Thursday, January 12, 2012

New career? We will see!

You ever just stumble into something that snowballed into a possible new career or at the very least a profitable hobby?

I may have just done this...

I was looking at amps for my electric guitar and realized just how damn expensive these things are.   It seems like for every feature you add you have to pay about $100 more!  In the end the ones I wanted cost around $1000 or higher!

Now being a fairly cheap do-it-yourself kinda guy with a nerdtastic aptitude for building tech crap, I figured I might look into designing my own amp.  A few days later after researching hundreds of DIY designs and reading reviews of DIY circuits I came to the realization that I could actually build my own with even higher quality for a lot less money.  How much less?  About 99% less!!!  lol  

It seems that amps are technically quite simple beasts.  Not a lot to them component wise.  So I ordered a ton of parts online from China last night for my first build.  I will prototype my designs using a simple solderless breadboard and then convert it to a circuit board later once I am happy with the results.

Now for the fun part…  Even though I haven’t made a single amp yet I already have numerous interested buyers putting in orders!  So I took the plunge and ordered enough parts to build 50.  That will be my first run.   I have about 10 orders already and will sell the rest on eBay.   They will be hand crafted custom amps.  Wood cases, numerous features, multiple outs, varying designs, electric/bass selection depending on your type of guitar, line inputs for MP3 players, and more…   Basically they are portable amps with hundreds/thousands of dollars of functionality and handcrafted design. 

I ordered the parts from China so it will be a month before I get all of them delivered.  Then I figure a month to perfect the design (combining various aspects from existing deigns that are online).  After that I head into production in my free time.

It’s good to be a nerd!  Knowing how to build expensive equipment cheaply rocks!  The mark-ups on amps and other musical electronic are unreal!!!

I figure I could make around $1800 a week as a hobby.  With money like that I could quit and simply do that as a living and make even more money!

Needless to say I will post my progress as I go….  

Huh… and all I wanted was to save money on a good amp.  Who knew there was such a demand for custom amps!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Last Ninja

For some reason tonight I have the theme from the classic C64 game "The Last Ninja" stuck in my head.  It's been at least 20 years since I played the game yet the tune is clear as day in my mind.  I played that game tuns as a kid.  They were supposed to make a new last ninja game, but the project keeps getting cancelled.  Too bad really..

The Last Ninja was one of the best games on the C64 back in the day.

The C64 was an 8-bit home computer (we are at 64-bit now).  It had all of 64 KB of memory (less power and memory than a modern watch in many cases) and of that 64 KB only 38 KB was available for programs as the rest was used by the OS.  So the computer had all of 38 KB of memory to run any and all software you loaded.  Though you could use more of the 64 KB by removing parts of the OS from RAM.  Though you would have to replace that missing functionality in your software.  This was fine in cases of video games, but for office programs it was overkill.

The system had all of 16 colors!  Yet how these colors were implemented actually made C64 games look even more colorful than other 16 color systems.  My current system has 32 Bit TrueColor which equates to 4,294,967,296 colors (roughly 4.29 billion colors) while the 24 Bit TrueColor setting would give me 16.78 million colors.  Win 7 is supposed to support up to 48 Bits for color which is 281.5 trillion colors.  Needless to say we shattered the 16 color barrier long ago!  In fact there are video cards that can do 64 Bit color, though most current OSs including Windows can not support it.  64 Bit color works out to 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 colors.  In English that would be eighteen quintillion, four hundred fourty-six quadrillion, seven hundred fourty-four trillion, seventy-four billion, seven hundred nine million, five hundred fifty-one thousand, six hundred sixteen colors.

The processor was a single core processor running at a whole 1.023 MHz NTSC or 0.985 MHz PAL!  My remote control probably uses more than that! Heck my phone runs at 1200 MHz and it is considered slow now since the quad core processor phones were released! (They have 4 of my processor in them)  My current desktop system has 4 cores (processors) each running at 2400 MHz, though this is essentially much more powerful due to numerous built-in co-processors and specialized architecture in each core.  Heck my processor has 8MB of built-in L2 Cache which is essentially 8192 KB which is 128 times more memory than the C64's entire system.  This is not even counting my 8GB of system Ram and 1GB of video Ram!  Which is roughly 131,072 and 16,384 times more memory than the C64 had in total!

The sound chip in the C64 was super advanced for its time and you could not find anything that matched it!  At least until add-on sound cards started to appear by Adlib and Soundblaster.

