Line 6 MIDI Mobilizer

With the release of the iPad immenent it’s clear a MIDI interface for the pad or iPhone could be put to good use. I’ve been enjoying the lack of MIDI and the simple sound mangling apps such as Bebot, Curtis, TOPLAPapp and sampleToy. However, some Apps such as synthPond scream, “I want to be hooked up to to a DAW in sync and use me with external sounds”.

“MIDI Mobilizer is the only MIDI interface for Apple iPhone and iPod touch. Play, record, and backup MIDI information from any MIDI device, any time, any place.” – line6.com

We may not need a new MIDI standard but how about a new tiny MIDI plug?

For more info: line6.com

MStretchSynth

MStretchSynth Demo – Kevin Schlei (2010) from Kevin Schlei on Vimeo.

Here’s an interesting synthesizer based on a Macbook Pro’s Trackpad. I like futuristicish things and MStretchSynth surely fits that bill. If this interface gets tied to user generated samples it’s going to be great.

“‘MStretchSynth’ uses multi-point (multi-touch) data streams to create a synthesis instrument driven by the relationships between points. Instead of mapping touch positions (X and Y coordinates) directly to synthesis parameters, relationships such as angle, distance, and velocity compared to other points are used. ‘MStretchSynth’ uses angle, distance and total velocity between points to map to synthesis parameters pitch, amplitude and delay depth.” – Kevin Schlei

For more info: kevinschlei.com

via Synthtopia

My thoughts on the Apple iPad

After a mountain of hype the Apple iPad is finally here. It’s more an evolutionary product than revolutionary. What I mean is it doesn’t have a front facing camera behind the screen that tracks your movements and let’s you do hand swipe gestures in mid-air. It really is more like a large iPhone. So far the amazing re-invention of the magazine as seen in demos from Time and Sports Illustrated are not on this device. Those are two examples of stuff I would have characterized as revolution. Am I really disapointed? Not one bit because as an iPhone owner I know how amazing the iPad is going to be. The touch screen interface on my iPhone is such a joy to play with a larger more useful sized iPad is going to lend itself to the creation of thrilling new apps. Peter Kirn over at CreateDigitalMusic went on a bit of a rant in a post titled How A Great Product Can Be Bad News: Apple, iPad, and the Closed Mac. He states he displeasure with Apple’s closed system, the choice of an iPhone vs Mac OS in the iPad, lack of ports on the iPad and so forth. I disagree with Peter and think the iPad is going to be an amazing piece of equipment for musicians. How do I know? Because my iPhone is already an amazing piece of equipment for musicians. My iPhone doesn’t need virus protection, App makers make money and I love the look and feel of the thing in my hand. We are musicians right? Don’t we gravitate to beautiful things? Luckily for Peter he has a great option: Android.

So what about the futuristic features some of us dreamed about earlier this week? Front face video chat and 4G are so 2011! Wonderfully, the entry level iPad is $499. Most Americans with day jobs can save that amount of spending money in one week. Ok I’ve done my Apple fanboy post… see you on stage!

For more info: apple.com/ipad/

Going 8Bit with Yudo iPhone Apps


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s92YywVZSPQ

I once owned a Magnavox Odyssey 2 (Wikipedia link) videogame system. I also spent a good amount of time at two Arcades. Galaxy and Mr. Arcade were their names and sadly they are both gone. I remember there was this gum filled grape candy I used to love. It was like a square Blow Pop without the stick. So no wonder when anything 8Bit retro pops up on my computer screen I stop for a minute and think to myself, “Yeah this is cool somehow”. 8Bitone (iTunes link) looks very solid and Vocoder Synthesizer SV-5 (iTunes link) look useful beyond retroness. I really like making music and every now throwing in the iPhone’s audio.

“This tune is ‘Behind The Mask’ by Yellow Magic Orchestra. So I performed on 8Bitone and Vocoder SV-5 that is iPhone/iPod touch musical apps by Yudo. 8Bitone is retro 8-bit sound monophonic Synthesizer and 4 track Sequencer. SV-5 is authentic Vocoder and polyphonic Synthesizer like a Roland VP-330.” – humanmaestro

8Bitone and Vocoder Synthesizer SV-5 are .99. Insert Coin!

