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diary gear music

Korg padKontrol

I thought I wanted the M-Audio Trigger Finger but I just did some research and found out about the newer Korg padKontrol:

http://www.korg.com/gear/info.asp?a_prod_no=KPC1

Not that I’m any kind of beatmaker but… I WANT ONE!

Categories
diary food San Francisco

Beef noodle soup in San Francisco

Since I’ve been here in San Francisco I’ve only eaten beef noodle soup once at a restaurant in Chinatown, and it was absolutely nasty and tasteless! Since then I’ve stuck mostly to chow fun since that dish seems slightly harder to get horribly wrong.

Anyway, my friend Emily — who I met and became good friends with while studying in Taipei — came to visit me from the Philippines today! While we were in Taipei we’d eat lunch together practically every day and almost every single time we’d end up going to the same beef noodle soup booth near school. So naturally I decided that we had to have beef noodle soup for lunch. After spending some time searching on google (I typed in “Taiwanese beef noodle soup San Francisco”) and reading various reviews, I settled on “Tea Garden” in downtown San Francisco.

Tea Garden is a small shop on the corner of 1st and Mission that at first glance seems to be just one of those milk tea drink places “to go” with a few pastries and no real seating — just a small counter with a few stools against the wall and a single small folding table that basically takes up half of the customer area. However they do have a small menu of cooked dishes: some combination of either soup noodles and meat, or rice and meat. Anyway I was there for only one thing and so I went right for item #1, the beef noodle soup (“niu rou mian” in Mandarin) for $6.50. After a short wait it was ready and I went right to eating!

I can’t say that the noodles were anything special (somewhat thinner than spaghetti noodles, though not bad at all)… but the broth was very tasty and exactly what I’d expected! The broth wasn’t spicy at all, which is probably a better decision on Tea Garden’s part since there were no options and not everyone likes their soup spicy (and you can always add your own hot chili sauce, which I did). The beef pieces were also good… really soft. The portion was fairly generous and definitely enough for me!

Although I wish they offered some options in terms of soup spiciness and noodle choice, overall I was happy and satisfied with Tea Garden’s beef noodle soup! I’ll definitely be going back for more.

Categories
diary food San Francisco

What can $1 buy you at a baseball game?

Since moving to San Francisco I have done many odd jobs, which I mostly find off of Craigslist or through friends. I’ve done quite a few “promotional modeling” gigs which ridiculously enough often pay better than what I’d get from most Craigslist computer gigs. (Note to these people: If you want someone who actually knows what they’re doing you’re just going to have to pay for it! Otherwise go ahead and hire some random nobody who takes three times as long or worse yet, can’t even do the job…)

Ahem. Anyway, today’s gig was a promo job for Sony PSP at SBC Park. Since I have no car and there’s generally no secure storage at these places, I left my wallet at home and walked out with $10 for food plus bus fare in my pocket. I got there, changed into my uniform, stuck my money in my uniform pocket and figured all was well. Unfortunately an hour or so before my break I discovered that somewhere along the way I had lost my $10. I was starving and I had $1 in my pocket. At a baseball game $1 will buy you absolutely nothing! When break time came around my partner offered to buy me food, but she had only $10 on her so we hunted around trying to find out what we could get with $10 for two people. We eventually decided on hot dogs. As we were standing in line some guy who we’d talked to earlier (while trying to get him to demo our PSPs) turned out to be the guy working the chili stand and he offered us free chili! So we went over to the chili stand, got free chili, and went back to the hot dog booth for hot dogs. It so happened that the lady working behind the counter was someone we talked to before too… and she hooked us up with free hot dogs and soda! Yay! I left my $1 as tip.

Thanks to these people working the food stands at SBC Park I didn’t starve today! The world is filled with kind people in random places…

Categories
diary web design www

Rounded corners with pure CSS

While searching for rounded corner implementations I came across a whole slew of methods and finally settled on this one:

Spiffy Corners – Making anti-aliased rounded corners with CSS

I like it because it works in most recent browsers, requires no images and no Javascript, and is pure CSS. The website also has a php code generator… input your color values and it will spit out CSS and html that you can just cut and paste! Very cool!

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diary

In case you didn’t know… Microsoft Outlook really sucks!

In the past two weeks I’ve helped two people deal with Microsoft Outlook issues. All I can say is that this software really sucks!