According to Wikipedia the sound chip info is as follows:

Sound: MOS Technology 6581/8580 SID

3-channel synthesizer with programmable ADSR envelope
8 octaves
4 waveforms per audio channel: triangle, sawtooth, variable pulse, noise
Oscillator synchronization, ring modulation
Programmable filter: high pass, low pass, band pass, notch filter

Here is the original tune:

Here is a remake someone did:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tali'Zorah vas Normandy

Well yesterday I made it to Micheal's to get a can of Krylon Preserve It!.  This is used to spray over printed materials to avoid UV issues with the colors fading over time from sunlight.  It also protects the paper making it acid free for a longer life.   If this little Pepakura experiment works out then I will buy the stuff in bulk online as everywhere other than Micheal's sells the stuff for about $3 - $4 a can while Micheal's is $11 a can.   Tad pricy....

My first Papercraft project is "Tali'Zorah vas Normandy".  She is a character from the "Mass Effect" game series.  She is also the one I chose for my character to choose as a mate in "Mass Effect 2".   Technically though it was a tough choice between her and the woman from Cerberus.   

Anyway... That is my first attempt.  Right now her legs are drying.  Then I have to cut out the paper parts and put them together.  It was 5 pages for her legs alone and about 45 parts in total.

If all goes well I might actually try selling these things for some money which I will spend in frivolous ways, such as on bills, rent and food!  That's right!  Living on the edge!!!

Other than that I also nabbed a copy of GuitarSmith and will be picking up an electric guitar tomorrow.  Time to learn something new...  It's winter so my early midlife crisis has to start with an electric guitar!  Had to postpone my early midlife crisis this summer when I got sick.  Otherwise there would be a motorbike in the parking lot and I'd still be walking a bit funny from riding it.  Granted I walk a bit funny anyway, but that is just left over bits of issues from the old nervous system shutting down and having to retrain my legs again.  Should be back to normal in a few months though walking wise, or should I say waddling wise.  Gained a bit of weight over the summer I have to lose as well.   I don't have smaller fat guys orbiting me yet, but I am 30lbs heavier than I was in June.  

Back to GuitarSmith... Will review the game later after I get a chance to play it and see how well it works.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Return of Rent a Pet

Well came home tonight and was greeted by the small black cat again.  He belongs to someone in the neighborhood, but don’t know who.   Apparently many people have called his owners as his name and number is on the collar, but the owners say he loves the outdoors and constantly wants out.  Overall they are nonplused by his absence it seems.

He has found his way into the apt building many times and tends to wind up at my door for some reason.  Granted he looks a lot like my ex’s old cat that we had for about 8 years or so before we gave him to my Dad.  We had to as we were moving so much it was driving the cat insane and he needed stability.  He’s dead now so maybe this is him reincarnated or something???  Lol    Either way he spent the night once a few weeks ago and then left in the morning.  I have a litter box and food for him whenever he appears, just in case.  Had to ever since he sat outside my door crying all night a month ago making me feel guilty for not letting him in.

Tonight he ran up to me in the parking lot and straight to the apt building door to come in.  Once in he ran straight for my apt and waited for the door to open.  Since then he has been making himself at home.  Currently he is asleep on the couch next to me.  I call him rent a pet as he is not mine and will probably toddle off in the morning as I have to sleep for work and he wants to meow and play once 8am happens.

With it being colder and colder outside I think he would probably be happy to be an indoor cat at this point so maybe his owners will stop turfing him outside.  Either way he stops by here now and then when he sees me out and about.

Very affectionate and purry little bugger though…  Too bad like every other cat he thinks morning are happy fun time to play and make noise when I’m trying to sleep for work. lol

His name is Lynx, so if this is your cat and you were wondering where he was hiding out on Nov 30, 2011 see below...

Make yourself at home there Rent-A-Pet!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Painting Frame

A few months ago I bought a painting on eBay by Cheng Xi, a member of chinese painting's association and supposedly a famous artist in china.  I looked up the name on the net and sure enough there was a Cheng Xi with exhibits in various  galleries around China, but as to how famous who knows.  Doesn't really matter though as I simply liked the painting and thought it would look good in the living room.  Even better was the price.  Not very often one finds a painting they like for a good price, but then again everything from China seems to be pretty cheap to buy.  Granted a lot of it is knockoffs, but if it looks good I really don't care or functions properly I don't care.  This particular ebay store sells from various artists in China and I will probably buy from it again as there are many great paintings there.  Anyone interested the store is at

So at any rate I got a beautiful, signed, watercolor for $3 + $15 shipping.  Overall not to shabby for a painting that was 26" x 56" and needed a custom frame to hang.  Granted I didn't know about the custom frame at first.  Only after I received the painting did I find out that Moncton and the surrounding area did not sell frames that big.  To make matters worse they wanted nearly $300 to make one!!!  I don't know about you, but I am not spending $300 on a frame for a $3 painting!

