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Technology-related posts

The Long Wait is Over

digitech-2112-studio-guitar-system-678220
Digitech 2112

Goodness. I have wanted a Digitech 2112 for twenty years, and now I finally have one! I am totally jazzed!

Rack mount Digitech processors were a must-have for the blues rock and metal music I grew up on, though I think the 2112 was actually introduced in the 90s. I like the way the model number could be a reference to the great Rush album!

Now that I’m taking lessons and becoming more serious about learning and practicing, I’m relying less on multiple effects pedals to “play for me” – and focusing solely on playing better and developing tone. I’ve got the 2112 running against my all-tube Vox Night Train, and mainly using the drive and tube path of the 2112 to build fat tone. It sounds fantastic! Pretty good clean jazz tone, too.

I was really lucky to find a 2112 this late in the game. They’re anything but expensive, especially if you’re willing to buy one with some cosmetic issues; but they’ve gotten really hard to find in any condition!  Only 2-3 have turned up in the GC system for the last 5 years (or longer), and they’ve all but vanished from Ebay.

I know a lot of hardcore blues and rock fanatics are predicting these things will skyrocket in value so, given the scarcity I’ve encountered and the sheer number of famous artists who’ve used them, this one will likely be worth more than I paid very shortly.

I’ll keep playing with it for awhile, and comparing it to different pedals I’ve been using; but I’m betting I’ll be selling most of my effects gear and relying entirely on the 2112. I’ve already decided the compression characteristics are better than my 4-knob Keeley; and drive through the pair of 12ax7s is wayyyy better than my Ibanez Tubescreamer or the EHX Soul Food. The replication of SRV’s basic tone is very good. So far I’ve not felt the delay effects were quite as good as my Echorec, but I haven’t yet done a real apples-to-apples comparison.

I haven’t opened the cover yet but it sounds like the 12ax7s are GTs or worse; so replacing with some good russian tubes is going to make this thing sound even better!

Needless to say, practicing has moved up to a whole new level of fun!! I probably won’t be able to copy Johnny Ramone’s tone precisely, but I bet I can get close enough! Oh wait. I’m supposed to be improving and getting past the spot where punk was all I could play!

 

Subharmonic Heartbeat!

Great show by Rido at Let It Roll in Prague last year.  Isn’t it time to promote an outdoor bass music festival in New Mexico???

So my heart beats somewhere below 60Hz DC…  Does yours?  Loud and low is better.  😉

Codename X

Codename X

 

How awesome is this?!?!  Six days before the ABQ show he’s dropped a fantastic new record!  I hope he plays the whole album tomorrow night!

Yayy!  Yayy!  and more Yayy!

Listen to the new album here!

 

Too Cool for School!

What an awesome little scooter!  The Icebear Mad Dog is a 49cc scooter that borrows from the stripped-down minibike styling of the Honda Ruckus; but with better performance and a sweet pricetag: under $1500 for most models.  I wouldn’t ride it on the interstate but for local trips to the grocery, around the ‘hood, or even light trails, it’s a totally rude little rig!

maddog4THEMADDOG

Light and Circadian Rhythm

Lots of people have sleep difficulty and depression-like symptoms in the middle of winter.  Some are diagnosed with something called Seasonal Affective Disorder – and some of those are successfully treated with light therapy.

There’s been some compelling research these last few years into the health impacts from our portable electronic devices (smartphones, e-readers, tablet computers) and LCD displays (computers and televisions).  One of the things researchers have discovered is that all of these devices emit much higher levels of white and blue light, and that high levels of white and blue light interrupt production of melatonin – which normally is triggered by red, yellow, and orange light we experience in late afternoon and evening.  Melatonin makes us get sleepy, and is critical to maintenance of our circadian rhythm – our internal clock that governs sleeping and waking.

I tend to think of winter as having lots of darkness and being more conducive to sleep; but, in fact, sunlight coming through the atmosphere in winter (late October to early March in North America) contains a great deal more white and blue light.  Ever noticed how winter sunlight seems crisper and brighter?  Add some reflective snow or ice and it can seem extremely bright.

Evidently, we compound the problem dramatically when we use all these gizmos with LCD, LED and more modern sources of light.  If you put on a pair of good polarized sunglasses, or those goofy orange “blue blockers”, you’ll notice the screen of your smartphone or ipad becomes almost invisible!

Here are some tricks I’ve discovered that help insure better sleep in winter (late December through mid February is when most people seem to report the most difficulty):

Try to (at least temporarily) replace flourescent and LED lighting with old-fashioned clear incandescent lights which emit less blue light and more warm yellow light.  Some people report they “feel warmer” with incandescent lighting in winter.

Start wearing a good pair of sunglasses when outdoors after mid October.  Your sleep probably hasn’t been interrupted by that early in the season but your eyes and body are already sensing the change in light.  By the time sleep is impacted in the dead of winter, your circadian rhythm has already (mal) adjusted to the higher white and blue light; so keep those shades handy and start wearing them before Halloween!

Install software to adjust the light emitted from your computer, tablet, or smartphone screens.  F.Lux is free for Windows and Mac computers (and inexpensive for other devices).  You may find other similar programs with some searching.

You can adjust your LCD flatscreen TV, too, so that more red and yellow light is emitted, and less blue light.

Unplug all those LED nightlights you might have around the house.  You can still get nightlights with low-wattage incandescent bulbs.

Try to reduce usage of your smartphone/tablet/computer devices late in the day and, by all means, don’t use them in the bedroom where you sleep!  For a good example of light that’s severely detrimental to sleep, go in a dark room and switch your laptop computer screen to “blank” or “black”.  Let your eyes adjust to the darkness and you’ll begin to notice an eerie blue shade of light in the room.  Lots of people who report sleep troubles also report they can see very well in this range of light!  Their eyes are more receptive of the kinds of light that clobber sleep!

Finally, give yourself a “longer runway” for going to sleep.  Are those primetime shows (2-3 hours after sundown) really that important??  Remember that, even though you don’t fall asleep as quickly as you might in summer, being in a dark room and restful state give your system its best chance for sleep.

Most importantly, sleep difficulty can be a component of severe anxiety or depression.  These are clinical conditions with well-understood clinical solutions so see a doctor or mental health worker right away!

More information about light and sleep physiology:

In Eyes, a Clock Calibrated by Wavelengths of Light
Light-emitting portable devices and sleep, National Academy of Science