Apple Magic Mouse

I’m one of the few people who loved Apple’s last mouse the Mighty Mouse. I loved the scroll ball on top to shoot left and right in Ableton Live. The major flaw of the Mighty Mouse was that the ball on top consistantly broke. There were ways to bring it back to life but eventually it would completely stop working. They have since lost the rights to the name “Mighty…” and yesterday released a new mouse the Magic Mouse. It looks like a multi-touch wonder. The only thing I am unhappy about is the fact that it’s not wired. Come on Apple keep it green. There’s no real reason to buy, use, recharge batteries in a device always 1 foot away from a plug-in source. That said, I never used a battery powered Bluetooth mouse. Am I missing something? Is there a good reason they exist? I’m definetly going to give it a try!

“It began with iPhone. Then came iPod touch. Then MacBook Pro. Intuitive, smart, dynamic. Multi-Touch technology introduced a remarkably better way to interact with your portable devices — all using gestures. Now we’ve reached another milestone by bringing gestures to the desktop with a mouse that’s unlike anything ever before. It’s called Magic Mouse. It’s the world’s first Multi-Touch mouse. And while it comes standard with every new iMac, you can also add it to any Bluetooth-enabled Mac for a Multi-Touch makeover.” – Apple.com

For more info: www.apple.com/magicmouse/

Snow Leopard and Audio Software

Apple - Snow Leopard Discs

Today is the big day. Run to the Apple Store and get the new Operating System. Snow Leopard is only $29 and it’s got a lot of nifty new features. It’s faster, smaller, and has a new Quicktime, Expose among a hundred other nips and tucks. But wait! All this jiggering may affect your favorite audio software right? You bet. Peter Kirn has set up a Snow Leopard Watch page listing what works and what doesn’t. Be sure to head there before the Apple Store: http://createdigitalmusic.com/snowleopard/

“10.6 is not officially supported yet, as we’re currently testing it with Live 8 and based on the results we will release a free bugfix update during the next weeks that will officially support 10.6.” – Ableton

In general Ableton, Propellerheads and NI have said things seem ok but to hold off a little bit. I’m going to give myself a month or so before I jump in. I may even do a full on clean wipe to maximize the speed bump and clean out old apps and files with cobwebs on them.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAjBEYCHwSo

To view all the goodness Snow Leopard offers click here: www.apple.com/macosx/

photo credit: yosh18

Microsoft saves Apple


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxOp5mBY9IY

MacWorld Boston 1997. Here we see a Steve Jobs before the iMac, iPod, iPhone and OS-X. Even though he seems depressed here I can’t help but think he knew he was going to change the industry. Google was still a year away from being incorporated.

“Next, we have taken a look at browsers out there and Apple has decided to make Internet Explorer it’s default browser.” – Steve Jobs

I own a Macbook Pro and an iPhone 3G. I spend about half my day on these machines.

For more info: www.apple.com

Walkman VS iPod.

Walkman vs iPod

The BBC has a great story titled, “Giving up my iPod for a Walkman” in which a 13 year old named Scott swapped his iPod for an original Sony Walkman. I often think what must young kids think when they play with old cassette decks and such.

“Another notable feature that the iPod has and the Walkman doesn’t is “shuffle”, where the player selects random tracks to play. Its a function that, on the face of it, the Walkman lacks. But I managed to create an impromptu shuffle feature simply by holding down “rewind” and releasing it randomly – effective, if a little laboured.” – Scott Campbell

Scott also is late to discover there another side to a tape and that “metal” doesn’t mean “metal band eq”!

Read the full story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8117619.stm

photo credit: Rosa Pomar

Use iTunes and Tunecore to launder money.

iTunes

Here’s an interesting tip I don’t recommend actually trying: Use iTunes and Tunecore to launder money! Apparently the Times Online (UK) says that’s exactly what happened using stolen credit cards.

