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Holy Moley, Batman! It’s already Friday, and the end of February. It’s been a busy week, compounded by another 2-day session of the Enterprise Backup Systems training course I run here. The other guy who was sharing duties here has pulled out, so I’ll be doing them all on my own from now on, unless we can find some other sucker to take it on.

The material is outdated, and badly structured, so that the whole first day is “Death by PowerPoint”, with a few of the students tempted to jump out the window for some relief. I’m tempted to follow them, so I try to liven thing up with jokes. Last time I told the story of Murphy’s Law; this time I had the students imagine they were trying to degauss (wipe) a backup tape by putting it on top of a loudspeaker. I asked for their opinions on which music would be best at the job; I lean towards Industrial music with heavy clipped square wave content in the bass range.

  • It takes more power to produce a bass note at a given volume than treble – a woofer needs hundreds of watts, but a tiny piezo tweeter using a fraction of a watt can deafen you.
  • OK, square waves aren’t as “dense” in the frequency spectrum as sawtooth waves, but square waves are easy to produce: just overload the signal until it clips. Do this to a guitar and you get “fuzz”, do it to a bass and you get Nine Inch Nails.

There were several Germans on this course, so Techno was quite a popular suggestion. Kraftwerk? Nein, not dense enough. I’m thinking the kind of bangin’ Techno they pump out at the Love Parade every summer in Berlin, at the kind of SPL found there too. The magnetic leakage from the speakers must be frightening to anyone with a pacemaker, and it wouldn’t be good to any magnetic media such as tapes or disks.

Today I booked my main summer holiday – some old school friends are renting a cottage in the Highlands in July, so we’ll all get together and catch up. I may take a Risk game with me, we got a lot of mileage out of that before. The last time we were all together, in 1986 I think, we bought a lot of beer, had a barbecue, then started playing Risk at about 5PM. We were still fighting board battles at 2am, the beer was gone, so we raided the drinks cabinet, and by 5am I sat down to “rest my eyes” for a minute and woke up three hours later, still drunk.

I’ve never had that kind of drinking experience again, because everyone drinks so much so quickly now, I don’t even try to keep up. Back at that party in 1986, we drank steadily but slowly for over 12 hours, and it didn’t bother me. I avoided a hangover by not going to sleep again, after that three hour nap, until that night.


Written by brian t

February 28, 2003 at 6:27 pm

Posted in storage, technology, work

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