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Sunset over Arlington

About a week ago, my family hung out with me for the day in DC and my dad and I took pictures of the sunset over VA that night.  I’m probably going to post a few more pictures from that day later but here’s one for now.

Rachel Platten with Bethany and the Guitar shoot at Ebenezers Coffeehouse

A few weeks back I had the opportunity to run sound for a concert at Ebenezers Coffeehouse in Washington DC featuring Bethany and the Guitar and Rachel Platten.  They were really awesome to work with and also alot of fun to shoot.  I’m certainly still a beginner but I’m really enjoying the learning process.  I am certainly looking into getting a few different lenses to make certain things easier but I’m still pleased with the results I’m getting with my current equipment.  Here’s a few shots that I liked and were requested by the artists.  Enjoy!!

Photos and bowling

Today is my day off and I’m hanging out with my family in PA.  We decided to go bowling which is a favorite past time of mine.  I took my new Canon T3i with me and grabbed a few shots.  I’ll post more later but in the meantime, here’s one that I tweaked a little this afternoon.  Click the image to see the full picture.  Enjoy!

Bowling September 7, 2011, MacDade Bowl

Kurtis Parks and The Anthem w/ Melodime @ Ebenezers Coffeehouse

Just wanted to post some pictures that I shot Friday night at Ebenezers Coffeehouse. One of my NCC co-workers, Kurtis Parks with his band the Anthem tore it up shortly after a group named Melodime rocked the stage. I was mixing FOH for the event, but really wanted to get some shots with my T2i. I’m learning alot every time I pick up the camera and I’m really excited to keep learning. The lighting was really difficult do deal with because the back of the stage was so much brighter then the front. It was really hard to get their faces exposed properly without blowing out the back wall exposure. Anyway, I learned alot for next time. Check out the gallery below and let me know what you think.

My first retouched photo project

I’ve been talking to alot of you about how I’ve been wanting to get into photography and graphic design stuff as a hobby.  This week, my Canon T2i came and I went out on a photo shoot.  It was a beautiful night with an awesome sunset.  Living in DC, I naturally thought I should go to the Capitol building to shoot some practice shots.  I was pretty pleased with the results for my first time out.  I think I’ll probably return it to upgrade to the T3i but otherwise, I like the camera.

I retouched and edited one picture.  It’s got that HDR vibe to it.  Let me know what you think.  I’d love to get some feedback on what I can do better.  Thanks for checking it out!

 

US Capitol Sunset - Jason Castellente Canon T2i

HP Touchpad: Web OS is dead…or maybe not!

If you haven’t seen this going on today and yesterday, maybe you haven’t been on the internet, or maybe you don’t have any techie friends, but HP just made a crazy move and totally dropped the bottom out of their prices on the HP Touchpad.

WebOS has never been a popular operating system and has been shadowed by the iPad and the Android tablets.  These statistics of sales would obviously scare advertisers away from the platform.  So, what never got going after it’s release, spiraled down until an announcement that made it to tech websites saying that the “WebOS” is dead.  That was followed by huge price reductions yesterday and today.  The 16 GB model was liquidated for $99  (discounted from $399) and 32 GB model for $149 (discounted from $499).

I picked up a 16 GB from Amazon.com today.

However, it’s quite interesting to read HP’s actual statement that was made on their website.

In an announcement on August 18th, they did say that they were going to “discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the Touchpad and webOS phones.  HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.”

That certainly sounds like there will still be some development for the webOS…

It’s quite interesting to think about now much “negative” press that HP has received surrounding this announcement.  Yes, it was negative press; however, it was press and publicity.  If you keep reading their press release, it says this in “Forward Looking Statements”:

“This news release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. If the risks or uncertainties ever materialize or the assumptions prove incorrect, the results of HP may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements and assumptions. All statements other than statements of historical fact are statements that could be deemed forward-looking statements, including but not limited to any projections of revenue, margins, expenses, earnings, tax provisions, cash flows, benefit obligations, share repurchases, currency exchange rates, the impact of acquisitions or other financial items; any statements of the plans, strategies and objectives of management for future operations…”

This is VERY interesting.  They have totally covered themselves if they decide to go back on this announcement.  Could this have been a marketing stunt?

So, you’ve got HP making this announcement, then asking retailers to drop their prices (I’m sure they were reimbursed for their loss in profit) on all the existing hundreds of thousands that have been produced and distributed already.  Was the liquidation actually a plan to simply get their product into the hands of users more quickly while also making sure that they don’t get burned for the cost of their hardware?  So, what happens if users really like it now?  Could it simply be that WebOS is great but since no one is on the platform, no one really knows or talks about it?

Could this have been one of the most brilliant marketing stunts to hit tech enthusiasts?

UPDATED: 8/22/2011

HP’s website  states that “Due to the significant price reduction, we experienced overwhelming demand for the product and are TEMPORARILY out of inventory.”  Temporarily?  I thought they were discontinued??

 

Feel free to comment with your thoughts!!

