Panderphonics

Today I had to fix an issue in the studio of our uhhh… 18-30 oriented CHR Bullshittin’ With Bieber station and I heard a newer single from The Chainsmokers play that had the exact same synth loop as “Older”. Now That’s What I Call Bullshit!

#Shitposting

Welp now I’m in an angry shitposting mood.

Since the early 2000s I’ve noticed a trend in how music is commercially promoted and pushed for radio airplay. Payola has always been a big thing that’s rubbed endless shitty music in our faces, but this is different…. It’s almost like the industry got too complacent to give a shit.

Now, how do you get your music promoted? Just sound like someone else who’s been heavily marketed to where they earned, or more like, bought, high positions on the charts.

Back in the 90s there was some of this going on too, but it was “hey we have this amazing vocalist and that kind of talent is hot now…”

But alas, everything now is in a colossal backslide following a big stagnation a few years ago. Remember when Ariana Grande was given the Grammy for best rock artist because there were no active rock bands with any material being released?

Five Finger Death Punch is charting for sounding like fucking Nickelback.

These artists on the Billboard chart all just sound like lousy drunken dumpster fires.

I’d rather listen to the cooling fans on the Nautel transmitters than anything on this chart.

This is why I’ll never make it on the programming side of commercial radio (is that where the actual money is??).

Oh hell don’t even get me started on “yeah uh we have this mediocre ass single that we sent back to be remastered featuring 15 seconds of vocals from this shitty famous person, FIVE PLAYS PEE HOUR PLEASE”

have the algorithms become sentient yet

buuuuut on a serious note here’s a conspiracy theory I had earlier today while staring at cows in a pasture

 

we WILL have a social credit system in the US like the horrific one in use in China that virtually imprisons those who have a low score —

however, it will come to be without any government approval, oversight, or involvement (at least initially).

It’ll be borne out of the ideas of some douchebag tech bros down in San Francisco who push the limits of our privacy by aggregating and mining a shitload of commercially available analytics databases and linking them back to our identities, facial recognition data, vehicle registrations, etc. They’ll come up with this great hot new product they sell to companies as a “risk analysis” to determine how good an employee or customer a particular person is and allow them to block less desirable persons from employment or from their services.

Eventually some unscrupulous lazy ass government contractor will buy one of these products and sell it to the US government for some goofball purpose like forming no-fly lists or supposed fraud detection…. and there you go, that’s where the government involvement will eventually come into play.

come one, come all, witness the beautiful dumpster fire that is late stage CRAPitalism!

(solution to the above problem: fill the california bay area with beans)

photo by wikimedia commons user MK2010, click for attribution and beans

The solution

So what do you do when the factory service loaner for your STL receiver (which is working fine other than having a dead display so you can’t get to the settings) arrives deaf and sounding like a dirty skipping CD?

You place the 3d printed Pusheen atop the transmitter and prepare to launch your revolt against a toxic society and eat the damn rich

Regarding my previous shitposting, the cable length from the filter output to the LNA input turned out to be maddeningly critical.

Six feet:

Three feet:

About 18 inches:

I’ll take it! My concern was mainly attenuating crap around 1 GHz that I suspect is some kinda leakage off WiSP radios…

The lever you have pulled, “brakes”, is not in service at this time

Response of filter cavity

Response of preamp: not shown as it was a boring flat line

Response of cavity followed by preamp

Response of my brain after working about 28 hours in the last two days:

Yeah I’m just gonna throw this crap in there and say Good Enough For Radio Work and go collapse for the weekend (where my mugs are safe to drink from thanks)

Bleeuuuggggghhh

I’ve been working a couple of insane days for the end of this week so the company has me staying in a nearby hotel they have trade with. As not to piss anyone off I won’t name it, but it’s in a beautiful place outside the city, on the bank of the river. They make a big deal about being a LEED certified facility.

Last night I got there, checked in, and went to my room. I picked up one of the coffee mugs and it had a waxy feeling mess on the outside and smelled like hibiscus blossoms. There were bits of the same inside the mug.

I figured it hadn’t been washed properly so I looked underneath. The “made in China” paper sticker was still fully intact. I sanitized it by boiling water in it in the microwave, let it cool, and used paper towels and isopropyl alcohol I had in my car to clean it out.

The next evening, the mug I had used was back under a paper dust cover and this time both of them had a thick coating of the waxy junk.

On the bathroom counter are two pump top bottles… One’s a hand soap that smells like lavender. One’s a lotion.. ….

Which smells like hibiscus.

You didn’t– really? Seriously???

Help Wanted in Engineering and Oppression Prevention! uh

I’ve addressed some pretty out there engineering job openings in the past, but this one is the strangest I’ve ever seen. Please go ahead and grab a glass of water and drop a couple of Alka-Seltzer in it, because you may need it. I’m going to inline my comments in a nice shade of cyan reminiscent of P2 phosphor.

