My First Drum Cover

January has been a month with not much free time, but for a glimpse of how I’ve been spending what little I’ve had, check out this video below:

Yes, I’ve finally recorded my first drum cover, using #41 by Dave Matthews Band. I’ve been excited to get into doing drum covers and open up a new chapter in my drumming.  Not only do I get a chance to apply my drumming towards some fun songs, but also this gives me a chance to learn about recording and video production.

For Christmas my family gifted me with a set of drum mics, along with the stands, mounts and cables necessary for recording.  I then got an audio interface (specifically a Tascam US-1800) to connect everything to my laptop via USB.  After getting a passable sound, I was eager to set out and record my first song. #41 is one I’ve always enjoyed playing and made a fun one out of the gate.  I set up a couple of mixes of the song: one with a click track identified, along with a mix with diminished drums – of which I found out was more difficult to make than thought. It turns out that it’s tough EQ’ing drums out of a mix without making the song sound empty.  Ultimately I tried to get the bass drum out of the mix, then diminish the rest. I think the results here were mixed.

I then set out to do some takes.  My goal here was to get something out quickly, so I did sacrifice a little bit of quality in terms of my playing and the ultimate mix.  If I were recording original music, contributing to a final drum mix, I would have spent a lot more time to do more compression and EQ’ing to get that perfect sound. For the purpose of these the video, I was pretty satisfied with the sound of my drums.

Next up was the video.  Using the Nikon D7000 that we bought for Clara last year, I mounted the camera on the tripod and used it as the primary camera. The video quality on the Nikon is pretty impressive, especially when stationary.  I then mounted a little web cam on a lamp to capture an overhead angle, outputting the video to another laptop. For my next video, I’m anxious to try some additional angles, as well as a different overhead angle. In this one, I didn’t like how my face was cut off half of the time.  I also learned the embarrassing lesson that I need to clean my room before recording again.

This process taught me a lot, and after doing some mental trail-blazing, I’m anxious to give another song a try.  I’d definitely welcome any suggestions or feedback.

Feedly vs. Craigslist, Round 2: Everybody Loses

Well, it looks like Craigslist is at it again, this time fighting with Feedly, the popular RSS reader that has assumed Google Reader’s mantle. Feely is my go-to source for keeping up on RSS feeds, of which include several Craigslist feeds for keeping up on musician happenings (including my search for a new project).

Last fall, Feedly stopped getting updates from Craigslist, and neither side really talked about it too much. Feedly alluded to their poller being blocked by Craigslist, and when users asked, they referred us to Craigslist. Miraculously, about a month later, Feedly was getting updates and balance was once again restored..  until now.

Last weekend Craigslist feeds stopped updating again, and I suspect the same issue has come back to rear its ugly head.  Of course, there is no communication about this from either Feedly or Craigslist.  A few people have commented on GetSatisfaction, but I have yet to see any official statement from Feedly on what happened. Of course it’s virtually impossible to get any kind of support from Craigslist – so here we are in the same boat again: two companies in another cold war while their customers lose out.

Why am I quick to blame Craigslist – because they’ve done this before.  Craigslist, in their never-ending desire to look backwards on technology, has a history of hating RSS.  About a year ago, they changed all of their feeds from full-text to only providing summaries, forcing users to click through.  It’s a dick move, but one that’s tolerable.  Now they’re all-out blocking a useful tool like Feely from delivering their content to users.  At its core, all Feedly does is poll the feed, display the updates and then show the user where they last left off.  This isn’t different from any other news reader, except for the fact that Feedly stores this data in the cloud so different devices know when you last left off.

Craigslist, for being in the Alexa’s Top 15 for US web traffic, is a pretty terrible site. It’s bad enough that their design is still stuck in the 1990’s, but the fact that the battle aggregate technologies like RSS, then just block them without any reason or explanation.  The first time around I Tweeted their founder Craig Newmark (who doesn’t play any significant role in the company besides end-user support), and to his credit he did ask me to email him details and said he’d share this with the team – but I never got another response.  If their own founder is unable to get answers, then what hope do us lowly users have?  I love behind their peace sign logo and try to appear altruistic, but in reality they sacrifice the user experience to protect to collection of other people’s content.

Regardless at who’s at fault, whether this is malicious or accidental: would it kill either company to communicate to their users?

Update: Feedly responded on their blog, I react.