tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:/posts Matthew Supert 2018-03-07T15:35:11Z Matthew Supert tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1258048 2018-03-07T15:35:11Z 2018-03-07T15:35:11Z Final Thoughts on the Novation Circuit

Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1258044 2018-03-07T15:32:35Z 2018-03-07T15:33:15Z The Decline of Harley-Davidson

If you have read the news in the motorcycling world lately you will have seen the headlines about the declining state of Harley-Davidson. Articles have been popping up everywhere for months about the company's poor financial outlook. There is a measure of angst going around as some people are using this as a measure of the health of motorcycling in the United States. It may be true that HD is the largest US seller of motorcycles, but their declining sales may not be a measure of motorcycling as it once used to me. 

The HD condition, as I will call it, it largely a product of their own making. I would not call myself a fan of HD, but I am not a hater either. I can respect the sort of "mechanical" nature of their motorcycles. I personally am not a huge fan of bikes with tons of gadgets on them, electronics, and all that. With the exception of their top of the line bikes, HD has remained true to that image. However, their image overall is precisely what I think their largest problem is. They have spent decades cultivating a cultural identity and biker image. Up until recently that has largely been a boon for them, creating a "fraternity" of sorts for motorcyclists to rally behind. With that fraternity though has also been the creation of a mentality that "you're one of us or you aren't". 

One of HD's (and motorcycling in the US') biggest problems is the age demographics of riders. HD riders are old, as are the riders across the country in general. Those individuals tend to be able to buy a $15000+ motorcycle, but in order for the industry to stay healthy you need to get younger riders into the market. 

The new batch of millennials coming into the market don't appear to embrace the current image that HD has cultivated. Many are turning to sports bikes or adventure touring bikes. Another large sector seeing a resurgence is the café racer, "hipster", city rider. Brands like Roland Sands, Icon, and others are tapping into a new style for younger riders. Just about every manufacturer from Kawasaki, to Yamaha, are now releasing "vintage" styled bikes that appeal to a younger crowd. 

Coupled with increased pressure from a "new" US brand in Indian Motorcycles, it makes you have to wonder how HD is going to respond and if HD can respond. The market now has more options and more sub-groupings of biking identity then it ever had before. No longer are biking communities split largely between sports bike riders and cruisers and with that growing division comes a smaller slice of the pie for HD.

They have spent such a long time cultivating the image that they have, I am not entirely sure they can attract a different audience with women, younger riders and a different demographic without alienating those individuals who have been with them for decades and spent tens of thousands of dollars with them. HD may finally find itself in a position where it has to cede its dominate market presence over the coming decade.


Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1249779 2018-02-19T02:59:32Z 2018-02-19T02:59:32Z Let’s try Zesty Blood Orange Diet Coke

Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1246301 2018-02-12T03:34:31Z 2018-02-12T03:38:52Z 2018 International Motorcycle Show

This weekend was the IMS in Chicago. I go to this show almost every single year. This year I was terribly sick with a head cold, and I probably should not have gone, but I was looking forward to attending for weeks, so I had to go despite the sickness. Sorry, I was so out of it that I didn't get any photos of the show, but I'll try and post what I liked below. 

Royal Enfield Himalayan 

This was by far my most anticipated bike to see at the show. I have had a fascination with Royal Enfield long before I got my motorcycle license. The look of their bikes invokes something "classic" and despite the issues with the build quality, something about their "old fashioned", mechanical nature is appealing from a motorcycling perspective. Single engine, carb'd bikes on steel frames. 

The Himalayan has been discussed for a couple of years now. The Himalayan is a 400cc single cylinder adventure bike. Not quite a a dual sport and not quite a full on adventure bike. The ADV touring segment is huge at the moment and BMW arguably dominates this world. Their bikes also cost >$20,000 most of the time. The Himalayan comes in at $4500 list. 

What immediately made me think this could be a great bike is a memory from watching the "Long Way Round" documentary a few years ago. In that show Ewean McGregor and Charley Boorman took BMW's across Russia (and the world). At one point in their adventure their camera operator's bike broke down and he ended up getting a small motorcycle to use across the countryside. While the two BMW's got slogged down in the mud, this small, light and simple little bike took to the terrain effortlessly. 

A quote from Cycleworld summed up what I thought was perfect. 

"Where are the bikes that are perfect for once-a-week adventures, not once-in-a-lifetime ones?"

Sitting on it at the show immediately caught me. It felt great, and at $4500, almost comes in at an impulse buy (at least as far as motorcycles go).

