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It started innocently enough. “Let’s get together and jam” lead to a rehearsal song list, and the possibility of starting a band. I had about a week to organize and prepare for a mostly full band rehearsal. We don’t have a singer yet, so that duty, sadly, has fallen on me until we get someone. As noted on this site before, I’m a guitar player. By nature, I’m a very organized an prepared individual, and I wanted to get everyone prepared for the songs ahead of time. After I sent out links to YouTube clips of the songs to the other members, it was time to get to work.
Here are the apps and devices I used that made my life a lot easier during this process.
Practice, practice, practice
One of the nice things about being the person everyone points to and says, “pick some songs” is, well, the songs I picked I already pretty much knew. However, there’s a huge difference between kinda knowing the song, and knowing it enough for a rehearsal. The first thing I did was create an iTunes playlist with the tunes. When I was driving around, I played nothing but those songs to get them stuck in my head.
When it came to actually putting my fingers to the fretboard, I used AmpliTube on my iPad for 90 percent of my practice — the other 10 percent were with my live rig to get the sounds right. One nice thing with AmpliTube is it will load the songs from my Music.app playlists and let me play along to them, as well as speed up and slow down parts. If there was a part I found particularly tricky to learn, I used Riffstation on OS X to loop that segment while I used the AmpliTube Orange amps to play along. For the first set of rehearsals, I also didn’t worry too much about getting the solos note-for-note, and instead focused on catching the feeling of the solo. I used my Fender Squire USB guitar for most of my practicing since it easily plugs into my iPad and Mac.
For what I was doing, I didn’t really care about my overall guitar sound; I just wanted to balance the volumes so I could hear both the song and my guitar equally. Then, I practiced. A lot.
I was asked by the bass player to chart the songs for a cheat sheet during rehearsal. While there are plenty of programs that will let you chart songs, I found them to be too advanced for my needs. What I really just needed to do was have the lyrics and then put the chord changes over it.
So, I used Pages ($ 19.99).
I went to a lyric website, cut and pasted the lyrics into Pages, and then added the chords and beat markers over the lyrics. This worked fantastically. In addition to giving the bass player a cheat cheat, I also had something I could reference during rehearsals. If I couldn’t remember how the chorus went, I had my own little cheat sheet. I printed out charts for her and the drummer, and had my iPad ready for my reference.
Running the rehearsal
Generally, I frown upon singers who use cheat sheets live, but in practice, obviously they are fine. Plus, I’m just filling in until we get a real singer (hopefully soon, I really can’t sing). I needed cheat sheets where I could see them while standing up, and I didn’t have a music stand that went that high. Plus, I wanted them right in my face.
For my cheat sheets, I used the iKlip 2 ($ 39.99) from IK Multimedia. It’s a mic stand holder for your iPad 2, 3 or 4 in a fairly secure fashion. Note: it slides into the holder, so I’d be a cautious using it during gigs. Not because it’ll fall out, but it’d be easy for someone to just snag the iPad during breaks. So, if you use it, make sure you take the iPad off when you walk off stage.
I was able to position my iPad with the iKlip so I could read the lyrics while warbling. A minor pet peeve is that I can’t get the iKlip to hold my iPad in the portrait position on the boom portion of the stand. Instead, I had to clip it on the main stand just under the boom.
If a note about how we played something came up, I just edited the Pages document with the note. Usually, this is how long the solos were, or if we wanted to change how a bridge went.
I’ve written before about how I continue to be amazed at the way technology continues to improve how I approach music. It’s been 20 years since I’ve run a rehearsal. Back then it involved a lot of cassette tapes, CDs and photocopies. While OS X continues to be a starting point for my music, I find now when it comes to rehearsals, everything I need is on my iPad. I also have all my music theory and chord books in the Kindle app, so if I need to learn a chord I’m not familiar with, it’s very, very easy.
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We know you’ve got questions, and if you’re brave enough to ask the world for answers, then here’s the outlet to do so. This week’s Ask Engadget inquiry is from Meredith, who needs a new Ultrabook so she can go to Law School. If you’re looking to ask one of your own, drop us a line at ask [at] engadget [dawt] com.
