Nord-Keytar Gigging Setup

How to look like a prat live on stage

The Rockband 3 Wireless Keytar has no reason to have a midi-out port, or a mod wheel and pitch bend $


Because I was so preoccupied with whether or not I could, I didn’t stop to think if I should.


The USB receiver on the keytar allows it to be plugged into a computer, and some sort of driver/midi$

Keytar -> Wireless Receiver -> Pi -> USB Midi cable -> Nord

A kind soul has made a driver that converts the raw output of the keytar into midi messages. After installing this on the pi with a fair amount of difficulty and swearing, and getting the script to start at boot without the need for any user input, the pi becomes a plug 'n' play device for Nord-keytar communication. Finally, I can take my funk solos with style, as long as I remember to keep an eye on the keytar battery life. At least if the batteries run out I can preserve some dignity.


The Easiest Headphone Holder

headphone holder

Small things can really make a difference. I spend a lot of time at the computer, and if I think about it, I probably put on and take off my headphones unreasonably frequently. Having nowhere to put them grates at my soul, chipping away at my mindset slowly but surely. If we approach desk-sitting like Team Sky approach cycling, we should be considering marginal gains when trying to improve, and so I present the g-clamp headphone stand. Easy to implement, easy to use, fits on any desk, simple and effective. Gone are the anarchic days of madness when I put my headphones in a random spot on the desk. Those crazy times are over. I now know where my headphones are at any time, anywhere.

But wait, I hear you cry, how can I, too, achieve such a state of elegance with my desk-headphone setup? I'm glad you asked, because I made a set of instructions that you can follow to reproduce my configuration. Yes, you too can achieve this marginal gain. Imagine the increased productivity, the saved time, the improved mood! You can find said instructions right here.


Easy Parallax Stars

Easy Parallax Stars

Don't these stars look great

I spent a long time messing around with chunks, loading, unloading, pooling, etc. before a friend suggested I came up with a much simpler way of getting parallax stars working easily.

Generate a load of random points in a square, each with a random z-value. Scale each point's speed according to the z-value to simulate the parralax (this way you can have as many layers of parallax as you want and to add more you can just increase the range of the z-value). Whenever a star leaves the screen, just spawn it in on the opposite side of the square. As long as your square is slightly bigger than the screen size then that's it, amazing-looking amazingly simple parallax stars. If you scale the star speed in the opposite way i.e. closer stars go faster then you get a king of underwater-y effect. Could be a nice look for a diving game.


Make any image glow

Make Image Glow

I wanted to make a glowing 'Jazz Dash' logo for an ad video. The text was transformed quite a bit and I couldn't easily find a built-in feature for that in Gimp, my image software (it's free). Here's a great way to make any image you like glow, with full control over glow size and colour. This works best for images with a lot of transparency, like my Jazz Dash

  • Create a duplicate layer of your image in the editor of your choice
  • Change the colour of the background layer if you like, using colour adjustment filters or just the fill bucket
  • Apply a gaussian blur to the background layer

Done! An easy, DIY way to make your titles pop