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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

64 bits or bust!

In the process of re-installing a lot of my music software, I've discovered that a significant portion of my stuff isn't 64-bit code.  Even some of the most recent plugins are still 32 bit!

The main reason this is an issue at all is that I'm using a 64-bit host and I don't want to run a 32-to-64 bit bridge, that seems to make things somewhat unstable.  I need a 64-bit host because some of the sample libraries I'm running in Alchemy are HUGE and the 2GB limit of 32-bit apps in Windows becomes an issue.

Thankfully the most important bits (Alchemy, Rapture, Rhino2, Voxengo, Melda) are 64-bit code, so I'm not taking a damaging hit by making the leap.

I need a laptop with more than 4GB next.  The current Asus machine is maxed out at 4GB, the darn thing won't take any more RAM!  Argh!  Well, the laptop I'm looking at takes 8GB, and I've seen a few that take 16GB as well, so I have plenty of choice.

I'm considering getting an Android tablet, as well, to carry around everywhere when my small laptop would be a pain to tow with me.  Not sure if I want to, but I could run Skype on it and use the camera, thus eliminating the need for a cell phone.. but the things seem kind of fragile.  What to do, what to do? Argh!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday, Monday

Well, it was a fun weekend filled with chicken wings and beer.  I tried out a couple of places, but so far Pluckers still has the best wings in Austin.

It turns out that Synthmaster doesn't work with Orion, so it got uninstalled.  I'm replacing it with the Korg M1 and Wavestation instruments and the Korg MDE-X effects plugin, it's annoying that it takes 3 plugins to replace one, but there it is.  In theory they're trying to figure out why Synthmaster doesn't work, but I'm not going to wait for them.

My new monitor and my Dell carry bag should arrive today, and sometime this week my trackball will show up.  Once that happens, it's a stop by Office Depot for a keyboard and I can stop messing up my laptops screen and keyboard (whew).  I need to install Scrivener on the Dell, and maybe NotesBrowser, and the Kindle reader (and download all my eBooks.. urgh).

Nothing much else to report right now, I'm in recovery from the hot wings at Casino El Camino (tasty but OWW) and am not inspired to do a lot of anything but study USB serial port emulations (work related research for my current project at work).

Have a great day!

Friday, March 23, 2012

The end of an era..

So, tonight I went to the strip club and said goodbye.  I tried to explain that I wanted a girlfriend, that's hard to get across.

But now, that part of my life is OVER! Yaay!!!!!

Let the recovery begin! W00t!

Friday, Friday..

..gotta get down on fried eggs! Apologies to Rebecca Black.

I'm re-downloading selected bits of my music software.  I'm only getting the BEST of all my tools, and then only 64-bit versions of those.  I'm running Orion Studio 64-bit so all that lovely RAM on my main machine can be used.  I'm also focusing on just two non-native virtual instruments: Alchemy Player and Synthmaster.  This keep the clutter and fuss to a minimum and I can focus on the music, and not spending 200 hours surfing through 150 million patches across 8 virtual instruments (yes, it was THAT BAD).

Not a lot to report, otherwise.  It's a lovely day and I'll be going out tonight, just not sure where, yet.  I do have an urge for fried chicken - maybe Popeyes spicy fried chicken! Yum!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fun and Frolics

It's been a busy week, at work and at home!

My Dell laptop arrived and I've installed a pile of writing software on it.  It's small, cute, and VERY portable, so it should do the job of "writing machine" nicely.  WinXP is plenty fast on it, as well, with the 2GB installed.  My only complaint is that the fan is a touch noisy when it fires up, but for $250 I'm not going to complain much!

Lots of goodies arriving - mostly tools for learning electronics and microcontroller programming.  There's no room on my desk for a keyboard/monitor/mouse/laptop setup, so I'm just going to stick a trackball on my main laptop and call it good.

After working with Google Docs a lot, I've decided it's not a good solution for writing anything you need decent layout control over.  I'm buying Scrivener for Windows to handle the raw writing end of things, as a companion app to Jutoh (which will handle eBook formatting and generation).  I might end up needing some kind of desktop publishing program later on, but for now Scrivener/Jutoh will do the job I need.

I need to come up with a backup/synchronization plan for my work (writing AND code).  An online repository seems like a good idea, I have enough storage space on my hosting service to handle a fair pile of compressed text, so maybe I can write a nice Windows script to back things up for me.  I have an external hard drive I'm going to use for local backup, it'll sit on my main machine and I'll share it out (with password protection) so I can easily access my stuff from both laptops.

I'm considering getting back into music composition, but very simplified - just Orion and its native plugins, my Melda Productions and Voxengo plugins, and my Camel Audio CamelSpace and Alchemy.  I'd do ambient, environmental, and the like - then sell it on Amazon!  If it makes pizza money, it's all good.

I need to get out more.  I went into chat last night and was bored out of my mind!  I used to really  be a chat addict, I wonder what happened?

Oh well, back to work! At least tomorrow is Friday!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cheap laptops shipped fast!

Sounds like SPAM, doesn't it?  But it's not!

I needed a small, portable CHEAP laptop to use as a writing machine/email/Web surfing box, and to read my Kindle books on.  I didn't want anything expensive as this sucker is going to travel with me, and I don't want a $600 tablet to get mashed while I'm next to Lady Bird Lake writing about the kayakers!  Well, a friend recommended Discount Electronics as a nice place to get used Dell laptops, and it turned out to be a find!

