ProgRiff

A life journey

about me

Me

Loves programming, music and appreciates what God has given us.

I’m a software developer and you can visit my programming blog here. During the weekends, or when I’m not working or spending time with the missus, I enjoy playing music on my bass. Here are some of me and my band’s original composition over the years.

Sometimes, I enjoy going out for a walk and enjoy the life. Here are some of the photos that I’ve taken through out the past couple of years.

 

found on

contact at

benson at progriff dot com

Recording an Electric Guitar or Bass Without an Amplifier

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Hi! I am Benson Lim from Melbourne, Australia. For the first week of “Introduction To Music Production”, I’ll be showing you an easy way to record an electric guitar or a bass without an amplifier using a very simple use DAW software called Garage Band on a Mac. OS X has a very low audio latency and pretty much works out of the box. Since Mac OS X runs on UNIX, it is quite stable as well. Garage Band, though simple is quite a good DAW for beginners like myself.

For this tutorial, you can either use an audio mixer or a cheap ¼ inch TS to USB interface like the Pod Studio GX. In this tutorial, I’ll be using a my Yamaha Mixer because I lent my Pod Studio GX to my friend. Before you start, be sure to install the necessary drivers on your Mac.

First, connect your mixer or your ¼ inch TS to USB interface to the USB port. Typically, a mixer would require an external power to work, however devices like the Pod Studio GX does not require any external power to work.

connect usb to mac

To verify that your equipment works, click on the Apple Logo –> System Preferences –> Sound –> Input Tab. You should be able to see your device listed in the device selector.

System preferences

Now that you know that your USB interface is working, plug your ¼ inch TS cable into your guitar and connect the other end into the mixer (which says Line In).

ts cable

On your mixer, make sure you turn on the button for Channel 1. Like what was thought in the first lecture, make sure that your volume doesn’t go all the way up, causing the equalizer to go to the “red” area. Strum your guitar, and make sure that your equalizer receives signal from your guitar.

turn it on

So to summarize, your connection should look something like this:

diagram

Next, open up Garage Band and select “Empty Project”

empty project

Then, select the option “Record guitar or bass using GarageBand as an amp”. Remember, eventhough you can listen to yourself via your computer, there will always be a slight delay. Using your guitar amplifier as a monitor is always recommended.

instrument selection

Before we start recording, make sure that your output device and input device points to the correct devices. On the menu, go to GarageBand –> Preferences –> Audio/MIDI tab.

garageband system pref

Finally, we can start recording. On the left hand panel, you can select your guitar effects. I would recommend using clean sound when recording and then changing your effects during post production. We want to make sure that the DAW is using as less CPU power as possible. Strum your guitar and you should be able to see GarageBand picking up the sound from your guitar. In the event where you change your mind and decide to use your guitar amp as a monitor, just click on the orange button (Input Monitoring) to disable monitoring from your computer.

brit and clean

Click on the record button and start recording.

record

Once you’re done, you might want to share your recording with your friend or ask an expert to do some post production. Go to Share –> Export Song to Disk. If you’re going to share the song with a friend for demo purpose, I would recommend exporting to MP3 since the file will be smaller and have better compression. If you need to save the song in a higher quality for post production, use AIFF (24 bit). I do not recommend AAC because not all devices in the market supports the AAC format.

Thank you for reading this simple tutorial. I hope that you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.

Finally Moved to iOS

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As a long time Android user (since HTC Hero back in 2009 mind you), the release of iOS 7 finally caught my eye. Sure, I wouldn’t be able to root my phone and install custom roms and kernels on my phone, but I’ve always loved Apple’s polished user interface and ease of use. So yes, it’s been a while since I’ve itching to own an iDevice. Finally, there was a 1 hour flash sale from Wireless 1 which was selling the iPad Mini Retina for AUD$383.

Here are some apps that I’ve been using so far after a month using my iPad.

Alien Blue Reddit Client

Alien Blue is a Reddit client. Incase you do not know what Reddit is, Reddit is a social networking and news site where registered users can submit contents. Unlike Bacon Reader, I’ve felt that Alien Blue feels more light weight. Alien Blue only cost me USD$4.99 which is the same price as a cup of coffee.

alien blue reddit client

Newsify RSS Reader

Like me, if you’ve moved to Feedly from Google Reader, you might want to check out Newsify. Newsify allows you to sync with Feedly and download your unread items into your iPad. Newsify is free but it’ll come with advertisements. I’ve used it so much that I end up buying it.

Newsify RSS Reader

CloudMagic Email Client

CloudMagic was free a few weeks ago, so I’ve decided to download and test this email client. CloudMagic is an email client that allows you to sync your email from multiple email accounts. I’ve only tested with GMail and my work’s exchange email. Seems to be working well for me.

Cloudmagic Email Client

Evernote

Evernote is a cloud based notepad that allows you to sync your notes from your tablet, computers or your phones. I find it extermely useful for me to write down my tax claims, songs, poems, thoughts and lectures.

Evernote

Spotify

Spotify allows you to stream music from the internet. If you’re willing to pay for the premium membership, you can download the songs into your device so that you can listen to the songs when you do not have any internet connectivity around.

Spotify

Bible

I’ve been using this version of the Bible since the day I owned the HTC Hero. This app allows you to bookmark, highlight and switch between the versions of Bible.

