Halloween 2016 Montage

Halloween is my favorite holiday. I have such fond memories of Halloween growing up. From the time I was taken to my first haunted house, to later in my teens while I was coked out of my goddamn mind telling improv ghost stories. Good times.

I want to make sure I give a little bit of that back to my neighbors' kids. The haunted house part, not the coke. My husband and I combined our talents to make a modest little spooky spot that had the kids screaming all night long; using some DIY jumping spiders that were triggered by proximity. Here are some of the highlights.

Video Description:

My husband took up electrical engineering last year, so this year we scared the shit out of our neighbors' kids. Here's a montage of the best reactions. This was the best Halloween EVER!

Let's Play with Phasemaker

With the site running smoothly, I was able to dedicate some time this week to actually playing with the music apps I've been reporting on! I'm diving back into the Let's Play series with the latest FM synth: Phasemaker! I'm a big fan of FM, but hate having to explain it. So I don't!

This Let's Play is just sound design, with the basic concepts of FM. If you want a lengthy explanation on FM synthesis, check out pantsofdeath's video on the subject.

Video Description:

I'm back! After a long stretch of working on the new code for my website, I'm back to bring you more Let's Plays. Let's get the ball rolling with a new FM synth, Phasemaker!

If you enjoyed this please consider supporting this series by sponsoring them on Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/discchord
If you'd prefer to help on a monthly basis, instead of per video, there is a new monthly Patreon campaign: https://www.patreon.com/discchord_com

Update on the discchord 3.0 Update

While the new site has been live, it is still not quite done! I've been trying to fix bugs as soon as they crop up. Some bugs are easy to track down, while a couple still elude me.

Login and Registering

My test environment is slightly different from the live server, and this has led to a few weird problems. I think I've sorted all of those out now. The only thing that remains is people having problems with, what my logging system describes as, "weird characters in usernames." Previously it would just ban people for this, but since it was happening so often I turned off the auto-ban feature on this. After watching the logs I believe the problem is with people trying to use their emails as usernames; during both registration and login. Don't do that. People can see your username, including bots, so you don't want to use your email address as a username.

If you received a message that you were banned, I'm sorry about that! You're probably unbanned now so try again please! If you have any problems at all please use the contact form to let me know! I want to fix all of these bugs, but I need input to know what the problem is.

Contact Form

Okay, so this is also bugging out some times. I'm not entirely sure what the problem is here, but I think it also has to do with special characters (and possibly foreign letters). If it gives you a 500 error, please use that form to tell me what happened... minus any foreign letters or weird symbols so that the same problem doesn't happen there!

If all else fails; hit me up on Twitter or Facebook! Or guess my email address; which is my first name at discchord.

Music App Guide

I've been going through all 1,600 apps in the database trying to categorize everything. Then I stopped trying to do that because that's pointless. Some of these apps are just shit, and others haven't been updated in over a year. If an app falls into either of these camps it is not being categorized. So when you sort by category you don't see a lot of abandoned shit.

I've also avoided categorizing "lite" versions of apps, and the 15 different versions of AmpliTube. So Auria Pro is listed, and Cubasis 2 is listed, but the lesser versions of both are not. They're all still in the database, and you can vote on Cubasis 2 LE if you want, but they are not shown when you sort by category. I hope this will lead to a streamlined experience.

If you see any apps that you think I've missed, or mis-categorized then please let me know! If you're a developer and would like your app to be re-categorized just let me know. I tried to be fair in which apps got categorized and which did not based on their merit; or favoritism in the case of RhythmStudio, and nepotisim in the case of bleep!BOX.

RSS Feed

I totally spaced on the RSS feed, and launched without it. I think no one noticed this though, because I remembered Monday morning and quickly hacked together an RSS generator. I've been tweaking it more and more each day and I think it's solid now. Thanks to Jan Klooster for pointing out a problem I missed!

I'm going broke

About half the ads you see on the site right now have been unpaid and cancelled for months. I've just left them up so I don't have a dozen "Advertise on Discchord" banners everywhere. Seriously, I don't know what the hell happened. The site is as popular as ever, but I'm having serious problems getting new sponsors. My income this year is down to less than half of what it was last year.

This means I've had to resort to using Google AdSense to fill in the slots. If you use an ad blocker, please pause/whitelist discchord.com. Thank you!

I'll be implementing a system where Patreon Patrons (of either the site, or the Let's Play series) will not see ads here. If you've been on the fence about supporting the site through Patreon, please get off the fence and help! Thank you.

Update to the Update about the Update: I've implemented the first part of the ad-free experience for Patrons. The top bar and menu badges are now gone. I'll get rid of the interstitial ads between articles tomorrow. You may have to re-login for the ads to disappear.

Welcome to Discchord v3.0!

Holy shit, that was way more work than I expected. I knew I was in for a ride when I set out to create my own custom CMS, but I had no idea it would be this arduous. But it's done! It's all here and working now!

What's new in discchord v3.0:

Here are some of the features you'll find added to the site.

User Accounts

There have been surprisingly few attempts to abuse the anonymous commenting system, but you can now reserve your username by registering it. Anonymous posters are still welcomed to participate, but site will prevent them from using a name that someone has registered here.

There are a couple of other benefits for registering. The biggest is the ability to participate in app voting on the new Music App Guide. Additionally you will not receive a notice if someone @mentions: you in a comment or forum post.

