A Brief Review of pHATmatik PRO

pHATmatik PRO - audio choppage at it's easiest
pHATmatik PRO - audio choppage at it's easiest

Having never been a fan of using multiple audio applications to get one result, I was delighted to find the answer to my sampling and chopping needs, in the form of pHATmatik Pro.

In all honesty, since I’ve moved over to a Mac, Logic Pro and almost 100% soft synths, I’ve been thoroughly put off sampling due to the aforementioned arse-about-face way of achieving anything.  Back in the days of Cubase, midi ports, a horrendous number of leads and my trusty Korg Triton I would happily sample audio into the latter, chop the samples up and assign them to keys.  Granted, even this process was a little long winded, but it beats having thirty-six programs open and transporting one 3gb WAV file between them all in various different stages of transformation.

Anyway, I digress.  If you’re still reading, you presumably want to hear a little more about pHATmatik (why they have emphasised ‘HAT’ I have no idea – there’s nothing titfer about it).  Put very simply, pHATmatik let’s you very quickly chop up an audio file into either 16 or 32 pieces and automatically assigns them to keys on your controller keyboard – all with one click of the mouse.  Simple, and massively effective.  I’m yet to delve into the more advanced features but these include independent parameters for each slice, tempo-synced delay, comb and resonant filters.

In all honesty, though, if your sampling simply amounts to creative play with slices of someone else’s work, pHATmatik has that uncanny ability to inspire.  On my first sitting with it I knocked out a somewhat simple remix of Stevie Wonder’s Bad Mamma Jamma. Not the most incredible thing you’ll hear this year, but when you consider it took me just a couple of hours and that included the time taken to sample and chop the track up, it’s clear how powerful this plugin is.  Download my track here (8mb, but I cant be bothered to re-bounce it, sorry).

We’re Still Twittering in the Workplace

twitter-addicts-1Time for another update.  And there’s not much to update, really.  A colleague of mine has, however, pointed me in the direction of useful couple of sites which others in Twitterland (these Twitisms are getting very annoying, aren’t they) might find useful.  www.tweetburner.com is a very useful URL-shortening service which includes the ability to track clickthroughs and publish new links to users of the site via a short message.  Very handy, and it had an instant affect on the number of visits to the URLs I tested it on.

Secondly, www.twitterfeed.com allows you to Tweet RSS feeds which would be hugely useful for blog/news sections of websites.  I’ll certainly be looking at getting RSS feeds set up for ours to make use of this site.

So that’s it really.  No sales made yet and I have the distinct impression the majority of signs ups from our customers were just that.  Like millions of people out there, they were recommended a Twitter account, dutifully signed up, posted something a long the lines of ‘I’m signing up to Twitter’, spent a moment wondering what on earth it was all about and then got on with their lives.  Need to keep them interested somehow…

Get to the Back of the Class, Rooney

Rooney swearing at someone, again.
Rooney swearing at someone, again.

What a fantastic weekend for sport. England pounded the Scots in the Six Nations, my local team, Northampton Town FC, trounced Stockport 4-0 and Man Utd suffered yet another horrendous couple of days in their fight to retain the Premier League title.

My girlfriend always asks why I detest Man Utd so much and has always cited their success as a reason for my hatred of the club. This simply isn’t the case. What I – and no doubt countless others – dislike about them is the underlying arrogance that permeates every surface of their being. Now, that might sound a little dramatic, but take a moment to consider their many past signings who have very quickly adopted the ‘Utd arrogance’. Nani and Anderson are two prime examples. Two unknown footballers (I don’t care about their past credentials, I’d never heard of either and I follow football closely). Now that they both wear the AIG shirt, they strut around the pitch like they possess a god-given talent for the game. They don’t. Both are utterly average, as is Ronaldo (who has taken the level of arrogance to a whole new dimension).

Back to this weekend, though, and the sight of Rooney’s pasty moon-like face contorted with anger was a sight to behold, if not a particularly pleasant one. Quite rightly dismissed for a childish display of dissent, he dragged his knuckles off the field spitting his usual array of expletives before completing the pantomime with a rousing punch of the corner flag, in full view of two members of the constabulary. Brilliant. It certainly capped off a fantastic weekend.

What a child, though. How can he expect us to hold any respect for him as an England player? As we know from the Ronaldo/Real scandal, Utd fans are about as fickle as they come and I therefore doubt his actions on Saturday will dent their undying love for him, but as an England fan I simply don’t want a bad-tempered little child playing for us. Look at the greats – Pele, Gazza, Moore, Van Basten, Lineker; none of them possess Rooney’s temperament and as a result were greatly respected by football fans worldwide. There’s nothing wrong with being arrogant if you want to be a successful sportsman – look at Ali – but there is a line and Rooney, along with the majority of his team mates, appear to be suffering from a massive, collective, over-inflated ego. Saturday was embarrassing for all Utd fans. I just hope they take their red blinkers off and discover the deep mess their team is in.

Finally, we’re into the 90s

iPhone 3.0 OS
iPhone 3.0 OS

From the whooping and hollering that followed every announcement, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the demonstrations Apple provided of the iPhone’s 3.0 OS were nothing short of revolutionary.

