Archive for the ‘My Music’ Category

Fixing Computers

Friday, December 27, 2013

The good – Making music again

The bad – Lost time

The ugly – Money spent


I use multiple older Macs and a PC on a daily basis. One Mac, a (Gigabit Ethernet) G4 500DP running Mac OS X Tiger (10.4.11), is used for email, web browsing, web design/development, graphics design, and other productivity stuff. Oh, and listening to music with iTunes! This Mac has been running faithfully since I bought it new in 2000. It’s had some hardware upgrades along the way—RAM, CD/DVD burner, hard drives, etc. I also use an iBook 1.33 for web browsing.

My Music/Recording Computers
My main music/recording computer is a MDD (Mirror Drive Doors) Mac G4 1.25DP FW400. I run Pro Tools audio recording software, and its associated hardware, on this Mac. I run two versions of Pro Tools software on it—version 5.1.3 booted from Mac OS 9.2 (classic), and version 6.4.1 booted from Mac OS X Panther (10.3.8). I recently installed Mac OS X Leopard (10.5.8) on this Mac, but haven’t made much use of it so far.

I built a PC in 2005 that I also use for music/recording. It runs NI Komplete and other software instruments (i.e., soft synths or virtual instruments). I’m running Windows XP Pro (SP3) on this PC. I originally built it for playing computer games, and to test my websites under Windows using Internet Explorer. I began using it for music/recording when another Mac, a MDD G4 1.42DP FW800, started giving me trouble, and I transferred the NI Komplete software to the PC.

Recently, both of my music/recording computers have experienced failures, bringing my music writing and recording activities to an abrupt halt. Not good!

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What’s Up?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The good – Working on music

The bad – Collaboration may not work out

The ugly – A sad situation for my friend


It’s been over a year since my last post. So what have I been doing? Several things, including working on music. I’ve been writing new songs and recording demos.

A Collaboration?
Last October, I asked a guitarist, singer, and songwriter friend of mine from my old hometown in Ohio if he’d like to collaborate on music with me. We played music together for a while in the mid-1980s, first at jam parties, then later in a band. We reconnected in January of 2007 and have been exchanging email messages on a weekly basis since, talking about music, sports, old times, and our current lives.

But things have been slow to develop in our music collaboration. We’ve identified some of his previously-written songs that we might record, and some of mine. I’ve written a few new songs specifically for this collaboration. I’ve also recorded some demos of my songs, both old and new, for him to scrutinize, critique, and collaborate on. But his efforts and contributions toward this collaboration have been very limited.

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PC Meltdown

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The good – Disaster averted

The bad – Relying on cheap fans to cool PC components

The ugly – I feared the worst


I had two fans fail, virtually simultaneously (I believe), in my Windows PC. One was the primary (rear) case fan, an Antec TriCool 120mm. The other was the cheap manufacturer-installed 40mm fan designed to cool the Northbridge chip on my MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI motherboard. Both fans had been performing without issue since I built this PC in 2005.

Instant failure without warning
I don’t know exactly when these fans actually quit functioning. My first, and only, warning was noise coming from the PC. I traced it to the primary case fan, and noticed that it was not running at its normal constant speed. I then looked at the temperature readings provided by sensors built into the PC’s components, and two others provided with the PC case, an Antec P160. I saw the temperatures rising and immediately tried to save the data file I was working on, before shutting down the PC, but the system shut itself down before I could do so.

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Keyboard Synth Problem Just A Bad MIDI Cable

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The good – Keyboard synth is okay

The bad – Lost recording time

The ugly – I thought the keyboard was toast



The other day I pulled my Kawai K5000S digital additive synthesis keyboard out of storage to use in my recording session. I plugged in the power cord, turned it on, and plugged in a pair of headphones to make sure it was working. All was okay. I found a few sounds on it that I thought might fit a song I was working on. I turned it off, grabbed two MIDI cables, two audio cables, and connected the keyboard to my Pro Tools rig.

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A Good Data Backup Plan

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The good – It can save your bacon

The bad – It’s inconvenient, time consuming, and expensive

The ugly – Even the best plans can fail


The other day I was retrieving Pro Tools session and audio data files for a music project I’m working on. I loaded the first of four CD-R discs which held the backup data. I successfully transferred all of the data files except one audio file, which contained a recorded instrument track. The error message said that the file could not be retrieved due to data error. In other words, the file was damaged. I made note of the name of the missing file, then loaded backup disc two. This time all files were retrieved except two audio files, both containing recorded instrument tracks. The error message was the same as before. I made note of the file names and moved on. I successfully transferred all files from discs three and four without issue.

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A Stranger Vocal Recording – Take One

Friday, October 23, 2009


The good – Nancy is learning Pro Tools

The bad – Not the best recording setup

The ugly – I’m out of practice


Nancy and I finally got our first chance to record my vocals for my new song, “A Stranger In Your Town,” yesterday (Thursday, October 22, 2009). Nancy has never used Pro Tools, or any other audio recording software. But she is an advanced computer user and picked up Pro Tools quickly.

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Working On Music…Again

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The good – I’m enjoying myself

The bad – I’ve neglected music far too long

The ugly – My chops are rusty


I started working on music again a couple of weeks ago. REALLY working on music—again. SERIOUSLY working on music—again.

I’ve been writing and recording music since I was a teenager. That’s more than 40 years! Gasp! It’s something I’ve always enjoyed, and has been my #1 priority during several periods of my life. But, unfortunately, not lately.

I’ve yet to finish that album—or CD, to use modern terminology—that I keep telling myself I’m going to do. I’ve got dozens of excuses why I’ve not finished it. Some of them are even valid. :-) But now I’m inspired, once again, to work toward achieving that goal.

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