Monday, January 30, 2006

windmill photo

Took this photo up in Cairns last year of the windmills.

Updated dream computer

My next muso machine

AMD Athlon™ 64 4400+ Processor Retail (939) Dual Core
Thermaltake Blue Orb II (P4 S775, AMD S754, S939, S940)
ASUS A8N-SLI- PREMIUM nForce 4 SLI Socket 939 Motherboard
2048 PQI PC3200 400MHz DDR Dual Channel Series (2X1024MB)
Western Digital 250G SATAII 7200 rpm HDD
Western Digital 250G SATAII 7200 rpm HDD
Albatron 128MDDR PC6600GT PCI Express Video
LG DVD16X+- Super Multi DVD Rewriter with Software(DUAL LAYER Black )4167BBK
Antec Top Quality Sonata II Quiet Black Case

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Everybody needs a DAW

The new year is out and basically DAWs are here to stay. I've been looking for an upgrade from my US-428 which has been serving me faithfully for the last few of years from the time I remembered getting it when it first came out. Frontier designs have done a great job in thinking up really niffy products. Most recently, the wireless tranzport.

So which new DAW will I be spending my hard earned money. Magazines like future music and computer music used to have issues for buying studios under a budget and home studio makeovers with limited cash. We probably wouldn't see that much of those articles anymore as home studios are more popular and the choices of products are ridulous. Any studio makeover is bound to be sponsored by the product's company.

So where do we start? I normally try to look at products that not going to be discontinued or I'm sure will have a long running support (for my intended use lifespan). Even if there may be a product that has kick ass specs, if no one uses it, I wouldn't. Companies that have stood the test of time like tascam, yamaha, m-audio, alesis and mackie would be the first places to look for a DAW.

For most of the products out now, I will put them into 2 categories.

* Mixers pretending to be audio interfaces: e.g. Yamaha, alesis and mackie
* Audio interfaces failing to be mixers: e.g. Tascam, m-audio

I actually like the mixer/daw products, because these things work even if you rip them from your computers. However in this instance, if I'm looking at a US-428 replacement and an upgrade as well to deal with the ordeals of modern home productions.

Requirement 1: Compatibility with all/most software sequencers. This comes in useful when you realise you need to do a project which came in a different format. Pro tools is really being "elite" on only working with its own hardware. M-audio has m-powered pro tools and tascam only allows control over pro tools, but not use the actual interface.

Requirement 2: Enough Ins/outs that also include phantom power. Great when you realise that phantom powers your DI box.

Requirement 3: Motorised faders. Got to have them for automation, its a great incentive to watch sliders move on their own. I wouldn't bother otherwise.


1) Tascam FW-1884 with the digi 002 rack, hmmm. yes, but how much is that going to cost?

2) M-audio projectmix I/O. Its new and I dont know much about it yet, but can you really have your cake and eat it too?

Friday, January 27, 2006

ode to bnc

The whole CNY cleanup time normally finds other odd items that appear and find their way to a bin. Here's a picture I took of my BNC connectors that I used to rely on for building my LANs. Before I could throw away these precious things, I decided to take a picture as momento.

Now presenting. The bnc-vari-spaceship, *pheeuuuuu* .. *zap* *zap*

MIDI over ethernet

Earlier this month, I was sitting in a secondary school music technology class and heard MIDI was described as the dinosaur of music technology. Which in actual fact it is, but who doesn't love still it? For people who has moved on to loops (which was what that class was supposed to be about), maybe its not used as much, but should not be disregarded.

After the class the teacher told me when we were having the conversation that he loved his VSTs and wouldn't know what to do without them.

Instead of looking at full bodied products like the muse receptor or the tc powercores, which only if you had like lots of spare cash can afford and of course stability meant a lot, other methods of distributed processing seems out of reach.

For those who dont know that MIDI over ethernet already exists, it does.
I think this is a great evolution for MIDI to really make effective use over a bus which everyone has and doesn't use very often.

I should actually start a "take pity on your USB" campaign given the way most people abuse their USB bus as I know I do.

So how is this different from a VST system link? The answer is simple, you dont need one. And what do you know, but it now comes free in Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger even. Check it out

FX teleport is really a step up into the distributed sound production on windows only though. It does one step more and gives your processed sound back to your host computer. win already, but its not free and requires you to have more than 1 windows machine. Who wants more than one windows machine?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

how you know when your harddrive is going to die

I'm not entirely sure, but maybe from this message from dmesg.

hdc: dma_timer_expiry: dma status == 0x21
hdc: dma_intr: status=0x51 { DriveReady SeekComplete Error }
hdc: dma_intr: error=0x01 { AddrMarkNotFound }, LBAsect=0, sector=0
ide: failed opcode was: unknown
hdc: dma_intr: status=0x51 { DriveReady SeekComplete Error }
hdc: dma_intr: error=0x01 { AddrMarkNotFound }, LBAsect=63, sector=63
hdc: dma_timer_expiry: dma status == 0x21
hdc: dma_timer_expiry: dma status == 0x21
hdc: DMA timeout error
hdc: dma timeout error: status=0xd0 { Busy }
ide: failed opcode was: unknown
hdc: DMA disabled

My colllegue was shocked when I mentioned I buy an average of 2-3 hard drives a year for personal consumption. So I told him that I have more than 3 machines at home with different age groups, it is natural that these drives die and need to be replaced.

