August 02, 2006

The Trials and Travails of Mixing a Rev Concert

Writing about web page http://www.warwickrev.org

Before Warwick Revelation Rock–Gospel choir’s recent concert Shine!, I’d agreed to be responsible for mixing the recording. I thought I’d record some of the interesting things about this recording

I knew before the concert that I was going to be moving from Coventry to Macclesfield the week before the concert. Therefore I was going to have to get the data sent up to me. Estimating the amount of data we would have came out at ~35GB. It was clear transfers were going to have to be by DVD–R.

On the day of the concert I finally discovered what machine we were recording on, an Alesis HD–24.

We were able to use the direct outs on the WSAF sound–desk to take our recording points from. Unfortunately we came up one balanced jack to female XLR lead short (out of the 24) so a quick run to the chaplaincy for a jack to jack cable and a DI–box, and a XLR gender bender in the WSAF mixer case(female to female coupler) quickly solved that problem.

I sang in the concert, leaving the job of operating the recorder to Richard Pope, though it was a simple task of hitting record at the start of the concert, and stop at the end. After the concert I left the transferring of the data off the hard disk in the recorder and onto a computer so it could be burnt to DVD to transfer to me, to Amalia. This apparently went smoothly and the disk and recorder all made it back to the hire company in time.

With the transfer of files via DVD from Amalia to me is where the fun started. After a while a set of DVDs, 8 to be precise, arrived at my house in Macclesfield. I quickly made space on my hard drives for the ~35GB of data and plopped the first of the DVDs into my DVD±RW drive to copy the data. To my considerable surprise, the drive disappeared in windows. Bemused I swapped the disk into my DVD–ROM drive and proceeded to copy the data across. However, more than 50% of the tracks, 13 to be precise, failed to copy, giving CRC check errors.

Annoyed, I got the tracks that failed to copy re–sent to be. However again most of the tracks gave CRC check errors. Copying from the other drive just wasn’t possible as it disappeared from my computer once the disk was put in it, only reappearing after a reboot with the disk removed. So a third set of DVDs was sent to me.

This set all gave CRC check errors, but in all the time that had past since the first set of disks had arrived I’d had a idea. What if the CRC check errors were the fault of windows and/or the drive. To test this out I remembered that I had long ago installed Agnula (Linux optimised for Audio Work) and Mandriva 2006. Hit by a flash of inspiration I booted Mandriva, plopped the problem DVDs into the RW drive and low and behold, the disks appeared and the data was copied, with no errors.

The lessons;

  1. When recording a concert, don’t settle for anything less than doing the transfer of data onto your own machine. It’s just not worth the hassle doing it any other way.
  2. Windows doesn’t like DVD–Rs in a DVD±RW drive, at least on my computer.
  3. Windows file transfer dialogue box sucks. Linux gave me a decent time remaining estimate instead of the completely random estimate Windows XP gives. It also showed how many of how many files it had transferred, how much data had been copied (in actual MB) and how much was remaining.
  4. When something don’t work in Windows, try it in the Linux you’ve got on your PC before getting lots of stuff sent to you.

Next: Lessons and Observations on the actual mixing.


February 17, 2006

Has Feminism Hurt Women?

Writing about web page http://my.opera.com/khankrumthebulgar/blog/show.dml/129036

Linked to is an interesting article, by a career woman, on how feminism has hurt her.

Here are a few interesting quotes

Far too often, it seems to me, the unwitting price of female emancipation has been heartache, stress and a life spent chasing false promises

Thatís what happens when we start to stray from the truth of the universe, as created by God. Men and Women are different, have different roles, think differently and have different biology. We canít say that men and women are equal in all aspects, when this just isnít true

Sandra admitted that the divorce settlements at the top of the league were having a trickle-down effect. "I think that it has created a groundswell of anxiety in men, and it is certainly in my experience putting men off getting married at all". So, by supporting and perpetuating an increasingly unfair divorce system, we are in effect putting men off marriage – the institution most women still believe makes them happier and more secure than any other. How sad.

I would personally say that this doesnít apply to me. I (as a man) donít currently feel put off by the divorce culture that exists, but maybe thatís because of my faith. Put simply Iím expecting marriage to be for life, with only a few reasons for divorce permitted (aldultery being one). I also desire to (eventually) marry a women who believes the same. Also Iíve not experienced divorce in my close family, so I think that I have less fear of it happening to me.

