Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Double trouble on a Thursday Night

Last weekend, D2's birthday drinks led to finally meting up with a few of the fine folks that make up the rest of The Thursday Night Show, including resident VJ (and gifted photographer) Whispers and Digit3, the man that brings the night to a close each week. Some fine fellows indeed. It's always good to put faces to avatars and chatroom comments, and having had the first off-air Thursday Night social should help with making proceedings a little slicker. There's talk afoot for a live social on a Thursday night itself at some point. Nothing's quite set in stone yet, but watch this space.

I'm somewhat thrilled this week to also be a featured photographer as well as having the set on the show. Tune in tomorrow night and see a few treats from my Japan image vault up on the canvas - as usual I'll be live in the chatroom throughout most of the evening too. 

One more exciting thing to announce for the D1 Radio set on tomorrow night's show - I'll also be chatting with my first guest interviewee! I'll keep his/her identity under wraps for the moment (gotta try and build a little suspense), but I can reveal that my guest is pretty multilingual and will be bringing a bit of sunny California to the show.

For those that missed it, here's last week's show...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

On sealed white boxes

I finally got hold of a copy of Final Cut Pro X this summer (paid for too). Initial impressions are that it's a fantastic video editing application, justifiably a leading industry standard and so many steps up from iMovie that it takes video editing to a totally different place when being done at home. Blah, blah, it's great, blah, blah.

Now the downer is, whenever I load it, I get the above error message before anything else happens, basically saying that the graphics card isn't good enough to handle this application. That little prompter isn't just something you can close and ignore - it impacts on what I'm trying to do with the application. So far (I've still done very little in FCP X), it's lead to dropping frames during playback, which is somewhat annoying. I would expect that as I get to know FCP X more, I'll find other quirks of being able to run the app but on a feeble video card.

I checked what the required specifications were for running FCP X and I needed an OpenCL-capable graphics card or an Intel HD Graphics 3000 or later. Didn't know anything about these, but the lowly card pre-installed in my machine is an ATI Radeon x1600 128 MB, which basically means that it's a bit of a seven-stone weakling as far as such processor-intensive activities as video editing are concerned.

Wanting to find out if I could replace the graphics card myself (as I'd done with the RAM in my apparently now-ancient late-2006 20" iMac, I searched a few forums then also called around a bit to see if this could be done. Brighton being the kind of place that it is, there are a lot of Mac users down here, which means that there are also a lot of support options beyond just going to the Apple Store and watching someone from the Genius Bar do a Google search. Thanks to the good folks at South Coast Computers, I had a very informative conversation with one of their engineers on Friday.

The short answer to this quandary is that I can't upgrade my graphics card. It seems that in this particular model, the card is welded to the main board - apparently not the case in all Macs and certainly not the case in most PCs. If I wanted a new card, I'd need a new motherboard too, and as I have zero experience in fitting Mac motherboards, I'd probably need to shell out on paying service fees too. All-in-all, I got given a ball-park figure of around £500. Given that this is roughly half the price of a new one (and I am not planning on getting a new iMac any time soon as in most capacities, it's doing just fine), I decided against it and will just have to live with things as they are.

I don't tend to gripe at Apple very much as even though there are many criticisms that could very easily be levelled at the company, as I'm rather fond of their products. However, this situation did leave me slightly peeved. I'm not an experienced engineer, but given a blog page with the photos of how to do something, I'm quite a happy hacker (having replaced an old iPod battery and the RAM in the iMac using that method, for starters), so would prefer to be able to do this myself.

I suppose that once you buy a sealed box that is not designed to be opened by most people, you should expect things like this. Still, it's nice to have the option, even if most people don't use it.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Blue Mineday (WN0042)

At D1 Radio on The Thursday Night Show, I like to go for an eclectic blend of tunes in the playlist. The means oldies, new songs, mash-ups, remixes, tracks from all sorts of different countries...and a few choice covers thrown for good measure. This one might not get a look in on the show (until I figure out how to blend the audio from a YouTube video into the audio stream), but is a gem all the same - the Brythoniaid Male Voice Choir with a version of New Order's 'Blue Monday' (watch original video on YouTube), specially-commissioned for this weekend's Festival Number 6 in Portmeirion. New Order are one of the headliners, thus the cover.

More eclectica on The Thursday Night Show this week between 8-9, UK time.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Introducing The Thursday Night Show...

I've been rebuilding my DJ chops a little over the past couple of months with a slot on a new Internet radio venture called The Thursday Night Show. It's been great fun to sit and home and have my own radio studio whilst broadcasting over the 'Net. We've gone legit too being now fully licensed (better hang up my pirate flag then)!

The show runs from 7-12 UK time and there's plenty of great tunes going on to keep many different tastes accounted for. I'll be playing an eclectic set of old, new, stuff from around the world and in the commons, plus a few mash-ups, remixes or covers, and am on between 8-9 (D1 Radio). There's drum and bass plus old school house to follow from D2 Radio, HarviB and Digit3, and an equally eclectic set before mine from the newest DJ in the lineup - Ol' Father Shine.

Not only is there a broad selection of tunes, but we have resident photographers featured every week on the art canvas VJ'ed by Whispers and a live chatroom where listeners can chat with the DJs and other artists - all available through the website. There's also a Facebook page and a Twitter feed (though the latter's a little slow to get off the ground at the moment).

Some of the sets do end up online after the event (as with the below) for catchup purposes, but why not drop by when it's all live and say hi? Come and hang out online with The Thursday Night Show while this thing's still a small seed...