Well, the past week was a bit hectic for multiple reasons. One was that the TechComms (Technical Communication Skills) report was due in on the thursday, which I managed to get in one time. The other reason was that I was doing the lighting for a play for SUDS (Sussex University Drama Society), titled "Shopping and Fucking". They cut the sex scenes from this version however, and just hinted strongly at what would occur.
Anyway, the lighting involved what I like to call the dimmers of death. These are a pair of 6-channel dimmers, two outlets per channel, wired together with nice thick cable (probably rated upwards of 15 amps, which it needs to be) into one of those big blue plugs. To go with that was a big blue socket, with more nice thick cable coming out of that and going into a poor little 13-amp RCD plug. Now, your 13-amp fuse in 230-volt land will give you around 2.9kW. I think that we peaked at 3.2kW or so.
The other thing about these dimmers, is the sockets on one. Or more accurately, the lack of sockets on one. Yep, there's a nice round hole in the case where there used to be a 15-amp socket. And since we're talking stuff that can probably deliver 10 amps thru one of those sockets at somewhere around mains voltage, the one thing you don't want is a great big hole in the case. Needless to say the duct tape got added rather quickly, and as part of some 'preventative maintanence' I swapped the fuse for that channel with the blown one from another channel that we wanted to use.
So, enough of the dimmers of death. On to the lighting. We use a pair of 650-watt (probably) profiles, and two pairs of 500-watt profiles (the old ones with a tiny lense). To go with that were two 1kW fresnels, which needless to say were not powerd up at the same time as the rest of the lights, as replacing fuses is a bit of a hassle. Apparently with the last play they did when they were recording it (so add a pair of cameras, pair of monitors, mixing desk for video and sound and another screen into the equation), they managed to pop the breaker for the ring. We didn't manage a repeat performance this time, but it would not have suprised me. The odd thing is that they do have a decent supply, as there's 10 or so floodlights on the top of nice wobbly poles in the room as well. If only they could give us a proper 40 amp supply for the dimmers...
Yesterday (well now the day before yesterday, as it's gone midnight and I have a lecture in a bit under 11 hours), pleaseremove trundled down to visit, arriving an hour later than expected due to the trains being futzed up somewhat thanks to someone deciding to park on a level crossing. As a result people are complaining about the saftey of Britain's level crossings and how we should go back to manual crossings. The simple fact if is someone wants death by train crash, they'll get it. It's not as if the barriers will stop someone who's really determined and is prepared to ram them at 60mph. And then there's the tale of the person who is suing a railway company because she got hit while walking along the railway. Knowing how these things go she'll win the case as well. There's no hope left for some people.
Anyway, we then trundled into Brighton and wandered round the Maplin store, returning with a bag of random bits and a bit less money than we set out with. These included various odd gender benders for mucking around with getting sound in and out of a computer, a couple of phone bits, and some other random pieces like replacement test leads and CD-Rs. Maplin is a fun place to just wander round, and see all the random stuff they've got. They've branched out somewhat, and you can now pick up disco lighting and rc cars in addition to their kits and components. I'm a bit peeved however that I can't use a phone splitter I got, due to keycom being eternally messed up. It's one of those weird combinations of (probably) dodgy phone, old modem, phone splitter and keytalk. It'd be nice to be able to use a decent phone company and ISP, but keytalk/surf/com levy a charge on "0800 and 0808 competitor numbers" (i.e. any ISP or phone service other than them).
Speaking of internet stuff, I was vaguely amused to find that an old ISA modem beats a new PCI one. Use a PCI winmodem, connect at 48kbps on a good day. Use an old ISA realmodem, connect at 50kbps consistently. Yeah, it's only a few kbps, but it helps. Plus it means the modem doesn't monopolise the CPU because it does all it's processing itself. Yay for real bits o' kit!
Hmmm... looking through my e-mails, I see that Hotmail have sent me three e-mails boasting about the new 250MB mailbox that will be appearing
This is shaping up to be a long post. I think I'll end it here, as I intend to sleep before my lecture. Plus there's the Programming deadline tomorrow, Computer Science on Thursday, AI the thursday after, and a TechComms presentation some time in the next week or so. All my deadlines have suddenly crept up and ambushed me. Typical.