Strum GS-2!

 Music, Technology  Comments Off on Strum GS-2!
Mar 282015
 

I just got my hands on the new version of AAS’ VST, Strum GS-2, and I’m in love! I love how it makes playing realistic acoustic guitar sounds so easy! Read on for my impressions.

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Computer Music Also Does Free/Alchemy and SFZ

 Music, Technology  Comments Off on Computer Music Also Does Free/Alchemy and SFZ
Feb 132015
 

If you can’t read Japanese, and you’re still interested in free plugins for your DAW, then have a look at the March issue of Computer Music Magazine. They’re also doing a big issue on free VSTs and samples. Also, if you have the Alchemy player, it’s also a good way to play those SFZ format samples I talked about a few posts back.

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Lots of Free VSTs in the March DTM Magazine

 Japanese Language, Music, Technology  Comments Off on Lots of Free VSTs in the March DTM Magazine
Feb 122015
 

The March issue of DTM Magazine, a Japanese electronic music magazine, boasts 122 free VSTs. They do a good job breaking them down by 32/64-bit, plugin type, and OS. BUT! You need to know how to read Japanese. If you can do that, click on to the rest of the article.

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Figure Drawing Challenge

 Art, Education, Technology  Comments Off on Figure Drawing Challenge
Jan 302015
 

I use art and photography to feed off of each other. So that one helps the other. Art helps me be creative with photography, and photography helps with art. Pencil Kings rebooted their Figure Drawing Challenge this January, and I had a blast. It was just enough work to learn some useful stuff and make

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Sony A7 Mark II

 Art, Photography, Technology  Comments Off on Sony A7 Mark II
Dec 172014
 

I got the new Sony A7 Mark II recently, and here are some of my initial thoughts about it. I’m not going to go too much into specs, more into “Do I like using this as a camera?” Short Answer: Oh, hell yeah.

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Oct 012014
 

Paying full price is for Suckers. Ouch, that’s harsh, isn’t it? But it’s true. When it comes to music production software and hardware, just about everything software (and some hardware) goes on sale 2-3 times a year. There are a few products that never go on sale, but those products are a minority. A small

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The Cheap Guide to Making Music, Part 2: Free/Cheap Synths, Effects, Sounds!

 Education, Music  Comments Off on The Cheap Guide to Making Music, Part 2: Free/Cheap Synths, Effects, Sounds!
Sep 252014
 

In Part Two, you’ll get a lot of links to useful info about free (or very cheap) software synths, effects plugins, and a couple of good sources for low-cost batches of demos and samples. And the best free drum library ever. EVER!

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The Cheap Guide to Making Music, Part 0: Get Some Knowledge For Free!

 Education, Music  Comments Off on The Cheap Guide to Making Music, Part 0: Get Some Knowledge For Free!
Sep 202014
 

I’m finally putting out my Cheap Guide to Making Music. I’m aiming this at the vast army of people who keep asking the same question over and over, “How do I get into production for cheap?” Part 0 starts with getting your mind set right, and finding some knowledge.

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Mid-Summer Scribbling (Pencil Pondering?)

 Art, DIY  Comments Off on Mid-Summer Scribbling (Pencil Pondering?)
Aug 022014
 

I decided to cut down on the number of pencils I carry around, so I went obsessive over lead holders and mechanical pencils for a few weeks. Here are some of the results from my madness (and spending spree.)

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Kindle Paperwhite: Powerful for Japanese Study

 Education, Foreign Languages, Japan, Japanese Language, Technology, Travel  Comments Off on Kindle Paperwhite: Powerful for Japanese Study
Jun 052014
 

I finally bit the bullet and bought a second Kindle Paperwhite, this time for my Japanese language library. And I don’t regret it one bit. It has become an incredibly powerful tool for improving my Japanese, because I read more books, faster, with the Paperwhite than I have with any other reading platform.

And I’ve tried a bunch of different ways to read Japanese books.

