A look back at 2015

It’s New Year’s Eve…

and another year is passing us by. Where has the time gone?

It’s strange. Now that I’m older (26… FFS!) and still not as wiser - time seems to be flying by. But what exactly am I achieving in this time?

It shouldn’t really be that much of a difficult question - but it is! What have I done in 2015 that is noteworthy?

New friends galore!

One big thing this year is going to Insomnia Gaming Festival. I went to i54 in April with a few friends and had an absolute ball of a time.

I met so many new people and I was welcomed within a crowd that I probably shouldn’t be. It was grand! It was so good, I went to i55 and had the same experience and met even more new people.

I also went to EGX but that was boring. I managed to bump into old friends though there which was lovely.

But having these new friends around me is awesome. I’ve weaned out the mistaken friends (y’know. The ones that seemed grand until you got to know them) and left myself with a nice bunch. They’re like bananas. Get rid of the bruised ones and you got a lovely fruit bowl. Or something…

Hopefully they think the same of me, mind. So far so good though! :-)

Another big friend thing is my long long long term friend from The Netherlands came over to visit me for two weeks in October. This was probably the best this year has been. It was so nice to spend time with my best friend for two whole weeks. Though getting back to work was painful!

Moved out! I’m independent! Yay!

I finally did it this year. After wanting to do it many times and thinking of places to go… I’ve finally got myself a flat.

It’s a flat. It’s renting. But it’s my first. And so far - I’m loving it.

But my god is it difficult. So many bills… so many things to think about! The amount of times I’ve forgotten to take the bin out… crikey.

But I’m loving it. I am my own person. And if I want to play games all night or sit and just watch TV - I can! No inconveniencing anyone. Happy days.

New PC! Gaming! Woo!

I started off the year with a new PC. A gaming PC in fact. I’m rather glad I got it. I’ve spent many times this year on that thing playing Counter Strike: Global Offensive. GTA V, Euro Truck Simulator 2… yes, don’t judge me.

The only downside of buying a gaming PC is I’ve spent the time I should be using to be productive in music, gaming. Arse.

Oh yeah - Music…

Been a pretty quiet year for music stuff. I’ve been experimenting with music mostly and trying to do a new sort of thing for me.

“Some Piano Thingy”, “Come Back Soon”, “Where Do We Go”, “ A Sea of Jerks”, “Why Suffer” being the tracks this year that I’m proud of. Though the first one needs revisited and finished… vocalist anyone?

On top of that, this year BBC Radio Shropshire Introducing - who have been absolute lovely people who happily play my music that I send them and give lovely comments - asked me for the second year in a row to do them a “Halloween Mix”.

I explained this more on my BBC Radio Shropshire Introducing - Halloween Mix 2015 post. So find out about that there as there’s no point in repeating myself! Though I was quite happy with that turned out and certainly put that down as an achievement for the year.

The year the world went mad

Outside of my life, it seems this year is the year the world went mad.

Feminism became a toxic word and full of abuse and insults. But that’s a post for another day (but srsly, Equality or GTFO).

The whole Syria and ISIS thing is … scary. As in, scary to see this kind of thing happening in this day of age.

There’s been Hacks left, right and frickin’ centre… Scaremongering in the press on near every subject…

And now we have about 4 storms this month. Flooding going on. Weirdly warm winter… All because of El Nino!

It’s not been a publicly happy year, has it?

So - what’s for 2016?

I’ve been thinking hard about this. And I don’t want to write a “New Years Resolution” because, let’s be honest… I won’t stick to it.

I have a few goals though. It’s mostly music related. To do with iTunes… but that’s about it.

I’d like to get back into doing some sort of radio based thing happening, too. Podcast thing? I don’t know yet…

My main thing is working out a way of scheduling myself. Removing the waste of time activities but still keeping time to socialise with friends in games and such.

I also need to work out a way of sorting my head so that I’m not lazy or struggling to even start something. I’ve spent far too long this year sitting, doing nothing. Not because I wanted to, but because I was stuck on what to do…
That’s been the hardest part of this year. Working out what to do.

So here’s to 2016!

I wish you all have a great 2016 and that you take something out of 2015 positively.

Thank you for sticking with me this year, everyone.

Now - where’s my bloody Guinness?!

:-)

National Crime Agency brands near everyone a Cyber Criminal

This really pee’d me off.

The National Crime Agency have a page on their website called “Cyber crime: Preventing young people from getting involved”.

On this page, is a section labelling “Warning signs of cyber crime” which are warning signs that a young person is at risk of getting involved in Cyber Crime.

Apart from one, I’m all of these in this list and have been for years. Yet, I’ve not performed in any sort of cyber crime.

Or maybe I have and I’m just not aware? Or am I now just in a box?

Anyway… This annoyed me so much… I emailed them.

