Seeing a lot of people talking about Germany in response to #Cville. Unfortunately, DE has it’s own problems with rising “alt” far-right. Saw this in town today:
It’s an election poster for the AfD (“Alternative for Germany”). Roughly translated it says “Burkas? We like Bikinis. Trust yourself, Germany!”. They’re growing in popularity, especially in places like this town, historically with strong (10%) NPD (Nazi) voting base. Their posters are either bullshit like this, or cleverly framed statements about borders, pensions, schools, children, “taking back control” etc.
@w03_ I’m surprised people get so annoyed about pooing in the wild in Iceland, the landscape is so devoid of humus it could benefit from some good healthy biomass, no?
@ztsamudzi although honestly I have no idea in what sort of religious context this dance culture fitted into, I will have to read up on that and try to learn more.
@ztsamudzi there are various pan-european dances found all over the continent, e.g. polka, schottish, waltz, mazur/mazurek/mazurka, polska, slängpolska/polonaise/ländler/steyrer/wickler (modern term), minuet, quadrille, etc. Each dance form typically retains the same basic step everywhere but has regional variants, or is related to dances from different areas, as the dances and music travelled along trade routes. Many fascinating examples exist of tunes or dances which are found in parallel sources in many different areas, which is a nice way of getting rid of nationalists who try to appropriate this stuff for nationalism. A lot of these dances made their way over to America too, and in a lot of cases (IIRC) mixed with black dance+music culture and became the basis for a lot of n. american traditional dances.
Most of these were danced a lot in Europe over the past 300 years but then more or less died out in the 19th century (as the style of music changed and Europe started to import and appropriate e.g. latin dances), before being rediscovered as part of the various folk revivals in the 70s. Now they’re danced casually as “balfolk” or “eurodance”. Not widespread in the mainstream, but not totally obscure either (e.g. google “balfolk”) with widespread events and a more and more progressive pedagogy.
Video: The Poisonous Polonaise (Polonoise No. 19, Wittenberger Apothekenhandschrift, Deutschland)
More music from Emilyn, John and me!
This one is a beautiful polonaise found in the Wittenberger Apothekenhandschrift, a hand written dance manuscript found in the Giftschrank (poisonous substance cabinet) in an old pharmacy in Wittenberge, Germany.
Sheet music for this piece, and many other amazing northern German traditional music, can be found in volumes 1-3 of Neues aus Alten Büchern (new things from old books) published by Tramudea e.V., and also on tanzmusikarchiv.de and the TradTanzMusik youtube channel.
Recorded in Toronto, Canada on 2017-05-12
Finally figured out how to format a memory stick for optimal compromise between compatibility and file sizes.
The goal is to be able to stick this memory stick in anything from the last 15 years and be able to load files on and off. The implementation idea was to have two partitions, one FAT32 for compatibility with everything, and one ExFAT for wide compatibility allowing larger files.
The mistake I made last time was using a GUID-based partition map, which rules out compatibility with older hardware which uses a BIOS. This can be rectified by using the older Master Boot Record partition map, which has some restrictions, but nothing particularly relevant in this case.
I had no end of problems trying to achieve this with the Gnome Disks tool and GParted, and on Mac OS 10.11 it’s not possible in the Disk Utility GUI. It is, however, very easy using the command line Disk Utility tools.
to find out the descriptor for the device you want to format (e.g.
/dev/disk2, referred to in future examples as
diskutil unmountDisk /dev/diskX
to unmount it in preparating for formatting. I’m formatting a 64GB flash drive with 62.1GB actual capacity into two equal portions, so my command ends up looking like this:
diskutil partitionDisk /dev/diskX MBR ExFAT NAME_OF_FIRST_PARTITION 31.1g FAT32 NAME_OF_SECOND_PARTITION 0g
where the format is pretty self explanatory:
volume partition_map partition_1_format partition_1_name partition_1_size partition_2_format partition_2_name partition_2_size
The size of partition two is given as 0g, which results in the rest of the available space being taken.
