Category Archives: technology

iPad and music apps

As I said in my last post, I’ve been teaching myself music theory.  In the book I’m using I’ve gotten to the section on intervals, and it’s important to hear these things while learning, so I hopped on Amazon to price a small keyboard.  Um, no.  Not paying $40 or more just to do music theory on.  So I looked for iPad apps.  There’s a free one that suits my purposes exactly.  Thank you, iPad, for proving yourself useful yet again!

I thought I would make a list of what apps I’m using, in case anyone’s looking for some good music apps:

  • Musicopoulos: music theory with exercises.  Allows for multiple instrument fingerboards (violin, viola, cello, guitar) as well as a piano keyboard for the practice exercises.  The theory presentation, for me, isn’t as good as the book I’m using (Basic Music Theory by Jonathan Harnum), but being quizzed on scales and stuff is very useful.
  • Music Notes: sight reading practice.  Treble clef, bass clef, and grand staff all covered.  A simple app, but one I’m finding very useful.
  • MusicTools: a rather comprehensive music dictionary.  Also has a symbols dictionary.
  • piaScore: for music scores.  There’s a store for the app, but I’m focused on the free classical library that has like 7,000 pieces in it for all instruments. I haven’t played with all the features yet, but it lets you auto-turn pages, and there’s a pedal you can buy to turn pages with your foot.  My iPad mini is a bit too small to read scores while playing, but my MIL will be retiring her iPad 2 this fall and I’m going to snag it for piaScore.
  • Piano Free with Songs: the free app I got so I don’t have to buy a keyboard.
  • Metronome: what it sounds like.  It has a bunch of options, like flashing lights instead of ticking sounds, and you can set up some pretty complex rhythms if you buy in-app purchases.

Ones I downloaded but haven’t tried yet:

  • iTablaPro Lite: this was suggested in the music theory book mentioned above.  It’s useful as a drone, to practice both ear training and to work on hitting the right notes with your instrument.  I plan to use it once I learn some finger positions on the cello, to make sure I’m hitting the correct notes.  (Soooo easy to play an off note on an instrument without frets.  I remember that from childhood orchestra classes, and from my old fretless bass guitar.)
  • Tuner Lite: you can either play a tone and match it, or use the iPad/iPhone microphone to tune by frequency.
  • Julliard String Quartet: “Death and the Maiden”: Walks the use through how a quartet puts together the titular Schubert piece, including watching the instruments play while the score is shown.  Seems kinda cool.

So yeah, there’s some really cool apps for musicians out there, making learning cheaper and easier than when I was playing instruments in pre-iPad days.  I’m pleased.

I’m not dead, I promise!

But I am just coming out of an extended, serious depression.  It started in April.  I didn’t get online for three months except to read fanfic.  (BBC Sherlock is my imaginary boyfriend.)  Hell, I didn’t even talk to my mother for two months, and she’s one of my two favorite people in the whole world (the other being the Valkyrie).  I was a wreck.  I started feeling a bit better a couple of weeks ago, but yesterday my doctor had me add Ritalin to my daily medication cocktail and I’ve actually gotten out of bed.  Better living through modern medicine!

So this post is going to be a rather long life update…

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Google Calendar (or “oh, thank fucking god”)

Around ten p.m. I found out that I can completely ditch iCloud Calendar and use Google Calendar within the iOS calendar app instead.

Thank Fucking Christ.

The whole reason I started the paper planner was because iCloud kept losing my appointments.  I still want to do my NABJ for my daily tasks and notes, with the day’s appointments at the top as reminders, but I don’t have to write every single date-based thing in a weekly calendar anymore.  I would have used GCal right off the bat if I’d known I could sync natively with my iPhone.

I exported from iCloud, imported into GCal, and started sorting.  SO HAPPY.

Adventures in cell phone service

We were paying $275 for three of us on AT&T.  Verizon had a better deal, better coverage in our area, phones that could all be hotspots, and iPhones very cheap.  Wednesday I signed us up online.  I think they thought I was an identity scammer because I was at their site through a VPN service, so they turned me down.  So today MIL and I went into the store to fix it.

We were there a little over three hours.  THREE.  Their system said they’d shipped us phones, which they hadn’t.  So we had to go through this whole thing.  And the sales guy said the only way to fix it and get our phone numbers switched over was for us to only have temporary numbers for a couple of days.  We said no way, we need to be able to have our real numbers work, and so he spent two hours on the phone trying to get it set up for us.

Around 2.5 hours we were all getting really tired, and Sales Guy said…  I forget what, but it made me ask him if our old phones would still work with our real numbers until the switch happened.  He said yes, and I got really mad.  He complained that it only would have taken 5-10 minutes to get it set up if we’d done it his way, with the temporary numbers.  I replied that it was his fault we didn’t do it that way, because he told us our phone numbers wouldn’t work for a couple of days.  I had asked him repeatedly about this, and he never bothered to mention the bit about our old phones still having our real numbers for a while longer.  He started giving me shit about how his way would have been better and I was pointing out that we would have done it his way if he had been straight with us and he started complaining about how long he’d been at work, implying that I had no right to say I was tired of being there.  I get it that he was stressed and frustrated, but it was his fault he had to do all that extra work.  I felt no pity, especially since he was getting really bitchy.  When he finally got everything fixed he didn’t even tell us to have a nice day.  What an ass.

At least I have a phone that holds all my music now.  That’s something, anyway.