Thursday, December 8, 2011

Nerd Corner: SYSEX gone bad


I once had a SYSEX dump go bad. If you know what that phrase means, then
a) I’m sorry, and
b) Welcome to NerdWorld.

All the settings and sounds for an entire composing project were corrupted, and (of course) the client needed changes. I found that my MIDI interface had glitched and had randomly duplicated certain blocks of data. (either that or there were some nasty karma elves taking revenge on me for something.)

Looking at a healthy batch of SYSEX data for comparison, I had to try to figure out where the corrupted blocks were and delete them by hand. Lest you be impressed at my hexadecimal acumen, let me quickly say I was guessing a bit. OK, a LOT. Ever had the feeling you're trying to perform surgery while handcuffed and blindfolded...without a medical degree and with only that 7th-grade science class anatomy poster to guide you? That about sums up what this was.

After several hours of this, no one was more surprised than I when it worked! Everything came up just fine and I got busy making the necessary changes to the track. However, this experience does not top my list of fun things to do on the weekend...or, for that matter, any other day that ends in “y.”

-Dave Hab

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