 

Check out my blog entries on the T-Mobile mytouch 4G, mytouch 4G Powerskin and the new T-Mobile Bracketed Data plans.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spotify: A great tool for audio technicians and musicians

It’s becoming pretty popular, pretty quickly and if you haven’t tried it out yet, you should probably check it out.

For those of you who don’t know what Spotify is, it is a invitation based music service that allows you to access millions of songs that you can play whenever you feel like.  It’s like having an all-access, listen-only  pass to Amazon.com or iTunes for free!  Spotify launched in the US in July of 2011 but this Swedish based music service has been up and running overseas since 2008.  It took longer to release in the US because it took years to negotiate contracts with record labels and distributors.  It works on a invitation only basis so that they can monitor and control how many people sign up and how fast.

This is huge for musicians as well as audio engineers.  While I was in college, I was required to do a certain amount of critical listening to various types of music each week for applied lessons as well as other courses.  I started with borrowing stuff from friends, the library or using Pandora or Last.fm.  There’s only so much you can get without doing something illegal or breaking your bank.  Since I didn’t want to do either, I had to keep re-listening to things I had already heard.  Spotify is huge because you can pick whatever you want, whenever you want and listen to it for free.  It’s almost like what Lala used to be like before Apple killed it except you can listen to songs more the once with limitless options.

It is a great tool for musicians to diversity what they listen to as well as audio engineers to listen for inspiration and different mix ideas.  I believe this is critical in the development of musical chops regardless of musical direction or background.

Sign up to get a free invite today at www.spotify.com or subscribe to Spotify Premium starting at $4.99 per month.

Allen & Heath iLive review – Part 1: Hardware

The mixing console market is constantly changing and evolving with the advent of the digital console.  We all hear how much “better” digital consoles are and the power they have but many people get extremely nervous about making the switch.  We all have our system and method for doing things and any experienced audio engineer is comfortable and confident of what they can and cannot do on an analog console.  But, a digital console makes a lot of people nervous because of the lack of intuition or accessibility of controls.  When I first had the opportunity to mix on a digital console a few years back, I was nervous at first.  The lights and interface seemed intimidating but I soon became used to it.  The first digital console I mixed on, was the Allen and Heath iLive.

The Allen and Heath iLive digital mixing console is an extremely unique system.  The “brain” of the iLive that does all of the mixing and processing is the iDR stage box.  It may not look like it, but technically, that is the mixing console and that’s where the magic happens.  The control surfaces look more like what we know to be a mixing console but unlike a standard analog console, the iLive control surface is merely a remote control for the iDR stage rack which is connected by a single CAT5 cable.  The control surface does not pass any audio signal other then through the modest number of inputs that are in the back of the surface which are immediately converted to data and sent to the iDR rack.  One cool fact about this is that the iDR rack can fly solo WITHOUT a mix surface.  You can actually run your show, unplug or shut down your console and the iDR rack will keep running and passing audio.  You can even connect your laptop or iPad and take over the whole show.

There are currently seven different control surfaces to choose from including the R-series, T-series, and i-series.  These surfaces must be paired with any of six different stage boxes.  This creates an extremely flexible and highly configurable digital mixing system that can be modified and customized to fit any mixing situation.  This also creates added flexibility when using the iLive system for mixing both front of house and monitors together.  Your split snake is simply the CAT5 cable that runs everything else and easily gives you the power and flexibility of a standard setup without trouble of running a split snake or the mess of running a direct out snake back from FOH to feed an on-stage monitor console.

The R-series and T-series control surfaces have a fixed configuration of in’s and out’s.  All of the i-series control surfaces have six open card slots which can accommodate any six cards.  All of the iDR mix racks are fixed in configuration with one slot open for a card except the iDR-10 which is modular and can be completely configured based on the needs of the user.  One of my favorite cards is the new Mini Multi Out card.  I bought it because I need the ability to use Avioms with my iLive setup.  But the card has much more then just Aviom outputs including  iDR Hearbus and up to 24 channels of ADAT outputs.  In the settings, you can patch any channel into those ADAT outputs giving you a lot of options.

The surface itself is also extremely flexible.  You can arrange channels, groups, auxes, VCA’s and various other mix controls where every you want them.  Each “channel” on the control surface is simply that, a controller with a fader, a rotary encoder, and a few other function buttons.  The bottom line is that you can literally create you own custom control line up that suits your needs for your application.  This is also great for churches or any other application where you do not want to give users access to certain options or controls, simply remove them from the control surface.  Out of sight, out of mind.

Stay tuned for a second part to this review where I’ll dive in depth into the functionality and firmware of the surface itself.

Video from God Anthology Live at the Lincoln

A friend of mine named TJ Wallace created a video for a school project with some footage he shot at the God Anthology Live CD recording.  Check it out here:

TJ Wallace God Anthology Live

Hands-on review: JBL SRX728S dual 18″ subwoofer

It’s a few weeks old now but I wanted to post a link to the latest review of mine that www.musicgearreview.com published.  You can check my review of the JBL SRX728S subwoofer that I’m using at the National Community Church Barracks Row location by clicking here.

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