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TheoryBoard Unboxing

Here it is!

I am so impressed by the people who designed and developed the TheoryBoard. They launched a successful Kickstarter campaign and they not only delivered, but they really increased the value of their product by taking it from prototype to production while adding features and refinements all along the way.

Straight out of the box

I was able to quickly connect the TheoryBoard to my MacBook Pro, open Cubase, and begin recording. The USB cable is all you need if you are using a PC or Mac. I did test it with both external power and USB power only. It works really well!

Powered on and connected via USB

Since I didn’t watch the tutorial yet, here is me just exploring a little. 🙂

Select a scale and test

What I like:
– plug and play
– excellent build quality
– plays chords and scales that sound great without any knowledge of music theory
– light weight and easy to carry
– non-slip base
– pressure-sensitive lighted buttons

What can be improved:

– the symbols for the central display buttons that affect the current scale are not documented in the boxed literature or within the menu system, I’ll have to go online to learn more

– the lighted buttons are pressure-sensitive but require some finesse that I don’t yet have. Sometimes I was able to get the results I desired but there were also times where the result was louder or quieter than expected. Changing the algorithm used for debouncing these inputs might be able to improve this

– the central display indicates when a button is pressed but the lighted buttons themselves do not, it’s personal preference, but I’d like the button I press to dim or turn off for a moment so I know the press was registered there as well

Take aways:

I love this MIDI instrument. My only concern is that I won’t get used to the somewhat finicky response of the lighted buttons. Again, that might be user error, but it definitely has room for improvement. This has been a great first user experience and the bonus of following along with the development of this product has made this a great Kickstarter experience as well.

I’ll try to post again after I have had enough time to really learn how to use this instrument, but if you have the chance to pick one up sooner then I highly recommend you do!

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Review of Rhino 5 3D CAD Software

I am looking for a 3D CAD software that is simple to learn and affordable. Three things I am looking for in particular are: able to work in quad-view (top, front, side, 3d), able to enter dimensions using the keyboard, and able to snap to grid and objects during object creation and editing.

Rhino 5 https://www.rhino3d.com/ is a very full featured CAD software. I was able to quickly get started creating boxes and editing dimensions. I had to search the forums for help on getting objects to snap to each other but it was frustrating because I had to explicitly type the command to use each time I wanted to move or resize an object. It was also difficult because the only way to begin the snap operation was to press the left mouse button, which had to be pressed each time a different snap location was selected. This made editing a very slow process.

Retail pricing at the time this was written (Oct 27, 2017) was a little on the high side and also weird. Windows version was priced at $995 USD while the Mac version was priced at $695.00 USD. There was no mention of a different feature set so this was a very steep cost to run on Windows.

One last thing, when I was ready to remove the evaluation copy of this software I found that I had to uninstall 5 separate packages on Windows. This is not unheard of, but it could have been better.

Overall I would recommend trying Rhino 5. It is worth the time to evaluate and, like I said, is very fully featured. Unfortunately, it just did not meet my needs.

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Here comes toast

It has not been long now that we started using a Breville toaster oven, but I already know it is my favorite small appliance.  The metal is cut well, with no sharp edges.  There is an easily removable drip tray.  The timer is spot-on and easy to use.  I highly recommend this product.  Now for some more toast.

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Lots of socks

I purchased enough socks to replace my aging collection of holy misfits.  I gave sockbin.com a try and so far am very pleased.  It was only $37 for 12 pairs of white and 12 pairs of black socks.  The white socks that were shipped to me were the wrong size so I emailed their support and they responded the next morning to let me know the correct socks had been reshipped and that I should just keep the wrong ones.  I guess I can use them for sock puppets, or maybe one of my friends can use them.  Either way, I am a happy customer and can recommend sockbin.com to the rest of the Internet looking for socks.