I is for Interface

You might think Google had figured out how to cure chickenpox or turn coal into gold because of the miracle stories you hear about their Translate app. It may not be that important of a development, but it is pretty nifty. On my recent trip to China, I really got to experience how useful the app was. With the exception of a few translation oddities, I was able to communicate effectively enough to purchase iPad covers of questionable branding origin, request meat-free food, and not only get ripped off by buying an apparent 1 terabyte USB stick, but actually get my money back when I realized I'd been duped. The app enables communication between two people who share only a small amount culturally, and nearly nothing linguistically.

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H is for Headphones (A Guide for the Perplexed Buyer)

You may not like Dr. Dre's music, but you have to thank him for one thing: putting headphones back on the map. Or at least, slapping his name on a product on which people will pay far more for the letter "b" than they would on Wheel of Fortune.

In the last few years, headphone sales have exploded, with Dre's famous Beats headphones leading the charge and soaring past $1 billion in sales. The celebrity endorsements and prominent placement in Apple stores surely don't hurt, but if you step back and consider how radically the headphone market has changed over the past few years amongst non-audiophiles, it's pretty astonishing.

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G is for Glitch

It's broken - don't fix it.

This is the unspoken motto in the world of glitch music. To anyone who has used a computer, the word 'glitch' shouldn't be terribly foreign: glitches are errors. Things that are broken, not the way they're supposed to be, like potholes in a road or cracks in a window. Usually we work to avoid these broken-nesses but some cr/azy folks among us actually use these as the palette they paint with.

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F is for Frequency

Aboard this planet, it takes 365.25 days to complete a lap around the sun. Saturn takes 10,755 days to do the same. On Mercury, the trip only takes 88 days. In 1619 the German astronomer Johannes Kepler published The Harmony of the World, in which he famously observed the orbits of each planet in our solar system and transformed them into musical terms.

When it comes to planetary orbits, we really are taking these facts on faith. Maybe Kepler understood this, and so he strove with his solar symphony to transform the planets' frequencies into a medium where we experience frequency directly, every day of our lives. That is, sound.

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What is Big Data?

2.76 million people ride the TTC daily. 38% of customers abandoned online shopping carts when delivery estimates exceeded 7 days. Facebook posts that include 'should', 'would', and 'who' get the most comments; posts that include 'why' and 'how' get the least comments. 3.2 million vinyl records were sold in 2012. Every two days we create as much data as we did from the dawn of civilization until 2003.

We are living in a sea of data. Whether we're swimming or drowning is a matter of opinion.

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Live Performance Investigations, Part 1

After a night of experimental music, I find myself actively mulling over the direction my own next performance step will take. 

For the last while I’ve been intrigued by grid controllers, especially the Ableton Push, which allow for a great deal of live sound triggering & manipulation. Essentially, as I realize, these tools are a bridge between the studio and the stage, allowing producers to take their work to a live setting. Ableton has done a very respectable job in creating a tool that has some instrumental capabilities beyond simply triggering sounds, and I believe they deserve to be applauded for that.

 

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