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Using your weekend gig for your day gig

J. Dan

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Like many of you I have a regular career based on an engineering degree and have backed off a bit from the gigging. I have to present to my team about something I do well that the team can learn from. Part of that has to do with music.


My theme will be taking knowledge and experience outside of our core competency to enhance our effectiveness. I have 2 examples.


I have used MIDI extensively since the 80s. It happens to be similar in some ways to the RS-485 modbus that is native in most of our devices and gave me the background to advance to more advanced industrial protocols like EthernetIP, modbus TCP, Foundation Fieldbus, Profibus, ProfiNet, etc. I will compare sending Sysex messages to writing Modbus holding registers as an example.


Next part maybe harder to explain, but at its core based on physics our technology is a spring and mass system just like a speaker or microphone. We have a patented verification algorithm that takes advantage of this, but is difficult for our sales force to understand. When I explain it like playing 5 notes on a piano through a speaker and listening to how loud each note is coming out of the speaker, everybody understands - you can see the lights finally turn on. Im going to dress up in my 80s garb and make a cheesy video using a software RTA with a mic, speaker, and my keyboard to educate the sakes force (by request from the factory).



Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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FYI, you know that the DMX is /actually/ RS-485, right?

Hammond: L111, M100, M3, BC, CV, Franken CV, A100, D152, C3, B3

Leslie: 710, 760, 51C, 147, 145, 122, 22H, 31H

Yamaha: CP4, DGX-620, DX7II-FD-E!, PF85, DX9

Roland: VR-09, RD-800


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A bit off-topic, but I've found being a part-time gigging musician has other benefits at the day gig, mostly in terms of networking and camaraderie. It is an easy and fun conversation topic for co-workers -- they want to know when my next gig is and they enjoy the band war stories.
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Kind of the opposite direction of your topic, but one of my day gigs involves working as a behavioral consultant for a school system. This involves teaching kids social skills, teamwork, sharing, taking turns, anger management, and conflict resolution. Sometimes at band rehearsal I feel like I have not left work. ;)

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw


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