Honda Goldwing

First off, I am not a Goldwing rider. Heck, I am not even a touring bike type of rider, but the new Goldwing has been getting rave reviews from every news outlet out there. It even has Apple CarPlay and airbags. Did it look good at the show? Sure, especially that brown color. You know who I saw standing around it though? A bunch of old guys. 

Not the type of bike for me. 

Kawasaki H2 SX Touring

Another bike I have heard a lot of good things about. The H2 SX looks to be an insane engine, packed into a sport tourer. The primary requirements for a my type of motorcycling is I want a machine that I can "load up" with luggage for touring and then also "strip down" for one day rides on twisty roads. I don't want to see luggage permanently grafted onto the bike, or tons of "stuff" that adds all sorts of weight. The HS SX would fit my criteria almost exactly, except for all of the plastic fairings. But, as you can see from the photo. It looks great "stripped down". 

When sitting on it, I liked how it felt, but I did feel like I was leaning forward a bit for 10+ hours of riding straight. I suppose I would like to actually test ride this one in the real world though. It is a sharp looking bike, but also comes in at about $23,000. Yikes. 

Other Things at the Show

I was in the market for some new boots, but I unfortunately didn't see much at the show this year. I'm not sure if the vendors didn't seem as prevalent or if it was because I was very sick, but I didn't see much boots for sale at all. Just patches and "Harley" leather. 

Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1246289 2018-02-12T03:02:47Z 2018-02-12T03:03:48Z Book Review - The Road
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a "heavy" book. The subject matter, the style of writing. All of it carried a tremendous amount weight to it and you felt as if you were carrying that weight with you all the way through the book. Every plodding step that our characters took was just as painfully dragged along with you as the reader.

The writing style of this book was the most profound thing that I noticed. The structure was very "pointed" and succinct. Sentences were punctual with very little punctuation.

The story overall was very well written and I can see why this has won so many awards. The subject matter and style of the writing sets this apart as a "work of art" in terms of literary writing. While I did enjoy this book, I somehow did not find myself emotionally attached to it. Perhaps it was because of the impending doom that we all knew coming at the end, but the conclusion of the story here left me neither emotionally engaged, nor hopeful. Perhaps that was exactly what McCarthy was going for, a story that reflected the insignificance of its importance in the world that it was written in.

View all my reviews
Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1239091 2018-01-28T05:32:49Z 2018-01-28T05:32:49Z My best photos of 2017 (as determined by Apple Photos)

Apple Photo's Memories feature is pretty cool. It put together some photos from last year. 

Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1236469 2018-01-23T04:16:35Z 2018-01-23T04:30:33Z Let’s try Ginger Lime Diet Coke

Coca-cola apparently has three limited flavors of Diet Coke. I don’t normally drink Diet Coke, but the flavors sounded pretty good. Megan saw them at Target, so we are going to try them out. 

Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1234672 2018-01-19T21:43:17Z 2018-01-19T21:44:27Z Book Review - The City of Brass
The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For a first novel by S.A. Chakraborty, this is a fantastic first entry to a trilogy. City of Brass has a wonderful world set around it. The middle eastern and Islamic setting is wonderfully done. It was exotic and new for a fantasy setting, but grounded in our own world, all while not making me feel like it was too alien to me.

I was enthralled by the context of the deserts, the flying carpets, the Ifrit and more. I was perplexed though with the Djinn culture. At times it seemed wonderfully magical and exotic, at other times a bit too human. The call outs early on in the book to the morning prayers specially stuck out to me, mainly because we never did get a better understanding of what the Djinn religion was, why it mattered, or why Ali was considered devout. These things were all mentioned several times, but never explored, so they felt like they didn't really need to be there. Ali just as easily could have been chaste (which is alluded to) because he was the second born (again alluded to) as it had to due with his religious devotion. I felt Chakraborty, danced around the edges of all of these topics as justifications, but didn't explore any of them deep enough to have them mean anything.

Chakraborty's characters overall I felt were pretty compelling, especially the king and the rest of the actors in the political court. The writing there to show how adept the king was at managing the political balance and teetering civil war was well done. Overall the supporting cast was fantastic.

I had issues with the main three characters though. Nahri, Ali and Dara all frustrated me on how one dimensional their characters seemed to be, especially in light of more dynamic supporting characters around them who seemed to have more depth in their motivations and political acuity. All three main characters were "extremes", so harsh in their views and convictions that I felt them to be unbelievable. Nahri especially had several passages where her self-doubt and self-depreciation came to the point where I said "enough already, I get it". I understand the character has an internal struggle that she is dealing with, but Chakraborty kept driving the point home again and again that it began to detract from the overall story.

