Opus 16: Three Easy Pieces.

During a short holiday, playing with Propellerheads “Figure” app, I made three little, experimental pieces.

Starting with these tracks I also experimented with the naming of my work; I generated haphazardly some Nordic-sounding names. Of course I also have to keep track of the chronology, so I numbered them Op.16, not sure in what order I made these pieces.
Op.16,1: No Ryhemu
Op.16,2: Rerefyjo
Op.16,3: Pydodo

I exported the files with AudioCopy to FlStudio Mobile, and tried to make it into one composition by adding some tracks to it with the Alchemy synth and some native FL instruments. However, I’m not satisfied with this piece, so I will consign it to oblivion. 🙂

Op.15 – The Oink Song

It is probably the most dadaistic, moronic piece I ever made ánd published (there are a lot of unpublished projects on my HD), but in my current flow of creativity, obviously triggered by the music apps that are on my new iPad, I made something with GarageBand that I think is not too bad.
It is built around the sample “Oink” – confronted with the mic on my iPad’s screen I just spoke the magic word into Garageband’s sampler and modified it with the arpeggiator and the intelligent scale system.

Finally I played around with the smart instruments and stirred the patterns in the sequencer. Ready! Opus 15: The Oink Song. Export to SoundCloud.
That was fun, wasn’t it?

Note: I initially announced this piece as op.14,but it appeared I already did compose an Op. 14! So I renamed the Oink Song as Op.15.

More iNotebooks

In my last post I wrote about MyScript Notes Mobile, an app for the iPad. That was before I discovered the Moleskine app,  which is a virtual rendering of the original Moleskine Notebooks that I always used before I switched to LiveScribe.

The look and feel is classic Moleskine. Tap the familiar cover to enter your journal and a powerful range of tools and templates—everything you need for unprecedented productivity, creativity and passion.
The artist toolset comes with paintbrush, Moleskine pencil, Moleskine pen and Moleskine black eraser, to use on your choice of three Moleskine paper styles (plain, ruled, squared), or page templates from some of the most popular Moleskine journals, including the Moleskine Weekly Planner, Moleskine Passion Recipe Journal and Moleskine Storyboard Notebook. Run out of pages? Add more. The possibilities really are limitless.

Another interesting note-taking app is Penultimate.

It integrates seamlessly with Evernote.
And there is Paper 53. Beautiful, but while the app is free, you have to buy your tools from the in-appstore, which will cost you $8,-. Moleskine is free and has the same possibilities – only less “Zen”. So, I tried and removed the Paper app.
Now the only problem is the stylus. I still use my Targus Stylus. It is good, but not good enough, the nib is too thick. So I’m thinking about the “Hand”-stylus.

But maybe my next project will be to buy an iPen.

MyScript Notes Mobile

MyScript Notes Mobile is an application that allows you to create and customize an unlimited number of notebooks or other documents like sticky notes, in which you can write or draw. You can search for keywords and convert your text – although I have to work on my handwriting for that to be efficient :-).
You can also insert multimedia content (audio, videos, maps, links or pictures) and then export your creations to Twitter, Facebook, Evernote and Dropbox – or e-mail.
MyScript has a whole line of products, MyScript Memo (writing notes, shopping lists or memos on-the-go) and MyScript Calculator are free. MyScript Notes will cost you some money, but since you can maintain an unlimited numer of notebooks at the same time, it will also save you a lot of money. And, you can still have the best of two worlds: maintaining a paperless life and old-fashioned note-taking in you own handwriting.
That brings me to the one thing I forgot: you need a stylus. And a tablet, of course…

Connotea is closing

Connotea, nature.com’s social bookmarking site, is closing on March 12th, 2013.
Bad News? I don’t think so, because there are a lot of bookmarking tools, and the world of the internet is changing rapidly.
So: in the beginning you simply bookmarked inside your browser. AFAIK you can still do that with most browsers, but who cares. Then Social Bookmarking came into existence: Delicious was the thing. My account still works, but it is only kept up-to-date automatically via Diigo, and from there I sync (once in a year or so) with Evernote. I’ve got seven followers at Delicious, but if Delicious decides to shut down, I probably even will not notice it, unless, of course they’ll send me a notification.
For my more scientific bookmarking and reading I use CiteULike and Mendeley. And of course Connotea, because I always try everything there is on the Web. Mendeley has a desktop tool, an app for my tablet and talks to CUL. CUL syncs with Delicious; the problem is that Connotea, “developed for clinicians and scientists”, chose to reduce noise by not syncing with Delicious (and other bookmarking sites). There is a way to synchronize with CUL, but there were simply too many mouse-clicks needed to do that. The internet is fast and Information Overload – is there is such a thing like that – is part of the game.

