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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The rules of troubleshooting...

Just a quick one before I head to bed.  Yeah, I did it.  I opted to try and work late at night instead of working on changing my bed time routine.  The crappy thing is that I might have been productive if I hadn't needed to troubleshoot some problems first.

I was about to sit down and tinker with some piano ideas using my MIDI controller through Logic and one of my piano samplers but the stupid M Audio Axiom keyboard that I use has this problem where, all of a sudden, when you turn it on, two notes (usually an augmented fourth apart, i.e. C and F#) just don't work.  So, before, I had found that all you had to do was just turn the thing off hold down the offending keys and then turn it back on and hold them down for 30 seconds.  Okay, so a lot of trial and error and reading forums led to that and I'm still not even sure if what I did was what worked to fix it or if it fixed itself or if some random hit of the keys jostled the electronics and put something back in place.  It's ineffable.  Because this time around it's A and D# that aren't working and my fix that I was so proud of is not working either.

I needed a win tonight so, I shifted gears (all while still sipping my glass of wine) and started to work on a hunch about what was wrong with my looping software Mobius.  This is going to become one of my favorite rules of troubleshooting: "Ask yourself what has changed since the problem started."

Duh.  I got a new audio interface about a month or so ago and hadn't yet tried it out with my guitar setup and, over the past few days, I was tinkering a little and noticed a problem with Mobius.  Usually the screen will animate, so you know what state it's in, whether recording, overdubbing, playing back etc. But this time around when I'd tap the buttons on my pedal, it would move and freeze and only when you interacted with the program again, whether clicking on the screen somewhere or tapping another button, would it actually update.

So this is a problem when you're performing because you want to know what's going on and what state it's in, and whether the pedal tap you just executed actually did anything.

But, when I had that eureka moment about the change in my audio interface, I decided to try the old audio interface out.  Sure enough, it worked fine.  Well, sort of.  It worked fine as a standalone but I usually use it in MainStage, Apple's live performance software that allows me to add all kinds of effects and have multiple channels that I can mix live.  In MainStage it was having the same problem.  So I had to tinker more and I think I've found a workaround but I have to test it more.  I basically have to go through a series of weird steps to get it to work correctly, which is frustrating enough but then add in that normally, I have to turn things on in a certain order and sometimes have to restart the computer so that one piece of software will recognize all the bits of hardware I have plugged in.

So, anyway, I feel somewhat accomplished tonight but it's all still underscored by the fact that my jobs are still coming so few and far between that when I go to dive into my work and dust off certain programs and pieces of hardware, I realize that I almost always have to fix some problem before I can even get started.    That is pretty frustrating.  All I wanted to do tonight was play some keyboard and riff a little.  Now I have to wait until Friday morning/afternoon when I can bang on my piano and think something up.

Happily, said piano was most recently banged on by the inimitable Crystal Bright just this morning before she left, showing me a new piece of hers.  Perhaps she will have imbued it with some of her creative energy.

Before I forget though, here's a little riff that I was toying with the other day and put up on SoundCloud.  Enjoy!

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