MoShang – Chinese Chill
Journal of a sound jeweler.

Motherboards & Road Music

Man, this is a geeky up-and-down story. Starting with a big “hurray” for software and hardware support that works! I’ve been speaking to support at Second Life about the the crashes that plagued me on my system. Their first suggestion was updating the drivers for my GeForce 6600 video card. No luck there. Their second suggestion, that my computer was overheating, was spot-on, though. I installed a large case fan (in addition to two smaller ones I already had) and SL performed like a champ.

While it ushered in an age of crash-free SL-sessions, the new fan introduced a serious noise problem, though. My machine has never been the quietest, but now I had too much noise to do critical listening whilst making music. The sollution seemed obvious: install fan speed controls for the case fans. Turn the fans down when making music and turn them up when running SL. Worked perfectly, except that it seems I’ve fried my motherboard during the installation (how, I don’t know!). Took the machine to Nova, a local PC supermarket for repairs and it turned out the motherboard is still under guarantee. Walked two blocks with the PC under my arm to Gigabyte, the motherboard manufacturer, where they promptly ripped out the motherboard and promised to let me know what’s up. Waiting to hear with bated breath…

I was going to upgrade the machine, but since the motherboard is under guarantee, I may as well replace it and pick up right where I left off. I’m in the middle of projects here and if I don’t have to go through the mission of re-installing windows and all the software I use, so much the better. Better wait a couple of months (mainly for M-Audio to come up with Vista drivers for my soundcard and for Vista to mature just a little bit) and then upgrade the machine and move over to Vista – I hear it’s the future…

Now for something completely unrelated. Somewhere in the 90s, I had this great idea for “road music”. In South Africa, we sometimes have these driver alert sections on long straight roads. Basically, just strips of a different type of road surface that make a rhythmic noise when you drive over them. My idea was that you could make sections of road that play music when you drive over them by choosing different road surface types for different pitches and varying the distance between the strips for rhythm. As long as you drove at a constant speed, you’d hear the tune. Had it all mapped out in my mind, but never did anything with the idea and eventually all but forgot about it. Then, many years later, I read that someone had done something exactly like my idea in France. And today I saw a news segment about something similar in Japan. It was a bit weird to see my idea from years ago in action. Sorry, there’s no moral to this story, except that one should probably always follow up on a good idea, since someone else will eventually also come up with it… ;^)

Here’s a link to a story about the French road music. Apparently, people living nearby have become really annoyed with the music coming from the road! In the Karoo, you’d only be annoying sheep and cattle…

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