Nielsen Family Website

This is a website for the Nielsens:

This site will be updated with news in sortof a blog format, but also has static content that can be accessed by using the links at the top right of each page, such as Music, Pictures, etc.

New Audacity Settings

For acoustic guitar, finger picking:

Room Size: 49
Pre-delay: 29
Reverberance: 66
Damping: 50
Tone Low: 50
Tone High: 85
Web Gain: 1
Dry Gain: -1
Stereo Width: 100

Audacity Reverb Part 2

These settings are much more subdued and natural-sounding.

Roomsize: 50
Reverb Time: 1.5
Damping: 0.9
Input Bandwidth: 0.75
Dry Signal Level: 0
Early Reflection Level: -20.0
Tail level: -20

Christmas Music

I've decided that for the 12 days until Christmas that I would post a new Christmas song each day. I have done 7 days so far (today is the 8th - I'll post again tonight).

Here are the songs that I have done thus far:

I have both an original version and a version after I added reverb (which helps a lot, especially for single-instrument renditions).

Audacity Reverb

If you are using Audacity to edit songs, and want to add reverb, this guide is a must. The default settings really don't sound good at all. The "Nice Hall Effect" settings are my favorite.

Here are my own "large hall" settings, which I prefer.

Roomsize: 200
Reverb time: 5
Damping: 0.1
Input Bandwidth: 0.75
Dry Signal Level: -1.5
Early Reflection Level: -10
Tail Level: -20

Lifehacker's Essential Windows Downloads

Lifehacker has a list of Essential Windows Downloads and they are pretty good.

You can download them in an all-in-one installer here:

Camera Information

I'm tired of not remembering exactly what photography equipment I have, so I typed out a wiki page with links to my gear. Check out

Ant build.xml file

I am incredibly sick of 100+ line build.xml files. For this reason, here is a short, simple build.xml that I (and others) can reference:

<project name="eyes-ip" default="jar" basedir=".">
  <property name="src" location="src"/>
  <property name="build" location="build"/>
  <property name="jar" location="eyes-ip.jar"/>
  <target name="init">
    <mkdir dir="${build}"/>

  <target name="compile" depends="init">
    <javac srcdir="${src}" destdir="${build}"/>

  <target name="jar" depends="compile">
    <jar jarfile="${jar}" basedir="${build}">
      <fileset dir="${build}"/>
        <attribute name="Main-Class" value="org.cablelabs.eyesip.EyesIPClient"/>

  <target name="clean">
    <delete dir="${build}"/>
    <delete file="${jar}"/>


Here is a site that has some small barrels for aging ports or whiskeys at home:

Tea Cozies

I was looking for a "cozy" warmer for my french press, and I found a bunch here:

Pretty cool site, if you like "tea" stuff.

Cold Steel

These guys have some great looking swords:

Their videos are awesome. In particular, check this one out:

PT Cruiser Information

I found a great source of information for troubleshooting problems with PT Cruisers.

I also found out that you can query the car for troubleshooting error codes by turning the key from off to on (without actually starting the car) rapidly three times. If it displays "done" there are no codes.

Here are the code definitions:

There is also a section on spark plugs, which is right here: I think this is my current problem.

Hot Toddy Recipe (from Jack and Phyllis)

The Christmas Tom & Jerry's we serve are a shot of rum, a shot of brandy, hot water and topping with a sprinkle of nutmeg. The batter as it is called is a bit more complicated so I am not sure you want to tackle it unless you have a Kitchenaid mixer (makes it easy) - you separate 6 egg whites and yolks, beat separately, keep beating as you s-l-o-w-l-y add the yolks into the stiff egg whites. Next, you add close to 2 lbs. powdered sugar slowly as you keep beating, add halfway a shot of rum and 1/4 tsp. baking soda. Add about 2 more lbs. of powdered sugar to stop when it is stiff and thick. Store tightly closed in the fridge. Good luck and hope you feel better (no thanks to us!) so you can enjoy the event tomorrow in Boulder, love, Phyllis

Just in case you want to go for it, here is a half version which would be more manageable with less to store but still take time:

Tom & Jerry Batter
Beat egg whites and yolks separately: 3 eggs
Add creamy yolk very slowly while beating stiff egg whites
Add little less than 2 pounds of powder sugar in all
Halfway add about 1/8 tsp. baking soda and half a shot of rum
Stop when thick and stiff.

Meta Sends Escape

For people that use Cygwin and xterms, I found a good configuration adjustment. When using "ssh" to log into remote Linux machines, I need to set the "Meta Sends Escape" option for Emacs-style command line shortcuts as well as running within Emacs, because the "meta" (alt) keystroke seems not to be sent through ssh correctly.

I discovered that to make this behavior the default, you need to edit:


and add the following line:

*metaSendsEscape: true


I'm in Omaha with Jim and Tony! We had a great time last night with the MacDissis. :)


There was an interesting article on Slashdot yesterday about Hacking Our Five Senses and Building New Ones that contained some interesting links about new types of input to our brains.

One interesting thing that was brought up was having an innate sense of direction, and how this could be accomplished using technology. A research team made a belt that had several vibrating motors on it, that would always vibrate toward North. After worn for a while, apparently the brain began to process the information implicitly and the information becomes incorporated into your awareness. Sounds pretty cool to me! Here's a link to information on the compass belt.