I just exported my Connotea bookmarks to Diigo: there were only five, four of them already in my CUL and Mendeley library, the one that wasn’t, was a paid article (> $30!) that I won’t ever read.

So, I regret to say, I won’t miss it.

IPad Music

Last Christmas…I bought my iPad Retina. It took some time to decide about the platform, because actually I’m more into Android. But, iPad has some good MusicMaking possibilities, so I decided to spend that $300 more to buy my fourth screen 🙂
I’m now the proud owner of an Asus Notebook (6 years old, running Vista, slow when booting, but still working fine when up and running), a HTC One X+ smartphone, a Sony E-Reader (overloaded with > 1700 ebooks) and an iPad.
Talking about music: Garageband is Apple’s Flagship music app, but actually it is just a collection of out-of-the-box samples you can order and re-order. More interesting stuff is Image-line’s Fl Studio Mobile, Propellerheads Rebirth, the original desktop-version is now a free download, and Korg’s iMS-20.

Today I put together this little piece of music “Korgelig”- a portmanteau of “Korg” änd the Dutch word “korzelig” – “grouchy”. Not worth to assign an opus# to it, but I uploaded it to SoundCloud. My skills definitely need to be improved, but practice makes perfect – or at least permanent.

Another little composition I made a few days ago was with ReBirth – baptized “ReBird”.

What’s in a name? Probably the squeaky sounds 🙂


I found this pic on FaceBook, posted by Martin Ciupa.
Interesting, because “Geek” is the fist syllable of the word, so I followed the link to Urban Dictionary:

a geek punk is a new steriotypical genre, usually one who dosent want to be emo/goth or anything like that. they usually listen to any kind of rock music, nintendo t-shirts, have belt buckles in the shape of a vintage games console controller, and wear either baggy jeans, camo trousers or staright leg jeans.
they cant call me emo, cos im a geek punk

I don’t recognise myself.
But now I see there are a lot of more words with “geek” in it,

Geekotel, geekout, geek out, geek out with your meat out, geekozoid, geekpatrol, geek patrol, geek pie, Geek Pimp, Geekpin, geek pit, geekpoint, geek porn, Geekporn, geek pride, geekqual, geek queen, Geek Queers, Geekquel, geekquinox, geek quotes, Geek Ranch, geek rape, geek reckoning, Geekrection, geekret, Geek revenge, geek rich, Geek Rock, Geekrodite, geekromp, geekronicity, Geek Rule #627, geeks, geeksauce, Geek Seekr, geek session, Geeksexual, geek sheik, Geek Shiek, geekshit, Geek Show Podcast, geeks-in-law, Geek Skeet, Geek Slap, geek slut, Geeksmack, geeksmas, geeks me, geeksniff, geek-soldier, geekspank, geekspeak, geek speak, Geekspertise, geeksploit, geeksplosion, Geek Squad, geeksta, geekstar, geek star, geekster, geeksterbating, geekstick, geek stick, Geeksticles, geek stink breath, Geekstream, geekstress, geeksturbate, geeksturbation, Geeksumer, geeksweater, geeksy, geek sympathiser, geek syndicate, geektacular, GeekTard, Geektarded, geektastic, geektasticity, geek tax, Geek Teak, geek thing, Geek Tie, geektitude, Geektopia, geektosterone, geek treat, Geek Tree, geektwat, Geek Tweaker, geekument, Geekundated, Geek Up, Geek (Variant), Geekvice, geek-wad, GeekWad, Geekwall, Geekwank, geekward, geekwater, Geek Water, Geek weapon, geek whistle, geekwhore, geek wood, geek wound, geeky, geeky bastard, Geeky Bboy, geeky cute, geekyfantastic, geekyfun, Geeky Gangster, geeky!hot, Geekyleaks, geekyness, Geeky Punk Rocker, geeky weirdo, geekzoid.

