Saturday, October 13, 2012

Syntaur Doing It Right

I have an Ensoniq KS-32 keyboard that was released 20 years ago.  I think that mine is only 17 years old, though (I'm the third owner, but I have owned it since 1998).  Anyway, it's a great board, and it has treated me very well for a very long time.

There had been a low battery warning for, probably the last 10 years or so.  My response was to just never turn it off, which worked until I had to turn it off for a while.  Anyway, originally it would give the warning, then I could hit a button, and the error would disappear, and I could still play the board.  Recently, it stopped playing.  So, I got out my soldiering iron, and some angle wire cutters and replaced the battery.  (it was spot welded onto leads that go into the main board, now there are long lead wires that are soldered onto the original leads, and those - in turn - are soldiered to the watch battery).

But then, I remember that this thing isn't just a board, it's an entire MIDI workstation and control instrument.  I wasn't storing anything because I knew the low battery would just lose whatever it was.  Now that there's a fresh battery again, though...  How to, well, I didn't have a manual, so I started searching around.

I find that one place has the manuals that I need.  So, I'm looking around, and they ALSO have a main-board memory upgrade for it.  Oooooh, it can hold 58000 sequence notes, instead of only 8000.  I hadn't heard much about this site but decided to go for it (using PayPal).

It took 24 hours for them to send me the PDF manuals.  It took about a week for the memory to get to me.  I installed it about an hour ago, and the instructions were clear enough (shrugs, I know, that doesn't say much, since I was confident enough to replace the battery even before I got a copy of the service manual).  Mostly, the memory upgrade works as advertised.

The site doesn't look like much, but these guys did what they said they would, and since I can't find that much on the net about them, good or bad, I figured that I'd point them out on the net right here.

To the folks at, thank you for keeping parts around for my 20 year old keyboard design and being so easy to work with.

Monday, April 30, 2012

I Did NOT Subscribe, and Why

Dear magazine publisher.

I was thinking that it would be awesome to sign up for your magazine for a year, try it out.  So, I went to your site, and started to fill out the information that you asked.  When it came to pay you, though, you have told me that by signing up now, I agree that you'll AUTOMATICALLY bill me again, every year, from now until I actually remember to go out of my way to cancel.

I spent two minutes trying to find a way to not sign up for auto-renew, and you didn't give me an easy way to get out of it.

To make it clear, YOU just LOST a FULL PRICE subscriber because you tried to FORCE an AUTO RENEWAL policy onto me.

Have a nice day,
Gary Allen Vollink

P.S. I live in New York, I know where the news-stands are.  Too bad I won't be in your subscriber circulation count.  Might want to re-think that Subscribe Now web page in the future.

P.P.S. I could tell my readers which mag it was, but when I thought about it, I realize I've been faced with this problem with other mags, too, and had the same response (not subscribing).  I also know that I can't be the only person who had the same reaction.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SOPA/PIPA (Protect IP)

I am your constituent and I never miss a vote.  I want to make clear, that there are already laws and international treaties in place to protect from online piracy.  If those are not working, using Chinese style censorship methods to block foreign sites makes me wonder what happened to freedom, and I will remember those in congress who agreed with a minority of struggling entertainment concerns that Chinese style internet totalitarianism is the best answer.

SOPA and PIPA (Protect IP) are not the right way forward.

Thank you,
Gary Allen Vollink

Sent via the EFF widget, here: