Blast from the Past 2

Trumpeter Brian McCune posted this recording from 1988 with me, him, Scott Sawyer, and the late David Via. He found it on a cassette tape.

and here’s another one – Dolphin Dance

Round Midnight

Upgrading the SSD in Your Chromebook and Installing Linux

I recently updated the solid state drive in my Acer C720 Chromebook to this 128 GB drive following these directions. It was easy – nothing to fear, here! Now we no longer have to live in the cloud and this very inexpensive but powerful little laptop becomes a ful-fledged computer. Next install chrx paying careful attention to the notes specific for your model Chromebook. Then, I highly recommend the Gallium OS. This is the most beautiful Linux version I have ever tried. The installation was a breeze and it works much better on my Chromebook than my previous setup using Crouton and Ubuntu. Excellent installation instructions for Gallium OS are here. Be sure to check the hardware compatibility list first.

And in case you miss this detail: When booting up the Chromebook, at the Developer Mode screen hit Ctrl-D to boot in Chrome OS or Ctrl-L to boot in Gallium OS. DO NOT HIT THE SPACEBAR unless you want to start all over again!

Using OneNote web clipper with Privacy Badger in Chrome

I was having trouble getting the OneNote web clipper to work in Chrome and after searching the web found that the Privacy Badger app was blocking onenote.com.

Solution – go to a webpage you want to clip, click Privacy Badger to see what it is blocking, move the slider to GREEN for onenote.com. You should ony have to do this once. Now the clipper should work.

Bike MS Donation Letter 2016

Bike MS LogoI’m back! In 2012 I wrote that that would be my last Bike MS Ride to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I mostly was tired of asking my friends for money when I know how much we are all bombarded with requests for help from various good doing organizations. Many of you wrote back saying “no, no – we are glad you are doing this!” and would remind me of their friend or aunt or even spouse who had MS. I realized that maybe it was a good thing to keep doing but then circumstances changed. That December my mother fell and broke her hip. She never really recovered from surgery and developed severe dementia and was unable to move again until she finally passed away just 4 days ago. 

For those 3 1/2 plus years I hardly got on my bike at all and had little time to think about fundraising for an organization. In the years prior to her illness I was averaging about 1,000 miles a year on the bike. In 2013 and 2014 – ZERO miles. In all of 2015 I rode 52 miles.

In the past year I’ve noticed that my health – both physical and mental – has been taking a nosedive. Being on the bike training for the MS rides and just biking for pleasure with friends was keeping me healthy in more ways than I knew. Earlier this year I made the commitment and signed up for Bike MS once again more for my own health – I knew I would have to start riding regularly to get back in shape – than anything else. But the fact remains that I still have friends living with MS and recently some of them have declining faster. Not to mention the many people I will never know that this organization helps.

I’ve been able to get back on the bike some this year but caring for my mom and the emotional stress involved has made it hard to get back in the habit of taking care of myself. I’ve managed to log 250 miles so far this year but hardly enough to do the century (100 mile route) ride at Bike MS. Karen and I will probably do one of the shorter routes each day this year – hopefully at least 50 miles each day. The event is in less than 2 weeks! As you can see I’m a little behind in fundraising! We ride out of New Bern, NC on Sept 10 and 11. We’ll be able to continue fundraising for some time after that (I can’t remember the cutoff date at this point) in case you don’t see this until after the ride.

The Bike MS campaign funds research and provides services for people living with MS – over 18,000 in the Carolinas alone. Fundraising dollars are used to support those affected by MS with educational programs, help groups, medical equipment loans, financial assistance, wellness programs, care management, respite care and direct assistance. A donation in any amount is appreciated but no need to apologize for not being able to contribute – I totally understand!!! But donation or not, thank you for your support!

My Donation Page: http://main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/robbielink2016

Or you may mail a check made out to National MS Society to my address and I will submit it. Contact me by email and I’ll send you the address.

Trying Out Orfium

Trying out Orfium – a new service similar to Bandcamp. Here’s an example of their player. I like it and the service however this player does not function properly on Chrome or Chromium right now. After the track finishes (you can skip to the end to test it) the play/pause button does not finish refreshing. It seems to get stuck. Refreshing the broswer brings it back. Working on it with support.

