She deafened me with science!

The eldest of two evils’ science project is coming up so she had to figure out what she wanted to do. She seemed rather lackluster about it and just hopped online, looking up things she thought would be interesting, but nothing really piqued her interest, and the few things she thought she’d want to do were so basic that I felt it was a waste of her time. She’d not learn anything nor would she really do science!

The other thing is my girls need to do something that either their mother or I can help them with. Some of the things she was looking at would have been 90% me building crap & setting it up for her and I said “No” to those.

Being that both my girls are into music like Daddy, I figured something to do with audio would be something that would interest both of us, give her a chance to learn about sound, digital audio, compression, etc. AND do real science! to boot.

So, for her project she is doing “Sounds Good to Me – Can people hear the difference between 44.1kHz/16bit audio and 96kHz/24bit?

The answer to this is pretty much “No”

What they found - From a sample of 554 listeners that included professionals, the general population & young listeners (prized for their high-frequency hearing), those that correctly identified the higher quality audio was 276, or 49.8%. The same number you would get if you just flipped a coin 554 times or asked untrained monkeys to do the task. No sub-group outperformed chance. In summary, 16 Bit 41.1 kHz sound is indistinguishable from ~24 Bit @ 192 kHz for music distribution. Yes, 32 Bit is important for audio processing in a DAW application, but once it comes time to convert that audio into a format useful for distribution and human consumption, you can't meaningfully improve on the CD standard.

But she needs to determine this herself.

Now, the trick is ensuring the equipment we use is up to snuff to actually present the audio well enough. My headphones are AKG K44s which have an 18Hz-20kHz range so they may not be sensitive enough to perform this task. I may check with some of the recording studios nearby to see if they have something I can borrow.

My audio interface is a Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 which definitely does 96/24 output. The problem is Windows doesn’t seem to want to allow the 24bit part and is stuck at 16bit. This may or may not be correctable as I do have the latest drivers. If I can’t get 24bit, then we’ll switch the experiment to isolate just the sample rate rather than the bit depth. Which then will have people screaming “THE BIT DEPTH MATTERS!” because you can DEFINITELY tell a 1/65,536th volume difference, but oh well.

Any thoughts, ideas, warnings, etc. are appreciated.

posted by Robb Allen @ 10/14/2014 9:09:47 AM | Feedback (3)
Two major life-milestones in one evening

First, the eldest of two evils told me “YOU CAN’T MAKE ME” regarding her homework. Her lesson was learned toute suite.

Then she was practicing drums. I decided to plug her drums into the mixer and play along.

It was awesome.

I only have the Zoom H4n so it’s not a great mix especially since the kick was overpowering, but I just wanted to get a few seconds of our first ever jam session so it wasn’t important. She did awesome, especially since she’s only been playing since February and she kept pretty good time. It struck me I should record it, so I got a few seconds of it, and now I’ll have an audio record of a wonderful memory.

posted by Robb Allen @ 10/9/2014 6:43:37 PM | Feedback (4)
Amazing what you can do when you have talent

For my daughters’ bathroom, we found this vinyl appliqué of birds on a branch that really fit the feel of the redesign we did years ago. The only thing was that the appliqué, being a glorified sticker, didn’t flatten against the wall well. Add in the humidity of the shower, and we really liked the way it looked, we just didn’t like the way it looked.

Enter Man Made Murals. Matt is currently doing murals where I work and is an amazing painter. I’ve seen quite a bit of his work around the Tampa area in fact, and the work he’s doing at my office is mind blowing. I didn’t know if he’d be interested in such a basic job, but he took it and damn…

This one is the original. You can see the bubbles in this picture, but what you can’t see is the seams where each piece was put together. My OCD hated that.


This is Matt’s freehand painting of it.


I don’t think the machine at Home Depot could have matched those colors any better. When I first looked in, I thought maybe he hadn’t even taken the decals off yet.

Took him 2 hours and it’s perfect. Lord knows I tried to do this, and 2 hours into I had 1 leaf done on a twig and ended up having to paint over my mistake.

I love art. I love that we live in a society of such plenty where the grasshopper’s desire to fiddle is desirable to the ants who gladly & freely trade the fruits of their labor for the merriment of song. I encourage my girls to draw, to paint, write stories, to play guitar & drums, and to really appreciate what makes art so special. I have no problems encouraging artists, I only want to live in a world where art is plentiful because that’s a sign of abundance and peace (few people commission birds on twigs during war or famine).

posted by Robb Allen @ 10/7/2014 7:54:16 PM | Feedback (3)
Monsters have curves

At least gun grabbers think so.

