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Update (20 Mar 2007 at 14:53)
Wow, hey, you know it's been a while when your parents call you up to say you haven't updated your blog in a while!

Truth is I'm pretty busy around now. I'm basically trying to get a first pass at my thesis work done so that I can write about it for ICFP, which's deadline is April 6. It's like totally hacktastic but it's a good deadline in that it seems barely achievable, but if I do it then I'm in great shape to actually finish my PhD this summer. I need deadlines for that kind of thing!

Speaking of deadlines: I just finished and submitted my third paper for the tongue-in-cheek SIGBOVIK conference here at CMU. My first two were just throwaway 2-page gags but this one was an enormous effort and chewed up a lot of my free time over the last couple of weeks... truly the most elaborate April Fool's project I've ever done. I think you'll have to wait until SIGBOVIK to see these things, though.

Question: Does anyone have a suggestion for an always-ready kind of portable hand-held device that would allow me to do two or more tracks of recording? Quality is not really that important. Basically, I want to be able to record some guitar idea that comes into my head, and then immediately go back over that and add vocals, without having to go through an elaborate process (like "turn on the mic preamp" and "launch cubase" and "start new project..." and "add track..." etc.) Right now I have a little hand-held dictaphone kind of thing but it doesn't allow me to multitrack. It's also rather a pain to eventually transfer the stuff to computer. Portable MD recorders seem to have good quality and easy transfer to computer, but no multitrack... ideas? I don't want something as big or expensive as a real n-track machine, and the fewer buttons, the better...
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Jake (dsl093-060-156.pit1.dsl.speakeasy.net) – 03.21.07 00:56:51
I don't have a suggestion for that thing but I want one.

Oh wait, check this out:

http://www.activemusician.com/item--EM.PS-04
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Tom 7 (h-66-167-9-16.phlapafg.dynamic.covad.net) – 03.21.07 01:10:53
Huh, that's pretty darn good... I'd prefer something that uses MD or some media I can archive... smartmedia is hard to find and kinda expensive. But that's probably the best I've seen so far.
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Sophia (h-66-167-175-98.cmbrmaor.dynamic.covad.net) – 03.21.07 14:57:05
I just know that they definitely have things like that. Homefries has one. It's a 4-track the size of a pack of cards and records to... I don't know what, but she can transfer everything from it onto her computer to mix stuff down. It's sample rate is something like 32 kHz, though, which I thought was its weakest point. But anyway, yeah, I guess I'm just saying that stuff like that exists. She got that thing years ago, so I'm sure that newer and better stuff is around now...
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Anonymous Tea (76.210.104.27) – 03.21.07 21:55:05
I actually own a zoom PS-04 and the battery connectors in back became loose/flakey so now it only works with a wall-adapter ... but ... What can you expect from the "mostest cheapest" option? the built in omni microphone on that thing works great, effects are fun, built in drum machine (or just setup a click click click pattern), etc, etc. It's "old-school cassette walkman" sized.
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Tom 7 (h-66-167-9-16.phlapafg.dynamic.covad.net) – 03.22.07 11:12:33
I'm looking at the Zoom H4 now.. it's sad that it doesn't have a drum machine and it seems like the interface might be a bit too complicated. But Smartmedia is just so shitty and hard to find. I wish they made the PS04 with SD or CF.
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Tom 7 (gs82.sp.cs.cmu.edu) – 03.22.07 16:24:02
I ordered an H4 so don't tell me anything bad about it.
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Reverb KC (dsl-217-155-96-254.zen.co.uk) – 03.25.07 07:22:31

I bought the ZOOM for our radio station the other day and it looks like a tazer. It's been interesting trying to use it for vox-pops - walking up to people and pointing this weird thing space gun in their faces - they are more comfortable with the traditional phallus-style mic. In terms of sound and recording, I've had nothing but good reports so far.
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Tom 7 (h-66-167-9-16.phlapafg.dynamic.covad.net) – 03.25.07 10:59:23
Heh heh... well, you could always attach an external phallus to it. I find its tazer stylin' a plus!
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