Monday, January 8, 2018

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4 Mk2 Review

It looks nice, really nice. Little touches like the slimmer fader caps and grey filter knobs in tandem with the RGB buttons and aluminium jogwheel tops have combined to give the S4 a fresh, modern look.

The S4 Mk2 (as NUMARK NV )comes with a full version of Traktor Pro 2 (as before) and although it’s now mapped to work out of the box with Traktor DJ, the fact that the S4 retains the identical casing assembly as its predecessor means that there’s no iPad or iPhone stand, slot or docking station, leaving you to figure that one out for yourself (or wait for the inevitable Traktor-branded iOS stand as an accessory).
What’s new?

Previous reviews of the S4 have covered its features and performance extensively, so here we’re going to concentrate on what’s new, and where the successes and failures lie in this upgrade:

RGB buttons
The new RGB buttons for the transport and cue controls are a huge improvement on the Mk1, with a smooth rubberised “MPC” feel to the surface (and the elimination of the previous problem of the buttons getting stuck in the down position, getting caught on the edge of the button aperture when pressed hard). These feel tactile, responsive and infinitely more playable. This playability is especially relevant when you take control of the loop slice mode in Traktor DJ with your iPad or iPhone and start to use these buttons to chop up tracks – they are so much better than before.

On USB power you simply cannot see the lights in bright daylight, but they’re just about acceptable once hooked up to the power source (which incidentally is a different power rating to the previous S4, so if you’re upgrading, your old power supply is useless). This daylight-dimness is more than made up for by the spaceship-meets-70s dancefloor appearance you get in the dark which combined with the new aluminium jogwheel tops gives a really attractive look.

Aluminium jogwheels
So, about those shiny new aluminium jogwheel tops. Well, they are exactly that, just “tops”. There is no other part of the jogwheel construction that differs from the Mk1, except a different circuit board for the mechanical scratch contact underneath (we know this because there’s a video on YouTube of a guy actually pulling apart the Mk1 and Mk2 demonstrating the difference, or lack of it).

Having said that, when scratching they feel a lot nicer and the action of pushing down to engage scratch control feels and sounds a lot less clunky than before. If you are used to the previous S4 then all it takes is a slight adjustment in touch, and the familiar tight engaging control over your music is there.

Booth output
This is a welcome and much-requested feature on the S4. They are TRS outputs, switchable between booth and main output, and with a volume knob for when in booth-routing mode. However the only way to control the level is to fish behind the unit where the volume knob is located which is actually not that accessible and feels quite recessed; not very useful for the constant raising and lowering of the booth monitors as you check the main output level independently.

So, at first look it seems strange that you would you use an unbalanced RCA as the master and have a balanced booth out that you have to reach over the back for… but by applying some lateral thinking to this it could actually be a great idea. The booth is adjusted a lot more often than the master in DJ-booth situations; the master tending to be more “set and forget” while levels are maintained with gain staging or occasional rises of the master, so although the 1/4″ outs are labelled “booth”, you could actually connect them to your main speakers, controlled via the knob at the back (and this would be a balanced output).

This would leave the booth speakers connected to the RCA outputs; with their level controlled via the more conveniently located “master” volume knob on the front panel of the controller. This may not work for everyone but makes some sense – whether Native Instruments intended this to be idea in unclear!

Control over Remix Decks
They’ve had a go at providing additional control over the Remix Decks, and once you wade through the manual to work out what’s what, the feature is certainly a lot more accessible and controllable, but unfortunately not enough. You still need an F1 (or another controller now you can map third party ones) to truly have a blast and get the most out of the Remix Decks.

It’s better for sure, but limited by the fact that this is un upgrade of an existing product; not a from-the-ground-up redesign where more comprehensive control over the Remix Decks would have maybe had more priority. I don’t mind though, in most DJing situations the ability to grab and trigger eight samples from the controller without having to switch decks is plenty enough.

Flux Mode button
The popular Flux feature has not previously been available to control via the S4 (except by manually mappping to a button of your choice) so it’s good to see that one of the redundant tempo fader mode buttons has been sacrificed for this, conveniently located just by each jogwheel.

