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Well, I have given up on my Nexus 5 phone...I've replaced the on-switch, the battery and the USB port...and it is still flakey. It gave me some good usage...but it's now time to move on. I have replaced it with a second hand Samsung Galaxy S5. The build quality on the Samsung phones are so much better than the LG, who made the Nexus 5 for Google. The S5 is nice, and I got it for $160 used. With any luck, it should last me at least a year or two!! The other thing is that the radio/antenna in it is much better any of the previous phones I have had. I can get a decent signal down in the basement of Willowdale with it! No more dropped calls because I twitched slightly!

Yesterday, I started sorting out my clothing. My dad was a "clothes horse", and had complete wardrobes for all seasons!  So he bought me a lot of clothes. I had *13* garbage bags of clothes when I moved into Willowdale....So yesterday, after fighting off heat stroke and the like, I managed to sort through 6 of them. I reduced it all to one bag of clothes I can wear/use now, one of winter stuff (sweaters, etc), one of "memorabilia" consisting of t-shirts from various concerts and conventions I have attended...most of which won't fit me anymore, but I want to keep them anyways. Now I have two bags of stuff to get rid of...one that is going straight to charity...and other that a couple of people want to dig  through...then the remains will hit the charity circuit! So 6 bags down to two and a half bags (the t-shirts *don't* fill the bag, or close to it!).

Tomorrow is my counsellor session...originally, my roomate, Willow, was going to drive me, then he was going to go to a high school  reunion...so I was stuck taking the bus...the office is in Hazeldean...and I"m in South Keys...now if there was a bus that went straight across Hunt Club...I could be there is three quarters of an hour...but under the tender mercies of slow speed transpo, it takes almost two hours to get out there!! And that's if i don't miss any connections! 

Luckily, for me anyways, Willow decided not to go...so it will only take me 35-40 minutes to get there! Thank you again, Willow!!!

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For the past week or so, I have been having some major problems with my left knee. It's the one that was directly impacted and bent sideways during a St Joseph Jr HS Football game. I have them looked at every 5-10 years or so, and I am about due. I also have similar damage that was done to my right knee in that same incident, but not as seriously. This was part of the reason why I stopped playing football, since I had read about Bobby Orr and all the problems he had because he kept on playing with his injured knees.

I have had some chronic problems over the years with them. But now I am having a major problem with my left knee. It's very painful at times, and every time I go up or down the stairs...I get the feeling it's going to give out on me. It hasn't so far...but i am constantly thinking about what I would do if/when it does give out so that I don't panic if it happens. It's one of the great things I learned in Air Cadets in my pilot ground school is this way of thinking and continuous planning in potentially dangerous situations. They train pilots to constantly think about how an where they will land if they suddenly lost power, and I apply that to many different things. Like the time the brakes failed on my van. I had thought through a procedure if that every happened, and it did. And I was able to not only avoid an accident, but to get it safely off the road into a parking lot.

Anyways, I recently found out that I have been quoted not only by a highly influential book on cyberculture, but by The Village Voice!

I first noticed that I had been quoted in this book: Escape Velocity: Cyberculture at the End of the Century by Mark Dery


My quote on Cyberculture

What I never did was click on the link to the footnotes....an it turns out that it is taken from an article in the Village Voice where I am quoted! So I need to dig up a copy, probably at the Library, of the February 13, 1993 issue of the Village Voice!

Mind blown!


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Yes, it was in 1969, on this date, that a manned spacecraft from Earth first touched down on our closest celestial neighbour, The Moon. The first thing to touch The Moon was the contact sensor on the Lunar Module's leg...both of which were made in Canada! So Canadians should celebrate this date as well! 

If you remember, I finally got a soldering iron, and did my first soldering this century...and it was...ugly. After checking it to make sure it didn't have a bridged connection or anything, I put it aside, since I didn't have anything to test it on. Today, I did some excavation of my room, and pulled out an old HP Pentium 4 system that has been taking up space under my desk. I had already decided to scrap it, and had pulled just about everything of use out of it, but it would still work, and thus was a nice test-bed for my repaired video card.  I plugged it in...and it worked!!!!  The first success of the day! I tested out some other video cards I had, and they all worked as well. Then I pulled the machine out, and put it into the hall way so that I can get a collection of stuff to take to a recycling place.

