January 13, 2005

Knobs and switches

There was a research group at Berkeley where the Professor was notorious for coming into the lab and fiddling with all the settings on the instrument. So whenever the grad students built a new circuit, they would add a dummy dial for the professor. He'd come into lab and they'd say, 'Try adjusting the Einzel lens, there.'

The coolest switch I have come across was on the chrome-plated radio of the 1967 Chrysler New Yorker that I bought from the original owner in Minnesota and drove in California for a few years. It worked like a charm and sat next to the usual row of mechanical station-preset buttons: 'Reverb.' Flip the toggle and whatever you were listening to goes though the echo chamber. Those were the days!

If I was going to design a new sound effect for musicians it would be 'Train Station.' You plug your electric guitar or microphone into this box and press the switch with your foot, and everything becomes booming, echoey and incomprehensible. But I'm too late-- these boxes must already exist because they are used in all the European train stations.

If you were to create a new button, switch or hot key what would it do?

7 Comments:

At January 13, 2005 11:41 PM , Blogger David Bickford said...

Dood - I would love to have the James Bond ability/responsibility with a liscense to kill. Vaporize, actually. Right on the dashboard of my cutest Subaru. Driving in Miami gave me a new understanding/level of disappointment with humanity and I OFTEN pushed the imaginary "VAPORIZE" button on my dash that would always bring a smile to my face, no matter how rude or terrible people behaved on the roads of Miami, FL. Just the car right in front of me - thats all - and they had to really EARN it - often with repeated lane changes with no signal, at top speed while on a cell phone...or my personal fave: absurd repetitive honking. Anyhoot, glad thats off my chest!

 
At January 14, 2005 6:57 PM , Blogger Matt_J said...

Dave-- excellent-- right on, that's the button I'd want too. I think it should be possible to find an old Space Invaders console in a junkyard somewhere and use one of those buttons. Or why not just get a paintball gun and mount it onto one of those security guard roof-mount spotlight handles?

 
At January 15, 2005 10:53 PM , Blogger Tim said...

How hard would it be to set up a powerful microwave in the grill of your car? That would cook flesh pretty well, though not actually vaporize it. How would they ever catch you?

 
At January 16, 2005 10:04 AM , Blogger Matt_J said...

I'm curious about these devices that send a powerful burst of sound 20 or 30 yards.

 
At January 16, 2005 10:06 AM , Blogger Matt_J said...

I'm curious about these devices that send a powerful burst of sound 20 or 30 yards. One of the great benefits of getting to work by bike-train-bike is avoiding road rage. But I do find myself getting really mad at cars sometimes, when I'm on my bike. When possible I smack them.

 
At January 16, 2005 10:07 AM , Blogger Matt_J said...

I'm curious about these devices that send a powerful burst of sound 20 or 30 yards. One of the great benefits of getting to work by bike-train-bike is avoiding road rage. But I do find myself getting really mad at cars sometimes, when I'm on my bike. When possible I smack them.

 
At January 16, 2005 4:54 PM , Blogger Matt_J said...

Note to myself: It is only necessary to click the 'Publish Your Comment' button once. Be especially careful when attempting to blog and supervise children simultaneously.

 

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