solarbird: (music)

A while ago, I saw Tony Fabris of Vixy & Tony using a ridiculously large Windows tablet to display his lyrics and sheet music. He’d also whipped together some software to organise it and such. It was awesome.

The trick was he’d got the tablet relatively cheap, because it was huge, but also the first release of Windows 8 on tablet, and there was something weird about it I think? I forget. It already didn’t exist anymore, but he had one.

Anyway, I’ve been watching for a similar opportunity ever since, because I kind of realised there was an arbitrage opportunity floating around right about… well, let’s go to the napkin:

See, past a point, as tablets get larger, they become less useful as tablets. Above 11″ or so, they rapidly become both unacceptably awkward and heavy, particularly at widescreen ratios. Oh, sure, you can get a keyboard, use it as a really awkward laptop, and a lot of companies are making laptop “convertibles” now as people try to figure out that format. But even done well, that’s basically a laptop that can make do as a shitty tablet, all at laptop prices.

Now, on the other hand, if you want something to sit in front of you on a music rack and display your chords or whatever, you want that extra, impractical-for-carrying-around size. And you don’t mind a little more weight, because it’s a lot lighter than a bunch of three-ring binders.

And LCD screens in those sizes and ratios are everywhere now from OEMs, because laptops. So everybody keeps trying to make tablets at those larger sizes because IT CAN’T MISS AM I RIGHT? Except every time it’s the same plan, it’s the same plan, and everybody ends up on fire and dumping these things.

So the trick is to find something in that little red bar, at the end of the too-heavy, too-big-for-normal-people 13-14″ downslope-of-heaviness while still in the awesome-for-sheetmusic range of musician happiness, all at the right oh-shit-this-was-a-bad-idea-get-rid-of-these-things price range.

There’ve been a few qualifying tablets floating around pretty much constantly since I saw Tony’s, all from one or another GeneroMaker, but they’ve all been too junky for one reason or another. Bad screens, bad battery life, double-digit DOA rates, whatever.

Until possibly now. Meet The Latest Iteration Of This Mistake, at $150 on Amazon right now.

3rd Generation iPod for scale because I left my sonic upstairs

The photo here isn’t great, but I don’t want to move the tablet because it’s doing the first-time charge. But trust me: it’s huge. It’s slightly over three times the size of Anna’s Kindle. It’s got a good screen, it’s heavier than some laptops but it’s thin, it’s got 5-7 (claimed) hours of battery life, decent viewing angles, and it’s running Jelly Bean so can talk to the usual app stores. It’s got USB and expansion and all that. The onboard sound is terrible and it’s not super fast, but that’s not what I need it for.

And almost all the positive reviews are from musicians using it for exactly this.

There will probably be more of these, but this is the first one I’ve seen since that old Windows tablet of Tony’s that meets all the requirements for such appropriately little dough. I’ve had it for all of a few hours, so this isn’t a review, but it is your notice: the arbitrage opportunity you may have been waiting for is now here.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
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solarbird: (molly-computer-all-lit-up)

I’ve been doing a bunch of work to make my formerly-terrible phone view for my blog into something that’s better on a phone.

What do you think, sirs? Additions include navigation to other parts of the site (finally), a mobile contact form that works, easier access to the mobile music page, throwing mobile users of video over to my youtube page, things like that.

And two questions:

1. As a phone user, do you want to see this view instead of the desktop view? I think at this point (since it’s not just locked into the pale-blue-on-pale-blue madness which was Carrington Mobile and also lets you visit the rest of the site) it’s kind of reasonable so suggest that.

2. If you’re a tablet user, do you still get the desktop site? I want that. Tablets can handle desktop view. Phones, though – yeah, not as much.

Anyway, what do you think?

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
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solarbird: (korra-smug)

I finally realised: books are merch. And while Anna’s books are mostly ebooks, Faerie Blood and Bone Walker both have print editions, and they’re hard to find and mostly have to be ordered directly from her. And she can’t take credit cards and stuff like that.