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Slide Duplicating Rig Completed! (Converting FL Bellows to NEX Mount!)

 DIY, Photography  Comments Off on Slide Duplicating Rig Completed! (Converting FL Bellows to NEX Mount!)
Feb 022014
 

I finally got the parts I needed, and a free hour, so I removed the retaining ring on my Canon FL Bellows, removed the inside of a L39-NEX adapter, and slapped it on the FL Bellows to make it a much better slide duplicating rig than it was with a Canon FL – NEX adapter. Instructions in the main post.

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Snowmageddon Round Two? (Random Stuff Post)

 Art, DIY, Education, Music, Photography, Technology  Comments Off on Snowmageddon Round Two? (Random Stuff Post)
Jan 282014
 

As I’m waiting for a ton of snow to fall, I figured I might as well summarize what’s going on these days. I’m taking more music classes at Coursera; Bitwig Studio is coming out in a couple of months; I found an easy way to ReWire the Yamaha Vocaloid Editor into Live and Cubase; Piapro Studio now accepts non-Crypton voicebanks; the monitor stand works; and finally, my slide duplicating project is taking off as soon as some parts show up.

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More Coursera Fun

 Education, Music, Photography, Technology  Comments Off on More Coursera Fun
Jan 202014
 

I love Prof. Hornstein’s lectures. If you’re interested in Environmental Law, he’s teaching on Coursera right now. I’m also taking a music composition class there that follows the rules in Mozart’s time. Also, Paddy may be one of the coolest Lightroom plugins, ever!

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All-in Ableton, Reaktor, New Graphics Tablet

 Art, Music, Technology  Comments Off on All-in Ableton, Reaktor, New Graphics Tablet
Jan 152014
 

I went ahead and upgraded to Ableton Live Suite while it was still on sale. I did a bunch of Reaktor tutorials on building synthesizers in Reaktor while I downloaded Live. Also, my Intuos 2 finally died, so I had to get a new graphics tablet. I went with an Intuos Pro. It’s a nice tablet.

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Push or “What Happened to Today?”

 DIY, Music, Technology  Comments Off on Push or “What Happened to Today?”
Jan 102014
 

Push, I choose you! I chose it over Maschine because I think it’ll work better with the way I like to write music. Maschine has a lot of strong points, too. I lost track of the majority of a day messing around with Live and Push. It’s fun stuff. Also, the monitor stand is almost done! It just needs finishing.

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Everything Breaks at Once

 DIY  Comments Off on Everything Breaks at Once
Dec 162013
 

My idea to use pocket screws to attach the parts of my monitor stand together was undermined by a crappy pocket screw jig. So I just glued and screwed it from the top down, and filled the holes with wood filler. Also, the garage door and security system broke on me this weekend. Yay.

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Making a Stand

 DIY  Comments Off on Making a Stand
Dec 132013
 

I’m making a special monitor stand to get the monitors up and off the desk, so I can shove my keyboard and graphics tablet underneath. That way, I can use my MIDI keyboard while facing the screens. I hope this works out!

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You Komplete Me

 Music, Photography, Technology  Comments Off on You Komplete Me
Dec 052013
 

Komplete showed up today. Installing took a while, but just skimming the surface, it looks like a ton of fun. I also picked up SynthMaster and Chromaphone, which are also on sale, as well as a second monitor for photo and audio editing work.

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N1, Take Three

 Japanese Language, Travel  Comments Off on N1, Take Three
Dec 012013
 

Another year, another N1. I feel okay about how I did. If I passed or failed, I’m sure it was close either way. (I hope I passed!) In general, I’m going to focus more on writing to improve my Japanese, as well as reading “meatier” stuff, like literature, as opposed to light novels. That sort of thing. Heading home tomorrow morning. Also, my hotel room is creepy.

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Going Home in the Snow

 Travel  Comments Off on Going Home in the Snow
Nov 122013
 

I left New York to go back home today. It snowed a bit in the morning and in the evening, but it never stuck to the roads. Time to get into serious mode for the N1 now.

