The Nord C2 and Its Amazing Adventures[0]

The sprawling saga of my beloved home electronic organ is divided into sections:

... Incidentally, if you actually want to know something about the Nord C2 et al aside from my innocent prattle, as well as http://www.nordkeyboards.com/ be sure to consult http://www.norduserforum.com/ where a whole section is devoted to C1/C2/C2D instruments, with ignorance just as extravagant as mine but knowledge and wisdom too....

My Meta-Excuses

This site is driven by elevated compassion; no other forces need apply. ... I don’t want your email address; you can’t join my forum or group; I refuse to send you a newsletter or digest. ... There are no subscriptions; there is nothing. ... It is void; without form or excuse....

The Home Electronic Organ

In this vast encomium of the Nord C2 and then the virtual organs, I call upon the shades of the home electronic organs of my youth which used to thrill me wherever they gathered, mostly in the piano sections of department/music stores. While my Nord + the electronic debris it demands are really only a caricature of those machines, although they sound much better, they are nevertheless in a continuum of pitiful home organs and their organists, attempting to make cheery noises in their living rooms — no matter how much the snooty latter-day VTPOers snarl at such, and deride the crummy proletarian home machines, and imagine their beautiful theater organ voices have nothing to do with the humble home electronics of the past. ... The truth is, they have everything to do with them, and their pitiful short staggered manuals, and their schmalz.

It’s like this: theater organs =>Hammond organs => home electronic organs => the beautiful and amazing virtual theater organs. ... Each descendant, in its turn, trying to catch the shmalzy theatrical magic of the original theater organ. Each failing in numerous & exciting ways including the original theater organs, always parts-on-order and poorly maintained, but the home organs come in for particular scorn, even ’though they tried the best they could. ... A certain tolerance is displayed amongst the faithful for the hammonds, but not for the despised other home organs, despite their obviously honorable place in the constellation.

... I’ve owned used Yamaha DK40 and Hammond Commodore home organs, both successful products, both cheap/used in our organ-disdaining latter days. These machines just played, probably with little technical attention, and both are gone now, after decades of service, even to me for a few years, and both defied repair, at least by this home organist. Although I should note the Hammond departed in the seemingly-inevitable decay of their avant-garde electronic parts....

My beautiful Nord doubtless will leave in its turn, but probably can be replaced for less than it cost — then again maybe not — but maybe even repaired, since I can carry it somewhere to get it fixed....

The Virtual Obsession ...

But now I will praise the heroic virtual organists, without whom there would be no beautiful software virtual organs, who struggled in the interim between the halcyon days of my beloved home organs and today’s amazing digital keyboards while I lazed about in the shade tormenting a few derelict antiques. ... Their relentlessly-unsung work made it possible for me to enjoy the beautiful software virtual organs, and without their endless delving even Nord’s startlingly-eccentric built-in baroque emulation which so ensnared my heart unheard would’ve been less likely. Not to mention the astonishing Cameron Carpenter Touring Organ....

I am particularly obliged because they did this stuff, no doubt to satisfy their own selfish desires, while I, without too much attention, rejected their hopes and dreams! ... I was — and am — fairly ignorant but by no means unaware of their technical progress, and with faint acquaintance despised their obviously flaky rube golderbergesque accomplishments — which characterization is not inapplicable today, even as I delight in their works and descendants: if Hauptwerk or Miditzer or my vast tottery Nord Imperium aren’t cranky complicated likely-to-fail gadgets, I don’t know what....

But at least partly because of the virtual organists’ ceaseless toil, the organs in and outside my ravishing Nord have reached a point where even I can put up with their frailties, and innocently enjoy their sweet virtual digital beauty. ... Which, I note with mingled and amused regret and appreciation, were doubtless inspired to a dubious degree by the virtual organists’ console obsessions. ... Despite themselves, the snooty VTPOer’s desire for a large console with swarms of stops reprises the ancient home organ lust, which notoriously attracted the foolish consumer — and the 12-year-old hopelessly-smitten fan — with gaily colored buttons and stops. ... That is, my beloved home organs were Veblen’s apotheosis of conspicuous consumption....

The passing years saw the expensive organ analog electronics evolve to today’s relatively cheap and far superior software/digital magic; and the colored tabs and buttons, advertising ornaments for the electronic toys of my youth with their inflexible fixed voices, are today’s costly and useless impedimenta, when I can switch entire organs of beautiful digital voices with the click of a mouse — but nevertheless, beloved stigmata for the console-obsessed. ... And somehow their cause is mine ... and I must be grateful to them....

