Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My thoughts on REAPER (DAW)

Dear readers,

Few months ago, I was looking for a new Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Back then I was using Nuendo 4. I was unable to rapidly scribble ideas and jot down even simple takes without waiting for the system to load everything.

I was first introduced to REAPER in January 2009 when we were tracking our second full-length. Rahul, the resident engineer in the studio used REAPER to track all the takes. I did not pay much attention to the DAW. Eventually the rest was recorded in my room on Nuendo 4 and finally the projects were mixed in Nuendo. Nuendo is still a good software for doing organised project but is a songwriter's nightmare.

REAPER is an acronym for Rapid Environment for Audio Production, Engineering, and Recording. That should explain what I was looking for in the first place. This seems like godsend for any writer who wants to rapidly prototype a song.
  • The loading time is ultra fast compared to any DAW I have used before.
  • There is no distinction among tracks. Any track/channel can hold any data - Audio/MIDI/Group/FX - and send/receive stream from anywhere! This actually helps when you want to swap sections and experiment with a different FX chain.
  • The way REAPER handles "takes" is amazing. I wish Nuendo had this.
  • The export stem feature in render. This is especially helpful if you are working across a geographical barrier or jump from one DAW to another.

Things that work in favour of the rapid prototyping philosophy are the same ones that kill it for people who have used analog mixers (unless they adopt).
  • The traditional DAWs like Cubase, Sonar, etc. focus on replicating behaviour of analog machines. They have dedicated Audio/MIDI/Group/FX strips. Traditional engineers often expect that in a DAW.
  • Solo "punch in" and solo "punch out" is not available. One must punch through a zone. This means that both punch in/out are (de)/activated simultaneously.
I have not used REAPER for any full fledged project. I prefer using a very handful (10-15) of third-party, VST plugins as opposed to a whole library of them. So I wouldn't be missing on anything if I jumped to REAPER from Nuendo. 


Monday, April 25, 2011

A follow-up to "chaiwala" on Midnapore/Kharagpur local train.

Dear readers,

A small follow-up to the discussion presented in
How much does a "chaiwala" on Midnapore/Kharagpur local train make? -
Apparently one of my friends had this (or a similar one) discussion with some of his friends. He did point out the following things.
1. The license is usually not held by the vendor but by brokers who lease out the license. This is certainly illegal. However, on Indian local trains, not every thing you observe respects the laws of the system. This is even more true for areas less prone to vandalism and terrorism. Where there is danger lurking behind civilian backs, the government sure tightens the "fuzzyness" of the bendable laws. Midnapore/Kharagpur line is a very safe zone and hence, nobody cares.
2. To allow the "fuzziness" of bendable laws, the vendor pays a significant amount to policemen and authorities as bribe.
3. A person feeds at least 4-5 people in his family with this income.

While I do agree with propositions 1 and 2, I must point out that the original analysis sliced the calculated income by half. The causes were not explicitly mentioned. We can include these expenses into the sliced half. Proposition 3 pushes my argument even further. A comparison still stands because I know of many fellow scholars who support an entire family with the stipend they get.


Monday, April 18, 2011

A small show

Dear readers,

This show was supposed to be a 6 song setlist to be played during the inter-hall competition. Arnab [Basak] had picked up drums in 30 days from scratch. Somehow, the show did not happen. We had to do something to save his spirits. Hence, a single song was chosen for an open mic show.

As the crowd thinned out like hair on an old man head and only 10-15 people stayed back, we played this -


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Damping and my Thesis

Dear Readers,

It maybe observed that the progress on my thesis has been damped by the factor of damping I am supposed to introduce into the formulation. After two days of procrastination, I am with pen and paper, working through every bit of what I intend to do. This current approach is the first of the two damped structure formulation that I am supposed to do.

$ [\hat{C}] = 2[\bar{\zeta}] [\bar{\Lambda}]$ injected into Nayfeh's MMS.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

One quote block and one blocked code.

Dear readers,
Here is a monologue to ponder upon...

[A student approaches Lee; both bow]
Lee: Kick me.
[Student looks confused]
Lee: Kick me.
[Student attempts kick]
Lee: What was that? An Exhibition? We need emotional content. Now try again!
[Student tries again]
Lee: I said "emotional content." Not anger! Now try again!
[Student tries again and succeeds]
Lee: That's it! How did it feel?
[Student thinks; Lee smacks his head]
Lee: Don't think. FEEL. It's like a finger pointing at the moon.
[Looks at student who is looking at the finger; smacks student again]
Lee: Do not concentrate on the finger or you will miss all of the heavenly glory!
[Student bows; Lee smacks him again]
Lee: Never take your eyes off your opponent... even when you're bowing!
[Student bows again this time keeping his eyes on Lee]
Lee: That's better.
[student walks away; opening credits begin]

P.S. : Just finished layerwise analysis for free vibration and critical load cases. There is one subcase remaining. If I face singularities, I will omit the case altogether.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Iterating layerwise cases to Incubus' Adolescents

Dear readers,

Liked the new Incubus single - Adolescents. I wish there is something edgy in the album.