So at this point I decided to make my own.  Now normally I would buy some wood, stain, Plexiglass, backing, and build one myself on the cheap.  However there were a few things against me in completing that endevour.

For starters I no longer own the needed tools (router, routing table, skill saw, etc...)
I live in an apt so even if I had them where would I use them and how pissed would the neighbors be?
So how about working with materials I don't need to create and only need to cut with a dremel tool?

Crown molding cost way more than it use to.  I was looking at nearly $200 for enough for the frame of the style I liked.  Even the cheaper stuff was around $5 a foot!
The plexiglass that use to be dirt cheap was now nearly $100 for the size sheet I needed!!!  A few years ago it would have been about $15!  What happened there!!!

So ok... How about cheaper...  I looked into various ideas and came up with this:

3 - .5 cm foam board project boards $3 ea
4 gauge vinyl sheet (3m x 1.7m roll tons left) $6
12 - 24" poster hangers (used 11 and a bit) $2.89 per pair
Packing tape to connect the foam board
2 pin curtain hangers (The ones you pin to curtains to hang then where the pin part is like a nail) Free as had them already.
50' roll of wire to hang the thing. $2.89
Two picture hangers to nail into wall (free as had them too)
Total = about $33 - $35 with tax...
Total size 27x53.5
Overall was a pain in my ass to make and took six hours due to the damn poster frames having a vice like grip!  Trying to fit them onto the rest was.... challenging to say the least.

Still in the end the result is pretty dame good.  I will put up a tutorial of how I did it later under tutorials and I will include my other ideas as well for easier alternatives, though costlier..

Also since building this I was told about a couple of hidden suppliers in the area that would have been cheaper for what I needed so I may rebuild this someday in the near future.

At any rate here is the final result!

Overall I am pretty happy with it, though my camera could use an upgrade as doesn't take pics in poorly lit rooms very well.   Maybe I will pic up one of those 14MP ones at XS Cargo for around $50 someday.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Today I met a Wookie!

Today I met a Wookie! When you have such long and thick fur all over your body that a yeti would take one look at you and say "Damn you're a furry bastard!", then maybe a skimpy wife beater is not the best grocery shopping attire. (Also not good for salad bars and buffets as I don’t wanna spend 4 hours defurring my chicken fried rice and shrimp!) Granted it did help me with that “Going shopping while hungry and everything looks tasty” feeling. Still… Standing in line behind a guy with about 4 inch long thick fur all over shoulders, chest, arms, and back is kinda icky.

This guy was sooooooooo furry and under dressed that an 800lb beaded lady, with a partially formed Siamese twin growing out of her neck, would tap him on the shoulder and say “Dude… You gotta do something about that…”

Yes, that man could use a little “Manscaping”. When you can’t tell the difference between where your hairline ends and your back hair begins then a little manscaping can go a long way.

You don’t have to remove it all down to bare skin, but breaking out the weed whacker and reducing the growth doesn’t hurt. There is a huge difference between ¼ inch long hairy body and 4 inch long hairy body! Plus since you are wearing a skimpy outfit it must mean that you are hot, so imagine how much cooler you will feel with 20lbs less body fur retaining all that heat! Hell even dogs shed their winter coat!

Plus you just know a guy that at ease with his furriness has probably got a serious case of afro crotch! Not that I would want to ever see it, but still you know it’s there from the hairs sticking out through his pants like weeds growing through the cracks in the pavement.

When he gets that special gal home and whips it out it, it’s all “Yeah! That’s right! Come and get it!.... What? It’s huge!... Ya just gotta dig for it a bit, It’s in there somewhere…. Oh hey you found that corn puff I lost last week! Give here! It’s still good!”

What do you think the lady is a penis archeologist on yet another exciting dig somewhere deep in the hot, sweaty, man crotch version of the Serengeti?? It’s like that skit on tv where Harrison Ford was mad at Chewie for doing his ex-wife and how she’s still coughing up fur balls! ( )

Manscaping the crotch area is generally a nice thing to do. Plus it makes it look bigger! :)

In the words of Dr. Evil… “There's nothing quite like a shorn scrotum... It's breathtaking... I suggest you try it!"

