MIDI on Crack

March 23, 2008 | technology
Devin pointed me to an incredible video. Apparently, German computer scientists have figured out how to split a musical recording into its component notes, allowing you to manipulate a digital recording of a piece as easily as if it were just a MIDI recording track. This means that you could generate a cappella versions of your favorite song, or make an artist sing in harmony with herself, or simply fix a one-note recording error, all without having access to the original master tracks or doing...

Google Android on Video

March 11, 2008 | technology
Electronista has a good video of Android running on a reference platform. The video gives a nice feeling for what a touchscreen-focused Android phone would be like. The result’s about what you’d expect: not nearly as smooth an interface as the iPhone, but significantly better than many existing smartphones. Personally, although I look forward to Android’s release and am extremely interested in what applications its fully open architecture will make possible, I’m inclined to wait for the...

The Face of Bach

March 2, 2008 | technology
Modern forensics experts have assembled a picture of what Bach looked like.

Grabbing Selected Songs from an iPod

February 21, 2008 | programming, technology
Today, I was over at a friend’s house and got sidetracked talking about music we liked. I mentioned that I’d recently discovered Jonathan Coulton, really liked his music. and played her a few songs of his. She liked them and asked whether she could have a copy. Since his songs are all licensed under the Creative Commons, that was no problem. Unfortunately, the only copy of the songs that I had were on my iPod. As everyone knows by now, Apple makes it very difficult to copy songs off an iPod due...

NetNewsWire Now Free

January 23, 2008 | technology
NetNewsWire, an outstanding RSS reader for Mac OS X, is now completely free. If you own a Mac and haven’t taken a look, now would be a great time. Combined with NewsGator (also now free), you’ll have a great RSS reader for your iPhone or iPod touch, too.

Twenty Dollars of Frak You

January 16, 2008 | technology
Though many found Apple’s keynote yesterday underwhelming, and certainly little in the keynote was revolutionary, I’m quite excited about some of their announcements. The MacBook Air, despite the whiny criticism it seems to inspire, looks as if it will be an absolutely superb laptop. (I was originally going to write an article about why the criticism thus far against the Air is ridiculous, but Wil Shipley beat me to the punch with his usual mix of whit and rancor, so just read his rant instead.)...

Hacking CES

January 11, 2008 | technology
I think that Gizmodo performed one of the cruelist, most hilarious hacks I’ve ever seen: they took a TV-B-Gone from MAKE and used it to switch off whole banks of televisions at CES. On the one hand, I feel bad for all the technicians who had to try (and likely failed) to figure out why all the TVs all over the floor were dying, but on the other hand… …well, just watch for yourself.

NYC Police

December 27, 2007 | personal, politics
Bloomberg announced today that New York City will be deploying new cops to crime-ridden areas of Brooklyn in an attempt to decrease the city’s crime rate. That’s a really spiffy idea, and I support it, but, personally, I think that maybe stemming the mass exodus of qualified police officers—perhaps by increasing their salaries so they’re at least competitive with nearby cities and towns that have a lower cost-of-living—might be a better idea. In order to finance a pay raise, I propose a $100...

Mental Break

November 25, 2007 | personal, politics
As the world gets more insane, I sometimes need a mental break. For example, President Bush covering U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday. Am I bad for liking this version more than the original?

Boldly Going Where We've Gone Before

November 7, 2007 | programming
I empathize with Smalltalkers and Lispers who are in a perpetual state of been-there-done-that. Tons of “new” technologies (on-the-fly code reloading, edit-and-continue debugging, refactoring, and anonymous functions, among others) have been available in Smalltalk-80 since its inception (and frequently in Common Lisp’s predecessors and peers since before that). That said, when I read C# developers lamenting that .NET 3.5 is only a bad imitation of Smalltalk-80, I have a slightly different...