Instrumental+Music Percussion+Music Classical+Music

Monday, July 31, 2006

 

Amazing Churn?

If we believe the Google Analytics results there has been an almost complete replacement of the first two hundred keywords leading to our site associated with this latest update.

I suspect that this has more to do with a change in Google Analytics but of course we can't be sure.

It's not that the areas of interest have changed but the specific form of words where we are picking up visitors seems to have changed across the board - that's spooky if it is true.

However even if Google returns flattering results to me when I search on my key words, positions have not changed that much - so I think it must be Analytics that has changed.

The product registration and web pages are taking longer than expected and it may still be a few days before we complete the task. In the meantime here is a sneak preview of our new Hi Fi Freebie - Bach's Crab Canon just under a minute long and weighing in at 1.3 Meg.

Friday, July 28, 2006

 

Configuration Day

The new files are uploaded and so today is configuration day.

There are the final checks on the descriptions to be used, prices to be set, the web page to be filled out and then the product registration on Bit Pass and our own discount shop.

Dreamweaver is up and running and it looks like it might be a bit cooler today thank God so this should not be too onerous.

Meanwhile the seasonal droop in visitor numbers goes on and there was a significant spike on Rank Pulse yesterday which usually presages an update so no doubt we will see more churn in our SERPs over the coming days.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

 

Uploading New Products

As it turned out we found another hidden copyright claim in one of the pieces we had planned to record so we have abandoned that. We also think that one of the others had been incorrectly attributed to Bach and is actually a Mozart minuet so we left that out too. All part of the final checks as we go into production.

We have to hand craft the uploading of our products one at a time because of the security arrangements - drudgery but necessary. Eased by the faster upload speeds we get these days thanks to our broader band connexion.

Speaking of which it seems to have learned how to speed up. Our download speed has risen to 5.8Meg in the last few days although it fell back a little this morning. There has not been enough rain to dampen the cables yet so we'll see how we go.

For some reason Dreamweaver has lost our site details so we'll have to re-configure that next. The files are still there as are the other sites we manage with it but I suppose it can't be a coincidence that it has happened straight after our little housekeeping exercise.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

 

Recording Session Almost Complete

We will probably wrap it up today! Thankfully the houskeeping we did has made the whole thing much more stable - very few crashes yesterday despite continuous use.

Yesterday's recordings included Bach's Double Violin Concerto which is one of my all time favorites. I didn't really think we'd have the nerve to tackle anything like this but we have become more proficient and the pre-sets have become available. We have even included the slow movement.

So we have managed some experimentation but still stuck close to our established approach.

Next we need to upload the files, price them and register them in our two shopping facilities and then produce the new web page - end of week possibly for the Press Release.

There is a substantial droop in visitor numbers at the moment but we are hoping that it is just the students away from their school/college internet connexions.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

 

In Production - Sample from the cutting room floor.

It is nice to be back in the game as it were.

As promised we are including a sneak preview to our regular Blog readers.

The sample is one of those slight errors a bit like the variations on rare stamps.

Normally when producing the LoFi Clips we select a few phrases up to about 30 seconds to record but yesterday we overlooked that step on one occasion so here is the resulting LoFi recording of Bach's BMV 560 a Prelude and Fugue originally composed for the organ and re-arranged on Steel Drums and Marimba. The solo bass marimba sections are a little odd but we decided to go with it any way. Despite the LoFi recording a good impression of the full recording is conveyed in the full three and a half minutes.

More house keeping on this machine yesterday including an afternoon de-fragging the D: drive where Windows 2000 sits.

When I consider how stable this operating system has been it is doubly galling to see Microsoft begin to withdraw support - no IE 7 for us apparently and future operations plagued by crashes to look forward to. On 2000 applications may crash but the operating system very rarely goes with them. The Task Manager actually copes and tidies up after the mess - such a shame that could not be sustained.

Monday, July 24, 2006

 

Orders of Magnitude

I don't know about you but I still can't get my head around the expansion of memory that has occurred with computers in recent years.

I have been working with computers directly for nearly 30 years so there has been a bit of a change. When the last desk top arrived with a 120 Gigabyte Hard drive I divided it up into some big partitions and forgot about it. At the end of last week it became apparent that part of the instability we have been experiencing was due to insufficient memory - we were nearly down to our last Gigabyte on the C: drive. Please note that the C: drive nomenclature has not changed from the DOS on the Mainframe Timeshare which IBM provided to us in 1978 - nor has most of the rest of the basic DOS despite Microsoft's "re-write".

