Korg DS-10 synthesizer in your pocket

Korg DS-10 software on a Nintento DS

Ok I was catching up with the 1up show and they had a segment on the Korg DS-10.

Finally, one of the most powerful new drugs to hit the market is introduced for the very first time outside of Japan by Korg scientists Kazuhito Inoue and Masanao Hayashi. The DS-10 is set to out-perform even its predecessor, the mighty MS-10 thanks in part to its much smaller size, which leading musicology experts Torrey Walker and Ryan O'Donnell have declared to be “almost swallow-able!” Side-effects of the DS-10 include: overwhelming desire to create electronic music on-the-go and to quit one's job in a misguided quest to become a star performer. Oh, and to buy a metallic-pink DS.

Basiclly its a full synthesizer on your DS which can use the wifi feature to link more that one together. Not only that but the touchscreen and multiple screen displays make it very easy to play with. I even believe you can record tracks and play them later. Wow! This awesome, don't get me wrong I still prefer my pacemaker but anything to make the barrier lower and for people to get back into remixing and making music is a good thing in my book. You know stop us from being just consumers. Actually why would you even bother with a ipod now a days, when you have things like this and pacemaker?

I was on the train the other day coming back from London via Shefield and there was this woman sitting next to me. She must have been about 40ish and she asked me what the thing was I kept fiddling with. I explained it was like 2 ipods but I can dj/remix live on them (my usual response for people asking now). She seemed to understand but just ended up saying, she thought it was a new type of mobile phone or games device. I was going to ask if she wanted to have a try but she didn't seem like she was that interested. Maybe next time I'll get some club chick instead.

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I am not a werewolf

Next year I'm to make sure I get in there early and get a ticket for Hide+Seek on London's Southbank. I missed the conference part again this year but boy oh boy did everyone have fun playing werewolf afterwards. I believe at one point there were 4 games of about 15-20 people playing at once. Maybe they were a bit too close so you couldn't hear very well what was going on but there were tons of new people to play with and even some of my friends joined in who have never played before. Talking of which, a special award goes out to Hannu for picking two werewolves on his first ever game and in such a important role as the seer. So amazing that a mature player took this as werewolf tactics and almost voted him off. I also took part in a game when we almost got rid of all the werewolves without killing any villagers. Every night the werewolf would try and kill the seer (aka myself) and the healer would heal me. Ok to be fair the werewolves were new to the game but only after 3 rounds of no one dying on the nights did the werewolves start picking off other players. By which time the game was almost wrapped up for the villagers

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Transparency: the good, bad and ugly

From the Radio Labs blog titled Removing Microformats from bbc.co.uk/programmes

Unfortunately there have been a number of concerns over hCalendar's use of the abbreviation design pattern. Until these issues are resolved the BBC semantic markup standards have been updated to prevent the use of non-human-readable text in abbreviations…

This is has been debated to death in other quarters, but I think its great to see the radio labs guys come out and say in a non judgmental way what problems they've been having and how it conflicts with the BBC standards and guidelines. This is one of those good cluetrain moments which is difficult but so right.

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If your not at Mashed, where are you?

Ant is the rocketman

I'm ill but that wasn't going to stop me missing this fantastic event. Highly drugged on a combination of paracetamol, phenylephrine and caffeine but still playing werewolf till 5am in the morning has got be priceless.

Only half way through the event and you can already see the range and depth of the prototypes/hacks are going to be on another level. Talking to people, i've heard and seen everything, from social simulators to rockets with cameras. If your near Alexandra Palace today (Sunday) make sure you drop in for the presentations, because there going to be something else this year.

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Spent the last few hours listening to old skool tunes

Pez collection

I can't remember exactly how I found the site but oldskoolanthemz.com is taking me all the way back. In the site is a section where you can listen in full to tracks from as early as 87 to almost the current day which are self-described as old skool. There's roughly over 2000 tunes and there all there ondemand. The only thing which I wish they would support is a Mpeg3 download store. I would be lighter of 100 pounds by now if they supported that. Instead they have a place where you can buy the Vinyl or CDs via Amazon, they've missed the trick. I'm sure its not as simple as that, a lot of old skool stuff came out under multiple labels and people and so tracing the copyright owners back will be a nightmare. Anyway, if your into old skool and never checked out these great resource, take a couple of hours out and do. I can hardly pull myself away from it. For example in the last few moments I just found – Frequency – Kiss The Sky, I mean you can get any more classic than that?

