Friday, July 30, 2021

Boston -- More Than a Feeling

We were in the depths of disco hell in 1976. I was a sophomore or junior in college, and most pop radio was just a pain to endure. Even Paul McCartney & Wings were jumping on the disco pukewagon. 

But there were a few bright spots: Heart, Queen and Boston. In the midst of all the same-tempo repetitive disco drivel, along comes this amazingly well recorded, sophisticated music -- harmonically, sonically, and the vocals were just superhuman. 

I was (and still am) an audiophile, and even on heavily compressed & peak limited FM, this song sounded great. Maybe Tom Scholtz mixed it for the FM medium. I don't know. But it was one of the few times commercial FM radio actually sounded like high fidelity.

Producer Rick Beato lays it out for you. By the way, Rick's 12-string acoustic sounds gorgeous in this video.

I'd like to have lunch with Rick Beato sometime. What a musical mind.

How to Use Auxiliary Storage on Windows

 A lot of newer development and desktop Windows machines are equipped with a barely adequate solid state drive (SSD) as the system drive, and an auxiliary hard disk drive (HDD). Out of the box, Windows is barely aware of the auxiliary storage. There's a drive letter, but that's about it. If you want to actually use the HDD, you have to manage it yourself.

You can tell Windows to change where new content is saved, and it lets you select your 'other' drive(s), but that can cause other problems. First off, it doesn't seem to follow the /Users/username/Documents pattern, but rather just goes /username/Documents. So finding things is confusing. It doesn't change your home directory, so if you open a command window, it will be in e.g., C:/Users/username. 

Start Menu > System > Settings > Storage

This feature actually seems to make matters worse. I would much rather that Windows copy all user data to a new location (wherever that is), and create a symbolic link in the original location that points to the new location. That would prevent existing apps having to be updated with the new location. Windows could keep the same C:/Users/username, but it would go to the new location.

A lot of apps will keep saving their user data in C:/Users/username. Some of them put lots of data in there. For example, Netbeans, Audacity, Maven, Office 365...

The Windows file system has symbolic links. A few different kinds, but for this discussion, you want a 'junction'. You might be tempted to copy your entire C:/Users/username folder to another drive, and create a junction to it. I think it would probably work, for the most part, but I have heard of problems with this approach. A better solution would be to create links to specific folders that are notorious for hogging a lot of space. 

For example, the Maven repository, .m2, can become incredibly large, since it contains the downloaded libraries of all the dependencies for software projects. I moved it to D:/Users/username/.m2 (D drive is my HDD, and I just mirrored the '/Users/username/' part, for consistency). I could have told Maven where I want the .m2 repo to go, but I have several tools that use Maven, and between installs and reconfigurations, I invariably find .m2 on my C drive. It's easier just to make a junction and forget about it. Then everyone gets the same standard configuration.

OneDrive has to get into the act, and it can really discombobulate things. OneDrive sees your standard 'libraries' (Documents, Downloads, Desktop, Pictures, Music, Videos, etc., and literally moves those from their usual location, to inside the OneDrive folder. I'm not kidding: if you go to C:/Users/username/Documents, and OneDrive got ahold of it, your Documents folder will be empty. 

This can cause confusion, and still hog the C: drive. But don't use a junction for OneDrive. The recommended procedure is to go into your OneDrive account settings, and tell OneDrive to unlink the computer. Once OneDrive logs you out, copy the OneDrive folder to the desired new location. Then 'set up' your new-old account, and tell OneDrive where you want it to keep your stuff. When OneDrive warns you that your specified location already contains data, just say not to duplicate it.

I think an even better approach, if OneDrive has finished syncing, is to sign out of OneDrive and just delete the old OneDrive folder. Then log back in to OneDrive and tell it to use the new (empty) location. OneDrive will simply download all your content from the cloud. 

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Falsifiability is King

Note: philosophy and science used to be considered about the same thing in Newton's time. 

Saturday, July 17, 2021

The Big Giant Piano

Ever since I was a baby, my grandparents had a baby grand piano sitting in the corner of their living room. While I was growing up, I used to noodle around on it from time to time. One thing I noticed was that the middle of the keyboard sounded very musical, but the bottom octave basically just growled. It was hard to tell which note was being played. Each note sounded different, but the actual pitch was indistinct. 

It wasn't a bad piano. It's just that the bass strings were too short to sound the fundamental very well. And uprights and spinets, well, forget about it. The problem is made worse by the fact that the hammers hit the strings close to the bridge, which tends to excite more harmonics than fundamentals. 

Even concert grands lack really clear fundamental bass notes. It's basic physics, captain. 

When I was in high school, I learned to play 'Joy to the World' by Three Dog Night on our family's little Wurlitzer Spinet. I didn't think anything of it, until one Christmas, I was at my Great Uncle's house, and he had a concert grand in his living room. (He was a session musician in Hollywood, so of course he did!) I sat down at that piano, and started pounding out JTW by TDN. I was blown away by how good it sounded on that piano. For $40,000.00 in 1960s dollars, it better sound good!

Well, here's a piano that would put that tinkle box to shame! Fundamental bass, baby! It's all about that bass.

Oh and JTW by TDN, yeah. This is how boy bands sounded when I was a teenager...

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

I'm Just Putting This Here for Reference

Whenever I need a short refresher on the fundamental particles of the standard model, I always have to track down this video. Now I'll have it until it scrolls off my backlog.