HORN & WHISTLE
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The Only Publication Devoted to “The Voices of the Industrial Revolution”
and Related Technologies

HORN AND WHISTLE

Latest News and Events

Keep up with the latest aspects of Horn & Whistle Magazine on this page, which was last updated on 04 29 2022.

Newest Issue # 146 is ready, and am going to mail out notices to all subscribers. If you subscribe to our on-line ezine from this site, you will now get the newest issue, #146.

Paper Issues Are Back! For several years now we have made H&W available only as an on-line publication. This was because it became too expensive to produce paper hardcopies. However, market research, individual customer feedback, and my telephone communications with some members indicated that many of our subscribers wanted Horn & Whistle to continue as a paper magazine. So I have done a lot of research into this over the last several weeks. Now formerly, we were charging $25.00 per year for a paper susbcription of four issues per year, and I found out the hard way that we were losing money on paper issues. For a while I bore the cost overruns but that was before I retired from a full-time power station career. But after I retired, this was no longer possible. It is no secret that we lost many long time subscribers by eliminating paper and going on-line exclusively. And I certainly will admit that there is a definite appeal to a paper publication that an on-line subscription does not have. In fact some on-line subscribers would download the online issues and then print a paper version for their own use.

It is important to realize that H&W is a specialty niche publication. As such, we do not have thousands of subscribers. Even during H&W's peak production time, we never quite made it to even 600 subscribers. So, high production printing methods are not available to us; it is absolutely not at all cost effective to use offset lithography for the number of copies that we would require. This means that we must resort to a photocopy process instead. Photocopy printing is suitable for small print runs, but the per-copy cost is much more than the per copy cost for offset lithography, but the set-up for offset litho printing makes small runs much more expensive overall and we would really need to produce at least 5000 copies to make this option attractive.

Anyhow, after doing considerable research into this matter, I am going to try an experiment. In order to make paper copies available for the number of issues that we presently need, we will need to charge subscribers $50.00 for an annual subscription. For this price, each subscription period will include four paper copies of Horn & Whistle postal mailed to Subscribers in the USA. Because of the cost of mailing out of the USA, we will offer only the on-line version to subscribers who do not live in the USA. Likewise, we will not be able to offer the lifetime subscription option for paper issues for the same reason; much greater production and distribution expenses. Also notice that because of the much lower expenses associated with on-line publishing, we are still selling on-line subscriptions for only $10.00 per year, and on-line also provides the advantage of full color throughout, and links to sound clips or other articles of interest, and it also allows occasionally exceeding our former 44 page limit. The new page limit for paper copies will be forty pages. however by carefully tweaking margins, font size, spacing between letters and words, it is possible to have the same amount of content on four fewer pages, which in itself represents a small but definite savings which is going to help make a return to paper possible.


Newest on-line version of Issue #146 has been distributed to the subscribers.

The on-line version of the New issue #146 has been E-mailed to paid up subscribers. On the advice of the marketing consultant who has been helping me with getting paper issues started again, I am being a little less generous with carrying subscribers who have let their subscriptions lapse. I am only providing two free issues, with a reminder to renew. After that, I'll send out one or two reminders, but no more magazines. I used to carry lapsed subscribers for four or in some cases even five issues, but sometimes it takes a hard-nosed outsider to look over your business and then say right out, "What are you? Crazy? You can't be giving the store away and expect to stay in business," and infortunately, he is right. Likewise, the paper issues have to be slightly profitable, thus the $50 price for four issues. So they are there for those who want them. I would still recommend the on-line version, as it's only $10.00 for four issues and it has other advantages as well, including links and pretty soon also videos and sound clips. Anyhow, that's where we presently stand regarding on line and paper versions of Horn & Whistle.

Regarding covid, we will get through this, I am confident of that. When, exactly, I don't know. I am happy to say that as of this date, I received both shots, getting my third booster next week, and nowmonths later, I seem to have no problems, and so far, at least according to two different covid tests, I have remained free of this disease. Much to my amazement, I still hear people insist that the vaccine has microchips in it, which is perhaps the most ridiculous of all reasons for refusing it. I also hear some people say there is no such thing as covid. Regarding chips, and believing that there are chips in it, then I would say this to all who believe such. "Listen, idiot, for microchips to function, you need a DC power supply to make them work." I have seen no evidence of people being hooked up to DC power supplies, and don't expect to either. And, as far as some people denying that there is any such thing as covid, then how come so many people have been hospitalized with it, or died from it? Anyhow, I have found that there seems to be no convincing people with absurd ideas that they might possibly be wrong in their thinking. As one wise friend so aptly put it a few years ago, "What do you do with ignorance that will not be told?"

