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Da5id Weatherwax

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About Da5id Weatherwax

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  1. Ok, so here goes with my second review of gear from the perspective of performing in SL. I'm one of those guitar players that is pretty much a devotee of the Boss line when it comes to pedals and FX. As an instrumentalist I started on keys like most of us do, and like most of us fell in love with the Roland line of keyboards. This sorta predisposed me to looking at the Boss brand from the same company when it came to buying stompboxes and other gear for my guitars. With that admission of potential bias out of the way, here goes.... Performing in SL has its issues. Our home studio spaces share some of the problems that plague live venues and that we've all dealt with, dirty power lines, overloaded outlets, sources of interference.. But one of those really tends to be worse in a home setting. Dirty power. That 50hz earth hum that no matter what you do somehow creeps in from somewhere that you can't back off the gain enough without making a channel unusable. It has to be admitted that guitar pickups are usually the culprit. They resonate with it as enthusiastically as a whore with a billionaire, if they have any hardwired connection to the main system. Guitarists through the years have wrestled with this, they've risked their safety by installing ground lift switches on their gear, manufacturers have built those things in where the local electrical codes permitted but just lifting the ground is sometimes not enough. You will see folks marketing wireless guitar systems as "freeing you from the tangled cable" but for us, in this environment, there is an even stronger argument. Your guitar won't hum no more. A wired DI box, giving you a balanced path into the mix, is great. It will often flatten the hum completely but it brings with it its own issues. Is it battery powered? If so then you're still buying or recharging batteries between sets. It's an expense. If it is powered off mains juice, then its a fresh "way in" for the hum. Almost certainly lower than from the guitar using a high-Z unbalanced cable but it can be there, and if it can you know that it will exactly when you dont want it to. And you're still wiring the guitar to the DI box with a standard cable - otherwise known as an "antenna". Once the hum is in the sound you can connect it to the desk as cleanly as you like and it won't go away. A few months ago I had the opportunity to add a WL-50 to my pedalboard. I have to say, I love this thing. The transmitter contains a built-in switch that mutes it when disconnected from the guitar. You can switch guitars in the middle of a stream without either having to dedicate separate input channels to the two guitars or subjecting your audience to the unplug/replug pops and clicks. The receiver is the same size as most Boss stompboxes and just sits on the end of your pedalboard like another effect. Slot the transmitter into the receiver and it charges it up. All of the usual stuff that you want with a wireless instrument system. And it is SILENT. No hum at all, in what I must admit is a horrible power/interference environment, even when I crank the input gain on that channel to insane levels. Now, the downside to systems like this is, as the manufacturers admit, that it can't be guaranteed to work with guitars that have active electronics. If your guitar needs a battery then the odds are you will have problems with this system - either no sound at all or a persistent clicking and popping. BUT THIS IS AVOIDABLE. the reason for the problems is that guitars that have active electronics actually use a TRS(tip/ring/sleeve) socket - what you may think of as a "stereo socket" - while expecting a TS(tip/sleeve) plug - "mono" or standard instrument cable. The guitar uses the ring connector to switch on and off the electronics so it doesn't run down your battery when not plugged in. Wireless systems like the WL-50 use a TRS plug on the transmitter to make it detect when its plugged into the receiver rather than a guitar. Two devices using this connector in different ways has unpredictable results. So stick a like-to-like quarter-inch TS adapter between your guitar and the WL-50 (or indeed any other wireless system with this issue) transmitter. The most commonly available ones are right-angle adapters, for obvious reasons, but there are others. It just has to connect a mono TS socket to to a mono TS plug.The guitar sees a TS plug. Ring and sleeve connectors in its socket are grounded together. The guitars electronics operate as intended. The wireless transmitter sees a TS socket which doesn't have a "ring" connector, so that voltage "floats" as expected and it "knows" it's plugged into an instrument. Stick an adapter like this on every guitar you'll use in a set and move the transmitter between them with the lack of pops and clicks from plugging and unplugging. Just remember to remove the adapters from your guitars between sets/rehearsals or you'll run down the battery powering your guitars electronics.