But I can take credit cards and PayPal and all that, through Bandcamp. And Bandcamp lets you sell merchandise, as long as it’s related to your music. Which these are. So now BOOKS ARE OFFICIALLY MERCH, and Faerie Blood and Bone Walker finally have places you can actually buy the paper copies.

Yay, fixed! I like it when longstanding problems finally get sorted out. ^_^

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

solarbird: (korra-excited)

Well, it’s 2015, and I’m writing this as the fireworks are still going off around me and downtown; I didn’t go, I’ve been too busy working on all the tune parts for the live Bone Walker release party/concert at Conflikt at the end of the month.

It’s hard work, too. I have a little secret that isn’t very secret: I am not a natural tunes player, and, this being the trad album, there’re a lot of tunes in it. They were by far the most difficult part of the album, and they’ll be the most difficult thing to perform live, and even though I’ll be kind of miked down a bit on mandolin, I still need to get it right.

Seriously, though; rhythm parts: 10 minutes to learn. Melody on flute: maybe 20. Sung parts: 10-15 minutes, and I’ll make new parts. Tunes: weeks. No idea why. It’s such an outlier that Anna has incorporated it into the Free Court universe, in the background, as part of the way magic works; traditional Irish tunes and the Sidhe magics don’t get along, and that’s on purpose.

But I’ll manage, I always do.

Perhaps coincidentally, the Space Needle is currently fireworking Newfoundland colours. I’m not even making that up. Newfoundland Liberation Army, represent.

I’ve seen people say that 2014 flew by; not for me. For me it felt kind of endless; 2013 seems so long ago. 2014 certainly had some personal lows; two more rounds of eye surgery, including – hopefully – the last one; way too much hanging out at home (recovering) and studio (recording). But it had highs, too – the most successful nwcMUSIC to date, actually finishing the Bone Walker project (preorder OK!) and y’know what, I’m going to say it again:

Korrasami is canon and nothing hurts.

No, seriously, see… here’s yet another level of it. There’s this longstanding trope of having queer couples who end up dead, or in tragedy. I mean, sure, mostly we don’t exist, but if we do: tragedy or death. Not cake or death; tragedy or death. We get one or the other, and sometimes both. Mercedes Lackey did it, for example; big three-book queer love story; one ends up dead, and gets reincarnated (without memories), so he can fall back in love with the survivor… who then dies. Tragedy and death twice in one trilogy! It’s amazing.

Similarly, as much as I love Revolutionary Girl Utena, it did it too, more or less. Maybe Utena still exists; maybe Anthy will find Utena; we don’t know. (In the manga, she doesn’t, but the anime is different in many ways.) At the time, I was really angry about it, because it hit that same trope after teasing us with better; even though she’s not dead (or so it’s implied), they’re still ending apart, as stories say you must, if you’re queer.

Elfquest, too. Dart’s boyfriend Shushen? Introduced and dead in two issues. Boom.

Basically, as a rule, queers don’t get to go off into the sunset together, in fiction. That’s historically not for us. For us: tragedy and/or separation, often through death.

Until now.

I can’t overstate how much that changes the world. It may not seem like much to people who are used to having it. But in a desert, even a teacup’s worth becomes an ocean of water. And for that, I can forgive a lot about 2014.

We face 2015 with a whole new world. Gear up, everybody – let’s see what it brings.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

solarbird: (music)

SUPERB P0WNERSHIP is the phrase of the day. Zoe Quinn has been dealing with a misogynist campaign against her for months, and, whelp, guess who has been infiltrating 4chan’s chat rooms and logging the shit out of all of the entire campaign’s ops room? Oh yeah. That would be Zoe.


Oh, her angry ex-boyfriend? He’s in the logs too, helping coordinate harassment. Hey, look, a revenge campaign for breaking up with him! SMILE FOR THE CAMERAS, DOUCHEBAGS! There’s even video. This is epic destruction.

