The moderator asked for introductions. :) Given the theme of the community, I'll post only a little bit about me and then get into some geekery.
I'm imagining that I'm relatively old for this sort of community (I'm 30), but I'm still in a lot of ways a beginner. I've always had a great passion for music, but I first got involved in making music in mid-highschool when I started to rent some samplers -- a Korg DSS-1 and later an E-Mu EMAX. I bought a Roland MPU-401 MIDI box, and had some DOS sequencing software. In my final year of highschool, I got my first real owned-by-myself sampler -- an E-Mu EMAX II. Some friends and I wrote maybe a dozen songs or so, most only half-complete, and we played a couple of live shows as part of a 13-14 person performance art ensemble hastily thrown together literally within 24 hours before the shows. Then I went away to University, and somehow a lot of that stuff got shelved.
Years later, I'd dragged all this equipment with me from place to place through my life, but never got around to doing anything. Unfortunately, some of it got damaged over time, and when I finally decided to open that book, so to speak, again, I had to get new equipment. I went through some weird stages to get to the point I'm at now, spending a lot of time using weird software and weird operating systems, but I have a pretty straightforward setup now.
I'm using emagic Logic Audio Gold 4.x on a dual 1GHz PowerMac G4. I also use BIAS Peak, emagic SoundDiver, Native Instruments Reaktor and Native Instruments Battery, as far as software goes. I have an emagic AMT8 MIDI interface and MOTU 828 audio interface. For external gear I have an E-Mu E4X sampler and an E-Mu Planet Earth world music synth, with a Roland A-33 controller keyboard.
As for what I *do* with this stuff, the answer is that most of the time I just noodle around. It's definitely a hobby for me, and one that I often don't have anywhere near enough time to pay attention to. Last fall when I finally got all of this set up, I started working on a new EP, to be the first completed project since way back in highschool. I've gotten three songs complete, and a couple of candidates for the fourth are sort of half-done, but I've been letting it stagnate for a while now (I guess it's been almost a year). I'm hoping to regain some inspiration soon, and have recently started working on ideas again. Maybe this community can help. :) The biggest challenge has been learning to work alone, because I get myself 'stuck' and I'm used to having lots of other people around to get unstuck. Strategies for working through writer's block are very much welcome. I've picked up a freeware computer version of The Oblique Strategies, which I'm hoping might help. I have to start consulting it more often. ;)
Here are the three songs that I had so far, to give an idea of the kind of things I've been doing lately:
Anyway, I hope to hear from other people joining this place soon! Forgive the goofy tone of this post -- I'm always nervous posting things up for new people.