In Rain Room, A Downpour That Doesn't Get Visitors Wet [Computer Vision, Video]

It’s all been done. That’s generally the impression one might reach with interactive design, and perhaps in no technology more than the “follow visitors walking around the space” computer vision trick. But as interactive art matures, those basic tropes are becoming the basis of new, sometimes beautiful ideas. Case in point: London/Berlin-based agency Random International’s new installation at London’s The Curve, Barbican, “Rain Room.” The basic digital tech is that long-standing tradition, using vision to track the movement of visitors through space. It’s the way in which the installation responds that is striking. Bringing rain to London certain qualifies as …

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In Rain Room, A Downpour That Doesn’t Get Visitors Wet [Computer Vision, Video]

It’s all been done. That’s generally the impression one might reach with interactive design, and perhaps in no technology more than the “follow visitors walking around the space” computer vision trick. But as interactive art matures, those basic tropes are becoming the basis of new, sometimes beautiful ideas. Case in point: London/Berlin-based agency Random International’s new installation at London’s The Curve, Barbican, “Rain Room.” The basic digital tech is that long-standing tradition, using vision to track the movement of visitors through space. It’s the way in which the installation responds that is striking. Bringing rain to London certain qualifies as …

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usb3hd

USB 3.0: Backwards Compatible in Theory, But Some Audio Drivers Aren’t Cooperating

One of the handful of USB 3.0 devices currently available: the new “SuperSpeed” port on a Verbatim hard drive. Photo (CC-BY-NC-ND) auxo.co.kr. “SuperSpeed USB” or USB 3.0 offers major forward advancement for hardware ins and outs, with faster throughput (yielding up to ten-fold speed gains over USB2), improved overall performance, and lower power consumption. That should be good news for music and motion users, who make heavy use of bandwidth for audio, storage, video, and other media applications. Real-world usage, though, has been scarce. The specification is nearly four years old, but extensive experimentation using USB 3.0 in the field …

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Black Friday Deals: NI Half Off, Rain Computers, and Gorgeous $150 TMA Headphones

Photo (CC-BY) Lululemon. (Bonus points if you spotted their logo, yoga fans, though “ohm” works well for us, too!) Black Friday, named originally for the day on which retailers typically broke even for the first time in the year (think black ink), has become a holiday for sales in the US. I’ve seen a handful of deals even in our world of music making tech; here are a few of the best. Native Instruments has a sale through Monday that cuts prices in half on individual Komplete instruments and effects. Note that this is just for a la carte additions; …

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Rain Diablo Audio Quad Laptop: Powerful Enough to Be Kind of Ridiculous

Rain Recording make audio-ready notebooks – that is, they’re pre-tested to function well with audio software, with Windows tweaks, driver selection, and configuration all chosen and tested for music and visual production, and no crapware installed. They’re one of a handful of music-friendly vendors that does that (see also: PCAudioLabs, etc.). Given that the PC music making experience can range from awesome to awful depending on which hardware and (particularly) drivers you’re on, that’s no small matter. Rain has always styled themselves a premium brand. But the latest Diablo really does go to extremes spec-wise. It’ll cost you – base …

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ExpressCard FireWire that Actually Works for Audio?

ExpressCard slots on new Mac and PC notebooks look tantalizing, but buyer beware: adding FireWire audio can be perilous. Multichannel FireWire interfaces work beautifully with the proper drivers and controller, but get some element of that equation wrong, and you may find your high-end interface is rendered unusable (think glitches and dropouts). The chipset in the controller and in the laptop can have an impact, but having a TI (Texas Instruments) controller in your ExpressCard seems to be a good start. Speaking of Rain Recording, Rain is about the only vendor I’ve found that offers a 2-port FireWire ExpressCard known …

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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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10 Free Non-Musical Windows Software Every Musician Should Use

  Process Explorer is the essential portal to seeing what’s going on with CPU and memory activity on Windows. It was good enough that Microsoft bought the tool. Any computer – Mac, Windows, and Linux – can experience degraded audio experience pretty fast if a background task starts stealing CPU or a driver is misbehaving. In contrast, a fully-tweaked Windows machine, equipped with a set of tools to diagnose potential problems, can be rock-solid for audio performance. That’s an especially big deal for those of us using computers for live music. I think a lot of people’s Windows experience is …

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