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Posted: 2004-8-3
Odeur 53 :)
Posted: 2004-3-2
Did you ever wonder how much you are worth to the company for which you work? What value do they place on your services?

I recently found out. My employer just took out an insurance policy on my life for the amount of $1 Million! That sum is to hire consultants and experts to replace my services to the company.

What are you worth?

Posted: 2004-2-26
Don't you find it a little funny that every single commercially produced pedal has a boutique mod being offered for it? Are the pedals that bad, or are the mods just a gimmick? I know that when I do mods to a pedal, it is to drastically alter the sound... it's no subtle thing. Like my mods for the SD-1... they make it into an entirely different pedal design. Now that's progress!
Posted: 2004-2-26
Yesterday I got my check from the class action settlement with the Music Industry over price fixing of music CDs... it was $13.86 and I don't plan on spending it all in one place...
Posted: 2003-10-16
What has the world come to when DEVO music is used to sell mainstream household appliances? Swiffer floor mops do not jive with that 80s image for me.... ;)
Posted: 2003-10-13
Googlism? It's good for a chuckle... I entered my name and especially like the third response...

Jack's Googlism

Posted: 2003-10-10
Do you read the AMZ Guestbook? I've been putting a lot of interesting links in there. Check it out!
Posted: 2003-10-1
"Abrupt clipping onset is characteristic of stages with a high NFB factor." - a quote from respected amp deigner Doug Self.

Do you think this explains why opamp clipping usually sounds bad? Lots of negative feedback equals abrupt clipping and harsh sound!

Posted: 2003-9-18
Have you heard the Mercedes commercial with a girl singing "I Only Have Eyes for You"? It is this lady: Pamela Miller
Posted: 2003-9-16
The $1.1 billion settlement from Microsoft:

Settlement details

Posted: 2003-9-3
I've been really busy at work since the W32.SoBig and Blaster viruses managed to hit our network and then a hacker shutdown our mail server, all in the same week... I've been too busy to do much in effects - I don't even work in IT but had to help out to get everyone back online. Should ease up soon.
Posted: 2003-8-20
My hard drive was full so I bought a much larger one and installed it... this has resulted in reloading Windows XP and all of my software from scratch. What a pain! If I am slow to respond in recent days, this is the reason. I managed to save all my emails but lost the address book. Tweaking this thing to run fast and stable will take some time...
Posted: 2003-8-10
I rented the movie "Amelie" and it is a quite charming comedy. I highly recommend it, but be warned that it is in French with subtitles. -JACK
Posted: 2003-8-7
I just bought the cd "Swing" by Suzy Bogguss... so cool! She has a terrific voice and mixes modern and classic tunes for one excellent release with nary a bad cut on it!

Swing - Suzy Bogguss
Posted: 2003-8-4
About 10+ years ago I wrote a program called Mapmaker. Its function was to generate color maps for use with Fractint, a graphics program that generates wonderful color fractal images. The Mapmaker program was quite unique in that it had several automatic modes that could randomly generate palettes that had wild color variations at the touch of a button. Mapmaker, and the numerous color palettes that I made, were widely distributed on Compuserve and other fractal forums.

Where is this going? The color palettes that were distributed with Mapmaker are everywhere that I find fractals... I cannot go to a page that has a selection of fractal images and not see one of the color maps that I generated. Just last night I was looking at a fractal gallery and 5 of the 8 featured images were using palettes that I originated and distributed with Mapmaker! It is an odd feeling to see your influence spread throughout the world in subtle ways...

Posted: 2003-8-2
I'll be glad to have the tremolo shootout finished. You just don't know how big of a task it is to do a project like this. Pedals are arriving daily, they have to be unpacked and checked out, only 1 of them arrived with a battery in it (what's up with that, guys?) and once they have been put through the paces, the pedals have to be repacked and hauled down to the post office to return to their owners. Whew!

Check out the Tremolo Shootout

Posted: 2003-7-28
Googlebot came by again today. Does it index everyday? I cannot see how it could do that when it has 4+ billion sites to deal with.
Posted: 2003-7-26
I have a program running in the background on my web site that can track robots that access my site... the Googlebot came by today It will be interesting to see how often sites are indexed -JACK
Posted: 2003-7-24
I've got too many pedals in my studio... not for use but for testing purposes. I have several pedals from the Tour box to be tested and a pile of tremolo pedals that have been sent to me for the shootout! I'm doing a whole lot of of pedal testing and not much building... and I have a mini-amp project that I'm dying to work on... plus, I'm getting kind of tired of tremolo...
Posted: 2003-7-18
The Unisys patent on the lzw image compression that was the heart of the GIF image format has now expired! The threat of that problem with using GIF files on a web site or in a program is now gone... does it mean the death of PNG?
Posted: 2003-7-15
I've spent quite a lot of time visiting other effects forums recently that are not about fx building (more about commercial pedals) and have learned quite a lot.

