Let me explain a few things

I totally reinvented my personal site, created my YouTube channel and started taking Instagram seriously approximately 2 weeks before the company I was working for went down the pan.

The idea was to slowly build something up – a community, if you like – of like-minded enthusiasts of computers, cars and coffee. We’ll call them the Three-C’s from now. After all, those are my main interests.

Once I’d lost my job (using the term ‘lost’ very loosely) everything had to take a backseat while I start to work on something for myself. Something to pay the bills, because my first response to the matter was “I don’t want another job”.

You see, this puts a little pressure on me to make money, too!

The day after it all happened, along with two colleagues and friends we discussed a few ideas, settled on a name fairly quickly and agreed to go all in. We created Command AV.

You can also find Command AV on Instagram, although, the profile lacks a little something, anything, at the moment while we try and drum up business.

You’ll find me mostly between the pages of CC-AV.co.uk, here and on Instagram – however, I do intend to keep up with YouTube, learning a little more about video editing and sound production.

I made a video tutorial

And bloody hell did it take a while.

Always have I taken for granted those who make video tutorials on technical tasks, thinking, surely they just record the screen and audio and away you go!

No! I was wrong.

You do take, after take, after take. Then do it again. And again.

And after 30 minutes, you’ve got all of 14 seconds of usable video. How does that even work? I quickly start noticing the noises you make when idle not to mention all the background noises that normally disappear into the a constant drone.

Given the above information, can you imagine how long it took me to make a 25 minute long video? It was literally a nine-to-five day for me today, despite doing it “for fun”.

Lo and behold, here it is:

I’ve just remembered, I didn’t even make a little background jingle to break the monotony.

Lack of presentation skills aside, at least what the end viewer receives is the knowledge to start a new venture today.

Liberty and blogging for all!

Life advice

Simon Sinek shares a few very useful insights into why we think the way we do as millennials. It’s a tough journey getting away from the way of thinking that you’re entitled – no lie, I have been there. I graduated university, thinking, it’ll be alright, I’ll land a job.

I didn’t.

I started working a crappy part-time job, then got a slightly better full-time job. Eventually, I got an even better job and again and again. Yes, I had a few low points where some perks were good but, the work was shit but, it taught me a lot!

Eventually, again, I started moving up (on the scale of job satisfaction) until recently when it was all taken away from me. All future prospects I had planned for disappeared.

Alas, the video below – bear with it, I know it’s longer than 30 seconds – explains a lot about today’s generation. Perhaps it explains why I’ve had as many jobs as years I’ve been working since leaving education.

What will I do?

A few days ago, I lost my job. Long story short, the company for which I worked has ceased all operations. Great!

A hint of sarcasm there, for those who didn’t click.

I recorded a video before and after being told the news – I think we all somewhat saw it coming to an extent based on the events of the 24 hours running up to this.

There’s not much else to say on the matter, for now so, here’s me being coloured everything but impressed:

Hire me? I’m multi-skilled. Yes, a Jack of all trades.

Music Production

Throughout a large chunk of my teenage years I spent a lot of time trying my hand at making music. I spent countless hours with software like eJay (Hip-Hop, Dance, etc.), ProDJ (vague name, not sure who the developer was) and probably a few others, too. I did it all the “cheating way”, using only the supplied bundle of samples. I don’t recall ever creating my own samples. Really, I never really created any music – I was just re-spinning what someone else had probably already tried.

The last few days I’ve been exploring the side of creating my own samples. So far, just a few basic drum loops and percussion instruments exist. I’ve yet to put my voice to anything – take me word for it, it’ll need a lot of skewing to make it sound music worthy.

I’ve been searching for something to replace eJay and ProDJ for their ease of use. For those not familiar with ProDJ – it was a clean interface version of eJay. I’m sure anyone who’s ever used eJay (any version) knows that the user interface was cause for sore eyes. Regardless, both were very easy to use: you set your BPM, the software adjusts all the samples to match, you arrange all your samples on a “sheet”, press play to check it sounds OK and finally, export to MP3.

Through the above process, believe it or not, I managed to create an entire 12-track audio CD’s worth of repetitive drumming, bass lines and synth noises. And yes, I actually put it on a CD to listen to in the car. This was before I could drive, so it was my parents who had the misfortune of having to put up with it.