And so my journey had brought me full circle, from the past generation to the future one, and the thread running through it all was a startling realisation that women are covertly contributing to our own unhappiness. So why had we put up with it for so long? Because to tell the truth felt like a betrayal of the core promise of feminism, an admission of failure. But women haven't failed: it's just that our expectations were unrealistic. We set the bar too high and so have spent our lives crashing into it. The simple truth is that we can't have it all. We can't have everything we want, when we want. (emphasis added)

I think the last quote is the most pointient. We canít have everything we want when we want. In fact, many of the things we really want are the most damaging to us. We want to rule our own lives, but this is the most damaging thing we can ever do.

From a studentís point of view, we want to live the student life now, living for now, living to excess and partying hard. But this is so very damaging to us. We end up with large amounts of debt, that sometimes we just cannot service. We want something for nothing (as evidenced by the anti-fees campaign that essentially says ďI donít want to pay for my time at university, so someone else mustĒ).So often I think that a more sober mind in students would save so much heartache in latter life.
Iíve seen so many throw-away relationships in my time at university that I am saddened. People in relationships for the here and now, with little thought of the future. Not to say that Iíve been perfect in this and other regards, but Iím in my 5th year of watching the folly of students, and Iíve seen much.

We want to define for ourselves our sexuality, without realizing that god designed us to work a certain way, and that when we go our own way it damages us. We drink and smoke and party hard, neglecting the temple that is our bodies.

Maybe a much more sober mind among students is needed.

Thatís it for now.


February 15, 2006

Post Valentine's Day Rant (not what you think)

After the ďfestivitiesĒ yesterday of Valentineís Day I felt a rant coming on. So here we go.

This isnít your standard commercialisation rant or a singleness rant but something subtly different.

Iím a Christian. A Christian with a very lovely girlfriend. As such I wanted to get her something for Valentineís Day. Having done this, I of course, wanted a card to go with it. As my artistic skills are a little lacking, I thought Iíd buy one. And here in lay my mistake

However, I hadnít reckoned on the minds of those who come up with these cards, because, I was, quite frankly, shocked by what they showed.

Being a Christian, Iím a no sex before marriage kinda guy.

So, given that unmarried Christain men (and women) must form a significant market out there, is it so difficult to find a Valentineís Day card that doesnít outright talk about sex between the card giver and receiver or isnít either dripping in sexual innuendo, or so horribly mushy that it makes you sick to read it. Why is it so damm difficult, and presumably non-financially viable, to sell a clean, simple card, with minimal messages inside for us to add our own messages. I really donít want a card that suggests new sexual positions for us (me and my girlfriend) to try.

Come on card makers, thereís a market out there for such cards, both men and women who would like to send a clean card to which they can add their own personal messages.
Well next time Iím making my own card, no matter how rubbish it looks compared to a well drawn and printed shop one, at least I wonít be saddened by the other cards on display and put off getting any card for someone else by the rather sad and pathetic cards on sale.

At least the thought will count.

Bar-humbug


February 09, 2006

My Imperial Guard Army – 362nd Matherian Experiditionary Force

Follow-up to My Imperial Guard Army – 362nd Matherian Experiditionary Force from SoundRich MkII

Fast Attack

The Fast Attack section of the army is about being just that, fast. It tends to be made up of units that are generally able to fight better on the move than the other sections of the army, are typically the fastest in the army, and are often lightly armoured.

There are two fast attack choices in my army. These are my sentinel squadron and my Hellhound flame tank ďAsherĒ

Sentinel Squadron

At the moment there is but one sentinel in my sentinel squadron. Sentinels are lightly armoured walkers that support the infantry. The sentinel is armed with a multi-laser, a rapidly firing anti-personnel and light anti-armour weapon.

Sentinel

I often donít use the sentinel in games, simply because itís so lightly armoured

Hellhound Ė ďAsherĒ

The Hellhound flame tank is a medium tank, equipped with a long range flamethrower.

HellhoundHell

Itís best used to skirt round the flank, moving fast and avoiding being shot, and then bursting out and shooting with everything itís got. Against most enemies itís quite capable of killing a squad per turn.

– next in the series Heavy Support


February 03, 2006

My Imperial Guard Army – 362nd Matherian Experiditionary Force

Follow-up to My Imperial Guard Army – 362nd Matherian Experiditionary Force from SoundRich MkII

Troops

Sorry for the long gap between the elites and my troops section but here we go.

Troops form the core of all armies for Warhamer 40,000. They represent our basic troopers, who bear the brunt of the battle. They often represent the most tactically flexible units in your army, able to soak up firepower and hit hard against either troops or enemy armour both at range and in close combat. Troops are essential for winning the battle, since, although they can't do everything as well as the more specialised units can, they have few weaknesses. Also in some battles, they will be the only thing you can depoly at the start of the battle, and so become essential for your battle.

