Acoustic Treatment Hanging

Posted: July 7, 2014 in music
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A week or so back I got some acoustic foam from a friend cleaning out their storage space.  There were two reasons that as I put this up I wanted to make sure it could come down easily without damaging the walls; I’m basically borrowing the foam and second I’m not sure of location since I’ve not done this before.  So I did the usual “OK Google” and while there were many suggestions of where to locate the pieces and discussion of what was the best to use for a home studio, it really kept coming up glue to do the attachment.

I had put them up temporarily with push pins and that got some ideas flowing. I still needed something more permanent than that but much less destructive than glue.  So I went to the office supply store and discovered T-Pins.   These are about an inch and a half long thin nail sized pins, folded into a T at the top (non-affiliated Wal-Mart link if you want an example).  I got 100 for something like $4 dollars.  They were long enough to go through the foam, but thin enough to not damage the wall (and foam) too much, and the T shape gripped into the foam to keep it on the wall.  Here is a close up:


Since I had used a push pin to get the rough idea to hear how it affected the sound it was a pretty straight forward process after that. I used a level and T-pin in a top corner then went to the other top corner.  After that I would do the bottom corners and I ended up putting one it the top center so it wouldn’t sag.  After the first couple it became obvious I would need a thimble or thimble like device.  I went with a pair of pliers, but my thumb did end up being sore.  Just take it slowly and push as straight as possible.  Otherwise you end up bending the pin.

I focused on left and right of the listening position, followed by behind monitors.  I also put a couple of panels on the ceiling above the listening position.  I’m not sure if that is right but I need to focus on listening to my mixes and other music to see how that works.  There was an immediate difference to me in terms of a lot less reflections but my ears are going to have to adjust.  Here is a shot of the corner:


I put them in a pattern and the wife was happier with that look.  If form is an issue (and it can be) I’m thinking that covering the foam with fabric could be an option.  Since mine is in a separate room (home office/studio) it isn’t as much an issue, but I’d like to put something like this in the family room where the entertainment center is and there is little chance those would be allowed as is.  I would wrap them around so there was a flap on the back and just pin through the fabric as well onto the wall.  Instant color and everything sounds better too!

The last pieces I have to put up are on doors so the t-pins will not work there.  I have some smaller Command hooks and am thinking I can add some thread to the foam and hang those from the hooks.  I’ll post an update as I finish that since I am not quite sure of the best way to add the thread yet.  I’m a bit worried about getting it level.

Hopefully that sparks your own ideas.

The Pursuit of Happiness

Posted: July 6, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Here in the US we are celebrating our independence from England. I thought I would through out my thoughts on one of the most quoted passages. I’m no historian but hopefully it can still spark thought.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

This is probably most quoted portion of the declaration of independence. It makes sense that life and liberty are at the center of unalienable rights. It is the last one that people get hung up on. But notice it says “the pursuit of Happiness”. Webster says to pursue is “to follow and try to catch or capture (someone or something) for usually a long distance or time”. Somehow that has morphed into “I have the right to be happy”.

If look at the founder’s words and put them in action, we have to take it upon ourselves to first understand what will make us happy, individually. They didn’t say what that should mean, because it is a personal to each person. We individually have to work to understand the steps necessary to make that discovery and more importantly take those steps to try to catch that idea. That is why life and liberty are important – we can’t go after what we want without it. Unfortunately, when we think we have a right to be happy (especially without understanding what we desire) we allow for life and liberty to be compromised.

This is something I’m working through myself it terms of dreaming and more importantly setting goals so I can take concrete steps to turn that into reality. The government has to remember that and we need to hold them accountable. Because ultimately “it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security”. That is the responsibility given to us so may years ago.

Happy 4th!

How I Work

Posted: June 13, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Lifehacker does a series on famous people and how they work. I’m not even close to semi-famous but it got me thinking about how do I work. It feels scattered but I’m starting to focus on a couple of apps and I wanted to jot down how I use those for myself. Maybe I’ll learn something or find a gap. So here goes:

Location: Lake Stevens and Woodinville
Current Gig: B2B Lead at BDA, amateur musician
One word that best describes how you work: Iteratively
Current mobile device: Samsung Galaxy S4
Current Computer: Spare part “frankenstein” at home, Dell laptop at work (with docking station)

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? Why?
Evernote, Todoist, Chrome, TFS, and email. My work comes from two basic places; email and our bug/request system. From there I try to break it down into tasks that I track in Todoist to try to keep me focused. Evernote is used for notes while researching issues and working through solutions. Those along with Chrome help me keep in sync going between work and home, making it very seamless. At home I follow a similar process but tasks are focused on my music and home projects. The part that is challenging still to me is turning longer running items into workable chunks.