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Playing with the pacemaker

Pacemaking live

There's something very special about letting people play with technology and tools that also enjoy. At the Geekparty Ryan Alexander asked me if I had the pacemaker on me. Of course I did and gladly handed it over for him to play with. I'd forgotten how much Ryan would appreciate it, because he loves dance music and dance music culture. Ryan had already seen part of what was possible on the videos I had posted already but the smile which reacted over his face was like a kid in a sweetshop. I reckon 10mins with the pacemaker and he would have would have be that close to buying one. You could just see the sparkle in his eye as he played with the effects. Fun times!

End of a long night

Although the photo has little to do with the title, I just love the look on our faces. It was a long night at the geekparty and I spent maybe too much money on cocktails but it was all good. Well captured rainycat.

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Skipping forward

Improbulus asks…

Surprisingly few people I know have digital video recorders or DVRs (also known as personal video recorders or PVRs), geeks and gadget fans excepted. Why haven't PVRs caught on more in the UK?

Just about the time Euan writes this

In the last three hours none of my family have watched a television and yet:

The kids watched video of themselves when they were younger using Front Row streamed off my media server to their iBook.

We all watched an EyeTV recording of Dr Who on the big iMac

My wife then watched Casualty on the iMac using the BBC's iPlayer

I watched leo Laporte's twitlive.tv streamed via Stickam from his personal studio in California

And all of this was what is now typical behaviour on a typical day.

And about yesterday night I finished my replacement Xbox media centre box. I picked up a XFX GeForce 6200 256meg card from the computer fair in Manchester on Saturday then offered another stand owner 80p for a cheap DVI card. The DVI card was low profile and lined up perfectly with the GeForce Card's DVI port. The box is almost complete (i'll expand on my soundblaster digital audio output another day)

I guess what I'm getting at is, PVR's and DVR's go back to a time when we didn't have home networks and bandwidth going out to the net. The current future surely has to be a media server type device/computer/service and some kind of simple frontend to it. Be that a Xbox, Macmini, AppleTV, Nereos, etc, etc. The PVR doesn't even fit the equation. Which reminds me, I wonder how Ubuntuhomeserver is now doing?

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What is it with Newspapers on a Weekend?


I can't put my finger on it but something about the British (i'm not so convinced its just the British now) and Newspapers which I'm observing, which I find interesting. There's something about going to places like coffee shops, bars, pubs and even parks with a Saturday or Sunday paper in hand. Then (usually in couples) sitting in silence reading the paper to themselves. Sometimes if they find something very witty or interesting, they will attract the attention of there partner and read it out aloud. What kills me is sometimes there reading the same paper! So one of them most of opted to buy the same paper instead of waiting a while to swap papers?

What this type of activity is called or does for relationships I don't know but its the opening scene in a new british movie – scenes of a sexual nature. So it got me thinking would the same effect be true if both persons were on a laptop or some kind of read/write device? For example if both couples were on a crackberry (blackberry) would that be radically different and why? How about if they were reading a ebook type device? What is the effect of this newspaper reading too? I've identified a lot of couples do this activity, so it can't be all that bad, can it? Maybe you can tell people are a couple by them reading silently to themselves in the park? Or maybe there's something extra low level going on like in this picture. In the movie, the guy actually angles his newspaper and body in a way to peer a look at some other woman sitting reading a book.

I was talking to Nicole about this today over dinner and she suggested that maybe that's ME time for most couples? But a strange way to have Me time, I would say. When I have Me time, I usually need to be shut away from everyone or something like that. Maybe its like a less intense version of Me time? I could buy that maybe. Hey, maybe me and Nicole were looking at this the wrong way? Maybe this is actually shared time?

There's a ton of research which I've yet to find about how the digital world effects notions of a modern relationship, but its certainly something I'm finding interesting.

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The Pacemaker gets updated and how to get it working with wine

Me mixing live at BarCampNorthEast

So Finally in firmware update #8793 you can now record/save a mix on the device while on the go. In the past, I was recording using my laptop to record the main line-out using Audacity. But now its all working as advertised.

