1. Last night’s @hakkavelin mutilation repair work worked perfectly! I now have a rather nice sounding electro-acoustic hurdy gurdy.

    Next steps: wire up the internal microphone, put a plate over the hole in the back, fit the raspberry pi and power supply.

  2. Project for Chateau d’Ars (and maybe Halsway) in 2014: fit gurdy with wheel speed measuring device, record traces of different peoples’ trompette styles.

  3. Feedback Loops

    The larger the gap between one major feedback loop and the next largest of any given stage of an activity, the more assumptions must be made about that stage.

    Example: planing a hurdy gurdy top to thickness.

    Tasks, feedback loops in order of duration (timings are approximate from memory):

    • Every millimetre of planed wood, ≈150ms audible and physical feedback
    • Every ≈1cm of planed wood, ≈500ms visual feedback loop seeing the shavings protrude from the plane (or not, which is equally valuable)
    • Every ≈10cm of planed wood, ≈3s visual+physical+audible feedback loop of one complete shaving detaching
    • Every ≈20cm of planed wood, ≈5s visual feedback loop seeing freshly planed surface, erosion of pencil marks
    • Pause every ≈10 plane strokes, ≈20s physical feedback loop picking up the top and flexing
    • Pause every ≈20 plane strokes, ≈1 minute precision visual feedback from re-measuring the thickness of the top with a caliper

    The gaps between feedback loops become larger as the durations become larger, as do the assumptions which are made about the task at each level until the next feedback loop arrives. I suspect that experience level also affects both the value gained from each feedback loop, increasing the actor’s knowledge of the system and increasing the amount of time which can safely be left (i.e. the amount of assumption which is safe) before more feedback is required.

    Two observations: the existence of vastly longer feedback loops of experience accumulating which affect the shape of existing loops, and that the smallest feedback loops are broadcast by the environment (audible feedback, physical resistance) but longer ones require active participation (testing the system).

  4. Walked along a nice bit of beach-ish area near my flat. Realised that whilst I’m fairly experienced at creating UIs where the creation of sound is the end result (musical instruments), I’ve never really given much thought to the use of sound in other UIs.

    The house lights across the bay twinkle a lot — perhaps because of the heat. It’s cold outside here, but inside all the buildings is really toasty, thanks to ubiquitous geothermal power.

  5. Good grief, I should have known that in the week before I go to , and I’m packing up my workshop, I’d get loads of emails about work :/ Politely turning them all down and suggesting alternatives until I get back.

  6. The second back is on after rather a stressful gluing session inside a small, dark shed with candles for light. Now I know a little more about what it must have been like to be a luthier in the Middle Ages.