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ranting of a crazy person about Just-in Beaver and Midget cops!

I don’t get the whole Just-in Beaver craze going on. You could say I am getting old, but I was young when everyone was fawning over “Backstreet Boys” and the “New Kids on the Block” and thought it was kinda over done then too. However, now with internet and our always on, always plugged in world, combined with billions of sheeple who are easily programmed to drink the cool aid served up by their corporate overlords, we have an even more inflated (or deflated) version of “celebrity” now. Apparently anyone can become a celebrity with the right PR firm behind them.

Are you a stupid as a pile of bricks Guido who can barely string together a sentence or comprehend much more than grunts and smells? Here’s a reality TV show, endorsements, millions of dollars, millions of fans, and God help me… book deals…. You may never have read a book before, hell you might not even be able to read, but draw some pretty pictures on your cave wall while grunting away at a ghost writer and BOOM you are a published author!

To evolved for that kind of show? Maybe you are serious breeder! Eight to sixteen kids or more and you get a show too! At one point in time these women were used as examples of what you would never want to become. Now they are looked up to and admired by teen girls who believe that their ticket to fame, fortune and everything they want is to breed like there’s no tomorrow and get on tv!

Not into destroying your body popping out a couple dozen kids or so? Then be a super hoe and let a rock star pee on you on video! Then turn those 5 seconds of fame into a reality show as well… Why not then hoe up the whole family and increase the fun!

Don’t wanna be peed on for fame and fortune? Do you have a rich dad or were once known for something no matter how small? Then how about just a sex tape which will then get “Stolen”. You can “fight” to have it stopped from being sold! Make a HUGE scene in the press over it while working out the distribution rights and royalties on the side. Maybe reshoot a few scenes if the publishers weren’t impressed by the quality. (Paris didn’t do it, but others have) Then parlay that small boost of public knowledge that you kinda exist in some form into a…. yup! REALITY SHOW!!

If that doesn’t do it for you and you are a guy who is a downright hairy bastard with totally lame facial hair you’re set too! That’s right “Whisker Wars” is the place for you. As the show site states “hair raising world of competitive facial hair growing”. That’s right! You get to follow these hairy buggers all the way to the grand competition in Norway!! Who knew there was such a “Sport” to begin with… and better yet, who really cared.

Reality TV is the bane of entertainment. Sure a few are ok… good even. But for every good “reality” show (which is more loosely scripted with untrained actors and shoestring budgets guaranteed to turn profit even if it bombs) there are about 100 really, really bad ones. What happened to good TV? Paris Hilton gets several shows and seasons by being stupid, annoying and pointless… Yet well-crafted shows like “Firefly”, “Farscape”, “Better Off Ted”, “Stargate” (any of them), and “Enterprise” (last season was great and finally found their feel) get axed!


Still back to that Just-in Beaver kid, or as he is known in the US “Canadian Jesus”. Personally I think he is one of the signs of the coming apocalypse! Maybe even one of the horsemen! Perhaps Pestilence or Death… After all, it is always the one you least expect right. Imagine how many boil covered, disease ridden, soon to be corpses would look upon him and say “Fuck me! I would never have seen that one coming!” as he strolled through town killing everyone through music and gay haircuts.

Personally if the apocalypse comes I want a zombie apocalypse! It would give me a chance to break open my “In case of zombie apocalypse” emergency kit again! I say again as when I lived in Toronto they have a yearly zombie walk that I didn’t know about. I managed to take out 20 or so before the cops took me down with a well-placed Taser shot to the nuts. Damn midget cop! I thought there were height restrictions! It’s like being taken out by a Gnome in World of Warcraft! One moment you are alone taking a leisurely stroll through the woods and the next you are dead and never saw what happened. Next thing you know a damn gnome mage pops out from behind a small rock and tea bags your corpse!

Anyway… Lucky for me a simple “Oops… My bad” got me off as it was an honest mistake.

Still good practice for the day it really happens. Though with my luck I will be at the damn mall or something else far from my emergency kit when it happens. It’ll be all “DUDE ZOMBIE!!” and I’ll be all “Wha.. *MUNCH* DAMNIT!!!” Be like in the movies and I will forever be known as “zombie victim #5” when the break out occurred. Or as it will be more commonly be known to our zombie replacements in the centuries to come “Graaaaaa mmmmmm naaaaaannnn errrrrrrr”