 

Front cover of issue 146

Click anywhere on this image of Issue 146 to subscribe to H & W.


Featured articles in #146

What is so different when you mix different frequency sound waves in air as compared with mixing different frequency audio signals as for example in recordings and in electronic musical instruments? Here you'll find out why, as currently designed, an electronic organ will not sound quite as good as a real pipe organ unless the electronic guys make one significant change. But they haven't to my knowledge done so yet.

Some horn makers use cast horn bells, and some use spun bells. Admittedly, the highly polished spun bells look really beautiful, way better than cast bells, although some RR horns that have been really nicely powder coated can look pretty decent. But what are the two major reasons why a cast bell is better than a spun bell?

Still More big European sirens! Pictorially, we're back to Germany again as we look at some more interesting European sirens.

Multi-Track Recording and Artificial Ambience Creation. If you want to make really stunning recordings of musical groups, pipe organs and large classical orchestras and also at some of our events, there is a way that the "big guys" know and use, a way that very likely you are not using. While on occasion you can get really lucky and turn out a masterful recording with just the simplest of equipment, even perhaps by using some cell phones, if you really want to get it right, here is a method that gets recordings that stand out from the typical amateur or casual recording and, when played back on a good system, will make you think you are present at the live event. In some cases, such a recording can sound even BETTER than the live event. The title of this article implies what this is about, now read it and find out in detail how it's done.

And, last but certainly not least, we have some more interesting views from old whistle catalogs that show what the major whistle and signal device makers were doing in the 19th century and the early 20th. The illustrations are intersting works of art in themselves, because back then many of these were actual engravings, hand done by master craftsmen and artists. Today it's so easy to get good pictures. The everage smart phone usually contains a very decent digital camera, and then we can upload these photos to our computers and print out very nice looking quality pictures. And we have highly sophisticated graphics editing programs like Photoshop, for example where, if our pictures might not be exactly what we would like to see, we can tweak them to perfection. But when these whistle makers were in business they had nothing like that. Often an artist would have to render a good drawing or painting of a whistle on paper, and then other specialists would engrave that image onto a suitable plate that could eventually reproduce those images on paper. And sometimes colors would be added after the fact to enhance the engraving. Although photography was around before 1900, it was a very complicated process in itself to go from the camera to the printed page and thus engravings were the way it was usually accomplished. So these early catalogs are interesting, not only to see how the makers presented and priced their products, but also how they illustrated them for their customers.

If you are not a subscriber to Horn & Whistle, change that situation right here! Subscribe to H & W E-zine.


A big change to Horn & Whistle started in 2018. For many reasons, the principal one being an economics reason, H&W became an entirely on-line publication in 2018. The costs of producing and distributing the paper copies were spiraling up all the time and it gradually became no longer possible to continue with paper copies without massive price increases. Many readers, however, wanted, and even adamantly demanded that paper copies should be available or they would no longer be interested in getting this publication.

On-line subscriptions have several undeniable advantages over paper, regardless of whether or not people prefer them. The biggest advantage is the much lower subscription cost. Other advantages include full color throughout, occasional extra content, and one that many people overlook entirely. YOU, the reader, can easily scale the size of the print to whatever is most comfortable for you to read. You can't do this with paper hardcopies, and must therefore resort in some instances to special glasses if the print should be smaller than what is comfortable for you to read easily. This is certainly true in my situation as a senior citizen where I don special glasses when I have to cope with small print. Production expenses with on-line issues are much lower than with paper, and I pass these savings along to subscribers. As I mentioned, we're going to try bringing paper subscriptions back, but in order for this to be profitable and not a serious money-loser for us, the price of a paper subscription will be $50.00 per year or four issues. Compare that with $10.00 per year (or four issues) for the on-line version. also, because 4 color printing is more expensive, most of the images in the paper copies will be black and white, whereas if we get color images for use in our articles, the on-line issues will likewise be in color. Hopefully, however, this experiment with paper copies will result in success, and the providing to all present and future subscribers to this magazine with what they prefer to receive from us.

I am also starting to experiment with video. I have just begun learning about on-line video and I am playing around with making some videos and eventually putting them into the H&W web site and also even in the on-line issues of H & W. I recently set up a very new computer and it has many possibilities which were not available previously so I have been doing a lot of self-training to learn about its many capabilities.

Don't forget; if you change any aspect of your address, either physical or e-mail, let me know. Here's a good way to get in touch with me regarding Horn & Whistle. Just click on the word "CONTACT" and then select my name from the list of Horn & Whistle people that appears and type in your name and message.

