Facebook | Let’s get Vienna to number 1 on 11th APRIL!

If Rage Against the Machine and Delirious can do it, so can Ultravox!!

Facebook | Let’s get Vienna to number 1 on 11th APRIL!.

Join the Facebook campaign to get Vienna by Ultravox to Number 1 in the UK charts…

If you’re not a Facebook user, you can find out more about the campaign and where to download Vienna here on the Official Ultravox website...

Just to remind you….

Guitar Hero and the great untalented

I’ve so far managed to avoid all the fuss surrounding Activision’s Guitar Hero video game that’s taking the world by storm. I’m not really a fan of video games and consoles such as Playstation 3 and XBox, and never have been, and I’d much rather use a computer for either searching on the web or making music. Could never see the excitement or the fun of things like computer games, and even when I had a Spectrum ZX81 when I was a teenager, I tried to learn how to PEEK and POKE it, rather than play games on it. Even had a Commodorer 64 and an Amiga, and used them for making music. However, I’ve suddenly seen the light and think that Guitar Hero 3 is just great. Paul (my stepson) got the demo on a PS3 magazine disc the other day and immediately took to it. Even though he had to use his Sixaxis controller, he loved it. The next morning, he wanted the real mccoy. Paul being Paul, with his impulsive nature (he’s got Autism) desperately wanted the full version, complete with the guitar.

Fast Forward to 9.30pm and a trip to the Trafford Centre,  we found what he was looking for, and traded in a few of his other games to get it. We got home, and Paul thought it was great. I spent ages afterwards just watching him getting hooked and thinking I could do that. I had my first go of it last night, and just wanted to stay on it. It’s a great thing for someone like me who tried to learn the guitar (a real one, with strings) years ago but never had the co-ordination or the ability to play a proper tune.  Now I can play the lead on Anarchy in the UK or Walk this Way without looking a fool if I get it wrong. Paul’s been trying to learn the guitar himself, but hasn’t got much idea of a what makes a good tune. Paul, being Paul tends to give up because of stuff like that. Now he has Guitar Hero, he can learn more about how a song is made and maybe get back to playing the real thing.

I used to think the same as John Mayer – via Rolling Stone magazine – that things like Guitar Hero are  “making it easy for untalented people to pretend they are good at playing the instrument”. just another excuse for people to sit at home and think they were become proper musicians. After seeing how Paul has taken an interest in it, I really think it’s a good thing.

My only wish now is that someone will come up with something like “Synth Hero” for eighties throwbacks like me!

Stop: Windows misery strikes again

Tree Swirl, by Paul Harrison
Tree Swirl, by Paul Harrison, aged 15

Windows never ceases to amaze me. It’s like the be-all and end-all to the world of computing. It’s like gateway to a parallel universe, that will only let you in if you meet a million and one criteria, all encrypted in hexadecimal code. BSOD (Blue Screen of Death), followed by STOP: 0x0000007B. What’s that supposed to mean, then? Run Chdsk /F or something – that’ll get you a ticket to ride the rollercoaster again. I feel like the world’s a blur when this happens……

As you’ve probably worked out by now, my laptop with all my Acid Pro files, VST plugins, and all my work projects, died on me. Or rather, Windows XP Pro died on me. It’s a 2 year-old HP/Compaq NC6400, which has been running very slowly for about 5 or 6 weeks but has been more reliable than my old desktop. Should have backed everything up, but there’s probably 20 gigs’ worth of files on there, but you wonder about viruses and spyware being passed on. Took ages to load up last week, then on Friday evening: STOP: 0x0000007B. Couldn’t run Chkdsk because I couldn’t get into Windows, so that’s not much use. So much for Windows.

Lots of trawling on the internet later, a Linux Rescue disk came to my aid – System Rescue, with TestDisk on it. It told me that all the contents of the drive where safe, and not corrupted. Runs from RAM, not the HD. Thank heavens for that! How to get to them without a good knowledge of Linux. Ahaaa! Bypass Windows! Find a sneaky way past the guard dogs at the eternal gateway! Took the drive out of the laptop, plugged into a USB drive adapter connected to another PC, and hey presto! There were all my files, looking the same as ever and (hopefully) not corrupted. This little incident, along with many other run-ins I (and so many people I know) have had with Windows, makes me realise that I should either by a Mac and get some decent recording software, or install Linux on a laptop and make music the open-source way. Either way, I’m getting very tired of having to second-guess the system and waiting around for an error message to appear. I very nearly lost all of the Pitch Black remix stuff I’ve working on for months, just when I’m clear about finishing off.

If you’re a Mac or Linux user, please don’t laugh at me. I’ve seen the light and I’ll be converted soon….

Don’t forget to bookmark this post, in case you ever get this problem!

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Mixtape, Muxtape, MuddleTape

I was quite excited about the Muxtape idea that mentioned the other day, and it even got a mention in Dreamrapper’s blog too. However, it’s all gone a bit pear-shaped over at Muxtape’s HQ and I feel a little bit foolish now. It looks like my twelve tracks have gone from my virtual tape and ended up in someone else’s, as there’ve been one or two problems with their software and servers.

On May 21st, Muxtape experienced an error that caused every song in the database to be overwritten with the wrong artist & title. (from Muxtape’s blog)

I must say that it was a very good concept, and right now I hope they manage to get everything sorted as soon as possible.

If you’re not too sure what Muxtape is, have a look at the article I wrote the other day for more information.

By the way, I’m still on the hunt for recommendations etc., about the Presonus Firestudio. If you’re using one, can you give me some info about it (pros and cons, that sort of thing) as there’s just too much info to wade through on the web.