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Atari Bay Area Computer Users Society

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August 2007

Web Sites for items discussed at the August 2007 ABACUS Meeting

This month's episode: Roger began this time with some coverage of computer audio matters. He showed off the Turtle Beach Audio Advantage SRM USB Audio Adapter. This device provides an external audio upgrade for computers. It's a lot like a sound card; however, since it's a USB device, it can also be used in computers without card slots, like laptops.

This led Warren to mention his brother's purchase of a somewhat similar product, the M-Audio Transit. Warren's brother is an audio engineer, and was using the Transit to connect the digital optical audio inputs and outputs of his MacBook Pro to various devices as part of his work.

Roger then launched into a demonstration and discussion of the software he was using with his Audio Advantage SRM, the free and open-source program Audacity. Audacity is a full-featured audio recording and editing program.

We followed that with a discussion of additional ways to get audio into your computer. Warren brought up the Griffin Technology iMic, another USB audio interface. Roger mentioned the SoundTech Lightsnake Microphone-to-USB cable, a cleverer device that looks like a standard XLR-type microphone cable, but with a USB plug on the other end. All the necessary electronics to connect the microphone to a USB port are hidden in the cable. SoundTech also has interfaces for guitar-to-USB and stereo-to-USB.

At this point Warren asked if Roger had any Diet Coke. When Roger replied in the affirmative, Warren said that he had brought Mentos and brought out a box. The topic quickly jumped back to Eepybird, the Web home of the two guys who shoot geysers of Diet Coke by dropping Mentos candies into the bottles. This had been previously discussed at length during the April 2007 meeting.

This prompted Roger to haul out his Spangler Science Geyser Tube, a device for making the production of Diet Coke geysers relatively safe and easy. We were not treated to a live demonstration of the Geyser Tube, being that the meeting was held in Roger and Rachel's living room (Roger might not have minded, but Rachel...). However, Roger did show us some digital photos he had taken of experiments with the Geyser Tube in his backyard. He also told of the tragic accident where his daughter Sarah tipped the bottle over at herself while releasing the Mentos. Very sad.

Finally, Warren took over the reins to show off a couple of panoramic photography Web sites. Warren has an interest in panoramic photography; at the February 2006 meeting he demonstrated how he had made a panorama from four photographs using Adobe Photoshop Elements.

The two sites Warren showed involved Quicktime VR, a technology that allows photographers to assemble complete 360° views of a subject from a series of photographs. These can then be viewed from a computer file or over the Web.

The first site Warren showed was, a Danish Web site (in English) that seems to serve as a central reference for Quicktime VR photographs and photographers. They host a large number of QTVR panoramas, like this one from the I-35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis. They also have links to a large list of other sites that provide information on QTVR photography or which also host QTVR panoramas.

One of the latter was VirtualParks, the other QTVR site Warren showed. VirtualParks has Quicktime VR panoramas taken at parks, wilderness areas and other locations in the western United States and Canada, including many local to the Bay Area. Some of the most striking were taken from of the top of Mt. Whitney, here, here, and here.

On that high point (get it?), the meeting was adjourned.

Computer Audio Interfaces:

Audio Software:
Diet Coke Geysers, back despite popular demand:
Panoramic Photography using Quicktime VR:

Made with Macintosh © 2007 ABACUS
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