High Fidelity

High Fidelity – 2011 – The Digital Rebellion


High Fidelity. 


Great Movie.

But even more importantly many of us could identify directly with the characters in the movie.
I have a friend who is a hybrid between Jack Black's character ("Barry") and John Cusack's ("Rob"). He works in a very well known independent record store and has done for many years; Through my formative years he has shaped my musical tastes in many ways by religiously producing excellent mix tapes which formed the majority of my vehicular audio accompaniments at university….
Happy days…..
But Tapes are gone now…..and so is Vinyl……CD's will be next. So I have decided to solve the conundrum faced by Rob and Dick about organising your record collection. Chronological? Alphabetical?
None of the above. CD's are dead, baby – its all about lossless FLACs these days.

The O2, and beyond

It’s been a while since I’ve done any updates so I thought it would be a good idea to post what I’ve been up to for the past 3 years.

First up is this:

The O2, Dublin

The link is quoted at the bottom in case the news item disappears in the future.

The O2 in dublin; Everything in the attached write up is accurate – my role was project manager of the project, which included the majority of design works, (supported by a small but skilled engineering team).

It was enormously complicated, the most complicated lighting control job we’ve  (Andromeda Telematics) done in our 10 year history. We did manage to finish it in 5 months, and it has been a very successful project. It was also my first project as a manager, so it was a great result.

I’m currently doing a much bigger project (6 times bigger) – Dublin Airport Terminal 2, which is nearing completion after 2 years. I’ll post another one when it’s finished!

KNX solution at the O2 Dublin sets new standards
KNX UK Association member Andromeda Telematics (ATL) was shortlisted in the KNX International Awards presented at the 2010 Light+Building Exhibition in Frankfurt for the company’s O2 project in Dublin. It is a showcase of progressive design and building services providiing an integrated control solution for the renovation, delivering innovative KNX/DALI colour change functionality as well as an emergency lighting test system.
With an entertainment venue of this scale safety was also paramount, with lighting control signalling exits and providing emergency lighting.  It was also important to create a perception of the venue as energy-conscious and this was achieved using  sustainable KNX design.
Cutting edge building services were integral to the relaunch of the O2 with lighting playing a major role and lighting control being utilised in a practical sense.  Pre-show, interval and post-show lighting scenes help to create structure for shows and lighting in facilities such as the toilets, front of house and bars is key.
The KNX/DALI solution includes building-wide lighting scene control for public areas, controllable via local touch screens and a central headend.  There is also local scene set control and dimming in the private bar areas, as well as local control in all back-of-house areas for override of lighting condition.
The external lighting controls feature lux sensors which activate lighting automatically at dusk.  Vitally, an override function is available for periods where the building is unoccupied, such as holidays.  The building’s facade features colour change sequencing and pattern selection through DALI.  Similarly, the auditorium itself features colourised lightscapes, with colour change fittings and high power dimming combinations, with a portable touch screen controller.
Through this complex solution, ATL has provided a customised global control system, offering the ability to alter lighting states throughout the building.  The system delivers the capabilities to create individualised lighting scenes for each show both on the facade and in the auditorium, creating varying ambience and enhancing the customer experience as desired.
The solution also has the ‘green’ credentials and the KNX technology used for the project itself provides energy-savings through reduced cabling, and the robust and reliant nature of the protocol reduces maintenance costs.  The lighting control strategy undertaken has also proven to reduce energy consumption by up to 60%, with presence detection and lux sensors meaning that lighting is only active when required.
The time-scale in which the project needed to be completed was also particularly challenging as there was only a five month period from delivery of first panel to site to the completion of commissioning.  The project represented important steps both for ATL and the KNX community as a whole with  ATL taking DALI colour change capabilities to a new level of functionality.

Wow – What a gaming engine

Having grown up as a young graphics coder, under the wing of my eldest brother, furiously trying to write efficient graphics routines in a strange mix of Turbo Pascal 6 and raw embedded ASM code, I really couldn’t help but be astonished by the incredible realism of realitime graphics these days. 10 years ago, this would have passed for top end blockbuster movie special effects to die for.  Enjoy. The tune aint bad either……..

So I’m off for a long weekend!!!

Hurray! I’m going to spain for 4 days! It’s 25 degrees there – and Maria and I can enjoy photos, sun, seafood and just a little privacy in Maria’s flat (we have two properties dontchaknow).

