Posts tagged diy
Office improvement

Over the holidays I worked on getting this office/studio in better shape. I (aka my dad) built the shelf beneath my monitors here:

Which brought everything up to a better height and gave me some storage underneath them. I stuck some rope lights in behind which gives a nice glow. Next step is to put more paintings and stuff up. And maybe some Christmas lights. And more drinks.

Ableton Live controlling Winamp/Milkdrop

Been hacking around trying to get some nifty synced visualization stuff going. Best (and cheapest) visualization seems to be Milkdrop in Winamp, so I got it responding to MIDI signals sent from Ableton Live on another machine. Here's a quick demo:

I'd like to be able to trigger video clips next, then I'm not sure about combining them all onto one display and swapping between them.

Project: Guitar with arcade buttons

For the past year I've been thinking a lot about solo guitar interfaces. One of the challenges with being a guitarist and playing solo is that both hands are almost constantly busy with the guitar and your feet are usually busy with pedals. Doesn't leave a lot of other options.

I've thought up a lot of ways the guitar as an interface could be improved or augmented and the simplest idea seems like it would be to put a bunch of easily accessible buttons in the guitar and have those buttons simulate keystrokes on my laptop. How hard could that be? Let's see.

Step one:

I ordered some Seimitsu PS-14 arcade buttons. A lot of the buttons I found were wayyyy too deep (such as these) but these ones looked like they might not go all the way through my guitar and halfway into my torso while playing.


I also impulse bought an Arduino. The Arduino is awesome but turning button presses into keyboard strokes isn't really its main deal. So I ordered an I-PAC VE which is dedicated entirely to simulating keyboard controls.


Step two:

Months later when the I-PAC finally arrived, I wired up the buttons and the board and it all worked on the first try. I made a little cardboard stand for testing:



But it doesn't look like there's much testing to do, it's pretty brain dead easy. I had it entering keystrokes on the computer and triggering clips in Ableton Live within minutes. Windows XP even recognized the I-PAC without any additional drivers, very nice.

Step three:

Where should the buttons go on the guitar? I put some cut-out circles on it to see where they'd fit and be most useful:


This is the layout I'm thinking of right now. There's a lot to take into consideration, such as:

  1. Ease of access while playing (the upper right ones seem close enough I'd be able to hit them with only a brief pause in playing)
  2. Staying away from locations where accidental hits are likely (the right side is where my arm is while playing)
  3. Making sure I don't interfere with any of the guitar's guts
  4. Keeping them far enough away from the edge that I don't weaken and collapse it

Right now I'm wondering if I should try to house the circuit board inside the guitar and run a USB cable from the guitar to my laptop or should I run the wires from the buttons to the external I-PAC which would be by the laptop? I do not know.

My latest podcast attempt

terminal I tried doing a podcast a few years ago and failed. I just wanted to share some music I was into but compiling the podcasts was time-consuming enough that it got pushed aside almost immediately. So I've started another podcast on Sellout Central which I'm planning to put out every Monday.

This time though I've spent some of my vacation time figuring out how to automate most of the process.

The nerdy details:

Using sox, flite, lame and a bash script, all I have to do is export a playlist from Foobar2000 and run a script. Sox crossfades the songs and compiles them into one big WAV file, flite generates the speech synthesis for the intros and outros and then lame compresses them into an MP3 with appropriate ID3 tags. So basically, I export the WAVs and then run:

./ [episode #] [# of songs]

And get back a shiny podcastable MP3. Whether anyone will like the songs I like is a whole different matter.

If you want the script, let me know and I can package it up.

Update: and here is the script all packaged up.

Halloween 2007

Last Halloween was our first time trying to go all out on the decorations. This year we extended it out a bunch and improved a lot of little things. Some photos:

October 31, 2007 084

October 31, 2007 043

October 31, 2007 077

October 31, 2007 104

October 31, 2007 102

October 31, 2007 130

October 31, 2007 114

Everything went over real good. The black light where we gave out the candy was a big hit. We wound up dragging a big mirror out so that kids could see themselves glowing and they really dug that. You can see more pictures here if you're interested.