Useless Philosophy

Useless philosophy tells us we can’t return to the past, and it wouldn’t be any good anyway. And so be it! ... But I might yet get another of these wretched antique home electronic organs ... certainly before a vast and dubious console. ... And finally it occurred to me — always a little slow this way — that my beloved virtual organs are so beloved at least in part for how they stand against time; and defy death. ... Even though the age of home organs, with my youth, has passed irretrievably away, still I play one today — which is indeed more beautiful, if less reliable, than my childish dreams; as is often the way with ghosts. ... But this spirit is still present and physical, at least as much as computer equipment ever is ... a wraith-like bunch if ever there was....

And then a fellow recorded with his iphone a video of himself playing his beautiful “ruby” theater organ and I realized my rant about the colored buttons is no joke — the buttons and manuals are good, it’s part of the show, and the performance would be much poorer without, even as I scorn them as ridiculously-costly baubles....

The War Against Organs — Electronic

The front line in the ridiculous struggle are organists — the goal, a world totally free of organs; unless they happen to have hollow tubes with air pumped through them. They scoff and spit at hideous electronic devices such at my beloved Nord C2; and they agitate relentlessly against the few remaining religious institutions who would dare engage in electronic heresy, just because pipe organs are so ridiculously expensive. ... All organist publications, classical (The Diapason) and theater (ATOS) must follow the party line, even if they’re obviously supported by advertising from the filthy electrons — i.e., Allen organ advertises a lot; Johannus, Rodgers, too. ... The spiteful organists apparently believe that nothing succeeds like failure — if they can’t have their giant expensive pipe organs, then nobody should have anything. ... They can take pride in their relentless stupidity, which may indeed eventually be responsible for an entirely organless world: it is incontrovertible that pipe organ numbers decline every year, and if nobody plays the instrument in whatever form it takes, that makes it all the less likely that historical and new pipe organ projects will have any support.

Of course, I never learned how to play, but that doesn’t stop me! ... I support all organs, regardless of race color creed or technology, and I think the organists are just dog-in-the-manger cry-babies. ... Will their war succeed? I have no idea; but I relish the thought of some weird latter-day organ fad taking hold of the kids and the few nonagenarian “professional” organ-hating organists spitting from their walkers. ... Although I have noticed the war retreating in intensity in recent years, thank goodness....

LATE NEWS: ATOS Apostate!

Pigs are flying! The ATOS Journal (editorial, 7/12) has recognized electronic organs as suitable objects of theater organ devotion! The world is made anew! ... I welcome them joyfully into the twentieth century....

LATER NEWS: The World Cools

The Organ Historical Society, once a bastion of electronic hate, has shown signs of tolerance for some years, at least for theater organs, showing-up at an ATOS festivity in Atlanta to memorialize the Fox Theater organ as historic and sacred to organists. ... I don’t think they’ve crossed the line over to electronic tolerance, but tolerating ATOS, who has, might do it. ... That leaves the Diapason as the last major hold-out, still bemoaning the tragic neglect of buggy whips with the kids today, while routinely running sizable ads from the evil electronistas....

— the deeply compassionate truly amateur organist
3/16


Cleaning My Father’s Model One Tivoli Radio

That’d be the radio to the right in the beautiful picture. The volume control would make nasty noises, to the point where it was difficult to get it to “set” to the right volume; and the large tuning thing was noisy too. All old analog gadgets used to get like this, and we’d take ’em apart and clean the controls. The trick is, I couldn’t tell by looking at it if the obvious 4 screws on the outer edges of the back were the correct ones to unscrew. (See qxr for more stories.)

So, just because nobody else on the web’d say, it’s like

  1. There are four Phillips screws in the deep holes on the four corners of the back. You use a long Phillips screwdriver to get ’em out. That’s really the hard part....

  2. Then, the front comes out a bit; it’s still attached by wires, but plenty of room to ....

  3. Spray tuner cleaner — Radio Shack Control/Contact Cleaner & Lubricant 64-4315 for instance — at each control. AVOID spraying the speaker. The volume control has little slots in it, and so does the tuner thing. I zapped it just a bit with tuner cleaner in these openings, and then tried the control with the set on, and it seemed to do the trick.

