Sunday, June 30, 2013

Cleaner power.

As a Singaporean, I only remember the rare blackout, and do not remember having any brownouts at all.

Not so much living overseas. At my London rental, I've noticed the lights slowly dim and brighten. Brownout. But this particular apartment in Montreal is quite bad. Everytime the fridge's compressor kicks in, the lights will flicker, and it will flicker at odd times as well, which I would assume is the neighbour's high power appliances engaging. I've already had one short blackout a few weeks ago.

To protect my electronic babies, I've got a Tripplite Smart 1500LCDT. Compact little thing but weighs a fair bit. It's main use is as a UPS during blackouts, which I don't really need since I only run laptops, but the other features like voltage regulation - to combat brownouts - were exactly what I needed.

After installing it, I found some of my headphone outputs no longer humm and buzz. Previously, they did, even with the volume knob at zero. Win! Testing the UPS today, it seems like the 1500VA capacity is probably overkill. A pair of studio monitors, audio interface, laptop and sample drive don't seem to consume much power at all, with the UPS indicating over an hour run time on batteries.

Guess if I ever get a new UPS, I'll definitely be scaling down my requirements. Heck, now that I think about it, the laptops don't even need to be plugged into the UPS powered sockets, just the surge protected sockets.

Alternatively, instead of a UPS with voltage regulation, a line conditioner will probably do just as well. Ah well. Live and learn.

In other news, I've decreased my room's lighting consumption from 3x 40W incandescent lights to 2x 6W LED lights (which produce 40W equivalent lighting each).

I wonder if the cost of running LED lighting outweighs the cost of actually producing the LED lighting. Previously in London, I'd swapped most of my lights to LEDs as well, and don't remember seeing it impacting that much on my energy bill. The flipside is during winter, incandescent lights actually help warm my room, not so much with LEDs!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Evidently my phone is the epitome of wireless connection.

Finally got internet access today! Took awhile to sort out the passwords and stuff, and also had to figure out some hardware difficulties. The wireless router that came with the package, a Sagemcom 2684 was choking over the wireless connection for both my linux and osx machines. Packets were dropped when I tried to ping google. Oddly enough, my Nexus 4 was using the connection at full speed.

Switching over to ethernet (good lord, first time I touched an ethernet cable in years!), my macbook was running at full speed. Seems like the laptops didn't like the Automatic Wireless A/G/N setups. Setting it to Wireless G and presto! Stuff works now.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Got a new toy: Neato XV-11

Got a Neato XV-11 in the mail today. I'd always imagined the robo vaccums to be the size of a small pizza, but MadCat was of a more generous proportion. Out of the box, all I had to do was unscrew one of MadCat's battery compartments, and connect a battery pack. There are two batteries, and the other was already connected.

As I had to pull some extra time at work today, I arrived home later than I hoped, so only ran MadCat for a short while in my tiny kitchen. It does as it says on the box, avoiding stuff and sucking up crap. Very loudly, I must add.

I only let MadCat clean a tiny portion of the kitchen, and upon checking the collection box, was quite surprised at how much it sucked up.

Unlike my London studio, this new place in Montreal is very windy, and I was very dismayed to find out how quickly dust accumulates in the living room. A sweep + mop doesn't last more than a day before I find things becoming dusty.

I get this "eww must dust feet off before climbing into sofa" before bedtime. Yes, I do not have a bed. Yet.

MadCat still needs to be upgraded with some key components, like racing stripes and maybe a Singapore flag. Ideally, I'd like to mount one of those usb mini-rocket launchers on MadCat (two, LRM20s...) but I think the laser rangefinder won't like obstructions.

Anyways, enough crap. I've read loads of bad reviews for the XV-11 online, so I thought I'd post some stats from MadCat's LCD. I also bought this from on Saturday, and got it in the afternoon today. Pretty swift!

MadCat is also very adorable. When I pick it up, the LCD displays: "Please put me down on the floor" :D Awwwwww! Using personal pronouns is just so cuddly! :3

I think MadCat will be a fine companion in my travels, and I hope NOT to write more about him, unless things go sour and I'll record my experiences in the blog.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Strangers In The Night

Took forever! I recorded this months ago in Singapore, but only got my example drive unpacked last week. I think the Audio Technica ATR3350 is a great mic for the price, and pairs well with the Zoom H1.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


It's the long weekend, and my plans to buy a piano have failed. But whatever, I've got more things I need for my flat - like a lamp - and now I can actually read books at night without hanging out in the mini-kitchen :P

Went over to MoogAudio to pick up a midi controller today, and found that the wall besides their building that was cleaned out has been replaced with new art. Saaaweet!