KBOO is Hiring: Chief Engineer

Published date:
Thursday, February 7, 2019 – 11:59am

Please submit resume and cover letter with the answer to the question “Why is KBOO Important” by March 4th, 2019 11:59 pm to engineerhire@kboo.fm 

I’m sorry but what— this is one of the strangest, most pretentious things I’ve ever seen on an application. This is not a standard cover letter by any means. This is just W E I R D

or mail/bring your resume and cover letter to: Station Manager 20 SE 8th Ave. Portland OR 97214

KBOO Community Radio Department: Operations

Job Title: Chief Engineer

Reports to: Station Manager Employment

Status: Exempt

danger, will robinson

Hours: 40 hours per week

Positions Supervised: Live Events Engineer, IT Systems Admin Contractor, Transmitter / Translator / STL / EAS Contractor, and Volunteers

Revised: January 2019

General Description: To oversee and maintain the technical operation of KBOO’s studios, its transmitters and translators at an optimum level.

Qualifications

  • Broadcast engineering and electronic experience necessary.
  • Ability to work with, train and assist a diverse group of people and the ability to explain technical matters to non-technical beginners.
  • Experience in installation, modification, maintenance and repair of broadcasting equipment, including but not limited to: CD players, digital audio equipment, cassette recorders, computer hardware and software, audio mixers, microphones and telephone systems.
  • Driver’s license and vehicle for travel to transmitter / translator sites.
  • Ability to improvise and achieve results with materials and resources on-hand.
  • Knowledge and experience working with analog and digital equipment.
  • Computer skills.

So far, so good….. though I worry about this being an exempt position. This gets REALLY nasty when you’re required to work more than 40 hours a week, but do not receive any compensation for it. But now, all aboard the WOO TRAIN

Essential Functions

  • Identify and address institutional and individual acts of oppression at KBOO. Ensure there is interruption of the oppression, follow-up and support for those impacted as well as documentation/record keeping of the incident.

I’m sorry.

What? This is very strange, but it continues—

  • Work to implement KBOO’s affirmative action policy in recruiting, training and maintaining volunteers.

This is a very strange task for an engineer – serving as a volunteer coordinator, but at least it’s not asking one to fight oppression…. whatever that implies….

  • Maintain signal and audio quality.
  • Act as Chief Operator in maintaining FCC logs and required documentation.
  • Maintain broadcasting equipment in good working order, including studio equipment and system phones, transmitters and translators.
  • Coordinate with staff for the station’s audio equipment and studio needs, including purchasing and soliciting bids.
  • Supervise the IT/Systems Admin Contractor.
  • Supervise the Transmitter / Translator / STL / EAS Contractor.
  • Supervise and provide support and backup for Live Events Engineer.
  • Work with other staff to coordinate training for engineering volunteers.

So are you coordinating volunteers or are you not coordinating volunteers?

  • Guaranteed 24-hour emergency engineering support for the station, either in person or by delegation to qualified engineering volunteers and contract engineers.

oh, that’s where the “exempt” part gets ya.

  • Coordinate with staff to plan and implement engineering budget, including long-term strategic planning for engineering needs.
  • Coordinate facilities maintenance at tower and translator sites.
  • Participate in engineering projects as assigned by station manager (i.e. production room remodels).
  • Oversee engineering aspects of new transmitters / translators (i.e. planning and project implementation).
  • Lead/staff the engineering committee meetings. Generate agendas each month and ensure there are committee minutes that are put up on the web within 5 days of the meeting.
  • Attend technology operating team and staff meetings.
  • Other duties as assigned.
  • Keep KBOO in compliance with FCC rules and regulations relating to engineering and technical issues.

Salary

This is a full-time position with a starting salary $31,426.38/year. The employee shall be eligible for annual step increases subject to conditions in KBOO’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Okay, wait. 24/7 on call…. salaried exempt… under 32k a year…. in PORTLAND? How do they expect one to live like that?

Probationary Period

Any person hired will be required to join and pay dues to CWA Local 7901 after 90 days. There is a six month probationary period. This period is not to be construed as a contract.

Wait, this is….. union…..

WHO APPROVED THIS COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT AND WHY ARE THEY NOT ON FIRE? Please make them be on fire. Thanks.

Benefits

Benefits include medical and dental coverage, disability and life insurance, and credit union eligibility. This position also offers paid vacation, sick leave, and 11 paid holidays per year, in accordance with KBOO’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. FSLA-exempt employees receive paid compensatory time off. Eligibility for the pension plan is one year after the date of hire.

Nice benefits under that Collective Bargaining Agreement, but WTF IS WITH THAT SALARY?!

