Tag Archives: blackberry

Looks like the Pacemaker app goes iOS?

Big Boom boxPacemaker?

Seems through out the South by south west festival those guys behind the Pacemaker were out in force with an ipad?

Yes strange but I assume the deal with Blackberry ended and they ported the software to another platform. iOS it seems, going by whats in his hands? Shame because I had hoped developing the app for the Blackberry would make it easy to port to Android.

Nothings been announced yet but it seems pretty obvious to me at least… Which begs the question if I would buy a ipad just as a dj tool? Unlikely…

Pacemaker playback

Blackberry Playbook

Some of you may have noticed my tweets about finally getting a Blackberry Playbook.

Some of you maybe wondering why the hell I bought one of those?

Well the truth is the original pacemaker guys (Olof Berglof, Jonas Norberg and Willem Demmers) sent me one after my experience of the pacemaker app during Over The Air earlier in summer. Blackberry/RIM suggested they might send me one but after the blog post, they pretty much didn’t want anything else to do with me. Bear in mind, this was after I asked them to send me the playbook to test out before I got to Over the Air.

Thanks from the Pacemaker Team

Anyway after the blog post, I shared it with the un-official pacemaker community which had started when Tonium wouldn’t answer any of the questions. This is where the original pacemaker guys (now free after Tonium) saw it and got in touch with me.

The guys admitted the version I was using was a early beta and it was a lot more stable now. We got talking and they agreed to send me a playbook maybe they felt it was the right thing to do or they wanted to keep me involved in the pacemaker community. Either way I’m happy to say I got one thanks to the Pacemaker guys! And its running the Pacemaker App Trial right now.

Pacemaker App

I won’t talk about my frustration with the actual playbook. Including how the mass storage mode failed to work on Ubuntu and how I had to transfer my music collection over wifi using Samba till I discovered this USB hack. Weird thing is it was just as slow. I won’t talk about the pain of trying to get the latest OS update but it not letting me till the battery was over 20% (I left it over night charging in the end). Finally I won’t talk about the pain of getting a blackberry ID.

The Pacemaker trial is rightly so much more stable than the version I experienced before. Its not crashed on me and it does seem a lot more together. But I have to say I still find some of the latency problems are still there (maybe Android 4.1 Butter is needed but you would have thought QNX would be ideal for this). For example don’t try and do hard cuts with the crossfader as you will be very disappointed. The layout makes a little more sense now but I’m finding lots of things are missing from the pacemaker device including recording, effects and of course external output to a mixer. The later means everything you do is played out over the headphones or split into mono.

Pacemaker App

The Pacemaker guys are going to put me on the beta list so hopefully I’ll get a feel for changes and progression soon enough. Right now, its a much poorer relation to the pacemaker device. There is no way I could play out with this, only have a play now and then when in the mood. Still early days and the pacemaker guys have done some great stuff, but I do wonder if it will get good at the point the platform goes away or dissolves. Of course the Pacemaker guys can’t/won’t talk about beyond the playbook but I’m already thinking of solutions around the dual stereo output problem involving usb sound cards or even 2 devices (phone and tablet anyone?)

I’m greatful to the Pacemaker guys for what they did, its really cool. Because although I was thinking about buying a cheap playbook, after my experience I was dead set against Blackberry and the playbook. Good to know certainly people can take feedback on the chin and move forward…

Pacemaker under glass…!

In my last blog post I wrote how I was given the opportunity to play with an early build of the Pacemaker app on the Blackberry playbook at Over the Air 2012…

I won’t comment on Over the Air 2012 which looked frankly amazing and how great it was to catch up with old London friends even for a few minutes. That was all great and I look forward to catching up with people in the week when I’m down in London.

This is about the playbook and the pacemaker application.

The top line is… almost unusable, shocking and sadly uninspiring!

First of all it took ages to get the files on to the device, for some reason the playbook wouldn’t mount on my ubuntu thinkpad laptop, even though the machine which the guy was using was the exact laptop. Yes even he had a Thinkpad X220 but was running Windows 7 and had installed some magical playbook driver. So we had to copy most of my collection over to his laptop over USB sticks and my Android phone. That problem I blame RIM/Blackberry for… No mass storage mode, even MTP would have been a start. So I assume no Linux support is coming?

Once the files were loaded on to the Playbook, the guy started the Pacemaker application and I was a little underwhelmed to see they had gone with the two decks and a crossfader approach. I was expecting something a little more clever specially with the pacemaker under their belts. The guy whos playbook it was, didn’t know how to use the application and certainly didn’t know how to dj. However there were common interfaces elements with the pacemaker which made it understandable for me. But there were bits like the legendary P switch which was missing. So it wasn’t till half way through that I found out how to change the EQ and Gain. That problem was certainly Tonium’s.