I like “Geek Out“:

The act of engaging in intense and excited conversation over a highly technical topic or otherwise geeky subject. The term alludes to the intimacy of a makeout session, wherein the participants relish in one another’s expertise in the subject.
The two wanted to geekout when they realized they were both huge fans of battlestar galactica.

and GeekWall:

The invisible barrier that sets your geek side apart from your normal self, used to protect other people from seeing your geekiness. It’s the difference between talking about sex and talking about Star Wars.
Joe made sure his geekwall was set, and headed out to the party.

I also feel empathy with Geek Tax:

Geek Tax is the amazing waste of time that you must endure when crap stops working.
Today my internet stopped working. I’ve been troubleshooting various things for the past few hours, and I’m not sure I’ve accomplished anything. I think the problem is upstream from me, but I didn’t get to this conclusion before unplugging, uninstalling, restarting, cursing, for a few hours. I almost redesigned my network topology in the process. What a high Geek Tax!
Of course the next tax will surely be in the form of re-installing windows or something like that.

Earth-Size Alien Planet at Alpha Centauri in Science Fiction.

This week the discovery of the closest earth-like exoplanet ever seen was announced.

The star system closest to our own sun hosts a planet with roughly Earth’s mass and may harbor other alien worlds as well, a new study reports.
Astronomers detected the alien planet around the sunlike star Alpha Centauri B, which is part of a three-star system just 4.3 light-years away from us. The newfound world is about as massive as Earth, but it’s no Earth twin; its heat-blasted surface may be covered with molten rock, researchers said.
The mere existence of the planet, known as Alpha Centauri Bb, suggests that undiscovered worlds may lurk farther away from its star — perhaps in the habitable zone, that just-right range of distances where liquid water can exist.

Probably it is not true, but, supposed it is, this is of course great news.:

The detection, to be published tomorrow (Oct. 17) in the journal Nature, was so difficult that some astronomers aren’t yet convinced that Alpha Centauri Bb exists.

The discovery sprouted a discussion on the Extropians mailinglist about the feasibility of star travel and how to get there: using present rockets, it will take about 50,000 to 100,000 years.
Not counting the expansion of the universe, which is still accelerating. According to BillK even at a much faster speed than our best rockets can reach.

The new value for the Hubble constant, good to within three percent, is 74.3 kilometers per second per megaparsec (km/s/Mpc).
What this means is that a galaxy one megaparsec away (that is, 3.26 million light years) will be moving away from us at 74.3 km/sec. If you double the distance to 2 megaparsecs, a galaxy would be moving
away at twice that speed, or 148.6 km/sec.
74.3 kilometer/second = 166 204 mph
148.6 kilometer/second = 332 408 mph

However, fantasizing about the future and space travel doesn’t harm anyone, and Alpha Centauri has a tradition in Science Fiction. io9 published a list with ten books speculating about colonizing the place or meeting the aliens who might live there. I was impressed and instantly downloaded some of them to my E-Reader.
Looking for Sid Meier’s Game “Alpha Centauri” I also found a longer “Alpha Centauri in Fiction” list on Wikipedia.

Multi-authored online science fiction world-building project Orion’s Arm, had a short discussion on its mailinglist to either add a new planet or make the new planet  Alpha Centauri Bb and the existing Pirithous the same world. Ixion could be the name for the added planet in OA.
And another coverage of the story:

Finally, from “Alpha Centauri Stars & Planet Explained: Our Nearest Neighbors” an Infographic by Karl Tate.


Get your free copy of Arc 1.3: Afterparty Overdrive

It is now more than a week ago that Arc announced the third volume of their sciencefiction magazine on their website:

The wait is over. Arc 1.3: Afterparty Overdrive is out now – and it won’t cost you a penny. This time out, we’re taking a look at the future of pleasure: from robot music to riotous shopping and the gentler pastimes of crowdsourced theatre and biohacked gardening. And we’re making it free for a limited time on our Zinio and Google Play stores.

