Content Management Confusion

September 29th, 2005

I’ve been looking into updating the website with a content management system (CMS) that would simplify the work on my end, but integrate fairly seamlessly with the old site design. This task has been a lot more confusing than anything else. I’ve been working in HTML for so many years, that I’ve developed a method of working which involves formatting, layout, and writing all at the same time. With these blog applications, it seems like you have to work in pieces adding the text, then images along predefined layouts. Of course, i know very little about CSS and PHP, so this task is going to be a lot more work than simply adding content to static pages.

So far Wordpress has been the fastest, but it is primarily a blogging application which will work great for part of the site. I’m just having a hard time figuring out how to devise a system for the downloads that feels like the V3 system which relies mainly on tables. I know it’s possible, but it will take awhile to learn all of this new stuff.

I like the flexibility of Textpattern, but it is slow by comparison to WP. There are other CMS systems available, but I do want something that is really efficient. I hear Adobe released Cold Fusion for Xserve. This might be a cool option should i decide to get a new server.

Reason 3.0 US Tour

September 23rd, 2005

Last night i caught the Reason 3.0 US tour at the Guitar Center in San Francisco where i had a chance to meet with Timothy Self (Propellerhead Director of US Markets) and Hayden Bursk, Propellerhead Reason Product Specialist with Line 6, who is touring the states and spreading the gospel of Reason. Hayden is getting ready for a big tour for Line 6 and Propellerheads. Line 6 will be showing Reason at AES in New York, as well. I thought I might go to the Fall AES show this year, but chances are that i can’t make it…

Line 6 Tone Port

September 23rd, 2005

Line 6 is introducing a new USB audio interface called the TonePort, which I also had the chance to see at the Reason 3.0 demo at GC. It’s more than just an audio interface because it features mic and instrument inputs which can be directed through some amplifier and microphone simulator plugins that emulate some of the classics.

After the Reason demo, Hayden grabbed a guitar (afterall it was “Guitar Center”) and plugged it in to give us a demo of the amp and distortion effect simulators. For the price ($129) including the software this is a killer deal. It’s worth it for audio interface alone!

The Neoverse

September 18th, 2005
journal05/neoverse.jpg

After way too much time, I finally had the opportunity to meet Josh Mobley aka Neoverse. Josh has been in LA all summer working on the soundtrack for the show WANTED on TNT. It was a last minute deal where I had a loaner car for the weekend while my baby was in the shop, so I drove the 300 miles down to LA to meet up with him.

We hung out at the Studio where he’s working and he showed me some of his Pro Tools sessions for the show. The most impressive part was when he started playing out some live drums on Reason Drum Kits through his Kontrol49. He was coming up with some killer breaks - in real time!

Despite spending more time in LA than I ever have, Josh had not really seen the sites. So I suggested we cruise around a bit. We did all of the normal sites like cruising sunset blvd on Saturday Night, Up around Griffith Park, and Muholland, and that’s when I got lost. Eventually we made it to downtown LA, and I was going to take wilshire back to Century City where we were stayin, but tthere were roadbloacks for some film shoot, and the series of turns i had to make sent us into East LA where once again, I was seriously Lost. Josh starteded to get a little worried when we passed a few store with some LAPD cruisers at the scene of some crime. There were also a couple of police choppers overhead with their spotlights seeking out something. Finally we managed to get out of the dogdy area, and took the long way around to Century City (via pasadena then a U-turn then back down through LA). Next time… i’m taking the car with GPS.

I had to drive back up so I put on about 700 miles on that loaner in the span of 30 hours :-)

ReBirth RB-338  MacOS X Classic Mode

September 12th, 2005

To some surprise, ReBirth does run in OSX Classic mode with certain limitations. If you want to use ReBirth on a Mac, ultimately it’s best to use an older system that supports MacOS 9.2.2 with OMS for MIDI support and compatibility with certain audio interfaces. ReWire is not supported when running ReBirth in Classic Mode, and ReBirth will not interface with Reason 3.0 in OSX. Another limitation exists with MacOS X Classic mode and audio interfaces, and ReBirth in Classic mode will only function with built-in audio ports of Apple machines. Trust me, this is not impossible, but it might not be as convenient as it was in 1997.

Classic Mode Install

Before you start, you must have a MacOS 9.2.2 installed on your hard drive. For most new systems, you should have a CD-Rom called “Additional Software & Apple Hardware Test” which contains the installer for a Classic System.

Once classic mode is installed you can launch MacOS 9 from the system preferences menu in the System/Classic item.

Installing ReBirth

You will need is the ReBirth RB-338 image file for MacOS. This is the file that ends with the “.img” or “.cdr” extension. These are available on the bittorrents issued from the ReBirth Museum. There are two downloads available for Mac users and both will work for installing and running ReBirth in OSX. If you plan to install ReBirth on a dedicated MacOS 9 machine, download the “.img” file.