What has changed is the amount of memory that is routinely available. On our system the thing that clogs it up is back-ups. Over six years of operation we have tried a series of different back up solutions - none of them have been totally satisfactory but then again neither have we ever had to make use of them! The clogging is compounded by different standards for acceptable file names - especially length which can make it difficult to move things around.

So a weekend of housekeeping has got us back into shape - defragmented space now abounds once more on the music machine - we just have to sort this one now.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

 

Unstable Software

Producing music on a PC involves at least four major concurrent applications: the Operating system, sound processor, sequencer and synthesizer. And more if you use more than one synthesizer.

Naturally to get the most out of the system we often push that combination to the limits and we experience system crashes on a regular basis.

In our case the operating system is XP with all the available updates. Hard restarts often require a second restart to get the mouse cursor moving but many music crashes will only respond to a hard restart. Our sound processor is Creamware both the software application and the DSP processors on the sound card - we have our ticks and moans about it but when it is up and running it is very very good - it can even handle a little bit of sound processing overload without throwing a hissy fit. When they occur these often they involve loosing the ASIO sound interface i.e. silence.

We use Cubase SE as our sequencer and that fits our needs very nicely but that too has hysterics from time to time on its own account. The interface with the synthesizers is called VST and is another one of the weaker links in this complex chain. It offers enormous flexibility but at a cost. This is definitely software where it pays to keep saving your work as you go along.

We use two main synthesizers the Arturia Moog Modular V which provides the Syn Marimba as well as the obvious and offers hundreds of others. We also use a ROM Player called Ravity which provides the steel drum sounds and some of the other pads we use. Our Harp sounds come from a NuSoft application which is a software emulation of the physical instruments and the Celtic harp is particularly lovely. Of these the Moog is the most complex and processor hungry and occasionally goes belly up. But it is the most wonderful sound source that we could wish for. I don't think we would have got into this business it if it had not existed.

But you can see that we have an unstable three legged stool standing on an uneven floor so we get used to accidents happening and we make haste slowly. We are getting fairly close to completing the More Bach collection of arrangements and should complete the recordings next week.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

 

The ....... of the New

As part of the run up to this current bout of arranging we loaded up lots of new presets - instruments on our two favorite synthesizers thinking that this would help provoke some new thinking and new sounds.

And yes we have done some more experimentation and the Log Marimba will appear from time to time when it's staccato effects help. We have also tried some of the tempting new pads but have rejected most on the grounds that the effects are too gross and un-controllable. In many instances the quality of an arrangement is achieved through the restraint applied to the variety and complexity of the sounds combined.

Where the classical composer has the standard orchestral pallet to work from an electronic music composer has an enormous potential range of instruments to use. Part of our success has been the identification of a restricted pallet of instruments that work well together. This week we have identified a couple of pads which sit nicely behind our steel drums and marimba arrangements filling in for the longer dying notes and giving a little more depth to the sound during the more percussive passages. This is encouraging us to include a couple of slow movements which we have generally avoided up to now.

So incremental improvement rather than revolution this time.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

 

Composer MP3 collapse?

As regular readers know we have put a lot of effort into promoting composer mp3 keyword combinations through our site.

With the recent rise of iTunes related phrases we wondered if there was a general collapse of composer mp3 combinations causing the current fall off in visitor numbers but that doesn't seem to be the case. There has been a longer term fall off on this front and this has been exposed by other movements in the last few days.

So turmoil and drift now - not an easy situation to combat so I think we'll sit tight, work on the music production and see where that takes us.

The system was standing up pretty well yesterday and we probably have the bones of a More Bach page, possibly including a whole concerto. The question mark as ever is over the slow movement but we might package it up as one piece rather than separate movements on this occasion because our arrangement does emphasise the contrast with the faster movements.

Still finding hidden copyright messages in the MIDI files a bit late in the process so we have had to abandon some promising pieces. We have followed strict adherence to all copy right claims found in apparently Public Domain files because we think it is only fair. The only exception is the Brahms variations on a theme by Paganini where the young Brazillians who coded it could not be traced and we have explicity acknowleged their contribution. So far there is not a big enough opportunity to make it worth while to contact copyright holders and negotiate terms with them.

Monday, July 17, 2006

 

New Recording Configuration Working

Yes - by George they've done it and the new set up is up and running.

So we are into the really fun part now - experimenting and listening and experimenting and listening. I'll start to put some of the new recordings up in the next few days - there might even be a few freebies for our regular readers.

It looks like the first collection will be "More Bach".

Meanwhile keyword phrases containing iTunes have taken over our top 5 and our iTunes advice page gets an even bigger proportion of our entrances - which is a shame because it also has the highest bounce rate despite our efforts to entice these visitors into the rest of the site.