The most awful thing about this is that you loose your data which I have several times in the past. I'm sure faithful readers of this blog will have already read the first few articles about data management and have 2 copies of the same data distributed in their homes to avoid such a tragedy.

The drive I mentioned above used to be an external firewire IDE enclosure. I used it on windows and mac. Last I attempted to use it for was a backup of all my Mac data in Mac native's filesystem. To shorten the story, it wiped out whatever was in it. So I decided to do what I normally do with all "faulty" disks. Stick it into a linux machine. They will tell you exactly whats wrong with it.

Now, why can't Windows or Mac OS (didn't check console though) tell you that, it just tells you all kinds of funny stuff and makes your disk un-usable. At least that message was more straight forward and less misleading.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

death and rebirth

Rebirth is now in a museum and free for downloading. Pick it up now to know what you have missed all this while. Its still fun to play with.

Basically the download is just a torrent file, got get on torrenting if you dont already have a bittorrent client.

You will need to register and download it at the

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

back on track, 4 track

Contrary to the title, my 4 track needs to get its pots cleaned. Might have to send it in for servicing to get all the connections sorted and hissing removed whenever you try to put a tape in.

But, good to say I'm back on track with recording, started not to be lazy and plugged my cubase key into my new monitor's usb hub. Still strange things happening with my midi clock when recording. Latency seems to be too high. I still suspect it to be the USB bus being overloaded.

Cross referenced the VST performance on cubase with latency when recording audio. The system didn't seem to be suffering, but audio went a bit wonky. There was this site the guy at brisbane sound group recommended to tune windows xp, which actually seems mostly valid provided you dont go overboard.

Hopefully this isn't an excuse to get a new workstation. The new machines look rather desirable or maybe I should update my sequencer. Unfortunately my workstation is under the recommended specs. Yet another excuse?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

got bitten by an ant

Was out in the parklands today when I walked into some red ants. Not exactly like the bugs in king kong, but this was a 1 inch long forest type red ant which got caught between my slipper and my foot. I believe these are the red ants that build moulds that look like huts.

It stung my foot as it was trying to escape. sharp bite, intense itchness quickly followed by swelling and numbness after the spray on bite/sting medication from my brother-in-laws car. Didn't think anyone would keep that kind of stuff handy in the car, but saying that I actually had to use it, I'm going to get one of those for myself.

Friday, January 20, 2006

recommended aussie software

So we hear lots of strange things happen down under, and similarly in the software world where you wouldn't expect a lot down here due to the slight lag in receiving the latest technology. Suprisingly or not so suprisingly, there are pretty good stuff happening here. The reason for this I believe is the simplicity of designs which is innate in the explorer culture. Having to do with less to try to do more, which is an admirable trait.

These are the two latest software I would highly recommend.

Wavepad, its an audio editor which can be a wavelab replacement. I'm sure the name has nothing to do with that.

We have seen quite a lot of SQL clients for Oracle but I think this one will kick a lot of butts once its finished. Not a bias opinion since it was written by a friend, but it is designed with the simplicity of golden plus some features similar to toad and without the heavy resource use

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Update on gizmo vs skype

Looks like I'm not the only one sorting out the two providers. I've recently made both avaliable on my machines. Saying that skype just got video, it does still have its uses.

Installing OS X on Intel

The dual core intel macs are out. The macbook looks really good especially since there aren't any real comparable windows notebooks out there other than the Dell ones which are not easily assessible in australia.

For people who want to build Mac clones. Here's the link to start building your budget mac

It might be a real pain to go through all that, but I see apple loosing a bit of a foothold in their hardware profits which does bring back some memories of the mac compatibles.

Correct me if i'm wrong

- Apple pulls compatibles off the market
- Apple annouces the move to intel
- Hackers allow people to run Mac OS on PC compatibles again

hmm. wonder what will happen next

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

alternative place to buy tigers

For discount software in Australia, I've discovered Have not yet bought anything from them yet, but the prices do look reasonable. This is pretty good for items that do not have an edu discount, e.g. family pack.

dead pi

Well, I guess it has to happen at some point. the home automation raspberry pi has died. Much to do with the stupid Strontium mini SD card. ...