What’s your workspace setup like?
I try to keep it simple and I have it very similar at both work and home. It starts with 2 monitors and an ergonomic keyboard. From there I like a minimalist approach; as close to nothing on the desk as possible.



Right now my home desk also has a control surface for mixing audio.


What’s your best time-saving shortcut/life hack?
Google Now. That has been getting better all the time to notify me of what I need to know when I need to know it.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?
I was trying to use Evernote, but I was introduced to Todoist and I have been steadily bringing it into my workflow.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why?
My Kindle. Between books and Instapaper I’m on it almost every day. I just can’t read enough.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else? What’s your secret?
I would say fearlessness for trying new technology or processes. The secret is that while it can be daunting, I try to tackle it anyway as I always learn something new I can use in my life. There is usually some correlation to what I’ve done in the past but often it involves trying something, looking at the results, making changes, and then doing that process over again.

What do you listen to while you work?
Typically progressive metal/hard rock like Dream Theater and Pagan’s Mind. Throw in guitar goodness like Joe Satriani and Marco Sfogli and you can fly through work.

What are you currently reading?
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and the Federalist Papers.

4th song in demo form

Posted: May 24, 2014 in music
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It is going much slower than I would like, but I’m still making progress so that is good.  I have the 4th song in demo form and I like it quite a lot, especially the solo section.  It came together rather intuitively and even though it is a little cliche heavy it does have a good feel to it.  I’m now onto the 5th and final song for the EP.  This last one I’m going more for a prog feel than the more pop rock the other songs have.  In my mind it is a shift toward what I would like to head toward on my next project.  I’ve also started brainstorming the overall name and toying with ideas for the cover art.  Over at my Soundcloud account I’ve also created a playlist for the songs so far from the EP so check it out if you’re curious.  I’m hoping to get the last song structure sorted out this weekend and maybe into the different melodies.

3rd Song in Demo Form

Posted: March 30, 2014 in music, Uncategorized
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I’ve just posted my third song of my five song EP to my Soundcloud account. I’m not doing it very quickly but I’m trying to keep pushing myself to finish the writing process. I know I’ll make changes as I track but now down to two more to finish writing.   I’m going to try to finish number four in two weeks.

EP Update

Posted: February 28, 2014 in music
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Graham Cochrane at the Recording Revolution threw down a challenge to create more music this year.  That hit me because I have various “songs” in process but have never completed a package of those.  So I am actively working on a 5 song EP that I want finished.  This includes the songs, recording, mixing, master, and packaging.  It will be instrumental rock type songs and while I think the songs are pretty cool, what I am really looking to is finishing the project.  A project that I can say is done.  Not a demo, not something I’m “working” one, but done.  What happens after that I do not know but I will have a finished project and the experience that comes with it.  Of the 5 songs I have two fully completed demos (you can hear them on my Soundcloud account), two with the arrangement finished along with the basic melody, and one with the rough outline and hints of the melody.  I am going with the working title of Taste Of Freedom and the track listing looks like this:

1. Song for Stacy [3:34]  Demo Completed
2. Where are my Sunglasses [3:40]  Demo Completed
3. Sanctuary [3:56] Song outline and rough melody
4. Taste of Freedom [3:24]  Song outline and rough melody
5. Let it Go?  [?] Rough outline
As I finish the demos I’ll continue to post those out to Soundcloud.  I’m hoping to get 3 and 4 into sessions so I can create the reference tracks this weekend.  Once I finish the writing I’ll move onto tracking as I’ve got new pickups and some borrowed gear that should be a big upgrade.  Maybe I’ll try to get some behind the scenes video as I move into that phase to document how I’m doing that.

I’ve started a Coursera course for Android development.  We’ll see how much time I get for it, but I’ve got both Eclipse and Android Studio up and running with a couple of really simple apps to my phone and the emulator.  Week one was mostly that and some high level info about Android.  I’m definitely an Android enthusiast so I’m hoping to look more behind the curtain and ultimately get an app or two out there.  There are a few courses that follow that go deeper into mobile devices and the “cloud” so hopefully I’ll learn a bunch of new stuff.