Some of you might like to know my 2nd recorded mix using just the pacemaker and headphones is now officially up at my Pacemaker DJ site. The mix is called Manchester to London a short mix and used the method described here to put up the mix via the editing software, so theres no track lists I'm sorry to say.

So as said before the Pacemaker now does everything it was advertised to do from last year, recording was added as of the 4th June but I wasn't able to pull down the firmware update because I had an old version of the Pacemaker software installed on my machine. As many people said, why don't you just uninstall it then? Well I couldn't because I was using Wine on gnu/linux. Somewhere along the line, it had got stuck and I couldn't uninstall or reinstall the editor software. So I had to manually remove it myself. Before I go into details, I wanted to spend sometime talking about getting the Pacemaker working under Wine, because if I'm not mistaken, I'm there only gnu/linux user.

Wine is pretty easy to get if your using a modern distro like ubuntu. #sudo apt-get install wine will do the trick, when your done download directx 9 or 10 and you may need a copy of the .net framework (its what I had installed already). I'm using wine 0.9.46 and getting things started I recommend you just hit the http://www.pacemaker.net site and download the latest editor application for windows. Once its finished downloading, unzip it and right click on the setup.exe and select open with wine windows emulator. If everything works, it should install without a problem. You should now be able to launch the application using the desktop icon. My editor only seems to open when I got the Pacemaker actually plugged into a USB port, this might not be true of yours. Once your in the editor everything works as expected but its quite slow, so if your analysing 5000+ songs, I recommend you leave it overnight (yep even on a Dualcore2). When you come back it will take a whlile to transfer but you should be ready to mix. Now what your meant to do is eject the pacemaker but that doesn't work in Wine. So I've learned to unmount the pacemaker device on the desktop then hold the on/off switch to put it to sleep. You only need to do this to stop the hard drive check when you pull the USB cable too soon. Everything else under wine works including firmware updates (yep I was bricking it when do this for the first time). If you find you can't upgrade the firmware of software, remove the pacemaker manually by removing all entries for pacemaker in the wine registry – http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=678747. Because its only wine, you can be pretty raw with the deleting of everything pacemaker. The last thing to add is I tried to virtualise the pacemaker software using Windows XP SP3 on Ubuntu using VirtualBox but it failed to work due to a problem with the USB connections. I'm sure VMware would work, but I don't have it to try.

So generally, yes the pacemaker can and will work on gnu/linux but its not very user friendly but also doesn't require any serious hacking. I know a lot of penguin-heads don't like Wine because it causes the user to use closed software but I don't really have a choice right now. People on the forums are asking for itunes, windows media, winamp, etc support instead of relying on a propitery editor but there a long way off. I think it would actually be easier to write a python script which read the BPM from Amarok, Exaile, etc copied the mp3 to the correct directory and write the metadata .xml file, which goes with it. But that can be a task for another day… I'm going to mix myself to sleep instead.

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Whats the spec of my replacement Xbox?

Some people have been asking for more details about my replacement Xbox PC. Partly because they want to build there own or find something similar in the near future. So to be clear… Its a Compaq Evo D510 SFF (small form factor)

  • Pentium 4 Processor running at 2.8ghz
  • 512meg of DDR Memory
  • 20Gig Samsung UDMA drive
  • 4 USBs
  • SoundBlaster 5.1 Live PCI card added
  • Bluetooth Dongle
  • 5X DVD Drive
  • Integrated onboard Intel Graphics
  • On-board 10/100 Lan
  • Ubuntu 8.04

I've look at graphics cards to replace the onboard graphics and decided to get a low profile GeForce AGP card. But there hard to find and quite costly. So instead I'm ordering a PCI GeForce card which will use up the last PCI slot I have. I replaced the CD ROM drive with my first ever DVD ROM drive (11 years I've had the drive now), its also one of the first drives which I made region free. So region coding should never be a problem ever. The Soundblaster card I put in because I'm hoping theres more chance of getting AC3 sound out of its dedicated SPDIF that the on board sound. However I've found few people running them in there XBMC setups. 512meg of Ram and 20gig hd is over kill for just a XBMC box, but I'm considering dropping the hard drive for Flash in the future. Oh can I also say, currently my EVO box is quieter that my current XBOX. Actually its so quiet, I can't hear it at all unless I'm close to it.

