Irregular Verbiage
from the desk of Colin Nicholls

Mrs Bird minds the house

June 15, 2008 21:07 by colin

So that empty nest we noticed when we moved in 6 months ago is now occupied. We think she is the mate of the little guy with the red plumage. Interestingly, we haven't seen much of him lately. Perhaps he's done a runner. Anyway, Mrs Bird is always there, looking out at us, or sitting on the edge of the nest with her arse in the air and her head down in the bottom of the nest arranging things. Perhaps she is turning her eggs.


Tags:
Categories: Photography
Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (2) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

Cell phone camera excels

June 12, 2008 00:38 by colin

This is pretty cool. I took it with the built-in camera on the Nokia cell phone, at around 1:30pm, during a quick walk after lunch:

The cell phone camera doesn't capture colours accurately; is pretty low resolution; and has this halo effect that you can't really avoid. But the results can be quite good! I suppose it helps to be in a picturesque location. You wouldn't know from the picture that it was very bright sunlight and 92 degrees. It all looks very tranquil and mild.


Tags:
Categories: Photography
Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (1) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

The Fugue arranged for String Quartet

June 2, 2008 01:48 by colin

Thanks to the trial version of Synful Orchestra, which I am currently evaluating, Here is a version of the Fugue from The God Program (a work in progress), arranged for "String Quartet":

Fugue (arranged for string quartet) (mp3):

[mp3:http://spacefold.com/colin/ps/mp3/GodProg_Fugue_Quartet.mp3]

There are 5 days remaining in my trial period and I'm still debating whether it is worth the money. Would it kick off a surge of musical inspiration? It might. That would be worth something.

With careful tweaking of MIDI data, Synful Orchestra is capable of landing pretty much in the uncanny valley of emulated instruments. It's good - but it is not going to fool anyone and they might back away from the sound, saying "something doesn't quite sound right here but I'm not sure what".


Tags:
Categories: Music Studio Diary
Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (2) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

Visiting Mystery Bird

May 28, 2008 14:11 by colin

This little guy shows up in the morning and evening and sings for about 10 minutes before flying off somewhere. He's very regular in his schedule. So far we have not indentified him.

I took this picture (one of 12, the only one that had him in focus) through the slats of our window blinds.

Normally he faces towards the house and we can see his glorious red-orange waist-coat.

He's about 4 inches tall.


Tags:
Categories: Photography
Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (2) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

Snapshots at Dusk

May 25, 2008 19:14 by colin

Last weekend we ventured outside just before the sun set, to walk around the neighbourhood and take the air. It was very picturesque.


Sailing behind East Marin Island, looking South.


East Richmond hills - possibly Wildcat Canyon Regional Park - poke their heads above a cloud bank looking East across the San Pablo bay.


A duck flies West.


Tags:
Categories: Photography
Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

360 San Rafael

May 11, 2008 16:49 by colin

Yesterday I took a walk into Barbier Park, climbing up San Pedro Mountain. It's really just a big hill on the North side of the San Rafael valley, but it is big enough to have very nice views.

The trail starts at the end of a cul-de-sac in a quiet neighborhood, and is initially quite steep, but soon levels out and is a much easier walk. It took me about 45 minutes to get fairly close to the top

I expected to get to one of the highest peaks and take in some panoramic vistas, but actually the radio relay stations or suchlike are surrounded by security fences and dense bush on either side of the trails, and the best views are to be found about 3/4 of the way up:

This is a true 360 view, with San Pablo Bay in the North East, Mt Diablo far away in the East, the Richmond Bridge in the South-East, and the San Rafael valley in the South-West, and the glorious Mt Tamalpais. The Sun is thinking about setting in a couple of hours, behind the hill to the West.


Tags:
Categories: Photography
Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

Deer at McNeer

April 28, 2008 16:36 by colin

I walked down to McNeer's Beach yesterday as part of an effort to get regular exercise. It was very busy, lots of people picnicking and playing volleyball and suchlike, but also some quiet areas without anyone around, where if you were patient, you could see some wildlife:


Tags:
Categories: Photography
Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

Tod at TED

April 19, 2008 15:23 by colin

I had heard of Tod Machover from the pages of KEYBOARD magazine many years ago when he was working on augmented Cellos. This 20 minute video of a talk he gave at TED this year is fascinating, but from about the 13 minute mark on, it actually brought me to tears:

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/246

I was reminded of William Horwood's book Scallagrigg, which also blends the themes of Cerebral Palsy and Computer Software, and enablement.


Tags:
Categories: Miscellaneous
Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

New SONAR color scheme

April 14, 2008 06:09 by colin

sonar sessionSONAR 7.02 is running great, positively humming along (except with no audible hum thank goodness). To celebrate, I am releasing a new color scheme:

Prodigal Clips 8.clr (save to disk and remove .txt extension)

Click the preview image to enlarge.


Death By Chocolate

April 13, 2008 14:03 by colin

I've been so busy recently that I haven't been thinking about posting here. Well, here's a report from the end of February.

With J and A living in Napa we occasionally hear about food-related things that interest us. This time it was that COPIA, the American Center for Wine, Food, and The Arts was holding their annual Wine and Chocolate Tasting, billed as "Death By Chocolate: The Ultimate Chocolate Festival". Naturally, we were interested.

We drove up to Napa with a couple of co-worker/friends from China, thinking they would enjoy the drive (and the chocolate) and possibly get to meet up with J and A who were also planning on being there.

Alas, the weather was grey with odd spots of rain but it was still fun and the chocolate was delicious.



The wine-tasting part was frustrating for a couple of reasons. One was that the various chocolates on offer were overpowering for the most part, that I never felt I was appreciating the full flavor of the wine.

Another was than I'm not used to wine tasting - I know you are supposed to taste and spit and to be honest, there wasn't a lot of spit-receptacles available and this place was crowded. I don't think they were really set up for the formal taste-and-spit process. Best you could do was sip, taste, then spit discreetly back into your glass at which point you had to make your way through the crowd to the nearest "wet trash" bin. So I stopped sampling the wine and focused on the chocolate.

One thing I really wish: 1) that I had discovered the Port Wine vendors upstairs sooner, and 2) that I didn't have to drive us home.

The variety of chocolate goods on display was quite astounding, including icecream and also some gluten-free chocolate souffles which were very delicious and reminded me of my numerous gluten-intolerant relatives (as well as my own history). I meant to take down the details of the vendor but I seem to have misplaced my notes. Darn.

The other product that sticks in my mind are Jade Chocolates. These were quite special.


Tags:
Categories: Miscellaneous
Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed