All posts by duanewardell

Three Reasons New DJs Should Learn to Mix Vinyl

Mix Vinyl pic
Mix Vinyl

With over 19 years in the IT industry, Duane Wardell specializes in Oracle and INGRES database administration. Aside from work, Duane Wardell enjoys mixing music using vinyl records.

While many modern DJs may opt for the ease of digital mixers, MIDI controllers, and synced devices, aspiring DJs should consider starting with vinyl. Here are three of the reasons fledging DJs should unplug the computer and learn to mix using vinyl records.

1. Learning to Trust Your Ears – Digital music is perfect, meaning the music files do not show any wear and tear, and always present the same BPM and feel regardless of your equipment. Vinyl, on the other hand, is imperfect. Records degrade, and traditional turntables are all different. Learning to find the correct BPM through slowing down or speeding up a record so the sound from both turntables is cohesive teaches you agility and brings you closer to the music, as you have to learn to feel and hear these discrepancies.

2. Music Selection – Anybody can visit a music blog or website to download the hottest songs. You could fill a device with 100GB of music and have the club hopping in no time. While this is a good thing, using vinyl teaches you to be selective and careful when choosing records. It forces you to critically think about what would go well together, and what you will take with you for your next gig. This extra care and consideration helps ensure each record and track you choose is important, not just filler.

3. Dedication – It is harder to learn your craft on a traditional turntable, which means it will require more practice, commitment, and dedication. This extra effort will translate into skill and experience that your digital counterpart may lack.


Improving Your Basketball Shot

Basketball Shot pic
Basketball Shot

For more than three decades, Duane Wardell has been working in the information technology industry. He is an Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) in database administration and most recently acted as Memorial Hermann Healthcare System’s consultant database programmer and analyst. An avid basketball fan, Duane Wardell enjoys coaching, watching, and playing the sport.

Technique plays a huge role in the overall success of your basketball shots. As you prepare for a shot, make sure your fingertips are touching the ball rather than your palm. This gives you a good amount of control over how the ball moves. Align your elbows and middle finger with the rim of the basketball hoop, but keep your elbows tucked in at your sides. This positioning gives you the best accuracy and ensures that the ball goes where you want it to.

As you complete a basketball shot, your body must also be in the right follow-through position. At the start of a shot, your body should be smaller than normal because your legs are bent. When you shoot, stretch out your body and end tall. Always fully extend your arm when shooting a basketball. Ideally, you release the ball once your elbow is above your eyes. Many players ignore this and their shooting suffers as a result. Further, your wrist and fingers should be loose after the ball has left your hand.

If your technique is already perfect, your problem may stem from a lack of confidence. Everyone has bad days. Constantly thinking about every missed shot distracts the mind and may result in you missing more and more of your shots. Instead, stop overthinking the process. Do not try to copy professional players and just stay relaxed when you go up to the hoop.

Dusty Fingers – A Collection of 1970s Songs Informing DJ Mixes

Dusty Fingers pic
Dusty Fingers

With an extensive background in database programming, Duane Wardell has engaged with clients such as Esoftsolutions, Inc., and Memorial Hermann Healthcare System. A music aficionado, Duane Wardell particularly enjoys taking old school records and doing vinyl mixes.

One of the most enduring aspects of DJ music is its use of sampling old vinyl records, with this approach particularly prevalent in hip hop. An influential source of samples over the decades has been the Dusty Fingers series, which was compiled and released by DJ Danny Dan, “The Beatman” in the early 1990s. He unearthed rare funk, jazz, and pop tunes of the 1960s and 1970s that contained break beats and other musical signatures ideal for modern production.

The Dusty Fingers catalogue of obscure songs has been used liberally by artists up to the present, from Dr. Dre to Eminem. The samples are often combined with rhymes and other digitally created beats to create a sound that pays homage to the past, but still creates something new.

Vinyl Record Sales Show Massive Growth

Vinyl Record Sales pic
Vinyl Record Sales

For more than two decades, Oracle-certified professional Duane Wardell has worked in the information technology sector, serving companies such as Memorial Hermann Healthcare System and E-Soft Solutions, Inc. In his leisure time, Duane Wardell is an audiophile and enjoys listening to and mixing vinyl records.