I also had a package to pick up (on a Sunday!), seems like the post office is open every single day! OMG. I also finally tried the busses today, man they are good, quick and the two buses I took had really friendly drivers.
And after a month in Canada, I finally bought some maple syrup to try :P Has a hint of a smokey flavour, I'm not sure if this is due to the brand, or natural.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

My addiction

Yesterday evening was the start of a surprise 3 day long weekend, with next week ALSO another long weekend. Which is nice, as this week has been rather long at work. Headed over to a big music shoppe, Archambault to get the French edition of The Lion King - in the hopes that watching a film that I am very familiar with, I can pick up some of the language.
They have a whole floor, and a large floor at that, dedicated to music and sheet music of all sorts. I was like in heaven. There were so many version of The Well Tempered Clavier in print, as well as beginner versions. The photo above shows one of the many, many display units. This particular one filled with just Bach related pieces. Another section to the right had loads of chopin. ARGH!

Another set of shelves featured loads of music from film and video game music. I seriously had a hard time resisting the urge to pick up the Super Mario piano books, and there were piano pieces from The Piano (Michael Nyman), The Life Of Pi, The Lion King and sooo many others. After much deliberation I set down the Super Mario book.... walked around the corner and BAM this was staring at me in the face. I had to get this. The pieces inside are rather difficult for my level, but I just had to.

Now... I really need to replace my beloved CP33...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Lol power outage.

Just when I was checking out surge protectors, UPSes and line conditioners, the power went out lol. Synchronicity or what? I really want to get brownout protection, UPS? Not so much.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The new pad

I've finally moved in to the new place, and unlike my previous place where it was semi furnished, this one is in the "unfurnished, but with appliances" category. So, apart from a mostly empty room (I got a table and sofa from the previous tenant), I have a stove, fridge and washing machine at my disposal. There is no dryer, so I still need to get a drying rack.

Also, there is no internet >.> It takes over two weeks for the provider I signed up with to get it setup, so I'm typing this over my phone's 3g connection.

One thing I'm really liking about Montreal is the water. It tastes rather good out of the tap, and there doesn't seem to be limescale at all in my toilet.

Power also seems to be an issue in this building. The lights flicker and dim when appliances start up, so I will also need to get a line conditioner for my electronics to deal with the brownouts.

Finally, I still need to get a bed, and found a nice single futon base on craigslist, but I seem to have difficult arranging a time with the current owner. Once that is in the flat, I can get a mattress of sorts, and I think I'm good to go.

Ok, so I still want a piano....

Monday, June 10, 2013

Weekend Move: Fail

So, yesterday I moved most of my belongings into my new place, and decided to call it a day as it was rather late and most of the places I wanted to buy stuff at were closed, so, Sunday then.

Sadly, alot more shops were not even open over the weekend, so decided to just make the best of the day and visit what shops that were open. I decided to head over to Canadian Tire to check out what kind of household stuff they had there, and stopped by the Jean Talon Market as well as Italmelodie, a music shop, on the way there.
Jean Talon seems like a great place... if I could cook :P
Definitely will pick up a cook book to explore shortly, but considering I don't even have a mattress or even a pillow in my new apartment.... :P
 The F1 races are on in Montreal this weekend, and most of St Laurent is just blocked off for partying and this stretch near Little Italy had a whole stretch of cars being displayed.
 Got a few beautiful mustangs out there, didn't shoot those though.
 Dynamic range of the phone cameras are sadly lacking...
Arrived at Canadian Tire but didn't see much I wanted, so headed off downtown to get some crockery for the kitchen. Probably need to head out and lunch time to buy a saucepan and kettle and I should be sorted for that aspect of the house.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Irish Sessions in Montreal

Was going through some of my older youtube videos and got reminded about the number of Irish whistles I brought along with me :P Promptly googled and found this hit, Siamsa (Irish for "pleasant music diversion, according to the site!)

Looks like something to add to my to do list :3

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Unity + Playmaker

I got Playmaker months ago, but finally found time to figure out how it works. I think it's great, decreases the time required to prototype stuff. Looking forward to using it.
And.... seems like there are street pianos in Montreal :3 Can't wait to get my paws on this beauty tomorrow after work :3