My second success, well, not really a success, but simply a moral booster, I got a call from my friend Heidi. And, as usual, we chatted for something like a couple of hours. Much to the annoyance of Duncan, since I had taken over the kitchen for the call, as my room has such horrible reception, that if I move the wrong way, it disconnects the call!

My next success for the day was to find the half-height nVidia video card I had, and put that into the small form factor Lenovo system I have. It's an Intel Core2 Duo system, and I might even be able to upgrade the CPU in it, since it uses DDR3 RAM, and thus has a fairly modern chipset in it.  It was my experiential hackintosh system, and it had horrible video update speed with the built-in Intel HD video...but with the upgraded card, it flew! I was able to play 1080p video on it, no problem! It has Mac OS X Sierra on it, so it's fairly current. Once I have a good backup of the Hard drive and it's configuration, I will allow it to do some updates...scary stuff kids! But, it would be nice to have a contemporary Mac up and running! I do have an old iMac, but it's in pieces, and it's an old Core2 Duo, with DDR2 memory. :-(

Now that I know that the video card I fixed will not blow up, or blow up the system  I plugged it into, I can set up a more powerful system to start scanning my dad's slides.

So, tomorrow (later today?), I am going to see about getting the new power connector soldered on to the Apple 30" Cinema display, and then see if I have an amazing display, or something I can sell for parts.

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Well, my soldering iron arrived today! I set things up to solder an old video card that had a cap that had come off it...it wasn't soldered on well in the first place, and not being a through-hole type board, it was susceptible to being knocked off...not damage to the capacitor, though.

And my soldering was...crappy. I haven't soldered in years, and it was ugly...but functional. I didn't bridge the pads or anything like that (I checked), but it's not up to the standards I used to solder to. In retrospect, I should have cleaned the pads of the old solder with the solder wick before trying to reflow some new solder on them....

So that sucked up all of the spare money I had for this month...next month, I will pick up a soldering iron stand, and a "helping hands", you know, those things with alligator clips and such to hold things in place while you solder them.

I may try to do a review video of the kit I got.

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After fighting with a number of Video NLE programs under Linux, and the only one that I liked seems to crash all the time, I have finally manage to find out why it was crashing. The program in question is Kdenlive. I initially installed it from the Linux Mint standard repository, and then had it crash on me a lot. Then again, it was a number of revisions out of date, and I couldn't get any support for it. So I installed the direct Kdenlive repository (aka PPA), and installed the latest stable version. That worked OK for a while...then started doing the same thing. So, I gave up on Kdenlive, and contemplated putting Windows back on my Primary Machine...

But then Linux Mint updated their KDE verison to 18.2, I had been on 18.1. So I did an in-place upgrade, then added the Kdenlive PPA, hoping that the newest versions of everything would work....and Nope. So I started doing some more research into the problem, and it turns out that one of the libraries that Kdenlive uses, FFmpeg, has to be up to a certain version...one higher than the one shipping with Mint...and have two other specific libraries linked in to FFmpeg...and so I added the relevent PPA, and installed the upgraded version...and TaDa! It now works reliably, even the GPU accelerated portions!

So my next project is to clean up the video that I shot at CAN-CON of Laurie Stewart's talk, and since I *finally* got permission to release that video from the ConCom of CAN-CON, I should have that ready for her in a week or so.

Yesterday, with help from Duncan, I was able to order a soldering iron so I can get started on a number of repair projects that have been waiting...It's not a *great* soldering, but it should be good enough for now. I mean, I would *love* to have a nice Hakko, or Weller soldering workstation...but the cheapest ones would eat up a large portion of my monthly food budget! So it's a soldering iron that is fairly cheap, which comes in a kit, including solder, and a number of other tools. I read and watched a lot of reviews of it, and it's fairly nice for what it cost, with a variable temperature setting and an on/off switch. It uses Hakko style tips, so replacing the tip should be no problem.

