Posts tagged ‘internet’


I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before but I run two writers groups.

One meets every Thursday (strange for a group) at the Paoli Library in

Pennsylvania from 12:30-2:30. The group has been in existence for about

three years.

One of the writers is Emmet Robinson. He is a very talented writer and

entertainer in coffee houses with his guitar and vocals.

Here is a newsletter he produces which I fee is worth a read.

He also runs a studio for voice overs and recording books.



By Emmet Robinson King Street Recording Company
Professional Audio Services for Any Purpose You Can Think Of
Video and Photo Too!
Celebrating Fifty-one Years in Business!

Volume 72, Summer, 2019

Small Body, Big Voice

The tiny mandolin is yet one more descendant of the lute family, with ancestors dating back to Mesopotamia three thousand years ago. Although roughly the size as a ukulele, the modern mandolin has a few interesting differences:
• For each single string on the ukulele, the mandolin has two, tuned in unison.
• Instead of gut or nylon, the mandolin is strung with steel.
• The abrasive nature of the steel strings requires the use of a pick rather than the fingers.
• The tuning is very different from that of the uke – more like that of the violin and viola. As a result, different chord formations are used.

Like most other stringed instruments, the mandolin is found in a variety of shapes and sizes.
• The body of the Neapolitan or round-backed mandolin is quite deep, and shaped something like a gourd. Difficult to play while standing, it’s generally held on the lap of a seated musician.
• The carved-top or arch-top version is much shallower, with a gently curved top and back. A simple shoulder strap allows this version to be played while standing.
• Also playable standing, the flat-backed mandolin is made from thin sheets of wood, with internal bracing added for strength. Its construction is similar to that of the guitar.

Mandolin soundboards – the fronts or tops of the instruments – may vary widely. As there must be an opening to allow the music to escape, some sound holes may be round or oval in shape. Others take their design from the violin which has two sound holes, each shaped like a stylized letter S.
While the development of this instrument can be traced over much of the world, the modern design appears to have been developed by the Viniccia family of Naples. The raised, extended fingerboard and geared tuning pegs were accredited to Pasquale Vinaccia in the late 1800s.
The versatile mandolin, and its relatives, has been used over an extraordinary range of music. There have been mandolin orchestras dedicated to the performance of classical music. Chris Thile plays superb mandolin solos of complex Bach compositions. Much of the music I’m personally familiar with is in the related fields of country and bluegrass. Bill Monroe, known as the father of bluegrass music, played a Gibson.
A highly versatile instrument, the high, crisp tone of the mandolin allows it to project well, even without the aid of a microphone.

In producing musical recordings since 1967, I’ve heard a lot of singers. Many were quite good. Just recently, however, I was delighted to work with a young professional new to the area who is quite extraordinary and needs to present herself to agents with a current demo.
Professionally trained, with Broadway experience, Kelly Briscoe has every quality I admire in a singer. With accurate intonation and perfect vibrato, she presents wonderful warmth of tone – even at the top of her extensive range. As a self-described “Belter,” when emphasis is
needed, she has power to spare. Best of all, she lends genuine emotion to the lyrics – she means every word she sings!
As she was able to provide her own pre-recorded music tracks in a useful format, we began by importing them to the recording system in the control room.
Then, in the studio, she put on headphones while we adjusted recording levels and the volume in her headphones.
With the experience of many hundreds of live performances behind her, she was easily able to begin with minimal warm-up.
Her first song had an interesting history. Written in 1920 for a French musical revue, “Mon Homme” was eventually translated into English under the title, “My Man,” and performed by Fanny Brice in the 1938 Ziegfield Follies. Ms. Brice’s recording eventually earned a Grammy. Many major vocalists have produced their own interpretations of this classic ballad since then, but my absolute favorite is Kelly’s version recorded here.
Two more tunes were recorded in quick succession with revisions recorded on parallel tracks and carefully blended in. The result was an audio CD and three mp3 files that should attract the attention of any intelligent talent representative. Watch out world, here she comes!

It’s a Wrap!
After several months of extensive recording and editing, the audio version of Pax Tandon’s new book,Mindfulness Matters, now appears to be complete. In listening to her warm voice, you’ll have the sensation that she’s speaking directly to you.
All that remains now is duplication and packaging of the eight-disk series. For details, contact Schiffer Publishing at 610-593-9292.
Note: The printed version is currently available on Amazon, and is well worth the small investment. Pax simply makes the point that a positive view leads to more positive experiences and a fuller, richer life.