If you have no idea what this is about, it’s about misogyny in gaming, and an ongoing campaign to force women out of gaming, focusing on several specific people, one of whom is Zoe Quinn. You can get a bit of a summary here, if you like.

eta: Judging from the h8r reblogs on Tumblr and the anonymous asks I’ve got, it looks like the attempt at “defence” here is, “It’s all out of context!” Hey, pro tip: only cite context when it actually helps your case. Unlike here. Where it doesn’t.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
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solarbird: (music)

Okay, so people who have been out of the loop, Livejournal has gone through another purchase/”merger.” I know, I know, “Livejournal? Really? That’s still alive?” And you have a very good point.

But honestly this new ownership is the most responsive I’ve seen since Brad sold the place. They’ve been asking users what they want, they’ve put back in subject lines in comments, they’ve made all sorts of changes that people actually seem to want made.

Including, in response specifically to me, long-overdue resumption of support for Bandcamp embeds. That used to work, and stopped working, about three years ago? Whenever Bandcamp went to iframes for their players. Previous ownership didn’t answer questions about it. Current support just said ‘Okay!’ and “bandcamp embedding should work now!”


Which is the entire point of this post. Let’s see if this works, shall we?

eta: oh my gods it works. This hasn’t worked in three years. SEE HOW WE STOMP FOR… Livejournal?

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

solarbird: (shego-rule?-you?)

Well, it’s official: my music has enough fans to be worth pirating. Yay?

They’re both in Russia and they’re probably going to be 128kbps preview-grade streams (or worse – one’s lifted from YouTube), so yeah, have fun with that. I’m kind of flattered. I mean, to keep copyright I’m kind of required to protest (hence this), but lol yeah like that works. XD

But still, if you like my work, throw me some coin, eh? Stuff costs money. :D

Any of you hit any weird milestones like this? What’s the weirdest milestone you’ve ever hit?

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

solarbird: (korra-excited)

Remember Mine to Love, that album I co-engineered last year at Supervillain Studios, and ended up playing on too? Leannan Sidhe’s second album? It’s finally out! It came out today! I didn’t know! SURPRISE!

I’ll post more about it tomorrow, but my favourite song on the album (which I’m not even on) is King of Elfland’s Daughter, which isn’t streamable because of copyright reasons. Just go buy it, it is worth your 99¢, trust me here.

Here’s a player for the entire album other than that track:

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

solarbird: (shego-rule?-you?)

It’s not my personal style, so I haven’t visited it myself – The Underminer and I have… non-compliementary work ethe – but if you’re in the market for a well-appointed lair in the high desert, you could do far worse. Have a couple of sample pictures; the rest are at the link.

Hardened exterior and high vantage point

Interior design follows traditional mole-machine thematics

ht jwz

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

solarbird: (mandolin-and-flutes)

Forbes Magazine has noticed the return of the analogue synthesiser. I’ve seen a lot of people buying old and rebuilding; I wasn’t aware how many of the classics were back in or about to return to production.

Korg MS-20 (courtesy Wikipedia)

There seems to be some idea floating out there – and certainly in that Forbes article – that it’s a matter of rejecting digital, with it’s an implication that it’s some sort of Overdue Retreat From False Progress, and similar foolishness.

That’s not just wrong, it’s stupid. It’s the kind of derpitude written for people who don’t understand a subject and are wearing their late-middle-age everything-was-better-in-my-day nostalgia crap goggles.

Never wear those.

But something real is happening: a recognition that these were interesting and unique instruments in their own rights, and that new “versions” of the instrumental idea are not the instrumental idea. Just as the successors of the lute were not lute version 2.0, the successors of these synths are are not these instruments, version 2.0. They’re new instruments, with their own merits and flaws.

The technology model of continuous improvement doesn’t apply to everything, no matter how hard you try.

Similarly, just as MIDI violin doesn’t preempt real violin, emulations of the actual instrument – while useful, I’m a huge fan of the Animoog implementation on my iPad – do not always replace the actual instrument.

