Two very different pickups, one instrument

My latest ukulele is an exercise in versatility: short enough to go inside a suitcase, long enough to be remain playable under heavy capo and, of course, both acoustic and electric. And not just merely electric, but featuring both a passive piezo pickup and a magnetic pickup, which can be mixed in any ratio. I looked for a wiring diagram that could do this, and found nothing simple. They all required a switch to select the main pickup, with perhaps the ability to add a bit of the other, or had something weird about them. Since the two pickups are very different electrically, there was no assurance that they would mix well. I took a guess, and it worked, though theory predicted that it shouldn’t have. Read on for the solution.

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Make a Panjo

A what? . . . A pan-jo, dummy! That is, a banjo that is made from a pan. It turns out that you can make beautiful music from a humble pizza pan, plus a stick, a doggy bowl, and a limited number of special parts. And it’s quite a looker, as you can see from the picture, showing a G6 (guitar tuning) panjo with metal strings next to a C6 (uke tuning) panjo with plastic strings. Recipe and sound samples inside. Read More

VideoSkip updated to 0.3

The 0.3 update brings in something that will make the app much easier to use for the majority: automatic syncing! Read on for details. Hot on its heels, version 0.3.1 has simplified the interface quite a bit.

Unrelated to the above, but also important to some users, VideoSkip is also a Microsoft Edge extension. Here’s the URL:

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Chance vs. Fate

We all remember fondly those board games of our early years: Parcheesi, Sorry!, Chutes and Ladders, and so forth. They were easy to play and a lot of fun, but in the end we outgrew them and perhaps took up other games that involved more thinking. In this article, though, I tell you a simple way to add more strategic depth to the same old games, by replacing “chance” with “fate.” Read More

Chaos from Order, Take 2

A while ago, I got very paranoid about my computer being bugged, and so developed a series of paper and pencil ciphers that I published on this blog. After letting them sit for a while, my favorites from the bunch are FibonaRNG, a stream cipher seeded from three words which has formed the basis for the Human encryption mode in PassLok, and Snake, which achieves something close to the absolute impregnability of the one time pad by using a simple piece of text. In this article, I go through additional calculations related to Snake, and find that this cipher appears to be even better than previously thought. Read More