Trygve.Com > Diary > JournalWeblogDiaryWhatsis - August, 2001
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August 2001
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because ... well ... why the hell not ...?

it's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it.

Tuesday, August 14th


The foleys of mice and keyboards:

digital audio post

The main adventure of the month out here at the treehouse is getting the 5.1 Dolby Digital surround mix done for the release of Dragon and the Hawk ] on DVD. The mix is being done out at the Digital Media Center [ ] (just down the hall from where the "live" 3d motion capture and animation stuff is located)

Fortunately, we're lucky enough to have Bruce Marshall [ ] supervising the project: though Bruce is better known for his engineering work with King Crimson, Adrian Belew, Robert Fripp, Sting, ZZ Top, Neil Young, and many other household words in the music biz, he does work on TV and video as well.

When you're breaking down a mix into its component elements (in this case, the sound mix done for the theatrical run) in preparation for rebuilding a new mix, there'll always be those effects or even segments of the original location audio that you realize could stand some improvement. Just because something is real doesn't mean that it sounds real.

digital audio post

Here Bruce is working with half a carful of computer keyboards, hoping to get just the right sound out of them before he kills his kneecap.

watermelon sound effects

Despite the clear sonic advantages found in a properly designed soundstage, there are some things you'll still want to record on location . . . at least if you'd otherwise have to pay the cleaning crew.

(Just so you know, we did use a professional stunt watermelon.)


Back in front:
Yahoo Internet Life, September 2001

Skipping over the weekend's Adventures With Watermelon (which we'll get back to later) for the moment, this week I'm on the front page of Kim's Galaxy of Stars [ ] and the back page of the Fifth Anniversary (September 2001) issue of Yahoo Internet Life [ ].

No media coverage in the middle of anything since last month, so obviously I need to be working harder. :-)

. . . and speaking of coverage (or uncoverage, as the case may be), Natasha Yi now has her own personal site up, not so surprisngly called NatashaYi.Com [ ] Natasha Yi on the set of Dragon and the Hawk
Video and Soundtrack
now Available

video cover soundtrack
from Amazon.Com
and other fine retailers

Since appearing in Dragon and the Hawk, she's been in Rush Hour 2; featured in several Playboy issues, special collections, and videos; and graced the covers of Lowrider, Import Tuner, Yolk, and Bold. Whew! That's more magazine covers than I've been on, but you probably wouldn't have to look at her very long to see why.

Of course, you might want to anyway. :-)

. . . oh, yeah--and today's random bit of quickie silliness is the release of GirlfriendXP ] now available thanks to the power of MultiComputing, the technique of having two or more computers running at your desk so that you can be writing something on one computer while you're restarting Windows on the other.

Wednesday, August 1st


And you'd thought those old full-height hard drives were obsolete:

So, I get in the parts to build my first dual-CPU athlon system: Tyan Thunder K7 s2462ung mainboard (w/ dual uw160 SCSI), two Athlon MP 1200, each with dual-fan CPU coolers, four 256 Meg registered PC2100 DDR DIMMs (the Thunder K7 only works with registered DDR memory), a couple of 7200RPM ATA100 drives, Inno3d dual-monitor 64Meg GeForce2 MX400 graphics adapter, Pioneer 16x DVD, Yamaha 2100s CDRW, and the official Tyan-approved NMB power supply (the Thunder K7 has a "new and improved" power connector design incompatible with both standard ATX and P4-style connectors).


Toss everything together in one of the Yeong Yang 15-bay cube server cases, plug in the power, and ...

... nothing ....

Tear everything down, check all the cards and cables, swap anything swappable and reseat everything else; reapply power and ...

... nothing ....

After exploring the depths of Tyan's "technical issues" page,

#6: Why doesn't my system power on when I press the power button?

Prior to first power up, please install system peripherals using the peripheral power cables from the PSU, and system fans using the following fan connectors on the m/b - Fan1, J54, J90, J58, or J56. This will ensure that the minimum load of the power supply is met, and will assure successful system initialization during first power up.

Apparently if the power supply thinks that there is not enough current being drawn when it fires up, it'll shut down again immediately. Presumably the designers felt that it was extremely important to include "underload protection" in the power supply design spec, almost important enough to have mentioned it somewhere in the manual.

I suppose I could try calling up some of the people on the design team and asking them what their rationale was. Most of the time, that's more difficult, but one of the entertaining features of the bios installed on the motherboard is its collection of little notes burned into the firmware, reminding members of the design team to fix this or that problem before putting the board into production.

like the story of Swamp Castle in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, except it whirrs a lot more

When I've worked on product development, I've generally followed the "remove personal notes to fix this-or-that part of the code before releasing it" philosophy, but Tyan may feel that leaving them in is just a way to make the purchaser or system integrator feel more involved in the product and more personally connected to the design team.

What's scary part is that all the hardware described above wasn't enough load on the power supply for it to start up. (Yes, there was a reason I listed all those parts up there.) Bear in mind that each of the Athlon 1200MP processors has an average power consumption of fifty watts. There's a reason I decided to go for the dual-fan CPU coolers: with each half-inch chip of silicon emitting the power of a smallish table lamp, we're approaching the territory where an uncooled board could be in danger of finding itself populated with a pair of light-emitting transistor arrays.

But, fortunately, I just happened to have a moderate-sized collection of older hardware lying around, including a pile of full-height Seagate Elite-9 hard drives, and I sat one on the desk next to the case and ran one of the four-pin power connectors to it. That didn't make the system come up, but with one drive so attached, it would run for half a second before shutting down.

Heartened, at least a bit, by the fans actually completing a full rotation instead of merely twitching, I added a second full-height Seagate drive.

Then the system powered up and stayed up. Much like the story of Swamp Castle in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, except it whirrs a lot more. At least it's working--and coming up with a new use for a couple of old full-height hard drives should surely count for something--but sooner or later I'm going to be tired of needing to have a couple of noisy hard drives running on the desk just to be able to get the power supply to turn on.

On the other hand, if the NMB supply will be satisfied with the extra loading put only on the 12volt line, I might be able to get away with mounting a couple of KC lights on top of the case, or maybe installing a headlight in a couple of the exposed drive bays. As long as I remember to switch it to "high beams" before hitting the "on" switch, I bet it'll work....

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