BITPHONIC

Archive for December 2008

Guyatone MD-3 Repair

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How much do I love my Guyatone MD-3 pedal?

So much that when I broke the footswitch, I embarked on a month(s) long trial to fix it. This pedal is definitely worth it, though. The MD3 is a nice, meaty delay that decays naturally and doesn’t change the instrument’s tone much on the repeats. Plus the pots on the delay time are truly analog, so they are infinitely adjustable. The only gripe I have with my other delay pedal – a Danelectro Reel Echo – is that the Delay Time control is really a bunch of presets and not smooth! That kinda puts a nix on any cool space effects. Space.

Why did it take so long? The Guyatone pedals are incredibly small, thus finding parts for them can be a difficult enterprise. You’ve got to get really tiny parts. To illustrate the point, here is my MD-3 next to a typical Boss stompbox.

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It is about 2/3 the length and depth. Therefore, I spent a few weeks ordering and waiting for parts. I went to a few stompbox parts websites to try to find the smallest footswitch possible and came up negative a couple of times. Here’s what a typical footswitch looks like next to the Guyatone stock footswitch:

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Yikes. It took me a little bit of searching and I finally came across the Alpha 107 at Small Bear Electronics. Its description reads: “A SMALL, rugged DPDT switch”, and it is still a good 2x the size of the standard Guyatone switch! Regardless, after a few hours of futzing with it, I managed to get the 107 to fit in the case. While it was big enough to fit in there, there’s no more room for a battery! I go to tighten the nut and SNAP the damn thing breaks directly in half.

Left with no other options in sight, I decided to cannibalize another Guyatone pedal (SV2 – a Boss Slow Gear clone. I didn’t like it very much anyway) to get its rich chewy center – I mean, its footswitch. A few hours and my first attempt at soldering direct to a PCB later and I finally have the finished product. For some reason, I still can’t get the battery back in, but considering how fragile these things are I am not even going to try it.

The cannibalized SV2

The cannibalized SV2

I dragged out my One Spot and hooked it all up. Success! It will be nice to have this pedal in my arsenal again.

The final product

The final product

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Written by Adam N. Copeland

December 29, 2008 - 3:27 pm at 3:27 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Traffic Caused by Inclement Weather

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traffic

Written by Adam N. Copeland

December 19, 2008 - 1:37 pm at 1:37 pm

Posted in Uncategorized, work

10 Things I Missed from 2007

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10. The Bad Plus – Prog
Surprisingly good sprightly jazz retellings of a few old hits (“Life on Mars”, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”) mixed in with some towering original compositions (“Giant”)

9. Dan Deacon – Spiderman of the Rings
Bizarro technicolor Hanna Barbera reinventions of baroque pop

8. Saul Williams – The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust
Murky doom-soul-hip-slop fantastic, defies expectations and labels. Plus I got it for only $5. (“Tr

7. The Field – From Here We Go Sublime
Pleasant and relaxing minimal techno for sipping chamomile that reincorporates left-field pop and soul samples

6. Frightened Rabbit – Sing The Greys
This debut by my favorite Scottish mopers is really a set of dressed-up demos, but that doesn’t stop it from being packed with stop you in your tracks great tunes (“Square 9”, “Be Less Rude”, “Go-Go Girls”)

5. Tinariwen – Aman Iman
Destert funk rock made by the roving Tuareg gypsy people of Northwest Africa. Sublime.

4. The Tough Alliance – A New Chance
Snotty swedes make genius time warp music in the style of the “West Coast” movement. They would be huge if this were 1987. Punk rock pop studio gems.

3. Studio – West Coast
The titular statement of the Swedish “West Coast” movement – gorgeous, pristine, over-produced, breezy 80s style pop. Heavy with nods to Krautrock and dub. Sweet.

2. Justice – †
Daft punk’s snot nosed younger siblings rip Godzilla horns and ridiculously over-compressed bass to make the booty album of the year. “DVNO” is a great rip against too-cool-for-school dress code enforcing clubs. The irony is that all the above said clubs are probably banging it.