The middle section was slow, mostly because of the aforementioned main characters issues I mentioned above. It felt even slower because none of them seemed to really grow or move at all. Nahri still doubted everything she was doing, Ali was still stubborn with his convictions, despite evidence against them and Dara was still an egotistical, angry, zealot, despite several attempts by the story to show interjections of them all breaking those molds. All three inevitably fell back, with almost no change or growth.

The last arc of the book was nicely written. Pieces were set in motion for the upcoming sequel and there were several instances of surprise that genuinely put a smile on my face. Chakraborty did a delightful job in writing suspenseful action sequences and I am genuinely looking forward to the next book. I just hope I can read less of Nahri asking "What? I don't understand." about the events in the world happening around her. A bit less denial and more self-determination would be nice.

View all my reviews
Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1223749 2017-12-29T21:03:30Z 2017-12-29T21:03:30Z My Year in Books - 2017

My Goodreads year in books is out. This is always fun to look at to see what I read this past year. Let's take a quick look. I found that I had a lot of trouble trying to read books this year, mostly due to time. The majority of whatI have read this year was either in audiobook form, or it was a comic book. 

Looking at my list I believe only Render, Children of Hurin, Cold and the Castle of Wolfenbach were actually "read" books. 

Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1214906 2017-12-11T15:10:35Z 2017-12-11T15:10:35Z Music Listening: MP3 - Pittsburgh Symphony Brass - A Christmas Concert

It is Christmas time and that calls for some Christmas music. Normally, I am not a huge fan of Christmas music. Let me take that back. I am normally not a fan of "sung" Christmas music. I'm not quite sure why, but I find the lyrics in almost all Christmas songs to be too sappy. I do love some great orchestral Christmas music though and I have found an excellent album from the Pittsburgh Symphony Brass called "A Christmas Concert". 

It is an excellent arrangement of traditional Christmas songs and the brass ensemble really makes many of the songs shine. Unfortunately this one seems a bit hard to find online. It doesn't appear to be on iTunes, but it is on Amazon music. 

You can find a playlist of the tracks on Youtube though.

Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1211365 2017-12-05T00:00:01Z 2017-12-05T00:18:56Z YouTube has become my go to destination to watch shows

Youtube has become my go to location for watching evening TV. Not Netflix. Not Amazon Prime. Youtube. 

I still receive a surprised look from people when I tell them that I do not have cable TV, but the truth is, I don'y really "watch" very much TV. More often than not, I will be playing some video games. When I do actually sit-down to watch something, I am typically too tired to really focus my attention on a show that is 45+ minutes. My ideal show tends to be something that I can play in the background and half watch. 

That is where YouTube fills that niche perfectly. Videos that range from 5-10 minutes long are ideal. I might be willing to hang in there for a 25 minute episode of something if it captures my attention for a long enough time.  Subscriptions are the best thing that YouTube has ever implemented, because I can roll through my subscription list through an evening and watch two things or twenty-five, and hey, if I don't see something tonight, it will still be in the exact location tomorrow. 

So let's take a look at some of my favorite channels. 

]]> Matthew Supert tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1206303 2017-11-20T02:40:15Z 2017-11-20T02:40:15Z Book Review - Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War
Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book should have been called "Plymouth: A Story of Courage, Community, and War.

This was a well written narrative that chronicles the pilgrims, and their founding of the Plymouth colony through the first generation of settlers and King Phillp's War. This was an interesting interpretation of that moment in history. The story was written with enough intrigue and character development to keep you going through what amounts to be a very detailed description of the events. It is apparent that the English settlers did an excellent job of keeping diaries and other records of their struggles and trials.

It is important to note though that these accounts are largely from one perspective, and the book acknowledges that while even going so far as to try and provide logically explained reasons or alternatives to some actions.

Overall, a great read, especially if you are looking for an in-depth (sometimes too much so) description of the first decades of Plymouth and New England.

View all my reviews
Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1205493 2017-11-16T01:00:00Z 2017-11-17T02:56:04Z One Week with the iPhone X

I have had the iPhone X for about a week now. There seems to be a lot of talk about this new phone. Some people are loving it while others are scorning it for various reasons. I have been due for a phone upgrade for a while now and we did happen to get a couple of these at work for testing. So, after a week of using it how does it stand up? 

