SF’s Robotspeak, Music Geek Heaven – And Elsewhere On Earth? [Video, Survey]

There are a few spots in the world that are active hotspots for music tech geekery, and in San Francisco, it’s definitely all about Robotspeak. CNET’s Donald Bell – known to some of us back in the day as terrific IDM producer Chachi Jones – visits the store that once employed him. (This gives me extra-happy memories, because years ago I was fortunate enough to play an A/V set at Robotspeak alongside Donald and Daedalus.) Donald explains more of why Robotspeak is cool on a CNET blog post: Robotspeak: An electronic musician’s toy store All of this gives me an …

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Polaroid is Back; Adorable Lady Gaga Puppies Rejoice

Insert “Paparazzi” song here. A Bay Area photographer, gone to the dogs. Photos courtesy the artist. Technologies come and technologies go. But when media themselves become out of date, as with film stock, an entire form of creative expression is threatened. The same mass-manufactured magic that enables modern, high-tech art can also take away the means for that art. It’s time to fight back. Polaroid is still photography, yes – though I suppose it’s the form of still photography with the most “motion” in it – but I can think of few stories more inspiring than The Impossible Project’s crusade …

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Last-Minute Holiday Shopping: Mom Asks, Live or Logic for a Beginner Teen?

What’s the best way to help get someone started on computer music making? From comments, we get this request from a mother looking to buy the first software on a budget for her teenage son. I’m, uh, hoping your son isn’t reading this (actually, he probably won’t mind – just remember, act surprised). I am completely new to this kind of software, but my teenage son is requesting the likes for Christmas. I started out looking at Ableton Live 8, but am a bit wary of the price. I’ve also looked at Reason and Apple’s Logic Studio. The price is …

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Last-Minute Holiday Shopping: Geeky Gift Ideas, even for the Non-Musician

Andromeda MK-1 and MK-2 from Eric Archer on Vimeo. Thanks to the miracles of express shipping, there’s still time to give the gift of music technology for various holidays. (And I do mean the holiday season, not just Christmas – for me, it extends neatly to my birthday on January 13, which in turn falls before the music tech holiday NAMM.) Geeky goodness There are really wonderful sound makers out there to give to beginners and enthusiasts alike. MAKE:Magazine has done a fantastic job of covering terrific, affordable kits that anyone can use. I haven’t seen anyone – muscially inclined …

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Recession Specials: From Tenori-On to Little Phatty, Costco Blue Mic Deal to Soft Steinway

Illustration (CC) Dani Armengol, who just became my hero. Black Friday? Cyber Monday? Who need them? The entire month of December seems to be on sale when it comes to music tech. Christmas (and Hanukkah, for that matter) are nearly here. Whether it’s economic pressure or just some aggressive holiday pricing, there are some big deals out there that could make excellent gifts – or might just give you a nice list for shopping for yourself before or after the holidays. (Yes, it’s true: most of what readers suggested in our “gift guide” for the CDM Winter 08 special wasn’t …

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CDM Holiday Guide Reader Survey: Gifts of, for, and by You

Musical gifts – the best kind. Photo (CC) ex.libris. It’s nearly the holiday season, and as CDM has just completed its fourth birthday, I want to give all of us a present. The idea: a holiday guide that’s a bit different. The first CDM treeware. We’ll have PDF and print-on demand versions. And part of the reason we’re doing this: Something you can share. CDM certainly has its share of (sometimes frighteningly) advanced readers. But we believe in what we’re doing enough to share it with people with less experience. So we’ll include content you can share with nieces, cousins, …

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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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Time to Buy Up Generation 1 iPhones for Hacking?

Everyone’s been having the same thought, from what I’ve seen on the blogs and on Twitter: as iPhone users dump their current models for the new 3G iPhone, is now the time to snap up old iPhones and hack away? Hackaday picks up the idea: Hackit: What to do with a 1st gen iPhone? Thanks for the link to our music round-up, Hack-a-Day. (With more stuff coming out, I may have to update that soon.) Of course, if this gets real popular, even the old, discarded iPhones may have a price premium. But if you’ve got one you’re trying to …

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Sourcing Synths: Resources for x0xb0x

We got a couple of good notes on how to source your own x0xb0x synth kit. In general, I wouldn’t recommend the x0xb0x as a first synth project, but that said, there are some good resources out there if you decide you want to give this synth a try. Likewise, the resources on Lady Ada’s site are worth a look even if you don’t intend to build a x0xb0x — there’s a treasure trove of parts info there that could be useful for other projects, too. Video: “wyllytesla Live Acid – a 303, 909 and x0xb0x pounding out hard techno”

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Wanted: Experiences Self-Sourcing the x0xb0x

Retraction: I reported earlier today that the x0xb0x has been “discontinued.” Actual status: the x0xb0x is still being made, but the waiting list is long enough that even some people already on the list may never see one, let alone new additions. Whatever happens, that means if you want a x0xb0x, you probably want to build your own. And you can do that, because it is fully open-sourced hardware. You just have to track down all the parts. So that leads to my next question: has anyone tried sourcing the x0xb0x themselves? Anyone thinking of embarking on it now who …

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