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Four short links: 19 August 2013

By Nat Torkington
August 19, 2013

choir.io explained (Alex Dong) — Sound is the perfect medium for wearable computers to talk back to us. Sound has a dozen of properties that we can tune to convey different level of emotions and intrusivenesses. Different sound packs would …

Four short links: 15 August 2013

By Nat Torkington
August 14, 2013

github realtime activity — audio triggered by github activity, built with choir.io. Makies Hit Shelves at Selfridges — 3d printing business gaining mainstream distribution. Win! The Datacenter as Computer — we must treat the datacenter itself as one massive warehouse-scale …

Four short links: 12 June 2013

By Nat Torkington
June 12, 2013

geogit — opengeo project exploring the use of distributed management of spatial data. [...] adapts [git's] core concepts to handle versioning of geospatial data. Shapefiles, PostGIS or SpatiaLite data stored in a change-tracking repository, with all the fun gut features …

A Kindle developer’s 2013 wishlist

By Sanders Kleinfeld
December 2, 2012

2012 was a good year for Kindle developers. With the unveiling of the first-generation Fire tablet in late 2011 and the release of the KF8 Mobi format in early 2012, designing beautiful ebooks for the Kindle platform became a reality. …

How To Make (And Record) Explosive Sounds Using Common Household Chemicals

How To Make (And Record) Explosive Sounds Using Common Household Chemicals
By Peter Drescher
September 17, 2012

Sound designers love to blow things up, for the same reason DJs love big thumping bass beats. When the frequency of a sound is low enough and loud enough, it ceases to be heard with your ears, and becomes something you feel in your gut ... But what if you're working in mobile game audio? How do you get that butt-wrenching thump out of an iPhone speaker?

Three Beeps = Cell Phone Dial Tone

By Peter Drescher
May 16, 2012

"Cell Phone Dial Tone" is an oxymoron, like "jumbo shrimp". Dial tones are analog, cell phones are digital. A dial tone signals an open connection to a landline telephone network. A cell phone sends packets of voice data back and forth via wireless network. The technologies don't intersect ... except in the movies

Christopher Schmitt and Simon St. Laurent discuss HTML5

Christopher Schmitt and Simon St. Laurent discuss HTML5
By Laurie Petrycki
April 12, 2012

HTML5 author Christopher Schmitt talks with O'Reilly editor Simon St. Laurent about why it's a great time to be a web developer.

The Secret Yanni Technique, with key changes

The Secret Yanni Technique, with key changes
By Peter Drescher
April 2, 2012

What if the game's audio engine kept track of what key was playing, and generated bonus sounds to match? I wanted to demonstrate this approach, and so wrote a game for the Android platform called LandSeaAir that uses the FMOD Interactive Music System to do just that.

Four short links: 16 March 2012

By Nat Torkington
March 16, 2012

Militarizing Your Backyard With Python and Computer Vision (video) -- using a water cannon, computer video, Arduino, and Python to keep marauding squirrel hordes under control. See the finished result for Yakkity Saxed moist rodent goodness. Soundbite -- dialogue search for Apple's Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro. Boris Soundbite quickly and accurately finds any word or phrase...

Prognosticating the Future of Mobile Audio

Prognosticating the Future of Mobile Audio
By Peter Drescher
November 27, 2011

Seven years ago, at Project BBQ, I predicted a "convergent technology" device that would be a phone, a camera, an iPod, and a web browser -- two and a half years before the first iPhone was released.

Four short links: 3 November 2011

By Nat Torkington
November 3, 2011

Feedback Without Frustration (YouTube) -- Scott Berkun at the HIVE conference talks about how feedback fails, and how to get it successfully. He is so good. Americhrome -- history of the official palette of the United States of America. Discovering Talented Musicians with Musical Analysis (Google Research blgo) -- very clever, they do acoustical analysis and then train up...

Four short links: 31 October 2011

By Nat Torkington
October 31, 2011

Solitude and Leadership -- an amazing essay on the value of managing one's information diet. Far more than yet another Carr/Morozov "the Internet is making us dumb!!" hate on short-form content, this is an eloquent exposition of the need for long-form thoughts. I find for myself that my first thought is never my best thought. My first thought is...