Working Conditions

KBOO has over 150 hours per week of local programming, produced by volunteers who need to be trained on studio equipment. KBOO is a union shop and all (non-management) staff are members of Communications Workers of America (CWA) – Local 7901. All employees are expected to provide time to answer questions and to help volunteers learn. The engineer is called upon on a daily basis to help volunteers with using the studios and equipment. The engineer conducts workshops to train people as engineering volunteers. The engineer will work, coordinate efforts, and learn from contract engineers on special projects. KBOO’s environment is hectic and stimulating. You must enjoy working with a wide diversity of volunteers.

Funny, it sounds like most of your time as the salaried engineer will be volunteer too after those 40 hours a week. I really wonder what the collective bargaining agreement says about that. Then again, it really sounds to me like it’s the most watered down piece of junk ever. Alas…..

We have an air studio, three production rooms, multiple digital editing stations, and other rooms used for live public affairs and music. The engineer’s office also doubles as a workshop and contains some of the transmission and phone equipment. We have two STL’s (station links) to our tower with main and backup transmitters.

There are other engineers in Portland with a wide range of experience, both volunteers and contract hires, which you may work with and learn from.

And they might take pity on your predicament and try to find you jobs in their far better organizations, I’d like to hope—

KBOO has regular membership drives. They require an intense amount of time and coordination. The engineer must provide technical assistance as necessary during these drives.

BAHAHAHAHAHA AND HOW. My experience with these at another station was pretty much that it was two weeks of 14 hour days.

Workplace expectations at KBOO radio include: effective verbal and written communications; conflict de-escalation; skillful volunteer relations and utilization; capable project management; work-area organization; response to phone calls and correspondence; teamwork and cooperation with other employees, volunteers, and Board members; furtherance of KBOO mission, goals and values; meeting attendance and participation; capable departmental budgeting; and punctuality.

Equipment Used

KBOO equipment ranges from vintage analog audio player/recorders, 40-year old transmitters and mixing consoles to state of the art, networked digital broadcast consoles. There is heavy usage of all this equipment. You must repair as necessary and ascertain the need for new purchases within a somewhat limited budget.

Keep in mind…. at under $32k/year…. and the maintenance and repair is probably 40 hours a week in and of itself.

KBOO is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer, Women and People of Color are encouraged to apply. Discrimination because of age, race, religion, color, sex, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender presentation, class, creed, physical or mental disability is prohibited.

Meanwhile, I just can’t even. This position will HOPEFULLY remain unfilled until they refine it severely to actually make it worth someone’s time and effort to fill it.

picture unrelated

We’re sorry, the fingers you’re dialing with are too fat

It occurs to me as a result of having posted this to Facebook and having everyone think this is a mini din / ps/2 connector in my hand and not the full size DIN that it is, I must have damn big fingers.

But yeah, that’s a new old stock AT style keyboard my boss accidentally sent me when I needed more keyboards.

Here’s some aktiv-schaum

User interface design and stray socks

I don’t have a washer and dryer at home, so I use either of a couple of laundromats. I never really thought about this before now while horribly bored waiting for stuff to dry, but there’s a very big design flaw when it comes to the user interface of some laundry equipment.

I vaguely remember long ago using a giant Continental-Girbau washer where I was able to just grab all the laundry and flop it right into a basket in front of the machine without anything landing on the floor instead. I never really thought too much about this, but it was pointing out that Alliance Laundry Systems (manufacturers of the Speed Queen and Huebsch brands) dropped the ball… Or, rather, my SOCKS!!!

First off, here’s a more modern style Speed Queen washer. I’ve seen these in at least three different sizes; this one is “two load” and will gleefully swallow the contents of my entire laundry bag as long as it isn’t crammed to the brim.

Notice how snugly the basket fits against the front. Nothing may escape!!

This is a “soft mount” machine with a drum suspension and rubber door boot. It’s on a stand that elevates it a bit. If it didn’t have the stand, it’d meet the basket too low.

This one has a weird indentation but it ends above the basket rim, so you don’t get sock droppage.

Here’s a very old dryer by them, the same design is still produced with barely any changes other than a more modern digital control. Sadly the pretty teal blue VFD is replaced by boring green LEDs on the new ones. Again, though, not only does it have a flat front but a rub rail is positioned to meet the basket.

And now….

Why?

Note the Sock Drop Zone formed here. The tub is recessed with a weird black cone of shame, and as you unload, small items fall and don’t land in the basket. Every time I use one of these, I always wheel the basket away and find like three socks on the floor because they fell through this gap. Incidentally, on this design, anything that goes down the gap between the tub edge and wash basket edge there is pretty much lost forever into the drain sump. It’s a sizable gap about 3/8″ wide, but when the door is closed, the glass window makes it highly unlikely that any items will get near it. It’s more a hazard on loading and unloading, but will cause issues if the machine is overloaded with baby clothes.

So, why the weird sock eating cone of shame? I don’t get it. A fairly trivial change could be made to stop these washers from continuing their sock-dropping reign of terror, but it seems to have never crossed anyone’s minds over at Alliance.

Bizarre.