Oldskooler Ramblings

the unlikely child born of the home computer wars

Archive for October, 2011

PC Speaker Music Article

Posted by Trixter on October 30, 2011

Just a quick note that an article I helped research and contribute to, “PC Speaker Music: An Introduction“, is now online over at Shiru’s 1-bit Music News blog.  The article covers many different ways to coax something more out of the PC speaker than a simple beep, with a focus on music creation.  The article does not go into deep technical depth, but it provides a lot of program links, screenshots, and music samples.

You may want to poke around 1-bit Music News for some previous entries; the entire blog is dedicated to creating polyphonic music with only a single speaker interface and no hardware other than the ability to pulse the speaker on and off at various intervals.  This leads to, no surprise, a lot of pulse waveforms.  The predominant platform for exploring this is the ZX Spectrum, where the technique was made popular through some of the amazing compositions of Tim Follin.  Some of the music can be slightly harsh and/or an acquired taste, but others are respectful of the platform and composed specifically for it.  Just remember to turn down your speakers before listening to an example.

Posted in Vintage Computing | Leave a Comment »

MindCandy Volume 3 sent to replicators

Posted by Trixter on October 14, 2011

After 3+ years of setbacks, MindCandy 3 was sent to the replicators ths morning.  Assuming there are no further issues, we should be shipping at the end of the month!

Update: As corrected by Dan, pre-orders before Black Friday and launch in December.  Assuming no problems at the replicator, of course.

Posted in Demoscene, Digital Video, Entertainment, MindCandy | 6 Comments »

Blu-ray media size mismatches

Posted by Trixter on October 3, 2011

This weekend, I finished the second (and hopefully final) Blu-ray release candidate for MindCandy 3.  (The DVD-9 is already final.)  Some major tweaks involved normalizing the audio across the entire thing, and a minor tweak was to re-encode the main video at a higher quality, so it could grow larger, so it would need to be split across layers, so that the disc is more compatible with old hardware players (it seems that if you’re going to do a layer break on a Blu-ray, it should be in the largest file, as there is apparently a minimum acceptable filesize for the break).  The size of the disc grew to about 46GiB, but since a Blu-ray is 46.6GiB, we were still under (by a hair).

Well, imagine my surprise when I tried to burn it to my rewritable test disc and saw this:

Considering our premastering tool is highly accurate, and hadn’t shown any errors when I was premastering the project, this was confusing.  Fifteen minutes of research didn’t pull up anything concrete other than someone claiming that BD-RE discs take a few hundred meg as “reserve space”, whatever that means.

Rather than trust tha interwebz, I decided to check the media sizes of my rewritable BD-RE DL (50G) disc, and a regular BD-R DL (50G) blank using the media information window of ImgBurn.  Results:

BD-RE DL: Sectors: 23,652,352, Size: 48,440,016,896 bytes
BD-R DL:  Sectors: 24,438,784, Size: 50,050,629,632 bytes

Well look at that:  A rewritable dual-layer blu-ray has nearly 1.5 gig less available space than a regular blank.

Now you know!

Posted in Digital Video, MindCandy | Leave a Comment »