FMOD for Android

FMOD for Android
By Peter Drescher
June 19, 2011

FMOD for Android is like peanut butter and strawberry jam, together for the first time!

Four short links: 12 April 2011

By Nat Torkington
April 12, 2011

The Email Game -- game mechanics to get you answering email more efficiently. Can't wait to hear that conversation with corporate IT. "You want us to install what on the Exchange server?" (via Demo Day Wrapup) Stratified B-trees and versioning dictionaries -- A classic versioned data structure in storage and computer science is the copy-on-write (CoW) B-tree -- it...

Generating Audio UI for Android

By Peter Drescher
February 24, 2011

I just want reality to sound a bit more like science fiction ...

Never Give a Client Three Choices

By Spencer Critchley
November 24, 2010

In most design fields it's conventional wisdom that you should give a client three versions or "comps" of an idea, so they can choose their favorite, or maybe combine what they like best about two or all three of them....

Four short links: 27 September 2010

By Nat Torkington
September 27, 2010

Google Acquisition Spending Spree (Venturebeat) -- Google is now on track to acquire a new company every two weeks this year. (via azaaza on Twitter) Where Good Ideas Come From (YouTube) -- this perfectly describes Foo. A Taxonomy of Data Science -- great first post on a new blog by data practitioners. Rockbox -- open source (GPL) firmware for...

Four short links: 3 Sep 2010

By Nat Torkington
September 3, 2010

Arranging Things: The Rhetoric of Object Placement (Amazon) -- [...] the underlying principles that govern how Western designers arrange things in three-dimensional compositions. Inspired by Greek and Roman notions of rhetoric [...] Koren elucidates the elements of arranging rhetoric that all designers instinctively use in everything from floral compositions to interior decorating. (via Elaine Wherry) 2010 Mario AI Championship...

Four short links: 30 August 2010

By Nat Torkington
August 30, 2010

Free as in Smokescreen (Mike Shaver) -- H.264, one of the ways video can be delivered in HTML5, is covered by patents. This prevents Mozilla from shipping an H.264 player, which fragments web video. The MPEG LA group who manage the patents for H.264 did a great piece of PR bullshit, saying "this will be permanently royalty-free to consumers"....

Four short links: 27 August 2010

By Nat Torkington
August 27, 2010

Working Audio Data Demos -- the new Firefox has a very sweet audio data API and some nifty demos like delay pedals, a beat detector (YouTube) and a JavaScript text-to-speech generator. (via jamesaduncan on Twitter) Estimating the Economic Impact of Mass Digitization Projects on Copyright Holders: Evidence from the Google Book Search Litigation -- [T]he revenues and profits of...

My Credo

By Peter Drescher
June 19, 2010

"I Promise Never To Program A Computer To Play Something I Can't"

Game Audio In The Cloud - Part 3 (Conclusion)

Game Audio In The Cloud - Part 3 (Conclusion)
By Peter Drescher
June 3, 2010

Gameplay parameters are sent up to the server, the application running in the Cloud mixes the appropriate beeps and booms into the audio output buffer, which then streams the game soundtrack to your device. The data being transmitted up is small, the server has all the CPU power, memory storage, and data bandwidth you could ask for, and the download stream is like listening to a digital radio station.

Game Audio In The Cloud, Part 2

By Peter Drescher
April 10, 2010

When I talk about The Cloud (Capital T, Capital C), I'm talking about a currently fictional technology. Despite advertising claims and vaporware demonstrations at trade shows, The Cloud (as I envision it) does not yet exist ... but when it does, it will dramatically change the way we do business, listen to music, and play games.

Game Audio In The Cloud

Game Audio In The Cloud
By Peter Drescher
March 26, 2010

In 2002, at the International CES trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada, Mark "the Red" Harlan, then Chief Evangelist for a scrappy little start-up called Danger, Incorporated, demonstrated an early version of a wireless internet device called the "hiptop" (later known as the T-Mobile Sidekick). He explained that it was a prototype, costing many thousands of dollars to produce, then he navigated to the Notes application, typed in a message, hit enter, and waited a moment while the Note synced to the Danger servers via wireless connection. Then he put the device on the floor, and dropped a bowling ball on it!

