Archive for April, 2009

WTPA Shipping, Video Synth Prototype Shown Off.

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

So WTPA is no Wii Fit Circa Christmas 2008 or anything, but it’s been nice to see the orders come in. I have been admittedly slow and horrible about moving them out the door, but am getting better.

Above you can see part of the reason at least — a WTPA based video synthesizer I made for a sloppy rocker dude video art party in Brooklyn last weekend. The party was fun, the synth was cool, and most importantly I’m excited to get started on the next one.

In line with my new-found forefather vs cherry tree honesty style I will say a couple things: I have decided I must do this sort of thing mostly to prove stuff to myself about electronics nerdery. Like, I get a kick out of challenging myself to build some esoteric fruitcakery like this in all of four days, or must because lord knows I don’t make money on it, and not very many people see it, and those people that do mostly don’t get it.

So that leaves ego and da love of da game as motivations. And learning, but I think that is tied up pretty tightly with the first two.

Something else I will say: I set myself on fire making that thing –>

For reals. It was a first. It sucked. Word to the wise: acrylic takes a lot more heat to bend than ABS. And apparently a lot more heat in general than a hoodie.

Also, for those of you who do like to mess with plastics, if you haven’t gotten a set of the fancypants acrylic drillbits with the special rake and pointy ends, they will change your life. You might cry. I almost did, but stopped when I realized I was in need of extiguishing.

Finally, for those of you who wrote me looking for videos of WTPA, they’re in the “Lejendary Adventures-esque jaunt through time and space in no particularly succinct fashion” section above along with all the other longwinded esoterica about this project. [Ed Note: Nope, they’re here in this blog now.]

Oh, and in case you’re in the hood and curious I’m talking about sampling theory and how to design cool stuff in general in LA this Sunday at the fine and noble Machine Project. It should be fun (and free) and I’ll have kits for sale.

WTPA v1.01 Released at Bent, Now Shipping. More Manuals Forthcoming.

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

So it finally happened. WTPA is out! I officially dropped the marble at Bent 2009, which was a real blast. To come clean and be totally honest, I actually released WTPA on the Thursday before BENT to the list of faithful WTPA-heads who have been blowing up my inbox for the last few months. You know who you are, and you rule.
To continue to be honest, I have already gotten word back from the first (AFAICT) nerd to not only complete, but MOD WTPA — Mssr Pete Edwards of Casperelectronics. So get crackin.

There’s still plenty of stuff I need to deliver on this site: The operation manual and MIDI implementation chart, the Theory of Operation Manual, schematics and source. They’ll be here this week, at least some of them. I also, more physically, have to get all the orders I’ve gotten out the door. One piece of math I neglected to do: if I’m flying along stuffing parts bags at the rate of one every 5 minutes, and do not pee, sleep, or flip the record, it will take 17 straight hours to stuff 200 bags. Given that it took like One Million hours to get the program and hardware done for WTPA, this isn’t all that significant, but man, is it boring.
Then again, I suppose it’s no more boring than waiting on a whinging prima donna emedded systems nerd who’s too busy making a new prototype analog video synth extention for WTPA to get off his duff and SHIP ME MY ISH.

Rolling to Bent 2009, Dropping Pearls

Friday, April 17th, 2009


Yep, I’m on a jet plane with a bag of art-nerd-bitmagick.
It’s finally happening. Come Back Monday for Business Hours!
In the meantime, some reading:

[Editors note: These are NOT current anymore. xo. TB]

WTPA Component Guide v1.01
WTPA Assembly Guide v1.01


WTPA v1.01, King of New York

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Excuse me, but All I’d Like to Know…

WTPA v1.0 Stuffed With Code Like So Much Stove Top

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

No pretty pictures today. The hex for WTPA is up to >10kB, which is quite possibly the most code I’ve ever crammed onto an 8-bit part.

The feature list is full and then some, and the ISRs are beginning to suffer speed wise. When the sampler is cranking out multitimbral stuff at high rates you can hear the audio bog down, which I guess is ideologically in line with the “crusty first” aesthetic, but it bugs the anal programmer in me.

In the waning hours before Bent this means going through all the pristine, general ISRs and doing what I can to save cycles, avoid divides, replace conditional branches with jump tables, etc etc. This usually means the code gets ugly, at least for me.

Tomorrow (this morning, I guess) the proper board Rev comes in — that means I’ve got to make a new WTPA and take pretty pictures, and write the manual. Lots of stuff to do before Saturday…

Oh, and did I mention the limited edition video-synthesis daughter board I’m making for WTPA? Come see it in New York at Secret Project Robot on the 25th.