Mstation Book Reviews
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Sun, 06 Jul 2008

Sound Mixing

Eddie Bazil, Sound Mixing Tips and Tricks,
PC Publishing

No matter how knowledgable you are, there is usually always something new to be found in these sorts of books - ways of getting a balance, small technical details, or even ways of looking at a problem.

Eddie Bazil takes us through his way of doing things by first looking at what he thinks is good; then the listening environment; personal preparation; tools; headphones and speakers; noise; and then a whole bunch of things to do with the mix.

The rub comes when we consider where he's coming from which is basicly that of an engineer who's being paid to capture whatever's going as best he can. This constitutes a certain way of looking at things and a certain way of judging things that might not be helpful for home studio people for example, or for project studio people involved with working bands. The first rule, or anti-rule, for such situations is ... make a virtue of necessity! In other words if you have gear that produces distortion, use it! That sort of creativity is hard to teach but it's the product of attitude and an open mind... and good ears and instincts.

Also in that line is a pronouncement about genres - does the recording actually fit?! This kind of thinking is quite valid at times for a certain sort of band but completely antithetical to the great hordes of artists who don't want to fit at all!

And then there's the use of Cubase for examples. Well, hmmm, who uses Cubase in a pro environment?

Having said all that, there's plenty to take on board here, but, as with any book of this sort, or perhaps any factual book, slavish copying just makes you ... a slave. (John Littler)

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Various, Hackerteen: Internet Blackout Vol 1

This is the start of a series of manga-style graphic novels that is aimed at kids and hopes to make them aware of various online issues including malware and the potential theft of democracy by corrupt voting machine manufacturers in conjunction with sleazy politicians.

The drawing style is simple and effective and the message pretty obvious but the names!! These really are super-lame: hackerteen? Hackerrip?? Ugren? Yago might have been clever if ...

And is US19.99 a little expensive for a fairly incomplete story (continued in vol 2)? It is nicely produced though - certainly not a cheap comic book.

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My New Mac

Wallace Wang, My New Mac: 52 Simple projects to get you started,
No Starch Press

We have an excerpt from this book here.

This book is actually a little bit more than just a list of tricks. It is a fully-fledged guide to getting around and doing most of the things you might need to do. As such, it's a fairly ideal guide for someone who has just fled Vista land to try something new - and there are a heck of a lot people doing just that.

The book starts with turning the machine on and progresses through various time-saving shortcuts, all sorts of things you might like to do (playing and burning digital media for example), getting on the internet and using it, and maintaining your machine.

There are some nice tips and tricks along the way such as how to eject a CD that the machine hasn't recognised. Quite a lot of it is basic but there are a few things that aren't all that well-known. As such it is perfect for the people it's intended for.

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Google Apps

Phillip Lenssen, Google Apps Hacks,

This book could be useful for Google app users to get a little more out of them but it's also useful for website publishers particularly as far as embedding is concerned. Here at Mstation, for example, we decided we'd make a calendar mash-up of music dates and the result is here. And that prompted us to make another one, which might be more useful as an actual calendar, that collected geek events around the world ... here

The book first introduces the Google docs family and then goes through Gmail, Google homepage, the calendar, News, Google reader, maps, and even analytics. The approach of the book, as in the past with this series, is to outline a number of hacks under each sub heading. There are also a number of screenshots to help things along.

Yes, there's some fun to be had here.

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