“I’m going to law school and I’ll need a new laptop. Since I’ll be commuting with a long train ride each way, I’m looking for a sub-$ 1000 device with Windows, a long battery life, SSD and it has to be lightweight. I don’t need anything too powerful as I’m not doing any gaming, but something that’ll work reliably for the next three years would be ideal for lecturers, web browsing and word processing. Is there a bargain to be had now, or should I wait for back-to-school Ultrabooks to come out? Thanks!”
In your humble narrator’s position, waiting a few months for a Haswell device, which promises significantly increased battery life might be a wise choice. However, if you’re not too fussed about a touchscreen device, then our laptop expert feels that Samsung’s Series 9 might be the way forward. Of course, this isn’t just a private enquiry, so let’s share this out with the wider community and see what they can come up with. It’s Ask Engadget, folks, you know the drill.
Filed under: Laptops
For a simple, ancient beverage, coffee has gotten pretty high-tech. Though it wasn’t long ago that we were drying cherries in the sun, roasting them in a cast-iron pan, grinding the beans with a mortal and pestle, and brewing the …
We know you’ve got questions, and if you’re brave enough to ask the world for answers, then here’s the outlet to do so. This week’s Ask Engadget inquiry is from James, who wants to break into audio mixing, but needs some noisyboxes for his desk. If you’re looking to ask one of your own, drop us a line at ask [at] engadget [dawt] com.
I’m no audiophile, but I would like some decent quality sound for my desktop. I’ve tried 4.1, 2.1, 2.0 setups but none of them made me very happy, which isn’t helping my attempts to get into professional audio work. Is there a lower-end line of speakers that the pros use that I’d be able to afford?
Fortunately for you, James, we can turn this question over to our podcast producer, who suggested that you could do worse than a pair of KRK RP6G2 Rockit speakers, which come in at $ 400 for a pair. They’re studio monitors rather than purely desktop speakers, but if you want to start working in audio then you’re probably better off with these. Of course, it wouldn’t be Ask Engadget unless we turned this question over to our clever crew of commenters, so if you know of anything that’s better (or cheaper) then fire your answer into the comments below.
As Best Buy attempts a return to financial well-being, it’s decided to sell the 50 percent share it (still?) owns in Best Buy Europe to fellow joint venture partner Carphone Warehouse. The price is set at about 500 million GBP ($ 775 million) and is expected to close by June.
Source: Best Buy
Every year, right after the draft is over, NFL teams get on the phone with hundreds of kids who didn’t hear their names called during the actual selection process. For any number of reasons, there are times when teams miss out on potential, or develop it later, and benefit from the ultimate bargain score — the undrafted player who turns into a starter — and, on occasion, a Pro Bowl or Hall of Fame-level asset. From Kurt Warner to John Randle to Rod Smith to Antonio Gates to Wes Welker to London Fletcher and on and on, there’s always enough of a chance that a few of these payers will hit on the bigger gamble to make them worth monitoring.
Here, based on what we’ve seen, are the best players still left standing once the 2013 NFL draft was done, and the teams they’ve signed with in parentheses.
