Archive Page 2

18
Jun
08

Korg nano controllers

I am really feeling these new little Korg midi controllers.

Korg nanoSeries controllers

There’s a pad control type one, a little velocity sensitive keyboard one, and a fader one. I spoke to someone at London International Music Show who reckoned they could be as cheap as £35. I’d get one of each. They were only non-working prototype models, so I think they are a long way off actually being released, but watch this space.

Read more here.

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18
Jun
08

Wemix site allows telephone uploads

Ludacris’ wemix site, a site where you can collaborate with other musicians and share your own musical creations, has just launched a service where you can phone up and sing down the phoneline, and receive real feedback from Ludacris and the masses. I wasn’t aware of the site, but this is an interesting take on user-generated content.

Read more here.

The first video I found on the site was a track called Booty on My You Tube – absolute classic if you like ‘the booty scene’. I am an early tourist, and i’m a bit scared. Check it here

or below:

Funnily enough, i remember a rumour going round that Ludacris was actually one half of Kriss Kross – you know those little dudes that wore their low hanging jeans backwards and went on about jumping? I think I worked out that the rumour wasn’t true, but it’ still worth a reminisce:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=5J5titd0Kbw

04
Sep
07

Tenori-On – cooler than an iPhone?

Tenori-On

I attended the Tenori-On launch last night and after about 10 minutes of complete confusion as I played with it before finally glancing at the quick start guide on the many listening posts, I soon fell in lust with this playful delight of an object – I had to get me one of those magical flashing boxes. Hearing that there might only be 50 on sale on opening night, I rushed upstairs and got the second to last one before the crowds flooded in.

Luckily the record dude held on to it while I found out more about how it worked and waited in anticipation for Toshio Iwai’s (the product’s designer) presentation.

Wow! What a presentation.

Not because of its delivery, not because of any effects but purely because of the story that he told and the design processes he went through. You could see how this visual artist was heavily influenced by an old Japanese music box using a roll of paper with ‘Happy Birthday’ marked out in an interesting hole arrangement. You were fascinated as he just turned the paper round and played an inverse of the tune just by turning the paper round and feeding it in.

You could see his years of experimentation with old school graphics, games etc. all around the same theme of note and time display. How it was all about play and generation of nice sounds with minimal musical ability.

You then saw his determination as he finally launched a product that he has been refining with Yamaha for 6 years.

This guy had spent over a decade developing this thing. No matter what perceived usability flaws I find, I will know there are very good reasons for the product being built this way, and I would be devoted for conveying any marketing out to the lucrative market ahead. I have to respect his commitment and passion for his idea.

I’m not going to go into the features and the way it works here (save that for some future postings) but I have to say I was fascinated by his last feature explanation. Apparently, the Tenori-On allows you to record all the things that you do (instrument experimentations, arrangement changes, melody modifications) etc, and then share this whole process with a peer, so that you can relive how they came up with the end tune.

Can you imagine that? Just imagine your favourite artist sharing with you all the duff notes they hit, all the wrong turns they made and all the happy accidents that occurred on the way to them delivering your favourite song. Fascinating stuff there – bizarrely correlating with some rather conceptual ideas for financial traders the Health & Wealth EAs were coming up with earlier in the day.

30
Jul
07

Cyber raped – Having your Gmail and Ebay accounts violated and then being locked out

Hey there, [apologies for cross posting]

I thought I’d send out a word of warning to my comrades today after having a very upsetting experience yesterday, whereby I believe someone has hacked in to my gmail and ebay accounts. If anyone can offer any constructive advice, I’d like to hear from you. At the moment, I feel completely violated – properly cyber raped. Who knows what will happen next.

Also on stream here: http://stream.lbigroup.com/index.php?/weblog/comments/cyber_raped_having_your_gmail_and_ebay_accounts_violated_and_then_being_loc/

Here’s what happened:

  1. Was checking my gmail account on Sunday afternoon and saw some emails from ebay saying I was trying to sell a Nikon D40x. I haven’t ever sold anything on ebay so I was very surprised.
  2. I logged into ebay and couldn’t find any action to remove the item from the listing. I’m sure it was there, but because of my panic, I really couldn’t see it, so I just set a ridiculous reserve price. A bit stupid, but what could I do?
  3. When I returned to my gmail account I had an email from ebay suggesting that there was some suspicious activity. ‘good ebay’ I thought. It even had some tips of what to do next to bring back the account, and to change the details of my email account.
  4. So I tried to change my ebay account details but it was too late – I was locked out
  5. I went back to my gmail account and tried to change my details there. Too late again, someone/something had changed my details again.
  6. Panicked. Near tears. Girlfriend in ear saying ‘we’ve got to go to the cinema, we’ll be late’.
  7. Tried to do the forgotten password but my secondary email address (where it will be sent) was from a job I left 3 years ago. Uh oh!
  8. Explored the various other links and info and found out that I can only get my password sent to another email address if I waited 5 days after no email activity. But, would a hacker really not use my account for 5 days after hacking into it? I don’t think so.
  9. I tried to follow various forms, email addresses etc. but no luck, there was no action for my situation and google said that they wouldn’t waive the 5 day wait thing.
  10. So then I tried to go into all my regularly used accounts to change the details, hoping that I didn’t alert my gmail hacker into my new email address and password combination: HSBC (can’t change details – bizarrely remembered the stupid id), John Lewis Partnership Card (can’t remember details), Flickr (easy), Facebook (easy), Ning (easy), linkedin (easy), expedia (easy), Egg (easy) etc. etc.
  11. Now I am trying to pick up the pieces. I will await some contact from Google, I will try to change the details on some other accounts, I will probably have to inform my banks so that they can reset my details and I have to contemplate the repercussions of someone having my gmail and ebay account and me never being able to access either again.

