Wolf Realms: a Minecraft gaming network!

Do you play Minecraft? Of course you do! But did you know that I, with Zxios from MC Playlab and the rest of the WolfRealms staff, have been hard at work over the last couple of months to bring you a GIGANTIC MINECRAFT PLAYGROUND FULL OF AWESOME?! Well, we have!

From our beautiful hub, connect to any one of our multiple servers, all running the latest 1.7.2/1.7.4 updates. All up 24/7 on a dedicated high-speed link!

We’ve got it all….

  • Survival server with PvP and griefing! Can’t take the heat? Stay out of my kitchen.
  • KitPVP arena (and we’re building more)! Kill a friend today.
  • Creative Plots server! Claim your plot and build something epic.
  • MineZ zombie apocalypse survival! Blood loss, bandages, and no food.
  • Skyblock! Cobble castles in the sky.
  • Hunger Games arenas (Survival Games) with more arenas coming soon! May the odds be ever in your favor.
  • Prison server! Back to your cell, inmate!

Plus, more minigames are coming soon. Check out the new WolfRealms… log on to wolfrealms.org today!


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Posted in Diamonds!

For Immediate Release

Hey kids, do you like… TECHNOLOGY? (Yeah!)

Do you like… PODCASTS? (Yeah!)

Me too, but how are we to choose? Well now you don’t have to! Check out the new podcast “FIR on Technology” with Dan York. The first episode discusses Google Hangouts on Air and how you can use them. A Hangout On Air can have up to 10 people in a video call that streams live on YouTube. How fun is that?

Dan’s a smart guy who knows a lot about communications and social media, so give it a listen. And as an added bonus, the intro/outro music is from my track Early Warning on The Path to Madness EP. Grab it here for free!


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Posted in Music, Technology

It’s gonna be a banger!

In between the work crazy, and the crazy of running a Minecraft server, I have been working on a new track. It was going to be all chillstep and mellow, but I just tried a 4-on-the-floor kick, and guess what? It’s awesome! I think this is going to be a banger! But first, it’s going to start out all mellow like, lull you into a false sense of security. Oh, this is nice. And then BAM! It slams you to the floor like a ninja, and you love it. Patience, grasshoppers… you’ll hear it soon enough.

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Posted in Music

The great de-Googlification

So I’ve removed all my data and services from Google as of today. That includes this blog, so if you’re reading it, I guess everything is working. Please let me know if you notice any problems.

I’m not sure I can really explain why I needed to do this. I don’t trust big corporations; especially ones that are expanding into more and more areas of our lives and having more control of them. After the recent NSA spying scandal, some horror stories, realizations about just how much tracking and profiling they’re doing based on use of Google services, and close-to-home personal experiences with how hard it is to recover when Google screws something up, I decided I need to have more direct control over my data. And for them (and other Orwellian entities) to have a lot less.

Anyway, it is done and there’s no going back. The only exception is that I will be creating a new Youtube account shortly. The difference with this new account is that it won’t be associated with all my other information for marketers to sift through.

Another somewhat noticeable change is that I’m going to talk about more than just music here. You can look forward to hearing about Minecraft (yay!), game development & other programming stuff, personal rants, world issues, and whatever else comes to mind.

Here we go. The future is now!

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Posted in Rant

RELEASED: The Path to Madness EP!

As promised, I have put together a small EP of three new songs as a FREE DOWNLOAD. If you like dubstep or drum & bass music, please check these out!

The Path to Madness EP -- FREE DOWNLOAD
  1. I Might Be Dreaming — A rework of the original 2011 track. A haunting soundscape awash in bass, distant piano, and dubstep beats. (140 bpm)
  2. Early Warning — Energetic D&B with an urgent feel. A progressive melody and sharp high synth stabs complement the deep driving bass line. Something’s coming. (175 bpm)
  3. The Path to Madness (Dark Dancefloor Mix) – Danceable remake of the 2013 original “The Path to Madness”. The driving beat & bassline underpin a dark exploration of ritual magic & evil forces leading to insanity. (140 bpm)

All tracks are high-quality 320kbps MP3 files. You can give them to others, play them anywhere, make remixes and/or sample from them providing you give me proper credit. (Please contact me first if you want to use the tracks in some other way.)

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Posted in Music Release

How my MacBook almost went flying out the window

My MacBook took a major crap yesterday. It was working fine on Saturday, and then started having mysterious problems on Sunday morning. Problems like not being able to resolve DNS names, but connecting to things just fine by IP address. Problems like continuously trying to connect to an Apple file server at work and popping up a dialog every 30 seconds telling me it’s not available. Uh, Earth to MacBook — I knew that. What I couldn’t figure out was why it was trying to connect, since the disk was not mounted, no programs were open, and nothing I could find was trying to access that server. I think it may have been related to Time Machine because it seemed to stop when I turned that off.

Anyway, the other problem seemed to start around that time too, and this is one that really bothered me because it doesn’t make any sense. I could type a server name (any hostname) into any application and it would just fail, saying there was a DNS problem. In Terminal, typing “ping google.com” would fail to resolve, but using one of Google’s IP addresses would work. Running “dig pixin.net” (or any other name) would time out. BUT - here’s the good bit – tcpdump and Wireshark showed requests going out from the Mac and replies coming back! So it was getting answers but somehow just ignoring them. I suspected a problem with mDNSResolver, but it seemed to be fine. Restarting did not help. Clearing network settings did not help. Resetting the SMC and the NVRAM did not help. It was the same behaviour on both wired and wireless networks. On different access points. With multiple DNS servers.

