behind, between and forward

September 3rd, 2008

So over the last weekend, I built a deck behind my house, with the help of my two brothers in law and my father in law. It’s been really nice to do some work with my hands again, after quite a long time of investing my brainpower totally in technology issues and SQL programming. Doing all this work outside also gave me a great opportunity to reorganize my workshop (shed) to be functional for such a project, which is a very gratifying task to complete. I just hope I can keep it organized…

Otherwise I’ve been working on music steadily, and last week Dave and Tomtom and I had Kether practice as a band, which went very well. Tomtom had to leave early (to practice with one of the other bands he plays in) and Dave and I took the time to fix a slew of technical problems we’d been having, which was also gratifying. I’ve very firmly switched to using Reaper as my main (and pretty much only) music composition/editing software. The cheap price (free until you decide to pay for it, then $50 for a noncommercial license), ease of use, regular (sometimes quite significant) improvements/bugfixes, and huge amount of interoperability (supports VST and DX plugins, MIDI, ReWire, and more) make it pretty compelling. Oh yeah, and it’s rather fun to play in ;-) My wife could definitely attest to the amount of time Reaper has sucked away from my life..

Speaking of sucking time away, work is insanely busy right now, as the new school year just started on Tuesday, and now is the time of year when everyone wants their data RIGHT NOW. Overall this year has started much smoother than previous years, and between moving our server infrastructure to VMWare and moving our Website (to Drupal) and Moodle to being hosted offsite, I think we have plenty to look

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forward to.

That, at least, is a nice change.

Common Themes, an update

July 11th, 2008

A common theme on this blog seems to be me complaining about how time has flown since i posted last. I want to do that again, because I haven’t posted since MAY and it’s now July 12th. Seriously.

Having gotten that out of my system, I’ll move on to another common theme: music. I’ve been trying to scrape together free time to work on the

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Kether live show, and with mixed results. On one hand, I really don’t have very much free time for music. I mean like maybe a few hours maybe every few days. I’ve been trying to set a “band practice” schedule of one day a week so that I can justify spending a little more time on it, but so far the Summer Craziness (and raising a child) has thwarted my plans. On the other hand, setting up band

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practice involves having a band to practice with, and I have managed to convince three of my musically inclined friends to heed my call to musical action and play keyboards (and in Tom’s case, guitar) with me. Now we just need to all get together at the same time, which hasn’t happened yet.

I have also managed to get a new MIDI controller for my studio: an M-Audio Axiom 49. SInce you can click links and read pages for yourself, I won’t write an ad here for the Axiom 49, but suffice it to say that this controller is a wonderful addition to my studio, and undoubtedly will greatly help with future production and live recording. Aside from that, its a lot of fun to play on!

Maybe soon (at this rate, “soon” means “before October”) I will share some pictures I have taken and post about something other than my self and my life. Until that time, peace.

Happy May Day

May 1st, 2008

You probably don’t need me to explain what Beltane is again.  Instead I’ll just say Happy May Day, and

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may you pass successfully the Gateway of Fire (if you haven’t already).

Broken/Fixed

April 7th, 2008

No, I’m not referring to the Nine Inch Nails records (good as they may be). I’m referring to the fact that our server was hacked into and broken pretty badly.  Due to Jamie (the *real* sysadmin of this server) working hard, and me fixing MySQL, the server is back. Thanks Jamie!

DX7 patches, from Brian Eno

March 25th, 2008

So now that my Yamaha DX7s is working, I once again, like MANY before me, get to be totally amazed at the sounds you can make on that synthesizer.  I spent like 10 minutes on it and made two different sounds that would have been flat out impossible to make on just about any other piece of equipment (hardware or software) that I’ve seen (except maybe the Kurzweil K2x00 series synths, but that’s another story entirely). Read the rest of this entry »

Reviving the Yamaha DX7s, part 3

March 22nd, 2008

[Note: this is Part 3 of our saga. You may want to start with Part 1]

Well, it’s all done. It’s actually all been done for most of the week, but I haven’t had time to post about it. My DX7s is totally working, and everything tests OK. And it was the pitch wheel. Sort of. Read the rest of this entry »

RT73 (Belkin 54g USB) on Ubuntu 7.10

March 18th, 2008

1. The Back Story [Note: If you just want to know how to make the adapter work, skip to section 2] In my previous post, I mentioned that my music pc’s hard drive bit the dust. There are few things that can make an IT person’s heart sink like turning on their computer and hearing “click click CHUNK CHUNK CHUNK” and then SILENCE, followed by a nice “INSERT SYSTEM DISK AND PRESS ENTER” message. Thankfully I had backed up at least the majority of the content that I really cared about. So I went to Micro Center and bought a new Seagate 250GB SATA drive. Yay. Now, to reinstall the OS. Read the rest of this entry »

Reviving the Yamaha DX7s, part 2

March 13th, 2008

[Note: this is Part 2 of our saga.  You may want to start with Part 1]

So I finally had time tonight to look at the DX7s.  I was planning on spending a bunch of time tonight working with my new Presonus Firepod, but that didn’t work out as I had hoped.  Presonus sent me the unit, but no power adapter (even though there was even a tag on the box from the factory that said “include power adapter before shipping”)!  I’ve emailed Presonus customer support about it, and based on my dealings with them so far, I expect we’ll be able to work something out.   It just means I have to wait even longer to use it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Power Trip

