Thursday, January 31, 2013

NAMM downer

Am I getting too crotchety, or is this just a little underwhelming? I'm sorry, but Moog has me a little freaked out; I'm not in love with this, and I still puke in my mouth a little every time I see one of those weird-o Solid Gold Voyagers. Wha' happened?

And Dave Smith with the $3K polysynth.

I think I'll get a few U-he softsynths and pay the mortgage for a while longer. My wife agrees whole-heartedly. Actually, my wife believes that U-he stuff is out of line too, but that's why I have a Paypal account...


Monday, January 14, 2013

Another Christmas Miracle!

Or fail, as the case may be.

Trying to get some sort of interesting science-y gift for my 6 year-old, we tripped upon the Smithsonian's "Prehistoric Sea Monsters" kit. Folks my age will remember the great ol' Sea Monkeys kits of the ancient past; this is the updated version, complete with the Smithsonian Seal of Approval.

What a P.O.S. 2 weeks after Christmas and the failure is complete. Never a single triops was hatched, the cool background image faded and peeled off, it now looks like something that belongs on the Island of Misfit Toys.

If I would have done research ahead of time, I would have found people like this:

The Kar-azy Katholic that Prefers Sea Monkeys

I'm not sure I would have completely paid attention, since the idea of a prehistoric monster for a 1st Grader is pretty compelling - but maybe I wouldn't have been surprised by the result: about $0.10 of plastic with some pond scum floating at the top.

Merrrrrry Christmus!


Friday, January 11, 2013

One way the Arduino Due is flawed...

... is that its name is supremely unhelpful.

Surely you'll think I'm crack-headed for trying to make this point, but bear with me. Naming a product using a common word will work against the interests of your users in almost every case - because we are now in the post-documentation, active-searching world of problem-solving. Here's a real world example:

I recently got two Arduino Due boards (from the Maker's Shed). I've installed the Arduino 1.5.1 software, and attempted to load the Blink sketch from the standard library. If I'm using the Programmer's Port, I will either get a "SAM-BA" error, or the system will cease seeing a device on the serial port. I can successfully load and run Blink using the Native Port, so I know that the software is operational, the cables are good and power is sufficient.

I've tried searching the Interwebs for information that might help me figure out what a "SAM-BA" error is, or why a Due might have problems with a Programmer's Port on OS X. In fact, I've been unsuccessfully in finding a useful search phrase that could help, mostly because the "Due" name is searched the same as the work "due" (as in "this board is due to fail any day now"). Thus, I'm consistently getting way too many results without actually getting any help. Very frustrating.

This rant may sound funny from a guy that helps ship the "Max" product, but at least we were pre-Internet; today, there's no reason to use a common word (even if its origins are something else). Do a quick Google search on your product name before you ship. If it provides an overwhelming number of hyper-common results, you might want to go a different way.

In the meantime, I'm just going to use the damned Native Port and shut up.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Über-module!

When is a module not a module? When it's a DJ mixer with built in effects, looper/sampler and other stuff. By running the mini-modular into this mixer, I can control panning, effects, do a little looping/sampling and generally make a bigger mess of an already messy situation. But it is pretty fun, and it make integration of the MPC-1000 and the PC/Monome-based looper pretty smooth. Fun, fun, fun!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Certain to be Friendly!

I posted this to FB, but I'll also toss it here - something weird has happened to the "people you may know" portion of Facebook. It used to be filled with musicians, video artists and academics. Now it is filled with young women from eastern European countries, all of whom look like they could use a short term loan (or something) from me.

How did this happen? Is it something I did? Is it something one of my "friends" did? Who the heck knows - everything about FB is a black hole of "We don't talk about that.", and they are obviously getting gamed by something that has infected me. All that really means is that I'm not going to be taking on any more friends anytime soon - which probably isn't that bad of an idea anyway.

If I could only stand Google+...