Most of my life is on this MacBook. All of my music, ideas, samples, loops, beats, works in progress, all kinds of other stuff. A short film I edited and scored. All of my paid work stuff. Documents, pictures, iTunes library, everything. I wasn’t particularly worried because I do have backups, but not being able to work on my new track was frustrating.

I decided to restore from the Time Machine backup from Friday night. I knew the system had worked on Saturday so it seemed like a good bet. One erased disk and three hours later, it still didn’t work. And: DNS had worked fine in the Recovery console because it found the backup server, and I tested it in Terminal! So now I was really puzzled and frustrated, and to top it off, I discovered that one of my Native Instruments folders was not actually backed up (it was excluded), so now I had lost a bunch of my Massive and FM8 sounds that I had created. GRRRR.

Most of Sunday had passed by this point. I decided to try a full re-install of Lion, biting the bullet of reinstalling all my apps and reconfiguring everything. I let it install overnight. Thankfully, it WORKED. DNS magically works again. I spent most of today reinstalling Komplete, which is a 5+ hour monster of 13 DVDs plus downloadable updates and packs totalling about 100GB of software and samples, which I just cannot live without. All the important stuff is now reinstalled .. I think. I did lose some sounds, which sucks, but I think I can recover at least the ones I’ve used in projects because they’re stored in the Ableton Live project settings. And the rest, well… I’ll just have to come up with new and better sounds.

I’m thankful that this doesn’t seem to be a hardware problem, because logic boards are bloody expensive! Also, it was maddening but, really, this Mac has been pretty much flawless since I bought it over 2 years ago, so I probably shouldn’t complain too much. Plus the weekend was not a total loss as I had a great steak dinner and laughed my way through We’re The Millers (freaking HILARIOUS) with the lovely and talented Maven of Mayhem. See? Now you’re jealous.

So in the unlikely event that you wanted to know about my weekend, you’re welcome.


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Posted in Apple, Rant

What’s in a name?

I was asked recently about my name. What does it mean? How did I come up with it? I’mma tell you.

My name is basically a nod to the culture of sampling. It’s pronounced “zero crossing”, in case you hadn’t figured that much out already. The X just makes it cooler, like how a spoiler and racing stripes make cars go faster :P

A zero crossing is the point where the amplitude of a waveform becomes zero before changing from positive to negative or negative to positive. In audio, the volume is zero for an instant at each zero crossing. Why do we care? Because: cutting a sample with a zero crossing on each side means you don’t get clicks when you paste it into another track. It’s the ideal place to slice & dice all those beautiful loops and one-shots.

So there you have it. Since I’m rambling, a status update on the EP project. I have one finished track, two nearing completion, and one just started. It will get finished a lot faster if I can stay off bloody addictive Minecraft for a while :) Looking for a volunteer to create cover art. Full credit will be given, of course. Please get in touch with me if you are so inclined.

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The Path to Madness

Well, here it is! I may work on it a bit more, but I’m curious what people think of it. This one evolved into something quite different than I envisioned at the start, but I think it turned out pretty well. This track includes some new sounds I’ve been developing in NI Massive: in particular the Windy Pipes lead. Turn up the bass, turn down the lights, give it a spin and let’s hear your opinion.

Bonus points if you can identify the sample. :)

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Posted in Music Release

Darkness and Docks

I’ve been working on and off on a new tune to lead off my planned EP. It’s a dark 140bpm piece that I’ve called “The Path to Madness”… Not quite sure what genre it is. It has EBM/synthpop elements, an almost cinematic, epic feel, but loosely follows a dubstep structure. Hey, maybe I’ve invented a new style! :) Also, it features some new sounds I made in Massive.

Anyway, you can tell me what you think soon enough. I’m nearly done tweaking this one, so I will try to mix down, master, and get it out to you for next week. Thanks for being patient.

Also, I just wanted to share this for other Mac users… I run 10.7 Lion, and my Dock suddenly stopped auto-hiding and auto-showing for no apparent reason. Reboot didn’t fix it. I was able to solve it by removing the preference files from ~/Library/Preferences and then killing the Dock process. Here’s how:

$ cd ~/Library/Preferences
$ mv com.apple.dock*plist ~
$ killall Dock

The steps above back up your Dock preferences to your home directory and kill the Dock process, forcing it to create new preference files. This fixed my auto-hide problem but I lost all my Dock icons. I then tried copying the backup file into ~/Library/Preferences and restarting Dock again:

$ cp ~/com.apple.dock*plist .
$ killall Dock

And lo and behold, it worked! All my icons are back and the Dock auto-hides and shows again. (My steps are based on this answer at StackExchange.)

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Posted in Apple

Moar Wubs

So. The HTDA remix comp was fun… Got some great comments on my track. It certainly didn’t make the top 10 or anything but still pretty good. Give it a listen and see what you think.

I have been working on and off on another song. I was about to do final mixdown and master it, took a couple of days to clear my ears so I could hear it fresh, and decided it needs more work. So, back to the studio to record some more vox and re-arrange a bit. I like this one so far and hope it will be worth the wait.

I’m also planning to go back and remix/re-arrange a couple of my older songs. There are parts I don’t really like in some of them (the middle of Lost In Bass for example), and some just need better mastering. I may try to put together an EP once I have a few good versions. Yay/nay? Any particular songs you’d like to hear on it?

Impatient? Why am I taking so long?! I blame Minecraft :) You should too.

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