Tuesday, 31 May 2011

I’m a PC and…well…I would quite like a Mac

Go ahead, flame away PC fanboys. I’ve been meaning to write this article for a while, but I saw Wilsontech1’s video on the subject and it nudged me to get on with it.

I’m a pretty heavy computer user; I spend up to 12 hours a day on my laptop, and a good chunk of that time is spend recording, editing, sequencing and reviewing audio. I take my laptop everywhere with me and I pretty much rely on it for university work. For two years it has worked without any real issues, but recently things have begun to go wrong. For some unknown reason last month Windows decided to purge itself of several key system files - boom, gone, into the ether – and I was left with a PC that couldn’t even boot into safe mode. In the end I used a Linux live CD to copy the files back across and it began working again…ish. Ever since then there have been random dropouts, freezes, crashes, flickers and the occasional bluescreen, and two days ago all of the I/O ports randomly stopped working.

I’ve been flirting with the idea for some time now of getting a Mac, but the mammoth task of saving up for one usually ends in failure, usually when my rent is due. The price was something that always put me off buying a Mac, because I used to build PC systems, and I used to think that paying £1500 for a system that I could build for £700 seemed like madness. Another big problem I had with Apple machines, especially the iMacs, is that they’re not customisable in the way a regular PC is: You can’t easily upgrade an iMac beyond the RAM and HDD, and that used to bother me.

The thing that really pushed me to change was the way that the Mac handles audio. ASIO is a reasonable system, but it can’t compete with Core Audio; Apple’s integrated low-latency audio system. I’ve used iMacs at university and they are amazing machines; booting up quickly and taking pretty much everything you throw at them.

Now obviously I must address the whole “Macfag” thing, because it’s true, there are a select group of Apple fans who are, quite frankly, morons. As Wilson so rightly said, it doesn’t make you a better person just because you have a Mac, it just means you’ve spent more money on a high end product. I happen to believe in the principal that you get what you pay for, but that doesn’t mean that because you’ve spend £1500 on a computer you’re going to be more creative. Having said that, the custom PC builders can be just as obnoxious, citing the same old arguments of price, lack of games, lack of customisation and the “Fisher-Price” interface of OSX. They’re usually just as smug and self-satisfied as the Mac fanboys, and I don’t want to be associated with them either.

Quite honestly, if I do get a Mac I’ll probably try to disguise the fact, because I really don’t want to be lumped in with the fanboy crowd. In fact, I wonder if they make them without that glowing Apple logo on the back; Macbook Pro: Discreet Edition…
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Sunday, 29 May 2011


I have an announcement to make: Over the last few days I have been busy organising some webspace and a domain name for the blog. The new home of Totally Keyboard is totallykeyboard.net! Shortly after creating the blog I decided that Everything Keyboard wasn't really the name I wanted, so I changed the blog name, but in order to stop my search engine listings from falling and creating dead links I kept the original url. This no longer matters however, because blogger will redirect all of my old links to the new domain. How kind of them!

In addition to the domain change, I now have some webspace, so I can start hosting my own audio, pictures and other files. This mean I am no longer reliant upon Soundcloud and Picasa, and it also means I can upload templates for Pro Tools and Reason sessions, as well as a selection of my favourite custom Reason patches (link in the top bar). Also in the top bar are links to my various profiles and pages on different sites (see “My Online World") and a playlist of all my YouTube vlogs to date..

For the most part the site will look the same, albeit loading slightly faster, but this will make it a lot easier for me to post content, so I can begin posting more advanced tutorials without having to worry about all the technical nonsense.

I'm not paying a great deal for web storage, but it does mean that now more than ever I need the advertising revenue. For this reason, I politely ask that if you are using ad-blocking software in your browser that you please add an exception for the site. There will be no pop-ups or scam ads, so it is perfectly safe, and it helps me with the running costs of the site.

In addition to these changes, I have added a “Related Posts” widget to the bottom of each post. This should help you find other articles about the same subject quite easily, and might direct you to something you may find interesting.

I hope that the changes make the site more useful to you all. After all that’s why I maintain the site; to help people learn.

All the best!
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Friday, 27 May 2011

Hohner Pianet T Effects Workshop

I love my Hohner Pianet T, but it can sound a bit flat at times, especially when recording it directly. It lacks the clarity of the Rhodes, and it’s not as crisp and crunchy as the Wurlitzer. Having said that, the right effects chain can really make it sing.
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Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Musical Purists

Lauren Laverne, you absolute legend. She puts into words just how I feel about elitism and purism in music. I saw this, and I had to share it.

I know far too many people like that...

Luckily there are people out there who recognise how ridiculous this has become. I saw this link on Facebook and it made me chuckle.

I Like Bands That Don't Even Exist Yet T-Shirt

I'm thinking of making this a thing, where I post links or videos I find throughout the week in addition to my Friday posts. We shall see!

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Friday, 20 May 2011

A guide to University for new students

I recently finished my first year at Teesside University, and for the most part I thoroughly enjoyed it, but there are a few things I wish I had known before I went.
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Saturday, 14 May 2011

One Down, Two To Go!

As hard as it is for me to believe, my first year of university is over. My last assignment is finished and handed in (a few days early I might add), and I'm just waiting for the marks.

I must admit, it feels good to get this far, and so far my results have been pretty good. I’m looking forward to having some time to just relax though; read a few books, watch some telly, do some exercise (it’s true what they say, Uni makes you fat).

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Tuesday, 10 May 2011

From This Tree - A Poem by Sinead Livingson

Well, the work is nearly finished, I've got one more assignment to finish off and hand in, and then it's roll on summer!

This is a recording I made for a uni project, it's a short piece for a Radio 4 style poetry program, with sound effects, incidental music and spoken word. It came together over the course of a month or so, and I'm reasonably happy with the final result.
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