I also got some solder wick, and one of those snazzy refillable flux pens. It will be interesting blowing the cobwebs off my soldering skills, which used to be pretty good. And I should become much better quickly due to having watched a number of soldering videos on YouTube, and knowing that I have ADHD, and thus should be a little less hyper these days. :-)

I have at least three projects that need bloated capacitors replaced, and with any luck, that is all they need. Plus a power supply connector that needs to be soldered, and a USB connector on a cell phone.

Finally, I filled the tires on my bicycle, and next I will grease up the chain so that I can start getting out on my bike, and getting some decent exercise again!


Pro Tip:

Jun. 12th, 2017 11:08 pm
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Any salad can become a Caesar Salad if you add enough knives!

Pro Tip:

Apr. 25th, 2017 08:49 pm
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"Foolish Mortals" is a gender-neutral form of address.
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A beloved elder of the Ottawa Pagan community, Lucie DuFresne went on to the Summer Lands ahead of us on April 23, 2017. For many years she helped people and handed out advice from behind the counter at the Occult Shop here in Ottawa, and later her own store, The Hungry Eye. She always had a smile, and was willing to share her vast knowledge of things esoteric. Her passing leaves a large hole in the community, in the life of her partner, Michael McCord, and her family.
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Yes, my $20 (CDN) power supply has come in the mail. It's like one of the larger laptop power supplies, with a barrel connector on it. What it looks like I need to do is chop off the end of the power connector for the Cinema Display, which has three wires, two thick wires (black & white), and a thin grey wire. After doing a lot of reading about this thing gray wire, some theorizing it's a ground wire, others that it is a +5v power for the USB & Firewire hubs in the monitor, I eventually found something that makes the most sense, literally! Apparently , the power supplies for the 20 & 24 inch Apple Cinema displays use the exact same connector to the power brick, both of which are greatly underpowered for the 30" version. If the 30" display senses a signal on the wire...ie, 5volts, it will not allow you to turn on the monitor. Which is a good thing! I now need to head over to Active Components and see if they have a female connector to connect with the power supply. Or maybe I can find a cheap extension wire that has the same connector...

In addition to doing this, I am going to be making a video of it, and starting a YouTube channel. It will be filled with videos of me fixing computers, testing out quadcopters, Occasional editorials, reviews, interviews, music...or just about anything I can think of that other people might find interesting to watch. The current (tentative) title for the channel is A.I.S.B., or the Ancient Illuminated Seekers of Barbaria....or An Insanely Silly Broadcast...or All In Serious Boardgaming....or....

Maybe doing all this will help me get over my depression...or maybe it will never get off the ground due to my depression....but, I at least have a plan! :-)

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One of my all time favorite bands is FM. I am sure that virtually everyone reading this had heard me blather about them at one point or another...here is probably their earliest live recording, excepting the TV Ontario Nightmusic broadcast.

 Here is the description from the Archive.org:

"FM played at the art gallery called A Space in Toronto in November 1976. The flyer for these shows mention the exact dates: 25, 26, and 27 November 1976. (Not counting as a gig was the TV Ontario recording that was broadcast 3 November 1976 and likely recorded on the same day. Although some sources say the earliest recordings from July 1976, as released on Lost In Space, are the same as what TV Ontario broadcast in November, they are different recordings. The TV Ontario performance has never been released officially, save 56 seconds of snippets on the RetroActive CD.)

This here is an audience recording of the last of those three gigs. FM was still a duo: Martin Deller joined in February 1977.

This recording is of a very high historical value as it's probably the oldest FM live recording and besides the TV Ontario performance likely the only one of the band as a duo.




Apr. 12th, 2017 02:54 pm
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I have ordered the Power Supply! As it is fulfillment is by Amazon (ie, it's in Amazon's warehouse), it means that I will get it either late this week, or early next, rather than next month...or the one after that! When it's in, I need to find a appropriate female connector for whatever the PSU has, and then wire it up. If it works, then I then have the problem of...do I keep it, or do I sell it? It's awfully tempting to have a 30" monitor....but they sell for a fair bit even used! I'll post when I have news....
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   As the in-house tech support here at Willowdale (The house owned by Willow in Ottawa) I get called upon when things don't go right with the computers in the house. Willow had a problem with Comodo Firewall...it barfed half way through an update...and suddenly, he couldn't connect to the net. He tried a few obvious things, like uninstalling Comodo and then when he heard me come upstairs, enlisted my help. I tried many different things...and still I couldn't get it to work...they ethernet adapter was fine, since I could boot the system into Linux and access things...I tried deleting the driver and making it reinstall it, nope. Make windows reset "winsock"...fck, I though we had gotten rid of that piece of crap software ages ago! I also tried going to a previous restore point...and that is another problem for another day, since restore point barfed as well..Needless to say, I tried a bunch of things, and then consult the Oracle of the Net (Google), and recieved a few other thing try...more Nopes.