I emailed Sales about getting one with a RAM upgrade, and I had an answer inside an hour.  Not only that, they're going to install the upgrade for me, for free! Dang!  And it's going to ship TODAY, the same day I ordered it.  And they take Paypal.  It rocks my world! In fact, I just got an email from them as I was blogging this, telling me it was shipped and the tracking number. Amazing.  If everyone had customer service like this, we'd all be in Heaven!

I got a Dell D610 unit with 2GB of RAM for about $250 - perfect for running OpenOffice, Chrome, Jutoh, and Notepad (heh).  It's refurbished, and it's not leading-edge, but I don't need a dual-core 3GHz box to use as a glorified typewriter (if anyone remembers what one of those is).

Next hardware will be an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse for my Asus dual-core box, which is my "master machine" - it has my hardware/software development tools installed on it as well as the writing stuff, and is a 4GB dual-core 2.4GHz machine.  Oh, and I'll need a wireless NAS to schlep files back and forth between machines and act as a universal synch/bckup device.

My Atmel order shipped as well, so soon I'll have a second development board.  Dang!  Life is good.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Write face!

Ok, I'm making some headway in preventing myself from running amok and doing everything BUT writing.  I haven't bought a lot of new audio or video gear, I haven't bought a lot of new software, and I've managed to not let my desire to do everything prevent me from doing anything!

Right now, I've settled on using a combination of Google Docs and OpenOffice for my writing, and possibly adding Scribus or some other publishing application to the mix.  Google Docs is good because (bluntly) I don't write a lot when I'm out, I just do things/go places/have experiences and write about it all when I get home.  Eventually I'll get a point-and-shoot cam to snap pics to trigger memories with, but for now I'm not away from a computer for more than 24 hours so there's no real need.  I can download from and upload to Google Docs, and if I do travel away from the Web I can just download to my PC, work, and re-upload later.  Simple!

Instead of spending the money on hardware and software, I'm going to Go Places, Do Things, and Meet People(tm).  This seems like the best way to fuel my creativity with experience, while the dreams I've been having are crystal clear and vivid you can't just write based on dreams (well, not for a lot of genres).  There are a lot of places in Austin to see, then there's San Antonio and Dallas, and even New Orleans is near (and I REALLY want to go to New Orleans for a few days).

So, I need to buy a NAS for local backup and a mid-range point-and-shoot camera and I'm done.  I'll bank money and if my current laptop crashes, I'll buy new and just re-install my tools and backups.

Back to work now, wheeeeeeeeeeee!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Reliving the past, not always good

Well, I finally screwed my courage to the sticking-place and started in on prepping my poetry collection "Love Dark and Frozen" for ePublishing on the Kindle.  Formatting it is going to be a bit tricky, trying not to space each poem out too far OR cram a single page full of to many.

But that's not the real problem.  The real problem is having to re-read each. and. every. poem. over. and. over.

Given that all of these were written during an incredibly emotionally painful period in my life, reading them is effectively re-experiencing the pain that brought the poem forth in the first place.  About 1/4 way through the collection I was a wreck and had to quit, get a beer, and go sit outside alone until I could drop some stress.  Urgh.  I thought it wouldn't be easy but I didn't expect it to be this hard!

I hope I can finish it this weekend, because there is NO WAY I'm working on them when I have to go to work the next day!  I already look like I haven't slept in a week, I don't need to look worse!

Oh well, slowly but surely.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Blech, Celtx goes Cloud-crazy

Goodbye, Celtx.  I hardly knew you...

Seems like cloud-mania is affecting everyone, and it's not all positive.  Now the pre-production/writing application Celtx is cloud-only, and you can't do anything - not even download and check out the software - without registering and logging in.

FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!  I prefer to have local copies and not have piles of stuff floating out in the Aethyr, since there are places I go to write that don't have the Internet (and I don't WANT the Web in these places either, thanks).  And having to register just to check out the software? BZZT GAME OVER, thanks for playing!  You don't even get any Turtle Wax (apologies to your turtle).

Thankfully the few bits of screenplay I had in Celtx, were local with an older copy, and I can just dump those out into a format OpenOffice can read, and I'll edit it in OE from there.. on my Linux machine.. while I'm out next to Lake Travis, or on the beach near Corpus Christi (no Internet there, thankfully).

I'm sure it'll work out for a lot of folks, but not for me.  So, see ya Celtx!  If I wanted everything in "the cloud" I'd use Google Docs..

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Camera not so Obscure

Ok, I've determined which camera I want to start with: a lovely unit with video and still recording that can close-focus up to 2 inches away:

It'll be perfect for my "Austin in Austin" blogging purposes, and also captures video with sufficient resolution to work as a learning tool until I determine if I have the skill and talent to be a VFX person.

On the writing front, I'll be moving to Liquid Story Binder XE for my writing work.  It does everything but screenplays, but since that's just a tiny corner of my writing I'll get something else (Final Draft?) for screenplays.

Over the weekend I'll be cleaning up my poetry collections and will try my first Kindle conversion!  W00t! Look out world, here I come!  Oh darn, then I have to MARKET the darn things.. oh well!  More to learn, more to learn!

Back to work for me!  Debug, debug, optimize, debug.