Four short links: 25 March 2010

By Nat Torkington
March 25, 2010

Aren't You Being a Little Hasty in Making This Data Free? -- very nice deconstruction of a letter sent by ESRI and competitors to the British Government, alarmed at the announcement that various small- and mid-sized datasets would no longer be charged for. In short, companies that make money reselling datasets hate the idea of free datasets. The arguments...

R.I.P. -- Doug Fieger (The Knack)

By Kelli Richards
February 19, 2010

It's been awhile since I posted my last blog entry. You might say I took a sabbatical from it during this past year in light of all the flux with the economy and several other challenges. But I've got my...

Millions of Plastic Guitars Can't Be Wrong

Millions of Plastic Guitars Can't Be Wrong
By David Battino
January 7, 2010

If you make a process easy enough, you can change the world. In 1995, two MIT graduates set out to make music-making easy. Now millions of people play their product, and the inventors are releasing the developer tools for free.

The Myth of Music Ownership

The Myth of Music Ownership
By Peter Drescher
December 26, 2009

The idea that you own your music is a MYTH, promulgated by the record companies to ensure their continued profitability! But soon, all that's going to change, because Cloud services will dramatically change the way you listen to music.

CarTunes

By Peter Drescher
November 16, 2009

Green Technologies and Interactive Audio are two fields not generally considered related, but a new trend may change that: "Generated Sounds for Electric Vehicles", aka "EV Audio", aka "CarTunes".

Apparently, The Implants ARE Removable ...

By Peter Drescher
October 31, 2009

A little over a year ago, I uprooted my life of practically 30 years in the San Francisco Bay Area, and transplanted it to Seattle's Puget Sound (which, if you're an audio guy, has a nice ring to it) ...

Review: Kerchoonz K-box Portable Speaker

Review: Kerchoonz K-box Portable Speaker
By David Battino
October 6, 2009

Does this iPod-size, battery-powered vibration speaker with the gooey bottom really deliver amazing bass? Gel, yes!

Using Windows 7 for Music Production

Using Windows 7 for Music Production
By David Battino
October 1, 2009

Cakewalk has been reprogramming PCs into music studios since the days of DOS. Today, CTO Noel Borthwick explained the deep, technical details of how the architectural changes in Windows 7 will help (and sometimes hinder) audio processing.

Time-Lapse Movie with iPhone Soundtrack

Time-Lapse Movie with iPhone Soundtrack
By David Battino
August 24, 2009

Former O'Reilly web producer Justin Watt just made a surprisingly cool video by combining still photos with a soundtrack made in Looptastic, a $5 iPhone app. Here's how he did it.

Web Video Hack: Many Movies, One Player

Web Video Hack: Many Movies, One Player
By David Battino
August 13, 2009

Here's a super-easy way to play multiple movies in the same area on a webpage. No JavaScript required, and it works on iPhone too.

New Tricks for the Zoom H2

New Tricks for the Zoom H2
By David Battino
July 25, 2009

Zoom packs a staggering number of features into its audio gear. Here are a few that were surprisingly useful when I had to record some magazine and radio demos.

Star Date 2387: Is This Thing On?

Star Date 2387: Is This Thing On?
By David Battino
July 1, 2009

In an amusing press release, Blue Microphones reports that the new Star Trek movie is crawling with its Mouse microphones. Here's a photo of one apparently recording the young Captain Kirk. Somehow I imagined it would look different.

iTunes DJ AppleScript: Fade to Next Track

iTunes DJ AppleScript: Fade to Next Track
By David Battino
May 29, 2009

A radio DJ who runs her set from iTunes asked me if I could modify one of my fade-out AppleScripts. She wanted to end a song on demand and make iTunes crossfade into the next song on the playlist. I...

The Modern Way to Put out an Album: NYeT!