Well in short it is an iPhone. It is a very good iPhone, but fundamentally it does everything previous iPhones did and continues to tread the path of design aesthetic that Apple has been known for. As you can imagine, this is going to lead to some strong opinions on the design. My general impression has been that those who are the strongest critics of the new phone are not Apple fans or iPhone users to begin with. The design choices Apple has made very much stay with their design methodology and whether you agree with that or not really just comes down to you as a user. Here's the thing, you don't have to like Apple’s choices and there are tons of other phones out there if you prefer something else. I do think what Apple has done is interesting though. So let's take a look at what I like and what I don't like.

What I really like 

The Screen 

I simply love the screen. It is bright and crisp and very responsive. The change to the near edgeless design is really fantastic. I really like the look of the rounded corners on the screen. Going back to my iPad with the square corners and the bezels really feels like a step back. I really like how the corner information like the battery and cellular network are tucked away out of the main viewing area with the black tab, but they also still feel cohesive with the background continuing through to the screen area. It is hard to describe, but it does feel like an amazing design aesthetic. 

While we are talking about the screen we might as well talk about the black notch at the top. I have found this to be a non-issue when using the phone and it "disappears" after a few moments. The dual depth cameras and IR sensor that are included in that notch really are a nice asset, and I feel like the phone’s design aesthetic would be worse if the black bar did continue across the entire top. 

There is a "notch remover" app in the iTunes store now which creates a black bar across the top of the screen and quite frankly, I think it looks terrible. The phone feels unbalanced. But, to each their own. 

The Camera

The camera is great and the dual camera setup on both the front and the back adds a lot. This is one of those things that could justify the extra price tag for most people. The portrait photos look fantastic and the low light ability is a huge step up from my iPhone 6. I do wish that Apple had done a bit more with the photo filters or given us something a bit more on the software side. 

Face ID

Face ID is a really cool addition and it works really well. I just wish it didn't involve the removal of the touch ID because I still prefer that in some instances. There are times when you simply don't want or can't bring your face directly to the phone. 

So what Don't I like? 

The Hardware Design 

The phone feels amazing in your hand and it has a nice "heft" to it. Unfortunately this feels like a super fragile phone and the back is made of glass. It is extremely slick in your hands and I feel like this is an instance of Apple just moving with blinders. They really should do a better job of hitting their design aesthetic while making a phone that isn't this fragile. What's the point of making something so pretty if you have to put a case on it? 

Also the continued "bump" from the rear camera. I can't believe that we still have this. Just make the phone thicker so it can rest flush on a table. 

The Removal of the Home Button and Touch ID

Despite the new edge to edge screen and Face ID, I miss the home button and Touch ID. Touch ID feels like a more secure feature, especially for Apple Pay. While the new screen gestures are easy to get used to, you still lose something without the home button. 

I used Apple's "Reachability" feature a lot on the old phone. The new phone is almost impossible to use with just one hand. The reachability mode was previously accessed by double tapping the home button. It now has to be turned on in the accessibility menu. Actions now have to be accessed via a little "bar" on the bottom of the screen. Unfortunately, while holding the phone in my hand I can't really reach the bottom of the screen. It makes for an awkward experience at best and at worst an opportunity for the phone to slip right out of your hands. 

I really would have liked to see something on the bottom of the screen. The notch actually mirrored on the bottom of the screen with that touch line and haptic feedback would be really cool I think. You could get the gestures you want while still having a physical component for your hand to be guided to when using the phone. I really want to see touch ID come back. 

iOS 11 UI changes 

Some of the UI changes to accommodate the loss of the home button also are not quite there yet. I like what Apple did by moving them to the corners. I have been using the hot corners on my Mac for years, so this make sense to me, but they are not that responsive. Opening the App Switcher is a crap shoot and it just doesn't feel good. It is also difficult now to figure out how to turn off the phone and force close apps. Unfortunately I feel like these changes were driven by the hardware, and while some of them are good, some just don't hit the mark. 

Overall Thoughts

Overall, this is a nice phone. I like the camera features, but it is too hard to try and justify the prices for this first round. I hope to see the screen design get into future phones and iPads, but I want to see the Touch ID come back. 

Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1202389 2017-11-01T02:12:18Z 2017-11-01T02:12:19Z Music Listening: AAC - Liam Gallagher - As You Were

Oasis is (was), hands down, my favorite rock band. Its ironic that I like them as much as I do considering I really do not like the Beatles at all. Oasis is as close as you are going to get to a Beatles sounding band without being an actual cover band. For those of you out there who are Oasis fans, you are well acquainted with the long standing feud between the Gallagher brothers. They are in short assholes and they are assholes to each other. Liam, the lead singer, developed an almost historic reputation for his antics and the journey that was Oasis came to an end around 2008.