Back Issue CDs. I have PDF file copies of every issue that I have produced beginning with #101. These are available on three CDs, presently $15.00 ea plus $4.22 for packaging, handling and shipping. Here's a direct link to the purchasing form for these. You can also find a link for these on the Home Page by clicking the Subscribe button.

Here's a handy form to fill out to expedite an address change: Change postal or e-mail address.

Regarding returning pictures or articles that you have sent in; it is worth repeating yet again that if you send us pictures and/or articles and want them back, you need to include a note with your material stating that fact and also include a self-addressed, postage-paid envelope. Without that, we will not save either pictures or articles once we have processed them for inclusion in the magazine unless the pictures are of exceptional interest. The amount of material that sometimes comes here can be quite formidable, and storage of pictures and papers is really neither practical or possible. I am sorry to say but if you send in material without either a request to save them or the postage-paid envelope and then later on change your mind, it will probably be too late, so please keep this fact in mind when you send in items that you want returned to you.

Previous publishers have in many cases kept photos that were sent to us; indeed, that is how the Whistle Picture Book will become possible. But eventually there came a time when there was just too much stuff and that was why the previous publisher instituted the present policy of no longer keeping material once it was either used in the magazine or deemed unusable. Thus the present policy regarding returned material. If you want it back, include a postage-paid suitable envelope and also a written notice that you do indeed want the materials returned.


More web site info. More tweaks. "Hey Eric, you're not kidding us! You're a first class computer geek and you love doing computer stuff!" I can hear some of you saying that now. Well, the computer geek part is true. One has to be somewhat of a computer geek today to be a publisher, even for a small niche publication such as H & W, but after a while, the novelty of the computer goes away and then it becomes more like work and not so much fun. Anyhow, things in the world of the Internet are always changing. It's such a large field and so many people are involved that it is not possible for it to remain static, and thus my latest tweaks are all behind the scenes, but I am gradually modernizing the coding on our web pages. It's doubtful that you as visitors to this site will see anything significantly different, but lots of Internet related stuff becomes deprecated. That seems to be the word the W3C uses a lot which means they get obsolete, are no longer the best ways to do something, and in time, if you do not pay attention, all of a suddenly some aspect of your web site may stop working. Therefore, it is necessary for anybody who is a webmaster, even for just one or two web sites, to pay attention, study often, and make changes and upgrades to keep up with the newer ways of doing things. As for example, see that horizontal line right before the paragraph that begins with More web site info. It's just a stupid line, right? But, the way that a webmaster should make that line now is different from the way we did it previously; so that is just one example of a little behind-the-scenes tweak. I am now making these lines according to the best practices as recommended by the W3C. That, by the way, means the "World Wide Web Consortium," which is a large group of folks who are tasked with devising ways to do things with web pages and also setting the standards. And they don't sit around. They are constantly devising improvements in all aspects of web site development, creation, and functioning, and thus we must pay close attention to what they do and suggest, and I must say that what they do does make things ultimately better, faster and easier. But it also means that if you have anything at all to do with putting web sites together, you can never sit back and say, "OK, I'm all done studying." If you do that, and you are a webmaster, you just might one day find that your prized web site is no longer working right!

One thing that I have noticed is that there are many people who are called "Internet Gurus." These folks have studied and become very proficient at various Internet-related tasks that us webmasters have to do. Unfortunately, it seems that most of them make the assumption that those of us who consult them know as much about the subject as they do, and when they explain something to us, their explanations are geared to people who already have their level of knowledge. Obviously, if we already had their level of knowledge, why would we be consulting them? So if any of you Internet Gurus read this, I hope you'll pay attention to what I just wrote and realize that when we ask you about something, it's because we do not have your degree of knowledge and you should not assume that we do!

Anyhow, for a long time, I put in a special line of coding that would, if a subscriber had a very old computer that was still using Internet Explorer 6 as a browser, put up pages that were somewhat different so that they would display correctly within the many limitations of IE6. Today, IE6 is almost completely nonexistent. Therefore, I am no longer including either this line of code, or making special pages to run correctly under the constraints of IE6 or any other antiquated browsers. For me, this is a big burden lifted, and means that I do not have to spend time creating multiple versions of web pages. The main criterion seems to be to make a page work correctly on Google Chrome, which is the most widely used browser today. If yur page works well on Google Chrome, the probability is that it will work well on Firefox and Edge, which are also important web browsers. Recently I read a statement by one knowledgeable web source which simply stated, "If your site runs correctly and looks right on Google Chrome, it should do likewise on all popular modern browsers."