Bible

GarageBand

As a synthesizer player, I enjoy the simplicity and ease of Garage Band. This app allows me to record or even be a synthesizer as well. The app is free, but I would recommend buying the extra sound contents which is part of it’s in app purchase.

Novation Launchpad

I’m not a DJ but Novation’s Launchpad is quite fun to play with. The basic EDM has alot of catchy beats and tunes. So if you need to impress some one, try Launchpad :)

Novation Launchkey

Another fun app from Novation, the Launchkey is another Synthesizer app that I use.

Sovereign Hill

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To experience the old Victorian mining days, one should visit Sovereign Hill in Ballarat. On the day when we visit Sovereign Hill, it was a scorching 45 Degrees Celcius. Good times!

town Feels like I’ve went back to time and warped to a cowboy town.

looking for gold Visitors trying to look for gold flakes.

billboards Old style advertising.

gun man And a guy showing us how to fire an old school rifle.

Cape Schanck Lighthouse

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I’ve been to Rye many times but one day, my aunt’s friend told me about Cape Schanck Lighthouse. So we’ve decided to check it out. No disappointment at all because it is a nice spot to take pictures and fishing.

stairs and more stairs Nice fishing area

Big Day Out 2014

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I was pretty excited about BDO 2014 because it was my first music festival ever since I moved to Melbourne. My main highlights were Violent Soho, Primus, Mud Honey, The Hives, Beady Eye, Arcade Fire and Pearl Jam. Which one was the most memorable? That’ll be Beady Eye. Not because their performance was awesome, but Liam Galagher threw a hissy fit at the end of the gig because the crowd only respond to Oasis songs.

main stage The two main stage at BDO 2014.

Primus Primus with the bass legend, Les Claypool.

The Killers Not a fan of The Killers, but they gave us one hell of a performance!

Mud Honey Mud Honey, which I heard some of the members from Pearl Jam are from.

Beady Eye Beady Eye with the ultimate hissy fit at the end of the show. Basically Oasis without Noel.

Pearl Jam And finally, we have Pearl Jam. Now I can rest in peace.

Everyone enjoying Pearl Jam Everyone enjoying Pearl Jam.

A Camping Trip to Portland

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End of December 2013, our Church’s Young Adults group decided to get away from the hustle and bustle of the Melbourne city. Our group leader, Dara proposed that we drove 4 hours to a town in western Victoria called Portland. Eventhough it is 1 month into summer, the weather was quite cold in Portland. We stayed at a caravan park, but since none of us has a caravan, we stayed in a tent.

Hiking We started our adventure in Portland with a nice bush walking session. Sunset during hiking Until the sun sets….

Light House Jumlie is trying to fit a local light house onto his hand.

Wind turbines Full of wind turbines by the coast. Clean energy for everyone!

beach Eventhough the weather was nice and sunny, the water was pretty cold.

Local tram A local tram carrying mostly visitors.

South Australian border Mount Gambier On our second last day, we drove to a town near the border between South Australia and Victoria called Mount Gambier.

Hope City Centre 2013 Christmas Fete

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On the 8th of December 2013, Hope City Centre Melbourne had a Christmas Garage Sale called “The Christmas Fete 2013”. There were stalls selling books, clothes, toys and collectable items. There’s even a sausage sizzle outside the Church and a photo taking booth.

Garage Sale Everyone was busy setting up the stalls before the sale was open to the public.

Photo Booth Our worship team taking a potential album cover picture.

DJ Booth My DJ booth playing Christmas Jazz songs.

Spring Is Here

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Oh Spring is here!
The magpies are near,
Creating fear,
As they come for your ear

Oh Spring is here!
The flowers are blooming,
And so the bees are working,
Distance away you could hear sneezing,
With allergies that were so severe

Oh Spring is here!
With the rising temperature!
It’s once again for BBQ and beer!

cherry blossoms

Some valley near Maribyrnong river

Simple Pizza

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Thanks Daniel Long for the simple to make pizza!

pizza

Ingredients:

  • Ready made pizza base (I know this is cheating, but hey, this is a recipe for the lazies)
  • Tomato Paste
  • Chilli Flakes
  • Mozarella (Shredded)
  • Tasty Cheese (Shredded)
  • Choice of Kabana, Bacon or Salami (Or all of them!)
  • Mushroom
  • Baby Spinach
  • Mixed Herbs

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C
  2. Take a table spoon of tomato paste and spread it around the pizza base
  3. Sprinkle chilli flakes evenly around the pizza base
  4. Add the tasty cheese around the base. Be slightly generous it’s the cheese that glues the toppings to the base
  5. Add your choice of meat and then cover it with mozarella cheese (which acts like a glue to the toppings too)
  6. Add your your mushroom, and then cover it with mozarella cheese
  7. Add your baby spinach and then add some olive oil on top of it.
  8. Put into the oven for 20 minutes

Wednesday Night Prayer

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Do we always have to wait until the Senior Pastor calls for a night prayer and then we’ll get together as a Church to pray? We should be praying everyday, constantly interacting with God. We should just get together with our friends from Church to pray together as well.

I’ve seen with my own eyes that the power of prayers are very powerful. It heals relationship, heals life and brings back people to the light. Whoever is reading this, I urge you to get together with your friends or families and pray.

ps. Add candles. Candles are awesome ;)

prayer night