Mastering the Maschine

I have been having a bit of a play on a new piece of kit I purchased for the studio a while back called Native Instruments Maschine Studio. It’s a cool input device that is ideal for writing dance orientated tracks (although you can use it for anything you like). Some of the sounds in the thing are immense, especially the drum samples and bass synths – in fact it would take me a month to go through all the sounds available to me! Think of it as a synth without the keys – you have trigger pads instead.

maschine2

I did actually buy it a while ago but not really had a massive need to use it in my music production so far but today I thought it was time to see what it can actually do. It was good not to have played around with it for a while as I started afresh and distanced myself from thinking of it as just another synth. Although the following track is not a musical masterpiece it is a good example of a soundtrack destined for an indie game developer.

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What can a blog do for you?

If you do not have a blog then the question is why not? I think that blogs are a very underestimated technology that many people overlook, especially in business. There are some major success stories out there and many websites that you look at are actually using the blogging platform unbeknown to the surfer. So I suppose the question is what can a blog do for you?

First we need to actually define what a blog is so for those who already know feel free to jump ahead. In it’s basic form a blog is a way of getting news, reviews and other content out there quickly with no fuss or HTML knowledge (although it can help). Think of it this way – you already have a website that you have had professionally designed but you can not instantly add offers, news or anything else you desire very easily, often you may even need the web designer to do it for you which takes time and money. Instead you may consider having a page on your main website where you can run a blog, which in turn means that you can update it very easily – in fact it is just as easy as facebook once it is set up.

So, what is a blog for? Anything you want is the answer to that. It can be a personal one where you just have a nice place to vent your fury, share your photos, keep in touch with friends, post reviews or whatever else you can think of and it will all be presented in a nice and tidy fashion. In a professional sense it can be used for latest news and offers, new product information and much more. Furthermore it is easy as pie to update it anytime you want either on your computer or even on your iPad/iPhone etc.

So, who use blogs? A multitude of people and businesses use blogs. I would guess that most of you watch the television and have heard references to food, travel and other types of blogger. There are individuals who have become very successful in running blogs that review restaurants, holiday destinations, electronic goods and more. To illustrate this better consider the following scenario:

You are a self employed builder who has a fair amount of knowledge and decide to set up a blog all about the building industry. You post useful information about planning for the installation of a conservatory, or perhaps a hints and tips post about what tools to use when building a shed. As time passes and you continue to keep your blog updated on a regular basis you start to get a following from DIY’ers, people from the building trade or people that are just interested in how things are built, in fact it does not even need to be totally about the trade you actually carry out. Well here is the beauty of it – your blog is hosted on your own website which means you have a monopoly on advertising your services! There are some very well known companies who run blogs that are pretty irrelevant to the actual product or industry they participate in, some of them are just for entertainment purposes but they do aim it at a certain demographic that may be interested in their product or service but don’t know it yet! By getting a following of people that like the blog they have also got a monopoly on advertising their product on that blog. If the blog is actually linked to from their website then they are getting a great flow of traffic too, which can be very attractive to other advertisers who will pay you to advertise their product. It’s a win-win situation. You can even integrate it with your Facebook, Twitter etc.

Here are just a few examples of websites that use the blogging platform that you have probably heard of: Huffington Post, Mashable, LifeHacker, Tech Crunch, Endgadget, and Kotaku.

How do you blog? There are many free platforms out there which are pretty easy to set up such as Tumblr and Blogger which are adequate for personal blogging and they will even host the blog for free. Probably the best out there is WordPress which, for a more professional image, can be hosted on your own website which means you can have a nice URL which fits in with your business or interest rather than one that starts with tumblr/username/whatever etc.

Once you have your blog set up the way you like then it is very simple to add posts to it. If you can use Facebook then you can use a blogging platform. Of course you can get a bit deeper and make it really cool in the styling of it to stop it looking the same as every other personal blog out there (you can spot them a mile away once you know what to look for).

I recommend WordPress running on your own server (your own website) and getting it installed by someone who knows what they are doing (yes me!!!). Then, with a little bit of effort and perhaps a bit of guidance you may well be on the way to having a world famous blog, or at least getting some extra traffic to your main website. People have made millions from their blogs worldwide!

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Help NOAH and get the free debut album from Sanity Bypass

Sanity Bypass Album Giveaway - please donate to NOAH charity

Coming up to Christmas I often think of people less fortunate than you or me (please bear with me) and as I am not a rich person and continually live hand to mouth (but am happy enough) I can not afford to make big donations to charities so I have given 2 years of my life in writing an album called Safety Pin which I am giving away totally free in the hope that you can make a small donation to a local charity called NOAH in Bedfordshire which does a huge amount for the homeless.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

The album was due to be released commercially on iTunes and had funding to do so but I have never been under any illusions that I would ever make any money or gain celebrity status from it – and that has never been the driving force behind writing it in the first place as some of you may already know. I have made the decision that if I give it away for free then I may be able to help this charity in some small way, even if it is just by making you aware that the charity exists. Any donations, or even just sharing this post with everyone you know on Facebook etc will make the whole thing worthwhile to me.

You can listen to Ground Zero, a track about the homeless right here.

UPDATE: The response so far has been good and people are making donations to NOAH http://www.noahenterprise.org/get-involved/donations/

PLEASE HIT ONE OF THE SHARE BUTTONS BELOW TO SPREAD THE NEWS AND HELP THIS CHARITY.

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Out with the old, in with the new

Well, I have finally taken the plunge and switched to WordPress for my blog. Whilst I was at it I pulled down my old website, gave it a good old shake and a new lick of paint. It still needs a few final whistles and bells but in essence I am happy with it at last! When Postorous was alive I always used that for my blogs but it went belly up so I was forced to change and decided Tumblr would be my platform of choice simply because the iPhone app was available when few others were. I did not get on well with Tumblr in the long run and switched to Blogger which was OK and I still have a couple of blogs running on that.

In the end, and I hope this is the end, I decided that I wanted a blog that I could actually install on my main website so finally took the plunge and now I am a fully fledged WordPresser! I have not bothered pulling any of my old stuff over as I feel a new start can be a really cool thing as it will force me to actually start writing again.

Thanks for popping by and I hope you will visit again soon to see what I have done with this blog.

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