Hi,

I was very disturbed today to find out that the National Crime Agency is scaremongering Parents, Teachers and other adults on computer activities.

It’s very common nowadays for teens and adults alike to spend a lot of time on computers. To be interested in coding, be very active and also not like to talk about everything they do online.

To see your page, http://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/crime-threats/cyber-crime/cyber-crime-preventing-young-people-from-getting-involved, label these people as potential cyber criminals is disturbing and scaremongering.

Warning signs of cyber crime The following behaviours may indicate a young person is at risk of getting involved in cyber crime:

Is your child spending all of their time online?

  • Most children do these days. They spend a lot of time on YouTube, Minecraft, Tumblr, Twitter… This is normal. Has been for many years.

Are they interested in coding? Do they have independent learning material on computing?

  • How on earth is this a warning sign of cyber crime? How do you think people will become Web developers, graphic designers, application developers and so on - without having this interest or learning about it? That is not cyber crime, that is having an interest.

Do they have irregular sleeping patterns?

  • Again, this is normal for anyone using a computer heavily. Especially when doing the two statements above. It’s a bad habit to get in and one that can be fixed by the young person themselves.

Do they get an income from their online activities, do you know why and how?

  • Why should anyone tell people how they are getting an income? Many young people get an income from trying to be the next YouTuber. Or the next app developer. Some of these don’t tell their family because they’ll be scared of what they’ll say. Just like many Youtubers today have stated they didn’t tell their family in the past - some for a long time.

Are they resistant when asked what they do online?

  • Why wouldn’t they be? It’ll make it seem like they aren’t trusted. Can’t you just trust people?

Do they use the full data allowance on the home broadband?

  • If anyone has such a data allowance anymore then this needs looked into. However, it’s also almost impossible to determine who has used up the data usage in the house. Likewise - many parents who use internet streaming services don’t realise how much usage this takes. They then blame the child due to their own naiveness.

Have they become more socially isolated?

  • This is normal for anyone who are active online. Them being online isn’t the cause of this. The cause of this is problems in life which is making them move to being online more. If a parent/guardian/teacher is worried about someone - they should indeed speak to them and see if everything is OK. Not branding them as a cyber criminal.

I beg, for the sake of sanity, to change this page to be truthful information and not a way to scare parents from letting their kids use the internet.

The internet is a great place. It’s about time people stop pretending it’s scary by blowing stuff out of proportion.

Next you’ll state kids are joining ISIS because of a Facebook Page… (DISCLAIMER: That was sarcasm. It’s not a thing).

Regards,

Dan Bennett

(Avid internet user since age 8. Now 25. became all these things (minus generating income) very early and not once performed any cyber crime.)

Grrrr….

Moodle 3.0 Release! Anticipated updates and features.

Moodle 3.0 is coming!

For the release of 3.0, I’ve noticed a few things that are coming which I’ve highlighted in the linked post.

Considering it’s a milestone release (2.x to 3.x), there’s nothing that amazing… but hey.

I had a lovely little line about the use of “tonnes” in this post. But it got removed. I hate* editors :(

*I joke

BBC Radio Shropshire Introducing - Halloween Mix 2015

Last year, I was asked to do a Halloween mix for BBC Radio Shropshire Introducing. It was rather fun to do. It was a bunch of tracks from Dubstep/DnB/UK Hardcore/Dutch Hardcore all halloween themed. And it worked quite well.

This year, I was asked again to do one.

Listen: BBC Radio Shropshire Introducing - Halloween Mix 2015

###Tracklist:

  1. Literally A Heartbeat
  2. Untitled (Get Kryptk*)
  3. Untitled (Why Suffer*)
  4. A Sea Of Jerks
  5. Come Back Soon

(*Working Titles)

Story provided by Matt Bubbles.

Thanks to BBC Shropshire Introducing for asking me to do this!

Special thanks to Danielle Partis.

If you don’t care about the story behind doing this, then just share the mix and enjoy! Else - read on! :)


So this time round, I wanted to do it different to how I did last year. And instead of showcase music, have strictly my own stuff. And for someone who doesn’t do scary music, it was a bloody challenge!

It’s still not that scary. I mean, it can’t be - it’s me! But my idea was to have a bunch of tracks that I’m working on, get them finished (well, finished enough to be worth while putting in this mix) and between tracks have some kind of story.

If you’re no stranger to my SoundCloud, you’ll know these tracks and the progress they’ve made already. None of these are ready in the sense releasing, but they are ready in the sense that the bulk ideas of the tracks are there.

###Intro - Literally A Heartbeat

I had an idea straight away as soon as I started, where by it’s some kind of spooky sounding pad music with a nice slow calm heartbeat pulsing. I tried finding some music that I could use, but nothing was really fitting. It was all just… too halloween. So I went and created it myself.