Categories
diary gear music

M-Audio Firewire 410 troubleshooting

I’ve been testing out the M-Audio Firewire 410 on my Powerbook G4 (1.5 GHz) since Sunday. It’s a nice small silver metal box… with flimsy plastic connectors and knobs. Oh well, for $250 what can you expect?

Installation and setup was straightforward. Download latest drivers on website (I have no idea if the included drivers would have worked; the website claimed only the latest drivers were for use with OS X 10.4 and the included drivers were a few revisions old), shut down, plug in and power on box, power on computer, select M-Audio Firewire 410 in the sound control panel. Play audio as usual. It worked great for the first hour and half as I just played audio through it on iTunes. Aside from the annoyance of having to power down before plugging it in or risk burning out your firewire ports on both ends, I thought it all worked pretty well.

Trouble hit when I launched an audio file in Quicktime. It didn’t play. Instead I got continuous clicking noises as the play bar crawled along and eventually locked up. I checked the box panels and the output lights were no longer lighting up. I launched the M-Audio Firewire interface software app, and it launched just fine which meant it detected the box. Okay. Launch iTunes. Clicks, crawling, crash iTunes. So I power down the box. Whoops, bad idea. OS X gives me the gray “you must restart your computer” message and the system locks up.

I restart with the box plugged in and powered on. Play audio. Same problem. I attempt to uninstall drivers, but the uninstall utility hangs. Okay, so I shut down, turn off and unplug the box, power on my computer, uninstall and reinstall drivers, restart with box plugged in. Play audio. Same clicking, crawling problem. Argh! Then I notice that the “sample settings” detects a sample rate of 192kHz. Hmm, that’s not right and where is that even coming from? There are no apps running, and I just did a clean reinstall! Sync source is set to internal so I switch it to external and back to internal a few times, but nothing changes.

So I do the whole uninstall and reinstall process again. Search for info on how to reset the damned thing, but can’t find any. Then I try the setting of the clock to internal and external several times, relaunch the app, repeat… and finally it detects 48kHz! Yay! So I try to play some audio, and it works… sort of. The audio plays but it’s all garbled and static-y. Hmm. Restart computer. Audio plays again, clearly!

Anyway that was Sunday and it’s now Wednesday. I’ve put my computer to sleep several times since then (haven’t rebooted though) and I haven’t run into any more problems. Sometimes if I have a bunch of apps running I’ll get little blips of static, but nothing continuous. I don’t know what the cause of my initial problems was and it disturbs me to think that it might happen again, because I don’t even know exactly what I did to fix it. I was almost ready to return this thing and buy another firewire box but I really want it all to just work as advertised since it’s a cheap portable Pro Tools option (why is the Mbox 2 still USB 1.0?!). In the meantime I suppose I should resume testing. But having searched the net and M-Audio knowledge base for solutions, it seems like my troubles were an isolated case. I’m kind of surprised I had problems; I have a pretty standard-configuration system. I sure hope M-Audio is good about support for drivers for this thing and OS X. Who knows though, now that those Intel macs are out?

The audio interface software is simple and very easy to use. I like it. My only other concern is that this thing work seamlessly with whatever apps I use it with.

I’ve done some quick tests of the analog inputs through the M-Audio interface app and can get sound in just fine. They’re way less noisy than the built-in audio, but that’s no surprise at all. Haven’t tried the digital I/O yet but I figure I’ll do that at some point using my CD player and MD recorder just to see if it all works. Unfortunately I have no MIDI equipment to test the MIDI I/O with. I want my Technics SX-P50! But it’s still in Boston along with 95% of my stuff.

Update: I’ve been using this box for a few months now with no real issues. Since figuring out that this messed up sound happens when the M-Audio driver gets confused about what the sample rate should be, I’ve found that the easiest fix is to fire up Ableton, which will allow you to set it explicitly. (Opening up GarageBand will also automatically set the rate to 41 kHz.)

Categories
diary

Chinese New Year’s and MySpace

I got together with my parents and some of my Chinese-side relatives the other day for a post Chinese New Year’s family gathering (my parents stopped over in SF on their way back to Hawaii from Vegas, where they had their annual Chinese New Year’s get-together). Saw my youngest cousins for the for the first time in 2 years, and wow, they can all speak in complete sentences now and say things that make sense! Anyway I was pretty shocked to find that the middle and oldest kids both have MySpace accounts… they’re only 11 and 13 years old, and have about a hundred online friends! Kids these days…

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diary

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! YAY!

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diary

Hello world!

Blah blah blah