All of the band member's have experimented with projects for the past decade, but we not have before us Liam's first solo album. I have always been able to enjoy his and Oasis' music without having to like the member's personally. I don't need to be friends with them, so what they do with their personal antics are of no concern to me. 

This album is pretty much exactly what you expect it to be. It sounds like Oasis, and for me that is just find. Some good, solid brit rock is always welcome. The opening track "Wall of Glass" is a great sounding song that captures that glimmer of Oasis and Liam. That quintessential Oasis guitar riff is featured right there while the track opens. 

The rest of the album is good, but doesn't really present any truly memorable songs. If you are an Oasis fan, like me, then you will probably love this album. It is good to have fresh album in my library with this sound. For everyone else out there, I would say check it out. It is sort of like how the new U2 albums are. When you listen to them they are all solid albums and well produced, but not necessarily "memorable". 

Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1198505 2017-10-16T02:42:03Z 2017-10-16T02:42:04Z My New Favorite iOS App - Momento


This past week I have come across a new favorite app, that is now sitting on my iPhone. Momento was featured this past week with several apps in one of Apple's daily lists. Momento caught my as a private journaling app that has a really clean interface and the ability to automatically import content from your social media. 

I like the idea of a private journaling app at lot to just capture quick things throughout my day. The added benefit of the social integration makes that even easier because my Facebook, Instagram, etc. posts can automatically find their way into the app, which makes it ideal for weekend and vacation adventures. 

What is particularly cool about the social media import though is that it will actually bring in content that you are tagged in from someone else. If a family member tags you in a photo and posts it on Facebook, it will capture that automatically. Even cooler still, is that it is smart enough to see all of those tags across different social networks and identify those people or places. So you can then go in and find your spouse for example , and find everything, going back years with photos and posts with her. 

Another great feature for just looking back on your journal is the "One this day" feature on their calendar. You click on it and you can see every entry for that day/date going back years. It is sort of cool, but also freaky that Facebook has content back to 2008.

This app has filled two holes for me. I was a big fan of Flavors.me, which was a personal landing page website that aggregated all of your social media into one place. It was a great tool that really should have a replacement online. This doesn't replace that for a public profile, but offers a lot of the same features for private use. 

The other app it replaces is Foodspotting. I loved Foodspotting and it was my goto app for taking my food photos. Unfortunately it hasn't really been updated in years and while Instagram and Foursquare can serve that purpose for public usage, having something for private food tracking that can tag people and places is nice to have. Evernote Food unfortunately never got a replacement app. 

So I would highly recommend people check this out if they are looking for a great app to have a quick and small personal journal.  It is also a very affordable app to ranging from free to about $4 depending upon what you want to do with it. 

Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1198332 2017-10-14T23:59:51Z 2017-10-14T23:59:51Z October 2017 - Videogaming (Gone Home)

I finished playing the game Gone Home last night and I have to now recommend this game for everyone to play. It is one of the most emotionally impacting video games I have ever played and also perfect for a rainy, overcast October. 

The game is extremely simple and only takes a couple of hours to play. You find yourself in the front porch of your family's new house. There is a storm raging outside and there appears to be no one home. Over the course of the next couple of hours you will progress through the house to find diary chapters form your sister along with notes about your Uncle who used to live in the house. 

I won't spoil the magic of these passages, but the game has a beautiful atmosphere and perfectly told story. There are moments where your own imagination will get the better of you, but you should just keep going forward for the story. This won't "scare you", I promise. 


Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1197909 2017-10-12T21:32:04Z 2017-10-12T21:32:04Z Novation Circuit and Novation Circuit Mono Station - Second Thoughts

It has been a little over two weeks now with the Novation Circuits. I am having a good time with them, but I have quickly hit a wall with the learning curve. The quick jam sessions are fun, but taking the next step to actually try and create some songs are proving difficult for me. I think this is mostly due to me needing to actually learn the kits. I have gone through the quick start guides, but a full reading of the manuals is in order, especially since there have been numerous firmware updates to these things over the past year. 

I am already beginning to think about what sort of additional equipment I might want to add to these to build out the sound palate. A modular synth is enticing and I have seen several setups using one. 

The Roland Aira line looks like it could also be an excellent complimentary set of equipment for the Circuits.  

The Aira line not only has the looks, but possibly the interface for a sort of hands on performance aspect to what I want to do with these Circuits. 

