Category Archives: General Blog

BBE Sonic Maximizer

Late last year I purchased a BBE Sonic Maximizer, for both recording music and enhancing music I listen to from my PC into my stereo. While I haven’t recorded all that much music lately, the difference with the Maximizer on or off is astounding.
The bass is boosted without becoming boomy, the stereo separation is dramatically enhanced, and there is a treble and/or presence level EQ enhancement that really clears the sound of music.
It sounds particularly amazing with techno and electronica. My device version is the 882i.

Record an electric guitar… without an amp! Sounds like a mandolin.

One technique I came up with years ago for an exotic tone from electric guitar is to tune the A and D strings in unison, and the B and e strings in unison, giving about two octaves below the 12th fret for playing “courses” of strings. Tune the E and G strings to a suitable pitch for your chosen open tuning.
Then, place a microphone right up to the guitar and record it acoustically… add some reverb and it provides a wonderful (albeit tinny) sound to change the tone of a song.

Elder Scroll Digital TCG

I’ve finally started playing the free-to-play game “The Elder Scrolls: Legends”, a digital trading card game. It has the concept of lanes for cards, which can only interact in their own lanes, a player life total, being able to attack a specific target without the defender choosing how to block etc, and an increasing amount of magic to cast cards each turn (as opposed to “lands” in a game like MTG).

As you might imagine, it features the fascinating lore and concepts from The Elder Scrolls series.

From what I’ve played, it seems like a great game.

Tortex Picks and Metronomes… Playing Faster!

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately working on clean, fast alternate picking on electric guitar. I’ve noticed I like a slightly thicker pick for this than general playing – so I’m back to using green Tortex picks, which are .88 size; I might try an even thicker pick at some point.

I also bought a mechanical metronome, which I thought was just cooler than a digital one or a phone app. It’s a cheap Chinese model but it works fine. It’s amazing how much more productive practice is with a strict time, like a drummer or metronome provides.

The work seems to be paying off as I’m playing fast lines much cleaner already.

Revisiting an Old Game

I recently got back into playing “Total Annihilation: Kingdoms”, one of my absolute favorite games of all time. I particularly like the sides “Veruna” (a force with excellent navy presence) and “Taros” (the “dark side”). Aramon is okay and Zhon and Creon, not so much…

The game has an excellent campaign with a great story, and came with a 40pg booklet full of lore and info (which, sadly, I discarded a few years ago). Ultimately, I spend most of my time playing the machine in free battles.

I also have the expansion pack, which comes with dozens of extra maps and a second campaign (and the side of “Creon”, a sort of steampunk force).

Meditation Stool

Having meditated for over 15 years, I finally purchased a proper meditating stool… and it really is amazing how much easier it is to sit for an extended period as opposed to choosing a particular yoga pose to stay in. I got it for under $40, made of acacia wood and quality fabric online. There’s definitely less stress on my leg joints as well.

Java and Generics

I’ve been brushing up on Java a bit lately, and came across the topic of generics. While I’ve consumed generic classes, primary collections, I’ve only created a generic class a few times. It’s really quite fascinating, in particular when you get to the concept of upper and lower bounds for generic types.

Type erasure in Java is also quite intriguing… the end result being that the Java runtime knows nothing about generics.

I’m reading “Learning Java” 4th Edition, and while there might be a newer version, I still highly recommend it for reviewing generics.

The Wonderful PlayStation Vue

I dropped cable TV years ago and for some time survived on Netflix and/or Amazon Prime.
Maybe a year or two ago I tried out PlayStation Vue, a live channel streaming service. It’s just like cable TV without some of the local channels, all streamed over the internet with no connect/disconnect charges or contracts.

I love it, especially that I can keep it for 2-4 months then get rid of it if I become too busy, without having to return a cable box or pay fees.

Check it out at https://www.playstation.com/en-us/network/vue/

Not Skyrim but… Morrowind!

A few years ago I got Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind on Steam for very little money on a sale, so I could play Elder Scrolls on a cheap laptop with a poor graphics card. I got Skyrim around the same time and spent most of my time on that.

Recently I’ve come back to Morrowind and it’s such a phenomenal, immersive, very otherworldly experience. I feel like Skyrim, while graphically superior, doesn’t have quite the originality of Morrowind. Both the creatures and the vegetation are just plain weird. I personally love exploring the dark elves’ Vivee location, a seemingly mazelike winding of corridors on multiple levels in giant constructions.

I’ll be playing more for sure… and after 9 hours I’m still level 1, as I’ve focused so much on exploring and conversing with characters rather than battle.