First, there are many people in those forums who are performing musicians and they have a lot of insight on what makes good tone that is very valuable. Getting an alternate point of view in invaluable.

Also, several people have loaned me their expensive boutique pedals and I've had an oppotunity to look in many types of handmade boxes. Designwise there is not much going on, but some of the mechanical construction is interesting, and a lot of it is what I deem to be substandard, but it is a learning experience nonetheless.

Posted: 2003-6-30
I thought I had CTS, carpal tunnel syndrome, but it turns out that I have a Repetive Strain Injury of the wrist. Very painful and it makes using a computer mouse quite difficult. I now have a couple of these gel packed pads to rest my wrist on but they're not much help. Reducing my computer use is the best treatment - guess that means I'll have to do more fx building instead of net surfing!
Posted: 2003-6-26
All ideas don't necessarily work at first... I had an idea for a low wattage mini-booster power amp. I put together a prototype last night and it was a fizzle. It sounded okay but the power output was way too low, as I had feared it would be. I'm not giving up... I'll keep thinking about it and see if I can get some more ideas.
Posted: 2003-6-7
My 3-year-old was following me around the other day and we went into the toilet. While I was taking care of business, he was in the outer dressing room looking at things on the counter. He spotted a clear plastic negative that I had used to make several pc boards, and the finished boards were also laying on the counter. He picked one up, began turning it around and finally matched the small board against a section of the negative.

"You make that", he asked.

"Yes, I did." He put it down and moved on to looking at something else on the table, evidently not impressed.

Posted: 2003-5-21
I bought the Shakira "Mongoose" tour cd off Ebay and while it is interesting, it is not a complete concert performance. It is mostly interviews with her crew and there are only two songs from the live show. Unless you are a diehard Shakira fan this one can probably be skipped (I'm selling it since I wanted to see the whole concert). -Jack
Posted: 2003-5-7
I recently bought a couple of DVDs on ebay... the first is "The Brigade Tour" by Heart. This disc turned out to be a bootleg that is a DVD-R that someone made with their computer... it must have been transferred from a VHS tape because the quality is so bad that I can hardly watch it, and the section with the song "These Dreams" will not play on my machine. Watch out if you see it on ebay and stay away!

In contrast to this is the second disc that I bought, Jane Monheit's "Live at the Rainbow Room". It is superb! The quality is excellent - top notch! The performance is note perfect and Jane is gorgeous. My wife said, "it should be a crime to look like that and also have a voice so good". I agree!

Posted: 2003-4-25
It still bothers me that people are suggesting expensive audiophile capacitors, or are trying to upgrade effects boxes by putting in film caps for the electrolytics.

Things that are audible or relevant in hi-fi audio will not apply to effects.

Let's face it, if you are talking about a fuzz/distortion/overdrive, the circuit is generating distortion in the tens of percents, whereas the worse capacitor is going to contribute less than 0.01% and you are just not going to be able to detect it no matter what, because it is being swamped out by the 1000 times greater distortion from the circuit design itself.

Not only that but the frequency response of the typical guitar amp drops off rapidly after about 4000 - 5000 Hz and most of the troublesome distortion artifacts that can be audible in h-fi are attenuated to an inaudible level.
Posted: 2003-2-28
What do you do when a Big Corporation threatens you with a ridiculous copyright or trademark infringement claim? Well... we might learn from the the great Groucho Marx... read all about it:

A Night in Casablanca

Posted: 2003-2-25
I was at the local museum of natural history this weekend, enjoying the sights on my day off. Dressed in faded jeans and in need of a shave, I wandered through the exhibits taking my time and strolling slowly along.

I saw a young nurse leading a group of mental patients from a local institution into a central location in the lobby. I could hear her voice as I walked up.

"...six, seven, eight..." she said as I approached. "And who might you be?" she asked.

"I'm Jack Orman, a scientist and fractal designer who develops complex and beautiful images using the concept of fractional dimension geometry", I proudly proclaimed.

"Nine" she said with a point of her finger in my direction.

Posted: 2003-2-22
I've been working on a tremolo pedal... these are hard circuits to design to produce a really excellent sound. It worked out of the box without shielding the clock pulse wires but once confined inside the enclosure, the tick-tick-tick sound leaked into the audio signal, even though I have plenty of power supply filtering on the oscillator chip.

