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Technology

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Technologies I find significant, good or bad.

Building a Roland 24 pin guitar synth cable

DIY Connector with GR synths: View of DIY connector, GR-300 and GR-100 in the background.DIY Connector with GR synths: View of DIY connector, GR-300 and GR-100 in the background.

Setting up an Ibanez IMG-2010 Guitar Synth controller

I have the joy of owning an Ibanez IMG-2010 Guitar Synth, which can be had quite cheap on Ebay, yet are excellent quality Steinberger style guitars, and originally sold for quite a princely sum. Wayne Joness' very informative GR-300 site extolls the qualities of this beast in great detail. I'm yet to do the conversion to a DB-25 pin connector and fit the G-202 hex fuzz circuit, but it's planned.

Downgrading Apple Airport Express 802.11g (A1084) firmware

I've had an Apple Airport Express 1st Generation, 802.11g model A1084 since new, c. 2004. This has long been superseded by newer versions, and for sometime it was just doing duty for me as a USB print server, not as a router. However, it seems that there is a bug introduced around v6.2 of the firmware that would cause it to go offline when configured to "join wireless network". Restarting the AE would allow it to run, but it would soon drop off the net. It became particularly troubling as it would become unresponsive almost as soon as it was configured, barely even allowing a single print job to be sent. It's not clear what the cause is or where exactly the bug may lie.

Fixing a Roland PC-200 MIDI keyboard controller

Continuing in my series of keyboard repair blogs, I recently bailed an old Roland PC-200 keyboard out of storage. This old guy is just a 4 octave MIDI controller (no sound generator), but it fit the bill for having a reasonably sized polyphonic keyboard for a NYC apartment. Unfortunately it had long ago developed a problem with an F# key no longer working.

While there are newer controllers with many more buttons and polyphonic aftertouch, it seemed such a waste to replace it just because one key didn't work. After a little net research, a problem with many keyboards is that the carbon contact pads glued onto the rubber deteriorates. Replacements for these are available, but this was not a solution to the problem in this case.

Restoring a Micromoog

Some time back, I acquired a Micromoog analog, monophonic synth. These little beasts are a single oscillator synth, but include a sub-oscillator, 24dB/Oct filter, good modulation, ribbon pitch bend and CV interfacing. The clincher was one appeared cheap on Ebay advertised as requiring "Tender Loving Care": the wooden base needed replacing, but that it did work.

I already have a Multimoog, which is a two oscillator, pressure sensitive keyboard version of the Micromoog, and the thought of operating the two in unison was too great an opportunity. The Multimoog needs work on the power supply and obtaining a Micromoog helps diagnose the Multimoog's power supply behaviour. Expect a blog about the Multimoog in the future.

Resurrecting a PowerMac G4

PowerMac G4 (Mirror Drive Door) powersupply replacementPowerMac G4 (Mirror Drive Door) powersupply replacement

A friend who has returned to studies, and therefore low on cash, had bought a second hand PowerMac G4 Mirror Drive Door model. After a good many years of service with the previous owner, and a year with him, the G4's power supply died, as that model is inclined to do.

Repairing the powersupply is dangerous and difficult, and obtaining a second hand replacement is expensive, and that model was notorious for how loud the power supply was.

A History of Preferential Voting in Australia

With the Australian federal election impending, once again it's time to ignore the personality contest and concentrate on reviewing the policies of the various contenders in your electorate. Reading some of the news comments by non-Australians reveals little is known about preferential voting and it's value to creating Australia's stable political system.

While this article by Antony Green is almost 6 years old, it's a nice summary of the Australian electoral system and it's preferential voting system. Most interesting is how different parties across the political spectrum have benefited over the years (since 1918) from preferential voting.

Panoramas

I've been experimenting with panoramic photographs on and off for several years. I've now posted a set shot many years ago now, in NYC and India, using a Kiwi panoramic head and a Kodak DC240.

Geekcorps Can TV

The Geekcorps is a volunteer project to transfer technical knowledge into the third world, typically Africa. Courtesy of Jordan, they've updated the old trick of building unidirectional WiFi antennae out of Pringles cans into a method of supplying local video broadcasting, dubbed the CanTV.

Who killed the electric car?

The excellent weekly news program Dateline, on Australian SBS television has a cracker of a story about the U.S. car company General Motors killing the electric car. For a country like Australia with abundant daily sunshine, it's a no-brainer.

The follow up story on electronic rental bicycles in Lyon also resonates now that I'm enjoying the bicycle friendly city of Amsterdam.

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