According to the Recording Industry Association of America, vinyl record sales were up more than 32 percent in 2015, bringing in $416 million in revenue – their highest total in 26 years. While CDs sold more overall units, their retail figures were actually down 17 percent from the prior year.

In comparative terms, the revenue from vinyl record sales last year eclipsed advertising sales from other free music services such as YouTube, Vevo and Spotify’s free service. Paid subscription platforms, however, brought in vastly more revenue that both LP and EP sales.

Vinyl’s resurgence hasn’t gone unnoticed in mainstream retail circles. Urban Outfitters, Barnes & Noble and Whole Foods are just some of the large retail chains that are now carrying records in their stores, and analysts predict that vinyl is poised to show continued growth in the years to come as well.

The Advantages of “Old School” Turntable Mixing

Traditional DJ Tturntable Mixing pic
Traditional DJ Tturntable Mixing

With extensive experience in database administration, Duane Wardell most recently held a consultancy role with the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System. A fan of old school sound systems and techniques, Duane Wardell enjoys mixing music using vinyl records.

Traditional DJ turntable mixing and scratching requires an extensive record collection paired with an excellent sense of rhythm to understand which beats mesh well together. Unlike newer beatmatching techniques that rely on synced devices and MIDI controls, mixing by ear is a highly intuitive process that keys into the actual mechanical properties of the turntable and the motion of the spinning platter.

Pure sound quality aside, a key advantage of the turntable is that beats per minute can be altered in subtle ways, particularly when a belt-driven turntable is in play. Variables such as wear and tear on the disc also affect the sound that is output. These fluctuations keep the DJ’s listening ear agile and attuned to what is actually being played.

Another turntable-specific tactic is scratching, which sounds best when it involves the actual wax being manipulated relative to the needle. While LPs are much bulkier and require more work to set up than a digital drive, the payoff is in the creation of authentic, non-reproducible sounds.

Unique Experiences at Eco-archaeological Park in Western Caribbean


Xcaret Eco-archaeological Park Image:
Xcaret Eco-archaeological Park

Specializing in Oracle and INGRES Database Administration, Duane Wardell spent nearly 20 years in information technology roles for such organizations as Hermann Hospital in Houston. Duane Wardell has also traveled around the western Caribbean region, which extends along the coast from northern Colombia to Yucatán in Mexico.

Among the many celebrated landmarks and destinations in the western Caribbean is the Xcaret Eco-archaeological Park. Located near Cancun, Mexico, the park highlights Mexico’s natural wonders and cultural heritage by providing visitors with regional cuisine and more than 50 attractions.

At Xcaret, visitors can encounter local species at the Aviary and on Jaguar Island, or experience Mayan history during a traditional Mayan ball game and the Fiesta Charra. The park also offers access to the Caribbean Sea with snorkeling tours, dolphin swims, and underground river adventures. As an eco-park, Xcaret features a wide range of additional aquatic species, including marine turtles and manatees.

An Overview of Database Administration

database administrator
database administrator

Information technology professional Duane Wardell most recently worked as a database programmer and analyst with the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System (MHHS) in Houston, Texas. For more than 15 years, Duane Wardell has specialized in Oracle and INGRES database administration.

At the most basic level, database administrators store and organize data using specialty software. Database administrators often deal with important business-related information, such as customer shipping records and financial information. Depending on the nature of the business, database administrators may make certain information available to customers, while limiting the availability of other information to internal staff members only.

In addition to storing and organizing data, database administrators must be able to access specific information in an efficient manner. Database administrators must also take steps to protect data from unauthorized access, often collaborating with computer and information systems managers to implement the appropriate security features.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 15 percent of database administrators today work in computer systems design and related services, followed closely by information and educational services, especially in the management of companies and enterprises and for insurance carriers. To become a database administrator, individuals must typically have an undergraduate degree in computer science or management information systems.