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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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ごろごろ and 電子辞書 (Gorogoro and Denshi Jisho)

 Japan, Japanese Language, Photography, Photos, Technology, Travel  Comments Off on ごろごろ and 電子辞書 (Gorogoro and Denshi Jisho)
Oct 292011
 
ごろごろ and 電子辞書 (Gorogoro and Denshi Jisho)

It’s Saturday, and for once it’s not raining. It’s not really sunny, but it’s not raining. I’ll take what I can get. My electronic dictionary is dying, so I’m off to Nagoya to buy a new one, among other things.

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Through the Trip Prep Looking Glass

 Japan, Photography, Technology, Travel  Comments Off on Through the Trip Prep Looking Glass
Sep 202011
 
Through the Trip Prep Looking Glass

Note: This is about stuff I did before the trip, but I’m actually writing it about 10 days into the trip, but I’m going to put this chronologically before it anyway, so that it makes sense. Because It’s There. Before this 3-month trip to Japan, I decided to do what I did before I came

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London School of Economics (Lessons Learned from London)

 Great Britain, Photography, Technology, Travel  Comments Off on London School of Economics (Lessons Learned from London)
Jul 202011
 

Whenever I travel, I learn some new lessons about what works, and what doesn’t. Here’s my list for the London trip. Now watch me totally over-analyze everything I packed. The Best Camera Bag That Isn’t a Camera Bag Camera Non-Bag: The Mountainsmith Kit Cube is very clever, and very useful. But, it comes with a

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Paddington Bares All

 Great Britain, Technology, Travel  Comments Off on Paddington Bares All
Jun 302011
 

First a word about where I’m staying. It’s a hotel called Base2Stay in Kensington, about 5 minutes’ walk from the Earls Court Tube station. London hotels are ungodly expensive, and when researching a place to stay, I came upon horror story after horror story about cheap hotels that had terrible service, or no air conditioning,

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More Stupid Anki Tricks– Using the G15 Keyboard.

 Japanese Language, Technology  Comments Off on More Stupid Anki Tricks– Using the G15 Keyboard.
May 052011
 

I don’t know how many Anki users are out there with Logitech G15 series gaming keyboards (mine is one of the older ones), but yes, they do work with Anki. And by that I mean that you can program the G-keys to do all the answering dirty work for you, just as you would with

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Xoom Xoom Xoom-a Xoom

 Technology, Travel  Comments Off on Xoom Xoom Xoom-a Xoom
May 012011
 

iPad, iSchmad. I picked up a Motorola Xoom the other day, because I like the way Honeycomb looks, and I’m excited about the prospect of Android on a tablet. Okay, I’ll admit it. Me and 4 other nerds camped out for it at our local Best Buy on its release day. It’s no iPhone event,

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Apr 022011
 

This is something I stumbled upon last fall while trying to find an easier way to go through a ton of Anki reviews in a short period of time. I mentioned it on the Reviewing the Kanji forums somewhere, but I never posted it here. Well, here it is for posterity’s sake. Problem: Using the

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Android Apps For Japanese Learners

 Japan, Japanese Language, Technology  Comments Off on Android Apps For Japanese Learners
Apr 012011
 

If you’re going to go Android for Japanese first you need a keyboard. I like Simeji. It’s ugly, but very useful… and really, the only good choice out there, to be honest: https://market.android.com/details?id=com.adamrocker.android.input.simeji Also, if you like to add Japanese-style emoticons, then Kaomoji List is a great add-on to Simeji. It’s activated through the “mushroom

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I Have Joined the Robot Army.

 Technology, Travel  Comments Off on I Have Joined the Robot Army.
Jul 182010
 

The main reason for the switch was that AT&T said that Apple won’t let me unlock the iPhone I spent 2 years paying for on contract. Okay, fine. I can’t fight you, but I can never buy your stupid phones again. Then AT&T told me “unlimited” wasn’t in their vocabulary anymore. Okay. So now I’m

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Updates on Learning Japanese, Word Lists, and iPhone stuff

 Japanese Language, Technology  Comments Off on Updates on Learning Japanese, Word Lists, and iPhone stuff
Feb 012010
 

Things have been hectic. I decided to start taking JLPT exam prep classes offered at the NC Japan Center, and I find that that has been helping me to focus on acquiring new vocabulary and grammar. For some reason or another, I had gotten a bit bogged down doing the self-study thing. Maybe it’s just

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Turning Your iPhone Into a 電子辞書 (Denshi Jisho)

 Japanese Language, Technology  Comments Off on Turning Your iPhone Into a 電子辞書 (Denshi Jisho)
Oct 132009
 

So what’s a 電子辞書 (denshi jisho)? Japanese for “electronic dictionary,”  it’s a gizmo that’s really handy if you’re learning Japanese. They’re usually full of all different kinds of dictionaries, and now they have things like a drawing pad where you can draw a kanji on the pad, and they will (usually) recognize the kanji you

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Great iPhone Japanese Dictionary

 Japanese Language, Technology  Comments Off on Great iPhone Japanese Dictionary
Oct 032009
 

I was looking for a good portable dictionary for my iPhone, and I’ve found a couple of programs. One is great, one is free. If you’re going to use either one of these, make sure you install the Japanese keyboard and the Chinese Traditional “draw the kanji” keyboard on your iPhone, and take the time

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PS3

 Technology  Comments Off on PS3
Sep 092009
 

Forgot to post this, but anyway, I picked up a PS3 when the new version came out. Dear Sony, I’ll tell you what it took to make me finally buy a PS3: For starters, you had to cut the price in half, from $600 to $300. You had to increase the hard drive size to

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A Few Days With the Epson 1400

 Photography, Technology  Comments Off on A Few Days With the Epson 1400
Aug 192009
 

I got my Epson 1400 on Monday, so I’ve had a few days to play with it. Here are my initial impressions. It’s big. No, I mean it’s menacingly huge. That’s no moon… okay, I’ll stop now. It’s large enough to create problems about “Where do I put this… thing?” The extendable feed trays and

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The Squeaky Feed Roller Gets the Grease

 Photography, Technology  Comments Off on The Squeaky Feed Roller Gets the Grease
Aug 152009
 

Straying ever further from the main point of this blog, I recently had to delve into the world of printers for the first time in a long time. My 14-year-old HP LaserJet 5 scares me with a foul odor and even fouler-looking pages now, and my 8-year-old HP DeskJet 940c can’t stay in register to

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Nov 302007
 

I carried a lot of useless stuff with me to Japan. It’s the sort of stuff you see in a catalog, and think, “Wow, that looks really useful!” when in reality you may use it once the whole trip, if you’re lucky, and end up having to lug it all over the place. “But it’s

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