Forums

That's right, forums! After resisting the suggestion for 5 years, the site now has forums! Both registered and unregistered users may post in there. There will be no moderator team, but there are some rules.

  1. No spam.
  2. Don't be an asshole.
  3. Don't embarrass me by posting hate-speech on my site.

Breaking these rules leads into another new feature on the site: a new ban system! Previously if I banned someone they were shut out of the whole site, but now I can just ban people from commenting.

There are no moderators here, so I'll be relying on you guys to let me know if someone is getting out of hand. Registered users will see a report icon on every comment, where you will be able to flag a comment if it is breaking any of these rules.

Fortunately spam should be minimal. A series of bot nets have already come by trying to spam the hell out of everything. None of them got past my anti-spam measures! Me: 1, Internet: 0.

Music App Buyer's Guide

There are a hell of a lot of music apps out there. I've reported on 1,676 apps in the last 5 years. That's a lot less than the total number of apps on iTunes, but still way too many to list in a useful manner. Trying to help people find the apps they're looking for is a serious challenge. Readers here know their shit and know their apps. You can be a great help for newcomers!

Register for an account and head over the Music App Guide. There you can give your favorite apps a thumbs up, or apps that you hate a thumbs down. You can also leave comments about the individual apps. When enough people vote on an app it gets assigned a Discchord Reader Rating (DRR), similar to the way Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic work.

To make things even easier for newcomers, all apps in the Music App Guide are being categorized. If someone shows up looking for a synth, they can search for Synths and it will automatically sort by Discchord Reader Rating. Now someone can find the top 5 apps, as voted on by you, in every category. Easy!

Thanks!

Thank you very much to everyone who helped beta test the new site last week. Dookone, el-bo, policarpo, moddogi, Toz Bourne, ceharris77, and TBIRD all helped me find critical bugs; that should be fixed thanks to them. I now feel confident in finally releasing my baby out into the world!

Apple iPhone 7 Announced

Apple just concluded their annual iPhone event with some surprises and disappointments. The biggest surprise was just how accurate the rumor-mill was leading up to the event. This was also the biggest disappointment; as Apple officially announced the end of the analog headphone jack on the iPhone.

SpitFit 2

Before getting into the iPhone, Apple announced the next generation Apple Watch. The segment primarily focused on the needs of swimmers and runners. Runners will like the new built-in GPS, so you can have accurate jog logs without bringing your phone. Swimmers can now take their watch into the pool, with a new fully waterproof design.

A challenge in designing a waterproof smart watch is keeping water out of the speaker. Apple has designed a special ejaculator into the speaker, to eject water when it comes out of the pool. The new SpitFit 2 is also available in a ceramic body, which is good news for those of us with nickle allergies.

They still haven't found a killer app for the watch, but they sincerely hope that Pokemon Go will be it. This seems unlikely, since the game is losing users rapidly. We've yet to see a compelling musical use for the watch, but if you can think of one you'll be able to get the new series 2 on the 16th, starting at $370. watchOS 3 officially launches on the 13th of this month.

If They Only Had a Clue

Apple took some time to pat themselves on the back; citing their "courage" for dropping the analog headphone jack. This put to rest rumors that they were merely assholes trying to sell new Beats headphones. Then they started trying to sell us new Beats headphones...

Seriously. That's how this went down. VP Phil Schiller said there was one word to describe the decision to drop the 3.5mm headphone jack: "courage." They tried to assuage fears by saying the iPhones will ship with a lightning-headphone dongle, and then they tried to sell us Beats by Dre. No one making music should be using Beats. The low-end ones are fucking horrific sounding, but even the high-end models color the sound heavily. If you're making music you do not want your mids being mangled by your headphones, nor bass boosting, nor any of the other shit headphone manufacturers come up with. You want studio reference monitors, which are often cheaper.

They also announced AirPods, which use proprietary wireless audio instead of Bluetooth. There's no way of knowing what the quality or latency will be on these. The only thing we can be sure about is that they had a very hard time making these look cool. Unlike wireless headphones that hide the battery around your neck, the AirPod battery dangles out of your ear.

Black is the New Black

Chinese sources had everyone expecting an iPhone 7 Pro today, but one was not announced. Instead they had the usual iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Since the rumors out of China were otherwise entirely accurate I wonder if we'll see an iPhone 7 Pro announced early next year. Similar to how the Apple Watch was announced separately from the iPhone initially.

The iPhone 7 Plus now sports some features photographers will like. The larger frame now houses 2 separate lenses, one for wide-angle, and one for 2x optical telephoto. This is a nice feature for anyone dissatisfied with digital zoom, but there is still up-to 10x zoom for when you want to take crappy photos.

That was the only major feature addition in this iteration of the iPhone, and again only on the iPhone 7 Plus. They now offer two different types of Black cases. A matte version, and a high-polish finger-print-magnet version called Jet Black.

After heaping all this shit on Apple, I will give them credit for finally dropping 16GB as the starting storage on the new phones! 32GB is now the standard, which is still half the size of the base Samsung Note 7, but at least that is a usable amount of storage. The iPhone 7 32GB will be $650, and the iPhone 7 Plus 32GB is $770. Pre-orders begin this Friday the 9th, and they will ship next week on the 16th.

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