Posts Tagged ‘musician’

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22 Great Blogging Widgets

January 27, 2009

Today as a musician I need to be able to write, record, mix, edit, distribute, conceive artwork, implement it and the list goes on and on!

One of the many useful tools available  is a Blog. All bands and artists should have one.

So here is a list of some of the easiest ways to get good quality content on your blogs.

bloggerMany people think that Blogger lacks in all of the extra goodies you can add to other platforms like WordPress, but it simply isn’t true. By using widgets you can customize your blog as much as you like by just adding little snippets of code to the sidebars.

Allow users to talk to you via IM, see what your most popular posts are, or even read news from sites such as Mashable. With these 25 widgets, you can create an even more powerful way of communicating with your visitors, just make sure you don’t overload them with too many!

What are some of your favorite widgets for use on Blogger?


Communications Widgets


meebo me
Google Talk – Give visitors the ability to talk to you via Google Talk directly from your blog sidebar.

Jaxtr – Create a widget that allows people to call you on the phone without revealing the phone number to them.

Meebo Me – Meebo Me will allow you to create a chat box that you can install on your Blogger page, giving you the chance to converse with visitors to your site.

Skype – The official Skype widget allows you to create various buttons that can show your current status and also allows people to just click it and give you a call.

Tag-Board – Allows you to add a real-time chat board to your blog that your visitors and you can use to converse.


Social Widgets


socialfeed

Delicious Linkrolls – Share your Delicious bookmarks with the world with this easy to install linkroll widget.

FriendFeed Widget – Share all of your FriendFeed activity with the readers of your site.

Google Friend Connect – A makeshift social network that runs across any site that has installed Google Friend Connect.  You can join a site, see the other members, play games and more.

LinkedInABox – LinkedInABox retrieves your LinkedIn profile to display on your blog, allowing people to look through things such as your specialties and experience.

MyBlogLog – If someone visits your blog that is also a member of MyBlogLog, their avatar and username will appear in the box.  You can then click on any person to check out their profile on the service.

Twitter – Add your Twitter stream to your blog and display anywhere from your last tweet to the last twenty. Also gives a link for people to be able to follow you.

Share on Facebook – A simple widget that allows your readers to share items from your blog on Facebook.

SocialFeed – A miniature lifestreaming widget that broadcasts your activities on sites such as Twitter, StumbleUpon, Last.fm and so on.  Has several different skins you can choose from.


Utility Widgets


easy comments
Add This – The popular social bookmarking button is available for Blogger accounts.

Easy Comments – This widget allows you to add commenting to any page of your site by placing the widget at the bottom of a page.  Allows people to say if they liked the comment, includes comment threading and more.

Google Search – Add an AJAX powered Google search box to your blog that you can allow to search the web and your blog, or even just restrict it to the contents of your site.

Popular Posts – This widget will take a look at your comments, up to the last 5,000, and generate a list of which posts had the most conversation around them.

Recent Comments – Display the most recent comments on your blog in this widget so that readers can join in the conversation.

Related Posts – Not so much a widget as a hack, this will give you the related post functionality that so many WordPress powered blogs use.

ShareThis – The highly customizable green button that ShareThis is known for can be added to your blog.  Choose if you want it for social bookmarking, users emailing your posts and more.

Shout List Icons – Be the king (or queen) of social sharing with this widget that generates icons for over 30 social sites your blog can be added to.

Tag/Label Cloud – Gives you the ability to install a traditional tag cloud in your sidebar so people can see what you write about the most.

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Turn your laptop into a multi instument keyboard and vocal-processing powerhouse

January 9, 2009

missilesilo_laptop

Regardless of what instrument you play or what software you use to record and compose, it’s never been easier to access massive libraries of synth and sample sounds, guitar and bass amp emulations, vintage-derived effects and so on. While all of this power and flexibility has been a boon for the home recordist, bringing these same software-derived sounds to the stage continues to vex many. The good news is that today’s multicore laptops have more than enough horsepower to handle the needs of most keyboardists, guitarists and experimental-leaning vocalists, as well as multi-instrumentalists who may need to jump between several instruments during a set. By choosing the correct software and hardware, as well as doing some critical housekeeping and asset-management chores, you can easily bring your best software instruments and effects to that stage and consolidate your hardware needs down to a few roadworthy essentials.

The host with the most

First and foremost, all of your software instruments and effects need to live somewhere. While it’s completely feasible for a keyboardist or guitarist to work solely within a workstation-style product such as Propellerhead Reason or Native Instruments GuitarRig, if you really want to take advantage of your plug-in collection or jump between instruments, you need to employ a more open-ended option. Two products that are built expressly for this purpose are Apple MainStage — part of the Apple Logic Studio bundle (; www.apple.com/logicstudio) — and Native Instruments Kore 2, which is now available in a software-only edition , as well as the software/hardware package  (www.native-instruments.com). Both programs do many of the same things: 1. They allow you to access, organize, edit, combine and recall the majority of the third-party plug-ins on your machine. 2. Both allow you to play software instruments and process live audio sources (guitar, bass, vocals and even feedback loops). 3. By largely removing the traditional elements of a DAW, both of these apps allow more CPU resources to be used for instruments and effects, thus keeping latency in check.

Choosing a host performance application will depend largely on what software you already own. Logic Studio users have a clear advantage in this department because all channel strips and saved plug-in settings are immediately available in MainStage; in other words, what you did in the studio shows up in MainStage. Kore, however, requires a little more prep work in the beginning (users will need to batch-convert their third-party plug-in sounds over to the KoreSound format), but it offers support for a wider range of plug-in formats as well as Windows PCs.

Time to organise..

The second major task in prepping your sounds for performance is figuring out exactly what you need and exactly what you don’t. If your goal is to replicate the sounds you used in your recordings, a recent demo or what have you, then that is the obvious place to start. Open up the original sessions, isolate the plug-ins that you need to use live and give each preset a specific name before saving them to a new folder. Of course, you can skip that step if you want to dive in and start playing. Either way, once you start to have a firmer grasp on what you’re going to need in a live show or rehearsal situation, that’s the time to start creating a performance library.

MainStage and Kore have different ways of creating that library. With MainStage, you’ll need to create a new Concert. A Concert can comprise any number of live audio and instrument channels, and the Performance pane can be customized to include a wide array of assignable controllers (which you can then easily map to your hardware), meters and patch selectors. You can load instruments and live signal processors in a row and select them interchangeably like presets on a piece of hardware. A single preset can comprise both audio and instrument plug-ins, and a Concert can include any number of presets. When you load a new Concert, all the associated instruments and samples are loaded in the background, and nothing really nails the CPU until a preset is selected. The load time between presets is generally very minimal.

The no hassle, buy nothing keyboard workstation

If you’re a budget-conscious keyboardist and you want a simple and reliant way to access an array of keyboard sounds that requires practically zero mousing around and almost no MIDI assignment editing, here it is.

Load up an empty 16-track session in your DAW of choice. Starting with the first track in the session, load up your first instrument sound and set this track to receive only MIDI channel 1. Repeat the process as needed (track 2 to MIDI channel 2, etc.) until you’ve loaded up all of the sounds you need or you’re out of MIDI channels. Changing MIDI channels on most portable MIDI keyboards (M-Audio Oxygen 8 V2, Axiom 49, etc.) is a simple one- or two-button process. With this setup, you only have to load one session into your DAW, and switching between sounds is as simple as changing the MIDI channel on your controller.

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