I digress. I’ve found what I think to be the right software without paying the applicable fees for the likes of FL Studio – it’s called LMMS. I’m not sure what it stands for, but if the front page of their website is to be taken into account, maybe “Let’s Make Music Software”, although, that’s ambiguous.

That screenshot alone is very reminiscent of ProDJ.

As for my sample and loop making, that’ll all be occurring in Audacity. I’ve watched endless tutorials on YouTube for generating realistic drum sounds, clean bass lines and other percussive noises. Synth is one thing I’ve not quite dialled in, yet. That’ll come soon. Everyone loves a good synth track.

Exploring Audio Creation

This morning I started with my usual routine of making a coffee first and foremost. As before I made a little “thing” of it by recording it to practice video editing. Then I stripped the audio audio and put together my own track from scratch.

Here’s the video with my own audio track – but, please be aware: I’m still learning (translation: the quality of composition equates precisely to mud being infused with a broken sitar).

If it’s any consolation, the coffee tasted better than the end result of this video.

In all fairness, given that this was done in the space of about 90 minutes, having never previously created audio from scratch with Audacity (only ever used it for cutting and tweaking existing audio) I’m quite proud of the result. Proud, I say!

A Published Author

Well, it’s official, I am now a published author. Self-published with the help of Amazon’s Kindle service but, published nonetheless.

The book, though fairly short, covers several topics centred around managing your own time with greater efficiency. These include managing time at work and at home, working from home, managing a team, project management and business process development, to name a few.

It is based on personal experiences and lessons learned, stretching a period of around 10 years – although, to be honest, the majority of the lessons were learned in the last 3 to 4 years. That has been the eye-opener and the reason for putting those thoughts and advice into words.

If you are interested and want to find the book, there are two methods – you can search for my name on the Kindle Store (it’s the only result you’ll find) or you can follow the link below:

This really does give me a sense of accomplishment and I’m actively thinking about new ideas to write another, longer book – this one is fairly short, only around 15,000 words, if you include the chapter titles. I’ve always liked the idea of writing a sci-fi or action novel, as well (feel free to pitch me some ideas).

Well, when I do write more books, I’ll be sure to post them here – so check back in a few weeks. Or years. Clearly, I have no idea how long it actually takes to write a book of that description but, as soon I know, you’ll know.

The many faces of “A/V”

“Faces” is probably the wrong word to use here. Although, A/V (audio/video – AV from here on in) is a very ambiguous term. For instance, I work in AV and one of my colleagues was previously in AV and is now also in AV, despite the two being completely different jobs.

The AV I’m referring to (that we work in) is luxury residential audio, video and control installations. But, that’s not what I’m here to talk about.

I have always wanted to know a little more about and be a little more capable at audio editing and video editing. So, what with my early start today – remember, I’ve been waking up at 04:30 every day for several days now – I wanted to take on the challenge of learning by doing. It’s only a short clip and only involves very few techniques (some cutting and filters on the video plus looping, equalisation and timing on the audio). Not to mention, the subject of the video is somewhat boring.

I recorded the making of a cup of coffee from the perspective of the kitchen door handle. That’s the best I can describe it as. I do have a few other coffee making utensils in my repertoire, perhaps I’ll make a thing of it to occasionally record a different way of making coffee. I can predict that the shortest of that series will be when I settle for same plain old instant.

Making filter coffee doesn’t have to take a long time.

Based on the time it took me to make a very tasty cup of “Cookie Doodle” cafĂ© noir I really don’t know why the queues at Starbucks are so long. Enjoy!

Taking a counter-intuitive break

This morning I felt somewhat overwhelmed with what to do. If anything, perhaps, I just felt a little uninspired. Partly because there’s a dark cloud looming over my sub-conscience about a mounting pile of unread (thus, lacking my response or action) emails from work.

I know, why should I take my newly found, additional personal time to do something other than spend it on self-improvement?

Maybe there’s a little relief once it’s all done. Well, I should hope so – I’ve just gone from 104 unread to zero in the space of an hour! And I feel better for it. I’ve been staring at that number for nearly two weeks while it crept.

Well, it’s Friday today. It won’t be an easy one by any measure as I know what lies ahead as far “tasks required to be completed” is concerned. Maybe the weekend brings fewer stresses. Until then…

Edit: after some consideration, perhaps the title should actually read “Taking a counter-productive break”, although that’s the same as just taking a break. So, I’ll leave it as is.