Free-range at last

Friday was my last day at Logitech, after 32.85 years.

It was a great run, filled with good people and a wide variety of products to develop. Whenever I got bored or antsy I would get the opportunity to work on a whole new product line or technology, and diving into the unknown was always revitalizing (and stressful!).

I’ll miss those opportunities a little bit, but now it’s time to choose my own challenges…


Starting this week I’m semi-retired (2 days/week) — I go completely free-range in mid-May.

I’ve already been obsessed for two weeks with finally building a tremolo effect idea I had back in 2003 (tentatively named “The Tremotron”), and this week I’ve been checking out all the old favorite DIY sites (Ampage, AX84) and finally setting up a useful home media server.

The Tremotron will be a hybrid analog/digital project, so I’m also spending time learning the necessary microcontroller development tools.

Also, they had a retirement party for me at Logitech and my co-workers gave me a huge gift certificate to Sweetwater, so I’m looking into a little shopping spree. Top choices right now are a solid keyboard stand (for my Hammond Sk1) and a Tascam DR-100mkIII. I’d buy the Roland Rubix 44, but even though it was announced at NAMM it still hasn’t shipped…

Where did those 9 months go?

A month after my last post I had an MRI & xray that revealed a need for major surgery & chemotherapy (bummer!). I’m still recovering from both, and this health episode has made retirement in 2017 a much higher priority. Having a lot of ‘disabled’ time to do more music was definitely also a factor.

During my convalescence I’ve put some time into all of the things I mentioned in the last post, and I’ve recently decided to focus on learning & arranging new tunes, as well as playing acoustic baritone guitar (the target of the arranging). The transposing part of the baritone has come more easily than I expected, but the scale length is still a challenge.

Where have I been?

My amp building has been on hold for the last 9 years in deference to mentally exhausting day gig work (and the loss of a good space for electric playing, and back trouble, and . . . ), so I’ve been playing instead of building.

I’m lucky to have a circle of musician friends that get together in various acoustic groupings about twice a month, but about half of them only ever play 6-string guitar. The music starts to get crowded when more than 4-5 players show up, so some of us have picked up alternate instruments.

Brer Stevo has always had the mandolin & banjo covered, and he and Spock are both better bass players than I am, so I’ve mostly settled on 8-string squareneck reso (in G6) and melodica. I recently picked up a baritone acoustic guitar that I’m also trying to work into the mix.

Alone at home, I’ve been playing with SONAR and some soft synths to feed my electronic music and recording interest. I also have both tenor and soprano saxes, but they get the least use of all these days (too loud for acoustic jams!).

So I’ve been busy enough, but not in any focused way.

I don’t expect to get very focused until I can finally get off the full time work treadmill (some time in the next two years), but I’m looking forward to getting serious about songwriting/composition when I do. I should also have plenty of time to work on my ideal studio amp, too.

Baby steps…

OK, so I think I’ve caught all the broken links. If you find any, please let me know!

WordPress is definitely easier than hand coding, but it’s going to take quite a while to master getting it to look *exactly* like I want it (and yes, I realize that blogging is already >10 years past its sell-by date). It’ll be interesting to see how my content development evolves (i.e., how lazy I am!).

Moving Day!

Sadly, my long time web host (TMX) is going out of business at the end of this year — the DDoS attacks got to be too much for poor Bob.

So now Harmonic Appliances is on Web Hosting Hub, with this here fancy blogging software to relieve me of my old HTML hand coding (part of the reason HA has been updated so infrequently over the years — even though TMX offered free WordPress, it came along after I ‘designed’ the original site). I’m going to keep the hand coded site available at the “Harmonic Appliances Classic” link, but I’ll also be experimenting with integrating the content into this WordPress interface with individual menu items for individual projects.

I’ll probably never be a regular blogger (even monthly seems unlikely), but now that I’m in my last few years of the day gig I do expect to get a lot busier with musical pursuits, and I just might have something to say about them…