The Apple "Spinning Wait Cursor" Pinwheel, as a Stone Sculpture

Brian Kane, designer, Emergency Broadcast Network co-founder, and Vujak co-creator (the first video sampler), has a brain full of wacky ideas. The latest: a study for a sculpture in stone that immortalizes what Apple officially calls the “Spinning Wait Cursor,” and what we call the pinwheel, or “(*&$*(&*(&!” (Well, depending on how zenlike you get.) Need to calm yourself in the face of your computer grinding to a halt in CS4? Sit and contemplate (Brian plans a bench at some point.) Consider the nature of time, and the wisdom that can come from not doing, but waiting. And then waiting …

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So, So Much Follow-Up: MS Paint-Made Music Video

You know the types – I’d say I had a music video made in MS Paint, and you’d watch it and it’d turn out to be made by some hypergenius insomniac who made some intricate animated film using only the spraycan tool. Happily, that is not the case here. “jono” writes to tell us about his Microsoft Paint music video, which he made while he had the flu. And you may feel a wave of nostalgia for MS Paint or the Bill Atkinson-created MacPaint that Microsoft cloned, because the illustrations look like the illustrations you did while bored in computer …

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Out of Control APC40 Photoshop Thread on Ableton Forums

I really have no words for this one, other than there’s a hilarious APC40 meme happening on the Ableton forums. Is it love? Disdain? The APC as the new “All Your Base” for the Live warping set? Does it really matter? http://forum.ableton.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=116396 It’s good to know that, even as Ableton Live use has spread, us computer music folk are really not normal. Via Tara Busch on Twitter of AnalogSuicide.

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Dorkpop Music with Keytar Frontman Baffles a Humorless Simon Cowell

You know that viral, deeply inspirational Britain’s Got Talent clip in which a lone singer bursts the preconceptions and expectations of the whole world, dazzling audiences and bringing people to tears with her talent? Yeah, okay, so this is pretty much nothing like that. This is more in the category of self-deprecating artists who aren’t afraid to laugh at themselves, being exactly what you’d expect them to be – and then some. Let’s call it “dorkpop,” intentionally geeky musicians willing to be just the people they are. Three keyboards, and one man with a keytar. (Note that he basically demonstrates …

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Auto-Tune The News, And Channeling Steve Reich, Anyone?

The Internet, having satisfied itself yesterday with video that faked a Beyonce who couldn’t sing, now imagines news that can. And Steve Reich is proven ahead of his time — again. (Congrats on the Pullitzer – it took them just five decades to notice!) Yes, Antares’ Auto-Tune plug-in – now so ubiquitous in mainstream, non-audio-engineer knowledge that it’s become a generic description like “Kleenex” – can be applied to everything. (We, um, can only hope these industrious YouTubers are using legally-licensed copies – that is, until Antares releases a 99-cent iPhone app.) And so, hilariously, we imagine a world of …

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A New Instrumental Album, and Mocky, Mock-Marketing by Hyperbole

Something has happened with electronic musicians and producers. We’re not confined to the ghetto of electronic sounds any more. You could argue it’s a sign of waning interest in those timbres, but I think it’s something else: people are simply becoming more flexible creative producers, comfortable with acoustic and electrified and synthesized sounds alike. So, in that spirit, one of my most anticipated albums of this year has been one that’s mostly instrumental and not-terribly-electronic or digital. It’s the March release Saskamodie from Mocky, Somali-Canadian-Yemeni musician. I’ve just begun listening to it, and I’m quite enjoying it. It’s definitely retro, …

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Open Design Thread: Progress Bars, What is the Fundamental Nature of Time?

Alternative titles for this post: “Progress Bars and Existentialism” “A single video encapsulates everything I have to say about the nature of time as reflected in interface design” “When the (*&$& is this damned wait cursor going to stop spinning, and why did it start spinning in the first place?” “Real-time – or its nearest approximation – is always more awesome than rendering.” Let me explain. Last Friday about this time (relatively speaking), I was speaking to MGFest in Chicago about how real-time is transforming visuals. (And speaking of time, I’ll be posting those slides real soon now.) Naturally, I …

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8-bit and Retro Holiday Cheer: Advent Calendar Albums, Casio and Coneheads

Kasio Kristmas from Jim McKenzie on Vimeo. Feeling a warm, holiday glow – or is that just nostalgia for simpler times, times when less digital information was needed to capture sound? Bits were real bits; sampling rates were low enough you could count to the top of them. Kids walked uphill through the snow both ways to buy a new Casio keyboard, and they didn’t yet believe Nintendo’s R.O.B. was a gimmick. They had none of your Grand Theft Audio nonsense: they hummed along to annoying tunes and watched sprites dance across the screen like a derezzed Sugar Plum Fairy. …

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AutoTune: The Song, a $99 Version (Hide!), and Some History

AutoTune, easily the most famous software plug-in in history – one even the general public has heard of – continues to reach mainstream, viral audiences. But the surprise is, originally its number crunching powers were applied to geology, oil, and pipelines, not bad vocalists. (Sadly, the latter are a more renewable resource.) This week, the Web is buzzing over the music video of AutoTune, the (parody) song. Sadly, this video could have been so much more – not even so much as a Cher reference, really? (Cher’s producers: AutoTuning way before Kanye West, and then lying about it! Brilliant!) For …

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Survey: What Labels Would You Put on a “Genre” Knob?

The original microKORG genre-selecting knob, sure to baffle and delight with its nonsensical labels. Careful: you may actually transform yourself with the genres. Okay, first, a disclaimer: the fact that the upcoming microKORG XL has a “genre” knob for selecting presets isn’t big news. The original microKORG had genre-selectable presets, too. The beauty of the original, though, was how incoherently these settings were labeled. (Retro, or Hiphop/Vintage, anyone?) Sometimes, the labels that don’t fit are better than the real ones. “What type of music do you play?” “I play VOCODER!” (From here on out, any time the mention of VOCODER …

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