1. Statehood – Lies and Rhetoric
Caffeine fueled DC-style power funk punk by a cadre of feisty veterans. Led by Clark Sabine, this ensemble includes the powerhouse rhythm section of sorely missed DC icons The Dismemberment Plan in top form (Eric Axelson, Joe Easley). Produced by Plan guitarist Jason Caddell.

Written by Adam N. Copeland

December 17, 2008 - 12:23 am at 12:23 am

Posted in Drunk, music

The 2008 Edition of “shit that just didn’t work for me”

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Before I start talking about some of my favorite ear candy this year, I’d like to rant bluntly about some shit that just didn’t work for me. Please note that most of this is an exaggeration based on a bit of truth – mostly for humor yes, I mean please take no offense. Really. Ok. Note this is being published in categories “music” and “Drunk”.

Crystal Stilts / Glasvegas / A Place To Bury Strangers / Any of the Multitude of bands whom cheerfully owe debts to Jesus and Mary Chain / My Bloody Valentine / The Cure
Now I have been known to harbor an occasional affinity for miserablist music but this year was so dense with chainsaw guitars, reverb-laden mumbling, and echoing tambourine beats that I want to just crawl up into a ball with a fifth of Jameson and cry myself to sleep.

Kanye West
I find it really difficult to regard 808s and Heartbreak as even remotely “forward looking” or futuristic when its central conceit is based on a piece of technology that is at least 10 years old. Furthermore, the man is about as juvenile as a celebrity can get.

Spiritualized – Songs in A & E
I’m a huge fan of Spiritualized’s Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, but this new one just didn’t do anything for me. I understand J Spaceman went through a little rough patch in his life, so hopefully the next one will be a bit more, I don’t know, inspired by drug use maybe.

Lil Wayne – “Lolipop”
First of all, it is clear to me now that “Auto Tune” is a genre. Second, a deep thought occurred to me earlier: if something is dumb on purpose, is it still dumb? No, not in all cases. I thought Art Brut’s first album was genius. Yet, in this case, yes, and probably much more dumb than if it were unintentional.

Be Your Own Pet – Get Awkward
WHY IS THIS GIRL YELLING AT ME? WHAT DID I DO TO HER? My oh my her diction is quite clear, though. Shit, couldn’t they have moved that microphone away from the amp a little? It’s clipping rather horribly.

That new Killers single
Dear God is that thing horrible.

Phish
Yeah, I still don’t get the appeal of a bunch of bearded guys noodling around in the same key for 15 minutes or why recordings of live appearances of the aforementioned somehow bear repeat listens. “You had to be there, man”. Man, you weren’t even there. Now Zappa, that guy was a fucking genius.

Written by Adam N. Copeland

December 16, 2008 - 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm

Posted in Drunk, music

Top 30 of 2008

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I make it a habit at the end of every year to chat in this space about my favorite releases. I find if I start in early December, it goes a long way as far as making me appreciate releases I may have missed or second guessed earlier in the year. This year I’ll be using blip.fm to seek out and post cuts from 30 great albums from 2008.

Listen along, or grab the RSS feed at:

http://blip.fm/bitphonic

I’ll come back at the end with a formal summary, a few thoughts on the top 10, and a list of the top 10 bits I missed in 2007.

Written by Adam N. Copeland

December 9, 2008 - 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm

Posted in art, music

Installing ZFS as root filesystem on Solaris 10

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More bullshit from Sun.

From Sun’s documentation:

“In this Solaris release, you can perform an initial installation by using the Solaris interactive text installer to create a ZFS storage pool that contains a bootable ZFS root file system.”

What this really means, however, is that if you try to use the graphical installer for Solaris, the option to use ZFS as your root filesystem does not appear. You have to use the text installer. Which also means, if you want to customize packages (eg. You don’t need StarOffice or Evolution installed on a server OS), you have to use the painfully slow scrolling crappy text installer.

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Written by Adam N. Copeland

December 4, 2008 - 9:39 am at 9:39 am

Posted in work