Notes from Untalenz, an untalented old muso.

G'day, I'm an Australian semi-retired computer programmer and sysadmin.   I'll be using this web site to track progress in my new musical hobby.

I was studying music at school in the '60's and '70s, up to the end of high school, and singing in choirs as well as playing in school bands.   I started playing recorder, which morphed into flute, then piccolo.   Later my music teacher imported the first set of hand bells into Australia, so I learned that to.   Bunch of us standing there with a tuned bell in each hand, when it came time to play one of your two notes, you rang it.

Then in the '80s I was working in R&D (research and development) designing MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) equipment, and hanging out with bands.   So I got a decent grounding in what electronic musicians did late last century.   These days I'm a semi-retired computer programmer and sysadmin, which basically means that when I apply for a job I say "I have four decades of experience." and they say "You are too old, go away.".

I learn technical things REALLY quickly.   Learning a programming language in an hour, being expert in it in a week.   One of my bosses bought himself a fancy computerised motorised mixing desk, threw the manual at me, and said "I'll be back in an hour, teach me how to use it." and I did.   At RMIT I found out I can't learn a computer language in a semester, that's just too slow.   So they let me just sit the exam for that subject, I cracked open the text book an hour before, and got a perfect score.   The electronics lecturer asked me to get something wrong in the exam for that subject, so I misspelled her name.

Couple of years ago I built myself a super desktop computer.   AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X 64-Core CPU with 256 GB of RAM.   MSI Creator TRX40 motherboard which has a Realtek ALC1220 7.1 channel HD audio is the main sound chip, it feeds the sockets at the back.   Also a ALC4050 is the USB front end for the ALC1220, as well as feeding the front panel microphone and headphone sockets and the S/PDIF output on the back.   I don't have any other S/PDIF equipment.   Somewhere mixed in with that is an internal speaker / buzzer output which I don't think I plugged into anything.   I also have a Plantronics RIG, which is a sorta mini mixer / USB sound card combo.   The AMD graphics card (Sapphire Pulse RX 5600 XT BE 6GB GDDR6 PCI-E) has SIX audio devices, even though it only has four physical outputs, two Display Ports and two HDMI.   One of my monitors has some crappy little speakers on the bottom, I wasn't buying it for the sound quality.

Near the end of 2022 I stumbled across an Alesis V25 MIDI keyboard that a neighbour had thrown out.   It had been sitting in a box outside soaking in dirty water coz it had rained and the box had other garbage in it.   I pulled it apart, dried it, cleaned it, regreased it, put it back together, it works perfectly, and the lady who threw it out said I could keep it.   I had been thinking for a while that I should buy something like this, read the reviews, lots of which used the word "durable", and if I had bought one, this model would have been on my short list.   So starting New Years Eve 2022 (while I've been on holiday) I started learning how to play it and learning about all this fancy new music software that didn't exist in the '80s, plus relearning music theory.   I use Linux, including JACK stuff, and I use ALSA as the backend.

I tried a bunch of DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) software, using a MIDI file of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells as my torture test.   Most of them couldn't handle it.   I have settled on using MusE.

I listen to music all day every day.   Mostly a local radio station SBS Chill.   My favourite band is Pink Floyd.   I'm very good at writing English, and at mangling lyrics.   However I don't think I'll be any good at writing tunes, anything I might come up with is likely a decades old ear worm that has been rattling around in my head since I first heard it.   So I'm likely to just do covers with mangled lyrics.

So I've been working on a cover for Pink Floyd's "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" (the live version), to relearn musical theory, practice my new keyboard playing skills, and get familiar with the software.   Mine will be a bit drum'n'bass, and a bit reggae dub.   The original is mostly bass and drums anyway.   I've modified the lyrics to be about climate change.   I'll likely work on another Pink Floyd cover next, "Another bug in the code", I already wrote the modified lyrics.

Outside of music I do a lot of stuff with OpenSim based virtual worlds and the code for that.   Basically that's this new "metaverse" hype, except most of what they hype about metaverse has been in OpenSim for over a decade.   OpenSim is an open source write from scratch of the Second Life server.   The viewers are compatible, but anyone can run a world now.   And travel between worlds, bringing your avatar and stuff with you, chatting with friends between worlds, etc.   I have been paid in the past to work on that stuff.

I'm the package mirror herder for Devuan Linux.


0) I've recently moved, to a place with no radio receiver.   So now I listen to this Internet radio station all day - SomaFM

1) I've recently moved again! This has taken up waaay too much time, so not getting as far as I like with my music.


0) cover Pink Floyd's Set the controls for the heart of the sun


I prefer to be known as a figment of the 'nets imagination, living in the future, waiting for the rest of you to catch up.