  Then I go in and look the configuration for the driver, as a distant memory came to me about weird protocols and such sometimes causing problems...and sure enough, there was a driver for Comodo firewall there...I disabled it, and rebooted...and up came the Net! For some reason, when Comodo is uninstalled, it doesn't remove the shim into the ethernet driver...

It seems that for Comodo to do what I am guessing is stateful packet inspection, it creates a virtual network with a virtual ethernet adapter which becomes the default network connection, then it runs all the packets through it's virtual network, then plugs it back into the normal ethernet adapter to go of into the Interwebs. Nice, but CPU intensive!

When Willow wakes up in the morning (he crashed after about an hour of me fiddling) he will be back on the Net!

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Upcoming Rational Youth show in June

Rational Youth is playing Ottawa again, as part of a Synth Music festival!!!

Presented by: Switched On Synths, Collective Arts Brewing, House of TARG
Doors: 9pm / Show 10pm / 19+
Festival Pass: $29 - $33 advance + service charges

Ottawa’s popular electronic music series SWITCHED ON SYNTHS presents S.O.S.FEST - 5 evenings of synth fuelled events and concerts featuring legendary & emerging performers from Germany, Iceland, Philadelphia, Toronto, Montreal & Ottawa all in the comfort of a true classic arcade. Each evening will focus on a specific genre within the synth spectrum including, DRONE/EXPERIMENTAL, SYNTHPOP & DARKWAVE.

- CASTLE IF (Toronto - Ambient Cosmic Drone)
- INFINTY’S ASTRUM (Ottawa Live Instrumental Modular)
- MUFF WIGGLER (Ottawa Experimental)
- pH (Ottawa LIVE P.A./Twisted Techno)



- RATIONAL YOUTH (Canada's 1st SynthPop Band)
- AUTOMELODI (MTL New Romantic Italo Disco)
- HARD SCIENCE (OTT. Live Modular Analog Synth)



- PSYCHE (Edmonton/Germany Darkwave Legends)
- DADA POGROM (Iceland Tech Noir)
- PULSEWIDTHMOD (Philadelphia Darkwave Industrial)
- THE MARQUIS (MTL Dark Electro)






Collective Arts Brewing Rational Youth Psyche Xarah Dion #dadapogrom Kenneth Balys Castle If Automelodi Infinity's Astrum Mike McGrath Arturo B Turo Maeghan Donovan Tetsuo Paradis Toughen Up Kenneth J. Maxx Brad Mcouat



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So this week's endeavor is to create a time-lapse video of the last snowfall that we have had here in Ottawa, and it's melting. I picked up a JVC video camera very cheap because no one wants just a 720p camera, everyone wants a 1080p! It was missing a power supply, which I bought on Amazon for $14 or so. It's got nice glass on it, and it has optical zoom! It also has HDMI out, and the ability to do time-lapse video. I am currently using it at one frame per second. It's video format is AVCHD, which is 59.94 frames per second, or just call it 60 for now. I'm not going to do the math, since it is beyond me at the moment...