A list of available filesystems for formatting can be browsed with:
I just tested the newly formatted universal memory stick with a computer with which it previously didn’t work, and it worked perfectly, so I’m confident that this approach achieves my original goal.
Video: Lights in the Sky (Barnaby Walters)
Finally the first video from my trip to Canada last month! Playing with Emilyn and John is always a blast, and this time we recorded a bunch of tunes. More to come!
A waltz I wrote whilst living in Iceland, recorded for the first time with Emilyn Stam and John David Williams on 2017-05-12 in Toronto, Canada.
Just a few more days now until Vaka 2017 in Akureyri! I’ll be there the whole week, and will be teaching some tunes and dances with Wilma and Benjamin on Thursday. There are still tickets available!
#pd [freeverbcontrol] — I tried to make a little pd GUI abstraction for [freeverb~], but couldn’t find a simple (or even complicated) way of storing parameters which are unique per instance of the abstraction.
The approach I eventually came with up is simple, if a little cludgier than I’d like: provide a template patch with the actual GUI as a subpatch, which must be copied/pasted into the patch you actually want to use it in.
The old Fitbit and Fuelband which Aaron Parecki gave me a few years ago (thanks Aaron!) don’t hold a charge anymore. The Fitbit battery is near impossible to replace, and with the Fuelband I decided that as there’s no way of loading custom firmware (which would let me get at data without an internet connection and proprietary apps), it wasn’t worth trying to get replacement batteries. So before throwing the devices away, I took them apart.
I didn’t find out much which I hadn’t already seen in teardowns, but these devices have such strange form factors that it was fascinating to see the engineering up close.
The rubber coating comes off very cleanly. Here you can see some of the funny curved traces used on flexible circuit boards:
The LED array, with “Just Do It” written on the top of the PCB (invisible to the end user). On the sections of flex between the more solid boards you can see the unbelievably fine traces:
On the back of the LED matrix section, with a part number. To the right you can see the jaggedy bluetooth antenna trace:
The fitbit isn’t so interesting. Removing the cap with a heatgun reveals a tiny circuit board with a tiny battery and vibrating element.
I also opened up the dock, as I noticed that the USB cable was power only, with no possibility of wired data transfer. The third pogo pin must be for the reset switch, which is mounted in the dock. There’s a little IC in there too, but I was more interested in seeing how the pogo pins were attached to the board. Turns out they’re just soldered straight on:
I’d love to have been able to flash custom firmware to the Fuelband, it’s a lovely bit of hardware, and manufacturing something like that is completely out of the question for a hobbyist. There are so many fun things which could be done with a device equipped with an LED matrix, accelerometers and bluetooth — a wearable MIDI controller, for example.
That possibility would also have made replacing the batteries worth doing, and in doing so saved the device from the landfill. Free software and open hardware isn’t just political, it’s better for the environment.
Doing some prototyping+testing for the next MIDI-enabled gurdy board:
My current approach is an Arduino (Genuino) Uno with a custom made board with a line of hall effect sensors, and the various other boards plugged into the Arduino. It works, but there are various problems — wiring the whole thing together is a hassle; the limited I/O on the Uno requires me to multiplex the sensors, introducing delays; hand-soldering through-hole sensors means they’re all in slightly different positions; and a single line of sensors isn’t enough to cover the whole throw of a key, resulting in notes turning off when they’re bent too far.
I heard about emsproto.com and was initially considering designing a board containing the sensors and microcontroller myself, and having it built, but after drafting up a very simple one-component test board and seeing that there’s a base cost of €200 per board for PCB and assembly, I decided on another approach.
The next version of the board will be a custom designed sensor and breakout board with two rows of surface-mounted hall effect sensors, into which I can plug a Teensy 3.5, removing the need for multiplexing, vastly increasing the speed at which the system can run, and opening up various possibilities like easy-to-implement USB-MIDI support.