Once you have an image file on your system, simply double click it, and Disk Utility will mount the CD-Rom on your desktop. Within the the ReBirth RB-338 2.0 CD, you will find the installer. Double click on the install package, and install the application on your system. Launching the ReBirth installer will automatically start up Classic Mode. Proceed with the process and install ReBirth in your applications folder.

Now simply launch ReBirth…unless you have an audio interface… then check the next paragraph.

Sound Card Issue

Audio Interfaces may not be fully compatible with Mac OS X Classic Mode, and if you launch ReBirth, you may encounter an error that states “ReBirth RB-338 can not access any sound card. It/they might be in use by other application(s).” You will be prompted to Quit. It seems that classic mode only finds built-in audio appealing, and you will not be able to run ReBirth through some audio interfaces.

First Shut down Classic Mode, and then open the Audio MIDI Setup Utility (found in the applications\utilities directory). Set the default output to “ Built-in Audio”, and then Relaunch Classic Mode. Now ReBirth will find a suitable audio port and get past the pesky sound card check.

Optimizing the Prefs

Once ReBirth is running, access the Preferences found in the Edit Menu. Set the sound manager audio settings to “Crackle Safe”, and the buffer size to “1/8(512)”. Other settings may work, but you may encounter problems with the GUI animation and occasional audio glitches (I know some of you will think this is cool… try setting the buffer to 8(32768) for some nasty audio glitching).

Memory Settings

For those who never experienced MacOS 9, the operating system features settings which allow you to dedicate how much memory is used by each application. Classic Applications still feature this setting, and if you intend to install a lot of ReBirth Mods, you must change the memory allocation to accommodate the extra samples and graphics.

Quit ReBirth and find the application in the ReBirth RB-338 2.0 directory. Click on ReBirth RB-338 (only one click) to select it and select “Get Info” from the File Menu. Expand the “Memory” pane by clicking on the fold down icon (triangle) and set the Preferred Size to a value of 65000 or greater. This will allocate 64megs of ram to ReBirth which should handle all of the mods available from this site as well as the ReBirth Museum. Close the info window, and relaunch ReBirth.

Alternate Connections

Despite the limitations like a lack of audio hardware support and midi, it’s still nice to take a look back at the old mods. One option is to connect the built-in audio outputs to your audio interface. If you’re interface has lightpipe S/PDIF inputs, you can route built-in audio via a fiberoptic cable from your new generation G5 or Powerbook. Yes these are limitations, but it should be reassuring that it’s still possible to use ReBirth!

ReBirth Museum

September 3rd, 2005

Well, I learned about the interesting musical history of New Orleans, LA through my research for the ReBirth Museum, a new website from the Props dedicated to my old friend, the RB-338. For the last couple of months, I’ve been putting together the site content. Obviously, I went a little overboard in the research department, but it was worthwhile and has started my new interest in music and recording history. The hardest part was trying to remember all of the things that happened back in 1997 and the people involved in the community and the events through the early years of the Propellerheads. The interviews with the props were a difficult task as well…most of them were on holdiay during this time. Fredrik Hägglund designed the site and transformed the content into the fantastic website.

It’s been a fun trip down memory (or lack of memory) lane. The time of ReBirth was unique, and I’m grateful for the opportunities and friendships I’ve formed from this bit of computer code. As a final gesture, the props have made ReBirth v2.0.1 a free download. There will be no more support, or updates…not even the Mac OS X version. I’ll be hanging out on the messageboard there for a bit to lend a hand to anyone needing some help with the install or finding mods and stuff.

Having heard rumors that ReBirth runs in Classic mode on Tiger, I finally installed it-after a massive back-up effort. Sure enough, ReBirth 2.0.1 runs in classic, but only when using the system audio outputs. I’ve routed the digital audio output into the audio interface so that i can monitor the signal. At first, the playback and latency seemed pretty dismal until i changed the RB prefs to the minimal latency settings. To my surprise, it works pretty solidly. Since it’s only been a few days, i haven’t sorted out a support doc for the museum site. I’ll see about putting one together for anyone interested.

As another token to ReBirth, I’ve dug up some old MP3 files of songs I made back in the day and posted them up on a Vintage ReBirth Song Page. It’s quite funny to listen to these old tracks. I can’t beleive how much patience I had back then. It was a different time, and being part of the ReBirth community was a lot of fun.

Power Tools for Reason 3.0

September 3rd, 2005

Well, it’s done. It was finished months ago, but I went straight into the RB museum project and simply haven’t had any time to break and post any announcement. I’m hoping that the release date will be on schedule, but I’m hesistant about this since I have yet to receive proofs to look over. I’m guessing that it might not ship until October. I guess I will know more soon. My cousin Miles and Tamiko set me up with a new flashy website for the book where you can get a preview along with some very cool desktop images and icons (these come with the book too!):

Have a look at PT-Reason.com