— the relentlessly industrious geezer tech
Friday, October 9, 2009 3:49 pm

That’s a 120’ cassette box, perched on the sideways Tivoli with photocopied LP notes that I made of Walter Kraft’s Complete Organ Music of Johann Sebastian Bach — 18 records! ... Sometime in the Mesozoic. ... The boxed set is still in the basement....

The Advent of the Tivoli

This just in: In the antique junk wars, the Tivoli’s way ahead of the stupid Logitech Squeezebox. ... I have a precious Advent cassette player, which I bought for $20 from a marvelous electronic junk stall at an antique place. For the ignorant among us, this was a wonderful and very deluxe cassette deck in its day, and it still plays really well. ... And I have numerous cassettes; I recorded them myself, through the weary years, with various cassette recorders, all long-departed today. ... I had been playing them, sadly with great infrequency, on a boombox I inherited from my sainted progenitor, but it is not immortal, unlike the Advent.

So in a convulsion of my rather low-rent antique living room hifi set, the Advent — upon which I never played cassettes — was exiled, but I could not bear its isolation, and plotted to replace the Father’s Boombox with the Advent deck. ... But the Advent has no amplifier or speakers, unlike the boombox. ... And I thought, I will use the otherwise lamentably useless Logitech Squeezebox which, to be sure, has a nicely punchy amplifier/speaker.

And it worked! The Squeezebox, against all its historical tendencies, played the Advent, plugged-into its “line in” input, nicely! ... But only for two minutes! ... No mas. It would then stop. ... Because it’s designed in America by idiots. ... My guess is it couldn’t get my ever-changing wireless to go and, since a Prime Directive for American morons is to hook the customer up to something he can be bludgeoned into subscribing to — the not-subscription, unpaid-for, subversive free music had to stop....

But who cares why? ... The logitech squeezebox could not play my Advent, or your ipod, or any music source, for more than two minutes! That’s what “Made in American” means today! ... Total blithering probably-intentional incompetence....

... But, ah, the Tivoli — which was probably not actually made in America either — the Tivoli played on. ... Not quite as punchy as the squeezejunk, but arguably a better sound. ... Inarguably, a longer sound....

Tivoli Forever!

I must admit in my innocent musings I had been assuming the thing was deceased but there you are! It’s available today at Amazon for hundreds of dollars, the same old “Tivoli Model One” and there’s even the “Tivoli Model One BT” — blue tooth! Which may work as well as the pitiful Squeezebox. But BT or no, it still apparently honors an “aux” input....

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

SD Cards, Fat32, Daylight Savings Time, and the Beautiful and Gracious Windows

Like everyone else, I can’t remember what happens with Daylight Savings Time, whether it’s on or off, whether it goes backwards or forwards, and what it is now. I do know that from year to year I’ll have some pitiful bunch of junk on some storage medium which should be the same datestamp more-or-less as something else, and it’ll be off by an hour because the inscrutable operating system — now doing these incomprehensible things in Windows 8™ — has decided it must be so.

Fixdst is a program to fix that and if you click this maybe you can download fixdst.zip and remedy such ills. Or alternately enslave your children to a life of darkness and cold somewhat like we’ve been enjoying here on beautiful sunny long island recently. ... At the least, it’ll incinerate your hard drive, so don’t blame me; I told you. ... The C++ source is graciously included, if you happen to have the obsolete and cranky Borland Builder 5....

Anyway here is what it says when I type it on a command-line without arguments:

fixdst afn -mMinutes Nov 9 2012
adjust the file time of afn by minutes (signed).
-d recurse subdirectories. -v verbose.

An “afn” of “*” will mutilate all files in the current directory. ... And here is what I did and it said on a test directory on an SD travel drive:

i:\trvl\a\ls\64bits>fixdst * -m-60 -v
fixdst:findrecurse("*"):recursion 0
fixdst:findify("*")
fixdst:CHRFORM.EXE
fixdst:FIXTECSM.EXE
fixdst:log
fixdst:MKERR.EXE
fixdst:STARCHAR.EXE
fixdst:U4M.EXE

And indeed, the files in the directory were, subsequently, dated an hour back — the same as the corresponding files on my real programmers hard drive for that directory. So that I could’ve subsequently used one of my ricky-tick utilities for backup/restore to copy the files without copying 5 million “ringers” which weren’t actually supposed to be copied unless they were newer. Which of course I didn’t but instead copied all the junk anyway because I didn’t have this program then but now I do and life will be wonderful.