And our Broadband speed has been stuck below 4 Meg since Thursday. Given the heat I would have thought that any dampness that may have got into the cable would have dried out by now. It seems the algorithm is good at slowing down but not speeding up!

Friday, July 14, 2006

 

Setting up the new recording configuration

Yes that's what the first day was all about.

The Creamware software isn't too robust so there was a lot of trial and error, ASIO driver dropping out etc and many restarts. Hopefully it will be OK once we have settled on a new default configuration.

However we do seem to be making progress and we did make one test recording with the new graphic equalizer inline and today we are going to se if we can get some of the other effects working too.

We now have so many pre-sets for the Moog synthesizer that it is a real struggle to find the one you want some times.

It looks as if our Google backlinks have fallen again - no logic that I can see to this - not sure what impact if any it will have on our SERPs.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

 

The decks a cleared so on with the music

To day's the day - we are going to try a new software configuration for mastering as the old one is still broken and we have had no response to requests for support. We will also try some of the new Moog presets to record some new pieces.

The web site is ticking along and there doesn't seem much that we can do there for the time being so we are going to try some new musical content - perhaps branching out a little from our tried and tested formula.

We'll keep you posted here as we progress.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

 

What can I say?

Yesterday Google Analytics was slow off the mark in producing the previous day's results and the blogging moment passed.

The results are really unexceptional at the moment - a bit down on pre update levels but no obvious key word issues - just continuing turmoil. But it looks as if that is par for the course when you look at the chart for the most stable keyword on Rankpulse which happens to be 'texas' there is still a very active scene for places 4-10 while 1-3 sail above it all.

Our recent Paypal incident bares a little comment.

They changed their terms and conditions after they were taken over and required Merchants to sign up to the new terms. But when we tried to comply it didn't work so we wrote it off as another scam and left it at that. Next thing we hear is from a customer whose payment is turned down. Fixed the problem pretty quickly on the Paypal site although the relevant link was not very prominent or supported by any additional text. Still don't know how long our Paypal account was off the air or how much other business we lost.

Part of the problem is that there have been so many phishing attempts with Paypal that you look twice at any communication from them. Otherwise their service works well and we are not looking for an alternative.

Monday, July 10, 2006

 

"Bad Data Push"

The latest word on the street is that some one in Moldavia has found a way to con Googlebot into accepting enormous numbers of pages of SPAM and that Google are having to delete much of it manually. I don't think I believe the last bit but a major problem with Spam pages could explain the high level of churn over the last few weeks. Apparently Google refer to this event as a bad data push which is prosaic enough.

Our usual investigative tools are still down although Rankpulse comes back every couple of days or so. But Google Analytics shows us the turmoil in the keywords being used to find our site as we continue to recover from the low visitor numbers seen a couple of weeks ago.

Meanwhile back at the ranch the boy struck by lightening in the park last week was in church last evening giving thanks for his good fortune.

And - fingers crossed it looks as if our Broadband connection has settled down at over 5 Meg for several days.

Friday, July 07, 2006

 

7/7 Memorial

The recollections and ceremonies one year on were unexpectedly moving today.

The courage of the victims combined with the vivid descriptions of their experiences seems to penetrate skins thickened by years of IRA terrorism. In particular the description by a victim of noticing the bomber reaching into his rucksack to detonate the bomb was particularly chilling to those of us who traveled on the tube every day for decades.

The injured victims and the grieving families of those killed want a public enquiry because the perpetrators are dead, there will be no criminal trial and there is no body to sue. But our society brought up the young men who did this - gave them the experience and the values that led them to take these awful actions. With a bit of historical knowledge and some imagination we could understand what we had done to the Irish Catholic community over centuries to generate the reaction in the form of the IRA but this is different.

Many of the colonial actions of the Europeans and the post colonial adventures of Britain and the USA in the Middle East may have been harsh and insensitive but why would four Yorkshire lads feel that they had to take this on. Is there a real recruiting sergeant in the background or were they deluding themselves that killing more innocent people would make a difference? Branding them as terrorists is meaningless and provides no hint of a solution - it is literally hopeless.

Some of these questions suggest why the Government have no desire to have these issues exposed to forensic examination and that just confirms our suspicion that they too are feeling very uncomfortable about having taken us to wars in the Middle East without any real plan or commitment to the investment required to build the conditions for lasting peace based on honor and respect for all the parties except perhaps the convicted criminals.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

 

A Good Day at the Office

Normally when any part of your customer service system is broken the first thing you hear is a customer complaint but if the failure prevents them becoming a customer most people walk briskly away. So it was particularly nice this week to have an issue raised by an enthusiastic potential customer who pointed out that our PayPal service was broken.

