Just used one of the Bose tower speakers (model 1S) to help some friends with a wedding dancefloor. Sounded fine but the setup was so simple. The physical connections of the speaker stand pass audio so the whole thing runs on two RJ45s. Not very modular, but it felt like a thoroughly thought-out bit of design.
Can anyone point me in the direction of historical analysis of user interface design for media software (or any other context)? I'm interested in what people talk about when they observe trends from one program/era to the next. I'm looking to do this sort of thing in the context of computer music, but would love examples from any discipline.
At one time, Forth was moderately popular to write software in. Alas, today, it's viewed as "thoroughly unsuitable," a descriptor once used by another HackerNews idiot to describe some of my string processing work in Forth at the time. This is what gave rise to my blog engine literally named after that bullshit: Unsuitable.
One of these days, I intend on updating Unsuitable and possibly running it directly on my ForthBox environment. Unsuitable my ass.
While I absolutely love the over-arching philosophy of Unix and its unique flavor of minimalism, it's severe NIH is an attribute inherited directly from AT&T, leading to a strong culture of tech-bro-ism. It's almost as if they've inculcated a cult: if it's not directly from the minds of Kernighan, Ritchie, or Pike, it's shit, and should never be used in production.
But, we are in good company. If someone as influential as Niklaus Wirth can be crumpled up like a discarded flyer by the Cult of Unix, people like us simply do not stand a chance. All we can do is exist, and keep on existing, and keep on being severely inconvenient truths for cultists.
Another interesting thing about Flip is just how much of the interface can be MIDI-mapped, including opening various pages of the interface itself, and most parameters sending CC out by default, which seems like it approaches using Flip as the “brain” of a larger setup. Nine sounds certainly is a limitation, but it does hearken back to the likes of an SP-303, etc..
Of course there’s a trade off between information displayed and editable parameters. Reason Studios’ (Propellerhead forever, ha) Figure does a pretty good job at managing this trade off by using a tab system at the top and bottom of the screen to create instrument/pattern hierarchy. Then again, it’s a glorified Kaosscillator which users at one point we’re making their own acetate overlays to display note grids so go… figure. (gonna unlist further replies)
While you can put forth a general map of the Sunvox UI, I feel like it’s also challenging to intuit the relationship between the parameters window reflecting what is selected in the patching window. It’s easy to expect the same parameter layout across device selection. This is eased in something like Live where each device is tied to a track, and so your view is largely effected by your current selection in the session or arrange views. Of course, Live users get much more real estate but…
An advantage of something like Flip is that it’s fairly organized in terms of the various views, and each view is full screened until you switch. This is also how Caustic manages its UI. Nanoloop as well. It’s helpful to be able to provide a learner with a “when in doubt” interaction to get back to some sort of home state. Sunvox, as far as I’m aware, has a consistently flexible view state. In Sunvox, often the window handles don’t feel present if they are pushed to the edges of the screen.
I feel like you have to have been exposed to a number of music making UI paradigms in order to know why what Sunvox puts forth is advantageous to the user. I don’t think it’s straightforward to take a blank canvas/Buzz-inspired approach when you don’t know what sorts of things can go on the canvas in the first place. Having to manage a window manager before you know what windows you need is a challenging hurdle.
Seems like Caustic by Single Cell Software is dying/dead as a project but it was so promising as an educational tool and mobile music app. Like a Rebirth on steroids. But Android compatibility is wearing and the website is down. Flip Sampler looks like a similarly inviting platform if more limited, but it seems way more difficult to fill a classroom with iOS devices than a byo computer situation. Sunvox is ubiquitous but the UI seems daunting for beginners.
I really slept on Bitwig. Reminds me of the best bits of Geist (Transmod, per-step modulation, etc.). Makes MIDI editing feel much more tracker-like which a + in my book. Syncing from Reaper seems to be straightforward enough. I've never written using a session view but this may help push me over that... bridge.
One of my favorite podcasts has come to a close. But the catalog is such a wonderful set of conversations if you’re into electronic/computer music + instrument design. Darwin put forth an excellent body of interviews with a diverse range of folks who have influenced the next century of the craft.
podcast editor, mix engineer, computer user
interests: techno, continental philosophy, geometry, theoretical cs
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