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Celebrating Pocky Day in Manhattan

 Food, Japanese Language, Photography, Travel  Comments Off on Celebrating Pocky Day in Manhattan
Nov 112013
 

I spent Pocky Day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, then went to Kinokuniya. Dinner was with friends in Greenwich Village. Tomorrow I go back home. It’s supposed to snow.

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Off to Boston… Again.

 Travel  Comments Off on Off to Boston… Again.
Nov 062013
 

I’m off to the Boston Career Forum again, to see what’s going on in the world of bilingual workers. I got as far as Delaware again, and stopped at the same place I stayed at least year.

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Oct 212013
 

Man, that was nerve-wracking. Part two of the A+ exam was trickier than I thought it would be. I know a lot of this stuff just because I’ve been messing around with computers all my life. I’ve built every computer I’ve used for the last 20 years. (Except for laptops.) But if you ask me

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Miku In The House // New Computer // Glass Coming to the RTP

 Japan, Music, Technology  Comments Off on Miku In The House // New Computer // Glass Coming to the RTP
Oct 022013
 

Tenso delivers my software in one piece. The new Miku v3 software installs/runs just fine. The new computer is up and running. I upgraded to Cubase 7.0 full version, and Google Glass is coming to Durham on Saturday. I’ll check it out.

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Getting Stuff Done Music

 Japan, Music, Technology  Comments Off on Getting Stuff Done Music
Sep 272013
 

The hunt for good ambient sounds/music never seems to end. I heard from Tenso that my Vocaloid software showed up safely. I may use them more often for shipping stuff from Japan. Also, my desktop is dying, so it’s time to build a new one: one with the best airflow ever. (And an SSD!)

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Eyes on Fire

 News  Comments Off on Eyes on Fire
Sep 262013
 

Two words you never want to hear from your eye doctor: viral conjuntivitis. Yeah, it’s been a fun week.

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Miku 3.0 Bundle

 Japan, Japanese Language, Music, Technology  Comments Off on Miku 3.0 Bundle
Sep 192013
 

Crypton announced a great deal for people who own previous version of one of their Vocaloid sound banks, but getting it at that attractive price took a few extra steps. Still, it’s a great deal, and using a forwarding service, it’s pretty easy to get. (If you know Japanese!)

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Anki Assault / Piano Practice

 Education, Japanese Language, Music, Technology  Comments Off on Anki Assault / Piano Practice
Sep 102013
 

I’m dumping tons of new content into Anki now, which I’ve finally upgraded to 2.0. The upgrade wasn’t that bad. And I’ll need it for the N1 and A+ exams. Greenshot and e.Typist are making my exam prep a lot easier, too, helping me OCR stuff and dump it into Anki. Also, the piano class is a lot of fun.

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Music School

 Education, Music, Technology, Travel  Comments Off on Music School
Sep 032013
 

This fall is going to be hectic. I’m going to take a couple of music classes at UNC’s new Community Music School. I’ll also be preparing for the N1, and getting ready for the Boston Career Forum by getting my A+ certification. Somewhere in there, I’m going to need time to breathe!

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Enter Samsung

 Technology  Comments Off on Enter Samsung
Aug 152013
 

My Motorola Xoom is dying, so I replaced it with a Samsung Note 8.0, because I thought I would really dig the stylus made by Wacom. I like the stylus a lot–I just wish Samsung would let me remove the preinstalled software I don’t want. Otherwise, it’s a great little 8-inch tablet.

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Cash Is Still King.

 Travel  Comments Off on Cash Is Still King.
Aug 022013
 

Always carry some cash on you, just in case those servers go down, and the credit cards turn into useless slivers of plastic. This was reinforced for me today.

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Fahrenheit 451 or What Do I Do With These Things You Call “Books?”