Imperial guard troops units work a little differently to other armies. In other armies, you buy one unit per choice on the force organization chart (a chart that determines how many of each type of unit (HQ, Elites, Troops, Fast attack and Heavy Support) you can have in your army). However, for an Imperial guard army the main troops choice is called an Infantry Platoon. This consists of a command squad (5 men) and 2 to 5 infantry squads (of 10 men each). All these can then be bought upgrades.

Imperial Guard armies also have Conscript Platoons (large squads of more poorly trained but cheaper men) and Armoured Fist Squads (single infantry squads of 10 men mounted in an IFV) available instead of taking an infantry platoon. However to take a conscript platoon or armoured fist squad requires you to take an infantry platoon first, limiting their numbers.

My army at the moment consists of 2 Infantry Platoons with 3 squads and a Conscript Platoon. I plan to add an Armoured Fist Squad in the near future.

Command Squads

Each Platoon is lead by a command squad consisting of a junior officer and 4 men. In my army the Officer is equipped with a boltgun, one man with a grenade launcher and 2 men in each squad form a weapons team equipped with either a missile launcher or an autocannon. The Autocannon is a long range fairly rapid firing weapon, designed for engaging enemy heavy infantry and light to medium armoured vehicles. It lacks the strength to take on the heaviest armour in the games, but makes up for this with its long range and higher rate of fire.
These pictures show the command squads for the two platoons in my army.

Command Squand 36Command Squad 36
Command Squad 49Command Squad 49

Infantry Squads

Each platoon is identical in terms of the infantry squads that it contains. Each contains 3 squads each of 10 men, with a special and heavy weapon. These are a squad with a missile launcher and a grenade launcher

Squad 295 Missile TeamSquad 265

A second squad carries a plasma gun (powerful but prone to overheating!) and an autocannon.

Sqaud 501

A third Squad carries another plasma gun, and a Lascannon (one of the best anti-tank weapons in the game, at least the man portable ones)

Squad 450Squad 450 Lascannon Team

Concript Platoon

The conscript platoon consists of 20 conscripts armed with lasguns and two flamers. Theyíre cheap, poor shots (BS 2!) and poor morale. But the whole squad costs less than 100 pts, so theyíre a good gun fodder.

squad 609Squad 609

These units (Infantry and Conscript platoons) do most of the fighting in my army, both at long range and short range. They also absorb the majority of the points cost of my army, as befits theyíre central role. All my games are won or lost based on my use of these units, and their positioning and movement.

-next in the series ďFast AttackĒ


Finally, a date for the IONA live at London University Union Date

Writing about web page http://www.voiceprint.co.uk/voiceprint.php/Catalogue/Coming/OPENSKYDVD2

As I posted on my undergrad blog about 14 months ago I went to a fantastic concert by Iona at London University Union in london. Well it looks like there's finally a date for the rellease of the DVD (which I paid for with my ticket), 6th March is the release date. Hopefully I'll still be here when this rolls round.

4 Weeks to go!!


January 14, 2006

My Imperial Guard Army – 362nd Matherian Experiditionary Force

Follow-up to My Imperial Guard Army – 362nd Matherian Experiditionary Force from SoundRich MkII

Elites

Elites choices are powerful, but rare units. They are usually more powerful versions of your basic units, or specialised units in their own right.

My army has but one elites choice at the moment.

Snipers



I use these models to represent ratling snipers. Ratling snipers for the sniping core of the Imperial Guard. I have modeled these troops and sniper-observer pairs on large bases. In game terms I count each base as 2 snipers. The models were originally going to represent special weapons teams equipped with sniper rifles, but since 6 ratlings only cost 1 pt more than a special weapons team with 3 sniper rifles, I went for the ratlings. Other advantages are the bonus to cover saves, and the fact that ratlings can infiltrate. This way of representing snipers is common in imperial guard armies, as many people don't like the ratling models.

In games, these guys take on tough creatures (since they wound on a fixed roll they're perfect for shooting big monsters). I also use them to disrupt enemy squads, since a squad that takes casualties from a sniper rifle can become pinned, unable to move as they hit the dirt!

– next in the series – ďTroopsĒ


January 13, 2006

Playing the ďWhat If?Ē Game

This is a topic I absolutely love to muse on. Take a historical event e.g. D-day, and ask ďwhat ifĒ it had gone very differently. Of course this gets more and more complex the longer ago the event. Hereís an idea to begin with.

