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Estradin Altair 231 controls translation

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Posted under Musical Technology at .

A quick and dirty drawing and translation for non-Cyrillic-readers of the main control panel of the Estradin Altair (Эстрадин Альтаир) 231. (A rough copy of the Minimoog built in Ukraine in the mid-1980s.) The drawing focuses on clarifying the points I’ve found confusing while trying to learn about the instrument, either due to my limited Cyrillic or the unexpected nomenclature.

There were different versions of the box lines and dials, and the original cap colours seem to vary. This concentrates on the words,[1] and doesn’t show one specific version of the rest. Or screws. For clarity, I’ve simplified the waveform shapes. It may not be exactly to scale or be too accurate about knob shape, as I’m working from some indistinct photos. (Hoping to get exact measurements one day.)

Estradin Altair 231 Panel, multilingual animated

(Full size here).

Like the earlier Estradin 230, the Altair replicates most of the controls (if not the sound) of the Minimoog, but leaves off the output switch and has only a single key CV → cutoff switch. [2]

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A Denominationally Unique Phenomenon?

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Posted under Miscellanea at .

I’m in the midst of sorting some books with a view to rationalising their shelving, and have come across one I bought, probably in the late 1990s, possibly at the secondhand book shop in Broadford, probably in a hurry. The Ancient Church Orders by Arthur John MacLean (Cambridge University Press, 1910). As I recall, the text was not what I had expected and of little interest, but I remember none of the detail — in part because of a distraction it contained. Its previous owner had left within the most remarkable bookmark I have ever encountered.

MacLean, The Ancient Church Orders

At some point in its life, probably when new, the book had been owned by one Reverend H.S. Sard (CoE), initially at Cuddesdon College,[1] and later at Upper Norwood, London, England. I doubt I am the first owner since; several decades may have elapsed in between. Rev. Sard had in 1942 (probably December) received [2] a letter from someone whom (it indicates) he had assisted financially towards what appears to have been a form of missionary endeavour in Barcelona. I had no idea that Anglican missionaries went to the Continent in the early 20th Century, even if — as seems likely in this instance — they went of their own accord. In fact I cannot say whether the writer was in any sense representative of contemporary Anglicans or their missionaries — or perhaps not an Anglican at all, but a denominationally unique phenomenon, though with some Anglican friends?

Rev. Sard’s Bookmark

I assume Rev. Sard read it, and I cannot presume to guess his feelings regarding either the letter or the missionary — though this was one of a series of communications, so probably he was familiar with the style. He then returned it to its envelope and appears to have used it thereafter as a bookmark. (A habit which, as its later discoverer, I must heartily commend.) The picture shows where it appears to have spent time stuck out of a book at one end and become sun-scorched and perhaps a little smoke-stained. [3]

hbm’s envelope, open, with letter

I am about as far from an expert on 20th Century Anglican — or other Christian — or in fact any religion’s — missionaries as it is possible to be, but so far as I know this is the only surviving record of HIS BARCELONA MESSENGER. (Transcription below.) I would be interested to hear about any other records or memories which do still exist.

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Posted under Miscellanea at .

I read a line on a webpage a while back. Admittedly, at the time I thought — hah, sounds kind of right — and moved on. But it’s been niggling at me, and I ended up realising, no, not right. So I had to go back and find it, failed, failed to accurately remember the words, but by the marvel of search engines found what I think is the original (or at least, where it was as it seems now to be behind a paywall, but I’ve found it on the Internet Archive):

The world is so big, so complicated, so replete with marvels and surprises that it takes years for most people to begin to notice that it is, also, irretrievably broken. We call this period of research childhood.”

— Michael Chabon in the New York Book Review, 2013–01-31

The implication I understood in the context I first read (still haven’t found it) is that adults are those who have noticed that the world is irretrievably broken. And it’s that implication (which might not be the whole point in the original) to which I have to respond with an unambiguous no.

