole and the driving and space creating rock rhythms right is very hard.

a fully open source created rock and roll tryout by me: wav file (20MByte),  mp3 file (4MB)

Recent TV

I tried out a cheap but good recent lcd TV, one with sort of an intermediate resolution, 900 times 1400 or so, which looks good, though honestly my often in use construction with the Pinnacle TV Usb deluxe hardware mpeg2 encoder (6 mb/s) playing with Mplayer on the server machine I use with a years old but still fairly luxury 1680x1050 monitor looks better in most cases, but it depends a bit on what kind os syncmaster, progressive encoding, and cable channel optimizer the guys on the sourse side of the cable fiddle with and adjust good or bad.

However the TV look fine and of course I had to try a computer on it, which works, and it even has a HDMI connection so I tried out a cheap but well working HD dvd player and a HD cam on it, which is cool, but honestly the Dell M90 I use for HD monitoring wins even though it is years old technology. It was more expensive of course and has total HD resolution, and a pro NVidia quadro card to help it. The TV seems to be ok with my normal filming product though, so that was good, and then HD of course looks great.

There was some news from the software radio front, new hardware being prepared at Ettus, I don´t know if I can say what they wrote in email, but I didn´t get the idea BBC HD will decodable with open source sw soon...

Cudas ?

 cuda zone

A tesla processor chip wafer picture from NVidia.

I saw it is possible in europe to buy a discounted 128 Tesla processor PCIexpress (for the time being) video card for a under 600 euros. That´s half a Teraflop and incredible bandwidth 2 or 4 Gig memory. Amazing.

A good companion of this idea would be this boaed (image from the manufacturer) :

which is another PCIexpress board but 4 lane (instead of 16) with quite a number of fast flash memory chips on it, which are arranged as fast mass storage with access speed of over 600 Megabyte per second. Thats dozens of times more than fast harddiscs! And they´re totally quiet (solid state) lightweight, and much lower power than a harddisc. Except they´re no so big yet, IIRC a number of tens of gigabytes, 60 or so costs $2500,- . But than I could probably store 32 bits per RGBA component uncompressed 4k images at 24 frames/sec for good quality cinema replacement. Flash of course cannot be rewritten indefinately, but it takes 3 years of continuous writing to reach the end of life of the memory.

Life and nature?

I´m sure that´s important, but then at a decent level, maybe like good sailor, or it easily becomes boring romanticism I´m sure.

I have done that before, but I never sailed anything even close to this size, but I was looking at some yacht flyers in this case on the internet:

great upper picture, the lower one wouldn´t do it for me.

This looks good:

Ahaaaaa, electrical:


It isn´t total nature but the roses grow good there it seems:

The pond I made has received vegatation, but it has hardly surfaced yet:

Another piece from (1080i, 25 full frames/sec) HD video recording, a moving shot having been deinterlaced with ffmpeg after transcoding to large search radius h264. It´s a simple screen grab, no processing was done to film or this picture.

The above is from a sequence of photographs I made which I put together as a few second film of the flowers opening in the sun.

The flower is moving in the wind, this is a unprocessed screendump from a h264 transcoded (with larger search range) fragment (played at a smaller  than1080)

Original recording with the Sony HC3 1080 2.2 megapixel HD video camera (an older one with tape and firewire) of some flowers in a field, not deinterlaced played with the open source mplayer on a 1680x1050 screen (1.7k, a bit less than full HD resolution)

Transcoded via h264, and subsequently deinterlaced with ffmpeg transcoding to mp4 (quicktime for linux), rest the same.

Played with NVidia´s purevideo.

A roses closeup:

a piece of the pond in the sunlight

Some people I knew.

I´m reading the latest Sandford.

It´s wonderfull (well almost) to virtually stawl around in Sausalito (Maybe I should find someone who´d say "you´re on" when I want the purify that environment from the evil new age...)

The below looks the same as a little while ago, but close views seem to have been replaced with new pictures, unfortunately the very nice HD pictures have been replaced with medium resolution ones, which on a small screen or beamer probably doesn´t matter, but on an HD screen zooming has become useless.

A swimming pool makes great nature when it´s warm.
I took the liberty to look up some swimming pool pictures on the web:

"way expensive but nice lighting..."

"not the price of a car, and too big, but great!"

"expensive, but what a colour...."

This site was the reason to look at the pools "Six steps to paradise", amoung which the regulations of the state of california, amoung which:

115922.  (a) Commencing January 1, 2007, except as provided in
Section 115925, whenever a building permit is issued for construction
of a new swimming pool or spa, or any building permit is issued for
remodeling of an existing pool or spa, at a private, single-family
home, it shall be equipped with at least one of the following seven
drowning prevention safety features:
(1) The pool shall be isolated from access to a home by an
enclosure that meets the requirements of Section 115923.
(2) The pool shall incorporate removable mesh pool fencing that
meets American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)
Specifications F 2286 standards in conjunction with a gate that is
self-closing and self-latching and can accommodate a key lockable
(3) The pool shall be equipped with an approved safety pool cover
that meets all requirements of the ASTM Specifications F 1346 .
(4) The residence shall be equipped with exit alarms on those
doors providing direct access to the pool.
(5) All doors providing direct access from the home to the
swimming pool shall be equipped with a self-closing, self-latching
device with a release mechanism placed no lower than 54 inches above
the floor.
(6) Swimming pool alarms that, when placed in pools, will sound
upon detection of accidental or unauthorized entrance into the water.
These pool alarms shall meet and be independently certified to the
ASTM Standard F 2208 "Standards Specification for Pool Alarms" which
includes surface motion, pressure, sonar, laser, and infrared type
alarms. For purposes of this article, "swimming pool alarms" shall
not include swimming protection alarm devices designed for individual
use, such as an alarm attached to a child that sounds when the child
exceeds a certain distance or becomes submerged in water.
(7) Other means of protection, if the degree of protection
afforded is equal to or greater than that afforded by any of the
devices set forth above, and have been independently verified by an
approved testing laboratory as meeting standards for those devices
established by the ASTM or the American Society of Mechanical
Engineers (ASME).
(b) Prior to the issuance of any final approval for the completion
of permitted construction or remodeling work, the local building
code official shall inspect the drowning safety prevention devices
required by this act and if no violations are found, shall give final
In short it has to be kid safe.

A picture of a pool I made:

Sort of 70s bookstyle or maybe magazine style processing.

Unbeatable freshness. Even though in holland there appears to be no more chlorine in tapwater.

I used to have a friend whose dad had this hip machine at the time (end 70s):

Moving flowers don´t make much noise, and neither do ants, so probably I only recorded busses and construction sites...

Freedom, yeah right

Exagerated colors like in nice old prints without the nice...

I was lost but it was close, the GPS in the phone the picture was made with worked, but somehow there was not even a minor internet connection, so that I couldn´t make out where I was.

Spielberg frames from his western series from the BBC digital sattelite:

Authorities on life Beavis and Butthead

The great Cornolio!
Really !?