I started looking for more information, and found a smaller design for an anklet. It looks a little less conspicuous - I'd consider building one of these just to try it out. :)

Brewing Calendar

I've posted a brewing calendar that I'm reproducing from Northern Brewer magazine (until they put an online version to which I can link), as well a complete brewing calendar from a post by wild on Home Brew Talk.

Brewers enjoy!



I really just can't shut up about Emacs these days...

So I found the best thing ever, for Emacs dorks - xkeymacs! It allows you to use Emacs keystrokes to navigate Windows, Email, Word, etc. It really makes my life easier!


I've really been loving GNU Emacs lately. I finally made the switch from XEmacs because of too many little flaky problems, and I have no regrets. If you are into Emacs, you can check out my .emacs file at:

I've also written a bash script that downloads my .emacs (backing it up automatically), as well as a bunch of other packages like gtags, highlight-80+.el, php-mode.el, etc. You can safely run this script, as it backs up your old .emacs file (with a timestamp, so you can run it multiple times). If you're interested, check out:

On a Linux command-line system, I use wget to grab it and then run it to completely set up my editor on a new system in less than a minute.

Feel free to write if you like it, or have suggestions. nick at


I've been posting pictures pretty regularly on my Picasa site (check there for updates often).

In the latest batch up updates, I have Eric's Brew Jam birthday party, Christie's birthday hat party, Alex' basketball season, Alex' Pinewood Derby, and some pictures from France toward the end of last year.

I've also been compiling old Nielsen pictures in an album on Picasa - from many different sources, including some from Denmark (thanks Finn!).


James sent me this awesome article on Emacs - w00t!

Hi Phillip!!

I'm showing Phillip how Drupal works! :)


We went to the Nielsen ranch out in Ogallala this past weekend to help with branding and join in on the revelry. :) Branding went quickly, and we had lunch and played our guitars. It was a really fun trip! I have pictures here.


Ok, had to put this on here so I remember it. I found an AWESOME linux tool that I wish I knew about before now: lshw. Basically it gives a list of very detailed information about the hardware on your Linux system. It wasn't installed by default in my Fedora installation, but I used "yum install lshw" to grab it and it worked great. This will definitely help with development and administration using a Linux machine...

I know, a weird post for the blog, but it got me excited.

(I should also add that I saw this on the Moving Pieces blog. Here's the original article).


I just posted new pictures! I had a backlog building up... First there was Alex' Birthday, which was great fun. And then right after was Spring Break and then Arianna's Birthday. Good times were had by all!

Then, Alex graduated from being a Tiger Cub Scout to the next rank of Wolf Cub. He did a very good job, and now has several belt loops including Swimming, Astronomy, and Art.

Alex is also in soccer these days, and I took some pictures at his game. It was FREEZING. Well, actually it was 40 degrees, but the wind was blowing about 50 mph. The kids all had little coats on (and thank goodness Alex brought his mittens!). Alex' team, the Green Dragons, won the game 2-0. I have some funny pictures of Alex happily dancing around after the second goal - hilarious. :-P Make sure to check them out!

Time to Move On...

I have recently resigned from Solekai Systems, to work at a company called Atrato Inc. It was a very hard decision, but because of the industry and several other factors I decided it was time to move on. I'm excited to work at Atrato - I start there on April 7th. Until then, I'm finishing up a contract with Solekai.


It has been a while, so I thought I'd write something. There's a few new pictures at my Picasa site (Click on Pictures in the menu at the top), if you want to check them out.

I just found a new site, that is great for downloading music (not just streaming like YouTube). I went there to find footage from the recent London Led Zeppelin concert. They didn't have any (I think every site has pulled that footage at the request of the band, since they're going to release a DVD of the concert at some point), but they had a BUNCH of great old footage of Led Zeppelin songs.

Guitar Surgery

So i recently ripped the guts out of my 1996 Gibson Les Paul Standard.


Say what??

The story begins with me reading an article in Guitar World magazine about Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin. It was the issue before their big concert in London recently (which apparently went fantastically!). They talked about Gibson's recent reissue Jimmy Page Signature Les Paul, and mentioned that it had "Jimmy Page's coil tap push/pull setup." ??? What the heck, and why haven't I ever heard of it?

After some research, I knew I HAD to duplicate his setup. Basically, your volume and tone controls become extra switches on your guitar. In Jimmy Page's setup, the volume knobs ground out half the humbucker to which they're attached, turning the humbuckers into single-coil pickups. In addition, the tone knobs, when pulled out, will either flip the pickup connections so they're out of phase with each other, or wire them in series (to make a giant pickup).

Pictures of the Kids

We decided to take some portraits of the kids since it has been a while. We have many more than these, but we just posted the good ones. And the really bad ones (they're funny!).

Today we're heading over to Mom and Dad's house for a BBQ - it should be great fun. I've spent the morning digitizing songs that I should have recorded months ago. I'll post them, too, when I get a chance. I've digitized Monica's Wedding, as well as my Dad and my performance at Lake MacConaughy this summer at Junie Mae's. Some of the Lake Gig songs turned out great (and some of them didn't). Stay tuned for mp3s coming up soon!

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