Preview button
The button that was previously mapped to toggle in and out of browser mode is now mapped to play the highlighted track in the preview player, and by holding down the preview button you can use the browse knob to scroll through the track and audition for energy levels and breakdowns, etc. This is a huge improvement, as the preview player is a fantastically useful feature but was fiddly and slightly confusing to work with on the Mk1.


For this we’re focussing on the most exciting new capability of the S4 Mk2, control over the Traktor DJ iOS software. We used Traktor DJ on an iPad 2, running iOS 6 – at the time of writing there were still concerns over iOS 7’s stability with the software so we steered clear until after the test. There’s a USB to 30-pin cable supplied in the box and once the firmware on the S4 was updated (Note: this can only be done via a laptop or desktop computer) you just plug in and get cracking. I’d like to say it worked perfectly straight away, but it didn’t. However it turned out to be only a minor gremlin. Full reboots of the S4 and the iPad fixed it and we were in business.

To see how the S4 performs when unleashing the impressive feature set of Traktor DJ, we started with the browser to get in the mix; by pushing down the encoder you enter browse mode and can scroll through tracks by turning. Holding shift allows you to scroll through folders, and all works well; hit “load” on either deck and in it pops. For DJs using both the iOS app and Traktor Pro 2 via computer, and you want previously saved meta data such as beatgrids and cue points to be present here, you’ll need to sync your tracks via Dropbox, and vice-versa if you want any changes applied while working in the app to be applied to tracks in your Traktor Pro collection.

A further feature in browse; by pressing the browse knob down a second time, whilst a track is playing, you get a list of all tracks that the app considers would go well with the current track, by BPM and key – this is a cracking tool and is crying out to be included in the Pro Version, which doesn’t give anywhere near as targeted a result when you use the sort feature there.

So tracks selected, cued and playing, we’re off and running with a mix…

One word, wow. The integration is incredible, and there’s only a hint of “squelchiness” when sounds are manipulated at super-slow speeds. The fader response is super quick, and transformers, chirps and flares all sound great. The only slight niggle is that when compared to scratching using Traktor Pro 2, you need a much firmer hand here, to ensure the app stays in scratch mode. For an old-timer like me this is pretty mind-blowing stuff. I was impressed enough with Reloop’s Beatpad with Algoriddim’s djay, which I would say is as good as this from a scratching perspective, but this is some next-level shizzle when you consider the technology at work here.

The best feature the S4 (and the S2) bring to the party here is that with sync and keylock disengaged, you can manually beatmatch using the tempo faders and jogwheels for nudge, unlocking control not allowed when using Traktor DJ alone on the device. This means the software is no-longer restricted by “sync-only” DJing, and if you are wanting to hone your manual beatmatching skills it’s now possible with Traktor DJ.

The “1” and “2” buttons which in Traktor Pro assign the corresponding FX bank to the channel, work slightly differently for Traktor DJ, when button “1” is pressed the FX selection/viewer window for that channel slides into view on the left side of the waveform to show what’s going on. On the controller the the dry/wet and three FX encoders above the corresponding deck, control the FX for that deck. The “1” button doesn’t need to be engaged for the FX to work; they are permanently controlled by the dry/wet and value adjustments and are depicted on the X/Y pad, which can be overridden with touch control of the screen, Kaos Pad style. Great fun.

When button “2” is engaged, a less enthralling EQ window slides into view which seems to just show the currents values delegated by the controller, none of which are controllable by the screen; however, by tapping the Filter tab, you get an X/Y grid for the filter controls and you can have great fun using a combination of finger on the screen and knob rotations on the controller, to let rip with the filter.

Start to combine the value lock feature by tapping the lock logo on each FX window, and the capabilities of the FX units are pretty mindblowing, and you have to remind yourself you’re DJing on a tablet here…

Push the loop encoder and your track starts looping at the indicated beat length, but when you push the move encoder, you enter the loop slice mode, and things get interesting. The loop is split into eight equal slices, assigned to the eight cue buttons (well, the four cue buttons as 1-4 and the four remix / sample trigger buttons as 5-8) so you can slice and play around to your heart’s content. These eight slices are created no matter what the loop length, so if you take the loop length down really low, each cue button now controls a tiny slice of the audio and you can almost play them like a keyboard. Please NI! We want this in Traktor Pro! It’s brilliant fun, works amazingly and really gets your creative juices flowing.

