I kind of threw this together cos I got a text from Jared saying, ” Just found Ike’s parrallel universe album on spotify… You should learn deathbed and dandelion…”

You can tell this was like a first take cos there’s about two wrong chords and I flubbed a lyric. And yet I went back, added a quick second vocal track, and a . . . um . . . rendition of the guitar solo . . . . But anyway, here it is.

“Deathbed (Na, Na, Na)” originally by IKE

Try to enjoy.

I just got an Akai MPK Mini USB/MIDI Controller

So I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a MIDI controller. And I wanted something I could use instead of the old, tried-and-true method of click, drag, drop, right-click, edit I used to do for my drum programming.

And I figured, it’s got two octaves, and a set of actual pads at the top, maybe this is just what I need. So I dropped some money into the hands of the guy at my local Guitar Center and walked home with this, along with two desperately needed pop filters.

I got home, tore open the box (ok just the corner) and plugged it in. So, this is actually my first MIDI controller, and already I’m having problems with it.

And I’m writing this partially because I want feedback from actual users to tell me something like, “Welcome to the world of using MIDI controllers and doing drum programming. You’re doing it wrong.” Or whatever.

First Impressions

So on Saturday I had set up my MXLs 990 and 991 and recorded this acoustic rhythm thing I had in my head. It had a cool rock and roll groove that I was able to pick up well enough despite just setting up the mics arbitrarily and hitting GO. Well, plugging the Takamine directly into the board helped fill the gaps the mics didn’t get, and I got the low end perfectly with the 991. Anyway, after listening back to the song structure I put together, I really wanted to add drums to it.

After spending too much time trying to figure out how to use any software drum machines I had, I decided to just grab my old Sound font and grab a free VSTi to load it. Then I was back in business.

Ten years ago I bought some Sonic Implants (now SONiVOX) session drums as a SoundFont, and I have never stopped using them. Well, there was that ‘dark period’ in my life where my entire spirit fell into blackness for about five years, from which I am still recovering. But anyway, so I am still using these SF2 drums from ten years ago coz I love them. I’ve learned how to have them play in a way that I like. Multiple, velocity-triggered samples per drum, and a great clean sound.

So I got to work, the old way that I used to do things, which was to click to add a note, right-click and edit its velocity to give some sort of dynamic feel to the music. Click, drag, right-click, edit, wash, rinse, repeat.

And it’s funny that I ruin these drums by playing them at a velocity of about 120, and then lower as necessary to make it sound less like a computer playing. I know I should probably be using 90 or something as my base velocity  . . . .

Anyway, so here I am with this new toy. Plug it into my computer, run the Editor to configure the pads, turn off SONAR so I can actually perform the edits, and then plug back into SONAR.

The pads felt at first stiff and not very responsive, but I tried anyway. I deleted the entire Drums track (for my purposes I separate all drums and then all cymbals when tracking) and then hit the REC button in my editor.  Well, at that speed I can’t play the drums, and the pads still feel stiff and hard to use, but damn if they didn’t record practically every single tap that I made. the most fun part was just randomly banging on the Tom pads to get a cool sound.

It was still crap so I trashed it. I can barely play real drums unless it’s Hall & Oates, and even then it’s crap. But I don’t know if it’s

  1. me not knowing how to track drums properly,
  2. me not buying a real drum machine with better buttons
  3. the Akai being new and still needs some breaking in

Anyway, if you’re reading this and have any advice to offer, I’m all ears.

I made a 3D bar graph using just HTML and CSS

(tap on the graph to reset the animation)

I’m all proud of myself for making this. It’s actually for work, where I build specialised digital presentations for iPads, so this really only works on browsers like Safari and Chrome. I also threw together some Firefox support, but this only works in the latest and coolest of browsers, so if you have, like, Firefox 4 or almost any version of Internet Explorer, this won’t work.

I had some help. This article at Codrops gave me the initial idea. But, like other “3D CSS Bar Graph” articles I found, all of them create the illusion of 3D by creating triangular borders around the bars.

That is not my desired goal as it’s not built in a 3D space, so I cannot rotate around the view. So, I made my own. Continue reading “I made a 3D bar graph using just HTML and CSS”

What’s the best environment for developing websites?

I used to use Dreamweaver. Made it up to CS5.5 thanks to various jobs and stuff. At my current job they have Dreamweaver CS5.5, but lately I’ve been using my Mac for other projects, like at home and stuff.  I use Coda, because it has built-in FTP and it’s easy to use. I wish I could install it on my computer at work, but they seem to not allow installing software.

And, well, that’s for the best.

Anyway, inspired by this post on LinkedIn, I decided to ask you, the readers to this little blog, what your opinion is on the matter. I actually set up a poll on the right to answer. So, I’ll just sit back and await the responses.

If you answer OTHER, please add a comment below or write me on Twitter (@jayv and follow me coz I recently went private). I’ll add the option and let you know so you can change your vote. The plug-in I use (UPM)  doesn’t allow one to add poll answers.

Foundation Framework

For the past day or so I’ve been staring at Foundation. It’s a Framework that claims to be responsive and has a lot of great little UI and layout things prepared for you. Also has two cool plugins built-in, Orbit and Reveal (an image slider and modal window, respectively).

So far, pretty cool. I want a reason to use this thing, it looks pretty awesome. I’ve been meaning to change up one of my websites for a while now. Maybe I’ll base it off Foundation.

In other news, I wish Kat Dennings would continue writing in her blog. Either that or I missed a memo where she moved?

Star Trek and Doctor Who: Together at Last!

Note: This review may contain spoilers, though I wouldn’t actually count them as spoilers.

See this? Don’t get distracted by that chick who was gonna play the new TV Wonder Woman, because I know that’s the first thing you spotted. I mean the thing in the middle. The comic book. The it-looks-too-good-to-be-true-and-at-the-same-time-too-bad-to-be-true comic book.  I just heard about it today. And I just bought it straight away. You see, just a couple of hours before I made this fateful purchase at Wade’s Comic Madness in Fairless Hills, the following scene took place:

James: Hey, Jay. I was reading up on new comic books earlier today, and guess what I came across.

Me: No clue.

James: A The Next Generation (sic) and Doctor Who crossover.

Me: Oh no.

James: It’s either going to be terrible, OR EXTREMELY AWESOME.

Well, it’s neither. But as first issues go, can you really expect one or the other? Continue reading “Star Trek and Doctor Who: Together at Last!”

Ramona, on my mind (Cover Song)

Why should I have nothing to fear from?

About two years ago I sat down in the theatre and was blown away by the film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. It almost broke my record for film seen most times in a cinema, a record currently held by Fight Club In time for the DVD release, I decided to record a cover. There is a video somewhere, and that video is where I got this audio.

Ladies and gentlemen, originally by Beck, I give you this song: Ramona

Also, here’s the video where the original recording came from. I overdubbed the extra vocals and instruments from the live track.


(Original Image by VietNguyen)

The other day I was told my housemate sounds like me

So, when Mike and Brady were at the house/studio to record the next two episodes of my podcast Jay V Mail, Nicholas came home and went to his room to play a song for someone.

They said he sounds like me. Personally, I think they should have said I sound like him. And furthermore, I don’t think we sound alike anyway.

As they say, the proof is in the gluten-free dessert of your choice, so I present to you:

Compare. Contrast. Comment.