  2. THIS. Now, it's important to note that this is NOT the way specularity is supposed to work. In a modern PBR engine a metallic surface is the only thing that should have colored specularity. But it IS the way SL specularity works, both before and after EEP. Balancing the tint (if any) in the specular map with the environment factor is hugely important if something is to look right and its real subtle - the tiniest differences in the map or env value (as modified by the specular maps alpha channel) can make a huge change in how something looks.
  3. Indeed. The one I use is configured to: block all traffic to or content from any facebook.com domain unless the page itself is in that domain. block all traffic or content from google.com sites unless I'm on a google site (including things like gmail.com and youtube.com) unless I am on one of those sites or have explicitly whitelisted the domain I load for google content access - even when whitelisted it silently dumps all cookie set/get/send requests from google sites unless I'm actually accessing a google page facebook-level (total cross-site block) for several other social platforms domains. google-level (cross-site block unless whitelisted, but still a total block on cross-site cookies) for some others.
  4. I'm a fairly broad-shouldered guy (albeit wiry rather than bulky - martial arts as your physical fitness regime will do that to you even if I didn't have a genetic predisposition that way) and I sure don't look like my body was built by a kite-maker in RL. If you know your way around the shape editor you really DONT have to to look like a 'roid-boy, even with bodies like Aesthetic Enzo that have the musclebound look as their default shape - it IS fitted and responds to your sliders! I see somebody who wears that look when the RL tab of their profile doesn't say "Professional bodybuilder and powerlifter" with at least some credibility... Well, I'm afraid my immediate thought is "All horns and no balls"
  5. When I hear someone use the B-word I like to remind them that a female canine is loyal, persistent in the face of adversity when she believes in what she's doing, fierce in defense of those she cares about and that the term came into use as a derogative because unlike the males they tend not to posture, if you're a threat to something they feel bound to defend they tend to just go for it. As a result they got a rep for attacking without warning when this mostly happened to people (usually men) who blundered across their sensibilities without understanding. Consequently, if one must use it as an insult at least give it the note of (maybe grudging) respect to go along with it that it deserves.
  6. some useful bits and pieces for baking textures in blender 2.8 with cycles for use in SL.... The texture node that is the target of your bake does not need to be connected to anything. It just has to be the active node and have an image assigned. The target of your bake does not have to have the same UV mapping as you used for any other images that contribute to the material. Just make sure you get rid of any other UV maps before you export the collada. The one applicable to the bake target must be the only one the model has when you upload it. Note that this is also useful for combining multiple blender materials in to a single SL material. You lay out the "SL UV" as if those multiple materials in blender were a single material, lay out the UV(s) for the contributing blender materials as you see fit. Make the image target for all those blender materials point to the same image and bake with the "clear image" option unchecked. Post bake, you create a new material fed by the textures you just baked, select all the materials you want to combine into it and assign their faces to the new one, then delete the original material slots from the model.
  7. You won't get a word of disagreement from me on that one! I know LL are considering it... But it almost makes the point about how big a hit the specularity changes are, it's been how many years with deferred out there before LL started considering making it the baseline? With it being core to the official viewer now EEP is as impactful on content as deferred rendering was when it was first introduced and yet it has become the baseline immdiately. I, personally, don't have any problem with this - most of what I make is for me and so if I pull something out of my inventory and it's got pre-EEP specularity still on it and looks like hell, well I've got all the base files to fix it and remake the materials in minutes. Customers of all the skin and body shops don't have that luxury. I'm not, in any way, saying that it shouldn't have been done or that EEP should be rolled back because of the impact of these changes. I just foresee a fair bit of howling over it.
  8. Indeed. I just finished a build that had specular maps involved and I switched to an EEP viewer midway through it and had to adjust not just the specular maps but the glossiness maps in the normals alpha channel too, knowing that EEP would hit the official viewer about the time I finished it. However, the fact that all those skins/bodies will need their map redoing is going to be an issue - there's a LOT of them out there and it's a pretty sure bet that some of their makers are not going to update what's already out there. In its own way this level of "breaking existing content" is up there with what happened with all the stuff using invisiprims when deferred rendering hit the grid, if not more significant because deferred rendering started as, and still is (for now), an option - but EEP is core code.