Once I have it recorded, I can also speed it up using the NLE Video editor program I have decided to use called KdenLive. It's a free Linux editor that is maybe not as complex as Adobe's offering, or a couple of free to use commercial programs that run on Linux, but it seems to be fairly feature rich, at least enough for me. I then want to compose some original music for it, but I can't use the video at it's normal length, so I have to speed it up, something that KdenLive does quite easily. One of the challenges in this is to make a video that is not too long, so that you don't loose a person's interest while watching it, but at the same time, long enough to engage them. I am thinking somewhere between three and five minutes. And then I have to  compose music for that length! This is going to be an interesting challenge! But it's something to keep me from going totally crazy! :-)

PSU imageIf you read my previous posting, you will know that I picked up a 30" monitor for $40, the only problem with it is that it was missing it's power supply. There are various solutions to this ranging from $300+ to $10, but I have chosen the middle way. This PSU, pictured to the left, is  designed like a laptop power supply, and outputs 24volts at 6Amps, basically the same specs as the manufacturer's power supply. It is aimed at powering strings of LEDs for displays and such. So it should provide fairly clean power for the monitor. It is available on Amazon Canada, so I don't have to wait potentially months for delivery!  It also means that I can get a refund easily if there is a problem with the PSU. But it does raise one problem...I need to spend another ten dollars to get free shipping! :-/

I am pretty sure that once I get it, I will be modifying the monitor's plug, rather than the PSU's, since I cannot find a source for the proprietary connector the monitor uses. So I will need to find a proper female barrel connector to solder onto the monitor's wires.

And, of course, after all of this, it may not work!

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Have finally started closing out the locker. I don't have a lot that is worth money, but I do have a lot of it! For example, CDs I have at least 4 packing tubs of CDs that I have accumulated over the years. Each of the big tubs holds about 150-200, and the small ones about 50. And I have not found all of the tubs with CDs yet. So I have something in the order of 400-600 CDs! That number can vary, depending on how well the tub was packed! Although they represent a large investment of money to buy them, today, the monitory worth is very little. Most places sell used CDs for $1-$3, and realistically, most CDs never get sold. So my collection is worth as much as $200-$300. On the other hand, it is a huge wealth of music and spoken word! There are hundreds and hundreds of hours of listening sitting in packing tubs, waiting to be heard again!

The same is true of the tubs full of books...and the old computer parts...well, there might be *some* value in recycling most of them...but realistically, they are just accumulations of junk, no matter how many thousands of dollars they were worth originally.

In many ways, that is the story of my life, Music, Books and Computers.

I am downsizing as much as possible to try to fit it all back into my room.



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Well, it's the eve my birthday. And once again, I am doing nothing for it. <sigh>

At least, wait, no, the ODSP application got rejected upon appeal. So that is not good. My van has gone from having a coolant leak to having a coolant blockage. I had to dig into my meager reserve moneys to renew my plates, but I might be able to afford to buy myself a pizza for my birthday, if I pay it all in change from my change jar. Although I really should go and buy the vitamins for my eyes with that money, since I just ran out of them. I guess, then it looks like my birthday treat to myself will be a large bag of potato chips.

Is it any wonder I'm depressed?

Well, at least I am not deathly ill...that's good. I have a few friends, although they all seem to have busy lives, so I hardly ever see them.

Anyways, enough of that for now.


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Well, the Gods do have ways of telling you that what you have done is right. For example, I am on a very limited budget, and $20 represents a disproportionately large part of my discretionary funds. So here is the context. I had driven my roommate over to pick up some food, and while he was doing that, I decided to go up to Long & McQuade, the local musical instrument store just to pass some time oogling all the bright shiny instruments, but I had forgotten that they had moved from the Altavista/Bank location...so I ended up at Value Village, wondering around. I dug through the CDs there, and found Japanese pressing of the first Mannheim Steamroller album. At $1.99, it's a deal and a half! Of course, I also had do dig through the SF Books section...and I found a complete set of Robert J. Sawyer's WWW trilogy in hardcover! So I grabbed them...and then checked the prices...they were $6 a piece. I thought about if I could afford them...but, I decided that I should probably pick them up, since when I was I ever going to have a chance to get all three in hardcover at anywhere near that price! So I bought them and the CD.