 To be honest – I need it. Work has been getting me down, but the sun brightens me up, so I can manage a little better with Spring leaving us and summer knocking on the door. I’m also off to Dublin on business next week, which should be a welcome change to the drudgery of highlighting schematics and sending out quotations all day long.

My assistant Jason is moving across from Sales to Engineering, too – mainly because I think he didnt enjoy the work I do. I don’t enjoy the work I do either, and I’m sure he will get better job satisfaction from field engineering; It will also have the benefit of giving him an array of life experience which simply cannot be achieved in an office environment, and from which he will benefit immensely. 

 All in all, the future looks brighter all round. It may not be orange but its definitely a warm Tan of some sort. Feeling positive feels good.

See you when I get back.


All the gear….

We’ve all been there –

      A new interest, something thats so exciting, you really want to get INTO it. Oh yes. You need ALL the gear!

 Well you know what I mean. In this case – it’s photography; Now Maria has got all the gear , a nice DSLR, 3 lenses, 2 filters, the bag, 2 tripods, and a good eye for a shot.

I, on the other hand, have got a second hand compact fixed lens thing which runs at only 3 megapixels.

Today, at our photography course I was frustrated, as my camera couldn’t do all the things it needed to to perform in the lesson. I came home and looked on the net for a proper camera immediately. But do I need it? The short answer is yes. I will need a better camera soon. I am becoming more proficient with my composition, and more inventive with my technical shots – the camera will very soon become the limit; However it is not the limit yet!! Padawan has much to learn…..

The long answer is – not yet. I almost clicked “Buy It Now” – the Ebay impulse, its so easy, with paypal, you dont even have to get your wallet out of your pocket. Its really disgraceful.  But right now, I am better off flipping the knobs on my quick and dirty cam and snapping the composition which flits into my slightly warped minds eye, and praying for a good result, of which there are many. 

I am proud to say I didnt do it. How many other consumer pawns can say the same this year? A bargain camera, that gut feeling of “I want it, I can have it!, its my decision! Shall I get it? well….y’know…..maybe….sort of……………………. ( at this point the greed goblin is whispering in your ear “you can’t live without this consumer product…..take it, take it now, its your only chance….show me you are a real man with a credit rating!”)”

I beat the goblin. 

Maria wants to buy me a DSLR for our anniversary, with the money we _would_ have spent on the advanced photography course.

We decided not to do the advanced because on the one hand some of our coursemates were having trouble getting to grips with the basics, which we felt held us back, and on the other hand, they had expressed an interest in proceeding to the advanced course. Thus we wisely spake – they shall hold us back once more.

 And so I eagerly await…my chosen steed – the Canon EOS 350D, of which there are many Canon Re-worked returns items availabel on ebay, in that nice silvery finish, with a matching lens…..My new idol for the summer, my pilgrimage of financial strife, all leads to this beautiful, wonderful consumer product. Hit it!

Facebook woes….

Whether or not the bubble is going to burst for the facebook entity, there is one thing that cannot be denied;

It IS addictive. I connected with pretty much everyone I’ve ever known in my past via Facebook. And some people who I didnt even remember!

So now on, swiftly to the immortal question of the cybermillions; How are they ever planning to make any money? Facebook is worth more than the Ford Motor Company, and not a single one of its users pays for it! I am baffled, as the only revenue that I can see is one little google ads-style window next to my profile.

The truth is that there are some particularly worrying people who actually pay for virtual “drinks” and “cakes” and “gifts” to give their friends.

Yes. I know. I’m scared too.

Applications – millions of the damn things, scrabble, poker, IQ tests, Which dog are you? quizzes, all of it completely USELESS, POINTLESS things which we all still choose to indulge in for some misguided reason. Could people begin to charge for those?

 What about an Ebay plugin? Bank account plugins. Charge the commercial companies for access to the vast network of potential customers! Good idea, I hear you cry? Wait, no, that was the inland revenue…..

Surely people would defect in their droves….surely.

But – it is, for all of its flaws, quite the simply the most well thought out, effective social networking engine on the planet. If you could apply a MySpace-esque HTML “homepage” flavour to your profile, it would be nothing less than a fully operational space station.

Of course, up until now the enormous server and development bill appears to be stumped up only by venture capitalists. As has been said by greater minds than mine – that makes it a pyramid scheme. 

Somehow, I cant help thinking that the bubble is going to burst. These are most certainly interesting times.