Friday, December 01, 2006

Mixer has arrived

If any of you have read the Harry Potter book series, you’ll know what I’m talking about when I tell you that I need a time turner. It is after midnight again and I am still up (again). The good news is: my laptop is now fully recovered and healthy. The couple of files that I had actually lost were easy to recreate and I did that work this evening (hence the late hour).
I did two other things that should make future catastrophes less exciting: as promised in yesterday’s blog entry, I created a file with all the important software serial numbers and unlock codes. There weren’t that many; I just needed to make a deliberate effort to get them organized. The other thing I did was create tar files of the “dot” directories in my account. Unix (which is the underpinnings of MacOS X) has a cool rule that directory names that begin with a period (dot) are not made visible when you inspect the directory, unless you specifically ask to see everything. There are two programs that I run that make little directories like this: the Logbook of The World software, and the GNU Privacy Guard utilities. Just to be sure that these directories, and their contents, don’t get lost in the shuffle, I’ve made a special effort to create an easily restorable tar file for each of them and put them in a safe place.
I spent a whole lot of money on disk drives this week, and I’m feeling pretty good about it. I bought three of the SmartDisk FireLite drives: one for my laptop, one for Sandy’s laptop, and one for HamMac. The are small, reasonably fast, and super-easy to use as they require no external power. Just connect them to your machine and run the backup program. Voila! Now each laptop has a dedicated backup device with a recent backup on it. I’ll still back up to the other drives occasionally, but this one can be used weekly or even a couple of times a week. The backup of my 17-inch PowerBook took about 90 minutes in today’s exercise. I plan on setting this up and letting it run over lunch a couple of times a week. Easy.
The drive I bought for HamMac was a little bigger. I might do a little video editing while down on the island (just to play) and I thought the extra space might be handy. It isn’t exactly that I’m looking forward to my next disk crash, but I’m not fearing it, either
While all this excitement with the computer was going on, I was receiving packages from orders I’d been placing over the last week. I received 15 blank video tapes for my video camera in one box. Another box held my new audio mixer that I’ll be using on Montserrat to capture on-air QSO audio. It is a Eurorack UB502 from Behringer. Here’s a picture.
The unit can take up to 5 inputs. I’ll bring in a microphone that will be attached to the boom of my headset in one channel. Two other channels will take the audio from the radio (do I need both?). That still leaves me with two other channels, possibly a second receiver or another microphone in the room. I’ve got a wireless microphone setup that might be good for one of those remaining channels. I had read the manual before buying the unit (every manufacturer should put their manuals on the web!) so setup only took a few minutes. I’ll try to capture some audio exactly like the setup I’ll use on Montserrat this weekend. Maybe I’ll even post a clip.
Finally, I got word from our friend on the island that he’ll be arranging for the last two licenses to be processed in the next few days. Things are coming together! And, that’s good as there are only about 58 days (it is after midnight here now) until I leave. I’m pretty sure that time will go very, very quickly.


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