Monthly Archives: February 2009

  • Review of this month's Atlanta Dorkbot meeting featuring Don Hassler's Buchla 200e demo, and Aaron Ruscetta's old school Amiga hardware presentation.

    "... Buchla, along with Robert Moog are credited for being the fathers of the synthesizer, both sort of simultaneously developing synthesizers on either coast. Buchla was involved with the San Francisco Tape Music Center, founded by the composers Morton Subotnick and Ramon Sender. The tape music center was a place for new music performances, experimentation, and several psychedelic parties which, at the height of the Haight-Ashbury scene, included bands that went on to huge success like the Grateful Dead.... " "

    This month's Atlanta Dorkbot was held in its new home, Wonderroot, a non-profit community center of sorts that has meeting space, rock shows, an art gallery, and even recording facilities.

    The first presenter was Don Hassler, a local Atlanta musician/artist (bio here) who has been working with electronics for music since the early 80's. Don (shown in video), did a nice demonstration of some of the basic features of his Buchla 200e modular synthesizer. The 200e is an updated series from Don Buchla's original, and incredibly unique analog modular systems of the 70's. Buchla, along with Robert Moog are credited for being the fathers of the synthesizer, both sort of simultaneously developing synthesizers on either coast. Buchla was involved with the San Francisco Tape Music Center, founded by the composers Morton Subotnick and Ramon Sender. The tape music center was a place for new music performances, experimentation, and several psychedelic parties which, at the height of the Haight-Ashbury scene, included bands that went on to huge success like the Grateful Dead.

    Buchla's synthesizers were unique in that they weren't necessarily design to be played with traditional keybaords, rather they were meant to be completely new instruments, with inspiring interfaces. Don's demo of his modular was simple, yet pointed out the components and design philosophy that differentiated the Buchla instruments from other synthesizer, both vintage and new.

    You can find more information as well as some of Don Hassler's music on his website

    The second presenter was Aaron Ruscetta, a media artist, and editor, and Amiga enthusiast who enthusiastically gave a great overview of the history of the Amiga computer, and the culture of users that it created.

    Aaron went through the histor of the Amiga computer, and talked about his experience as a video editor and graphic artist with the Amiga systems. Starting with the earliest home computers such as the Commodore 64, the Demoscene exploded with advent of the Amiga's unprecedented graphics power. Demos were basically programs written to show off graphics processing capabilities of systems, but many of the early demo creators reached a sort of cult status amongst graphic programmers. Also interesting to note, the demo scene was also somewhat responsible for the birth of music trackers. Artists wanted to add music to their demos, and so created simple table-based sequencers for stringing together samples to create music. the demo/tracker scene in turn had a big hand in spawning IDM, glitch, etc. music genres. Aaron is now the First Contact and Event Coordinator for the Atlanta Linus Enthusiasts User Group

  • Designed in cooperation with uCHobby, these bread board adapters make it easy to plug in audio plugs, multimeter probes, bare stranded wires that are too big for the bread board holes, MIDI I/O. Also released is a dual power supply that should help out in op-amp audio projects, and a proto area you can solder common circuits onto so they can be quickly plugged into new projects. All the boards are designed to take up as little work-space as possible, and either stand up or hang off the edge.

  • The newest version of arduino has a SoftwareServo library built in, which lets you use more than two servos at once. This code is a simple example of how to control 4 servos via keyboard from the SerialMonitor mode of arduino. If you have arduino12 software, you'll need to manually add the SoftwareServo library as described in the included readme.txt file. The code is available as a getting started example on our roboduino kit page.

  • Robert Dew did some amazing tack-soldering on the bottom of a No-Lead chip to make a simple break-out board without any special PCBs. He says it took a lot of trial and error and flux. The chip is an accelerometer. Robert made the break-out board for the EE senior design class and electronics lab at GaTech.

  • Georgia Tech Music Dept. is hosting the Guthman Musical Instrument Competition Feb 27-28. If you're in the area, it looks to be an interesting event. "The first Guthman Musical Instrument Competition presented by GTCMT and Harmonix (makers of Guitar Hero and Rock Band) will award $15,000 to the best novel musical instruments as judged by a panel of experts from Harmonix, Wired, and Georgia Tech. Entrants must perform a musical work with their new instrument to demonstrate its musicality, design, and engineering features. Performances may include traditional acoustic and/or electronic instruments alongside the new instrument. They may also include multimedia elements such as video, animation, graphics, text, kinesthetics, hydraulics, dance, or acting. Judges include Eran Egozy, the co-founder of Harmonix (Guitar Hero Co-Founder), Eliot Van Buskirk from Wired, and a professor from the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology.... "

  • We've finally got an Adruinome (monome made from Arduino + SF buttons) case design being cut up at our favorite laser cutter (ohararp.com). It uses the same T-bolt style connecting system as our monome case, and has mounting holes for the Diecimila. We're going to do a small first run, what colors would you like?

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