things i'm pleased with
"The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique" .. Walt Disney
"That's been one of my mantras - focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end ... " Steve Jobs
Computers were my first obsession from the day I got my Commodore Vic-20. Two years ago I was “converted” to Apple after a long struggle and now I cannot see past every product they create. My MacBook is at the centre of all my hobbies, except possibly Chocolate ;-)
Not quite fitting with my usual technology themed hobbies, I have a love of dark chocolate. It has to be solid with no extra flavourings, and preferably 70%+. I’m always looking out for chocolate I haven’t tried yet and admit my strong opinions definitely exceed my knowledge.. The reviews I write are tongue-in-cheek pretentious.
Combining my love of photography and astronomy this is a relatively new hobby. I have basic versions of the equipment needed to capture interesting pictures including a 150mm reflector telescope and Canon 1100d for imaging, 80mm refractor and astro webcam for guiding to compensate for the earth’s rotation, and UHC filter to remove light pollution.
I’ve written ambient electronic music under the name Ambient Generation since 2003. Originally composing using hardware synthesizers I have now moved to purely software production based around Logic Pro with various instrumental and effects plug-ins. I have released four albums which are available in places such as iTunes and Spotify.
This post is going to come across as quite presumptuous. However a friend said that they would bookmark my site if only they “knew how”… We’ve all used that excuse but I wasn’t going to let it go that easily and anyway I haven’t done a technology post yet so here we go. Stops anyone […]
Back in January I tried M&S Dark Chocolate 72% and quickly noted “Mr Marks and Mr Spencer are keeping this one for themselves. Hidden behind an anonymous name and a generic wrapper is this superb easy going honey drenched find with strong hints of raisins. High street chocolate of choice. “
A 3 hour imaging session last night resulted in 30 x 4 minute usable exposures of my favourite astronomical object, the Andromeda galaxy. In 4 billion years we’ll have a much better view of this – when it collides with our own Milky Way galaxy. For now is a comfortable 2.5 million light years away, […]
Taken on the 19th August 2014 – the Crescent Nebula (NGC6888) is 5000 light years away. It is formed by a shockwave created by the collision of two stellar winds. The shockwave is heating the wind to temperatures which result in the emission of X-rays. To be honest I don’t fully understand it ;-)
What equipment do I use to write music on?
Over the years the equipment has changed often, but basically for electronic music you always need some sound sources, effects, monitoring, and a digital audio workstation. I always try to use only the basic equipment necessary to get reasonable results – it’s too easy to get involved in an endless cycle of buying and selling equipment instead of actually sitting down and doing some composition. Years ago everyone used hardware and some of my favourite synthesisers I owned included the Roland JV1080, Novation Supernova II, and Access Virus B; effects included the Lexicon MPX500, Boss VF1, and the Smallstone Phaser. I always used a PC running Cubase since version 3.5 for sequencing, recording and mixing.
Now however hardware is not required (although some still prefer it for its tactility) and everything I have is contained within my Mac running Logic Pro X. My favourite sound sources include the Spectrasonics and Native Instruments software plugins and my effects are SSL and Lexicon software plugins. I master using IK Multimedia T-Racks.
What equipment do I use for astrophotography?
As with my music equipment I try to buy the most basic equipment possible to allow me to get reasonable results. My imaging telescope is a Skywatcher Explorer 150PDS reflector attached to a Skywatcher EQ5 Pro mount. I then use an Opticstar AR80S Guidescope with Opticstar PL131M camera to guide the mount using PHD guiding software so as to compensate for the earth’s rotation. My camera is a Canon 1100D with the factory fitted infra-red filter removed, and I usually use an Opticstar two inch Ultra High Contrast filter to reduce light pollution. I use StarTools to help process the images along with Apple Aperture.