My point of view of everything!

Welcome to the world of the Oracle-Mike!

If humanity is the only intelligence in the universe, the universe is screwed!

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

X/Y Midi Pads on the cheap for muscial goodness

So, after a few months of not posting here is another one of my projects;

I recently purchased an AKAI MPK mini 25 note keyboard with drum pads.

This is a great piece of kit, but due to its portable size, does not have pitch or mod wheels;

Searching the web does not produce much other than 2 ideas.

1. Sell the keyboard and buy the AKAI APK49 - larger keys and pitch and mod wheels
2. Use a Pocket PC as an X/Y pad for pitch and mod control.

Number 1 is out as I just bought the thing and love its compact size... So.

The second option it is then;

I use Reason Essentials 1.5.1 as my main DAW (Or try to as I am not very musical, ROFL)

Here is the process I used to get a spare Windows Mobile 2003 Pocket PC (Dell Axim X51) working as an X/Y pad with Reason. (just like this one, but I have run it on many different versions of pocket PC as long as it can run .Net framework!)


Using google, search for LoopBe1 midi loopback driver - LoopBE1, download it and install it to your main machine

Install Active Sync 4.5 if you are using Windows XP, or use Windows Mobile Connection centre if you have W7

Search on google for Theresa Pocket PC Theresa Download and download the ZIP file and extract it to your desktop to a folder called Theresa

From the Theresa folder on your desktop, copy the server folder to somewhere accessible on your main machine and create a shortcut to the .EXE file (So you can run it easy when you need it) - You can set it to auto load, but I dont like too many things loaded unless I need them

Connect the Pocket PC to your main Pc and allow it to be detected and with Active Sync or Mobile Centre, then cancel when asked to set up a partnership (This is not needed. You can set one up if you wish though)

Explore the PDA/Pocket PC device and copy the client folder from the Theresa folder on your desktop to somewhere on the PDA or a memory card

Run the server exe file from where you copied it and you will get a new T icon on the task bar - It should have a little red dot at its top right

Run the client exe on the PDA

You will be presented with the main Theresa screen on the PDA. At top right is the power button to close the app. Next to it you will find the config button. Select this and you can choose which port the software will affect.

Click on the top option (DEVICE:) and you will be presented with a list of available ports on the PC. Select the LoopBe1 Midi driver/port and click ok. You have now set up Theresa to output midi data to the correct PC input driver

You can also change the skin of the software to match one of your favourite 'Real life' Midi Controllers

On your main PC, fire up Reason or Essentials or any other DAW you use (They should all work about the same)

Edit preferences and add a new control surface as 'Other', do not do an autodetect as nothing new will be found.

Now select the Advanced tab and enable loopbe1 midi driver as another input device.

You should now have 2 green ticks for input devices (one for your main input keyboard and another for the PDA X/Y Pad)

Close the window and add an instrument to Reason - Test it with your keyboard to make sure you get sounds

On the Theresa screen you will see little numbers in the green bar above each slider/pad area. This is the MIDI number that is transmitted when Theresa is used.

Click on each number to change it to your preferred MIDI channel/note/value etc

I changed the botton left vertical slider from 105 to 110 (This is the value of the LFO rate for OSC 2 in SubTractor analogue synth module)

Play a note and move the slider up and down with the PDA stylus - your synth sound should change as you move the slider, or whizz around on the top left pad.

Voila - a cheap (if not free) X/Y Midi controller - Its not quite a Kaosscilator or a Korg Nano Pad, but its not bad.

(I will add more screen shots as and when I get chance)


Friday, 1 June 2012

More Speeding about.


So my new processor upgrade is working well.

I have gone up from Quad Core AMD X640 @ 3.0ghz to Quad Core Xeon W3520 with HT @ 2.67ghz

Up from 4 threads to 8 threads, the drop in CPU Ghz against the AMD is made up for by the better instruction set support of the Intel chip. DX11 benchmarks speak for themselves!

