Who produces our computer cables?

male-it-worker-buried-in-computer-cable_450

That’s the kind of question that doesn’t come up unless you get have all these problems with your firewire drives, and Mac’s Console reports things like “bad node” and you think it’s either the drive or the computer and finally you figure out it’s the BLOODY CABLE.

So then you go looking on the intertubez to try to find out who makes the best Firewire cable (even though Mac phased all that stuff out ages ago and instead of being able to daisy chain FW drives you now have to buy things like THIS to handle all the USB connectors.) And then you come across discussion threads like this one, where people seem quite knowledgeable or at least you hope.

FYI: There are three wire mills that make the vast majority of FireWire IEEE 1394a and 1394b cables.

The actual cabling, #28 AWG signal wires (four data wires, stranded, double duplex, packet switching peer to peer communications) and #20, #22 or #24 AWG power, ground & shield wires, used for almost all FW 1394a cables are virtually the same.

The rub is in the assembly and termination parts, the connectors. Dr. Sam Liu, an upstanding IEEE engineer and owner of Newnex.com Technology Company, is the head of the standards committee at the 1394ta.org and has been since 1999. If there is a FireWire “triad” symbol on the cable terminations or connectors, then its a good one and Dr. Sam probably helped design it and/or certify it.

And suddenly you look at Firewire cables a little bit differently, because–and maybe this is why I find it comforting–there’s an actual person behind it, and there’s even a seal of approval to look for.

Also learned: you can test a cable if you have the right oscilloscope equipment and a good cable will produce an aesthetically pleasing pattern like this.

firewirepattern

So to sum up: Cables! More fascinating than you think.

Library of Congress deems UCSB wax cylinder collection an important cultural artifact

Performing arts assistant Nadine Turner shows a wax cylinder, an early form of a phonograph record, from the UCSB Library. NIK BLASKOVICH/NEWS-PRESS PHOTOS
Performing arts assistant Nadine Turner shows a wax cylinder, an early form of a phonograph record, from the UCSB Library.
NIK BLASKOVICH/NEWS-PRESS PHOTOS

Before the 78 rpm shellac record, there was Thomas Edison’s wax cylinder, which had one amazing advantage over the format that would supplant it: you could record as well as play.

On March 25, the Library of Congress announced that it has added the Vernacular Wax Cylinder Recordings collection at the UCSB Library to the National Recording Registry.

Continue reading Library of Congress deems UCSB wax cylinder collection an important cultural artifact

History in wax: Library of Congress deems UCSB wax cylinder collection an important cultural artifact

Performing arts assistant Nadine Turner shows a wax cylinder, an early form of a phonograph record, from the UCSB Library.
Performing arts assistant Nadine Turner shows a wax cylinder, an early form of a phonograph record, from the UCSB Library.

Before the 78 rpm shellac record, there was Thomas Edison’s wax cylinder, which had one amazing advantage over the format that would supplant it: you could record as well as play.

On March 25, the Library of Congress announced that it has added the Vernacular Wax Cylinder Recordings collection at the UCSB Library to the National Recording Registry.

Continue reading History in wax: Library of Congress deems UCSB wax cylinder collection an important cultural artifact

A new Jane Austen work is created every show with the Impro Theatre

Impro Theatre
Impro Theatre

Jane Austen wrote six major novels in her life, but created such a particular world that the Impro Theatre can work within it and figure out some new stories to tell. Like Impro’s co-founder Dan O’Connor did to the world of Shakespeare, Chekhov and Sondheim, “Jane Austen Unscripted” takes improv theater to a new level. Those who come to the New Vic tonight or Saturday night will leave having seen hilarious Austen romantic comedy made up on the spot, with no two shows or characters the same. These are parodies of existing novels, or slash fiction with Mr. Darcy returning as a zombie. “This is something the author would recognize,” Mr. O’Connor says.

Impro Theater started as Los Angeles Theatersports in 1988, and some members of the company have been there from the beginning. It’s a specialized set of skills that extends beyond the skits and jokes of usual improv events.

Continue reading A new Jane Austen work is created every show with the Impro Theatre

How comedian Kyle Cease learned to combine jokes with motivational speaking

"It's as if you went to a comedy club but grew a little (as a person) as a result," says Kyle Cease. Courtesy photo
“It’s as if you went to a comedy club but grew a little (as a person) as a result,” says Kyle Cease.
Courtesy photo

What would happen if Jim Carrey and Eckhart Tolle had a child?”