Particularly not with players. Not with the musicians. All of these things have their own physicalities, and for a lot of players – like me – that’s important. There are tens of thousands of bass guitars out there; there are a few I love. There are far fewer Irish Bouzoukis out there; and there are two, so far, I love. Part of that’s the sound; part of that is the physicality. It all matters.

I’m glad that’s finally being recognised for these classic analogue subtractive synths. The recognition that they are unique instruments, of a kind and a type, and of value not as a step to something else, but to themselves, and their unique sounds – it’s long overdue. Returning them to production is no more some kind of reactionary step backwards than is continuing to produce fiddles.

And I’m all for it. Welcome back to the fold, subtractive synths. We missed you.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
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solarbird: (cake)

Yesterday was mostly doctor’s appointments and sleep deprivation. Good news: no second round of surgery and I should have all my vision back in my right eye! Bad news: …in about two weeks. Well, beats the hell out of going blind. Yay, the healing power of lasers!

Also, I don’t have to sleep exclusively on my right side anymore. Still can’t sleep on my back, which is fine, I never do that, except of course I woke up last night on my back for some reason. awesome. And I still have a lot of restrictions (driving, heavy lifting, jarring workout – tho’ I can do smooth-motion exercise again.).

I had some other thing to say but damned if I remember what. Oh well, happy Halloween. I may not understand your weird candy-hostage holiday (tho’ the Venture Brothers Halloween Special made it make a lot more sense), but I do like candy.


…particularly the attitudinal kind.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

solarbird: (molly-computer-all-lit-up)

We came under DDOS attack by a mostly-south-Asian botnet today; around 3,000 unique IPs, which is not that large on the scale of things. Probably an advanced hobbyist rather than a professional, given that we could sort it out and get back online as quickly as we did.

Furthest west IP was in Poland; furthest east, China. Southernmost probably Thailand.

Anyway, if you were trying to reach this morning’s blog post, that’s what happened; give it another go. We should be fine now. If you can’t anything on the website and are reading this via an echo, let me know; I probably blocked you accidentally too.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

solarbird: (cascadia dance dance revolution)

Anna is giving away both ebook and audiobook copies of Valor of the Healer. This isn’t the universe the soundtrack is from, but it is the same writer, and you should go enter!

The soundtrack has been dragging on, and how long it’s been taking has been getting on my nerves in a serious way. There’s not all that much to be done about that; I wasn’t ever intending to play melody on the traditional Irish Tune portions, then had to, which means I had to learn tunes playing well enough to do it in studio, and then when some of the selections weren’t going to work in a traditional set type arrangement, meant I had to learn to write tunes, or portions thereof, in a way that sounded right.

We are moving along, tho’. Slowly. We had Ellen Eades in last week, recording hammer dulcimer for one set, and Sunnie Larsen will be in tomorrow, recording more fiddle. I’m desperately hoping that between having to deal with the remains of Sewer Implosion 2013 and rehearsal tonight with Leannan Sidhe for their six shows over on the dry side that I’ll be able to rebuild the Chapter 1 track project, which corrupted itself after a crash.

Don’t worry, we didn’t lose any data, it’s just… jumbled a bit. So I have to import everything into a new project. It’s not difficult, just incredibly annoying and a bit time-consuming.

But that’ll depend upon letting the CD labeller get finished with the short run of CDs that are being printed up for those aforementioned shows. See how everything stacks up and gets in the way of everything else? So frustrating.

Whup, sounds like a certain wallboarder has had to get out a larger saw. I’d best check what’s up.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

solarbird: (poor kitty!)

A reminder that the June 2013 Geekmusic Podcast is up; go listen. We’re also taking material for July. Deadline is July 1st for news and events which will happen late July and August. I’d prefer to need less lead time, but with all the shows coming up (Clallam May, Greenwood, etc) and work on the Bone Walker soundtrack happening, I need more space! Time! Spacetime! One of those.

(Inspector? Why I hardly…)

Also, for some reason last night I dreamt I was staying in a hotel room with Leannan Sidhe and Alexander James Adams, and Alec started playing Gershwin on piano, and wanted it in the act.

