Drum Hardware and Double-bass Pedals

I’ve been continuously researching any additional hardware and cymbals I’d like to add to my kit.  Right now I have a ride cymbal, but no crashes yet.  Part of the reason is because it’s not as critical in my practice space to have those cymbals yet, and I’d have to get additional mute pads for them.  I have my ride cymbal set-up in a location where I can use it either as a ride or for a quick hit to simulate a crash, which is sufficient for my current level of playing.  I’d like to eventually add at least one crash, so that with it and my ride cymbal set off to the right, I can use them as two crashes when learning more complicated fills.

I also need to purchase an arm for my cowbell.  I’ll still need to find a place to set-up the arm, as my smallest rack tom is on a clamp attached to the ride cymbal.  When I eventually add another cymbal stand then I can attach it there.  One day I’ll hae to think about another arm for a splash cymbal, but that’s further in the future.

I’ve also been wanting to play a double bass pedal again.  I used to have a Tama Iron Cobra double pedal, and while it was fun to play and had alot of power, it felt too slow, especially compared to my Pearl single pedal.  While most of the popular pedals use either dual chains or direct link, I think I’ll look at ones that use single chains.  While these have the perception of being cheap, I think for my playing they’ll be more than sufficient.  My Pearl single pedal uses a single chain, and it offers plenty of power along with speed.  I’ll have to test the double pedal version of it, but I would be surprised if it didn’t feel as natural to me to play.  Also, I saw a clip on Youtube where Gene Hoglan showed the pedals that he uses.  While they’re single pedals since he uses two basses, they were Tama single-chain pedals.  If that’s good enough for Gene, then they’re good enough for me!

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you are celebrating this holiday, I wish you great memories and safe travels. As usual I haven’t updated this in forever. I think the main thing is I need to find a better way to write and upload new posts, as using the website isn’t as great as a dedicated app or such would be. So what all’s cooking on my mind?

Reason 5 review: lots of new features, primarily Kong

Record overview: I don’t record alot of audio, but I’ll post impressions of how well Record works compared to Audacity and others

Ubuntu 10.10 review: I run Ubuntu on my home PC and use it alot for programming and such, so it merits an in-depth look compared to Windows XP and 7, and to a few other recent Linux distro releases.

Music: I’ve been listening to a few new albums as well as long-time favorites, and it’s time to write some good reviews for those.  Also, I’ve been mulling over some thoughts about drum lessons and other things I’ve discovered, so I would like to share those.

Windows 7 review: My work computer has been on 7 for awhile, and I’ve also been able to deploy it on eligible systems, so my experience with this OS has grown enough that I feel ready to write up how well it works, compare it to XP and Vista, and see how it stacks up against OS X and Linux.

Book reviews: I’ve slowly started reading more, so I’d like to share my thoughts on some of those titles.  I’ll also write about the Kindle, as I’ve been thinking about getting one, and how I think it would do compared to paper copies.

I know I have alot more things to write, and I’ve covered some of those topics in previous posts.  Since WordPress has a Drafts feature I don’t have any excuse not to get those started!

Re-learning Reason

I’ve decided to go with Reason and Record for my audio work. While Logic Express has some things that I liked, I felt that Reason was the best choice for my needs. I will likely use Record for the time being for final mixes of Reason songs, but I would like to eventually get an Apogee One to do some recording of guitar and bass. Drums? I would need a proper room and too many mics, so that seems unlikely for quite a while. I have to read up on using line-level signals vs. hi-z signals on audio interfaces, as my bass uses active pickups. Right now I have a Fender Stratocaster, but for the type of playing I want to do it may be sold for a Gibson Explorer. Only time will tell…

Sticking With Apple

Since my last post I’ve tried out a few more Linux distros and such, but then finally decided to pack up the PC tower and just use my MacBook for writing and music.  It’s been nice trying out Linux, but with working in IT and such I just don’t have time to experiment and mess with things anymore; I just want a fully working system, and for me the MacBook has always been that.

So, all future tech-related entries on here will always pertain to Apple.  As for music, I’m currently deciding on Reason/Record or Logic Express for my work.  I’m also working on getting a plug-in configured so that I can share the music I create on here.

The inspiration and encouragement came from Mons, who I originally met on Shacknews.  I highly recommend you check out his site and purchase his CD!