The Artist’s Voice
A Philadelphia artist brought in a PowerPoint presentation needing narration to accompany her powerful original images. Rather than use a professional narrator, she chose to lend her own voice to the production and did very well. Working from her original script, she spoke softly, quietly, but with sincerity and heartfelt emotion. In a world of so many pleasantly glib voices, she was a refreshing change of pace.

All of the voices I’ve recorded this year have been those of women. Where are the guys?

Grit and Determination
In processing a recorded biography, I heard the inspiring story of a woman who managed to rise to success from very humble beginnings.
Born in Pittsburgh in the 1920s, the African-American daughter of a steel worker and a domestic, she lived with her family in a two-room third floor apartment where the beds were shared and the building’s single bathroom was shared with other tenants.
Developing a love for reading at an early age, and inspired by a sister, she did well in school and decided to attend Tuskegee College in Alabama.
Although both her neighborhood and her schools had been ethnically mixed, her bus trip to the South was a very different experience. The long trip required many transfers from one bus to another and, beginning in Wheeling, West Virginia, the buses were rigidly segregated with black passengers often ushered off to make room for whites.
On arrival at Tuskegee, she found herself without sufficient funds for enrollment and had to call on a brother for help.
At last, with grit and determination, she completed her courses and graduated in 1948 with a degree in commercial dietetics.
Considering the challenges she faced, earning her degree was an astounding achievement. Every time I think my life is too difficult, I’ll think of her and her triumph over adversity!

A New Record
Some restoration projects are more complex than others and require the creation of many individual sound files. The previous record of sixty-four, set by a local university, has just been broken by an overseas client with an order for more than 120! Can you beat that?

Family Reunion
The tape I received wasn’t playable due to a missing pressure pad in the cassette shell. So, I carefully opened the shell and transferred the tape to a new one. With that out of the way, I could then digitize an entertaining recording of a family reunion held in New York in 1960.
The client provided text, so the CD labels were easy to produce.
More interesting was the photo for the CD covers. At first glance, it seemed fine. On closer inspection, it was clear that the upper left hand portion of the photo had somehow been tapered off. Well, now, we can’t have that!
Using appropriate software, it was possible to re-create what was missing. As there are no single buttons to push for this kind of photo restoration, it was done with hundreds of tiny strokes with the equivalent of tiny digital paintbrushes. As all of this could be done within 30 minutes, it fell under the standard rate for custom CD covers of $24.95 for processing, plus $2.75 for each cover printed. The restoration allowed including the entire photo, not just most of it.

A Lucky Save
Although I normally retain digital audio files for only a year, some instinct borne of decades of experience leads me to save some of them even longer. A recent request for a single copy of a piano recording proved that to be a useful practice. With the file still in the system, no processing was required and the extra copy was ready in just minutes!

Word Gets Around
Because the menu of services available here is diversified far beyond the norm, happy clients tell their friends and word gets around. This results in inquiries and orders from beyond the immediate neighborhood. For example…
• A call from Oklahoma City developed into an interesting restoration project. An old tape of a musical family get-together had gotten mangled in the recorder and needed repair. In the absence of a suitable local provider, a search of the Internet led to the tape arriving here.
Opening the cassette shell, I found the damaged portion of tape to be quite short – only two or three seconds of music would be lost.
Using a precision splicing block and special adhesive tabs, the damaged portion was carefully removed and the remaining ends joined.
The repaired tape was then reinstalled in the cassette shell, tested, digitized and transferred to disk. Once all was processing was completed, two CDs and the original tape were sent to the client by certified mail.

HINT: After playing a cassette tape, wind it completely to one end or the other. This will prevent a loop of loose tape being caught in the machine and damaged.

• A caller in North Carolina provided a challenge in the form of a poor quality video file of what appeared to be a talent show. The file was made from an original source, which had then been discarded. Somewhere in the middle of the video was a five-minute segment needing improvement.
Since the file I received would not import directly to any useful application, I resorted to trickery and deceit to fool the computer into accepting the file anyway. The requested improvement proved to be possible and, along the way, I had an interesting learning experience.