The MX-1 mixer looks perfect for this sort of setup with 6 audio inputs, AIRA integration and live performance effects. Where I go from there is the real question. Do I need the TB-3 baseline synth? How about the System 1M for deeper synthesis, or perhaps the SP-404A for more percussion and sampling. 

I don't know where I will end up, but I think the next couple of months could be fun. 

Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1194864 2017-09-29T19:07:23Z 2017-09-29T19:07:23Z Novation Circuit and Novation Circuit Mono Station - First Thoughts

It has been years since I have really purchased any new music hardware for my music setup. It is hard to believe that most of my equipment is 10+ years old now. About two years ago I was looking at some new hardware, but I was unable to find anything that I liked. I settled on an effects pedal to spice up the sounds of my Korg EA-1, and that has worked out great. 

I have still been wanting to try and find something different. I love most of the gear that I am working with, but at times, I find that it can be a bit cumbersome. What do I mean by that? Well, the Command Station is a wonderful sequencer as are all of the other synths that I have, but I often feel that I have to spend a lot of time trying to create the sounds before I can create the music. They don't necessarily lend themselves to improvisation. I also find myself getting fixated on the minutia of the sequencing.  That isn't a bad thing, but it does lead to instances where I end up not doing music for months because I look at the gear and see a "process" of several hours in an afternoon of noodling around without much process. 

I have wanted to try and find something that can provide me some "instant gratification" for quite some time. A box that I could instantly sit down in front of to get some notes playing and also make live-streaming more fun. I looked at the Korg Volca series and several other synths, but I decided to go with the Novation equipment for one primary reason. There is no screen. 

Novation's motto for these little boxes is something like "happy accidents"

This is exactly the type of gear I am looking for. Something to crank out some fun tracks on, where I don't have to worry about them being polished studio productions. I hope they can get me to play live more on Twitch. 

My first couple nights with the boxes has been fun. The interface is hard for my mind to digest and I am intentionally avoiding reading any sort of manual at this time. I hope to get them properly setup this weekend for some streaming and jamming. 

What is going to happen to my other gear? So, I think I am going to downsize quite a bit. I will keep my EMU Command Station, since it is the best sequencer ever made in my opinion. The sound engine on that is unique and quite good for ambient, something else I want to get into. Everything else might end up going. I think I am more excited to offload most of the equipment to allow me to purchase some effects or something for the Novation or EMU. 

Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1190990 2017-09-13T16:24:31Z 2017-09-13T16:25:14Z Music Listening: AAC - The Destiny 2 Soundtrack

I have finally found a game that has broken by addiction to Overwatch (more on that later), and with that game came a soundtrack that almost broke my addiction to the Skyrim Soundtrack. 

Destiny 2 released this past week and with it came a beautiful soundtrack that includes 44 tracks of beautiful and haunting orchestral music. The music here is simply gorgeous, and while it does feature several tracks with repeating melodic themes, it really does capture the melancholy mood of the game. The highlight of the soundtrack is the song "Journey", which is performed by the Kronos Quartet. The song comes in the story at a time when your character is broken, both physically a mentally. As a  player you find yourself in the wilderness, exposed and vulnerable to death and perhaps even hollowed out by the loss of the "light". 

The track is simply beautiful and Bungie did a fantastic job of settling the rest of the ambience of the game into the background to let the music shine in your time of desperation. You can find that track below

If you are in any way a fan of orchestral film or game soundtracks then this is a must buy. It is ranking up there as one of my top favorites and I have been listening to it on repeat all week long. 

Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1188408 2017-09-03T04:24:05Z 2017-09-03T13:33:22Z Ridelog - Niagara Falls, Ontario, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and New York

This year's big end of summer motorcycle trip was perhaps the longest trip I have ever taken. 2,750 miles start to finish and we traveled through at least seven states and two providences of Canada. 

 Let's see how that trip went. 

]]> Matthew Supert tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1188392 2017-09-02T23:05:29Z 2017-09-02T23:05:29Z Book Review -The Alchemyst
The Alchemyst by Michael Scott
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I just could not finish this book. The two main characters were so dumb and so frustrating that I could not continue on.

Michael Scott did a wonderful job crafting the world here. The Elder race were wonderfully crafted to link back to "real world" myths and legends and Scott pulled that all together really well. The supporting characters we met throughout this story were all fun and interesting to read about too.

Our two main characters Josh and Sophia just tore this book down though. I understand that this is supposed to be a YA novel, but their attitudes and demeanor played to the "lowest common denominator". I couldn't stand that time and time again, when the two were presented with something in the magic world, they would react with disbelief. At some point they just need to accept it and come along for the ride.