That is very generous, of course! In fact it is a great offer. Problem is, as always, the copyright cops. Google Play is not available where I live, so I can’t download the ePub. What is the problem? Since it is free, there is nothing to steal!
An alternative is the Kindle version (with Calibre I can convert it to the format my Sony reader understands). But:

(Sorry, Kindle readers: your version’s coming soon.)

Arrgghh, I hate waiting!

Incidentally: the announcement made me think about that other Science Fiction magazine, TRSF. I’m curious if a new volume will be published.

The Olomouc Astronomical Clock

This summer I visited some Central European countries, like Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.
I’ve had my portion of culture there, I visited a lot of churches and enjoyed the finest food. But the biggest surprise was in the city Olomouc, when having a cup of coffee on the main square, where I was looking for the Holy Trinity Column, I accidentally discovered the Olomouc astronomical clock. It wasn’t mentioned in my travel-guide!
Suddenly my cultural voyage turned into a “Geek Travel“; I knew that Prague (with a very famous astronomical clock) was also on my travelling-plan, but actually I’ve seen that one some years ago. The Olomouc Astronomical Clock was unknown to me.

There is a Wikipedia page on astronomical clocks, and it has a description of the Olomouc clock:

Olomouc, the former capital of Moravia in the eastern part of the Czech Republic, also has an impressive exterior astronomical clock on the main town square. It is a rare example of a heliocentric astronomical clock.
Dating originally from 1420, the clock was remodelled approximately once every century. When the retreating Nazi German army passed through Olomouc in the final days of the war in May 1945 they opened fire on the old astronomical clock, leaving only a few pieces (that can now be seen in the local museum). As a result of the serious damage the clock was reconstructed in the style of socialist-realism in the first years of communist rule in Czechoslovakia (1948-early 1950s). The religious and royal figures were replaced with athletes, workers, farmers, scientists and other members of the proletariat, while the glockenspiel was altered to play three pieces of traditional local music.
The lower dial represents the earthly sphere and indicates minute, hour, day, month, year and phase of the moon. The upper dial represents the heavenly sphere and shows a star map, the sun, earth and planets against a background of the twelve houses of the zodiac. The third and highest level is where the saints and apostles once paraded during the daily musical display (at noon). Their role is now performed by faded-looking volleyball players, auto mechanics and factory workers.
The intricate background mosaic covers the clock’s entire height of 14 metres and has representations of the twelve seasons and two traditional festivals; the ride of the kings and the procession of maidens.
The Olomouc astronomical clock was featured in the opening scenes of the film “The Joke” based on the book by Milan Kundera.

Okay, here is that opening scene:

The three “pieces of traditional local music” are

    a hymn by Josef Haná “On the Hill, beyond Námèsf”
    The Long and Winding Road to Olomouc


    The Willows are in Bloom

The waiter at the restaurant told me that the clock would play at 12 every day, so I came back the next day to hear it. And of course I had my HTC ready to film it:
(Probably you should skip to 1’40)

The Tourist Information centre supplied me with an information leaflet, that told me more about the history of the clock. Probably the clock was built in 1474, but it has been destroyed several times. Here is a picture of the clock in 1747:

The latest restoration of the clock took place in 1947-1955 by Karel Svolinsky. He gave the clock – still not considered as a monument by the local Monuments Institution! – a socialist-realistic appearance.

  • The Aesthetics and Beauty of Knowledge

    Shih was the opposite of facts and raw information; shih was the elegance of knowledge, the insight and skill to organize knowledge into meaningful patterns. As an artist chooses colours or light to make her pictures, a master of shih chooses textures of knowledge – various ideas, myths, abstractions, and theories – to create a way of seeing the world. The aesthetics and beauty of knowledge – this was shih.

    – David Zindell, The Broken God, 1993

  • Geek Attitude

    The attitude thing is about flexibility, portability, creativity, sociability and jamming (ran out of suitable “ity” words!). It’s about improvising – in the practical and musical senses of the word; not getting tangled in boundaries and the “right” way to do things.
    Definitely the only way to travel.
    Martin Delaney – “Laptop Music”.