Saturday, October 20, 2018


A few years ago I sold my Yamaha QY100 sequencer.
I think from the moment it was gone I regretted the sale.
The only thing that would replace it for me was a Korg MicroArranger or a Yamaha Tyros. Both are expensive arranger keyboards and I never had a spare £500+ to invest in either.
The other week I was looking into either a MicroArranger or another QY100. There was one of each on eBay, both around the £250 mark, second hand. I was late at making a decision and both were gone by the time I'd decided to bid on one of them. While looking for another MicroArranger I stumbled across the Korg Liverpool. After some investigation I discovered that it's a reworked MicroArranger stuffed with Beatles songs and a Union Flag case. It's a bit ugly but it's growing on me.
As you can see I bought one, brand new and sub £200. It's a great keyboard to play and a good accompaniment for my bass playing. I think I've only scratched the surface of its abilities and I'm really enjoying messing about with music again. It's been more than 3 years since I wrote a track.
I think that's all about to change.

Sunday, October 14, 2018


I did try and avoid posting about the TRNG but I thought I had just one more post left in the story.
The Element 14 kit for the desktop Pi has a board included so that a mSATA drive can be added. I wanted the extra drive to store the files of random numbers that I'm producing. It took a while to work things out. Adding the drive really wasn't that straight forward and I spent three hours getting everything talking to each other. I even went as far as breaking out the soldering iron and hard wiring the cooling fan into the GPIO power pins. The desktop is a bit noisy now but it'll never overheat.

While waiting for my transfer hardware to arrive I'm re-purposing the Pi Top as a processing machine. As I type this it's downloading the full Kali ARM OS.
So that's about it really. I'm just about set up for some serious encryption experimentation, that and restarting my Python encryption course along with a decent pen testing introduction.

I imagine the next few posts will be music related. Hopefully next week's blog will contain some exciting keyboard news.
Until then it's back to the bass.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Back To Bassics

When I was about 8 or 9 years old I learned to play a cello.
I did that for 3 years, got a Grade II certificate and played an end of year concert with the school of music.
The cello went and so I taught myself keyboards on a cheap Casio VL-1. I was still playing basslines.
Fast forward a few years and I spent a back dated dole cheque on a candy pink bass. I think I sold that for a night out.
When I started writing tunes I always wrote the bass first. I played keyboards with my left hand playing bass and my right hand filling in the blanks with chords. For as long as I can remember the bass was the most important part of anything musical.

For the last three years I've been without FL Studio. It doesn't run well on Wine for Linux. I've tried LMMS and a few other things but my heart was never in it. I haven't recorded a track in the last three years and I miss it.

To rectify this situation I decided to go back to what I know. Four strings.
Not another cello but instead another bass. A half decent one. Five minutes ago I was playing my Squire Precision Bass. It's easy to play and the experience of 45 minutes solid playing was cathartic. I'm happier for having spent the time with the instrument and although it's back to basics my enthusiasm will drive me on to be better. I can see myself writing tracks again soon.
Just for myself, but I will share the resulting happiness with everyone else.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Gimme Numbers

Tested and working, my new hardware RNG is in operation.
It's not quite offline yet because there are still a few drivers and bits of software to add. Once everything is one hundred percent it'll go dark and you'll never hear about it again. In fact this is probably the last time I'll mention it.
So that's it. Goal reached.
I'll be making numbers.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Nearly There

I know, I know. This stuff is taking a long time.
But wait...

If everything was instant there wouldn't be time to work out the finer details. Sure, I could build this project in as fast as the bits I need could be delivered but where would the mental system testing have room to breath?
Because when this system is built I need to air-gap it, how am I going to transfer the data produced? That problem, the one about moving air-gapped data to and from the machine was only solved tonight and involved another purchase which will take a couple of weeks to arrive. That's no big deal. For this to work I need time to build and program this machine properly. If there are mistakes to be made I'd rather come across them between here and the lake district on my nightly commute than while I'm overwhelmed with the excitement of a newly built system which I expect to work from the word go.

Patience may well be a virtue but in this day and age and for this project also it's a necessity. I want my TRNG to be robust, reliable and secure and so time spent now on future problems will pay dividends.
In the world of "everything now", preparation is still everything.