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Mainframe Computer

Computers that can crush you!

Once upon a time I worked on a mainframe computer older than me with some arcane technology patched together to make it all work. Cobol, JCL, reel to reel data tapes, a printer the size of a refrigerator...

All these crazy keystrokes and key commands that are nonstandard in todays world... a whole set of commands just to print (spool) from the mainframe, tons of old commands to remember... none of it I use now but it was really interesting technology to learn, just a pain... One of the guys replaced a gig memory chip out of one of the mainframes and it was the size of a 17 inch laptop computer... no joke... I didn't ask how much the new memory chip costs...

These computers where enormous huge beasts...It was a frighting feeling knowing you take care of this old gorilla for the week and weekend... There was a list of stuff we had to do to the mainframe every night. It was insane, the place was practically a museum. I actually miss working close to a mini data center though, nice cold place to hide from the chaos haha.

I enjoy working with modern technology now though so happy for that, luckily I survived that job... banks always have the oldest technology, go figure. The underground basement storage area all the crazy security access craziness and safe codes and secret places. Oh yea and the thing was I was the first one in every morning at 4am to make sure everything was working. It was really terrible when you forgot your badge that early or you have an issue like your sink exploding and apartment flooding at 4am. I think they where just happy that I would learn that old technology, met some cool old people though. Just thought I would tell a little story from the past. Definitely don't regret the experience but maybe I am stronger now because of it.


The Akai APC40

So there is a new midi controller on the market that was released today with an interesting new design. One that I have been thinking about for years. Its a midi controller that is made specifically for one software application. The software application happens to be Ableton Live and the midi controller is the APC40. What does this mean? Well it means that no more assigning knobs or faders for your favorite effects etc, everything is all set up for you to get started. This is probably the best interface design for a midi controller because it eliminates the most annoying part, assigning.

The Akai APC40 communicates bi-directionally with Live which is different than most other midi controllers, this means you don't have too look at the computer screen as much.

Now if they would just make one for Reason...

Here are the tech specs.

Pre-mapped Ableton live control surface
USB connection
Dedicated clip matrix:
40 x clip action triggers with backlight status indication (5 clips per each of the 8 channels - expandable via bank select)
5 x Scene launch triggers
9 x scence stop triggers
9 x track selection buttons
Dedicated mixer section:
8 x activator triggers (1 per channel)
8 x track solo / cue buttons (1 per channel)
8 x record arm buttons (1 per channel)
8 x channel faders
1 x master fader
1 x cue level control
1 x crossfader
1 x master play button
1 x master play stop button
1 x master record button
Track control section
4 x track setting buttons (pan, send A, send B, Send C)
8 x track control rotary encoders (one for each channel) with illuminated parameter LED indicators
Dedicated device control section:
8 x Device (effects & VSTs etc) control rotary encoders with illuminated parameter LED indicators (all 8 apply to selected track)
1 x clip / track view select button
1 x device on / off button
2 x device select / scroll buttons
1 x detail view button
1 x record quantisation on /off button
1 x midi overdub on / off button
1 x metronome on / off button
General control section:
1 x Tap tempo button
2 x tempo nudge buttons / pitch bend
5 x nagivation / bank select buttons

Heres a link to the youtube video.


Midi Controller Hell

Korg Nano Controllers

Ever sense the invention of the personal or portable computer there has always been a battle in the music producing and performing area and every year it seems like hardware is put the the test against using a computer to produce electronic music. The main problem with computers and interfaces is it's limited and many times not intuitive, this is when midi controllers are invented. Midi controllers help musicians play a controller that can modify the sounds on computer software.

This is why I am reviewing some of the smallest midi controllers on the market right now. I just got my hands on these Korg controllers about a month ago and I have been really enjoying every usage. I am usually unhappy with the latency and trouble with midi. These controllers have been a great exception. I enjoying using the Korg Nano Kontrol the most because it features some amazing possibilities in for it's size. There are other two mini nanos but I want to focus on the Kontrol because I believe it gives the most value.

So lets get to the tech specs:


The controller offers nine faders, nine knobs, 18 switches and a full transport section. For each of the four programmable scenes the nanoKONTROL offers, you can set the controllers any way you need them. That means that you can transmit a total of 168 different MIDI CC (Control Change) messages, as well as MIDI notes with the switches.

Not bad and to mention it only goes for about 50 - 60 bucks. So I guess midi controller hell may not come too soon and yes its super portable and sexy!

iPhone VS Treo Cellphone Battle

I have a Treo smart phone,
Yea I looked around as a cautious buyer because you know you always get locked into some cell phone plan.

When the iPhone first came out I really wanted one, but this is why I didn't get an iPhone.

Kind of makes me sad to think about it ha!!! not really... Anyways, tethering yes. You use your phone for a phone, camera, music player, movie player, touch screen why not use it to connect your computer to the internet via bluetooth or a cable?

Well to my surprise Apple iPhone does not allow customers to do this, bad move.


I really like the iPhone, I like Apple products.

My work requires me to get online in case of emergency, this is how most tech jobs go. Great way to loose the tech market. So I got a Treo because there is a application community for it and you can tether and play music and movies and use it as a camera and it even has touchscreen.

What I found out is that the Treo OS is much out dated and crashes often.

I do have some great little applications for it though, Diddlebug, a drawing program, Chess, Lemmings, Opera, TCPMP a movie and music player, etc.

I will get getting an IPhone when it comes out 3G regardless because I am going to start building applications for it and it has the best (hands down) web browser and software with a UNIX core. Surprisingly you still can't tether the new iPhone.

Im really starting to enjoy my Treo 700p, it's really cool hardware (touch screen, complete real keyboard, good camera good video quality) and the software is very functional. The new iPhone came out and there are things missing that my Treo can do like record video and send photos in text messages and of course the iPhone can do many things with software that the Treo cannot and there are many applications available for it and the iPhone is pretty too if you into that sort of thing. =)

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Korg's Nintendo DS Synth In Action

Did you hear, Korg created a from what looks a very advanced synthesizer for the Nintendo DS hand held gaming system. It's not that using this thing live would be a fantastic idea but for making music while you are waiting in line at the DMV, on the bus or subway and well you know. Oh what you want to check it out, well I dug up this link for the internet for you from Kotaku.
Korg DS 10

So me and my buddy where wondering could this be used with some kind of midi controller using wifi or possibly hacking the Guitar Hero DS controller that just came out for more music possibilities?

Some other cool programs that are available for making music on the DS are:




Nitro Tracker

Also check out the Music page for some cool 8 Bit action or check the Entertainment page for a review of the movie 300.