March 12th, 2008

I still haven’t had time to work on the DX7 more, but I have gotten slightly farther on my music studio. Today after work I dropped Jill off at her parents’ house and then went home. There I boxed up my old Nady CL-5000 (mk I) Compressor and got it ready to sell. I then went to Uptown (Minneapolis) and got my friend (and Kether’s guitar player) Tom, and from there we went to the St Paul Music Go Round, where I traded the CL-5000 and some cash for a Furman PL-8 Power Conditioner. I’ve wanted a Read the rest of this entry »

Reviving the Yamaha DX7s, part 1

March 11th, 2008

Yamaha DX7s

I wish I had been taking pictures of this whole process. In case you haven’t been following along, I have a Yamaha DX7s which, since it’s “inception” in the late 80’s, has seen many owners and a lot of disregard. Two keys were broken, along with the pitch wheel being “wobbly” and the battery needing to be replaced (considering the amount of leaked acid on the battery, I’d guess for several years). Since I know the value of the DX7 (a really impressive partial list of users can be found here) I took it upon myself to “revive” this one.

Read the rest of this entry »

yet another new look, and some arrivals

March 8th, 2008

So i’m trying this theme i made. Like I said in the previous post, I was going for something brighter and more “fluid”. This theme (which i’ve dubbed “Hydrostatic”) is totally fluid-width, with really simple layout. I’m sure I’ll change it a

But “about” flowers.

ton more times before I finally submit it to the WordPress themes codex, but I do plan to submit..

In other news, two of my packages finally arrived.. apparently a few days ago! The delivery man just put them by the side door (which we don’t use during the winter) last week, and I never noticed till today. Thankfully the boxes were sealed shut and they seemed ok, but I figured I’d let them sit at room temperature for the rest of the day before I plugged them in. Nothing for several hundred dollars worth of 14 year old electronics like sitting outside for several days during a Minnesota winter…

At least they came. I also got a notice from Presonus that my Firepod (an FP-10, technically) shipped last week, and should arrive on Tuesday! Then I’m just waiting for the replacement keys for the DX7s, and I can finish putting my studio back together. I really do plan to post pictures.

Reality is Free

March 6th, 2008

My band Kether just made a record.  Now, we’re giving the whole thing away for free.  Please go download it and share it with anyone you think might like it.  It’s available in MP3, Ogg Vorbis, and Ogg FLAC (lossless) formats.  If you like the record, please donate.  It’s as simple as that.  The whole thing is licensed under a Creative Commons attribution license, so that means NO DRM and (pretty much) no restrictions on what you can do with it.  We make music because we want to make music and we release it because we want people to listen to it.

Enjoy.

the World is fixed.

March 4th, 2008

I broke the World as

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a part of moving this blog to its new home, but MrBlaq helped fix it.

Thanks man!

Also, I’m trying a few variations on themes with the phrases “brighter and clean” and “fluid width” in mind. I hope you like it.

Studio 17h, version 2.0

March 1st, 2008

I thought I would post an update about all of the things that have been happening with me musically. I’m still working out the details on the Kether live show, but I think it will be much different than I was anticipating. Like many busy musicians, I have several pieces of gear, in various states of (dis)repair. Some of my gear, like my M-Audio Delta44 audio interface, have been well taken care of due to their being absolutely indispensable to my recording setup. Other things I, like my Yamaha DX7s and my Ensoniq SQR, are both things I got second-hand (the DX7s was made in 1987 and the SQR was made in 1990!) and need some love. Then there is my Arp Omni II, which was made in 1977 with paper capacitors (with a 10 year life span!). Alas, that is currently in need of a LOT of love.. Read the rest of this entry »

Play WoW with your mind. Really.

February 20th, 2008

I’ve been

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talking about this since I first heard about it months ago, but now it’s finally been demonstrated in “real life” on a BBC video. It looks like the guy using it is playing World of Warcraft (or is it Second Life? I wish the video was better). Anyway, this is a real consumer-ready Brain/Computer interface. Think “left” and you turn left. Think “right” and it turns right.

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Think “shoot” and, well, you get the idea.

Check out this BBC article

New Releases

January 24th, 2008

So since I last posted, it could be said that I’ve celebrated a few new releases.

Lilian Dorothy Woyak
First off, Jill and I had an adorable baby girl on December 13th. Her name is Lilian. Rather than even get into it here though, I’ll just say that this has already been said at length on woyak.com.

Kether
Second, my music project Kether just released our record “Reality”. You can buy it either from us, or Directly from the manufacturer. I’m working on other deals and ways to get it out, and I’ll post more news when I have it.

Custos

December 8th, 2007

I have a lot going on. Duh.

Jill’s last day of work before maternity leave was today, and I was sort of buried under fixing last-minute report card issues (gotta love people who wait til the absolute last minute to do things, and then do the “ohmygoditsnotworkingandineeditrightnow” dance when there’s a problem). Of COURSE there will be a problem at the last minute (Murphy and I, we go way back)! With quite a bit of help, those crises were averted, and then we got a Xmas tree on the way home, set that up, and went out to dinner and Half-Price Books. Ahh Half-Price Books. Read the rest of this entry »