mssurface

Microsoft Unveils Two Surface Tablets, But Questions Abound: Will They Hold a Tune?

The iPad has proven a tablet can be a powerful tool for music. It’s also been mostly alone. Android-powered tablets have suffered from lackluster audio performance. Compound that with low popularity in the marketplace and fragmented OS updates, and the platform has largely scared music developers away. Android devices also lack the richness of the iPad’s hardware accessory support, with multi-pin ports that lie dormant, giving accessory makers insufficient capabilities. Windows-powered tablets thus far show some promise, but absent high-quality multi-touch input or thinner form factors, they’ve also been a non-starter. It’s unclear whether it’ll change the situation, but at …

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A Kinect-Based Instrument; Polyphonic Theremin, No April Fool’s Joke?

It’s hard to assemble an April Fool’s Joke involving technology these days, because actual inventions keep proving stranger than fiction. When Google created a prank involving gestures for controlling email, it was only a matter of time before someone whipped up a prototype that actually did the job. The Moog Music company, therefore, may be asking for trouble. Their highly-entertaining polyphonic Theremin is spot-on parody, down to the “Stairway to Heaven” solo. And part of the geekier joke for Theremin players is the knowledge that the technology behind this instrument makes what they’re describing safely impossible. But what’s impossible with …

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A Stunning Live Performance on Roland’s 1996 Workstation, VS-880 (Bonus: MPC3000!)

From comments (thanks, Charlie Cowper!), here’s a live performance by Japanese electronic artist Rei Harakami on nothing more than a 1990s-vintage multitrack digital workstation, Roland’s VS-880. (The VS-880 was introduced at NAMM in January 1996.) Harakami is a virtuoso on this machine, not simply playing back tracks but dancing through menus and settings and adding live mixing and effects. It’s a mix performance, yes – but it’s a seriously impressive one. And it shows how much this now-“vintage” machine can do, even with some simple parameters. I’m almost afraid to mention the VS-880, lest we get an arbitrary direct translation …

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flyingskulls

(Sensor) Size Matters: Pocketable Picture Quality in NYT, as Dedicated Devices Are Here to Stay

The digicam for people who can’t fit an SLR in their pocket, the Canon S95. Photo (CC-BY) Erik Forsberg. The New York Times ran a story over the holiday weekend on sensor size calculations and picks for pocket digicams that’s an absolute must-read for anyone who works with pixels. David Pogue is in rare form; this is one of my favorite stories from him recently. Mainstream tech stories often shy away from the nuts and bolts behind the scenes, but here Pogue has some interesting revelations about sensor size measurement. As usual, a little (odd) history is involved: It turns …

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Java on the Mac is Oracle's Problem Now; OpenJDK the Path Forward

Finally, Mac Java support and development is no longer stuck in an Infinite Loop. Photo (CC-BY) Roger Schultz Parts of Java’s future may still look murky, but at least you can say this: it’s Oracle’s problem, not Apple’s. My previous rants: Opinion: Apple Has Killed Mac Java; OpenJDK Just Got Way More Important for Processing (executive summary: OpenJDK is the way forward) Java on the Mac is in Serious, Serious, Serious, Serious Trouble (executive summary: OpenJDK is the way forward, and Apple and/or Oracle have to get involved for it to work) Happily, Oracle and Apple have indeed gotten involved. …

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Java on the Mac is Oracle’s Problem Now; OpenJDK the Path Forward

Finally, Mac Java support and development is no longer stuck in an Infinite Loop. Photo (CC-BY) Roger Schultz Parts of Java’s future may still look murky, but at least you can say this: it’s Oracle’s problem, not Apple’s. My previous rants: Opinion: Apple Has Killed Mac Java; OpenJDK Just Got Way More Important for Processing (executive summary: OpenJDK is the way forward) Java on the Mac is in Serious, Serious, Serious, Serious Trouble (executive summary: OpenJDK is the way forward, and Apple and/or Oracle have to get involved for it to work) Happily, Oracle and Apple have indeed gotten involved. …

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Thought and Performance, Live Coding Music, Explained to Anyone – Really

Algorithms are Thoughts, Chainsaws are Tools from Stephen Ramsay on Vimeo. In an extended video that begins with Radio City’s Rockettes and kettle drum players, Stephen Ramsay explains a litany of technology’s most elusive topics, in terms anyone could understand — no, really. I dare you to ask anyone to watch a few clips of this video, regardless of whether they’re regular readers of this site. Secrets such as why the programming language Lisp inspires religious devotion, or how someone in their right mind would ever consider programming onstage as a form of musical performance, represent the sort of geekery …

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Propellerhead Record: Oft-Requested Reason Feature Will Be an Entirely New Tool

Photo (CC) Brian Gurrola …and yes, we expect the bit on the right to come into greater focus soon. The name gives it away: Record is a product based on a feature Reason users have long requested — audio recording. The surprise is, that need has led to an entirely new tool. Instead of just adding a requested feature, the company has revealed that they built a new application, re-examining in the process what recording really means. Internet rumors have been predicting something along these lines. The problem is, rumors can sometimes create distorted expectations. In this case, I think …

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Volume Wars: Dynamic Range Strikes Back with Campaign, Plug-in

Photo: Orin Zebest. Are you sick of the death of dynamic range? Are you mad as hell at squashed audio that means to be “loud” and only wind up with the actual sounds smooshed out? Alternatively, are you guilty of some detail-squishing dynamic abuse yourself? A campaign is on to get the dynamic war out of comment threads and forums and onto the streets. Taking a positive tack, the Pleasurize Music Foundation isn’t simply attacking overcompression and dynamic distortion: they’re suggesting an alternative path, in which restored dynamic ranges bring back joy to your life. There are opportunities to sign …

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Congress Restores Arts Funding, Drops Arts Stimulus Ban, After Public Outcry

Photo CC Brian Talbot. Here in the US, Congressional Democrats have reversed not one but both bad decisions on the role of the arts in the economic stimulus package. Provisions that would have blocked any stimulus funds from reaching arts centers, museums, and theaters have been dropped. (Golf courses and casinos are still in the ban. Maybe this time, someone read the actual legislation.) And the US$50 million (out of some $800 billion) that would go to the National Endowment for the Arts, dropped from a Senate version, has been restored to the bill. It appears both of those changes …

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