Good little interview with BT, on his new iPhone app, Sonifi; and it's actually his app, not merely endorsed by him, which surprised me somewhat. But, as he says, "My background is classical music and programming. I used to tutor my father's students in computers and programming." Hopefully he'll follow through with his plans for making more tracks available for use within Sonifi - I'm very keen on the concept. Why, after all, should music be such a passive experience, when you can be making your own mix, on the spot? (And having a pile of fun doing so!) And not just in the old notion of balancing the tracks as you wish, but choosing between different versions of the bassline or percussion, adding various stutter effects and filters, all on the fly, with outright fun visualisations throughout. Cool stuff! Anyway, if you want to have a peek at what it's like, here's one example.
Crystal ".. is a semi-modular software synthesizer featuring both subtractive synthesis and frequency modulation (FM) synthesis. It offers abundant modulation control with over 90 parameters which may be modulated, multi-stage envelopes with graphical editors, extensive tempo sync of envelopes/lforates/delay times, built-in effects for chorus/flanging/comb filtering/echoes, and a band splitter for effects processing by frequency band. Not only that, Crystal has wave sequencing, granular synthesis, program morphing, MIDI learn, and imports soundfonts." And it's free. ^_^ UB AU/VST.
I found out about that while searching for any competition on price for Native Instrument's price slash on Komplete 5, their Get It All bundle, usually around $1000, down to $400 for July. Still a chunk of change, certainly, but that gives you 11 very good synths, including the abstract Reaktor, the slightly more conventional Absynth, the Hammond-style B4, the retro Pro-53, Akoustik Piano, Guitar Rig for amps, and more. Hefty! Seriously tempting.
Dinner on Thursday (which I'd taken off, to try keeping myself from melting down due to stress at the salt mine) - chicken in a hot black bean sauce, on bulgar wheat. =:9 Tossed the chopped up chicken breast into the pan with a bit of oil, then added some garlic powder, a dose of unknown Greek peppercorns, a little chopped ginger, the last teaspoon of a former coworker's chili paste, smoked paprika, and a good dollop of black bean sauce. A little further along, some halved chestnut mushrooms, baby corn, and green beans. I was quite pleased with the outcome. ^_^
Huh! That was a pleasant surprise.. I figured I needed more storage space, but with Ocelot only having USB 1.1, Firewire 400 was the only option. A lovely interface standard, but external drives always work out noticeably more expensive for anything but USB2 only. So, I picked up a no-name Cardbus card with two USB2 and two FW400 interfaces, and Leopard seems perfectly fine with both. ^_^ (But not the iPhone, presumably due to its proprietary link to iTunes. Wonder if a known-compatible card would have the same issue..) I may well just copy over everything from the old to the new drive, and leave the new one - a Buffalo DriveStation - in its place, given the Maxtor OneTouch IV's been on server duty for about a year now, almost permanently in use.
Your Guide to Transformers 2.
I found it a little curious that the iPhone 3GS sold quite so strongly on its launch - certainly, internally, it's considerably faster, with a higher clock speed, improved core architecture, and improved GPU, but I hadn't thought that would translate to especially strong demand. Still, a larger customer base isn't a bad thing - a million sold in the opening weekend apparently set new AT&T sales records.
A Map of the Web (click on the map for full size), overlaid onto the Tokyo subway system. Notice how familiar all those names are? It doesn't even matter where you are in the world - you'd be completely at home on a system like that. The physical world is only one of the worlds in which we live; and here we are, the first to be able to think that way. [Edit: the original Flickr link's been not-so-subtly altered to point here]
Ponyo: a definite hit. It's got the magic of Totoro and Spirited Away, and animation well up to Studio Ghibli's best standards. If you want proof that traditional animation can remain a beautiful force in the age of CGI, this is where to come. ^_^
On the other paw, Knowing, from Alex Proyas, was a terrible disappointment. An interesting idea or two might have made for a good short, but stretched into full feature length belabored the plotline well past credibility, before jettisoning the main plot point's necessity entirely, to say nothing of disappointingly flat writing, or the irksomeness factor felt at many points, where a writer puts someone else's words into the wrong character's mouth. Wedge in a good dose of End Times thinking, and it winds up feeling a bit like a Scientology advert. Not an absymal film, true, just ludicrous - a real dog's dinner of awkward writing and acting. One to watch if you're just having friends for a cheesy movie night - plenty of good riff opportunities. ^_^; (It does, however, have a couple very cute buns, briefly =:)
Here's a train starting up (a Keikyuu 2100 series) with a particularly distinctive set of discrete rising tones as it sets off; and, in uniquely Japanese style, here's Super Bellz' "Motor Man Keikyu VVVF", a track based around that locomotive family. =:D
Well, that's definitely not such a bad way to begin a week: finding a few pints of Dark Star Brewing's Hophead on my desk, from the boss. =:D
So, the weather warmed up somewhat for the week - thankfully, still very pleasant a temperature, although most of the local rabbits have flown north for the summer as a result. It's back down again now, for the weekend, to which I offer no objections. 26C in a wetsuit leaves one moist.