Monthly Archive for June, 2004

Cheapo piano

Costco currently has Casio’s Privia PX-100 electronic piano on sale, with a stand, for about CDN$700. I picked one up yesterday for my increasingly-crowded basement studio.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t consider buying a Casio instrument. But this one has 88 keys, velocity sensitive, and weighted for a fairly good piano-like feel. Its built-in samples sound like ass, but I don’t care, because it has MIDI output. I run the MIDI into my computer, where it goes into Steinberg’s ‘The Grand SE’ VST instrument, which sounds very good.

I ask you, where else can you get a decent-feeling 88-key weighted MIDI keyboard and stand for $700?

Added England/Germany trip diary and photos

In October 2002 I made a trip to England and Germany, to visit some friends. I’ve added my trip diary and photo album to the site.

Valuable lesson learned on the trip: the ATMs in Europe won’t give you money from an account that is on the “Savings” slot of your debit card. They’ll just give you an annoying cryptic error message. If you don’t want to be begging for spare change, bear this in mind.

Also added more pictures of the statue I bought in Vietnam. It has now cleared customs, and is waiting in a warehouse in Toronto for me to come get it. I’m trying now to work out a way to get this 400kg behemoth into my house and into its prepared place, without dropping it or getting anybody killed.

Here comes the traffic

For quite a while, I found that Google wasn’t indexing my site properly. From the logs, it appeared that the Googlebot would come by, read my robots.txt, and my index.html, and then nothing else. I couldn’t figure out why, my robots.txt was properly formatted as far as I could tell.

Did some reading, and found out that Google has created a lovely little Catch-22: your site won’t be indexed unless somebody already in the index links to it. So, who exactly is going to link to my site, if nobody knows it’s there? I’m not asking for a great PageRank or anything, but c’mon! At least put me in the index!

I told my coworker Matthias about this at a BBQ on Saturday. Next day, he linked to my site. I was already mentioned on his page, because of our potato cannon work. Now he knows that I have a site of my own.

Matthias’ site is fairly popular, having been Slashdotted a few times already. I have already seen an increase in the traffic coming to my own site. Plus I’m finally in the Google index, so searches like “Craigmatron” will find me.

So, thanks Matt!

My HP33s has arrived!

The HP33s calculator I ordered has finally arrived. The manual is an inch thick, and it ain’t because there are 10 languages in it. It’s all English. This is a calculator with a learning curve.

Haven’t had time to play with it much, but so far it’s pretty cool.

I was surprised to find the keys are hard plastic, hinged on one edge, like the HP calculators of yore. I read somewhere that the 33s had crappy rubber keys. Perhaps HP heard the criticism. The V shape of the keypad is weird, but doesn’t bother me that much.

Bar Butler

I was in Ottawa yesterday for a business meeting. Had some time free at the end of the day, so we stopped at the Winners store across the road.

I found one of those liquor dispenser things that has the bottles upside down. You use the glass to push up the dispenser at the bottom, and it shoots exactly 1.5oz of liquor into the glass. The one I picked up holds six bottles, in a spinning arrangement.

Only $80! In restaurant-supply places, this sort of thing would go for around $200. I’ve checked.

Here it is, happy in it’s new home on my bar:

Bar Butler

Very slick!