If anyone has any suggestions of what I can do, then please let me know. Otherwise, let this be a lesson to you all:
back up your contacts

  • don’t store login details in your gmail account (I always knew this was a bad idea, but how else was I suppose to remember how to login to my flipping HSBC / John Lewis accounts with their obtuse username password, keys etc.?)
  • be careful where you expose your email address (mine’s on facebook – is that a good idea?)
  • watch out for ebay scams
  • check your secondary email address
  • backup your data (not really relevant here, but hey, you should always do it)
  • try not to use the same username / email address and password combination for all your accounts (I can’t see myself changing this one easily)
11
Jun
07

Finally, I’m back to working on a Mac

MacBook pro

Over 2 years after I joined my company, I have finally got given a Mac to work on.

Yes, it’s battered, secondhand, repaired, get’s hot and too big for my favourite bag, but it’s great having one to work on again.

I am intrigued to see how my experience working on the machine differs from my experience playing on my personal one (named ‘Pete’).

03
Jun
07

Making digital music in the sun

Those that know me, know that I spend an awful lot of my time in my ‘special’ room making digital music. It’s fun, but extremely time consuming: getting that right sound, cutting up that beat perfectly or arranging the track so that it flows nicely.

The problem for me, is that I also love the sun, and my dependency on using a laptop with various synths, faders and knobs and stuff means that it’s very difficult to combine these pleasures.

I did try to cretae a laptop hood contraption out of foam board and black card. I prototyped something very basic and then tried it out on the river bank of Richmond. I daren’t show pictures of it as it is an embarrassment given I was trained in Industrial Design. That didn’t work at all and I looked like a real twat. My mate Fosta said it was because of all the ambient light and he is obviosuly right.

So then I thought about investing in some portable, battery powered music equipment and remembered the Akai MPC 500: MPC 500

For anyone that doesn’t know, Akai’s MPC range of drum sequencers with pads have pretty much been in use by every hip-hop producer that’s worth knowing about. Reading interviews of the big and little names, they will always refer to their MPC as one of tehir favourite bits of kit.

Buying the MPC now allows me to sample from my iPod and make beats and loops while out in the sun. When I tried this for the first time, I did get lots of weird looks by passers by and I think a fair few rude boys wanted to give me a slap and knick my box of tricks, but who cares – I can now make beats and do soem sampling in the sun.

The next thing I have been trying to get hold of is a portable synth which I can program in the sun. Surprisingly, there’s very few of these and although I had always had my sights set on a Korg MicroKorg, I am now in the hunt for a Novation XioSynth 25 which is apparently a much better sound source with much more hands-on knob twiddling (Just what I need to get a proper handling on sound synthesis.)

Korg MicroKorg:
MicroKorg

Novation XioSynth
Xio Synth 25

It seems, however, that everyone seems to have the same idea and I can’t find one in stock anywhere. I just wanted to buy one, pick it up and play this weekend, but I think i’ll have to resort to buying it over the internet.

Ah well, sunshine with my MPC today it is then…

28
May
07

Worst night clubbing in years

There I was, really excited ‘cos I had found a night where I could see some of my heroes, Fabio and LTJ Bukem, play out together at Fabric. Noone would come with me, I hadn’t been clubbing for ages, and I was still hungover from the previous night.

I trekked over to Fabric about 12:15am after being served a steak that was way too cooked (Natalie got my rare one by mistake), and saw a huge queue. It looked like a 2 hour one, but could have been quicker if it had a constant flow. Memories of going raving at The Sanctuary, and not knowing how long it would take to get in came flooding back. This time, however it looked like the queue was bigger than capacity of the club, but it had been so long since I had been to Fabric, I wasn’t sure.

So I waited and waited amongst the drum and bass kids and original wideboy junglists determined to get in. Every so often a security guy would come out and say ‘it’s one in one out now’, ‘you’ve got about 2 hours from this spot’ (bearable), then ‘3 hours’ (uncomfortable but pretty hard to believe), then ‘4 hours’ (no way). So I left the queue after about 1.5 hours of waiting and moving 20 metres (because others left the queue), gutted that I missed out, but pleased that I hadn’t subjected any of my friends to the torment.

Then, I chose to pick up my bag from work and then find my way home based on thetube.com’s journey planner which advised me of a 2 night-bus route (I didn’t want to waste any cash for a taxi) with some walking that should have amounted to a 1 hour journey back to Richmond.

2 hours, 2 night-buses, a lot of walking and a lot of rollies later, I arrived home as knackered as if I had been dancing all night but with none of the fun.

So, there’s another night on June 29th and I’ve got more interest for people to join me for that. My advice if you are going to join me, get some tickets in advance and get there a bit earlier than 12. I’m getting there for 11 this time.