I’ve been trying to find a good tool to create drum-specific sheet music on my Mac, and have largely been frustrated. Expensive tools that do it all like Finale and Sibelius are just too heavyweight, both require lots of of tweaks to work well for drums, and felt a bit clumsy to me just because of their level of complexity. MuseScore looked great but the editing workflow just frustrated me, trying to get multiple voices in one stave (required when you have to chart up to 4 notes at a time in one place, because drummers have 4 limbs ;)) was far too fiddly and resulted in many annoying round-trips.
A little while ago I blogged about setting up a MIDI interface for a Roland TD-9 (KX in my case - I love my mesh heads :)) so it could be used to drive Rock Band. I’ve had that setup for almost 18 months now and it’s served me well, but the main problem with it is that the older Rock Bands only recognised 5 different triggers, with many doubled-up - so Yellow was both closed high-hat and high tom, green was floor tom and crash, and blue was over-used as mid tom, ride cymbal and open high-hat.
I’ve established a tradition on this blog of reviewing games that came out several months ago, thus cementing the absolute irrelevance of my commentary to the majority of the intertubes for whom content goes out of date in about a day. It’s kind of the opposite of a magazine that’s delivered by ninjas every 3 hours to ensure cutting-edge coverage. Thing is, unless a game is truly awful I like to try to finish it (or at least finish with it, which is not always the same thing) before deciding my opinion of it, and these things take time.
[Edit 20th Dec] We did it! Rage Against The Machine is number 1 for Christmas, proper music fans in Britain give Simon Cowell and his manufactured karaoke bullsh*t the finger. Very, very happy!! Best Christmas number 1 that I can ever remember. I detest reality TV with a passion. I think it’s low-brow, cheap nonsense that bare-facedly celebrates the very worst elements of human nature; promoting the idea that being famous (for anything) is somehow a laudable goal in itself, and indulging the public’s cathartic desire for a feeling of superiority and power over others via venomous gossip and voting people off.
I’ve been branching out with my hobbies particularly in the last year or so, mostly because my back problems now prevent me from spending every waking hour hunched over a PC, coding. In a way that’s a shame - I lament the sudden drop-off in coding time and hence productivity - but it’s also good to broaden my horizons a bit. I’m 36 now after all, and spent the vast majority of my spare time in the last 8 years on Ogre, so maybe I deserve a break 😉 After all, I get to work on Ogre a bit as part of my day job now anyway, if not as much as I’d like.
Like most members of the male species, and particularly the geekier types, I love gadgets. Complex ones are great, but sometimes the greatest satisfaction can come from simple things that just work really well. Here’s a couple of recent buys for me that fall into this category that I thought I’d share. Joby Gorillapod When we’re on holiday I often spend time trying to find places to put the camera so we can do a timer shot with us both in the picture, and when you’re in forests and up mountains finding a level spot is tough.
I have to hand it to the guys at the Clan of the Gray Wolf, who are doing a 1,000 song Rock Band marathon for the charity Childs Play, all streamed live on the Internet. Presumably this is linked with the fact that Rock Band itself recently crested the 2009 target of having 1000 in-game tracks - and a month earlier than their deadline. . At the time of writing they’re 46 hours in which given that they’ve tackled 615 songs so far, represents not quite two thirds of the way.
I never seem to have very much luck with couriers. I remember the very first time I ever had to have something delivered by courier, it was in fact my very first PC from a company called Multiplex (long since deceased), in 1991 - the days when you really had no choice but to mail-order to get a PC. It was a searingly sexy 386 33Mhz with 14″ CRT VGA monitor (take that EGA / CGA losers!
I took up playing the guitar a couple of years ago, after almost 2 decades of not touching any musical instruments and forgetting just about all the musical theory that I’d learned. I’ve enjoyed it; despite not being that good yet, it’s nice to pick up a new skill and I discovered I still like music despite abandoning the study of it years ago. So I have 2 guitars in the house now, one accoustic and one electric.
As I’ve said before Harmonix really like Foo Fighters, and/or the Foos really like Rock Band, because this week we had more tracks from the band (plus some from Nirvana, where of course Grohl cut his teeth as a drummer before emerging from the shadows as a bloody good all-rounder) which is great in my book. Despite this year’s album being a little too easy-listening for my tastes, Foo Fighters remain one of my favourite bands of the last decade or so.