The “-d” option’ll do it through any subdirectories so I can do my entire SD disk if I want to and have a spare few years or I don’t know how long; an exercise for the user....

NTFS?

Incidentally, I haven’t actually tried it but this can all be avoided by formatting the SD or whatever for NTFS and then Microsoft supposedly will not clobber the dates randomly, lucky us. However I read something where they pointed-out it’ll wear out your flash faster. ... Another dubious candidate is the “exFAT” file system, which is supposedly optimized for thumb drives, but without going through the agony of actually trying, bits of web chitter suggest it’s a typical Microsoft dog’s breakfast and screws-up dates under various conditions....

— the often cold but never heartless programmer
Sun 12/1/13 6:28 pm

Win7 Explorer Contributing Artists

If your Windows 7 Explorer looks like the idiotic picture with helpful headings about “Album” and so-on, and trying to get a different “view” doesn’t work, don’t be annoyed! No No Windows 7 ’n’ Vista and whatever atrocity they’re concocting this week — it’s just trying to help!

When I was thrashing around trying to fix this the seventeenth time, a helpful web page said this:

Try going to the root folder where your MP3 files are, IE: My Music.

Right-click/properties/ Customize tab. Choose general items or documents from the ’optimize folder for:’ drop down. Check also apply this template to all subfolders. All music folders in the directory should now display like normal folders.

He was trying to make his MP3 folder have useful headings, i.e. like “size” and stupid stuff like that, but I’ve gotten seemingly-random heading eruptions like this — which usually don’t bother me, since I mostly use owenshow, which I wrote for reasons just like this — and following the procedure seems to fix it. It drops a “desktop.ini” in the folder so treated, but not in the sub-folders, or at least it didn’t just now.... (Friday, December 21, 2012)

The Plague Strikes Again!

And then @ Fri 6/6/14 11:58 am it happened again! To my pitiful virtual organ laptop when I was saving a “combo” file from the Miditzer program! I guess the explorer file dialogue sort-of thought “gee this looks like music” which it does, to me at least — so no more file size, date none of that boring stuff, but the ol’ contributing artists! ... You understand, I’ve been playing this instrument and saving this file for months, but then Windows must’ve idly realized “I haven’t screwed this guy up yet!” and headed over to make these stupid changes. ... What an operating system!...

— the happy programmer

I removed a printer in Windows 7 — and you can too!

Judging from the hits when googling “can’t remove printer” many are called but few are chosen; indeed Microsoft seems to have thoughtfully carried over the problem to Windows 8 and no doubt will continue it through the ages. ... It was probably some simple little thing, like Vista™ or something kept forgetting printers. And so Microsoft fixed it....

I had a printer once long ago and far away called “hp lj4” and I’ve removed it quite a few times and it has always so far returned on the next reboot and never left the printer list in my paint program for instance. ... Apparently the technical term is “zombie” printer....

  1. Whatever you do, start with a system restore point. If you don’t know how to do that or what it means, go away — you don’t belong here — I didn’t mean you when I wrote “you can too” above — Windows 7 is much too sophisticated for such as you. ... Call your IT administrator, so they so often fetchingly suggest....

  2. Then I used the command regedit and deleted every single instance of “hp lj4” I could find. There were about 20 or thirty. I did this while the printer still pursued its ghostly afterlife in “control panel / printers devices”, then I removed it, and then I did the regedit harrowing again and found a single instance which I deleted again — but probably I should’ve just removed the printer from “printers devices” first — where it always stayed removed until reboot — before the registry harrowing....

  3. Reboot and flawlessly be forever free of your poor dead printer.

It occurs to me that the hackerati probably just do this kind of thing without premeditation, and that’s why there weren’t more google hits on the topic. And they may well treat other zombie problems that way; I’ll have to try to remember. ... Whatever, it got rid of my zombie printer for me, and I was actually able to continue printing on other devices afterwards!

Solemn Warning

And oh yes — I must include the obligatory reminder that taking any of my advice, including this, or even looking at the pictures here or anywhere on this web site, infallibly will destroy all life forms you hold dear and many enemies. You are warned....

— the kindly cranky programmer
Wed 7/9/14