The Deliverator – Wannabee

So open minded, my thoughts fell out…

Archive for January, 2007

Behold and Tremble, Mere Mortals! Your Fate Awaits You!

Posted by Deliverator on 7th January 2007

2007 FRC Kickoff

Posted in General, Titan Robotics Club | No Comments »

New Nokia Internet Tablet to be released RSN (real soon now)

Posted by Deliverator on 5th January 2007

Nokia 800

While there is still no official announcement, quite a few pictures of “unboxing” can be found on flickr. It is anticipated that the official announcement will be made at the Consumer Electronics Show being held in Las Vegas this next week. Several active members of the Internet Tablet Talk community are going to be there to cover the event, including ThoughtFix, who runs one of the better blogs devoted to the Nokia Internet Tablet(s).

The only new information revealed by the pictures is that the final name for Nokia next generation tablet will be the Nokia 800 and not 870, as many people assumed. Also, it does appear that the 800 has stereo speakers, as predicted by some. Still no word on more fundamental stats such as cpu speed, memory amount, etc.

Posted in General, Linux, Portable Computing/Gadgets | 1 Comment »

WordPress Upgrade – 2.06

Posted by Deliverator on 5th January 2007

Upgraded the software which runs this blog, WordPress, to version 2.06

Please let me know if you notice anything out of sorts.

Posted in Blogging, General | No Comments »

Pop, Click and Hiss Removal

Posted by Deliverator on 4th January 2007

This entry relates to this previous entry on the Ion USB Turntable.

Several people I have spoken to about converting record collections or who have read my previous entry have asked me about audio post processing/cleanup. Of course, the phrasing has generally been more along the lines of “so, can you really get rid of all those popping noises from scratched records?” The answer to this question is actually pretty complex. There are a lot of post-processing tools you can use to clean up a recording, but you have to be very careful in adjusting settings and listening to the results, as the same filters that can remove popping noises can also remove or mute particularly staccato instruments like certain drums. I generally found it best to go fairly light on the filter settings to remove the majority of pops and then manually edit the waveform to remove any particularly offensive remnants. This semi-automated cleaning produced excellent results without being overly burdensome on my time.

Another thing that I found helpful in reducing noise was to make sure the record was VERY clean before recording it. There is nothing you can do about scratches, but you can get rid of dust, fingerprints and other surface contaminants that WILL show up audibly in your recording. Vinyl records, due to being made of plastic, become statically charged and attract dust very easily. I used a highly evaporative cleaning spray designed for optical surfaces and a microfiber cloth to remove dust and oil. My procedure was to liberally spray the side I was about to record from and let the spray soak into and loosen any surface contaminants. I then spun the record on the turntable and formed a small wedge with the microfiber cloth and just barely let it brush the surface of the record. The microfiber cloth easily soaks up the fluid from the surface without further scratching the record. Any remaining fluid in the grooves quickly evaporates away after letting the record spin for a few minutes. I cleaned the cloth off in soaping water, rinsed it and then let it dry on a bit of mono filament after each used, to keep the cloth free of any dirt which could scratch the next record I attempted to clean. Water evaporates so very quickly from microfiber that I was able to use the same cloth record after record for hours on end.

Here are a few screen grabs of how much popping noise can be removed from a waveform without distorting the underlying music.

Before

Audio Before

After

Audio After

Posted in General, Media, Music, Tech Stuff | No Comments »

FRC 2006 Wrapup

Posted by Deliverator on 3rd January 2007

The kickoff event for this year’s FIRST Robotics Competition is this Saturday. Once again, the Titan Robotics Club will be playing host to several hundred high schoolers and mentors; eagerly awaiting to see what fiendish task FIRST has in store for us. After that, it is a six week sprint to the finish line, so don’t expect to see or hear from me much in the next month and a half. While I still have an ounce of composure left, I thought I would write about some of the student’s accomplishments in the last few months:

  • Organized and executed a fundraising campaign
  • Designed and ordered t-shirts for this year’s team members
  • Performed extensive research into the design of a new drive train and figured other ways to drop our baseline weight to give us more wiggle room in designing mechanisms to accomplish this year’s task. The new design uses timing belts throughout, instead of our traditional design which uses chain, sprockets and a gearbox to carry power from the motors to the wheels. Such a drive train should have less “slop” than our existing design and loses much less of the initial motor power as it moves through the transmission system. Andy and Rachel have been hard at work using cad and traditional drafting techniques to come up with some basic designs which can be adapted to the needs of this year’s challenge.
  • Joel Voss has been working with the kids on programming, in particular figuring out how to make good use of the CMU Cam 2 digital camera that has been in the kit of parts for the last few years. There is some pretty strong evidence that the camera will be very important in this year’s competition.
  • Cleaned out the TRC room and got the school to agree to us placing a shipping container or shed on school grounds for storage. With a lot of junk out of the way, I hope the TRC can make better use of the school space alloted us to actually do assembly work at the school. If enough room can be set aside, I am considering buying a tabletop mill and/or lathe to add to the TRC’s at-school machining abilities.
  • Paul has been hard at work on a new club website based on WordPress. A preview of the final design can be seen here His sister has been equally hard at work doing graphic design tasks for the club. She is just wicked with a Wacom tablet and Photoshop.
  • Erik and I have been hard at work trying to make the vision of a Joint Practice Facility for area teams a reality. Most schools in the area have extremely limited access to their own school’s facilities (in particular, gyms) and a full sized field on which to train the robot’s drive team and program the robot is simply beyond most school’s resources. It is extremely disheartening to me that most schools seem to give more priority to dodgeball than to something that really enriches students minds and hearts and gets them interested in a high paying and socially beneficial engineering careers. We have six area schools involved at this point and are getting close on the money to rent a warehouse that meets our requirements, supply it with power, a full sized field and provide insurance. If you would like to hear more about this project and can help financially or logistically, please contact me at 425-443-7070

I am very proud of all the hard work that students have put in to make this season a success. Now I am going to try and rest for the next few days before jumping into the fray.

Posted in General, Rants and Raves, Titan Robotics Club | No Comments »