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This cable could let you take all your music gear mobile

It’s about time to solve this power problem on music gear once and for all. Here’s the thing: USB has quietly simplified powering everything else. Look at your phone. Now, a USB cable not only means you can charge from your laptop, but also various travel adapters – and, crucially, from battery power. With mobile batteries getting steadily better, that’s huge. You can just pack a battery and not worry about finding a wall socket, for hours or (with high capacities) even days. And those batteries are getting better as products, too – you can buy some nice looking, nicely …

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The next prank call you get could come from this crazy synth

::vtol:: prankophone from ::vtol:: on Vimeo. If you pick up the phone and instead of a robocall or someone pocket dialing you, you get what sounds like a synthesizer that’s lost its mind, blame the Prankophone. Since we’re going to cover the latest from Ableton and Korg and so on in detail, we practically need a column for the quirky, prolific inventions of one vtol, aka Dmitry Morozov. Call it the Internet of Insane Things. (IoIT?)

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A Solar-Powered, Outdoor DJ Booth and Interactive Dance Floor for Public Playgrounds

Swingsets? Basketball courts? Dutch interactive design firm Yalp imagines populating futuristic public playgrounds with DJ decks and dance floors, for today’s teens. First, there’s the Fono DJ booth. It’s an outdoor public DJ booth, steel-cased with 14 light-up touch panels. Add a couple of phones, and kids can stream their own music, using the touch panels to control the settings. (In case you’re afraid your neighborhood is about to turn into a teen Ibiza, the makers emphasize that they let the installer choose maximum volume levels and times when the system shuts down.) Then, in case you want to dance …

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A New Lab Opens Music Making to People with Learning Disabilities

Let’s face it: the initial audience for the first version of music tech is often the developers. That impulse to build something for yourself is a perfectly reasonable one. But music technology is constantly producing new ways of creating music, and that means it has to learn quickly. Unlike, say, a guitar, it can’t build on centuries of experience. And if the industry and music technology community are to consider how to reach more people, why not go beyond just average markets? Why not open up music making to people who have been left out? If music making is an …

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Teeny Little Super Guy: iPhone Resurrects Love of Cel Animation, Now Time To Rewatch Sesame Street

Everything old is new again, again. You see, those pocket-able supercomputer phones with the very-decent optics and imaging can bring back a love of photography, and photography can bring back a love of cel animation. Thank the smartphone’s portability and convenience, perfectly-suited to repetitive tasks like capturing impromptu cels on the go. And that can open itself to a sort of creativity that returns people to some of the simple pleasures of animating. Hombre McSteez does some wonderful stuff with this in the film at top. (Follow him on Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter.) The iPhone becomes a sort of animation sketchbook, …

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Mood Ring: Put on an iRing, Wave Your Hands in front of iPhone, iPad for 3D Control [$25]

Talk to the hand, iPhone. Wave-your-hands 3D motion has seen various dedicated accessories – most recently, in the Hot Hand USB wireless and Leap Motion. Even Steinberg are in on the act. But this is definitely a new take. IK Multimedia have a plastic “iRing” you wear on your finger that gives you control of your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. The system uses the internal, front-facing camera on your iOS device to track the position of your hand. The dots on the rings are a marker that the camera follows through space. There are actually markers on both sides, …

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iOS 7 is Here; Now, Please Don’t Install It Yet

We’ve been waiting for the moment at which a post-PC, mobile operating system has equaled a desktop OS for serious music making. Well, that moment has arrived — — in that we get to release a dire warning about an OS update breaking music-making apps. Yes, now iOS 7 shares that dubious distinction of countless OS X and Windows upgrades over the years. (Sniff. They grow up so fast.) It’s not a coincidence. Once you do start using a variety of music apps on a platform, you need to be more careful about OS updates – any OS updates. Music …

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From IKEA and Audi, Augmented Reality That’s Actually Useful [Metaio]

Billy the bookcase says hello. Augmented reality has sometimes seemed like a solution in search of a problem. But two new apps suggest some degree of utility. And as Google struggles to convince people they want Google Glass, smartphones and tablets are proving just fine for occasionally overlaying visual information on an image. At top, IKEA cleverly shows what their furniture will look like in your house. The idea itself isn’t so new – various software solutions have over the years attempted to help you plan home decor. But the visual feedback here, apart from being playful, could actually help …

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From IKEA and Audi, Augmented Reality That's Actually Useful [Metaio]

Billy the bookcase says hello. Augmented reality has sometimes seemed like a solution in search of a problem. But two new apps suggest some degree of utility. And as Google struggles to convince people they want Google Glass, smartphones and tablets are proving just fine for occasionally overlaying visual information on an image. At top, IKEA cleverly shows what their furniture will look like in your house. The idea itself isn’t so new – various software solutions have over the years attempted to help you plan home decor. But the visual feedback here, apart from being playful, could actually help …

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Why Mobile Low-Latency is Hard, Explained by Google; Galaxy Nexus Still Musicians’ Android of Choice

Saying your device isn’t as responsive to sound as you’d want is a bit like saying you’re feeling sick to your stomach. The symptom is easy to describe, and everyone would agree it’s not a desirable state. But the fix can be rather complex. And when it comes to engineers who care about music and sound, experiencing latency – or its equally evil mirror cousin, crackles-and-pops – will make you sick to your stomach. Google I believe is deserving of some criticism over this issue. Years of subsequent updates saw the company largely silent or unresponsive about critical audio issues. …

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