All posts by Jeff

Also known as 'Gauthic' on many websites, has been working in the computer industry in one form or another for over 20 years (sheesh, I'm getting old).

If I get an old fossil to work……


Does it make me a “Mac Guy”?

I found this relic (a Macintosh Classic) almost 2 years ago when I bought my house (the garage was full of trash, this little treasure was about the only thing that was even remotely worth considering keeping). It was in pitiful condition. It was full of dust, wouldn’t turn on (turned out to be a bad fuse) and looked as if it had something sticky poured on both the box and the keyboard.

It actually–once I cleaned it up–is not as in bad condition as I once feared after some Windex and some air-compressor action.

Once I got it to boot (and it booted right up once it was getting power), I found that it was quite an advanced Mac for its era.


It as a SCSI hard drive (all Macs with hard drives were SCSI back then) with a whopping 36megs being used. I’m assuming it’s a 40 meg drive.

The OS installed is System 6.0.7 used from 1988 to 1990
It’s got a MASSIVE 2 megs of RAM it appears, and seems quite speedy.

I’m not currently a Mac guy, but since I am in music and media (and programming and web design and system administration and God-knows-what-else), the fact that this little box still runs fairly well is a testament to the old Apple. I might get a Mac in the next few months with my frustration with Vista, the drivers thereof and Cakewalk’s Project 5 locking up on me the last few weeks.



Don’t worry about the light/dark bands on the screenshot, as it’s just the refresh rate of the black and white CRT playing tricks with my camera, the screen is as beautiful as it was back in the day.

Vista Driver Issues

As I’ve mentioned earlier I’m a Cakewalk SONAR & Project5 user and licensee. Since I’ve upgraded to Vista last year I’ve noticed lots of nasty driver issues. Audio engine stops, etc. I’m going to do a system-wide search for updated drivers for all my audio hardware this week and if the problems aren’t corrected I’m probably going to revert back to XP.

Now understand I’m a nerd. I’m a Linux server guy and a Windows Desktop guy, if I can’t get the drivers to work with my hardware & software after the OS has been release for over a year, then there’s something substantially wrong with Windows Vista and/or its support.

Don’t get me wrong I LIKE VISTA. The interface is a step ahead (still lagging in some ways, but still much advanced to XP–except the overly complex control panel layout).

iTunes STILL doesn’t start without a black application screen about a third of the time. I believe this is an ATI issue–I haven’t seen it happen on my main desktop nVidia 8800 system, but I don’t run iTunes often on that box, as iTunes doesn’t listen to Multimedia Keyboard player controls.

Pro audio support lags. I’ve got a quad core 6600 system with 4 gigs of ram, there’s still a bit too much latency–even set at ‘very fast’.

I really hate to do it, but I seem to be following the crowd and reverting/keeping XP as my home box, although I’ll probably still keep it on my Laptop as Vista’s power options are far superior to XP’s.

I’d go Linux on the desktop, but there are no good pro-level music creation apps out there and gaming is a joke.* I am dual-screened my Server/Desktop screen is right next to my Windows box screen so I can use either system right next to each other for development or compatibility testing. I really, really like Ubuntu 8.04 (not that I didn’t like 7.04 or 7.10 just improves every version and every upgrade on that system has been smooth as silk) but without 3rd party application vendors supporting it, it’ll remain my choice for a web-browsing desktop and my choice for a server.

* Yes I’m aware of open source apps and wine and native binaries of some popular games, but it still pales in comparison to the support that Windows gets. I’m constantly testing new apps and I’m always left disappointed in sequencing software.

Musical itchings and lack of practice

I’ve been working on some music again, as well as changing my style a bit too. It’s been years since I’ve done anything semi-seriously, and I’ve had songs in my head for the last few years that I’ve been wanting to push down to .wav.

Also, I’ve been getting the itch to go back to caressing my artistic side. Once upon a time I was quite a freehand sketcher, but since becoming a professional nerd/geek I’ve not done this so often anymore. So I suppose that a slight regression to make me a more-whole person is in order.

I blame my semi-sudden rush of artistic need on some of the work my liberal buddy (I’m a moderate with conservative tendencies) Junkyard Sam has produced in the last few months. That man’s got some serious talent and imagination.

I think it’s probably time for guitar & piano lessons to help me focus and refresh my skills (my piano skills especially). I’ll probably do a few online and see if I can learn anything from them. Otherwise I’ve got a few sources that can teach me the basics of two-hand playing on the keyboards.

The composition software that I’ve been working with the last few weeks is Cakewalk’s Project 5 but I’m running into some creative workflow limitations and I long for something a bit more flexible. I honestly think that Project 5 would be great in front of a live audience once properly set up and it’s great for prototyping, but still not as familiar in composition as my old Roland JX-305 (which is having issues with the LCD screen after almost 10 years) — I’ve been more into software synths lately anyways.

Although I’m a SONAR version 5 and Project 5 version 2 licensee, I’m going to download the trial of SONAR version 7 to see if it’ll fit my workflow a bit more smoothly. I’ve always been a fan of Cakewalk’s software and Cakewalk’s user-centric licensing scheme (which borders on the honesty system–too many companies out there treat their users like criminals). The upgrade cost would be about $225 but it’s been a few versions since I’ve updated, but that software series is phenomenal.

So this blog may turn into my dark art blog over time, so beware. Honestly though I think I’d find that much more interesting that some random XBox gamer’s blog, eh?

Why do retail stores suck????

This is re-posted from my Warhammer 40,000 Orks blog and posted here in case someone doesn’t care about 40k (lots of you out there, and that’s great!):

Why the heck doesn’t Circuit City and Best Buy keep digital cameras in stock? Don’t they have market researchers who are supposed to anticipate these trends. Both stores lost 160-200 because they didn’t have a camera I needed in my price range in stock. “Oh, we can order it for you” or “Oh, maybe check back tonight.”

The whole purpose of a Brick and Mortar store is convenience. I want to walk out of there now with the product I want. If I’m going to order one, I’ll order it from a cheaper place–I’ll certainly not order it from the place that’s higher, charges tax, and doesn’t have great customer experience/service. It’s not like I could call them and get someone on the phone without having to make 4 calls and waiting 30 minutes just to see if they have it in stock.

Newegg.com got my business once again, folks….I’ve not gone wrong with them yet.

Also, if it’s on the DISPLAY COUNTER it BETTER WELL be in-stock unless there’s an out-of-stock little sign. Waiting 10 minutes for an employee to help another customer just to tell you that they don’t have said item is also pretty freakin’ annoying.

Ok, sorry. Rant off 🙂

heh

Mild rant concerning retail stores…

Why the heck doesn’t Circuit City and Best Buy keep digital cameras in stock? Don’t they have market researchers who are supposed to anticipate these trends. Both stores lost 160-200 because they didn’t have a camera I needed in my price range in stock. “Oh, we can order it for you” or “Oh, maybe check back tonight.”

The whole purpose of a Brick and Mortar store is convenience. I want to walk out of there now with the product I want. If I’m going to order one, I’ll order it from a cheaper place–I’ll certainly not order it from the place that’s higher, charges tax, and doesn’t have great customer experience/service. It’s not like I could call them and get someone on the phone without having to make 4 calls and waiting 30 minutes just to see if they have it in stock.

Newegg.com got my business once again, folks….I’ve not gone wrong with them yet.

Ok, sorry. Rant off 🙂

Edit, Addendum:
if it’s on the DISPLAY COUNTER it BETTER WELL be in-stock unless there’s an out-of-stock little sign. Waiting 10 minutes for an employee to help another customer just to tell you that they don’t have said item is also pretty freakin’ annoying.

heh