Gah!! Ringtone!!

I have special phone needs. The default ringtones on the iPhone are very pleasant, and that’s the problem. I often turn down my phone, and am unaware of the tones wafting into the ether.

So I made a couple audio files to fix that. Available for free. Licensed in the Public Domain.

Download is available until Jan 21st, 2015.

After that? I don’t know… ask your friends. Maybe try a torrent site.

– Needs to be really annoying
– Must have lots of high frequencies to cut through traffic noise and jeans
– Must play well on a tiny speaker

Extra notes from a jerk:

These are formatted for iPhone. I don’t own any other phones, so I don’t know how they work. Do not explain how they work to me; I don’t care.

I know how to put these on my phone. I will not help you put them on your phone. It is your phone. You should learn. I found a help page on the internets.

No previews are available. You download it – or you don’t.

If fewer people have this ringtone, I will be less likely to be confused when I hear it. I will provide NO support. Also, I have work to do.

Enjoy! (or don’t, that’s also fine.)

Book Trailer 101

I was asked to write an article helping people select music for their book trailer from, but I’m not going to put the cart before the horse. If I could wave a magic wand and make book trailers better, it would have nothing to do with music.

Books are read. That’s what they do. That’s their super power.
Videos are viewed. One does not read videos.

Get Voice-over on your trailers. You are allowed on-screen text only for the title of the book. That’s it. Everything else – Voice-over.

You can get really reasonable VO work for $5-$10 at I’ve used them severall times for projects.
It is really easy.
It is really cheap

There is no reason to put text blocks in your video. Make it easy for people to understand your message. Go VO!


Now, did you get your VO for your trailer? Good. Let’s slot in some music.

Step one: Get a bunch of music. There are a lot of places you can get music for free. I maintain a list on my FAQ.

Get one or two pieces from each of those, or 10 pieces from one of them, but get different pieces. Get things you wouldn’t expect to use. Get a romantic piece, get an action piece, grab some weird march, try a piano concerto.

Step two: Try all of them.

Don’t get to one you like and stop… even if you think you found the perfect piece… keep going.¬†Were you amazed at how effective one of the pieces made your trailer? Great! Use that one. Let’s not overthink. :-)

Step three: Mixing

Make sure you can clearly hear all of the voice work. If it gets difficult to understand in parts, turn down the entire music track. Make it easy for people to understand your message. 

Ode to Joy

Part 1: I am a fan.
I found out about a great accordion player named Alex Meixner last year from a YouTube video he did in Pennsylvania. Alex Meixner is the most exciting, innovative, and proficient accordion player on the planet. And he puts on a brilliant show.

Music effects emotion. My job is writing music that makes people feel the way I want them to feel. Alex makes people feel pure joy. You cannot take in a performance and feel anything else.

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to see a performance in Pulaski, Wisconsin and it went exactly how I expected it to go.

Pulaski Polka Days is a thing… if you’re into polkas. Good bands come to play polkas, and people dance. When Alex Meixner took the stage, the dance floor emptied. He was not a background music act. By the end of the first set, people realized that this was not a normal “polka band”. This was an amazing band. The floor became crowded again, but with people watching the band.

Part 2: Performance

“Giving energy” is one of the most difficult things for a performer to do. You have to be so much more excited and interesting than your audience to get them on your side. It isn’t easy to rock-out on a crowd of people who don’t know who you are and don’t care about “rocking-out” themselves. If you’re good enough, it can be done.

The Alex Meixner band had some well timed fireworks. People love fast playing. They also did some non-standard rep, like “Sweet Child ‘o Mine” and “Devil Went Down to Georgia”. Bringing subtleties and dynamics into a live high-energy performance is what make the shows amazing.

Part 3: Shows.

If you’re in the Chicago or Milwaukee areas, go see a show this week. I don’t care if you don’t care about polkas. Go see a top performer. Have some joy! :-)

He’s also pretty decent with a natural trumpet. He might not be on the bill at Boston Baroque, but it would be a reasonable audition!

Let me know if you’d like me to post a video of me playing “Sweet Child ‘o Mine” on the accordion.

Email Change

As of June 1, I am implementing a policy change with my emails.

If you’re asking me a question that is answered on the FAQ or licenses page, I will not respond.

I’ve tried to respond to every email that I get from people! The straws have finally broken the camel’s back. I understand that no one tried to add straws, and that a simple email is just a simple email. How can that be a problem?

Well, if you get 20 questions a day that are all pretty much the same… AND they are answered right at the top of your FAQ… it is a problem.

Maybe I should make a FAQ video?

Crowdsourcing some Tech Support

Okay, everybody – I know there are a bunch of tech wizards out there when it comes to this, so I’m asking for your help after a few days of failures…

What I want: Screen Record for Windows that produces
– Video file
– Audio file of system audio
– Audio file of Mic 1
– Audio file of Mic 2

Please note that the audio files are nut munged together.

Here is the closest I’ve gotten so far:
Fraps: Does not work, the audio is all mashed or missing a part.
Bandicam: Same deal.
Camtasia: Sort of works… it records all of the audio on distinct tracks, and then you can go in and mute out the tracks you don’t want and export the ones you do want. If there is a quick way to do this, I’d love to know!

So, I was thinking it might be possible to record the system audio in Fraps, and the mics in Audacity… but Audacity either gives me silence or extreme noise when recording anything.

I don’t mind the Camtastia option, but it is $300 – mainly for an editor that I don’t want and won’t use. (46 listed features; I want 5 of them.) That makes me sad.

Drop me a line if you got a suggestion! lord knows i tried everything i could find.


Update! I was pointed at Debut Video Capture. It does not do multiple audio streams.
Update! I was directed to Dxtory. It would not install… it mentioned running the command line setup, and gave me no information on how to go about that.


Well, I’ve been falling behind on my emails – but I’ve just hatched a plan to help everyone in a MUCH more timely manner.

You can ask questions or post your thoughts and comments at the Support-o-matic!! (Available under the “Contact” link on the top of every page.)

Also! I got minions to help!

Randy Morton – EndlessGrind78 at YouTube
Chris Wager – Wagerbomb at YouTube

I’m also going to be answering the support tickets.