  9. I think the biggest issue with the changes to the specularity in EEP is actually with mesh bodies that use a specular map to give the skin a subtle sheen (not the "freshly oiled" look that some folks favor, I'm talking about a much more subtle effect) The other day I was hanging out with a friend who wears what was a rather beautiful dark skin with a very well-done subtle sheen, pre-EEP. In any EEP-enabled viewer she looks like she was cast in bronze. It's very noticeable on many, many avatars.
  10. No harshing! Promise Although I confess.. You've now got me going back through characters I've played as a radio actor and making myself laugh by expressing the same sentiment in their different voices
  11. That will, sadly, have to wait until that missing hardware arrives and I get my system rebuilt. The netbook I'm working on right now can maybe run a viewer for about 15 minutes before it runs out of memory and locks up and attempting to stream audio from it has truly hideous results. This is, to be honest, the primary reason for the extreme stabbiness resulting from that hardware's delays. I truly, monumentally, HATE letting down a venue or audience I've promised to perform for and the number of sets I've had to cancel since my system melted down is, to use a common SL reference (albeit with a slight adjustment for a PG forum) "Too Darn High"
  12. In fairness, lassie, I should point out that my accent, such as it is, has been seriously corrupted. Starting with the fact that I am of a generation when it was unsurprising that my mother was absolutely insistent that my brother and I would pick up neither the accent of our families native Stirlingshire nor that of Liverpool where I, at least, first learned to talk. Family influence being what it is, though, I ended up with a sort of hybrid NorthWestEngland/Scots accent as my baseline but then spent half my life in the upper midwest. As a result it's a sort of "mid-Atlantic bastard" these days, vaguely identifiable as "British", perhaps, but not always. My US acquaintances kept thinking I was a New Zealander until I told them different, which mostly told me they'd never heard a REAL NZ accent but it does illustrate that my current accent is such that pretty much wherever I go the only thing people can be certain of is than I'm "Not from around here" - Even when I actually AM
  13. Today I feel... Stabby. VERY stabby. The saga of replacement hardware gets better and better. I totally get how folks are having difficulties meeting online order demands right now. I am fine with folks saying "we can't ship this until...." But when you tell me "we'll ship no later than Friday for Saturday AM delivery" and I pay for that option then checking my email this morning and seeing the "it's shipped" email should be good, right? And it was - until I checked the timestamp. It was timestamped well after the couriers pickup deadline. Sure enough, when I check the tracking with the courier, it's at "we are awaiting the package" - my hardware is "shipped" - as in it has been checked out of the warehouse, packaged and the courier notified for pickup - but it is still sitting on the dock because it was "shipped" after the deadline! Now I've no idea when it will actually get here...
  14. You sound exactly like a wonderful lady who used to teach at the same dojo I did.. When there was a need to touch she never hesitated, I even saw her once, without batting an eye, step in to somebody writhing on the ground, put her heel in their armpit at the same time as grabbing their wrist and reduce a dislocation before the shock had time to wear off. And you seriously did not EVER want to take a fight with this lady into a grappling match. She sure mopped up the mat with me every time I let her inside my guard that far anyway! But off the mat she was only ever remotely tactile with one person, her partner. Everyone else she'd much rather nod or, in formal situations, bow, than even a perfunctory shake of the hand. Somehow this managed to not seem at odds with her warm and friendly personality - it was just who she was and it was ok.
  15. I've been doing my bit to help my fellow Y-chromosomes evolve. The knuckle-busting handshake has always irritated the F outta me, and being a geek (and looking like one for most of my life) it had been something I had to learn to deal with. And then I realized that all that martial arts stuff had, in fact, showed me where all the pressure points in a hand were and all I needed to do was move my thumb a little and trying the knucklebuster on me would hurt... After that I can honestly say nobody has ever tried to squish my paw more than once. I'm happy to contribute their learning experiences to the general population
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