It’s kind of simple, really. A nice pulsating pad. Another pad that goes ontop where the heartbeat comes in. Then some sort of spooky little pad string notes being played. Oh and it all had to be in Minor keys… And I think it’s worked quite nicely.

The little spooky samples on this are just nice little freebies floating around. I really wanted some sort of bell chime going on. I could’ve gotten that myself by going out and recording a church, but time didn’t really allow for that sadly!

There’s also a crying girl in the background, which I only really put in to help flow into the story better. We’ll get to that later…

###Second Track - Untitled (Get Kryptk)

This track is something I’ve been working on for a while. I’m kind of proud of it but always struggling where to take it.

In the background of the Intro, this track starts up. The track itself starts off at 60BPM then slowly rises to 128BPM. It took me a long time to make this work against the intro track, simply because if it was too loud it would confuse you in to what is going on. I think I’ve worked it nicely now so it’s just in the background doing it’s thing then pokes out when it needs to.

It kicks off and does it’s thing and I’m quite happy with the way it’s turned out. I wanted something driving and nice to listen to but still enjoyable. Oh and there’s also some added bells in there because…bells…

###Story 1

This is where a thanks to Danielle & Matt comes in. I told my friend Danielle about this idea I have of wanting some sort of story to be in between tracks. She knew a guy. Next thing I know I get this.

The first story you hear is actually the second part. This part worked better in this section in my opinion. It’s also not quite your typical halloween story. It’s more of an American Horror Story kind of thing.

Oh, obviously that also isn’t Matt’s real voice. I’ve quite obviously done some pitching and buggering with it.

In the background, the first track is slowly going away as the next one builds. The story ends with “How do I stop?” right before the track comes in and it just made me grin so it had to stay.

###Third Track - Untitled (Why Suffer)

This track is something I’ve started working on maybe a month ago. It was a little piano thing I wrote after having this kind of riff stuck in my head all damn day. Actually, the more melodic bit you hear is the original thing.

This is no where near finished I think, but it’s one of those tracks that just works. And again, it uses black notes a lot. And we all know Black Notes = dramatic. Right? Right?

###Forth Track - A Sea Of Jerks

This is one that I’ve had in my SoundCloud for a long time with a working title of “Long arse drone thing”.

The idea of this is simple. A nice long arse drone thing… Then into some bassy riff thing. Quite a driving track. Oh and this is also where it goes into UK Hardcore mode. Although that is debatable as it’s not exactly your typical UK Hardcore music…

It’s kind of an experiment this track. I’m still undecided as to whether it works. But I do enjoy the percussion elements and the fact that, somehow (though I don’t recall when I did this), I’ve got a nice guitar pluck going on in it… heh.

###Story 2

This is where the 4th and 5th tracks collide. The story explains how the first part happens. Which I think works better than having this part first. The strings from the next track are heard in the background and I just enjoyed hearing the build up. In hindsight, I should’ve spread it out a bit more so that the story ends but the next track is still building as currently it goes right in. But… hindsight is a wonderful thing isn’t it?

I wasn’t even going to use this part of the story. I was going to leave it out and instead have the next track start and do it’s build up. But it felt right to have some sort of follow up to the first part of the story.

###Fifth Track - Come Back Soon

This wasn’t actually meant to be on here. I had two other tracks, but they’re both vocal tracks. In fact, one isn’t even any where near finishing. But because the whole mix so far has been based on melody and telling a story and having this nice journey to it, I decided to use this.

‘Come Back Soon’ is my little weapon. I’m very proud of this track. It still needs some finishing touches and an actual Extended Edit and proper start sorted (as currently it’s a bit abrupt). But I love this. Surprisingly, I think it kind of worked to end this mix.

###Thoughts

So yeah. A 20 minute mix (well, 19:15). With original tracks and original scores with an original story provided. It’s not your average “zOMG ITS HALLOWEEN LETS BRING OUT THE WUBWUBDUBSSSS” kind of mix, but I’m glad it’s not. I wanted to try something different. And so I have.

Hopefully it works for others as much as it works for me.

Now I need to finish all these tracks properly so they can be their own thing…

Team Kryptk 24 Hour Charity Livestream - 16th/17th Jan 2016

The lovely folks over at Team Kryptk are doing a 24 hour livestream in 2016 to raise money for MIND.

We have decided to choose “Mind” as our charity because as a group we all understand in our own ways the struggle with a mental health problem, be it through ourselves or our loved ones. We are hoping to raise awareness and promote the understanding through the improvement of services from your donations. Sometimes it is hard to understand something you aren’t personally going through, hopefully with just this little bit of difference our amazing community can do, we can help those going through mental health problems get advice and support they need. The aim is also to bring those who are unaware to reality of the lives of those around them and how to do their own part in helping them. Much like “Mind” we won’t give up until we can change the way people look at mental health problems and allow the progression of the support and respect of those who are going through it.

Please put this in your diary and support these guys and help raise money for an amazing charity.

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