 Education, Technology  Comments Off on Fahrenheit 451 or What Do I Do With These Things You Call “Books?”
Jul 312013
 

It seems like everyone is getting rid of paper copies of books these days, and I’m joining the herd. I’ve donated 8 boxes of old books so far, and I probably have another 8 or so I can get rid of. Companies like O’Reilly that let you get DRM-free e-books make the transition a lot smoother.

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Progress Report

 Art, Japanese Language, Music, News, Photography, Technology  Comments Off on Progress Report
Jul 252013
 

I bring up a lot of ideas for personal projects… so what’s going on with them? Well, some are moving forward, and some are on the shelf for now. GTD helps me figure out what I have the energy and time to work on, and what I don’t.

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Learning Lightroom 5 with George

 Photography, Technology  Comments Off on Learning Lightroom 5 with George
Jul 182013
 

I just went through George Jardine’s latest video series on the develop functions of Lightroom 5, and I recommend it. Even if you’re just upgrading from 4 to 5, it has a lot of useful info. I also recommend his library/cataloging videos, too, if you have trouble organizing your digital photos. I love his approach. Very straightforward.

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Fireworks!

 Photography  Comments Off on Fireworks!
Jul 042013
 

Fireworks in Chapel Hill. I didn’t have the optimum setup to photograph them this year, but I’ll get ’em next year. I know what I need to do now.

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3D and 2D Resources for Blender, Metasequoia, Inkscape, and Sketchbook

 Art, Japanese Language, Technology  Comments Off on 3D and 2D Resources for Blender, Metasequoia, Inkscape, and Sketchbook
Mar 122013
 

I picked up some Japanese books on using Blender and Metasequoia to help me get a better handle on those two programs. I also started working on improving my 2D drawing skills, because the 3D stuff was looking somewhat “bleh.” I tried Autodesk’s Sketchbook, and it’s okay. I fell in love with the open-source vector graphics program Inkscape.

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Coursera-sera // Nektar Panorama P4

 Education, Music, Technology  Comments Off on Coursera-sera // Nektar Panorama P4
Feb 092013
 

I’m trying out an Intro to Sound Design class in Coursera. It looks pretty interesting. I’m really getting more and more into music production (as a hobby for now), and I want to learn more how to do it. Having a MOOC teach it makes it easier than wading through thousands of YouTube videos. Also, my Edirol MIDI controller finally gave up, so I replaced it with a Nektar Panorama P4. I love it.

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Photography Stuff

 Photography  Comments Off on Photography Stuff
Dec 032012
 

I want to copy a bunch of old slides I have over to digital. Sounds easy, right? Yeah, not really. My slide scanner is dead, and the bellows/slide copier solution is still buggy.

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Flick(r) on the Forehead

 Photography, Technology  Comments Off on Flick(r) on the Forehead
Nov 152012
 

Getting Lightroom to publish to Flickr takes a bit of setting up, but it’s worth it for the improvement in workflow speed. I have listed a bunch of resources for figuring this stuff out, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

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Liberated from Leica Lens Limbo (or Nex!)

 Photography  Comments Off on Liberated from Leica Lens Limbo (or Nex!)
Oct 292012
 

I’ve been stuck in Leica Lens Limbo for about 5-6 years now, because there isn’t a digital body I can afford to put my M-mount lenses on. I finally picked up a Sony Nex 5N, and I think I’ve found something that will get me out of that purgatory for a bit. It’s not perfect, but it’s a good start.

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Off to Boston.

 Travel  Comments Off on Off to Boston.
Oct 172012
 

I’m heading to Boston to check out the Career Forum there. Now if only my car can make there in one piece, all will be good. Also, I rant about speeding laws, which irritate me in how they’re implemented.

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Penciling Some Notes

 Music, Technology  Comments Off on Penciling Some Notes
Sep 072012
 

I dug out my old Edirol keyboard yesterday, and surprise, surprise, a large number of keys didn’t work. Apparently over time, the contacts will lose the graphite they need to make the keys work properly, and according to this video, you can just fix it with a mechanical pencil and a 2H (not 2B) lead.

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