Da’Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee Tech: A Greg Cosell favorite. NFLDraftScout.com gave him a third-round grade. Was suspended indefinitely from the Tennessee squad for violations of team rules and subsequently transferred, but dominated at the bigger-school level, as well. Big kid (6-foot-3, 217) with 4.5 speed and interesting after-catch abilities. If he gets his act together, could be a legitimate starter. (Buffalo Bills)
Matt Scott, QB, Arizona: Mobile quarterback with some pretty serious mechanical fixes ahead of him, but he really intrigues as an athlete and thrower. Not just a guy who runs around in the pocket — has the speed to threaten upfield. Could be a long-term NFL backup and spot starter in the Seneca Wallace mold, and perhaps more than that with a team willing to take the shot on developing him over time. (Jacksonville Jaguars)
[Related: Winners, losers from 2013 NFL draft]
Alvin Bailey, OG, Arkansas: Big but agile blocker with the ability to protect in space and at the second level, but can also bring it with power at the line. Can play right or left guard. Struggles with more advanced defensive concepts and is erratic in play-to-play blocking consistency. Needs an NFL team that understands how to bridge the gap between potential and performance. (Seattle Seahawks)
Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee: Impressive arm talent with question marks just about everywhere else. Annoyingly erratic thrower who benefited from a great deal of receiver talent. Not an effectively mobile player when he needs to be and doesn’t really have a gauge with his arm strength. Has some reported off-field concerns, and there could be more underneath the surface. Buyer beware, but someone will fall in love with the cannon and try to deal with all the other stuff. (Kansas City Chiefs)
Kwame Geathers, DT, Georgia: Father, uncle, and brother played, or currently play, in the NFL. Massive run-stuffer with surprisingly quick feet and a certain level of burst off the snap. Dropped because he’s got a lot of technique work to do — he loses power a lot on leverage, doesn’t show a lot of effective hand movement, and disappears for long stretches of time. Rotational guy at the NFL level. (San Diego Chargers)
Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford: Lacks speed to the ball and doesn’t display a lot of agility in space, but could catch on with a team able to use and appreciate his football smarts. Understands stunts and blitzes at a high level. Effort guy who will max out on technique. Stronger than his size (6-foot-3, 244) would indicate. (New Orleans Saints)
Kevin Reddick, ILB,North Carolina: Straight-line guy with the speed to blitz. Led the ACC with 18.5 tackles for loss in 2012. Has played through injuries. Needs to be in a defense where he’s in a lane and isn’t asked to move around too much, but teams in need of a thumper could do a lot worse. (New Orleans Saints)
Xavier Nixon, OT, Florida: Looks the part, but has struggled with a lot of technique stuff. Injuries kept him from a combine workout, which affected him more than most because NFL teams would want to know why his play dropped off after a strong freshman campaign. Tape shows that he struggles in space and fails to deliver consistent leverage blows. Like most athletically gifted big men on his list, he’s here because he needs to do the finishing work. (Washington Redskins)
Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma: A 5-foot-11, 213-pound box player with some coverage ability and short-area speed concerns that may make him a niche downhill player and could limit him in slot situations. Could excel on special teams if he can learn to tackle with more force and better technique. (Arizona Cardinals)
Conner Vernon, WR, Duke: Highly productive player in an offense the NFL respects — the ACC’s all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards. While Vernon understands routes in short areas, he lacks athleticism that would have teams looking harder at him. He’ll need the right fit, but will probably gain his quarterback’s trust over time and could surprise in the next few years. (Oakland Raiders)
Cierre Wood, RB, Notre Dame: Off-field concerns may have dropped his stock — suspended the first two games of the 2012 season. Kind of a tweener, with some speed to get upfield, but he should block a lot better at his size and needs to develop more consistent power. (Houston Texans)
Lerentee McCray, OLB, Florida: Fast player with some quarterback pressure potential, but needs to get the motor under control. Has some coverage ability, shows a natural attack demeanor, and could be a good situational defender at the next level. (Denver Broncos)
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We know you’ve got questions, and if you’re brave enough to ask the world for answers, then here’s the outlet to do so. This week’s Ask Engadget inquiry is from Travis from Provo, who is a jammy individual, wants to replace his router. If you’re looking to ask one of your own, drop us a line at ask [at] engadget [dawt] com.
“I’m currently living in Provo UT, and my wireless router just died. I want to replace it with something that’s going to handle Google Fiber as that’s on its way. What do you recommend?”
Given the number of places that are now getting super-speed fiber, we’re very interested in the results of this one. We ask a similar question each year, and in 2012 you were all voicing your support for Cisco/Linksys hardware, ASUS’ RT-N66U and D-Link’s DIR-655. The only question is what’ll come out on top in 2013, so get commenting, friends.
The legendary basketball coach John Wooden liked to say that “Success is never final, and failure is never fatal.” Those players left on the board for Day 3 of the NFL draft would do well to remember that. Just because your journey to the NFL takes you through the later rounds doesn’t mean that you can’t be a special player in the pros — and if you are, chances are pretty good that you’ll beat out someone who was selected with a higher pick than you were in the grand scheme of things. Draft boards move in strange ways.