Next steps, get wireless remote or keyboard and mouse. Fix the resolution of Ubuntu (currently set to native rez of the screen 1366×768 instead of the more fitting 1280×720). Use my new HDMI to DVI cable instead of the VGA cable and sort out true AC3 sound using the Soundblaster or onboard intel soundcard.

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Met Lucinda Ledgerwood today

Lucinda Ledgerwood

You can't make these things up. But today I was running a little late for my training course and guess who was the reception of the BBC. Yep guessing by the title of this blog post, I did meet Lucinda. It was pretty brief and she was very personable, the kind of person you could easily spend a coffee with while waiting for a delayed train or something. I hope I didn't come across too fan-boyish but I couldn't help but be stopped in my tracks by her very polished black and red clothing choice. Lucinda is certainly someone who thinks about what there going wear in the morning and makes it all work every time with ease. Everything from her red shoes to red Berri said professional yet unique. Maybe even slightly experimental? She looks almost exactly as she looks on TV but shes a little taller that expected. I guess standing next to Helena and the other guys all the time, she would look smaller.

Anyway we got talking about the show, how you don't have to be a bully to be successful and what she was going to do after the show. It seemed like she had really thought too much about that side of things yet, so I mentioned Sophie Kain from the last season of the apprentice. Basically saying the apprentice and being on screen could open up a few doors and conversations which would be more difficult otherwise. After that I had to ask about her scooter. She did say, she had a bright pink scooter but someone had stolen it recently.

Lucinda, has this inner calm and confidence about herself, if I was going compare her to anyone else, I would say she was like Nicole. There both softly spoken, smile when talking and are the kind of people you would happily tell your life story to. Anyway it was a real pleasure meeting her and of course I got her details – for professional reason's of course! Girl-geekdinner, Sarah? She would make a great guest for the Manchester event (reminds me I need a partner for that event).

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The Chemistry of Love and all that jazz

Girl Geekdinner Brussels

So I've not really said much about my love life for a long time. You know its been a year since I've been single and I've been thinking about love and what makes a good quality relationship for a while now. When Carl Honore stood up at thinking digital conference and talked about the slow movement I was thinking hummm maybe there are some things i should be slowing down on. But the talk which really got me thinking was Helen Fisher's talk on the chemistry of love. Then Kate sent me a link to the a wired article which I did see the first time, but never blogged due the situation I was in, it didn't seem wise to blog about it. < href="http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/commentary/sexdrive/2007/04/sexdrive_0406">The 10 Real Reasons Why Geeks Make Better Lovers.

When I first read the wired piece I thought it was going to be crud, but actually it turns out to be quite interesting and quite fair….

  • Geeks build it so you will come

  • Geeks get personal with tech

    Geeks dig consensual role playing/li>
    Geeks interact/li>
    Geeks get things done/li>
    Geeks are hot …/li>

  • Geeks don't shock easily/li>
    cGeeks know kinky people/li>>>

  • Geeks understand multi-dimensional relationships/li>
  • Geeks aren't threatened by new tech or “the future of sex/li>

For example here's two which spring to mindd out of the long list of 10. So on the purely odd front, geeks don't shock easily and geeks know kinky people.

Geeks have seen all the porn you can imagine and then some, priming them to be open to your sexual peccadilloes. They are not only less likely to be shocked by your exotic requests — they might not even realize that other people think your turn-ons are exotic.

Conversely, your geek lover might be relieved that your wildest fantasy involves only two other people, five utensils and a trapeze.

Geeks haven't just seen a variety of positions, kinks and fetishes in blue movies. They know (or are) people who enjoy those things, so they don't dismiss entire categories of sexual interests as the sole province of a bunch of weirdos in San Francisco.

It's hard to sustain prejudice and bias against an abstract group when you develop relationships with individuals and discover they're just like you. It doesn't matter if they dress up like ponies, or refuse to conform to a societal idea of gender norms, or eat pancakes for dinner. Geek lovers know better than to try to impose their sexual preferences or standards on others — including your friends — and are more likely to love and let love.

