Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Clipping and tweeters

A fairly definitive article from Rane on what blows tweeters (read: volume) and what doesn't (read: clipping).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

From father to son

Young Italians often complain that one of the reasons why graduate jobs are hard to come by is that hiring is often based on family relationships rather than merit. It's like an unwritten precedence rule. I was taken by surprise by the fact the rule actually is written.

In its negotiations with the trade unions Unicredit (one of largest European banks) agreed on Monday to hire first the sons of the employees that take voluntary redundancies. I could not believe it. This article on Il Mattino suggests that the practice is widespread in industrial agreements in the italian financial services, citing also Intesa San Paolo and BCC di Roma.

These other articles from major Italian newspapers report on the same news. But it seems so unreal that I wanted to find the primary source for the agreement. The news broke at 8:05 on 18/10/2010, but there is no mention of the father-son agreement. It is also not mentioned in the Fisac/CGIL (Union) statements, they only say "fostering youth employment" or something like that.

With a bit of Googling I found a scan of the original union agreement, the declaration is on page 28. The Italian wording is:
Su espressa richiesta delle OO.SS., Unicredit (...), ferma restando l'ineludibile esigenza di pieno rispetto delle caratteristiche meritocratiche che stanno alla base delle politiche di recruiting del Gruppo, conferma che non sara' posta in essere alcuna limitazione connessa al vincolo parentale nei confronti dei figli di dipendenti cessati per pensionamento volontario in possesso dei requisiti richiesti per la selezione (laurea triennale e conoscenza delle lingua inglese), determinando, a parita' di valutazione in sede di selezione, una priorita' nell'assunzione.

This is a single long sentence of the finest Italian legal prose meaning:
On request of the Unions, Unicredit, while following its overarching aim of meritocracy in hiring decisions, will favour the sons of employees who have taken voluntary redundancy over other candidates with the same qualifications, as long as they have a degree and can speak English

It is normal practice to encourage employees to put forward people they think valuable (sometimes offering money on top as a reward). There is nothing wrong in using staff as head hunters, but it is not quite the same thing as trading voluntary redundancies of senior employees in exchange of hiring their family.

I expect the next step is to rank second cousins just below sons in law but above nephews, with grandsons somewhere between third cousins and godchildren.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

256 colours in screen

Sometimes screen does not inherit the right terminfo from the terminal. This fixes the 256 colour problem:
terminfo rxvt* 'Co#256:AB=\E[48;5;%dm:AF=\E[38;5;%dm'

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Current Cost CC128, part 2

The CC128 rj45 pinout is like this, i.e.
1 = +v Unregulated (Same as the PSU input)
2 = PIC chip pin 52 (PGC)
3 = +V Regulated
4 = GND
5 = PIC chip pin 47 (PGD)
6 = PIC chip pin 9 (Program Voltage (nMCLR))
7 = Unit RX
8 = Unit TX

The stock RJ45-USB cable uses pins 1,4,7,8. I suspect you don't need 7 to just read the output of the meter, but you definitely need both 1 and 4.

Note to self: current setup

1 = 1 CC128
2 = 4 CC128
3 = n/a
4 = Phone
5 = Phone
6 = n/a
7 = 7 CC128
8 = 8 CC128

Friday, October 08, 2010

Orange database

After nearly two years of being with O2 I still get texts from Orange every month or so, informing me that my point balance is 0.

Monday, October 04, 2010

LS9 tips: recall safe

I've decided to share a few tips about not so obvious things on the Yamaha LS9, with the hope that they will be useful.

Recall safe is probably the only good thing about the scene recall on the LS9, because otherwise recalling a scene would recall the whole desk, which you very rarely want (I can think of only one occasion: the beginning of a show to reset the desk).

However there are a few things that cannot be "recall safed", and they will bite you. The only way to find out what is actually safe or not is to look at page 256 of the manual, "Mixing parameters operation applicability". You will discover that:

1. Pan cannot be safed unless ALL is selected.
2. To Stereo, To Mono, to MIX pre-post, and many other things such as Mute Assign also cannot be safed unless ALL is selected.
3. You cannot safe Mix to stereo for a MIX unless ALL is selected.

This means that if half way through plotting you decide to send a channel (that you wish to recall) to the mono channel you will have to turn it on for each scene you have already plotted.

Most importantly, and really not obviously:

1. You cannot safe channel link
2. You cannot safe MIX/MATRIX bus settings in the System Setup screen

These two are the most annoying things. It means that you cannot simply create an extra stereo bus on the second night of the show to record, because that setting "stereo bus" will have to be saved in every single scene.

I guess the conclusion is that it is wise to the plotting as late as possible and be careful when designing the signal path to allow for modification that do not require you to replot the whole show.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Current Cost CC128

Also known as Envi, given out for free by E.ON (got it for £12 on ebay, as I'm not on E.ON). The device transmits every 6 seconds a neat xml file with the power usage (and temperature) through a serial interface (an Rj45 socket so it can be run through cat5 quite easily), it comes with a serial-rj45 to USB converter.

Useful websites:
Perl script to submit data to Google Power Meter
Perl script to read serial port (and submit data to Google Power Meter, but the code above is easier to adapt)
Ruby app by IBM
Access the UART