First, what act? Second, that wasn’t even Gershwin, except in my headspace at the time. Third, who has giant upright pianos in hotel rooms, anyway?

Honestly, brain, what.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

solarbird: (utena)

I didn’t really plan to go offline most of this week – it just kind of worked out that way. Nothing’s wrong, really – the biggest news is that we wrapped up recording on Leannan Sidhe’s Mine to Love a couple of days ago, and the mad scramble down at Alec’s to get the last few changes merged in to the mix is underway!

The funny part about doing a lot of this via Dropbox is seeing all these files change. Every time something big happens I get a flurry of file updates, and I’m all HI I SEE YOU WORKING. XD

Also, I’m doing some duplication work today. MAKIN’ MONEY MAKIN’ CDs, which actually means I did fix my robot and the fixes … appear to be stable! It ran okay overnight, anyway, and I have a nice stack of lightscribed CDs waiting for the master disc, with more printing.

So, yeah! HI, I’M BACK. MISS ME?

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

solarbird: (gypsy mst3k)

ABSOLUTELY REAL. From the Manos HD restoration people. XD
solarbird: (gypsy mst3k)

Hopefully I’ve talked about nwcMUSIC enough that you know, but if you don’t: it’s a geekmusic festival held at the Norwescon SF convention, and I run it.

We’re having our first ever away-from-convention event in two weeks, on Sunday, October 28th, from 2-8pm. It’s a play event; what filkers would call a housefilk, what nerdcore people would call a cypher, and not entirely unlike what Irish musicians would call a session, but with people taking turns instead of everybody playing all at once.

However you count it, it’s a chance to come and play with other musicians across geekmusic genres. Or that’s what I’m hoping for, anyway. Relaxed and fun, and there’ll be snax. :D You can also come just to listen, but it’s not a stage show, so don’t expect anything that formal.

Email me for details! RSVPs are requested but not required, because I want to know what snax to buy. I don’t want to post the address because, um, it’s my house. We can’t afford to rent a venue yet. XD

Relatedly, remember how I posted the 80s stage fan musical Wrath Side Story a couple of months ago, recovered from dying VHS videotape?

There was a sequel. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, also recovered from ancient VHS videotape (but with far better sound and marginally better video)…

Star Trek III: Spock Pacific

Again, the sight gags are broad enough that they work okay even with the video, and most of the humour is in the dialogue, anyway. It’s very, very silly. Enjoy. ^_^

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

solarbird: (Default)
Facebook will charge to 'promote' user posts

Facebook Now Lets US Users Pay $7 To Promote Posts To The News Feeds Of More Friends

Facebook wants you to pay $7 to promote your posts


Actually, it's not as bad. Page owners, if they don't pay, have 80% of their posts hidden from subscriber/"Like"er news feeds. They're just never propagated. Individual users - for the moment - will still see posts appear in their friends' news feeds, but! they'll be scaled up and down the page depending upon whether you paid or not.

I'd like to think that this would make people go, "y'know what? Fuck this noise." But I don't think it will.
solarbird: (cascadia dance dance revolution)

Finally prepped for Norwescon 35 and nwcMUSIC 2012. All that’s left is instrument loadout, which is ready but won’t go into the car until tomorrow. Also, um, I forget, what is it – oh yeah, toothbrush. Clothes. I should put some of those in a suitcase. Things like that. XD

The run-up this last week has been full! of! surprises! that I won’t detail here, but then, it wouldn’t be nwcMUSIC or Norwescon without them. If you’re gonna be there, find me, say hi. I’ll be too busy to acknowledge it, but I’ll appreciate it later. ^_^

For now, I’m off to play a meaningful amount for the first time since Sunday night (agh!) and generally try to make sure I get some sleep tonight, because once this thing starts, there ain’t no stoppin’ ’till Sunday. See you on the flip side…!

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

solarbird: (Default)

Happy birthday, [ profile] annathepiper!

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