Laptop Choices: Rain’s New LiveBooks

A LiveBook on the test bench at Rain Headquarters, photographed for CDM. One of the things that attracts me to computers: choice. So it’s worth noting that you do have choices when looking to laptops, PCs included. (This sounds like those lame “We know you have a choice in your travel plans” announcements you get on airplanes. Unlike those choices, though, these are genuinely different – thankfully.) So let’s cut straight to the chase: there is a choice between Mac and PC, and there are choices on PC that keep it competitive (to say nothing of Linux). If you’re looking …

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Aud’s Ode to Music Technology: Rant Haiku

Aud is either a “Music Industy insider with a finger on the pulse of more than BPM” or “consummate psuedonisticmusictechnophilosoph” or both. I got hip to his music through a friend who may soon be publicly identified, and have heard some really terrific productions (some not yet on the MySpace page yet). But I bring Aud to everyone’s attention in this case for his run-on rant poetry about the relative value of certain technological acheivements. If you could condense everything you feel about music technology into a 60-second speech in the local pub, it might come out something like this. …

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CDM Asks: What's the Best, Low-End Visualist Camcorder?

Quite a few of you raised an eyebrow when we topped our gift guide with the Canon HV20, an affordable (as little as us$700) HDV camcorder. Like the New England Patriots (that’s American football for the rest of the world), the Canon HV20 appears to be largely unbeaten as the best-available visualist-friendly camera. It’s small, it’s light, it’s cheap, it does HDV, ’nuff said. It’s also eminently upgrade-friendly, with indie producers adding 35mm lenses and nifty accessories. And even those of you with larger, more powerful cameras occasionally want something you can toss in a backpack or use as a …

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CDM Asks: What’s the Best, Low-End Visualist Camcorder?

Quite a few of you raised an eyebrow when we topped our gift guide with the Canon HV20, an affordable (as little as us$700) HDV camcorder. Like the New England Patriots (that’s American football for the rest of the world), the Canon HV20 appears to be largely unbeaten as the best-available visualist-friendly camera. It’s small, it’s light, it’s cheap, it does HDV, ’nuff said. It’s also eminently upgrade-friendly, with indie producers adding 35mm lenses and nifty accessories. And even those of you with larger, more powerful cameras occasionally want something you can toss in a backpack or use as a …

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Mailbag: A Christmas Question – Too Much Techno?

CDM receives all sorts of fascinating emails, and it’s about time — especially in the spirit of holiday giving — that we share them. Cheryl writes us: interested in your dj11.My son who has the gifted ear for music has it on his x-mas list.Wondering if this is too much tecno for a precussor to a it guy with a great ipod at partiesand playing around at home Is it too much techno? If you have the gifted ear for music, please share your advice, if you can think back to those innocent, young days when you were but a …

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Hard Drive Mortality Rates: When to Replace Those Old Drives

Hard drives are the skeleton and lifeblood of digital video. Musicians and other audio-botherers seem constantly amazed by the amount of space required for DV and especially HD-Video projects (with uncompressed HD capture inhabiting an entirely different level), while my video-based friends seem to be ever carrying around stacks of Firewire or USB hard drives for capturing and storing their collections of media. So a large study of which drives fail most often and when drives are most likely to fail would be of great use to the visualist community. Fortunately, Google – possibly the largest purveyor of hard drive …

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Vertical Hanging for Projectors: Your Mileage May Vary

If you didn’t follow the discussion thread on the story, we got some very interesting — and detailed — feedback regarding why hanging projectors vertically might be problematic (or not). Extremely narrow tolerances for heat and fragile bulbs are the culprit. The ultimate bottom line, though, is that the individual projector model and its internal configuration may matter more than anything. I just heard from a technician I’m working with at Casey Systems in New Jersey that at least one projector rep indicated it was no problem, again suggesting variations between equipment. Of course, part of why I think people …

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Calculating Projector Throw Distances Online

Visualists have a wide range of skills to cover. After you’re done figuring out how to create and edit content and turn it into a performance / live installation / whatever, then you have to deal with the technicalities of projectors? Basic calculations for throw distances are pretty straightforward: a 3:1 throw ratio, for instance, means you need 3′ from the projection surface to get a 1′ image. But that’s before you throw in all the variables: what are the specs of the projector you’re using, what’s the lens, what’s the setting of the lens, what size image and throw …

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