This is very true, I've been talking to a few non-geek friends recently and I've started to wonder if I'm unshockable. At BarCampNorthEast, me and Emma Persky were talking about shocking movies and I mentioned I've never seen 2 girls 1 cup. Anyway we got talking about it and Emma was able to explain it without too much problem. Some of reactions on Youtube are classic, but back to why geeks make great lovers.

Geeks understand multi-dimensional relationships

Geeks connect with their online buddies in several guises, often getting to know the person behind the avatar as friendships deepen and move from adult communities to personal IM.

A geek can flow seamlessly between conversation about a friend's partner and kids in one window and an elaborate group sex scene in another, without feeling any discontinuity between the personas. Even if the friend is a 43-year-old father of two in IM, and a 22-year-old dominatrix in the group.

With all that going on, a geek has no problem accepting that sometimes you want mocha ripple cherry fudge chunk swirl with almonds and a waffle and sometimes you want vanilla lite.

Now this is one which I agree with but seems in conflict with what Carl Honore said about slowing down. Or maybe it isn't? I'm regularly doing that multi-dimensional thing and I find it quite natural. I do wonder how strange it looks to someone looking in from the outside. Talking of which, Cristiano alerted me to Alton Towers most stupidest move yet.

Alton Towers is testing an anti-PDA and smartphone policy during this week's half-term break with a view to a full-time ban.The ban at the popular family resort has been in operation from 25 May and will extend until 1 June during which the famous park will become a 'PDA-Free Zone'.However, Alton Towers said that if the ban is successful they will introduce it on a full-time basis.The reasoning behind the ban is to get parents to disconnect from office life and reconnect with their families.

How dare these people tell me how to live my life. If I socialise with friends via twitter on my mobile so what? Hell when I first heard about this I thought it was because of the XCFE chess stuff or the mini-videos you get of people filming ridesI mean who hasn't been stuck on AIR?). But no, its Alton towers clamping down on us who enjoy living in the multi-dimensional space.

So I've not only been sitting on my sofa thinking about this stuff, nope I've been out and about including yes believe it or not on a couple of dates. Nothing to report yet however. So back to pondering.

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Progress on my alternative to the Xbox for XBMC

So I did head out to the computer fair today, Holly crap, I've never seen a computer fair so big in my life. I spent about 3hours looking around all the stalls before deciding on a nice compaq desktop pc. It was going for 80 pounds and I got it knocked down to 70 pounds. Unfortually the stall only took cash and so I had to ride all the way from Bowlers to the Manchester United stadium to get some cash out. Anyway, after adding some more carbon to the atmosphere (card transations are so much greener that cash) I was a proud owner of the fastest desktop machine I've ever owned. Compaq Evo550, which is a 2.8ghz Pentium 4 with 512meg of Ram and 20gig hard drive. I could have added more memory and hard drive space but why? Its only going to run Ubuntu + XBMC. I will have to replace the CD drive for a DVD drive at some point but otherwise the machines is almost ideal for XBMC. Theres slots for 2 more PCI cards and even a Low profile AGP slot, which means I can buy a nice powerful graphics card which supports OpenGL2.0 (the only real hard requirement from the XBMC team so far). The Intel on board graphic card does a reasonable job, I'm able to playback standard def video without the CPU going over 20%.

So I'll try and build some kind of batch script, to keep XBMC upto date. And hopefully pick up some knowledge on how to boot straight into XBMC and use a wii remote with it soon.

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Engineers unveil .MT9 format, I think .XM or .MOD

Found via Diggnation and Neowin

Korean computer engineers are introducing a new digital music format that has a six-channel audio equalizer and separate controls on the sound volume for each musical instrument, such as guitar, drum, base and voice. The new format, which has a file extension format of MT9 and a commercial title of “Music 2.0”, is poised to replace the popular MP3 file format as the de-facto standard of the digital music source, its inventors say.

The MT9 technology was selected as a candidate item for the new digital music standard at the last regular meeting of Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG), the international body of the digital music and video industry.

Interesting but not really… I instantly thought it sounded like .XM, .MOD and .S3M. Although there is a question about how much people will actually use such a format and how the bands will feel about such a format. To be honest, who cares what the bands think?

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