I can relate. I’m a monster in their eyes as well (although I don’t have curves in places they should be. Damn ‘getting old’). Because I disagree with them on firearms & rights, somehow that translates into them believing I actually want dead children or murdered nuns or something.

They invent a strawman of what we are then viciously attack it. It’s mentally satisfying to ‘win’, thus they have to construct these fantasies about how we’re all just inbred rednecks mere seconds away from snapping and killing everyone in sight.

They dehumanize you & me so they feel better about hating us. We are their Emmanuel Goldstein and by making us less than human, they don’t need to feel the shame for their 2 minute hate.

posted by Robb Allen @ 10/7/2014 7:27:32 PM | Feedback (1)
How long until gunnies screw this one up too?

If you turn your clocks back to a few years ago, Starbucks was intentionally neutral on carrying guns into their stores. Moms Demand Financial Action from Bloomberg tried to get them to ban guns from their stores and got a polite brush off.

Gunnies busted a collective nut and decided Starbucks was suddenly the quintessential supporter of gun rights rather than a store that sold overpriced coffee and… well, you know the rest. Instead of just saying thanks with our wallets, we had people holding friggin’ OC rallies in the stores and eventually, Starbucks gave a toothless but very public request that we leave our guns at home and just buy overpriced coffee from them instead.

Then Target. Same shit, different store. Target wants you to buy paper towels, tampons, and dog shampoo from them. They do not want to be front & center fighting for gun rights.

Now Kroger has been the target of Moms Don’t Get Enough Action. Some manager was presented with signatures from a group and the manager refused to take them.

Because that’s not part of the manager’s friggin’ job.

She doesn’t have the official capacity to make those decisions. Accepting signatures could be misconstrued as agreement of some sort, so she simply said no. Had we given her every signature of every gunny saying we wanted to continue to shop there, she’d have been in the right to deny them too.

I fear already that gunnies are, once again, gearing up to make some place that simply wants to sell product as the NEXT POSTER CHILD FOR OUR RIGHTS.

So please…


posted by Robb Allen @ 10/7/2014 12:31:55 PM | Feedback (10)
I know the guns I have

Just a quick note – I do have a Dan Wesson Model 15 in .357 magnum. Again, it’s a DAN Wesson, not SMITH AND. The S&W Model 15 is a .38 Special, but that’s not the gun I have.

This is the one I have

Dan Wesson Model 15

I assure you, it eats .357 Magnum just fine.

posted by Robb Allen @ 10/7/2014 12:21:53 PM | Feedback (12)
What good are laws if you do not enforce them?

Time and time again, we are told the best way to reduce ‘gun’ violence is to toughen gun laws, as if violence doesn’t exist unless a firearm is involved. It’s repeated ad nauseum that a primary reason violent people commit crimes is because they have easy access to firearms and that extra tough gun laws would diminish their capacity.

Here's a story that illustrates why they are wrong.

In the melee, Beasley clutched a gun in each fist, blasting away. More than 40 shots were fired as neighbors huddled in their homes and bystanders were only yards away.

James Allen III was struck by six bullets, including a fatal shot to the head. Yet another name was added to the long list of Indianapolis murder victims — a toll that accelerated this year causing the community and public officials to join in discussions and seek answers to a deadly surge in gun violence.

Now, the gun banners are going to salivate as they put on their dancing shoes so they can scream from the hilltops about how Beasley had high capacity assault clips of extraordinarily dangerous calipers. They’ll go on at length about how if there were just more background checks that this guy would be behind bars for trying to purchase a gun when he wasn’t allowed.

Which, of course, is complete and utter bullshit.

And, while many agree that attacking root causes such as poverty, despair, poor parenting and educational failure can help, Beasley's case points to a more immediate, more pressing question, one uncovered in a recent Indianapolis Star investigation.

Why wasn't Beasley in prison that day?

Emphasis mine, because that’s the $50,000 question that the anti’s never seem to answer. This guy has twice been caught with firearms as a felon, both times carrying a 20 year sentence, and yet… he was still on the streets. He’s not alone, they let the violent roam free all the time.

Beasley, 33, had all the hallmarks of why the law was written. At his sentencing hearing, the prosecutor noted that Beasley had a juvenile record and seven convictions as an adult, with 19 arrests.

"He's had many chances," the prosecutor told the judge.

Beasley had a long rap sheet that included multiple drug and gun arrests, including two convictions for carrying a handgun without a license.

And yet he walks among people, free to commit mayhem and murder, and the anti’s answer to it is to punish me.

