Archive for December, 2011

Kris and Hiro’s new recumbent tandem

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Meet Alphonse! With a frame made by Greenspeed in Australia, and parts assembled by Bent Up Cycles in Hollywood, this is our dream bike! It’s 10.5′ long, fast, and really fun!

I had long planned to build a recumbent tandem. The bikes are surprisingly expensive, so I figured I could buy the welding tools and pay myself to do it and still save money. But just before the holiday break I happened to learn of a used Greenspeed GTT recumbent tandem going on sale. Suddenly, Hiro and I were excited about the possibility of having a tandem now, rather than five years from now, so we jumped in and bought it.

I’m surprised how fun it is to be recumbent. It feels sort of like flying, and cars generously share the roads with us. It’s easy to chat with your partner and it’s nice to feel the push of another set of legs. We are recent converts to clip-in pedals, which are even better on a recumbent trike where you can’t fall over.

The long-term dream is to be able to do taiko tours on bike. I’m not sure how feasible it really is, but I’d very much like to find a way that future career success doesn’t mean environmental failure.

We’re heading out on a two-day, 65-mile trip right now. More tomorrow on how it went!

Tell ASCAP, BMI not to support SOPA

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

If you are a musician represented by ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, or SoundExchange, and if you agree with me that SOPA is a horrible idea, tell them how you feel. These copyright-maximalist organizations have come to believe that the internet should be censored. Use the links above to tell them that they are not representing our interests.

Recent book reviews — December 2011

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

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Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

Happy Holidays all!  Still a lot on the On Ensemble to do list before the year ends.  Our year long residency at the Japanese American Community and Cultural Center is also coming to an end so we’ll be moving to a new location soon.  If you have any leads on a rehearsal space suitable for a small group with a bunch of equipment let us know!

We’ll also be starting a new recording project soon.  Right now I’m trying to finish up two other recording projects including a Kenny Endo and Kaoru Watanbe duet album I’m producing and a ‘decadent’ electronica album with Grammy Award winning composer Christopher Tin.  Once these two are finished we’ll be starting the new On Ensemble album.  Hopefully we’ll get the album started before the year ends!

Zoneminder saves the day: Free-software-based video surveillance

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

Hiroka is the manager of JCI Gardens Apartments, a subsidized housing facility for seniors in Torrance. When the 16-channel surveillance camera system conked out, we learned that the system was no longer supported by the manufacturer (Rainbow). The vendor suggested we scrap the whole thing and install a new system for an estimated $2500.

This seemed incredibly wasteful to me, so I teamed up with consultant Tim Craig to switch us to Free Software. I repaired the hardware with some used parts that I had on hand, installed Debian gnu/linux and Tim set up Zoneminder.

The system is back up and running, has better hardware and software features than before, for a grand total of $1200 (including new, better hardware and paying me and Tim for our time). For others out there with old Rainbow camera surveillance systems, know that Zoneminder supports your hardware and you can switch to all free software.

For anyone stuck with a proprietary surveillance solution, I highly recommend switching to Zoneminder. And Tim Craig is the perfect Zoneminder consultant! (contact me for his email address).

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