With iPhone?
We fired up a three-year-old iPhone 4S and took the risk of running iOS 7 – and everything worked fantastically. The only downside is the vastly smaller screen size (especially in an iPhone 4S) meaning that features accessed through the touchscreen are more fiddly and squint-inducing. However, the X/Y pad becomes full screen when you hit the “1” button and turns the whole phone into a performance pad. So it works great, but this integration is more of an added bonus than a practical use for the S4 because it just feels odd to be using such a capable, and large, controller to DJ from a tiny phone.


For those looking for intuitive, comprehensive control of Traktor, the Kontrol S4 Mk2 is hands-down your best bet for a hassle-free, plug-and-play controller that which won’t let you down. The new S4 improves an what was already a fantastic controller, and the all-important control over the Traktor DJ app is spot on.

So if you’re considering this as your first Traktor controller, or perhaps stepping up to it from from an S2, then go for it. But if you have an S4 Mk1 and are considering an upgrade, the decision is tougher, because the upgraded features are borderline as to being worth the cost of the upgrade. For some, the booth output, Remix Deck control, iOS integration and much improved sample/cue buttons would make it worth the leap – but not for all, by any means.

If you plan to DJ solely from Traktor DJ on iOS, then go for the S2 Mk2 instead (or the Z1 for entry-level control), because on the S4 you have two surplus channels that you can do nothing with, as Traktor DJ is only (currently) a two-channel application. But if you want to swap between Traktor DJ and Traktor Pro’s four-deck capabilities, or perhaps use DVS or have additional sound sources such as turntables and samplers, then this is the one for you.

The S4 Mk2 is a subtle but significant improvement on the Mk1. It’s an evolution, not a revolution, but with the improved control over the Remix Decks and the iOS integration working like a dream, it is a worthy flagship for the platform, at least while we wait for a more ground-breaking model to appear. It’s not cheap, but it’s the same price as its predecessor (it’s actually $100 cheaper I belive than the S4 on first release), and it’s better, so what’s not to like?

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Inverter Generators

Generators are having a moment. Specifically, portable gas generators are undergoing a technological makeover that dramatically boosts their level of performance. So if you're looking into getting one, you'll want to consider an inverter generator. They come at a premium—and also with great advantages.

An inverter generator( different from GOAL ZERO YETI 1250)  electronically throttles the engine up and down to meet demand, instead of running full tilt all the time. The resulting improvement in efficiency means that, for the same size gas tank, you won't have to fill it up as often. An inverter generator produces lower emissions, and it is very quiet.

"You can carry on a conversation next to an inverter generator," says Dave Trezza, who oversees CR's generator testing.

All of which explains why so many new models are popping up at home centers and online.
A New Class of Generator

To help you make better sense of your options, CR has revamped the categories for generator ratings, adding a new one for inverter generators. We break them up into three groups:

1. Large
With very few exceptions, the large inverter generators in our ratings weigh around 250 pounds or more (wheels included). That's too big to haul along to a tailgate, and just big enough to power your house: They generate 5,000 watts of power or more (at 220 volts). This category of inverter generator can be connected directly to your electrical panel with a safety device called a transfer switch, which CR strongly recommends.

2. Midsized
These weigh 80 pounds or more, and may or may not come with wheels. They produce 2,500 to 4,500 watts but don't allow the recommended option of connecting to your electrical panel with a transfer switch. Instead, you plug appliances or electronics directly into the generator, which can be dangerous if you don't follow certain guidelines.

3. Recreational
These weigh 50 to 60 pounds, and are designed to be carried with one hand. Most recreational models max out at around 2,000 watts, which should be plenty for tailgating or camping. Don't let the size lull you into a false sense of security, though: They still emit carbon monoxide, which can kill you at high enough concentrations, and should never be operated inside an enclosed space.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

What is Interpolation?