This is what pisses me off about background checks. If a person is known to be too dangerous to own a gun (i.e. data that can show up on a background check) why in all that is holy do you think it’s ok to let them walk free? Why do you put your faith in a cash register to stop them from committing violence?

Here’s someone who was known to be dangerous, known to be violent, known to have no regard for any laws, and yet still managed to get out of jail so he could kill. Yet gun banning groups want me to accept that if I’d just give up my rights, submit to a police state, that somehow this guy would have been stopped?

If you’re an anti (and I don’t get many of them here, so it’s an open question), please answer these following questions

  • How would limiting magazine capacity for the law abiding prevented this?
  • How does licensing of a right stop these things from happening when twice he was convicted of not having a license?
  • Being that murder is already illegal, how does the threat of extra time for carrying unlicensed make criminals think twice?
  • How does a law that only harms innocent people affect criminals when they can just plea bargain out and walk free?

That last one is important. Criminals can plea bargain because they can snitch on others, help solve other crimes they’ve committed, etc. When Jane Smith purchases a gun for her own safety from a friend & doesn’t realize she has to have 9 different licenses, there’s nothing for her to plea to and she gets her kids taken away from her and tossed into jail for 20 years because it’s an easy win for the state.

I don’t oppose background checks because I want criminals to have guns, I oppose them because they are blatantly ineffective in their goal, burden the innocent, and are nothing more than a gateway to ban guns altogether to usher in a police state. If someone could show me where they actually have a beneficial effect, I’d change my mind, but Beasley’s story, along with thousands of others just like him, prove that they do not work.

posted by Robb Allen @ 10/7/2014 9:47:01 AM | Feedback (5)
Cheeks are still sore from smiling

Range time on Friday was awesome. The Kriss didn’t fail to please, the Delta Elite was as fun as always, and everyone loved the Apex trigger on the M&P. The only “meh” was the fact there was no .357 Magnum ammo so we could only shoot .38 Special out of the Model 15.

Oh, it was a company outing. Paid in full. Ammo included.

You may now be jealous.

posted by Robb Allen @ 10/6/2014 3:26:21 PM | Feedback (8)
Garage days re-revisited*

(*50,000 Internet points for the reference)

Saturday morning, I got up bright and early and started disassembling my garage for rebuilding. Yesterday, at about 6PM, I finished up. Needless to say, my body is reminding me why I have respect for people who do manual, backbreaking labor.

I didn’t take before pictures because it was an embarrassing mess. Everything was on the floor, tools were scattered, useless crap I didn’t need was piled up. My cabinets were from my neighbor’s house when they remodeled it and decided to toss the contractor grade crap-cabinets that came with the house. I bolted it to the wall and it became a catch all for everything from my reloading gear to tools that didn’t really have a home.

Most people suggested that I build my own garage from my previous post on the subject. I appreciated the pointers, but I didn’t have the time necessary nor the correct tools to do so. Instead, after much research, I simply bought stuff.

I can now see my garage. And it is beautiful.

garage_02 garage_01

Pardon the crappy cellphone pictures, but that’s all I had time for this morning.

The yard tools are now all in one 4’ wide area rather than scattered about. The rakes & shovels used to be leaning against a wall next to my car & occasionally I’d run over them. Not any more. I used the Gladiator Garageworks rail systems for this, and they are phenomenally awesome.

Cabinet wise, the best cost vs. quality I could find were the Kobalt storage systems. The Gladiator brand felt flimsy and were 2 to 3 times as expensive. Plus, they had that stupid diamond plate look which felt inauthentic as hell to me. Even the Craftsman ones felt flimsy & cheap.

Granted the Kobalt ones are just sheet metal screwed together, they serve my purpose well and now I have an enclosed area for all my tools, reloading gear, etc. I even spent time organizing all my sockets so they were in their correct spot. Even my power-tools are back in their cases, stored away neatly in the floor cabinet. I might be able to find stuff now!

I did buy the Gladiator 6’ Maple top bench because it’s solid as hell & should last me forever. My Hornady Lock & Load is sitting to the side until I can make a mounting system that doesn’t require me bolting the damned thing through the top, not because I don’t want to mar the surface or anything, but more because it’s a pain in the ass to have to remove it to do other work.

There are a few more things that I need to do to finish up. One of which is purchasing a cheap, plastic ‘tool shed’ to keep a few items that are large but can withstand being outside (and overrun with brown widows!). That’ll buy me a bit more floor space as I move the spreader, wheelbarrow, and extra tile out.

Now, I need a project to build.

posted by Robb Allen @ 10/6/2014 12:22:58 PM | Feedback (13)