31 January, 2006
A photo from last year and an excuse to try shozu. Yes, that's me on the right. In a dress.
27 January, 2006
Flock and a world of crap
My eyes are sore from editing my thesis. I can see lines when I look away from my monitor.
I needed a break, but rather than leave my computer I decided to try Flock.
But of course, I needed to try it out.
So, here's a jumble of crap I found.
The Internet is a wonderful thing.
Unfortunately, I didn't get along very well with the flock blog posting utility, but that's just me. I like to know exactly what tags are doing, which is why I still write HTML by hand and write documents in LaTeX.
20 January, 2006
Today is the Cogent Computing Applied Research Centre launch event - and I'm wearing a suit!
I don't get much chance to wear one, and this is so much more fun than a funeral.
The best thing about wearing a suit is the number of pockets - I can get my camera, keys, MP3 player, USB drive, phone, screwdrivers and a handful of pens in it. Steph usually makes me take them all out again, though, because I look like a magician trying to conceal too many rabbits.
18 January, 2006
I'm sitting on the train, on my way home, and I just found a copy of The Sun, open at the crossword.
There's a set of cryptic clues and no answers written in yet, so I thought I'd kill some time with it.
I got halfway through the clues without getting a single one when I realised that the answer to "something that fit people can touch, perhaps" was toes.
Looking back over the clues that had previously stumped me, I found they were pretty much all the same, and the difference between the normal and cryptic clues has more to do with how many words they contain than difficulty.
I didn't bother doing any more, but whinging about it on my mobile keypad has stopped me sleeping on the train instead.
15 January, 2006
How did I live without these?
12 January, 2006
Kent State Activists
They were very nice and asked permission first.
It's nice to that know there are people out there that have listened to my music for reasons other than humoring me.
08 January, 2006
More sounds for freesound
Downloads look like they're catching up with uploads, though, so I'm trying to give stuff back.
When I get chance, I'll try and get some more stuff on there - I have lots of sounds and samples I've created that might be useful for others.
So, if you have something to give, upload it. Personally, I'd like there to be more people with instruments and the time to sample individual notes.
Music, delays and perl nightmares
I couldn't sleep again (I drifted off only to wake a few minutes later from a nightmare about Perl and HTML - yes, the new Cogent website is nearly finished), so I've finished up another track: Slumpy (ogg or mp3).
Also, while I was awake and waiting for things to upload, I thought I'd write down another tracker tip.
I love trackers. But they are quite limited in some respects when compared to sequencers.
In particular, trackers don't have anything like the resolution for placing notes that sequencers do. However, this is only really a problem if you're trying to record notes as they're played on a keyboard without losing the human feel.
And since most people record their notes in a sequencer and then quantise it to remove the imperfections, it's no great loss.
Sometimes, though, you just need to be able to squeeze something in between the lines. This example uses the same samples for the beat in Slumpy. They're recorded individually in this file. In case you need to know, the samples are numbered 1, 2, 8, 9, 6, 12, 12 in the screenshots below.
First, here's a beat. Listen and look at the screenshot (right) from CheeseTracker.
You can hear what I'm after, but it sounds a bit wrong. The problem is that it's too regular and stilted.
What we need is to move some of the hits around, but we have no more lines to put them in. It is possible to enlarge the track, run it at double speed and add blank lines between the current ones, but that's a hassle and still doesn't quite solve the problem.
Instead, we can use the delay command. This command (in the far right column of a channel) has the form SDx, where x is a number of ticks to delay the note by. At this speed (6) and tempo (125), you can delay by up to 4 ticks before the sample is entirely cut off by the next note.
Now look at the new pattern (left). Notice that I've delayed all the odd numbered rows (they start at 0, of course) that have a note in them. This makes the beat shuffle instead of sounding insanely regular. Have a listen.
It's not just useful for beats, of course. In fact, anything other than some trauma-inducing techno tends to sound better when the spacing of some of the notes is shifted slightly.
Important tip: usually, you need to stick to one offset for all instruments, otherwise it sounds like the timing has gone wrong.
Also useful is cut (SCx) which cuts a note after x ticks, and retrigger (Qex) which retriggers the note every x ticks, with a volume modification y.
Right, now that I've got Perl out of my head, I'm going to
sleep or die "trying";
07 January, 2006
Flickr is catching
I introduced my Dad to flickr. He's uploaded some photos, but so far he's disapointed that nobody's been looking at them.
So, go and view some of his photos, get his hitcount off zero and make an old man happy.