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Archive for December, 2010

22
Dec

Panto Mine…

As the yearly tradition of Christmas rolls around, we took the whole family to see the Cinderella Pantomime.

If you’ve never seen one of these, there’s a fair bit of audience participation. Boo the villain, cheer the hero, laugh til you hurt at the “Dame” (which is always played by a male). Now we’re not new to these live plays, but this year, it was completely different. First off, these are usually for kids so they’ve always been under a couple of hours. This year, three solid hours.

They warned us of this in the opening act, but I thought they were kidding. Nope. The theatre we went to doesn’t have the most comfortable seats so by intermission I (and the rest of the gang) were numb in places I don’t think we even knew we had places. Ouch. The second half of the show picked up the pace so it was more enjoyable, except for the spreading numbness…

Thus, it was good, but it could have been MUCH better. Too much long winded dialog that didn’t matter a hoot to the kids.

Another variation was that the entire cast came out on stage in full costume after the performance and invited the kids up to meet and get autographs. Now that was pretty neat. Watching the shy kids approach the “demons”…bit of a laugh…

As I said, if you’ve ever been to a panto, you know they get the kids at some point to “save the day” by yelling at the appropriate time, a “magic” phrase to thwart the demons evil plan. Cinderella followed that perfectly and it was that single scene that struck a chord deep into my panto soul. As the moment for the “magic chant” arose, I glanced down the row and saw the granddaughter standing up straight as an arrow, white knuckles gripping the seat in front, and screaming the magic phrase at the top of her lungs. Knowing full well that it would be her voice alone that would save Cinder’s from the demons evil plot. Even when prompted by the “fairy god mother” to do it again to “strengthen the charm”, there was no hesitation whatsoever. Every kid in the place was doing that exact same thing.

That few seconds washed away all the aches and pains I had and reaffirmed what a Panto is really all about.

16
Dec

Cats Ass Trophy

My daughter called me today and asked if I had a black light (I used to) and of course I couldn’t find mine but I asked what for.

Seems her cats peed on the carpet and she got some solution to get it out but she needed to know where they “tinkled”. With a black light it shows up…(CSI for cats)…:-)

So I thought, I don’t have one, I’ll make one…

Hence introducing the:
PPPPPP
And since any cats around here would simply be hollowed out and made into slippers all I could do was test it on the fiber in the CDN five dollar bill…and…if you look closely you can make out the word Canada under the left side of old what’s his pickles chin…that only comes out under black light.

black light bill

Another Wabbit Wanch Owieginal…:-)

8
Dec

Sqwerl Lives…

I’ve been working a new application to program the Highly Liquid MIDI decoder (MSA-R). The new MSA a substantial upgrade over the previous unit and it’s the main controller in my iPatch unit. Working on both the Mac and Windows versions (which makes me really appreciate the look and simplicity of the Mac) I have it about 90% done. There’s still some firmware bugs in the MSA-R K version (3.0) that need to be ironed out (or flattened, depends on how you view software bugs)…

But firmware bugs aren’t my issues. That’s up to Highly Liquid to fix and publish a some update code. Which, incidentally isn’t happening as timely as perhaps it should. The MSA-R have been available for over a month and there’s no word on a time line for the firmware fixes. So I made some work arounds in my code to compensate and it’s not pretty but it partially works.

This brings up an interesting thought too. When software/firmware is released, just how fast should bugs be addressed and fixed. In the case of my own software, I developed Mels Bug Fixing Axiom:

“The amount of time it takes to fix a bug is inversely proportional to the amount of time it took to find it”

I found the problems with the MSA-R shortly after starting to write the code to program it. Thus, it’s anyones guess as to when the update is coming…

At any rate, here’s a sneak peek at Sqwerl. Why Sqwerl? Simple really. The previous MSA-R version was programmed using “Moose” and anyone who knows TV history from the 60’s knows that you can’t have Moose without Sqwerl…

Sqwerl
3
Dec

iPad blog update

Testing out a new client for the iPad to see if it works better than the Word Press one…actually anything that worked would be better…

Amp probe bench meter. Not too bad.


– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

3
Dec

Blog Wars…

In the great scheme of things blogging from the iPad is just so handy…from the desktop, not so much. For the desktop, “ecto” is the choice I made to get the job done. While not the best there is, it works reliably, and it’s quite simple to use.

Going back to the iPad for a second here, the blog apps for it are just plain horrible. Even Word Press HD for the iPad is bug ridden and if it actually works, it was due to more good luck than anything else. Thus there is a serious void here that some developer needs to fill. Its patently obvious what’s out there now doesn’t work worth beans.