Allison Willet – Violin

Jacqueline Nappi –  Harpsichord

Robbie Link – Viola da Gamba

UPDATE:  It seems to be working fine now!

The Power in the Music

I almost always cry when attending concerts. Usually at some moment there is something so beautiful or just so intense that it makes me cry. Or sometimes the music makes me think of something or someone that carries a lot of emotional weight. I’m thankful for dark concert halls and try to be dry eyed before the lights come up. But performing a concert is a different matter. We’re supposed to know the power of the music and feel it and channel it but – we’re just conduits, not sponges. Besides, getting all emotional only mucks up the body’s ability to do its job which is play the rhythms and the pitches and add just the right expression to tell the story the composer was trying to tell. It’s hard to read lines of sixteenth notes with tears in your eyes. I can’t imagine being a wind player or singer on the verge of bursting into tears. So, there’s usually a certain amount of distance between the performer and what the audience experiences – a kind of detachment.

But it does creep up on me sometimes. Last year I while performing I saw a woman in one of the front rows weeping during a long beautiful stretch of music that I had many measures rest. I had no idea what she was feeling or thinking but just seeing her cry made me cry, too. It just happened. Today while playing the Verdi Requiem at Duke I could not help but think of a friend I saw sitting in the front of the balcony before the concert started. She used to be a nun – enough right there to make a special connection with this wonderful piece. But also, her son had recently died; a sudden, unexpected death. I could not see her during the concert but there were several moments I knew she must be crying. And I cried, too. I knew her son – a very special young man who died too early. And then I thought of my mother – in hospice for months now but hanging on by some thin thread that she’s reluctant to sever. Thoughts one should not be having during a concert counting measures, trying to carefully place bow and fingers, stay in sync with all the wonderful musicians around me. But sometimes it can’t be helped. The notes were hard to read, nose dripping, tears running down my face onto my tuxedo.

I am always surprised that I never hear my co-workers talk of these things. Maybe none of them have this problem. But then again, what would they say? What words are there? Occasionally I see a look in another musician’s eyes after the performance and I know that they were there, too. But it’s rare. It’s all hustle and bustle to get packed up and out the door. Quick words of praise and “see you next time!”s. Some grumbling about this and that but mostly it just seems like any other group of people who just got off work and are anxious to get home and do something they enjoy. It’s a strange place we have to put ourselves into to do this work well. But somebody’s got to do it.

Add a Custom Temperament in Cleartune

I seemed to have lost the ability to add a custom temperament in the Cleartune tuner app on my Galaxy S6 Android phone. This app is probably the most popular tuner app for early music performers and is available on both Apple and Android platforms. The ability to add custom temperaments to the already robust list of available ones is a huge plus. But on the temperament screen there was no button to add a new one. Steve at Bitcount support told me this: “Unfortunately the old Android menu button is how you’d enter a custom temperament on Android. Since they did away with it, users are left to either map one of their existing buttons to activate a menu click, or use a third-party app to generate the click. We’ve got an update planned, but it’s pretty far down our list and no idea when we might be able to get to it.”

It only took a little searching on the web to find that a long-press on the back button brings up the menu containing the option to add a custom temperament. Once you are on the temperament screen hold down the back button until the menu appears. This trick should work with any “legacy” app that used to rely on the old three-dot menu button.

Musical Instrument Insurance

If you use your musical instruments professionally they typically will not be covered under your regular home owners or renters insurance as those types of policies only cover personal property but not business property. To be sure that you are covered for theft or damage while on the road or on the gig you need coverage that allows for business use and transport of your instruments. While there are several companies that specifically write policies for professional musicians it is generally cheaper to have your regular insurance agent write you an “Inland Marine” policy. I know – boats and all. Yeah – but that’s not all it covers. Wikipedia has an article here  and here is an insurance company’s explanation (not the company I use). I have used inland marine policies for decades and have never had any difficulty with claims though I have been very fortunate in that I have had to file very few claims. It’s just important to fully document every instrument and item you need covered. Most companies will require a copy of an invoice or an appraisal for valuation.