Also, finished iterating first and second batch of the layerwise cases. They took about 3 straight hours to complete since this particular iteration is simpler and faster. The more complex iterations are yet to come.

For 2 tables I had to do 88 cases+iterations.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Proposed plan towards completion of my thesis

Dear readers / myself,

This is a draft, nonetheless, an important one. The one that will help me break the vicious cycle of the Kharagpur academia and launch me out of this orbit into an outer trajectory. But first I must access my status and put down critical commentary on the state of my thesis, like a check-list perhaps, ticking down every bit as and when they are closed.

There are two fundamental flaws with the thesis that may attract severe reviewers' criticism - one qualitative and one quantitative.
a) Qualitative - The explanation provided rarely touches upon the physics of the system. Also, most of the outcomes have been stated like observations rather than legitimate explanations. Not many of these can be fixed but I can make an assessment of the situation and work on these shortcomings. I must do this when I am off the computer and hence I need a hard copy of the entire thesis in its current state - or at the very least the results and discussions section.
b) Quantitative - Earlier, I had decided that putting a layerwise analysis would complete the work. However, many reviewers have pointed out that damping is an important part of the analysis. Hence, putting down a damping parameter is very very important. No matter how short the treatment may be, it cannot be ignored.

About the work left in general, it all boils down to sensible, chosen iterations. Although, logically, the damping effect must preceed the layerwise damage analysis, I do not have a formulation at hand that can address this issue. Hence, I will have to work these topics in reverse order.

For damping cases -
1) See Ravi Kumar's thesis for damping cases in follower forces. What parameters did he take into account?
2) See Udar's thesis for damping cases in parametric resonance. What are the cases he had iterated for?

For the layerwise analysis I am on my own. I had taken specific cases for free vibration and buckling problems, for the parametric resonance problems and for the follower force problems. I will be advisible to write all viable cases on a piece of paper.

Beyond this there are three more important sections - The "objective of present work" section which must succeed the literature review. Then there is a conclusion which is a mandatory section by any standards. Finally, a "future scope of work" that must close the body of the written text. Without the objective and future scope, the institute will not even let the thesis pass through the general scrutiny phase.


Progress on Thesis : Update 4 / Plan

Dear readers / myself,

At this point I have to make a realistic estimate of my work and work according to plan, else things will start falling apart.

There are two sections that my guide will help me write and I should not be bothered about these sections at all right now.
Chapter 2 : Literature Review's Objective of the present work
Chapter 6 : Conclusion (including future scope)

Today, after a fruitful discussion with guide, I could establish two specific areas that I needed to work on so that my thesis scan all the areas that an examiner would pay attention to. Both belong to Chapter 5 : Result and Discussion.

a) A significant chunk of study must be devoted to effects of layerwise damage in
free vibration and buckling, parametric resonance characteristics and follower force flutter characteristics.

b) A short treatise on the effect of damping on such a system is important. Most reviewers have pointed out the importance of damping in these systems. Damping studies can be done in parametric systems and nonconservative systems.

What appears to be short isn't really short. I need to make a huge commitment.


Friday, April 1, 2011

More observations on my photography skills.

Dear readers,

I couldn't help but loathe myself. Yesterday, the light was low and I tried capturing a few shots on 100 ISO film. I can predict that they will be some of the worst images I have captured on my camera.

The lens I have has a different alignment than the prism/viewfinder combo. Effectively, light travels different distances when it passes via the lens+mirror+prism to my eye and to the film via the lens. This effectively alters the plane of focus. I have observed that whenever I have left the aperture wide open to f/1.7, this problem is totally visible in the output. If I shoot a portrait and focus on the eyes, the result is always a sharp focus on the ears instead. With smaller aperture, the depth of field increases and this error remains hidden. In the last reel I tried not to use any aperture greater than f/2.8 (or less than f/8 to avoid heavy diffraction). Yesterday, I was faced with the daunting task of taking photographs in lighting conditions that ranged from EV 5 to EV 1. For 100 ISO film that boils down to a set of settings - 1/4s+f/2.8 for EV 5 and 4s+f/2.8 for EV 1.

Whenever there was some "action", all I got was lighting conditions of EV 1 or 2, as if these guys preferred it in the dark. This is exactly why I need to use two bodies - one with 400 and the other with a 100 ISO films.

I am not ruling out the possibility that there is a high chance that I was not creative enough to squeeze some interesting shots in those strange lighting conditions.


(5 new) Views of Blogspot

Dear readers,

Blogspot unveiled 5 new designs for their blogs. Flipcard, Mosaic, Sidebar, Snapshot and Timeslide. I found most of them to be eye-candy and not much utilitarian. The only sensible one is probably Sidebar. However, none of them incorporate external html snippets due to which the javascript engine that displays LaTeX here is not invoked at all.

I would still suggest to stick to the same old, same old.