“The Metropolitan Police and the FBI have caught an international criminal gang said to have made tens of thousands of pounds by buying their own records from Apple iTunes and Amazon with stolen credit cards. The gang are alleged to have created several songs that they provided to an online American company (Tunecore), which uploaded them to be sold on the two internet sites. It is believed that over four months from September last year the gang used 1,500 stolen or cloned British and American credit cards to buy songs worth $750,000 (£469,000). Amazon and iTunes, which were unaware of the fraud, paid $300,000 in royalties. Six men and three women were arrested yesterday by 60 officers at addresses in London, Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Kent. A man in his forties, was arrested later… It is believed that one of the gang is a DJ and that he created the songs that were then bought…” – timesonline.co.uk

This seems like a stupid crime because of the trail it leaves. I wonder if they had to actually download all the songs they bought. I guess this is one way to get onto the charts!

photo credit: maury.mccown

The reason I am an Apple fanboy.

Apple Laptops

Last Friday morning at around 7:00AM before I left for work I was checking email on my Macbook Pro. I shut the lid but then realized I forgot to check the weather so I quickly lifted the screen open again. The screen didn’t come back on which does happen sometimes if you open and close the thing too quickly. This time however I realized how late it was getting so instead of closing the lid, waiting for the computer to properly go to sleep and open it again I just shut it again and ran out. About nine hours later I came home and opened the computer. The screen was still black and the computer was very hot. I held the power button down for a few seconds to force the machine off. I waited a bit and turned it back on. Unfortunately I couldn’t get it wake up. I tried a few different things as recommended at Apple.com/support but nothing worked. Since I own an iPhone I didn’t really freak out too much because I knew I could check email if I had to leave my computer for a few days for repair. I went to the local Apple store and met with someone at the Genius Bar. In fact, because this specific Apple store (Palisades, NY) was about to be renovated they would ship my computer to Apple and then have Apple ship it direct to me when it’s repaired. I have AppleCare so hey all in all not a big deal.

Well… Monday rolls around and I’m at work at my partner Charlie O’ Donnell asks me if I am still making music in my free time. I tell him of course and then something horrible dawned on me. I’m booked to playing two shows in Europe this coming weekend and I have no computer! I know Apple is pretty quick with repairs but I started to sweat. As soon as I got home I checked the online repair status and it didn’t even show up in their system. I called Apple and they told me they just received the computer and the system would update itself shortly.

Montagood Festival

I decided I needed a backup plan just in case my computer doesn’t arrive in time. Luckily I have a friend Leslie who doesn’t need her computer as much as a supergeek like yours truly. She lent me her white Macbook which has a Firewire port (phew!) ready for my M-Audio Firewire 410. I created a user account for myself and plugged in my Time Machine backup drive. I didn’t know what to expect because I never had to go to this drive before. I was very happily surprised to see that you can simply click and open folders on the drive just as if it were a clone of my machine. I grabbed my Ableton live show files (and videos), downloaded M-Audio drivers and Ableton Live 8. Everything loaded up without a glitch! Win one for Apple.

So without any disaster looming I decided to call Apple and just see if there was any chance my own computer would arrive on time. I didn’t have to wait at all when calling the support line and spoke to a very friendly employee. He told me the computer was still in the process of being repaired. I told him I had a flight to Europe and it would be great if I had my own computer with me. I blabbed a bit about how I’d be onstage in Amsterdam and Barcelona and I really didn’t want to scratch up Leslie’s nice new Macbook. He put me on hold for a minute and told me he expedited the process and asked me to look at the online repair status. To my happy shock it said the computer would arrive by FedEx before 10:30AM this morning. I know it would have been a better scenario if my computer didn’t break in the first place but Apple deserves a pat on the back for making it so easy to grab files from a Time Machine backup drive and for superb service.

Catch me live this weekend at Defqon 2009 in Amsterdam and the Montagood Festival, Spain.

photo credit: wZa HK