Upgraded Server

We had some downtime yesterday. The computer that has been running the sites, while working fine, was on a dead end path. It was running Ubuntu 18.04 that was 32bit. There is no real upgrade path from there, and moving to 64bit Ubuntu 20.04 proved to be a couple hour endeavor yesterday.

Anyhow, it seems most everything is working fine right now. There are still a couple of backend things that I need to sort out, but the web part seems fine now.

Chrome Extensions

Like 90% of the world, I’ve had to spend a LOT more time on the computer than I want. Don’t get me wrong, I spend a lot of time doing stuff on the computer, but it’s become quite a bit more.

The browser of choice is Chrome. There are plenty of extensions what make the browser more versatile and just better. Chris Betcher has two posts on his favorite extensions. I generally agree. Some good picks in there.

I would add the extension Print Friendly & PDF for making PDFs of webpages. Honey for saving money while shopping Online. And 1Password which is a paid service, but it is so worth it. Have ONE password to rule them all, and it manages all the others. And tells you when you reuse a password. And when a password on a site might be compromised.

Anyone have any extensions they use a lot?

Teaching During Pandemic

Yes, it’s hard to do the Zoom lesson. However, there is one great program that makes it easier to use two microphones while doing a lesson. Audio Hijack. I have a little complex setup that allows me to use the MacBook’s mic, but when the instrument mic kicks in, Audio Hijack “ducks” the MacBook’s mic down. Meaning it lowers the volume so you get the real mic not the crappy MacBook Mic.

Anyhow, Audio Hijack has been essential in teaching. I love it. Here is my setup.

How Ribbon Microphones Are Made

There are three types of microphones you’ll encounter. The dynamic mic such as the the venerable Shure 57 and Shure 58. The condenser mic such as the AKG 451, or the famous Nuemann 87. And the lesser known ribbon mic, such as the Royer 121.

Here is a very interesting video of how a ribbon microphone is made.

Yes I know, yet another Ribbon mic video. I’m sorta fascinated by them at the moment. Please indulge me.

Plethora Of Neckstraps

So, it seems that Gruv Gear, makers of my favorite cart that I bought in 2014 (it’s now a Krane AMG500 cart), are now getting into the saxophone neckstrap business.

The last neckstrap I bought, which I use still, is a Just Joe’s strap. I do need another strap or harness for Bari Sax, as the weight of my bari just kills my neck (even with the Just Joe’s strap).

Who else is in the neck strap business nowadays?

Holiday Software Recommendations

Everyone seems to be doing “lists” and stuff, and I have done ones in previous years. This year, I will list a couple of Mac specific software things that I use for music.

Logic Pro X – If you are a Mac person, this is something you should have. You can use this to record yourself, or your band, generate charts (notation), use it’s huge library of loops to generate practice backgrounds, compose with it, use it as a synth for your EWI. And there is never an upgrade price. Free upgrades. And they add stuff to it all the time.

Band in a Box 2019 for Mac – This is really a no brainer. You need to have this program. The ability to generate chord progressions, in any key, style, tempo, and duration. Amazing. And the program only keeps getting better with interface tweaks and more styles. Well worth the money.

Arq Backup – You should be backing up your stuff. Arq is a great little program that lets you backup to any cloud service of your choosing. I use it to backup to my Google Business account ($12 a month for UNLIMITED storage). Well worth it. Another choice would be Backblaze.

Snagit 2020 – A great little utility to do screen captures of images, or video, or anything.

Omnifocus – There are a LOT of to-do things, but Omnifocus is the best. I use it for so many many projects. It’s great for if you have any idea, to capture it, and then come back to it.

Downie – Want to download something off Youtube or some other streaming service? Downie can do it. It can extract audio only as well.

Transcribe/Amazing Slow Downer – Two different programs, but you need both. I use Transcribe to visually slow down things. Either for students or if I’m transcribing something. Amazing Slow Downer can slow things down, and then SAVE them. Transcribe doesn’t do that. I find I need and use both.

Raindrop.io – This is a service that allows you to bookmark a site, and then come back to it. I find it extremely useful as I frequently use multiple browsers on multiple platforms, and bookmarking on Safari doesn’t show up if I use Chrome on a PC. Plus, Raindrop lets you categorize bookmarks, and you can do searching of the bookmarks (it does a capture of the text of the site).

Finale – There are a few notation choices, but Finale is still the one I go to. Mainly do to the rich plugins available and the infinite tweaking one can do in the program. Another one to look at is Musescore. It’s made great progress, and it’s free!

Jazz-Sax, all things Jazz and Sax