• From a client in Colorado I received a VHS tape of an original school performance of The Sound of Music for transfer to disk.

•A client who makes his home on the island of Maui keeps rummaging through his garage and finding more tapes of his original concerts. The two newest were recorded in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Panama City, Panama respectively. I wonder what he’ll find next?

NOTE: For safe delivery in sending original recordings here, please send by Certified Mail with a return receipt request.




June 26, 2019 at 5:51 pm Leave a comment


I’ve been thinking lately about George Orwell’s famous novel, 1984, and how the current state of affairs is starting to mimic his invasion of privacy. I remember, after reading his novel sometime in the 1960’s, ‘Big Brother’ would be determining every aspect of our lives. We still have many freedoms, but we are all being watched, to some extent. Let me explain.

Nineteen Eighty Four came and went and we were all free to live our lives as we wanted. Free of sinister observations, free to think and write what we wanted in total privacy free of no outside intrusions. Now compare those freedoms with what 2015 brings. Hence the title of this piece.

First, let me just mention the NSA. Thanks to Snowden and his leaks, an action which I don’t condone, we have learned, to some extent, the degree to which we are monitored. I may not be the sharpest knife in the draw, but with all the remedies they issue to right this wrong, I don’t know what they’re doing now.

An even larger violation of our privacy is the internet. We all cherish our computers, well maybe not cherish them, but in this day and age could not live without them. Through the internet, they provide a link to the world never thought possible, especially by us ‘mature’ adults. But that link, more and more is a two-way street. As we accumulate information from the world, the world accumulated information about us. And sometimes the way that information is used, is not beneficial to our wellbeing.

The electronic world we now occupy is full of opportunities for those who desire to tap into our lives. Look at the Target episode. Look at the latest revelation that millions of federal employees had their personal information. The revelations of the invasion of our privacy is relentless

I chuckle when I hear advertisements from companies vowing to protect your privacy. But during the ad, they subtlety add ‘That no one can prevent all hacking’, or something to that effect. So what is the use?

Then there are the ever-present cameras. All of us, outside the comfort of our homes, are constantly subject to observation and our every action recorded. Just about every business, and now many homes, have cameras monitoring 24/7. I find it amusing when someone decides to commit a crime, and unless they are hideously disguised, there image is captured, sometimes from multiple angles. Often the pictures are better than what appears on their driver’s license.

Think of this every time you venture from your home, your life and actions will probably be documented at some point. Here I’m not even considering the above cameras, but the existence of the ever-present cellphone. With this device you have the ability to not only record what you want, but also to post it for the world to see. With no filters that I know of.

In conclusion, let me say that we do not live in the world of 1984. But as far as personal privacy goes, we are not far from it.


July 21, 2015 at 7:02 pm Leave a comment


I’ve been out of the loop for a while, but the loop seems to have survived.

The reason for my exit was my router.  I began having trouble with the internet and thought the reason was one of the millions of hackers who are more cleaver than security for anything these days.  Come to find out my router was too old to pick up the new and improved single from my internet company.

Side note.  I don’t want to name the company but will give a complex hint.  The name of the company rhymes with the mathematical term used to express ‘never ending’.

I called the company and told they would send me a new and improved router.

The day it was due to arrived passed so I called again.  After being on hold for 15 minutes I was told the they could not track the package and the router was out of stock.  This did not help my paranoia there was some kind of plot for I could not think of how they could hope to track a package that contained an item that was out of stock.

Enough of my personal problems.  This episode taught me something vital.

By the way, I am still without a router and now in the public library using WiFi so all the world is looking over my shoulder hacking the hell out of this conversation.  Wait a minute, that’s good.  Welcome to my blog, hackers.

Back to what I learned from this episode.  For a writer, for anyone today the internet is a useful tool, and essential tool we take for granted.

Back in my much younger days I was on the road to becoming a famous poet.  That road reached a dead end but I still plug along.  To submit your work it all had to be done through the mail.  I spent hours in front of my typewriter pouring out my words in erasable typewriter paper, and sending my efforts out along with a SASE.  How times have changed.

So until my router shows up, I’ve rejoined the loop for better or for worse.

May 3, 2014 at 7:11 pm Leave a comment


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