In reality, however, they were shockingly obvious.  Cut, copy and paste, MMS, landscape keyboards, SMS forwarding… any iPhone owner (and I am one of the 17 million on this planet) will know how those common mobile phone features have been ignorantly disregarded by Apple.  But fear no more, they’re coming this summer.  Great, but I simply had to pause the recording of the conference to write on here – how drastically embarrassing for them to have to backtrack and develop for the needs of the greater public.  Even more embarrassing given the ‘well, what’s new?’ nature of the majority of the demonstrated new features.

I have no doubt that the non-inclusion of said features was part of Apple’s nonsensical plan to influence our lifestyle habits.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Apple products but there is a certain amount of pretentiousness in the way the Jobs-led band of designers and programmers dictate the way we must use their devices.  Why MMS when you can email?  Why would you ever need to copy and paste text when our text input system is so clever it’ll take you half the time to retype whatever it was you wanted to quote?

So, what’s next for the iPhone?  They’ve no doubt set themselves back a stage now that they’ve had to spend valuable development time reinventing old, previously-expected features, and it is therefore hard to see what lies in store for the phone in the short term.  Sure, their new SDK should bring with it some interesting Apps but, as I’ve written in previous posts, I’ve been somewhat underwhelmed by the Apps currently on  offer, even after the initial ‘wow’ factor some induce.

Well done Apple, you’ve finally brought the iPhone into the 90s.  Now let’s see some real innovation.

‘My Music’ page now live

Over the last few days I’ve been trying to raise my online artist profile and therefore naturally decided to point any readers of my blog in the direction of my most prominent hobby – making music.  Therefore, at the top, you’ll now see a ‘My Music’ link.  If you’re too lazy to move your mouse a few inches up the screen (we are in the age of instant access, afterall…) just click here.

I’ll also be writing a  lot more on here about my experiences with the various hardware and software I use to create my music, so be sure to check back.

Can We Drop the ‘Sir’, Fred?

The figure keeps changing but its never in danger of presenting the receiver of the sum in any greater light.

£695,000, £650,000, £675,000 … Sir Fred ‘The Shred’ Goodwin’s pension leaves a particularly nasty taste in the back of my throat.  I’m fed up with seeing his smug face splattered across the UK media and couldn’t agree more with the wide condemnation of his refusal to forgo his undeserved and highly immoral pension.  Indeed, if I wanted to see his face splattered anywhere, it’d be across the ageing tarmac of the M1.

As I say, this is particularly hard to bear at the moment having recently heard from a member of my family about a substantial loss they’ve made on some savings.  Due in no small part to the torrid financial situation we now find ourselves in, it was also due to some monumentally bad advice given at the point the savings account was opened.

Fred (as I shall now refer to him) is an overtly public and high-profile reminder of just how inept and and self centred the people who run our banking system are but he is no different to the admittedly lower level but equally moronic bank rep who sold my poor family member an unsecured savings account.

Having explained they are low risk customers who simply want somewhere to put their hard earned cash and see a bit of a return, this character surreptitiously slipped them a fast one by offering an account that was in fact floated on the stock market.  As a result, they have just discovered that their savings are down by a four figure sum.  It is absolutely criminal that poor advice like this has been willingly given out.  I’m sure, just like Fred, our friend at Alliance and Leicester was basing his advice purely on the percentage commission he’d receive for having given it out.  Being a salesman myself I know all about the lure of commission and it’s potential to utterly ruin your objectivity and, above all, forget your duty to be human.  However, I sell computer systems to hotels, this chap was selling the basis for the twilight years of someone’s finances.  Decent, basic respect for the person you’re selling to must come in there somewhere, musn’t it?

How Fred can sleep at night is beyond me.  If I ballsed my company up as spectacularly as he did with his disasterous acquisition of the Dutch bank, ABN-Amro, I’d be out on my ear with little more to accompany me than the lunch box I left in the lunch room several months ago.  I certainly wouldn’t receive an on going sum of money that could see me living the rest of my years in Monaco, bathing in the glorious sunlight of unprecedented wealth and multiple yachts.

I urge anyone with savings to review their accounts as soon as possible.  I feel almost blessed that I don’t have too much stashed away but anything I do have will be invested wisely and, more importantly, wont be waived under the nose of a hungry, immoral banker.  We’re deep into the woods with this one at the moment and the end is a long way off, but it has become clearer than ever over the last few months that we simply can’t trust these people that, for years, were our guiding financial lights.

Twittering at work update

Well, it’s been a week or so since we opened our work twitter account and we have 8 followers. Admittedly, two of those are employees and another is a partner … but it’s progress, sort of.

The five followers that are genuine customers have all signed up as a result of an e-shot we sent out and, interestingly, seem to have been intrigued enough to sign up to Twitter to view our updates, as none of them appear to have been Twitter members before.

It’s early days, but I’m encouraged by this initial response. With a little more coaxing I’m sure we can get more on board, but the few that are there will at least benefit from the ease with which you can fire updates to Twitter land.

Whether or not it will become a genuine sales channel remains to be seen…