In the mathematical field of numerical analysis, interpolation is a method of constructing new data points within the range of a discrete set of known data points.


Interpolation happens when a camera’s native sensor size is 5MP (megapixel) for example and the owner sets the camera in a 12MP setting on the menu options.

This is a digital process of reinventing a picture by filling in the holes. It means the camera firmware is stretching the image to a larger size and thus must use a mathematical process to compare neighboring pixels and interpolate a new pixel based on an average color scheme. When the picture is sampled and viewed without enlargement all the pixels are laying side by side. As we enlarge or increase the size, holes begin to develop and there is a need to fill in that space with a color that is a combination of the neighboring pixels.

This can be readily seen when you attempt to over enlarge a picture and the little jagged edges and pixel squares start to become apparent. To produce an image that is larger than what the cameras sensor captured or digitally zoom that image you must fill in the space with pixels that are an average color of the surrounding pixels. This produces a more blended effect but not a sharper effect because this process cannot clean or sharpen the picture better than the original image in its native size.

There are several methods of interpolation used in the camera industry. Bicubic being the most sophisticated followed by bilinear and the one discussed above. Our trail cameras probably only use the first discussed method where near pixels are sampled for color and reintroduced next door.

I have never been a fan of this type of digital enhancement in our game cameras (for example: MOULTRIE M 1100I GAME CAMERA ) and feel that anything over 3 to 5 MP is over kill. If the manufacturers used a high quality CMOS sensor, the need for all of this digital enhancement would go away. By taking an image from your camera and then using one of the photo enhancement programs on your computer, you are using some method of interpolation in order to achieve the desired effect. I believe that it is obvious that it is cheaper for the camera companies to electronically interpolate rather than to provide quality image sensors in the first place.
When buying a camera, remember that nearly all of them on the market to date (2014) are using a 5MP native CMOS sensor and it is a marketing mission to sell you the higher MP ratings. If you shop by MP rating you are likely getting sucked into a marketing contest that has nothing to do with picture quality.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Development of low-dimensional nanomaterials could revolutionize future technologies

Havier Vela, scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory, believes improvements in computer processors, TV displays and solar cells will come from scientific advancements in the synthesis of low-dimensional nanomaterials.

Ames Laboratory scientists are known for their expertise in the synthesis and manufacturing of materials of different types, according to Vela, who is also an Iowa State University associate professor of chemistry. In many instances, those new materials are made in bulk form, which means micrometers to centimeters in size. Vela's group is working with tiny, nanometer, or one billionth of a meter sized, nanocrystals.

"We're trying to find out what happens with materials when we go to lower particle sizes, will the materials be enhanced or negatively impacted, or will we find properties that weren't expected," Vela said. "Our goal is to broaden the science of low-dimensional nanomaterials." In an invited paper published in Chemistry of Materials entitled, "Synthetic Development of Low Dimensional Materials," Vela and coauthors Long Men, Miles White, Himashi Andaraarachchi, and Bryan Rosales discussed highlights of some of their most recent work on the synthesis of low dimensional materials.

One of those topics was advancements in the synthesis of germanium-based core-shell nanocrystals. Vela says industry is very interested in semiconducting nanocrystal-based technologies for applications such as solar cells.

Small particle size can affect many things from transport properties (how well a nanocrystal conducts heat and electricity) to optical properties (how strong it interacts with light, absorbs light and emits light). This is especially true in photovoltaic solar cells "Let's say you're using a semiconductor material to make a solar device, there's often different performance when solar cells are made from bulk materials as opposed to when they are made with nanomaterials. Nanomaterials interact with light differently; they absorb it better. That's one way you can manipulate devices and fine tune their performance or power conversion efficiency," said Vela.

Beyond solar cells (for example: GOAL ZERO NOMAD 100 ) Vela says there's tremendous interest in using nanocrystals in quantum dot television and computer displays, optical devices like LEDs (light-emitting diodes), biological imaging, and telecommunications.