What if the Magna Carta wasn't signed

Ok, if the Magna Carta is not signed, this means trouble in England.
The barons essentially forced the first Magna Carta on king John and forced him to sign it (mainly by taking London). It seems obvious to me that should the king not sign we would have Civil War between the barons and the king. Given king johnís record to this point I think itís likely heíd lose the kingdom and probably his life. The question however is what next? Iíd imagine that once John was dead history would unfold mostly as it did. Prince Henry becomes king, signs a cut down Magna Carta to end the civil war. However as he is likely to be much younger he is probably more influenced by the barons and the king might end up with even less power that he had. Essentially nothing changes much, except the English king is a little more restricted.

The more restricted king might provoke other civil wars however, particularly against Henry VIII and might bring forward the English Civil War by a few years.

What other scenarios can people come up with?


January 11, 2006

My Imperial Guard Army – 362nd Matherian Experiditionary Force

HQ

HQ or Headquaters is one of the most important sections of your army. Every army (using the normal rules) must have at least 1 and no more than 2 HQ units to lead the army.

In the Imperial guard army HQ units work a little different to in other armies. In most armies you can choose a character and may choose a retinue (a squad that sticks with the character to protect him) to go with him (or her). In the imperial guard you actually buy a whole squad which includes a character. You can then add more units and characters to this squad, all in the same choice. But you can only ever have one unit.

Command Squad

Major Golen

My army is (at 1500pt+ games) lead by Major Golen
The Commander of my army
Major Golen is a Heroic Senior Officer (HSO) who is usually equipped with a power weapon, laspistol, carapace armour and a refractor field. He occsionally caries a Macharian Cross. In lower point (<500pt) games this model is used to represent my army commander, but is given less equipment.

Master Sergeant Mador


Master Sergeant Mador is a member of the command squad who has been upgraded to veteran status and carries the company banner. This useful piece of kit allows nearby squads to re-roll failed moral checks.

The Other Squadies
The other members of the Command Squand
The command squad is also made up of three more standard guardsmen.

Commissar Seljari


Attached to the command squad is Commisar Seljari. Heís a political officer assigned to keep an eye on the major. In fact heís so strict that if the squad should run away from battle he will execute the Major on the spot!.

Adept Ynwl


Adept Ynwl is a man gifted with powerful psychic powers. In battle he uses these powers in a variety of ways. However he is vulnerable to deamonic possession. If this looks likely Commissar Seljari will execute him on the spot to prevent dangerous possession.

Heavy Weapons Squad 144



The Command Squad can have many different squads attached to it. In my army only one squad is attached, a heavy weapons squad carrying three Missile Lauchers. These weapons launch high explosive or anti-tank missiles out to long range, making the squad one of the most flexible in the army.

Tactics for these units

In my army these units uses are fairly simple. The Command Squad sits in the middle of my army, keeping the army from running off under fire, and helping them pick the correct targets. They also serve as a powerful countercharge unit, able to engage dangerous enemy units in close combat to protect more vulnerable squads.

The Heavy Weapons squad picks a good point to deploy and concentrates on tank hunting, or if no tanks are available, blasting infantry with their heavy weapons

– next in the series: ďElitesĒ


My Warhammer 40,00 Army – The Matherian 362nd Experditionary Force

Writing about web page http://uk.games-workshop.com

I got quite excited by the arrival of my 2 Stygies VIII Pattern Leman Russ Vanquishers this morning. Iíve decided that itís time to start blogging about my Imperial Guard army. This is going to be regular feature where I describe how my army grows with time, how it performs on the battlefield and how Iím learning to use it better.

I thought Iíd start with a little background for people who just donít understand any of that first paragraph.
This army is an army for the Warhammer 40,000 tabletop battle game produced by Games Workshop . The Imperial Guard are the human fighters in a far-future dystopia characterized by massive and never-ending war. They are the backbone of the fighting forces of the Imperium of Man, despite being outclassed in just about every area by the other forces they are at war with. But they bring to the battlefield their determination and sheer numbers.

In real terms, the army is made of plastic miniatures approximately 1 inch tall. Each of these miniatures represents an individual solider in the army and may carry all sorts of weapons to battle. These miniatures are mounted on round bases. Also included in the army a model tanks also made from plastic. These miniatures were purchased unpainted and have all been assembled and painted by me.

Thatís it for this entry. When Iíve written it Iíll post some of the background to my army (also known as fluff). When Iíve taken some good pics Iíll go through each section of my army giving the background of the units (and some tasty details on how well theyíve performed in games Iíve played). Hopefully eventually Iíll be able to add details on new units as I add them, and post battle reports on my experiences with the force.


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