The point that ultimately broke the book for me came in the middle of the book. They were staying in a shadow realm and were instructed not to leave because it was dangerous and that Dr Dee's minions could find them in hours. After all of the danger and amazing things they saw that day, they chose to leave the protection of the tree they were in and take off into the night to then try and make their way from California to Utah to find their parents. Seriously? There is zero believability in that.

This book had the world and potential to be right up there with the Harry Potter series. It was just lost on two terrible main characters.

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Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1180915 2017-08-06T17:00:00Z 2017-08-06T17:00:03Z Cuba Cruise - Day 4

Day 4, our final day on the cruise. This was a day at the private island and we spent most of it just snorkeling. We got to see a sea turtle!!!!!

And that's it!!! The next morning we were back in Miami and heading back to Chicago. 

Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1180911 2017-08-06T01:07:42Z 2017-08-06T01:09:51Z Cuba Cruise - Day 3

Day three of the cruise, and Megan and I were doing some more tours. This time we were doing two tours for the day. The first was to a cigar factory and the second was to the Old Havana Rum museum. When we arrived back at the main square to meet up with our tour group we found out that  we were the only ones in our tour. Our tour guide this time was not nearly as good as Mercedes from the day before. She unfortunately did not speak very good english. 

We took a cab to the cigar factory, which was located pretty deep into the city. Our cab driver was actually much more friendly and talkative than our tour guide. 

Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1176545 2017-07-24T13:47:58Z 2017-07-24T13:47:59Z Cuba Cruise - Day 2

Day 2, July 4th, we arrived in Cuba. Megan and I both got up early and watched the ship pull into the Havana port. 

Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1176534 2017-07-24T13:19:39Z 2017-07-24T13:19:39Z Cuba Cruise - Day 1

Cruise day started out great. We got up early and then had breakfast an a small empanada restaurant near the hotel. We grabbed our bags and then called an Uber to take us to the port. Once we arrived at the port we had to go through the long line of checking in, which took almost an hour. I was a bit nervous about the whole process because I wasn't quite sure how the visa process for Cuba was supposed to work. Some of the travel documentation stated we needed to obtain the visa 70 days prior, but thankfully it was all taken care of by the cruise company. 

We got our visas and then got onto the ship, or at least we were supposed. We ended up sitting in the terminal for another hour or two and the crowds of people just kept pouring in. At the time we didn't know what was going on and Megan's hangry monster was beginning to show up. We later found out that the port authority had discovered drugs aboard the ship. We don't know if they were from the crew or former passengers. 

The ship finally cast off around 5:30 pm. A little bit late, but everything was good. 

We didn't do much else that night except hang around the ship, goto a few shows and have some dinner. 

Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1172035 2017-07-10T02:14:26Z 2017-07-10T02:14:26Z Cuba Cruise - Day 0

Megan and I just returned this past Friday from Cuba. Yes, that Cuba!!!!

We left Chicago on July 2nd to fly into Miami. We flew into our cruise the night before this time, because if you remember our last cruise adventure, we missed our flight and almost missed the cruise. No mistakes this time. 

We arrived in Miami late that night, around 8:00 pm. There wasn't much to do, but go grab some dinner. We ate at CVI.CHE 105, which as you may guess, is ceviche! The food was amazing and we of course ordered too much. Megan and I both agreed that we should try and spend some more time in Miami at some point. 

Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1172032 2017-07-10T01:56:26Z 2017-07-10T01:56:26Z 42 Mile Ride on a Whim

Yesterday I decided to go for a quick bicycle ride, which turned out to be a 42 mile trek. I have lamented about the lack of good bicycle routes in Bolingbrook, but did some thinking yesterday about a route to get onto the Centennial Trail right from my house. Well, it totally worked out great and I can even get onto the Cal-Sag trail too if I really wanted to pull an insane day of riding. 

This is also the first ride testing Strava on my Apple Watch. I have done a few rides now with the native fitness app, and I really like that a lot. The interface is great. I do miss Strava a bit though for the social integrations that is has. I'm not a premium user, so we'll have to see how I continue to use it or not. 

Overall it was a brutal, but fun ride. 
Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1165046 2017-06-18T13:43:27Z 2017-06-18T13:43:28Z I Finally Bought an Apple Watch

About two weeks ago I broke down, after looking at Megan's Apple Watch for six months, and bought one of my own. 

