Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Activities of the Evening

Well after the guest lecture I gave yesterday evening to students at UCLA on "Sound, Audio and Music in Media and Video Games," I was very tired, so I didn't really get much done on music instruments:

I updated the mechanical drawing for Bass Stick a little bit on the battery holder. 

I also started to saw the wood for a speaker grille for the Red Electric Eel, but it was making a lot of noise late at night and I didn't want to disturb my neighbors. 

All in all I went to sleep early...  and while it was not very restful, it at least produced some interesting dreams which I attempted to interpret.  My girlfriend Tanya had a very different interpretation of them, so that was something fun for us to talk about.

Then onto this evening!  It was the second Open House night at the Framingham Maker Space!  So I brought my saw, wood, clamp and drill to complete the Red Electric Eel Speaker Grille. 

It went extremely well!  The huge open space was perfect and I got it done.  It was also nice to have a shop-vac available for clean-up.  That's one solid advantage to working at my own apartment!

It was especially interesting, because I knew something was off in the coping saw I had just bought, but I couldn't put my finger on it....  Luckily, one of the other people there that night, Dave Pogue, brother of Core Member Dan Pogue, pointed out that the saw had arrived with the blade backwards.  Yes!  That's why it was working so poorly!  So he and I figured out how to reverse the blade and I sawed through the wood in record time :)  yay!

That's the benefit of working in a co-working space!

I also remember just how informative it can be to show people how the Electric Eels worked.  I spent about 10-20 minutes discussing the various aspects of the musical instrument to Dan and Dave, bright people who listened intently, interrupting only when they burned with curiosity to ask a question.

On the way home, my old friend Kristiaan Vaarnik called me!  He's a mysterious figure who's been out to see me perform several times in the Boston area, back almost 10-12 years ago!  I assume we first met through the underground scene around Hrvatski, but who knows!  Anyway, it was brilliant to talk to him again about his new ideas for an instrument and I was especially surprised to learn that he is the mastermind behind the ShapeChangingInstruments blog!  Yes, I've been reading it for about a year now and I'm delighted to find out he runs it!  Check it out if you get a chance, especially his concept for a "Modular Acoustic Instrument."

So after doing all that, I went through my first little tutorial on the Rust programming language.  It certainly starts you off very underwhelmingly.  I found a few issues:
  1. The Rust installer doesn't actually install the package manager "cargo" as it says it does when you install under windows (yes, I know, why windows?  cuz, I need to run lots of Windows apps to do electrical engineering, so I keep a cheap Win 7 laptop)
  2. The cargo package manager doesn't tolerate whitespace in its table names.  Seriously?  Why not!  Geez and it essentially silently fails.  That's pretty weak, b/c whitespace seriously helps keep code organized and readable... so I hope that changes
  3. Man what a boring tutorial.  Ok, sure the first step is Hello World, that's good.  The second step is the package manager, ok I like it.  But the third step: make a program that uses a variable and string interpolation but never even compiles?  Come on!  That's pretty drab.  I know, I know, again it's up to *me* to do something interesting with it... so I guess I'll let it slide.  Still, if they want to get more beginners, like my Mom and girlfriend, programming, they'll probably do better to have some interesting examples.  Gosh!

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