He says there are many challenges in this area because depending upon the quality of the nanocrystals used, you can see different emission properties, which can affect the purity of light. "Ultimately the size of the nanocrystals being used can make a huge difference in the cleanliness or crispness of colors in TV and computer displays," said Vela. "Television and computer technology is a multibillion dollar business worldwide, so you can see the potential value our understanding of properties of nanocrystals could bring to these technologies."

In the paper, Vela's group also discussed advancements made in the study of synthesis and spectroscopic characterization of organolead halide perovskites, which Vela says are some of the most promising semiconductors for solar cells because of their low cost and easier processability. He adds photovoltaics made of these materials now reach power conversion efficiencies of greater than 22 percent. Vela's research in this area has focused on mixed-halide perovskites. He says his group has discovered these materials exhibit interesting chemical and photo physical properties that people hadn't realized before, and now they are trying to better understand the correlation between the structure and chemical composition of perovskites and how they behave in solar cells. "One of our goals is to use what we've learned to help lower the cost of solar cells and produce them more reliably and readily," Vela said.

In addition, Vela's group is studying how to replace lead in traditional organolead halide perovskites with something less toxic, like germanium. "In principle, this is an area that should be much better known, but it's not," said Vela. "When we've been able to substitute germanium for lead, we have been able to produce a lighter perovskite, which he says could positively impact the automotive industry, for example.

"This could have great implications for transportation applications where you don't want a lot of lead because it's so heavy," said Vela. Going forward Vela says his group's focus will be on advancing the science in low-dimensional materials.

"We're not working with well-known materials, but the newest; the most recently discovered," Vela said. "And every time we can advance the science we're one step closer to opportunities for more commercialization, more production, more manufacturing and more jobs in the U.S."

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Child Custody Services Explained

Child Custody Services

When parents get a divorce or when a couple which was never wed breaks up, child custody problems will have to be dealt with. The parents will need to make significant choices as to legal custody, physical custody, joint custody and sole custody of their children in case the youngsters are under the age of 18.

As a parent, your kid's wellbeing is the main thing to you personally. For those who have serious problems with your partner or the mother or father of your kid, then you definitely must tread these waters quite attentively. In the event that you are a victim of domestic violence, or in case your son or daughter is being physically mistreated, then you should find legal help immediately. The system does its best to shield domestic violence victims but you have to do what you can within legal limitations to remove yourself as well as your kid from the possibly dangerous surroundings.

It isn't unusual for the abuser to instill an overwhelming quantity of anxiety in their own victims. In case your life or the lives of your kids are jeopardized by your attacker in case you leave, then you definitely should be incredibly cautious with how you handle this case. It might appear simpler to remain in the violent scenario but you Can't make the error of remaining. Domestic violence can easily escalate and you'd not need you or your kid to experience life-threatening injuries.

Should you be scared your partner will kidnap your kids should you get a divorce or hurt you in any manner, it is all the more reason to find legal help. There isn't anything safe about remaining in an abusive relationship and obtaining a restraining order can help shield you as well as your kids, in addition, to help your forthcoming child custody issue.

The term "guardianship" refers to who has the kid, and what time either parent will have their child(ren). There are various variations to this, and distinct scenarios will generate another kind of guardianship. Sole custody refers to both legal and physical. Legal custody is the parent's right to make significant choices for the little one. These could include choices about where the kids will live, what faith they are going to be raised with, where they'll go to school, who their medical doctor will be and what kinds of extracurricular activities they're going to be registered in. The parent with physical custody has the child living with them most of the time and they got the right to make significant decisions about the little one 's regular needs. When someone has sole custody, it means they have both legal as well as physical custody of their child as well as the kid has only one primary residence.

Split custody is where there are just two kids and one child lives with each parent. Such an organization depends upon the age of the kids as well as the taste of the kids involved.

Joint custody has several meanings; First of all, it refers to scenarios in which both parents possess the right to make conclusions about their kid's upbringing, but the kid has one primary residence. With common legal custody, the kid got two primary residences, and they need to spend at least 35% of their time together with the other parent. The courts scrutinize joint custody arrangements, and when parents are always fighting over specific problems the court might strike it down completely. It is vitally important that parents who are pursuing joint custody attempt to work with one another to ascertain what's going to be ideal for the child or children involved.