Since the Apple Watch came out I was one of those people in the camp stating "why do I need that?" I never understood the appeal of a smartwatch. I have been a Fitbit user for a long time, close to five years now and I have loved that device for tracking my fitness and sleep habits. There is something about all of that data that I find interesting. The Fitbit app is pretty good, but I have constantly had trouble with my Fitbit devices. I was replacing the bands on them constantly, as often as every three months in some cases. 

I picked up a Fitbit Charge 2 in the fall of last year and for the most part I was pleased with it, but it was not the ideal device that I wanted it to be. It routinely lost my heart rate measurements when I had an elevated heart rate from a workout. 

Watching Megan have her Apple Watch really began to make me jealous. So why did I end up switching to an Apple Watch then? 


Apple's Healthkit is perhaps one of the biggest reasons I switched. The integration of my health data across various apps, which allow me to control which data goes where, with a high amount of fidelity is really impressive. Fitbit has integrations through its API to other apps, but that integration just isn't very deep and there are some significant "gaps" in apps supported. External apps do not have good access to heart rate data and there are certain programs, such as mediation which just aren't effectively measured on Fitbit. 

There are also some fantastic apps out there for the Apple Watch which do measure very specific types of workouts. For example, there is an app called Ace Tennis which can measure my tennis serve, the angle and velocity of my racquet. There are a number of third party tools that can also integrate with the system as well for golf clubs and other sports. Using a third party heart rate monitor is easy to do as well.

Accuracy of Heartrate Monitor

Speaking of accuracy, I have found the heart rate monitor on the Apple Watch to be much better. The Charge 2 was pretty good for most exercises, except weight lifting. It would constantly loose my heart rate while weightlifting, which I read online is due to the flexing of my wrist. The Apple Watch has been much more consistent and I have noted it holds my hear rate much better at extremely high rates. My resting heart rate is around 58, but during tennis or running it is not uncommon for my heart rate to get up to 170. The Apple Watch appears to track those numbers much better. 

Build Quality 

The build quality on the Apple Watch appears to be much better than Fitbit. Yes, you are paying at least 2x's as much, but Megan's Apple Watch looks basically brand new after eight months of wear. My Charge 2 had to have the band replaced after just four months of use. The Apple Watch is noticeably more comfortable to wear. That isn't to say that the Charge 2 is uncomfortable, but the silicon band on the Apple Watch is extremely soft and really disappears on the wrist. I thought that the larger and heavier device would be more noticeable than a Fitbit, but it isn't. 

This Smartwatch Thing is Handy

So, this whole smartwatch thing is pretty cool. I bought the Apple Watch primarily as a fitness device, which I still believe is the primary reason someone should get one. The Apple Watch is one of the best fitness trackers out there though, hands down. That being said, there are some pretty neat features for the smartwatch. Quickly viewing texts, declining calls and viewing my calendar appointments is very handy and effective. It does allow me to keep my phone in my pocket and not have to have my eyes on it all the time. 


Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1158579 2017-05-29T19:32:19Z 2017-05-29T19:32:19Z New Music - The Streets of Whiterun

I have just realized that i have not posted some of the music that I have recorded over the past couple of months. I am currently working on an EP of remixes and cover songs. I am covering various film and video game scores that I have always enjoyed. the track here is called "The Streets of Whiterun" and it is from the Skyrim soundtrack, one of my favorite soundtracks of all time. 

I hope you guys enjoy this ambient rendition of the sound as the reverb slowly devours the song as the music progresses. 
Matthew Supert
tag:blog.matthewsupert.me,2013:Post/1158091 2017-05-28T03:52:50Z 2017-12-29T21:04:00Z Book Review - A Natural History of Dragons
A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Simply put, this was fantastic. Marie Brennan did such an excellent job subtly crafting a "fantasy" world around a 16th or 17th century style English empire. The countries and nationalities are all unfamiliar here, but at the same time completely familiar. The reader is able to suspend their disbelief and is truly convinced that dragons are just a standard animal in this world.

The dragons here are crafted in a wonderful style, purely as animals to be studied as any other. They are not viewed as magical or mystical.

I really loved the characters as well, especially a Isabella Camhurst. She was crafted expertly as an independent and intelligent woman, but she was throughout the book believable because she acted as a "proper lady" of her social status. Modern, 21st century sensibilities were not foisted upon her and her character was crafted as someone, even as a progressive, during her time period.

If you removed the dragons here this definitely has elements similar to Jane Austen or the Master & Commander series, showing fun and convincing characters from a pre-industrial British style empire.

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Matthew Supert