Powered by Unigine Engine

Heaven Benchmark v3.0 Basic

Min FPS:
Max FPS:


Windows 32bit Visual C++ 1600 Release Mar 7 2012
Operating system:
Windows 7 (build 7601, Service Pack 1) 64bit
CPU model:
Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU W3520 @ 2.67GHz
CPU flags:
GPU model:
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 SE 1023Mb


1680x1050 2xAA fullscreen

Impressed!!!! - 31fps @ 1680 x 1050 and only 1 GFX card (Not sure I need SLI at all) - All that with 32bit binaries too!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Everyone needs their daily Fibre

Finally after waiting 4 days for the router to turn up, along came postman pat yesterday with the shiny new sky fibre router.

Broadband back online at a speedy 40Mbps :)

Happy bunny.

Now all I need to for Sky to re-credit me 4 days of Fibre rental and I'll be an even happier bunny!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Today's the day!

The teddy bears have their picnic - Oh wait, thats not right.

... That BTOpenreach install my Fibre connection. Thats better. Exactly what it happening today!

One of my colleagues who lives but 1 mile from me had it installed yesterday and reports 38mbps download!


Phone Fiasco

So the LG phone still did not work. A fully charged battery lasted me about 8 hours on standby - A long way from the 350Hrs (Max) that has been quoted around the net.

Rang Orange customer services - "Sorry sir, the phone is more than 6 months old" - Orange wash their hands of it

Rang LG customer services - "Try a new battery"

Interestingly, the phone was sent away with a PCB locked to Orange installed with Froyo (2.2). It seems to have come back with a PCB that is unlocked to any network installed with Gingerbread (2.35) - Thanks LG, the only good thing from this phone is that it is now worth more 'trade-in' because its unlocked and officially upgraded!

Fed up with LG, android and 3D phones so I have traded it in at CEX and got an iPhone 3Gs. - I know its not cutting edge like the LG Optimus 3D, but sometimes cutting edge is just not worth the hasstle. I never really used the 3D because the battery died after about 1 hour of snaps or video.

Its a very battered iPhone, but there are ways to make it look better - The fact that it works as a phone should work and the battery last ages is all I am now worried about.

Maybe I am growing up???

NAH! - Never happen! ROFL.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Got my phone back!

So my LG Optimus 3D has been playing up! NO surprise there as about 90% of owners have had issues.

I sent it away for a warranty repair about 2 weeks ago.

Yesterday it came back to me with a little note attached.

"Unfortunately, we have been unable to repair your handset. Instead, we have replaced the main system board. Because of this, your phone now has an new IMEI number"

OOOOOO - is it fixed?

The answer has yet to be fathomed as it works quicker, but no one has phoned me on it so I cant tell if it still sounds like I am under water or not!

Updates to follow!

Boats and Dragons - Who'd have thought

So a couple of weekends ago we went to Salford Quays to watch the Dragon Boat racing.

It was not as good as I hoped and we ended up going shopping instead!

Anyway - Here is the one race that I filmed!

Dragons, Boats and Racing!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Speed Freak

Just upgraded my Sky unlimited broadband to Fibre unlimited. 40Mbps for £12.50 extra! woo hoo streaming tv and HD online vids here I come!


EPIC FAIL on skys part! - It appears that over 3000 people have failed to receive their routers for the fibre upgrade. ME INCLUDED!

When I spoke to Sky they informed me that they knew there was a problem with the routers and that they would be received within 5 days of the service going live!

So ... 5 days (possibly) without internet connection! - Where are we, the Victorian times?

No indication from Sky that there is/was a problem. They sent me a text confirming the engineer visit, but no text to say there would be a delay in the router shipment. GGGRRR - 1 little text and I would have re-arranged the engineer visit for another time.

(If you do re-arrange the engineer visit, you have to wait another 14 days!)

Because I have had the day off work, I did not want to cancel, and anyhoo, I recon there is a way round this - Sky recon that the original router will not work with the BTOpenreach service - I'm not so convinced - Hack Hack Hack .... and see what we get Back!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Liverpool Sea Odyssey Puppet Show!

So today we went to Liverpool to see the Finale of the Sea Odyssey Puppet show.

Marking the 100 years since the sinking of the Titanic, the story is about a little girl (and her dog - Xolo) waiting for a letter from her father, only it never arrived, and her Uncle who sets out to find the missing letter and return it to the girl.

Liverpool Sea Odyssey

Check out my vids of the day on youtube

Puppets galore!