It also had too much gain so it distorted slightly and the optoisolator I was using was operating at a lower resistance than designed. More tweaking required. [*sigh*]
Posted: 2003-2-20
I still have the Wilco cd in my car player... I'm giving it a chance and it's starting to grow on me a little, though it will never be the groundbreaking recording that the reviewer claimed it to be. -JACK
Posted: 2003-2-17
In my DVD player right now is the Paul McCartney - Back in the U.S. Live 2002 Concert Film. While Paul's voice has faded a little bit over the years, the film is still great. The 2002 tour used a simple 5 piece band that rocks out on many of his classic hits. Two thumbs up
Posted: 2003-2-15
I was building a new pedal and the prototype worked just fine but it needed some tweaking for the best sound. I decided to change out some components which required removing the output jack, and in the process I broke the jack getting it loose. No problem... just get a new jack and wire it in place.

I put in the new jack and reassembled the pedal. It no longer worked properly. When bypassed it was silent, but when activated the fuzz sound was there just way in the background. If I cranked up on the volume knob I could play at a reasonable volume level. I had not changed anything except a resistor, capacitor and the output jack.

I took a scope probe and started poking around. The signal was present and normal, and it was the same everywhere, even upstream of the components I had replaced. I kept following the signal all the way down to the output jack. Then I found it!

I had not reconnected the wire from the output jack to the pcb! Wait a minute.... how is that possible? I was getting sound when the pedal was activated but there was no wire connecting it!

Somehow the very powerful signal was modulating the ground level at the output jack and inducing a sound into the output cable. I soldered the wire onto the output jack and BINGO! everything worked like it should.

I spent quite a bit of time poking around the resistor and capacitor that I had replaced trying to figure out what was wrong. I did not find the problem until I traced all the way to the end of the signal chain and there was no wire on the lug of the output jack. I never would've thought...

regards, Jack

Posted: 2003-2-14
I was modifying a Rat pedal last night. I've done so many that I don't even have to look at the instructions anymore. I got it done, plugged it in and nothing... zero, zilch, nada. It worked when bypassed but the pedal circuit put out no sound... so I took off the nuts from the pots, removed the pcb and flipped it over. DUH! I forgot to put an opamp in the socket!

Moral of the story... everyone makes simple mistakes. Don't let it get you down if your project does not work immediately when you power it up.

Next time, I'll tell you about a really difficult problem I had with another pedal.


Posted: 2003-2-12
In case you did not know, I do not work at effects full-time, or even part-time for that matter. I can only work on projects when I get some spare time and it's not as often as I would like with school sports, homework and other family commitments.

Also, I do not have access to my email during the workdays so I will not answer immediately, and sometimes I do not get a chance to read it at night... early morning is the time I usually get to sign online, so don't be concerned if I'm not answering you right away.

best regards, Jack

Posted: 2003-2-12
In my CD player right now is the record Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by the band Wilco. Although I was aware of the record, I had not had much previous interest in it until I heard Tim Riley's Grammy Previews on the NPR program "Here and Now".

In his comments, Mr. Riley was dismayed that this record had been overlooked in the recent Grammy nominations. He called Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, "Curious and interesting. It's experimental, weird and psychodelic and it's like a chocolate box of ear candy in terms of production values". And then further added "it's a record that we'll be listening to in 10 years..."

It has been playing in my car for two days. I'm listening to nothing but this cd in an effort to really give it a chance. So far, I am not impressed. Bleeps, twirps and tweedles are not creative experimentalism in the manner in which Wilco has laid them on the tracks almost as an afterthough. This is not what I expected from Tim Riley's commentary. The vocals are almost monotone and the impact is lost due to the mixing style. Furthermore, every song has the same flat sounding acoustic guitar strumming away which does nothing to catch the interest of the listener... the songs are almost interchangeable in their sameness. If you like the understated vocal style of the lead singer, then this record will grab you since the delivery is identical on each cut.

A few sound effects do not make production values. If you want to hear experimental, curious and interesting music at its best, get a copy of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

We won't be listening to this Wilco record in 10 years... I probably will not be listening to it in 10 days. Anyone want to buy a copy of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot?

regards, Jack

Posted: Wed Feb 12 11:14:09 2003
The best new CD that I bought in 2002 was... now get this... God Bless the Go-Gos. No, I'm not kidding...

For the most part, the pop sound is gone and replaced with straight ahead Rock. Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong was a big influence on this album with his songwriting and guitar playing, and it shows. There is a maturity in the sound and the material that makes this a superb effort by the girls. Dig it!

best regards, Jack

Posted: Wed Feb 12 11:06:33 2003
This is my new web log, or blog as they are sometimes called. I will post comments on whatever strikes my fancy but I'll try to keep it music and effects related as best I can. Hopefully I'll spit out some things of interest... thanks for reading!

best regards, Jack

Copr. 2003 Jack Orman
All Rights Reserved