Korg Monotron

First, Brett Domino. Ben, I want you to watch that. All the way to the end.

The Korg Monotron is essentially an exact crossover of the stylophone and the Korg MS-10, with a little bit of nanokey for good measure. Here: I’ve drawn a venn diagram with my mouse in MSPaint, just like the internet loves:

Korg Monotron Venn DiagramWhat is particularly exciting about this for me, is the fact that the Monotron really represents something I have always thought should exist. It is a low-fi, inexpensive-ish, analog synthesiser. Analog! Even the 2007 Stylophone was digitally driven.

Not only that, but it has a really hardcore, gritty feel about it. Korg genuinely facilitate you in modifying it. I don’t know if you’re aware of the circuit bending scene? Anyway, that, one hundred times over.

About the inexsive-ish: £40 is a lot for what it is. It’s not much for something a bit better, but frankly, the monotron doesn’t do much. Is it because of the analog gear within? I don’t know. It’s something I strive to own now, but not the kind of thing I can harmlessly add to my Christmas list; the Korg DS-10 was only about £30 a few years ago, and thats more fully featured than the archaic synth on which it was based.

In other business, I have straight hair at the moment. It is being washed back to its default curls tommorrow such that it can be liberated from my head in the name of charity. Isn’t that exciting? I’mma be real cold, eh.


Star Trek

One day a few months ago, I noticed Star Trek: The Original Series was on, on CBS Action.

I should say that I have never seen any Star Trek, except for misremembered snippets gleaned when I was a small boy. I haven’t seen the latest (or any) film, nor any of the series, at all.

It was up to around episode 6 of the very first series. Watching the beginnings of Star Trek as my introduction to the franchise was quite exciting. Ever since, I have had to keep up as best I can with the 2-episodes-per-day quota. Having just started watching series 3, I’m hooked. However, even since gaining an appreciation for the brand, I  find Deep Space Nine and Voyager boring.

The writers’ estimations of what technology would become are often amusing.

“Microtapes” the size of a small, fat floppy disk, which fit into display screens the size of a Macintosh 128K; PDA’s (or rather, PADDs) which are just chunky electronic clipboards… It surprises me that the writers could create amazing new ideas about space propulsion, energy, and even society, but not come up with any more futuristic data storage than tape.

The computer systems are so retro and unambitious, it is, strangely, one of my favourite things about Kirk’s Enterprise. I am currently making a program for DOS Prompt to recreate the patterns shown on their bridge displays, as my screensaver for Computing lessons. In the meantime, tap364 gets the idea.

The interface is impenetrable to anyone who doesn’t know what it’s saying, it’s just… lights. I think that that is brilliant.


I realise that I haven’t blogged in a long time. Oops.


Electronic Die

In my previous post about Ideal Randomisation, I concluded that a small, silent electronic die would be ideal. My good friend Paul has helped me out on this one, and given me one of some electronic dice he bought a long time ago.

The plan is to remove the buzzer, possibly dim the LEDs with a resistor (as it stands, they burn one’s retinas), and maybe implement a push button in place of the reed switch (read, “spring”) which currently activates it. It’s a little bigger than my ideal, but this experiment is very much ongoing.

It remains to be seen how these modifactions go.

Ideal Randomisation

It’s harder than I thought to blog regularly, not because I’m running out of ideas, but because of the time constraints. Now, my post propa:

I like to play games that I make up in my head. They usually require paper, and a randomiser, such as a die (or dice) or a calculator. They can range from RPGs, to war games, to farming simulations. Like in one of my previous posts, the games that you make up yourself can be the most fun, if you apply imagination. However, I want to be able to do that everywhere; in class, at home, in transit, and in bed. Paper is mostly available, but each situation demands something different from a randomiser. Here are my demands:

  • Small
  • Limited (preferably no) mechanical noise
  • Requires no extra space (to roll or flip)
  • Does not require flat surface (to roll or spin)
  • Available/portable/generally practical. (As in, a phone in a classroom is not.)

I will be marking these using a positive coefficient; higher number means desirable result, out of 5:

ID Size Noise Space Surface Practicality Total
Die 6 5 0 1 2 3 11
Spin wheel 4 3 3 0 1 11
Coins 5 2 1 3 4 15
Calculator 0 5 5 5 1 16
Phone 2 5 5 5 1 18
Frustration-style 4 0 4 3 0 11

…and on reflection, a phone isn’t really that ideal.
What I think would be perfect, is a little electronic device, the size of a d6, with 7 inset LEDs, which has a small on-off switch, and a little roll button. preferably on a key ring. I think that if that doesn’t exist, there is a gap in the market.

More thoughts on this another time?