PayPal have updated their terms and conditions and asked us to update our agreement with them. I had attempted this earlier without success and so was surprised to find that we had been put on limited status which meant that we couldn't accept payments. This doesn't affect out BitPass account just the discount store. Anyhow it worked this morning and we are back on song so I took the opportunity to advise all our customers of this circumstance in case any of them had been affected but not mentioned it.

They say every complaint is a gift and this one certainly was.

Not only that, Broadband is firing on all cylinders this morning at 5.8 Meg despite the lightening storm here on Tuesday afternoon that put a young lad in hospital after he was struck three times. The strikes happened in the park round the corner from this office and the noise was extraordinarily loud.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

 

What's Happening?

Not too much - it is very hot here and we are not used to it. You wouldn't think that air conditioning had been invented in England!

Our Broadband speeds are up around 4 Meg again and the connection seems fairly steady which is encouraging - we'll see what the rain from the forecast thunderstorms does later this week.

Visitor numbers are drifting up again but there appears to be turmoil with individual keywords and that is backed up by evidence on some of the charts at Rank Pulse. Although the very large spikes are over the daily level of change or flux as some people call it has been twice as high as normal for the whole of June.

The most worrying straws in the wind are the disappearance of our backlinks from some data centers and the lack of information about the domain and the falling number of sites containing the domain name.

Monday, July 03, 2006

 

Ringtone Article

It's been a while since we re-published any articles here - that is partly because we are being more selective/rigorus and partly because we have finally managed to get clear of all the gropus we joined to access an amazing volume of unuseable material. So this arrive unsolicited and here it is:

Many Ringie Dingies

Ringtones are more easily understood when you understand how
cell phones work. The brain of the cell phone is its
microprocessor. Ringtones work with your cell phone's
microprocessor and memory to create a distinctive musical
presentation when someone calls your phone. Your phone, much
like your computer, uses its microprocessor to tell it what
to do and control all it does and works with memory where
the programs are stored. Ringtones are individual programs
for your phone that get placed into your cell phone memory
to be brought out by the microprocessor when your phone
receiver gets the message that a call is coming in.

Phones that are capable of loading and using ring tones (and
most are) hold a range of notes in their memory and so the
program in the ringtone just has to tell the phone's
microprocessor which of these stored notes to plan, in what
sequence and at what speeds. The adjustment of these
variables at the program's instruction can produce a
virtually endless number of different ringtones.

To get your new ringtone you just have to load the program
to your cell phone. After, that is, you choose the ringtone
you want. You have a great number of ringtone choices from
many ringtone Web sites, some of which charge for the
ringtones, some of which do not. The difference isn't so
much the site you choose, as it is the music you choose. If
it is copyrighted the site has to pay the artist royalties.
If the copyright has run out, like it would, for example, on
classical music, there are no royalties to pay, and the
public domain music is probably free to you. You also have
to make sure that your phone is compatibility with the
ringtone you are choosing.

You generally have a choice of how to upload your ringtone
program to your phones, although with some phone models you
might note. But the ones that are usual are by using the
airwaves to deliver the ringtone program to your cell; by
uploading by data cable to your laptop or PC and then
finally to your phone: and by the use of your cell directly,
putting the program into it by its own keypad.

Which you use may depend on your phone model. Your
instruction manual or your carrier or manufacturer's Web
site will tell you. Data link, when offered is easiest for
the long haul but for the first data link you have to pay
and you have to go through a lengthy setup. What most do is
use the airwaves. A text message or SMS will tell your phone
that you want this program in its memory. If you have phones
that offer enhanced versions of SMS your phone is going to
immediately recognize the ringtone. It will do the same for
graphics as well.

What's the most common way to use the airwaves for ringtone
loading to your phone is by going to the ringtone Web site,
choosing the tone you want, typing in your cell phone number
and then letting the site program the message to your phone
directly. The other option is to use a gateway site for SMS
that will send the specific message to your phone. As cell
phones continue to evolve offering more and more services to
more and more users, ringtones will advance as well. Some of
the new phones also let you record songs you pick out as
well as voice messages for the ring tones. Many also let you
choose distinct ringtones for distinct callers so you know
who is calling without looking at the number coming in.


Mckinley Garringer is the owner of
Drwho Ringtone
which is an excellent place to find
ringtone links, resources
and articles. For more information on this article,
please visit: http://www.drwhoringtone.com/

Of course our ringtones have the added value of our original percussion arrangements which are particularly appropriate to the contxt of a ringtone. We will have to check out the SMS gateway issue and see if we can add that to our current download capabilities.

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