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The Library Café Come in, relax, and get to know the other members of this site. Share your hobbies and interests, along with general news of your life.

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Old Nov 15 2019, 08:40 PM   #5121
Zelandeth
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Well performed live music never gets old, especially when it's by an artist you've followed for years.



Have followed these guys since well before they even were a group, the composer (on the piano above) was a very skilled soloist before picking up the rest of the group.

Have several albums now, including two signed on vinyl from backing their funding projects on Kickstarter, but this is the first time I've been lucky enough to see them live.

Moment of the week so far is getting the whole room full of people singing along with the chorus on a couple of the songs. That's one of those things which really don't get old to be part of and still makes my hair stand on end when it happens.

Hats off to the tech crew as well for getting the audio halfway listenable...the room is an absolute swine to mic up. It's really long, narrow and has a low ceiling...so to get anything resembling a useful level of audio at the back of the room basically means you've got to have the drivers at the back of the room...facing the mics. Not ideal. They tried having things rear facing set back a ways from the stage but that used to result in a horrendous resonance at one couple of square foot spot in the room which kept trying to turn the audience inside out, which while sometimes hilarious is generally frowned upon.

Last edited by Zelandeth; Nov 15 2019 at 09:50 PM.
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Old Nov 16 2019, 01:16 AM   #5122
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Zelendeth, out of curiosity who is the group and will American's have heard of them yet?
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Old Nov 16 2019, 06:07 AM   #5123
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Zelendeth, out of curiosity who is the group and will American's have heard of them yet?
...That would have been smart stuff to include wouldn't it...

The gentleman on the piano above goes by the name Fox Amoore (I've not the foggiest of what their legal name is...though this is how most of their material can be found so it works anyhow) who has a SoundCloud page with a decent cross section of their material over here.

Since they have formed more of an organised band with Pepper Coyote to become Foxes & Peppers they have released a couple of actual albums, at least a couple of which are on Spotify over here

Not sure how well they're actually known outside the Furry Fandom, though I know Fox has done some work on some bigger projects in the past.
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Old Nov 16 2019, 01:00 PM   #5124
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So my husband made the mistake while out in suit earlier of standing still for too long.

The nose horn is just begging to have things hung on it...like my conbadge.



Such antics are par for the course. I'm sure I've the same sort of nonsense awaiting me in future when my suit is finished, albeit more in the form of him trying to balance things on my head as the species my suit is based on are known for having very flat, wedge shaped heads...cue other jokes like this one I came across yesterday evening by someone who had been left on door duty at one of the larger events.



Poor door wedge...

Actually pretty sure that's one of the very earliest suits based on the same base hardware that I'm using, back in the days when Dream Vision Creations actually still did full suit commission's rather than exclusively making components.
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Old Nov 17 2019, 01:07 AM   #5125
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Thank you I'll have to look them up online. Something about the name Fox Amoore rings a bell somewhere in my subconscious but I can't place where.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Zelandeth View Post
...That would have been smart stuff to include wouldn't it...

The gentleman on the piano above goes by the name Fox Amoore (I've not the foggiest of what their legal name is...though this is how most of their material can be found so it works anyhow) who has a SoundCloud page with a decent cross section of their material over here.

Since they have formed more of an organised band with Pepper Coyote to become Foxes & Peppers they have released a couple of actual albums, at least a couple of which are on Spotify over here

Not sure how well they're actually known outside the Furry Fandom, though I know Fox has done some work on some bigger projects in the past.
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Old Nov 17 2019, 10:55 AM   #5126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zelandeth View Post
So my husband made the mistake while out in suit earlier of standing still for too long.

The nose horn is just begging to have things hung on it...like my conbadge

Such antics are par for the course. I'm sure I've the same sort of nonsense awaiting me in future when my suit is finished, albeit more in the form of him trying to balance things on my head as the species my suit is based on are known for having very flat, wedge shaped heads...cue other jokes like this one I came across yesterday evening by someone who had been left on door duty at one of the larger events.


Poor door wedge...

Actually pretty sure that's one of the very earliest suits based on the same base hardware that I'm using, back in the days when Dream Vision Creations actually still did full suit commission's rather than exclusively making components.

Wonderful pictures Zelandeth! Keep us posted about your costume!
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Old Nov 17 2019, 06:00 PM   #5127
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Well that's big news for our little convention.

This year is the last year we'll be in the Livingston Mercure Hotel.

Photo snapped by me last year.



There also will be no convention in 2020...But we will intact return in early 2021, moving to the Crowne Plaza in Glasgow.

Um...this one (image from Wikipedia).


That's a bit of a jump!

With a confirmed 482 attendees this year though, the Mercure was just bursting at the seams...a move was going to have to happen. Wasn't quite expecting quite *that* a huge jump though.

Will be bitter sweet. Yes it's good news for the event, availability of local accomodation has really been the constraining factor on growth the last couple of years. This will be a huge step forward for us...in that the smallest function space we'll have in the new venue will be larger than the main stage in our current one.

However we've been here since 2014...and have a fantastic relationship with the hotel staff. They basically hand us the keys on a silver platter on the Thursday evening and tell us to do whatever the heck we want and just have fun. It feels like home...even if a very full one this year!

Still, be interesting to see how it unfolds...

Last edited by Zelandeth; Nov 19 2019 at 12:24 PM. Reason: Replaced the photo of our old venue with one of my own that's a more sensible size.
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Old Nov 17 2019, 08:38 PM   #5128
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Well that just broke me, in a good way.

