Category Archives: Technology

Free DAW

DAW = Digital Audio Workstation

First on the list for testing was the Steinberg Cubase LE. To get this I had to create a profile on their site and download a downloader. This installed other stuff. None of which made much sense. After wondering what to do for a while, I gave up.

Second up was WaveForm. Again with the profile. This one installed easily and immediately got going. The projects list is a but strange, but the main interface was understandable. Each track was laid out and easy to operate. I was beginning to like it when up comes a voice telling me I had a ‘demo’ version and I had to upgrade. Despite going back to their site, making sure I was registered, etc. it kept up   with the notifications. The other weird thing is that the file menu is at the bottom, and required another mouse action every time it’s used. In frustration of not knowing what I had I put it aside for a while.

After a bit of rummaging around in google, I came across
MAGIX Music Maker. This was one download and easy install. It’s easy to see how things work. Each panel is sizeable and can be dragged to a second monitor. But best of all, there pre-installed loops and instruments. Within the hour I had put together a funky instrumental track. There are sample songs and virtual instruments to fiddle with. Subsequent online reviews confirm that this is probably the best and easiest DAW for beginners. And it’s a lot of fun to use.

The only issue was it’s failure to load save MP3 files in the free version. There are two paid versions that have these features, plus more. The ‘Premium’ version is $70, not bad for such an extensive program.






A Compendium of Spacecraft #10


This ship comes from ‘Rendezvous with Rama’, the novel by
Arthur C. Clarke (1973).

Set in the 2130s, the story involves a 50 by 20km cylindrical alien starship that enters the Solar System.

The story is told from the point of view of a group of human explorers who intercept the ship in an attempt to unlock its mysteries. The novel won both the Hugo and Nebula.

Although never put to film, the alien world and spaceship has had plenty of illustrations:



A Compendium of Spacecraft #9
U.S.S. Pasteur

Not as well known as the original NNC-1701 Enterprise, the Pasteur (NCC-58925) was a Federation Olympic-class starship that has a more logical use of space, with it’s giant bulbous main section. It has a length of 239m, width and height of just under 100m.


A Compendium of Spacecraft #8

Lexx Ship

There’s an interesting shape !
It’s a sentient spaceship, possible modelled on the craft from 2001. It talks, dispenses food and guides it’s occupants.

It has a ‘Bridge’ is nothing more than a control panel. There is a shower out in the open, so Stan can watch.

And. it’s the most powerful ship in the universe, capable of emitting a large blast of energy from his eyes can blow up planets or asteroids.

Nubian Ship

A Compendium of Spacecraft #7

 From Star Wars

J-type 327 Nubian Royal Starship

One of the most beautiful of all Starships, the J-type 327 Nubian Royal Starship (also known as the Naboo Royal Starship) was a starship used by Queen AmidalaJedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his PadawanObi-Wan Kenobi, during the Invasion of Naboo. It was commissioned by the Theed Palace Space Vessel Engineering Corps.

Technical specifications
Length: 76 metres
Maximum Atmospheric Speed: 920 km/h.
Engine units: Headon-5 Sublight engines
Armament. None.
Crew. Crew (8): Pilot (1) Co-pilot (1) Communications officer (1)




A Compendium of Spacecraft #6

From Farscape


Moya is a female Leviathan transport vessel; a living sentient bio-mechanical space ship. 1,000m long, 250m wide and 200m high, she has a sentient Pilot controlling the ship.

She has no weapons and is capable of only one defensive maneuver, Starburst. The ability to starburst is a faster than light drive system that is unmatched in its ability to evade pursuers.

A starbursting Leviathan cannot be caught unless its drive system is disrupted just as it begins ignition. Once a Leviathan has entered starburst, it can travel enormous distances in far less time than most other vessels.



A Compendium of Spacecraft #5

from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Heart of Gold

For some reason I had always though of this as a black ship, almost invisible against the blackness of space. However, in the book the Heart of Gold was described as huge, 150 meters long, and shaped like a sleek running shoe. It was perfectly white and mindbogglingly beautiful.

In the television series it was oddly shaped:

Then in the movie it was just a spherical blob:

either way, it was the first spacecraft to make use of the Infinite Improbability Drive.

The craft was stolen by then-President Zaphod Beeblebrox at the official launch of the ship. The ship picked up Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect, who were floating unprotected in deep space, having just escaped the destruction of earth.


White Star

A Compendium of Spacecraft #4

From Babylon 5

Mimbari White Star

The makers of Babylon 5 were notable for insisting on physics realism in space movement. And the White Star is involved in my  favorite space fight sequence ever put on film or video.

And here is Ivanova Commanding as Death:

Then, finally at Z’Ha’Dun in one of the series epic conclusions.

Aliens Dropship

A Compendium of Spacecraft #3

Aliens Dropship


Built by Weyland-Yutani Corp, the UD-4 Utility Dropship, better known as the “Cheyenne” is primarily used by the United States Colonial Marine Corps.

The Cheyenne is designed for rapid troop deployment, dropping from the belly of USCM spacecraft in orbit and delivering Marines and equipment quickly to a planet’s surface. They typically carry the M577 Armored Personnel Carrier, although they can also be used to transport other equipment and even Marines directly in the field.

Length 25m, width 12.6m, height 6m and 34.6 tonnes loaded. The main engines are a pair of Republic Dynamics TF-900 variable-cycle turbines, each producing 310 kN of thrust. The craft can reach Mach 12 and has Tri-layer carbon-ceramic plate armour.

Along for the ride are a Gatling canon,
32x Mk.16 Banshee 70 rockets
12x Mk.10 Zeus rockets
8x Mk.88 SGW missiles
7x AGM-220C Hellhound II missiles
3x AGM-204A TSAM missiles
3x AIM-90E Headlock missiles

Going down !

Gone !





1999 Eagle

A Compendium of Spacecraft #2

From Gerry Anderson’s TV Show , Space 1999 (1975 to 1977) comes an industrial looking vehicle for spaceflight.

Space 1999 Eagle Transporter

At 23m long, 9m wide and 1.5m high, the Eagle is the primary form of transportation for the inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha.

Capable of speeds up to 23,700 miles per second, or 15% of the speed of light, it is powered by four nuclear fusion rockets, and carries fuel reserves for 48 hours of flight.

Eagles Crashes: