Monday, September 25, 2006

Sonic Event's first podcast!

So I suppose it is time that Sonic Event join the 20th Century and begin podcasting! (joke intended BTW). A few notes before I get to the good stuff. A word of advice for aspiring podcasters: think of something worthwhile to say! It took me a long time to feel like I had something even slightly meaningful to say, and then when I listened to the result I must admit that I was underwhelmed with my effort. Oh, well - only up from here!

Equipment used:

Apple PowerBook G4 (built in mic)



While I like Odeo and it's philosophy (and design elements) I find it not quite as elegant as those options on Word Press, but since Sonic Event is a Blogger blog my options are somewhat limited. Odeo does offer quite a few different players and also has a web-based recording interface for those that don't want to fiddle with an audio editor (even a simple one like Audacity).

Here it is! I hope you enjoy it! Please comment.

powered by ODEO

Thursday, September 14, 2006


I'm a diehard PC user. A quick rundown of my various rigs over the years:

-Vic 20, which I twice fixed on my own by ripping out the guts and puzzling out what what broken (a fuse and a loose wire).
-TRS 80
-Tandy 1000
-IBM PC 8086, no hard drive. There used to be one of these on display at the Smithsonian, but it was a better machine than mine!
-Gateway (can't remember the speed), 10 gig hard drive. Great little machine, served me well
-Dell 1 gHz, 120 gig HD. My current home machine.
-Apple 12" PowerBook G4

As you can see, I've only recently become a Mac user, although I used them throughout college (I also spent a lot of quality time on NeXT machines as an undergrad - great machines!). My motivation for using PC was three-fold: price, familiarity, and sound card. That's right, I preferred a sound card that was only available on PC (the DAL CardDeluxe, far and away the best thing going). But now that my university gave me a Mac, I have to admit that I'm falling for it.

Yes, it's got the cool factor, but I'm continually surprised by how powerfully easy it is to use. Most things just plain work, and I've suffered one freeze, even though the only time I turn it off is when I travel or compose.

So why blog about this? Well, Apple yesterday may have set themselves up postively in the ongoing/upcoming battle over video. iTunes is simply a dream to use (forget for a moment the unfortunate loss of resolution from compression), and they updated it to account for the annoying gap that they placed between tracks, breaking up continuous movements in classical music or art rock. They also added a feature to automatically download album art, which is cool but I've already spent countless hours fixing my entire 5,000 song collection! The iTunes Store is selling movies now, although only Disney tunes so far. They added new iPods, or at least improved iPods, as well.

The really cool thing? Well, the iTv unit sets the bar dang high for the future of multimedia (read video) and the home media center. Who really has a computer hooked up to their TV? I know of some race fans that use computers as cheap TiVo's, but not too many of us have a media center. The iTv starts to bridge that gap. This is a small unit that hooks up to your TV and can play those iTunes videos wirelessly. That's right - you can beam your downloaded videos from iTunes to your TV without any pesky wires. The resolution is just below DVD quality, but I expect this to improve over time (although it should be noted that the AAV bit rate has not increased beyond 320 kbps for your own music or 128 for purchased). I'm excited about this, and at $300, it isn't terribly high priced. It may be a while before I'm able to pick one up, but I can't wait to see what sort of technology competitors dream up.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Exciting new class!

This semester I'm teaching a course that involves New Media and Music - specifically the use of music on the web. This isn't limited to ideas like how to put a sound online, but will include issues of copyright, aesthetics and theory. For our first project we created blogs and will maintain them throughout the semester (and hopefully beyond, right folks?) I haven't decided yet if I will create a new blog myself or add the links to their blogs on my blogroll. But here they are, in post format:

Robb's Music Blog
Blog of Doom

Please visit them - they will be posting at least two postings a week.

Figure/ground and graffitti

via Neatorama comes the story of a British graffitti artist who works with soap and water. That's right - his graffitti is created by washing away the dirt on buildings. This raises an interesting legal issue (is it a crime to clean a building artistically?) but for me what is striking is the reversal of traditional graffitti.

In my mind most good artists are able to see negative space well. This can be in a visual form (i.e. a vase with a human profile) or sonic (the silences). This isn't exactly a figure/ground relationship, but I liked it nonetheless!!!!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Intel Inside

It is cliche now to remind people that music is happening around us all the time, that we are constantly surrounded by sound and music.

But one of the most important innovations in this regard has been the personal computer. Our computers interact with us in at least 3 of our senses - Sight, Touch and Sound. And I'll bet that you've never wondered about all of those bleeps and clicks that come from your computer, have you?

via MusicThing comes the story of Walter Werzowa, an Austrian man who composed the "theme" (jingle?) for Intel. You know, the Intel Inside jingle. Click on the link for more info.

If you click through each story, you'll find out who write the Windows 95 startup music (Eno), the guy who wrote the THX sound (he studied at IRCAM), the MAC startup sound....I could keep going. Good stuff!
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