Family courts in Pennsylvania have moved away from mechanically granting custody to the mom in cases of divorce. Now, the courts are gender unbiased and certainly will grant both parents equal thought when they can't come to an arrangement independently. There are several variables that'll be considered before making a decision. They are going to take a look at every parent's readiness to share guardianship, the fiscal situation of every person, the kid's relationship with each parent, employment thoughts (long hours etc.), age, a number of kids and more.

Moreover, in the event the parents were never officially married it'll be needed to set up paternity before giving a dad custody and visitation rights. Before paternity is created, the kid is regarded as the mother's kid; thus, if a father wants to have rights to his kid, or if a mom wants to receive child support paternity has to be disclosed or established in court.

Guardianship arrangements aren't long-term. Conditions can change over time, giving parents the need to make a modification to the present arrangements. At any point in time, before the little one turns 18 years old, either parent can petition the family court for a modification.

Should you be considering divorce, or in the event, you have already been served documents it is necessary to get the professional services of a seasoned lawyer. Your lawyer can assist you to draw up a workable child custody services and visitation arrangement by means of your partner. In the event the separating couple cannot concur on a child custody services Everett and visitation program, afterward professional legal counsel can completely prepare your case to make sure that your side is correctly presented in front of a judge. Either method, keeping the employment of an experienced attorney will supply you with the most excellent opportunities of achieving a favorable result in your child custody issue. So please, get in touch with a family attorney now so that you can begin protecting your parental rights.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Used Men's Watch Guide

Used Men's Watches

When you get a men's watch, you need to get the watch which you need, and not exactly what's accessible at the neighborhood mall. Shop on the internet to get a men's watch and you'll find just what you're seeking. There's just one place to search in case you'd like to browse 100s and 1000s of excellent quality used men's watches.

If it's a Casio that you simply need you, they have it. There's an excellent price range with all the Casio watch. Depending what you're seeking, you'll find a cost range from 13 dollars to 70 dollars.

A Timex will run you around 15 to 75 dollars and have an extensive variety of sports watches, casual watches and gold and silver watches. The Timex name holds powerful with the consumer too.

Some of the more fashionable watches out there now are what's known as an Automatic Watch. This fashion of watch was initially imagined in the late 1700s. It was altered and enhanced in the early 1800s, but still using the exact same laws of physics that cope with perpetual motion.

These Automatic watches don't need winding. They wind themselves with the motion of the individual wearing the watch. Only by the day's tasks of walking and moving around, your arms movements are going to keep the watch ticking. A Swiss watch manufacturing company has required this approach of watch making to the following level, they have a string of its own dedicated to Automatic Watches. These Watches are a little on the high end, nevertheless, they definitely add some style and class to the watch wearer. These little beauties will go everywhere from 100-5000 dollars.

Any watch, any fashion, any brand and any cost delivered directly to your own door, There's just one area that can provide you with the most satisfaction when you purchase a men's watch.

As it pertains to having what you would like and when you would like it, online shopping can end up being quite precious to you personally. All of us appear to live a hectic lifestyle along with plenty of times our program is not going to permit us to go from store to store to locate just that which we need and we wind up getting the "OK" thing instead of that which we truly would have liked to have.

Shop online from the comfort of the house and receive the best cost for just what it's which you need. Shopping this manner also has the advantage of your goods being delivered directly to your own door.

Friday, March 31, 2017

3 Key Questions That Will Help You Decide If Your Business Can Be Franchised

If you have a successful business that’s susceptible to a regional or national system of marketing and you don’t want to share control or risk the personality conflicts that come with bringing in investors who would become your equals in making business decisions, then franchising may be your best course of action. To help you determine whether your business could be franchised, review the three qualifiers and considerations described below.

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4 Mk2 Review

It looks nice, really nice. Little touches like the slimmer fader caps and grey filter knobs in tandem with the RGB buttons and aluminium ...