Daily Archives: March 11, 2018

Almost there!

Good evening everyone!  Like anyone really reads much of this anyway…except me.  I read the hell out of my own posts.  I’ve found spots where I’ve mentioned the same thing twice, and both times like it was the first time I had the idea!  Yeah, a little scary.  But, that’s just me I suppose.

On to the fun stuff. I am a GEEK for home automation.  An absolute geek!.  I have been automating my house(s) for years now.  I don’t mean the hardwired stuff that costs thousands of dollars.  I mean the cheap, super easy, very effective things you can do that you can take with you when you decide to move.  None of it is permanent, you don’t have to drill holes in the walls or the ceiling or anything like that.  I have Philips Hue Smart light bulbs in almost every light in the house.  That means my lights are now voice controllable.  I have several smart plugs, which means everything plugged into them is now voice controllable.  So here we get to the fun, at least for this geek.  I have a surge suppressor that is voice controllable now….I put it in the studio.  I plugged my new floor lamp into it and I plugged my laptop into as well.  It also has four (yes four!) USB ports for charging.  No more charging blocks!!!! I went into the Jinvoo app (that’s the company that makes the smart surge suppressor) and named the surge suppressor ‘studio’.  I went into the Hue app and named the two lights ‘studio one’ and ‘studio two’ and put them in the room named ‘Studio’.  Now I can say, “Alexa, start up the studio.” and the surge suppressor turns on as well as the floor lamp.  This powers everything I have in my little recording space.  So now when I’m ready, so is my studio!  I know, I could come in here, turn the laptop on, pull the chain on both of the lights on the floor lamp and sit down and wait for everything to boot up, but now I don’t have to!  Dad bought an Echo Dot tonight for his bedroom….that means we have an Alexa powered device in every major room of the house.  The best part of all this…..when we move this summer (fingers crossed) all we have to do it unplug the various devices and put them back in their original boxes, take out all the light bulbs and put the old ones back in and take all the smart plugs with us.  That is the entire system for this (almost) completely automated home!  I don’t have to buy anything else for the new house or apartment.  I have an old Army field fax machine wooden chest.  I put all of my home automation stuff in there.  I pack up the stuff in the boxes, lock down the box with the closures on each side, pick up the handles and walk away.  TOO EASY!

More on the studio.  Ok, so it isn’t really a studio….it’s a recording space.  Studio is shorter to say.  That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.  I was having mic issues and interface issues and Studio One issues and so much more.  After messing with it for two days, I finally just asked ‘Uncle Roy’ to help me.  It took him 10 minutes to get me recording at acceptable levels and everything running the way it should!  He’s great!  I’m ready to start a good long session with him to get him to show me more stuff…..it costs, but it’s worth it!    I was ready to call up George Whittam, had my card in hand and everything, but he wasn’t available until the middle of next week.  Turns out my problems were caused by my own ignorance.  Thankfully Roy only gave me a little flack about that and fixed me right up!

So now I can record easily, at acceptable levels, I can play it back and actually hear it, and I have light in the studio so I can see what the hell I’m trying to do.

That means I started playing with Audacity.  I tried using Studio One but so much of it didn’t make sense.  I was already a little familiar with Audacity so I’ll be sticking with that until I get a feel for cleaning up my files so they’re presentable for auditions and such.

On another VO note, I think I want to give telephony a shot.  It sounds like fun really.  A fellow VO said she even has a contract with one of her local installers that bundles her voice files with new phone systems and such.  That sounds like a GREAT deal!

I’ve met some AMAZING people in the VO groups I’ve joined.  I’ve met some that aren’t so nice as well.  Every barrel has a few bad apples, the VO business is no different.  No biggy.  Some people are more patient than others.  With me being so new to the industry, I have questions these professionals have heard a MILLION times, I’m sure they get tired of answering the same questions over and over and over again.  I can’t really blame them to be honest.  I’d get a little testy as well.

So, now that I’ve talked your ear off about that….think about what tasks you would like to have automated in your house.  IFTTT is an amazing tool for home automation.  Every morning  when my Echo Show alarm goes off, the lights turn on very dim and steadily get brighter for the next ten minutes until they are at 100%.  I did it using an applet I created in IFTTT.  I was watching an episode of Booth Junkie and he said he uses IFTTT to do backups of his work.  While I don’t use it for this right now, I am in the process of setting it up.  IFTTT lets you make your own ‘recipes’ for whatever it is you want to happen.  You can set things up to happen at a certain time or when you trigger the action.  There are more than a hundred ‘ifs’ and the same for ‘then that’ options.  If this happens then that happens.  Old school style.  I set up two new applets tonight for this blog.  Now anytime I publish a new post, IFTTT will automatically post the title and link to my Facebook page and will also tweet the same information for me so I don’t have to do it anymore.  Every time I get a text on my phone, that text and corresponding information is automatically added to s spreadsheet on my google drive.  I don’t have to do a thing!  Once you have your lights set up, you can set up IFTTT triggers for those, too.  On at sunset off at sunrise if you want…or you can use a specific time.  So many things you can do!  Oh, and did I mention that IFTTT is free?  Yeah, IFTTT is FREE!

I’m ready to see if my two new applets worked and then go play with the editing chain presets in Audacity.  Have a great night!