Fedora 12

I’ve used Fedora off and on ever since the first release.  As a fan of Redhat 9 at the time, I was interested to see where this new project would go.  Fedora’s stated goal was to offer a desktop environment but also provide the latest technologies (even if they hadn’t been well-tested yet).  For the first few releases I stuck with Fedora, but with increasing instability, bleeding-edge features and the rising popularity of Ubuntu I decided to move on.
Since then I’ve tested the occasional release, but even when I could get it to install it was still just too unstable for day to day use.  However, with the release of Fedora 12 I think they’ve struck a fine balance.  Whether that will continue with future releases or a one-time thing I don’t know.

Instead of using a live CD like usual, I decided to utilize BitTorrent to download the full install DVD for Fedora 12.  Luckily there were thousands of seeders, and in just a few hours I had the ISO burned to a DVD and ready to boot.  After booting up the DVD, the graphical menu lets you select whether to install, boot from the hard drive, etc.  Some of the letters had graphical errors, but at least it worked.  Like Mandriva and other rpm-based distros, I had to add the “edd=off” kernel option, otherwise it would stay on the “Probing for edd” part.  Once I disabled edd the installer immediately came up, and it did so at my monitor’s native resolution, something which never happened before at install-time.  The graphical installer for Fedora, Anaconda, looked even better at the native resolution.  Redhat/Fedora has always had a very good installer, even though with some of the Fedora releases I’ve had it crash.  For this release it worked great, and within a few screens the packages were installing to my drive.
By default Fedora 12 uses the ext4 filesystem like most other current distros, but Fedora also defaults to using LVM for the partitioning scheme.  Once the packages are installed, the computer re-boots, I entered some more info and after a very nice start-up graphics sequence I was at the log-in screen.
Initial boot-up and login
Like other GNOME-based distros, the default desktop layout is very clean.  There are the top and bottom panels, which I always immediately consolidate into one bottom panel ala Windows.  Fedora’s default icons haven’t changed much since the early releases, but they still look pretty good.  The new default wallpaper is very gorgeous, and it’s the only time I’ve ever decided to keep it.  The only negative here is that for some reason Network Manager will not automatically connect, so I have to manually select my ethernet interface each time, as well as adjusting the time.

Default set-up and packages

By using the install DVD instead of the live CD, OpenOffice is installed instead of AbiWord.  Although I also installed AbiWord, I find that OpenOffice seems to work better, and AbiWord had alot of grapic problems while typing and scrolling.
Rhythmbox, like in other distros, works pretty well.  I did have to add repositories from RPM Fusion in order to play MP3s and iTunes AAC files, but it wasn’t any more work that in other distros.
Gnote has replaced TomBoy for note-taking in order to remove the dependency on Mono.  Fedora has also decided to use Empathy for instant messaging instead of Pidgin, but I haven’t tested yet to see if it had similar connectivity problems like in other distros.

Package Management and Updating
Like openSUSE, Fedora has been constantly working to make their package manager and updater apps faster and more efficient.  Compared to Mandriva 2010, the package manager in Fedora 12 is fairly quick when browsing and searching.  It’s still slow compared to Debian and Ubuntu’s Synaptic, but it’s still miles ahead of any other rpm-based distro.  The updater app is also much improved.

3D graphics Driver
As the installer immediately recognized my monitor’s native resolution, as well as not having any desire to play games on a computer anymore, I decided not to try to install and test a 3D graphics driver.  While RPM Fusion offers an up-to-date Nvidia driver, I was already happy with the included driver.  It has the correct resolution and refresh rate, and there’s no apparent slowdown when scrolling or moving windows, so I decided not to fix what wasn’t broken.

Community and Support
While Red Hat uses Bugzilla for their bug-tracking and it isn’t as easy to navigate as Ubuntu’s Launchpad, I will defintely say that the Red Hat developers are much more pro-active addressing bugs and releasing updates, even when rapdily working on the next release.  There is a website with a forum similar to Ubuntu’s, and just like that one there are many helpful people.

Despite having a negative outlook when first booting up the DVD, I was quickly proven wrong with all of the improvements and refinements that have gone into this release.  While being in the fore-front of new technologies had always hurt Fedora’s image in my mind, for this release it has actually put it into the fore-front, primarily with using an open-source driver for Nvidia cards with 2D acceleration.  With having everything else up to date and already releasing a round of updates, I am very impressed with this release and I really hope that this trend continues with future releases from Fedora.

Final Thoughts and Rating
Without any major problems and only a few minor things I was able to fix or circumvent, this is without doubt the best release of Fedora that I’ve ever used, and is easily up to par with any release from Mandriva or Ubuntu.

Fedora 12: ****