The answer, according to the man himself, is Kyle Cease, who brings an evening of comedy and motivational speaking to the Unity of Santa Barbara for two separate events this weekend. Tonight’s 90-minute event is the stand-up part; tomorrow is a mini-version of his “Evolving Out Loud” seminar from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For the motivational side, however, he adds that unlike many other speakers, he is not convincing audiences to be like him. He has no get-rich-quick scheme to sell, though he will tell you how he turned his life around. The only person he can talk about is himself, but you just might learn something along the way.

Continue reading How comedian Kyle Cease learned to combine jokes with motivational speaking

Galaxy of Dance: HHII Dance Fest promises three days of new and recent work

"Sand Into Glass" is performed by Nebula Dance Lab. Daniel Wade photo
“Sand Into Glass” is performed by Nebula Dance Lab.
Daniel Wade photo

It’s spring, the season of dance, and the fields of March are blooming with the human form in beautiful motion. We’ve had aerial dance at the Lobero, shows from Santa Barbara Dance Arts, visits from Hart Pulse and the world famous Joffrey Ballet. It’s time to finish the month with the first installment of our own homegrown dance festival, HHII.

Devyn Duex is the woman behind this three-day festival taking over the Center Stage Theater this whole weekend, and the name HHII is a sly nod to Ms. Duex’s Nebula Dance Lab company: HHII is a star-forming region in the galaxy. “And star-forming – we thought that was perfect.”

Continue reading Galaxy of Dance: HHII Dance Fest promises three days of new and recent work

Galaxy of dance: HHII Dance Fest promises three days of new and recent work

"Sand Into Glass" is performed by Nebula Dance Lab.
“Sand Into Glass” is performed by Nebula Dance Lab.

It’s spring, the season of dance, and the fields of March are blooming with the human form in beautiful motion. We’ve had aerial dance at the Lobero, shows from Santa Barbara Dance Arts, visits from Hart Pulse and the world famous Joffrey Ballet. It’s time to finish the month with the first installment of our own homegrown dance festival, HHII.

Devyn Duex is the woman behind this three-day festival taking over the Center Stage Theater this whole weekend, and the name HHII is a sly nod to Ms. Duex’s Nebula Dance Lab company: HHII is a star-forming region in the galaxy. “And star-forming – we thought that was perfect.”

Continue reading Galaxy of dance: HHII Dance Fest promises three days of new and recent work

Amanda Hart’s Hart Pulse Dance Company presents an afternoon of exciting contemporary dance

The dancers performing in "Spoons" are, from left, Phil Turay, Morgan Ashley, Ryan Ruiz and Lindsay Marquino. victorvicphoto.com
The dancers performing in “Spoons” are, from left, Phil Turay, Morgan Ashley, Ryan Ruiz and Lindsay Marquino.
victorvicphoto.com

Amanda Hart, director and choreographer of Hart Pulse Dance Company, comes from the small San Joaquin Valley town of Visalia. And she did not want to be a dancer. At least, not at first.

“The reason I went into dance was because I sucked at basketball,” she says, having never grown beyond 5’5″. Discouraged, her mom suggested dance at age 9. “I cried my whole first class,” she admits.

Continue reading Amanda Hart’s Hart Pulse Dance Company presents an afternoon of exciting contemporary dance

Up in the air: ‘Belline’ is the culminating work for the 2nd annual Floor to Air Festival

 Santa Barbara Contemporary Floor to Air Festival's "Belline" can be seen tonight only at the Lobero Theatre. Courtesy photo

Santa Barbara Contemporary Floor to Air Festival’s “Belline” can be seen tonight only at the Lobero Theatre.
Courtesy photo

How does one spot an aerialist dancer in the wild? They don’t have the feet of a ballerina, as they don’t spend a lot of time on the ground.

“You can tell by her back,” says Chicagoan now Santa Barbaran Ninette Paloma. “If she has a nice, beautiful back and broad shoulders, that is an aerialist. A slight little gait in her walk, because she always has shoulders in to protect them. And incredible forearms. Gorgeous, yes, gorgeous forearms.”

Continue reading Up in the air: ‘Belline’ is the culminating work for the 2nd annual Floor to Air Festival