Just in a room with probably a hundred people belting out Country Roads.

Not sure why, but that's a song which has a huge emotional impact on me whenever I hear it live...at least in that many people nobody can hear how tone deaf I am!
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Old Nov 18 2019, 04:55 AM   #5129
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Of course, if the songwriter had stuck to the Highways he would probably have got home in time.
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Old Yesterday, 10:16 PM   #5130
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Having decided that I'd had utterly enough of the outside world by about midday and having a complete failure to summon enthusiasm regarding doing anything actually useful...I spent a couple more hours fiddling around with the Sun.

Task number one was dealing with the vacuum hoses in the machine. I knew these had taken on the consistency of dried pasta and would disintegrate the moment I touched them. I wanted them changed before I started poking around as they were mostly still where they were meant to be...and I'd rather not play guessing games as to where they go.



By the time I was done, this is what was left. Plus a bunch of bits buried in the bottom of the case I'll need to get out with the vacuum cleaner.



Much better...



I discovered the hard way that that solenoid valve on the water purge line has mains on the (unsleeved) terminals even when the machine is off when it gave me a good old belt. Absolutely stupid not having the plug pulled before I did that.

Fiddly bit under the gas analyser done too. I'd missed the line heading off to the pressure transducer (far right out of frame) when taking this photo, it was sorted later.



With that sorted out I felt I could turn my attention to sorting the stuff which wasn't working. Two nuts removed allowed the whole front bezel to be removed...this vastly improved access.



This solves the problem of not being able to get to the computer.



This let me take a closer look at things. Not least figuring out what CPU the thing was running. I was expecting something 8-bit, maybe Z80 (half hoping actually as I've messed with them before and might have some hope of making heads or tails of the software) or 6000 series...Finding this however was rather a surprise.



That's a National INS8900D. For those not familiar with it, that's a 2MHz 16-bit processor... really wasn't expecting this to be a 16-bit machine... especially given it has its roots back in 1979...overkill?

The memory board. Yes, getting these EPROMs read and backed up is high on the priority list.



Not totally sure how, but I managed to forget to get photos of the MUX and I/O boards. I'll fix that later.

The board I was most interested in today however was this one.



The edge connectors actually looked pretty clean, though I gave it a scrub up anyhow. Based on prior experience though I figured the most sensible thing to do was to remove (carefully, using the right tool) each of the socketed chips and reseat them. Somewhat surprised to see a humble 555 timer in a socket. Have to wonder if they've had reliability issues with that IC.

With that done, slotted the card back in, powered on, and...



Rock steady display... I'll take that as a win. Having a display which would stay running for more than five seconds at a time I could let it complete the warm up process and run through the self test (having taken the opportunity to clean the CRT faces while it was in warm up as they were filthy).





Still surprised how sharp this display is... especially now there's not 1/8" of grime on it.

The faceplate was similarly filthy.



I wasn't surprised by the "service required" messages at the calibration screen. If I'd been abandoned in a cold damp shed since 2005 I'd be in need of a bit of TLC just the same.

I did a quick check on the gas analyser first to see if it would respond to a clean. First check though was of course to make sure that the IR source was "lit" correctly. The source here takes the form of a carbon rod, heated to the point where it just about glowing a really dim red (camera makes it look a little brighter than it is).



This is then focused via two parabolic mirrors onto a pair of sensors at the far end.







The spinning shutter at the source end allows the reading to be sampled from free air and the gas under test alternately.

It was given a really good clean (carefully...the mirrors are surface silvered) as the whole lot were filthy.

Sadly it didn't just miraculously come back to life...so further digging will be needed. Despite the errors,it was quite happy to continue into running mode.

First page you get is to enter the vehicle details - Number of cylinders, 2/4 stroke, and the timing offset. Once that is entered it presents you with the following screen.



The *** entries show where readings are missing due to the calibration issues. It will blank things out rather than potentially show erroneous data. This allows you to check things like the starter motor current, battery voltage during cranking. It also allows you to compare the current draw during each cylinder compression stroke to give a rough relative compression test to show if one pot is far lower than the rest.

Once that is completed, the engine running test page is presented.



I like the "bar graphs" drawn using the text...sneaky ways to do stuff like this without the overheads of bitmap graphics is half the fun of old kit from this sort of age.

Looks really the part with the front panel back in place.





So issues we need to look into:

[] Gas analyser inoperative.

[] Volt/ohm meter inoperative.

[] Temperature probe reading nonsense (see 160C reading above).

[] Suspicious of the vacuum reading.

[] Possible cap issues in the power supply as it shows a low line voltage warning at the calibration screen despite our line voltage being anything but low.

First port of call is going to be going over the machine end to end and reseating every socketed chip as I did on the CRT board, then see where we are. Will also make a point of checking for any signs of damage to the wiring where it enters the boom as it could be prone to chafing there.

Oh...and sort the dent in the power supply fan grill so it stops rattling before it drives me mad.



Interesting to see that the fans are actually 115V units...have to assume they're running from a step down transformer buried in that brick of a power supply.

Definitely making progress though.

Last random photo for the old tech enthusiasts...old computer equipment like this often displays interesting or odd artefacts on screen when rebooted. This is what the display shows on this for about a second when powered up.



Thought it might just be random nonsense in the RAM, but it seems to show the same every time.
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