A new toy for the theremin

What? A new toy for the theremin? Why is that?

Zoom A1 Four
Zoom A1 Four

When I made the “Bridge over troubled water” recording, I noticed that there were a few sounds and effects I wanted to add that weren’t there.

The synth-box by E-Harmonix wasn’t up to the task so I asked around and I found this. The Zoom A1 Four. It’s nifty!

Someone suggested an alternative, the Korg Pandora Stomp box, but that wasn’t available anywhere.

Okay, except on Ebay. That Korg being a model on the way out, I didn’t feel like pursuing that, so the Zoom came in.

It is, as I said, nifty. It has lots of settings and effects. Some seem to be quite equal to each other, especially the guitar ones, but they all have their own, distinct sound, also on the Theremin.

I’ve tried to make a bit of a video to demonstrate the options and sounds of the Zoom A1 but that didn’t work very well. I’ll get back to that when I’ve figure out the device more, and I actually know what I’m doing. 😉

Bridge over troubled water. On 2 theremins.

I had to do it. It took a long time before I got it right, then I had to work hard on getting the OpenTheremin to cooperate, but it happened in the end.

It’s not perfect, but I’m satisfied with this first attempt to do a mix with 2 different theremins.

For this video I used my Moog Etherwave Standard, and the OpenTheremin v4. I also used the karaoke track for the music as found on Youtube.

The audio was mixed using Audacity and the video was created with KDEnlive on Linux.

New song, new theremin

A little while ago I bought another theremin. This time an OpenTheremin V4.

What is an OpenTheremin? It’s a very simple, no frills, yet quite versatile little (and affordable) theremin that you can either put together yourself, or (as I did) buy the Deluxe version that comes pre-assembled.

You can find more info on the OpenTheremin at GaudiShop.

Playing the OpenTheremin is world apart from the Etherwave, but once you figure it out (and you put the antennas on the right way!), it’s very interesting and even intriguing to play.

Here is Annie’s Song, on the OpenTheremin.

A clever bit on passwords and phishing.

I listen to the podcast “Naked Security” from Sophos.com.

Today they had a(nother) great reason to start using a password manager.

Password managers

These are programs to manage your passwords. Yes, duh. But they do that in a clever way. They generate big, complex passwords that you can’t remember, like 3jGrkVvaVNJ$Kv*JRCZsg (note, you will be quizzed on this one later on haha).

You just remember 1 main password to unlock the password manager (and optionally use a Multi Factor code to open it) and the manager does the rest of the heavy lifting.

1Password unlock screen

This is one password manager, 1Password. Because that 1 password is all you remember.

1Password will set you back about $3 / month.

Bitwarden unlock screen

This is Bitwarden. Bitwarden is free and open source, and delivers a lot of good stuff. There is a paid option which will help you keep MFA tokens alive, that costs around €10 / year.

MFA

MFA

You probably know about MFA. Otherwise you should learn it, fast. It is a second login security. If someone has your password (which is something you know) and you enabled the second login safety, there is no way a hacker can break into your account without that second option, which usually is something you own. There are apps for that, like Google Authenticator, Okta Verify or Microsoft Authenticator. A good password manager can handle that as well. You go to a website, the password manager sees you have a login for that, and it will fill in the name and password, and also the MFA code for that site. No need to open another app on your phone and copy the numbers by hand.

Link recognition

Following up on that, as I said, a password manager sees that you have a login for a site.

Suppose you get a mail that sends you to https://your.very.trusted.bank.com. You’ve seen that link a gazillion times, so yep, you know it, you click it. The password manager will handle the login. But then there is no login filled out! What the fork?

The clever bit here is (check the bank link) that the link on the screen looks legit, but the actual link isn’t. The password manager doesn’t recognise the link and so it won’t help you log in. After all, this is a strange place and there might be dragons.

So….

Not yet convinced that a password manager is a good idea? In that case you wasted time in reading this.

If you feel this could be something, check out Bitwarden or 1Password.

No peeking; do you remember the password from up above?

Go Vegan

Yes, I think more people (okay, all people) should become vegans.

If, for some reason, “you can’t” be vegan, at least eat fewer animals to start with, to lessen the suffering.

That being said, let’s try the start of a story about aliens.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the Brugorians. Not that this is already clear in these few words…

We are from Brugor.

Space with spaceships

Chapter 1.

John pushed his plate away. That T-bone steak had been too much, he’d barely gotten through half of it. He belched, and through that noise he almost missed the sound from his phone. “What…” People messaged him at the weirdest times.

“Hey, John. Bit off more than you could chew?” The waitress pointed at the half-eaten dinner. “Want something else?”

“No, I’m full as it is,” John said, unlocking his phone. “Make someone happy with what’s left, Connie.”

Connie laughed as she picked up the plate. “The dump loves it,” she said as she walked off.

John stared at his phone. Could this be real? He dialed a number.

“John. I knew you’d call,” a voice on the other side said.

“You’re not screwing me out of dinner, are you?” John knew they wouldn’t, but it didn’t hurt to ask.

“No way. If you can, get your butt over here, buddy.” Gary, John’s co-worker at the observatory, sounded serious. “You’ll be as stunned as we are.”

“Connie, put it on my tab!” John got up, grabbed his jacket and ran to the exit of the diner. His car was close, and the pebbles on the parking lot flew as he drove off as fast as he could.

*

John ran into the control room. “Show me,” was all he said, even though it wasn’t necessary. The main display, a thirty-foot affair on the wall, showed what Gary had already sent him as a picture. A true to life spaceship, hanging between Earth and the moon. “I’ll be damned by every saint…” John stared at the image. “Since when? Where are they from? Any contact? Emergency protocols?”

Gary told him that the military and the president had been alerted and they all were on alert. “And there are several others,” he knew. “Four in total, spread across the globe.”

“And no panic yet,” John said. “There was nothing on the radio, on the way over here.”

“For now,” Barbara said, who was on duty as well. “It’s a matter of time before some amateur starts shouting it all over the social media.” As soon as she’d said that, a few phones started beeping, notifying their users that some keywords had been picked up. “Told you so. Did someone just bet twenty dollars with me?”

They checked their phones and weren’t surprised to find messages about the spaceships streaming in.

“Right. We’ll just wait for what’s next. Either from high up, or from out there.”