The state of mind in which we view the world as irretrievably broken might be better characterised as mopey-teenager, rather than adult. The idea goes quite well with the denial and depression stages of grieving. But really an adult — well, what do we mean by adult? A mature person? I know these words are all a bit tendentious, but there’s a point behind them, and I think it’s this:

Maturity requires acceptance. In this case, acceptance that we just live in the world, we didn’t design or make it, and it never did respond to our desires and preconceptions more than coincidentally. To consider the world broken because it doesn’t meet your expectations is not mature. (Or at least, very far from enlightened.)

To be sure, there are people who are legally adults who haven’t moved on from the mopey-teenage viewpoint; which shouldn’t be surprising as there are those of all ages who haven’t moved on from childlike marvel and surprise either. And whether it was originally intended this way or not, the quote, used by those who are still stuck in the adolescent phase, serves to infantilise those who have managed by good fortune or neurological peculiarity to skip it, or those who haven’t yet reached it. Misery loves company.

Hopefully this doesn’t come across as just an attempt to infantilise . . . well, juvenalise? . . . those who are stuck in denial and depression with regard to the world around them. I didn’t skip it, though I don’t think I’m irretrievably trapped in it either. Because: it’s not the end of the process. If you think the world is broken, it’s time to move on. Your expectations may indeed be broken, but the world is as complete and ever-changing as it always was.

I suspect enlightened maturity loves company too. If I get there I’ll let you know.

Thunderbird Account Order

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Posted under Other Technology at .

A little note on Thunderbird configuration.

Thunderbird does not allow manual drag-drop of accounts in the folders/accounts pane, which is inconvenient if you have many accounts with clear priorities. There is a module to address this but it didn’t work for me.

As it turns out this can be done by editing in about:config. There is a setting mail.accountmanager.accounts which holds the display order (based on the order of account creation in the Thunderbird instance). By default the accounts are called account1, account2 . . .  which isn’t tremendously useful, but a look in the Profiles/<uuid>.default/prefs.js file shows a series of settings for identities like:

user_pref("mail.identity.id1.archive_folder", "mailbox://<user email & server>/Archives");
 — from which it should be possible to identify each identity’s email account. However the id is not the account, and they may have different numbers, so it is necessary to extract a list of identities and email accounts, use that to decide the preferred order, and then look earlier in the prefs file for the id/account correspondence, which is a series of lines like:
user_pref("mail.account.account<n>.identities", "id<n>");
 — where n may not be the same number. Listing these like:
ac3    id2    uname1@dom1.tld
ac4    id3    uname2@dom1.tld
ac10   id9    uname1@dom2.tld
ac11   id10   uname2@dom2.tld
 — allows a replacement prefs string to be compiled like:
 — for pasting into the about:config entry. Restart Thunderbird. That’s almost it

Occasionally it’s not quite there yet, as Thunderbird displays the default account at the top of the list no matter what you do to the order. This is independent of the order setting.

Yamaha DX7S repair notes

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Posted under Musical Technology at .

Shall I say that DX7s need no introduction? Well there are more web pages than I’d try to count about them, so if you need an introduction, go get it.

The original DX7 to me was that sleek thing with membrane keys which, in 1984, someone I knew got hold of, praised the capabilities of effusively, and left me with unattended for a few minutes. Being sort of used to simple analogue synths, I thought, well, let’s see? And pressed a few membranes, managing to change what it was doing out of all recognition in a few short seconds, with no idea how to change it back. Up DX7 creek without a manual, nor any clue how I got there. I thought it would be best to just leave it rather than make things worse. Leave it at speed, before its owner returned. I never saw it again.

Clearly this memory has stayed with me. In fact it’s probably the exact reason why I prefer proper synthesisers, i.e. ones with a control for each parameter, that you can see, adjust, and then put back where you found it. Nevertheless, I’ve always thought that one day I would like to find out how to use the thing. One of my own, without the risk of wrecking someone else’s setup again.

So, here we have one of the DX7 updates, a DX7S, from 1987 I think, and in need of some attention. I’m not sure what’s wrong with it, but battery replacement is apparently wanted. Hopefully not much more than that.

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Red Dock

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Posted under Art & Photography at .

Rumex obtusifolius leaf on grass Rumex obtusifolius leaf on path

Rumex obtusifolius

Doing well this year. Or at least, doing red.

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