Of last year’s All-Pro players in skill positions (non-special teamers), nine were either selected in the fourth round of their drafts or lower, or were undrafted entirely. So, you kids out there wondering what’s happening to your lives, go ask Alfred Morris, Vonta Leach, Jerome Felton, Jahri Evans, Cameron Wake, Geno Atkins, London Fletcher, Richard Sherman, and Dashon Goldson how it can be done even if the NFL seems to have overlooked you.
Based on our evaluations of their college careers, here’s our list of the best players still available for Day 3 of the NFL draft.
Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama: Former rugby and basketball player from Australia who’s still developing as a football player, but brings incredible strength and leverage, and a dynamite playing personality, to the field. Workout warrior with evolving potential. Can play nose tackle straight over center or shaded to the side, but is quick enough to move around gaps. Could possibly make a Haloti Ngata-type impact in the right system.
Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse: As with all the quarterbacks left on the board, Nassib is a limited-ceiling player with some intriguing attributes. Effectively mobile, smart, tough player who can run an offense at the NFL level, but tends to play over his head at times. Inconsistent deep-ball thrower, but could develop into a spot starter in the NFL over time. He’s a bit like Mark Sanchez before the Jets ruined him.
Alex Okafor, DE, Texas: Kind of a John Abraham-type pass-rusher; may have dropped because he’s kind of a tweener. Underrated burst off the edge and can move inside to tackle on passing downs. Doesn’t have a bull-rush of note, and he may not be laterally agile enough to move outside as a 3-4 endbacker, but teams playing four-man fronts could do a lot worse. Frankly, I’m surprised to see Damontre Moore go ahead of Okafor.
Jonathan Franklin, RB, UCLA: The best remaining running back, and potentially a lot more productive than a few of the five guys selected in Day 2. A fast player with outstanding escapability in tight spaces and some breakaway speed. At 5-foot-10 and 205 pounds, he’s more of a situational guy than an every-down player, but the NFL tends to see most backs that way at this point.
Matt Barkley, QB, USC: The low ceiling was always there, and not we know it for sure. Barkley understands the game, can read protections, and can run an NFL offense right away. He’s very effective in the short-to-intermediate game, but there are severe questions about his ability to make deeper plays into tight windows. May not fit the current league at all, as pro personnel guys tend to look more for height/weight/speed templates at the position, but could be an Alex Smith game-manager type. That’s just not the starting role it used to be.
Da’Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee Tech: Big (6-foot-3, 217), strong, fast guy who can upend coverage with his attributes. Physical player who does not fear traffic and could excel in some advanced slot packages. Washed out at Tennessee due to violations of team rules and will have to be watched off the field, which is why he’s still available.
Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas: Perhaps my favorite quarterback left on the board. Underrated team leader who took his offense through and past the Bobby Petrino debacle. Tough, resilient player with a plus arm and a lot of potential in a vertical offense. Has some mechanical issues, especially with his arm angle and overall delivery. Footwork is a concern, and he needs to eliminate a “kamikaze” element to his game that sees him make some really questionable throws.
Phillip Thomas, FS, Fresno State: Could really excel in a zone scheme that requiresits safeties to come down and hit in the box. Lacks top-end speed, but has displayed an impressive overall skill set. Doesn’t jump off the tape, but seems to be that kind of multi-year starter that would be a great third-day bargain.
Khaseem Greene, LB, Rutgers: Fits the NFL’s recent trends favoring quicker, lighter linebackers who can move in space and roll in coverage. Better open-field tackler than some linebackers already taken off the board, and has some potential as a blitzer. Has probably topped out physically at 6-foot-1 and 241-pounds, and the lack of height may have teams wondering.
Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech: Reliable receiver with good route awareness, excellent feet, and an understanding of the little things. However, Patton is limited not only by his lack of breakaway speed downfield, but also his inability to get up to full acceleration off the line in a hurry. May struggle against better coverage athletes in the NFL, but looked great at the Senior Bowl and would look good as a component player on underneath stuff.
Barrett Jones, C, Alabama: Injuries dropped his stock, but Jones is a reliable, versatile player who could probably kick outside to guard in an emergency. Obviously understands how to run things in an advanced power offense. Limited physical upside, but works his butt off and gets the game.
West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith was the one on draft day whose presence in the green room was a bit heartbreaking.