And Gods smiled upon me for doing so. How do I know? Well, when the cashier rang up the sale, she told me the total, and I laughed. It came up to exactly.....$21.12.

kallistii: (erisnow)

Over on a certain social networking site, Hawkwind fans were asked for their closest connection to the band...so I posted the below article...slightly altered. It was made possible with some research on the web..as there is a vast amount of info about Hawkwind out there. What suprises me is how much info from before the Internets were what they are today is available. Hawkwind fans *must* be horders! :-)

I was at what Dave Brock has said was the worst Hawkwind show ever. It happened May 15, 1991 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The club was Barrymores, which has a honoured history of bands that have played there...but at the time was on the verge of bankruptcy, and had done *no* advertising that the band was playing. I found out through the Internet newsgroups. I told a bunch of people, but, in the end, only about 10 people showed up for the concert, and I was responsible for 5 of them! But that wasn't the only problem...the band had lost two members, with Bridgette Wishart and Simon House being bounced at the Canada-US boarder, so the band was down to a 3 piece Brock, Alan Davey and Richard Chadwick.

Personally, I had a great time, the trio really rocked out, doing a bunch of great Hawkwind songs, new and old. But...and I think this is the thing that stood out in the mind of Dave Brock that he mentioned in at least one interview I read...one of the people who came along, but wasn't really a fan was a friend of mine, David Friend. He is a little bit strange...and through the entire concert sat down by the stage at Barrymores, and read a book. Admittedly, it was either a Science Fiction or Fantasy book....but he had no interest in the band. So while the rest of us enjoyed what was essentially a private Hawkwind show, my friend just read...

One of the images I will always remember from the show was that Alan Davey had painted his face underneath his eys with florescent makeup, and as he sweated, it ran down his cheeks making it look like he was crying florescent tears.

After the show, all my friends got back stage and hung with the band for a while, as one of the people I had dragged along was someone who had worked at Barrymores for many years. It was a blast meeting Dave, Alan and Richard. I just wish there had been more people there...I did my best to get as many as possible...and I hope that the band was paid!

But that is my link to Hawkwind.

kallistii: (erisnow)

Well, I finally decided what Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) I am going to use. It's called Reaper. It does all the usual things a DAW does, but it doesn't cost like most DAWs. The high end of DAWs is Avid's Pro Tools, and the other end is Ardour, which is free. Reaper, which is actually an acronym, is free to try for a long time...and if you like it, you can purchase a license, which gets you free updates and support for essentially two versions, for $60 USD (~$80 CDN)....if you are not making money off of it. If you are making money they ask you to purchase a $225 (~$300 CDN). But it's the honour system!

I had originally thought that I could just get by with Ardour, and Audacity, but I found it hard to get things working with Ardour. Abandoning it, means abandoning Linux for audio use...but, I just want something that works. Reaper is that product. I was able to get up and running really quickly, and use VST instruments with virutally no latency. I got a whole bunch of "emulations" of classic synths, plus one that was a commercial product, but I bought on a a huge discount that made it virutally free.

I have a couple of USB music keyboards now, and with a hub, I get lots of access to these instruments, and once I fiddle with them more, I can configure the USB keyboard to send the proper commands, and use all of the knobs, faders and switches on the keyboard. I also picked up a Berhinger control surface, so I need to configure Reaper to use that as well.

The descreet componants that I have are a Roland SH-201 which I bought about 10 years ago, two Korg Electribes (EA-1 and ER-1, also bought about 10 years ago), a Korg MicroX, an Arturia Beatstep and a MicroBrute, and a Korg Volca Keys. I don't want to rely upon VST instruments, I want to be able to "play out" without needing a computer constantly squencing things. I would just want to use it for downloading patches and such, and provinding a central sync source.

I have two MAudio Delta 1010s, which gives me a total of 16 in and outs, two in and out MIDI ports, and two Digital in and outs. Each as a PCI card with a 36 bit processor feeding a breakout box, so there is virtually no latency. These things are a huge deal if you can find them. Both came out of studios that were upgrading to newer tools....but I picked up the first one a few years back for $75...and the most recent one for...the same price. Acutally, I picked up two in the newest transaction, but one was for [livejournal.com profile] pheloniusfriar so that he can collabourate by having the same hardware. We won't have the same DAWs, but...Native Instruments have come out with a standardized format for STEMs, which will allow us to exchange tracks, and add or remix them.

In addition to this I have some guitars, some effects pedals...and a harp.

So, I hope to start doing some recording soon!


Sep. 11th, 2014 12:05 am
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One of the largest, and best music retail outlets in Ottawa is closing...CD Warehouse. Crap. I just bought a bunch of stuff from them!




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September 2017



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