Saturday, June 29, 2013

Modulars and PayPal

The time has come. 

After about a year of dreaming, researching, watching videos, and watching people play modulars at Analog Heaven North East, I will finally be able to enter the modular world myself, starting with the TipTop Audio Tabletop Happy Ending Kit, Blue Lantern Red VCO, and the Xanu Mini-Sequ. I know, it's not much, but I'm like wicked excited. 

I'll probably end up using mostly Xanu modules (mainly because I make them, so may as well use my own modules, right?), but over time I should be able to afford other stuff. I hope. Would love a VCO2RM...

Actually, that reminds me, I am getting ever so close to showing off real Xanu modules. Not CAD drawings, not schematics, the real things. And, once I get this little modular setup, I can show them off, sell them, make money, make more, and maybe after selling like 20 modules I can finally buy a VCO2RM. Or something.

But, you're probably more curious about the second part of this post's title, PayPal. If you look, I've added a Donate button to the sidebar. I know, I know, you're all like, "man youz gotz da zynths n da stuffz wai u need teh moniez??" As I'm sure you know, this world we live in revolves around money, and without it not much can be done. That button will allow you to donate any amount of money to me (even a penny, if you're feeling poor yet charitable), which will help me build more modules, thus both spreading Xanu Modules around the world for your pleasure and allowing me to help pay the bills where I live (synths, audio gear, computers, and lights all cost money to run). Any amount you can donate would be greatly appreciated, and I thank you in advance.

So yeah, I'll tell you when I end up with my little modular n stuff. This is so exciting!! 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Mad Catz RAT 5 Review

YES I KNOW IT'S AN OLD MOUSE SHUSH.

So ever since I got this new Windows 8 machine, I couldn't use my nice (and also wicked old) Wacom Graphire tablet mouse, so I've been using a Logitech M310. Don't get me wrong, that mouse is the toughest mouse I've ever seen and works amazingly, but I decided to step up my game -- literally.

Say hello to my little friend...














So yeah, maybe I went overboard, but it's totally worth it. This is the Mad Catz RAT 5 Professional Gaming Mouse (with random Picasa filters applied in hopes to make it look more epic but instead added random blue stuff). It's kind of a badass:

-Expandable up to 20mm
-4000 DPI max resolution, onboard adjustment
-Weight system (though it weighs 12oz anyway so why bother?)
-Precision Aim button
-3 modes with 6 programmable buttons each
-Horizonal scroll wheel
-Thumb and pinky rests
-High-grip long-range vertical scroll wheel
-Did I cover everything?













First, let's talk about the Precision Aim button: you can program it to be from 0-100% slower than the set resolution. For example, I usually have my DPI set to 1500 x and y, and the Aim to 80%. Thus, when I press this button my DPI goes down to 300, thus making movement slower and making sniping much easier (and if you know me at all, you know that when I can, I ALWAYS go sniper). It can also be programmed to any macro or keypress, if need be.













The two buttons with arrows below them are purely macro/keypress buttons, set out of the box as Internet forwards and backwards. And you can also see the thumbrest, which sticks out a good 1/2" or so, which is an incredible feature to have. I never knew how much drag my thumb had until I got this mouse.













The weight system is something I've yet to actually use, but it is pretty easy: unscrew the back, insert weights from the included weight container, and screw the back back on. Each weight is 6 grams, but the thing weighs 12 ounces on its own so I see no reason to add more.













The expansion system is quite nice. The lever system used is very easy to handle and locks tight, and nearly impossible to accidentally use (it's the little grey button below the rear of the mouse). Sadly, it only adjusts in 5mm increments, but even still it works well. I have mine set to 5mm.













Yes, it is a wired mouse. Yes, it is faster that way. No, it doesn't hurt your game at all. No, it doesn't have a wireless version. Along with the wire, in this view you've got the mode select button (which changes colour depending on which mode you are in), the DPI select rocker switch (pressing on the forward part increases DPI, back part decreases DPI, all the while the LED display on the side changes), and the scroll wheel. The scroll wheel is quite interesting because it has a much longer usable path than most mice, it is very grippy given the rubber sawtooth-like design, and wheel clicks can also trigger a macro/keypress. Most useful wheel in mouse history. Well, except for maybe...













...the horizontal scroll wheel! Yes, I know I already used this pic, but I didn't take a shot of just the wheel. The horizontal wheel has about the same resolution as the main wheel, with one major exception: each click in each direction can be assigned a macro/keypress! To use it as a horizontal scroll wheel, you need to program each side with the keyboard command to horizontally scroll; in Windows' case, CTRL+ALT+LEFT/RIGHT. Otherwise you can just use it as a normal macro/keypress wheel.













Here is the bottom, where you can see that the chassis is indeed aluminum. It also has the usual plastic pads to raise it up, a 4000 DPI laser sensor, and you can also see the weight system a bit more clearly.













It also looks a bit like a Lamborghini :) Not to mention that, like most Lamborghinis, it is REALLY wide. It is not uncomfortably wide, but it is a definite difference, and also feels more stable due to that and its low profile.

And, oddly enough, it is very comfortable, despite its looks. The only comfort issue I have is the rear portion could be lower because I think that extending it to 10mm would be nice, but as with any new mouse I'll probably get used to it. Another thing is that you can't really see the Mode selected unless you put your finger over the button and see what colour it is, which can be hard because two of the mode colours look quite similar. Other than those two issues, I am in love with this mouse. I especially love the price I got it at: a mere $40 on eBay. Not the best deal I've ever grabbed, but still pretty good as they are $70 new.

It eats noobs, it doesn't feel weak and insignificant, it gives you a feeling of empowerment -- oh no, my friends, this is more than a mere mouse... this is *puts on sunglasses* a RAT.













Some of you may wonder how I have it set up, so here it is:
DPI: 1500 x and y on setting 2
Precision Aim: 80%
Mode 1: all default except for above horizontal scrolling setup
Mode 2: designed for AutoCAD, PA is "dimaligned[enter] (aligned dimensioning)", front button is "line[enter] (makes a line)", rear is "pline[enter] (makes a polyline)"
Mode 3: designed for Minecraft, same as Mode 1 except front button is "e (inventory)", rear is [Esc] (menu)"
All 3 modes have full sensitivity

I am thinking of setting up full profile for different programs/games, but that kind of customisation comes with time and use.