There is usually one player whose stress is evident as the picks fly off the board. Brady Quinn and Aaron Rodgers know the feeling, as television cameras memorably chronicled their angst in the green room as they fell in the draft. Smith looked more and more uncomfortable as the night dragged on. The NFL Network said at about 11:40 p.m. ET, with two picks left to go in the first round, that Smith left the building. ESPN reported that Smith doesn’t plan to come back for the second day of the draft. He’ll be a cautionary green room tale for years to come, like Rodgers and Quinn.
Manti Te’o didn’t take the chance. The Notre Dame linebacker stayed in Hawaii, with no television cameras in his home. He wasn’t taken in the first round either, but at least the nation didn’t have to suffer along with him. The same can be said for USC quarterback Matt Barkley, who many projected as a top 10 pick in last year’s draft before he decided to go back to college for another year. He wasn’t taken in Thursday’s first round either.
Heading into the second day of the draft, there is a lot of skill position talent still available, and Smith is probably be the headliner of that group. In another oddity, no running backs were taken in the first round of the NFL draft for the first time since 1963. That’s what happens when the first round was filled with offensive and defensive linemen.
With stars like Smith, Te’o and Barkley still on the board, the second round might be more intriguing than the rather lackluster first round was.
Florida State’s E.J. Manuel was the only quarterback selected in the first round, which is one of the surprises of the draft. There were no running backs taken, and just three receivers and one tight end went in the first round. And Smith was far from the only big-name quarterback who didn’t hear his name called.
The Jaguars pick first in the second round, and Blaine Gabbert has done more than enough to prove that Jacksonville needs a quarterback. The Cardinals have the sixth pick of the second round. Carson Palmer is a fine option at quarterback for Arizona if it’s still 2007. It’s not, so Arizona should be in play for a quarterback. The Raiders, with the 10th pick of the second round, are another team that drafts early on Friday and needs a quarterback.
And there are a few interesting options. Aside from Smith, whose struggles over the second half of the 2012 season ruined his first-round hopes, Barkley, Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib, Oklahoma’s Landry Jones, Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson and N.C. State’s Mike Glennon are the top quarterbacks available. So there are a lot of intriguing names available at a second-round price. While Smith seems to be the top option, there are so many differing opinions on the quarterbacks this year that it’s anyone’s guess what order they’ll go in.
Te’o might not be the best defensive player left on the board, but he’s the most interesting. We’ll never know for sure how much the catfishing/fake girlfriend hoax that was uncovered after last season affected his draft stock. There were plenty of football-related concerns about him after he struggled mightily in the BCS Championship Game against Alabama. Many teams picking late in the first round could have used a middle linebacker but none selected the Heisman Trophy runner-up. With the last pick of the first round, Baltimore was on the clock and the Ravens need to replace the retired Ray Lewis. Commissioner Roger Goodell started to announce “Ma … ” but then finished by saying the name of Florida safety Matt Elam. And officially Te’o had to wait until at least Friday to hear his name called.
Here are some of the top players who will be available when the draft continues on Friday:
Geno Smith, West Virginia
Tyler Wilson, Arkansas
Matt Barkley, USC
Mike Glennon, N.C. State
Ryan Nassib, Syracuse
Landry Jones, Oklahoma
Eddie Lacy, Alabama
Giovani Bernard, North Carolina
Montee Ball, Wisconsin
Le’Veon Bell, Michigan State
Johnathan Franklin, UCLA
Keenan Allen, Cal
Robert Woods, USC
Markus Wheaton, Oregon State
Justin Hunter, Tennessee
Zach Ertz, Stanford
Gavin Escobar, San Diego State
Menelik Watson, Florida State
Larry Warford, Kentucky
Terron Armstead, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State
Jesse Williams, Alabama
John Jenkins, Georgia
Damontre Moore, Texas A&M
Alex Okafor, Texas
Sam Montgomery, LSU
Cornellius “Tank” Carradine, Florida State
Margus Hunt, SMU
Manti Te’o, Notre Dame
Kevin Minter, LSU
Arthur Brown, Kansas State
Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State
Jamar Taylor, Boise State
David Amerson, N.C. State
Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International
D.J. Swearinger, South Carolina