The Modern Way to Put out an Album: NYeT!
By David Battino
May 13, 2009

It would be cruel to cite this as another example of the increasing irrelevance of newspapers, but I was honestly stumped by this entry in today's New York Times crossword: Modern way to put out an album. "P2P" sure didn't fit.

A Hardware Music Keyboard for the iPhone

A Hardware Music Keyboard for the iPhone
By David Battino
May 5, 2009

There are scads of piano-keyboard apps for the iPhone, but I find the lack of tactile feedback frustrating. With Apple opening the dock connector to outside developers in OS 3, couldn't someone create a true music keyboard?

The Virtual Instrument I'd Like to See

The Virtual Instrument I'd Like to See
By David Battino
April 30, 2009

Reading about an audiophile who compared the crackling of vinyl to the coughing of old men at a concert, I started to imagine a virtual audience plugin. What controls would you add?

iPhone Web Audio Playlist Hack

iPhone Web Audio Playlist Hack
By David Battino
April 23, 2009

Mobile Safari, the iPhone's web browser, has surprisingly weak audio support. But here's a hack I discovered to embed audio playlists.

Shippingness vs. Awesomeness

Shippingness vs. Awesomeness
By David Battino
March 31, 2009

Peter Kirn of Create Digital Music posted this terrific graph yesterday, showing that the more appealing the promised product, the longer it will take to ship: The object of Peter's gear lust was the Teenage Engineering (even the company name...

20 Sounds that Must Live

20 Sounds that Must Live
By David Battino
March 30, 2009

Ted writes, "Enough with the Martian space-chime echoes! I just want five good bass sounds, five good keyboard sounds, five leads, and five pads that would sound good almost anywhere. If you could only have 20 synth sounds, what would they be?"

Web Radio for *Listeners*

Web Radio for *Listeners*
By David Battino
March 4, 2009

The visionary Lucas Gonze just launched Fresh Hot Radio.com, a smart new twist on Web radio. His mission is to connect mainstream listeners to Web-native music, so the site draws from band communities, musicians' own blogs, and bulletin boards where musicians go to get advice on their mixes. I like his choices.

Digital Music Discoveries at NAMM 2009

Digital Music Discoveries at NAMM 2009
By David Battino
January 30, 2009

Once again, America's biggest musical instrument trade show was an amazing mix of futuristic technology, fabulous performances, and freaky products. Here are some of my favorites, starting with portable audio recorders.

Music on Computers, Circa 2013

By David Battino
January 22, 2009

For the past 13 years, I've traveled to Texas to join the "premier interactive audio think tank," Project Bar-B-Q. There, great minds from Dolby Labs, Karma Labs, Open Labs, Microsoft, Intel, DTS, Dell, and more plot the future of music on computers. Here's our latest report.

Apple removes DRM on iTunes & adds variable pricing

By Kelli Richards
January 21, 2009

At the recent MacWorld expo, Apple made some key announcements around iTunes that many of us have been anticipating for awhile. Namely, they are removing anticopying restrictions from iTunes, which will allow consumers to freely move the songs around between their PCs, mobile phones, and other digital devices. This is not a big surprise in that consumers have voiced anti-DRM...

Opt-In Complexity

By Chris Adamson
January 16, 2009

It's an interesting trait that the Mac and iPhone stacks work this way, opting in to complexity and keeping the higher-level APIs sparser and simpler, and you have to wonder whether it's a conscious design decision or a happy accident.

Audio Gear Highlights at Macworld Expo

By Jochen Wolters
January 15, 2009

Just like in previous years, those interested in making music would find lots of getting-started information at the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus and the Macworld Music Studio at Moscone. But there were also a few exhibitors who presented new products at Macworld Expo 2009 that were targeted at musicians and audiophiles. From what I saw at Moscone last week, these are my favorites.

Networked Printers and Speakers with AirPort WiFi

By Derrick Story
January 14, 2009

The current AirPort base station combined with iTunes, Apple TV, the iPhone, a handful of printers, and powered speakers have enabled me to configure an "upstairs/downstairs" network complete with printing and remote-controlled music streaming. Here's an overview.


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