I started with my pacemaker and tried to mix from the pacemaker to the app and it was the most painful mixing I’ve heard in a long while. The problem was the app not only kept skipping and pausing on beats but there was no monitor/headphone out. This for me make the whole thing pointless to use! Not only that, unlike on the pacemaker which showed every beat using an highly efficient system to show you the next 4 beats of both tracks, so you can almost dj without monitoring with some knowledge of the track structure. Tonium opted for the Virtual Dj/Tracktor/etc whole track waveform (forgot to add how long it took to render each wave form, although you can play it blind while it renders). Not very useful when your beats are galloping like some runaway horses. I even tried to use the sync feature but frankly that was rubbish too. The mix was all over the place. Once again Tonium’s fault, as I’m sure the playbook is capable of playing two tracks together at the same time. However RIM/Blackbery need to get 2 discreet outputs otherwise its always going to be a joke (stereo splitters deserve to die, and as I said to the guy. No club is ever going to let you plug in if your splitting the audio! Further rendering it as a bit of fun).

The latency of the touchscreen of the Playbook made the whole thing a total joke. The only time I’ve ever had such bad latency when djing is while trying to mix on a piece of glass during the Thinking Digital conference 3 years ago (by the way the blog about thinking digital is coming soon).

If you don’t understand what I mean by latency go have a look at this great Microsoft research demo where they got the latency of a touchscreen down to 1ms. But it wasn’t just that… As switched back and forth between the Pacemaker and the app, I could feel something was missing. Even with the touchpad of the pacemaker, I could do multiplate it in ways which were just ignored by the playbook. Honestly the interaction rant about pictures under glass was never more apt for this moment. Whos to blame for this? Well both and everyone. Although the trackpad of the pacemaker could be seen as the same as the multitouch screen, its certainly not.

I know a few of you are saying, yeah yeah give it a few weeks and you will also like it But honestly no I won’t. Of course if RIM/Blackberry want to give me one to fully try out over weeks or months then great I won’t say no but I think the end result will be the same. Even if Apple or even Google were to release a Dj app for iOS or Android, I would be saying pretty much the same. The problem isn’t RIM/Blackberry or even Tonium’s, its pictures under glass. You can’t get away from it…

The guy who’s playbook it was, said the later versions he had seen was more stable but frankly if it was bulletproof… Theres far too many other problems…

If I was Tonium, I would scrap the copying Virtual DJ, Tracktor, etc and take advantage of the beat chart system they enabled on the pacemaker. You need to be able to mix without hear the track, because I’m sorry to say the splitter option is a instant no for any self respecting DJ.

Tonium claim they used Blackberrys’s QNX platform because it was quicker and more responsive then others out there. If thats true, then make it so! Right now I’m not seeing anything advantages over the other platform. Even having dual outputs would have put Blackberry well ahead of the game and made the platform much more attractive to djs and artists but right now it looks no different to the rest except there are few apps, few developers and fewer buyers. If RIM/Blackberry really want to do something radical, getting Tonium to build the pacemaker software for them isn’t going to fly unless theres serious hardware changes too.

It hurts me to say it because I really wanted Tonium to go on to a winner and heck if the blackberry platform was the place to do that, then great. But instead what they have done is aped DJ software already out there, added a few bits from Pacemaker and done an very disappointing job.

The thing which is never meant to happen while djing happened! Yes the Pacemaker software crashed and left me scrambling for my pacemaker. Not only that, there was clear machine/software distortion through out when you feel the system was under-stress.

I believe nothing can save this pacemaker app unless its a new blackberry playbook (with low latacy  and 2 outputs)  its going to run on?

The pacemaker is back baby…

Pacemaker meets Playbook

The original pacemaker team did say on a forum of pacemaker fans they were working on a mobile app but I had no idea about this…

Found via Guy West on twitter, Engadget broke the news that the pacemaker was coming back as a RIM blackberry app.

News just in this morning, however, is that the DJ tool is back as a PlayBook app thanks to an exclusive collaboration with the tablet’s maker. Details are sparse right now, as the information spilled at RIM’s event this morning at MWC, but we do know that there will be auto beatmatching, vinyl mode with scratching, digital mode, looping, loop travel, pitch control, beat skip and “pro level” effects. All we have in terms of availability is that it will be out this spring, with no word on price.

On the pacemaker teams facebook page and Pacemaker forum for more details…

Today we proudly announced a partnership with RIM / BlackBerry at a press conference at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. As a result, we’re porting the technology of Pacemaker® Device onto the BlackBerry PlayBook.
After investigating a wide range of mobile platforms to make a digital transition we selected the PlayBook due to its highly responsive user interface. DJ’s requires very low latency and the PlayBook delivers very well on that aspect.

For those who don’t own a BlackBerry PlayBook please stay tuned as we have future plans for other platforms as well.

Btw, our next stop will be the South By South West festival in Austin Texas, so if you’re there, let us know :)

I’m very tempted to go down to CEX and pick up a 2nd hand Blackberry Playbook but I’m sure Android isn’t far behind…?