Another very important requisite is to make pages that display well on cell phones as well as other devices with smaller screens. Back in the early days of the Internet, people viewed it via computers. Cell phones were for making phone calls. Today, the cell phone is really a miniature portable computer, and many folks use a cell phone almost exclusively for all of their Internet-related tasks. So the new coding on web pages now should make the pages change according to the size of the screen that a person uses when looking at a web page. For a while I was doing that as well as making special pages for IE6, but when I last checked browser usage statistics on line, I discovered that the usage of IE6 is less than 1% of the total browser usage, and the most popular browser by far is Google Chrome. So the new emphasis is to make things look good and work well on Google Chrome. This, plus naking the page change according to the creen size that a web visitor uses will pretty much insure that things will work well and look good on most of the common browsers and devices that are presently in widespread use.

It is, however, impossible to check how pages display on every possible system and device out there. If you see mistakes on, or have issues with any pages in the H & W web site, send me an e-mail here:
eric@hornandwhistle.com

Likewise, dial-up Internet is in use by so few communities, and it is so slow and cumbersome that much of today's web content doesn't even work with dialup. I've been informed by one subscriber who still has dial-up Internet access that most of the time he can't even download our on-line issues because the files are so big that his system times out before the download can finish. I recently found out that, contrary to what I had thought, dial-up Internet access is still in use, and this use, though very limited, is more widespread than I would have thought. Therefore, what I am, however, gearing up to do is to start putting each issue of H & W on CDs, so that subscribers who are still in that situation can get the on line issues that way. So that will still involve the Post Office, but I do not see mailing more than maybe 5 or 6 CDs to those who live where dial-up is still the only way to get on line. But I would recommend that if you are still using a dial-up Internet connection by choice, this is a serious mistake. So much of today's web content is going to be unavailable to you, and what is available is going to perform badly in most cases, and many functions that are designed into modern web pages will not work, so there really is absolutely no advantage to remaining on dialup if modern Internet connections are available to you. And if they aren't, then start complaining to your Internet service providers! Today, if you have dialup Internet service, you might as well not even bother trying to be on line, because so much now will be completely unavailable. What new systems can download in mere seconds will, on dialup, possibly take several hours to download, that is if your system doesn't time out first.

I should also advise you that if you are still using IE6 by choice, but have a modern hi speed Internet service, you should dump IE6 and get the newest version of Internet Explorer that will run on your machine, or any of the other modern web browsers. And there are reasons why Google Chrome is the web browser of choice for most Internet users. And, best of all, all of these modern browsers are FREE! All you do is Google the browser you want, click it; you get right to the site and then just follow the download instructions. You'd be amazed at how much more nicely stuff works and how many more great features you can use that IE6 has no way of delivering to you. And if you are still clinging to an old relic of a computer from the mid nineties, well, all bets are off as to what you can even access on the Internet or how jumbled and screwed up many modern web pages will look. Get a newer computer! They're not that expensive and they work so much better and faster than the relics of the nineties.

Regarding our on-line subscription methods, I tried another experiment, that of offering automatic subscription renewal. However, nobody wanted that, so that has gone away. I won't renew your subscription when it is up for renewal. YOU will renew it if you want to. I send you notices along with each new issue when you are within a couple of issues of having your present subscription end, and so you should pay attention when you see that so you can renew on time and not miss an issue. Regarding the on-line issues, I generally will give you a complimentary copy of the newest issue even after your subscription has expired, but I can't afford to be too generous with continuing free subscriptions. H&W has never been out to be a big moneymaking operation; those of us who are involved with its production do so for the love of our hobby and not with the idea of making a buck, but we can't afford to have it become an expense; that is, financially, H&W has to be self-sustaining. So, when your subscription is getting close to ending, it's entirely up to you if you renew or not. I certainly hope that you will renew, but I will not automatically renew it for you. I must admit that I don't like auto-renewal at all. Even though it could be a convenience, I just don't care for some other entity suddenly slipping a charge on my credit card even if it is for something that I want. Absolutely nobody, when given that option, chose to have us auto-renew his subscription. I have seen auto-renewal in many other publications, so I figured I would offer it for H&W subscribers. But since you did not want it, it's gone.

And if you are still without a computer by choice, Although actually most likely you would not be reading this if you weren't on a computer (or smart phone) although somebody else could have told you about this page, but anyhow, listen to this: everybody whom I know who held out for years on getting a computer and who finally did get one marvels at how much easier it makes many tasks and how useful it has become in a very short time. Also, please don't say that you “are too old to use a computer.” I had a friend who lived to be 101 years old. He had been using computers for the last 31 years, which means he was 70 when he started learning.

I started using a computer when I was 54. I will admit, it was new to me and it was complicated. But I'm very glad that I did indeed take the necessary time to learn.

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