So I'm already starting to look forward to the April 26th SLSO concert. Not only are they doing Beethoven's 3rd, but they are performing John Adams' Dharma at Big Sur. It features electric violin as the soloist - Adams calls for a "solid-body, six string instrument with amplification balanced from a mixing board situated in the main part auditorium." Nice!
It gets more complicated: "Piano and harps tuned to just intonation. Charts for tuning included with score and parts. A Peterson "Virtual Stobe" tuner is highly recommended for very quick tuning of the harps.
Here is an exerpt from what John Adams has to say about this piece:
"The first version of this "concerto after Kerouac" called for both the soloist and the orchestra to play in "just" intonation, that is, with intervals between the notes of the scale differently tuned than in the conventional manner. I spent more than a month in my home studio carefully tuning my synthesizers and samplers to represent exactly the special tunings I wanted. "A New Day" is an homage to Lou Harrison, who lived not far from Big Sur and who was the first significant American to compose in other tuning systems. But at the first rehearsal in Los Angeles I realized almost immediately and to my intense distress that the seventy players in the orchestra could not possibly agree on the minute distinctions between frequencies that I’d required in their parts. Furthermore brass instruments, being coils of long tubing, were unpredictable and capricious in their resonant characteristics. In later performances I had to revert to a more standard tuning for most of the orchestra, but I was still able to keep the strange "natural" intervals of the brass partials and the otherworldy resonances of the harps, samplers and piano, who remain tuned to a special "just" scale based on B major.
Tuesday, 25th of March, 2008
Here is some insight into the cutting edge of data warehousing - The IRS's CDW - Compliance Data Warehouse.
Friday, 21st of March, 2008
Well today I'm working on training materials for Xcelcius, and I got tired of the textbook sales examples. Then I remember a late-night conversation I was having with one of my friends this week about tire sizes. This led to me creating a dashboard - and I didn't stop at just tire sizes, I've got gearing too:
Instantly calculate changes in gearing/mph when you change your final drive, gears, redline, tire size, whatever. Hit the play button on engine speed and watch the speedometer go up. Or move the dial yourself. Much more fun than sales figures!
The excel spreadsheet that performs all the calculations was on the internet, so I threw it into Xcelsius and it only took 45 minutes to generate this cool little tool. So this basically explains half of what I do for a living - taking complicated Excel models/spreadsheets and cranking out pretty charts/interfaces for them.
Thursday, 20th of March, 2008
Friday, 14th of March, 2008
Tuesday, 11th of March, 2008
Thursday, 6th of March, 2008
Short story is, the car just needed a tuneup. We started last year with an array of P030x misfire codes, a couple idle control codes P050x, a couple front oxygen sensor codes P013x, and a weird starter swich code P0100. Fuel economy took a dive last fall so it became a practical problem to fix this, not just an emotional one. First thing of course is that front oxygen sensor. Then, new ignition coil pack and colder plugs took care of some of the more consistent misfiring. Idling better seemed to put it within the parameters the ECU expected too, even with the idle control stepper motor just dangling in the engine bay.
Then I had to hunt down a boost leak that caused the rest of the misfiring behaviour. 46k miles of forced induction abuse on top of 92k miles of regular service took it's toll on a lot of things not designed for it - the evap system developed a massive leak and the MAP sensor gets a nice leak when it's wet outside too. Who needs evap anyway - I'll leave that hose danging in the engine bay too - if my Cadillac doesn't need evap, my Subaru doesn't either. The car doesn't seem to care when the MAP sensor is unplugged too - it uses MAF to do A/F ratio so I'm not even sure what the MAP is doing here.
With the hard stuff out of the way I finished it up with a rear oxygen sensor (by now I had toasted that one too) and got a new cat converter and 3" exhaust welded on. Drove it around, no CELs, it looks like I'm ready. Went for an emission test - failed! Turns out I had 3 readiness monitors still unset. Some new problems started and I finally caved in and bought the fancy OBD II scanner (not the pocket one), and it was worth it. I discovered my 6-month-old oxygen sensor was pegged at 1.25V and the car's been running in open loop the whole time. No wonder after a week of driving the O2 and cat readiness were still incomplete. I used that 1-year warranty on that sensor and put the new one in yesterday. Started it up, and it was like magic.
Car passed today with no CELs and only one system not ready: Evap. That's probably because it's just dangling in the engine bay... On 1996-2000 cars you can have two systems not ready, so I was set. This last issue forced me to learn a little something about readiness monitors, on top of everything else learned this past year.
Wednesday, 5th of March, 2008
Tuesday, 4th of March, 2008