I redesigned the top level page of the site a little: now it includes six random thumbnails from the photo gallery, that change daily. The new page has a somewhat wider minimum width than the previous layout did, which bothers me a little bit since I tend to usually have two windows side by side, but I doubt anyone else will care, since the whole rest of the world seems to always run their browser windows maximized. I do feel dirty for having designed a page that's essentially one big table with a fixed pixel width, having ranted against that kind of design for years, but hey, it's all pictures, and pictures don't auto-scale. What are you gonna do. Welcome to the future.

Today tickets are on sale for:

TKK played here in October, and Pigface played here in 2001. We've had a lot of great live shows in the last two years, but I have to say that those were the two best shows we've had since we reopened the DNA Lounge. And the 2001 Pigface show was one of the best concerts I've ever seen. So with both of them on the same bill, you'd be a damned fool to stay away!

Friday was the 50th anniversary of the discovery of DNA's double helix.

Also on friday, I think I finally got the webcasts behaving again. You may have noticed that it's sounded like ass for most events in the last month or so. Apparently something changed that caused the signal going from the main room to the webcast computers to be way, way hotter than it used to be. We have a compressor in front of them that's supposed to compensate for this, but apparently it was so loud that the compressor was throwing up its hands and letting it clip anyway.

Perhaps this is what went wrong with our last compressor, too? Though there was at least a month in there where everything was fine: we got a new compressor, and the problems went away. Then a month later, a different set of problems began. I don't have any idea what changed to start causing the second problem. One theory is that it was only happening when the DJ was on the stage and not in the booth (and using a different mixer than we had been using) but I'm pretty sure the problem was happening when the DJ was upstairs too.

So, because we've been unable to get any help on this from our sound company, even though they designed the system (...250 word rant on this and related topics omitted...) I finally crawled under the stage, found the little inline amps and relays that go to the webcast, and started turning screws until I figured out what they did. Then Jason came over and fixed the compressor settings. So, it sounded pretty clean on friday and saturday. Let's hope it sticks.

Anyway, the right way to fix the webcast problem permanently is for the webcast feed to come out of Soundweb instead of splitting off from the mixer directly. (Soundweb would then internally simulate the necessary chain of compressors and expanders digitally, without being subject to the kind of limits we're experiencing with the hardware implementations.) But, we're out of channels on Soundweb, so to do that, we'd need a second Soundweb. Which we'd kind of like to have anyway, because right now the stage speakers aren't going through Soundweb, which is kind of a mess: to adjust the overall room volume, we not only have to adjust it through the Soundweb controller up in the booth, but then also run into the back room and turn knobs. Barry's getting tired of making that hike through the crowd every night.

But Soundweb is really expensive, so we can't afford it yet.

Only eight more years until we're in the black.

Well, I spoke too soon. The webcast from the live show last night is somewhat botched. The volume is ok (maybe a little low) for the band, but the music the DJ played before the show is almost inaudible. I wasn't there in person, so I'm not totally sure, but I'm guessing that the DJ just wasn't playing very loud. Which was ok before, when we were heavily amping the feed from the main room and counting on the compressor to compensate for it (even quiet music would come out at a reasonable volume.) But now that it turns out that the compressor can't handle an input that's too loud, we're just screwed. Well, maybe the set of controls labelled "expander" on the front of the compressor can cope with this. More experimentation needed, I guess...

Also, the mix on the webcast sounds way too vocal-heavy (I think that's often the case, even when it doesn't sound that way in person.) The webcast is getting exactly what came out of the mixing board, so that suggests that we need a custom EQ setting in front of the webcast to compensate for the room accoustics or whatever, to make it sound like what you'd hear if you were here in person. Another thing that would be easy with a second Soundweb...

Oh, duh.

Someone pointed out why the vocals are always louder on the webcast: because they're always louder in the room's PA. That's because there are things on stage like guitar amps and drum kits. Those are loud. So the vocals are louder in the PA to compensate for that. Meaning, sadly, this is not something that can be fixed with a webcast-only EQ setting: the only real way to fix it would be to have a webcast-only mix, which would be prohibitively expensive (we'd need to have another engineer and another board to do it: it would not be the automated affair that our webcasts are now.)

One second-best way to fix it would be to do the webcast not from a mixing board feed, but instead, from a microphone in the room (this would also bring in more crowd noise, which would be nice: right now, the only applause you hear between songs is that which the vocal mics pick up.)

That would work well for Real Bands, but wouldn't work as well for the kind of Karaoke acts we get most of the time: bands whose entire act is coming off DAT are going to sound better if we have the raw feed, without an air gap. And the same is true of "live PA" acts (which is what DJs call themselves when they try to pretend they're in a band instead of just doing mixing of prerecorded material.)

In other news, the Icecast server keeps hanging. I don't know why; it's been up for 45 days, and nothing seems out of the ordinary on the machine, but I've had to restart it three times in the last 48 hours. "Maybe rebooting will fix it."

I'm still baffled as to how people manage to do this. The only place the various email addresses like are listed is on the Contact page, and nowhere on that page does it say anything about beta1-adrenergic receptors.

Subject: About DNA Sequencing Order
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 20:09:19 +0800
From: =?gb2312?.......=?= <>
To: <>

Dear Professor :

Can you test the whole DNA sequence of beta1-adrenergic receptor? Can you determine whether there is gene mutation in the DNA sequence and the positions of the mutation?

We prepared the sample as follows, is it acceptable?

  1. the DNA is abstracted using QIAGEN (DNA Blood Mini Kit) reagent box
  2. the sample is original DNA
  3. the DNA is dissolved in TE (Tris-HCL and EDTA)
  4. the volume of the sample is 350ul

What is the temperature required for preserving the samples?

There are 1434 (478 multiply 3) base pairs in beta1-adrenergic receptor. How much does it cost to test the whole DNA sequence of beta1-adrenergic receptor and determine the mutation positions? How much should we pay at the time of delivering sample?

Could you tell me your post address, postcode, phone number and the receiver for sending sample? In which way will you notify me the testing result?

My contact information is as follows:
Telephone: 86-755-########

eagerly waiting for your answer
Ms. Xxx Xxxx, Shenzhen, China

I'm sure I've only made it worse by posting this message, thus providing more fodder for people Googling us for things we don't do.