Tuesday October 9, 2012

Dev World

I had a slight interruption to Studio and everything BCT; I went to Melbourne on a Scholarship to Dev World. Run by what was formally called the AUC (Apple University Consortium), it's a bunch of Australasian universities who pool their resources together and create events and seminars, other notable events are Create World. So Dev World is a developers conference mostly geared towards Apple development. However Apple has withdrawn itself somewhat and this might have been the last Dev World of it's kind. There were a lot of talks on various aspects of development for iOS mainly and also web technologies. I got something out of it plus the opportunity to see Melbourne which is a very nice city. I was however a little worried about my Studio work and that we had a formative assessment a week later. But it was a great experience.

    Tuesday October 9, 2012

4th Experiment

This is quite awful but from it I have a few ideas of how to take small parts and make those parts less awful. I walked into the BCT yesterday and was informed that the whole thing had to be handed in. This is contrary to what we were told at beginning of semester. This new information turned out to be incorrect but I was left spending my entire day trying to make a piece in Ableton that resembled what I was trying to do. This is it. It's awful and I'm glad it's not actually due in for another 20 days. Of course I have to fit it in with 4 other big tasks (3 other papers and a website I'd promised to set up for someone), 2 of them could easily dominate all of my time (Studio and Smart Systems). This could dominate all of my time too but that would be in a more luxurious fashion, I don't really need 20 full days to produce (and master) a piece. Well I say this now.

We got to listen to other pieces by other class members and critique/comment on them. They were all interesting, a couple really appealed. The one that appealed to me most (the first part anyway, Oliver's) was musical and though I liked it, I was left wondering if I really want to go down that path so much, because in some ways it's such an obvious path to go down, though it worked well for Oliver because he obviously has some talent in that area.  There were others that were less musical but well structured or at least had potential to become better structured. Then there was mine. I asked that we play my first experiment because really, this one, Experiment 4 is like an art magazine laid up in MS Word in Comic Sans:

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    Sunday October 7, 2012

3rd Experiment

Pretty crap. I decided to try Audition this time. Wondering if different programs would influence the way I worked. I kind of like Audition, but I need a bigger library of sounds to use it. I think I'll go back to Ableton. Not touching Pro Tools for this.

I think this sounds exactly like what it is. Forcing something.

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    Sunday October 7, 2012

2nd Experiment

This time I worked in Ableton Live. I found a small segment of a loop generated from one of the programs we were introduced to in a lesson, it might have been sapling, but it might have also been one of the other offerings by the same developer. Anyway I looped that small segment and just added a ding sound from the microwave we used to have in my flat. I was able to speed it up, reverse it and I could have warped it all much easier. I'm not that good with Ableton, but fortunately it's an easy enough program to play with.

If I was o develop this more I'd export it as separate tracks and play with spatial qualities and then EQ. I think we may be covering that in the next lesson though anyway. Also once can do that stuff in Ableton. I just don't know how.

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    Sunday October 7, 2012

1st experiment

I don't really like my first go at creating a soundscape, there is no real theme to it. It's a bit jumbled. I played with the surround controls to move sounds around in space. It's quite odd that you can use the surround panner and get that feeling through headphones. I wonder how that works.

I've exported it, will have a break and go back to it. I might use Ableton Live at some point, there were things I wanted to do (Like warps) that I couldn't without leaving the application. Well if you can warp, I don't know how, it certainly wont be as easy as in Ableton.

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    Saturday October 6, 2012


Posts on this site have (predictably perhaps) dropped off.  Right now I'm attempting to compose a track of sonic interest in Soundtrack Pro. This was the software demonstrated to us as a potential for composition. It looked interesting. My only other run-in with Soundtrack Pro was at a demonstration quite a few years ago at an Apple event, I think they were demonstrating Panther (with it's amazing Exposé, a feature that was very useful to me right until Apple decided to do a Microsoft and re-imagine something that wasn't actually broken). However, what they demonstrated was how you could put a bunch of pre-made midi riffs on a timeline to quickly make a soundtrack to some video you were making. I didn't realise it was a bit more fully featured than the templates they were showing off.

As much as I find the subject of Emerging Practices interesting, I have to admit I'm struggling. I struggle to find the time for the creative process. I found it hard to record good material. I had a Zoom recorder for a huge amount of time and didn't find much to record. I find it difficult to get into it because I have other projects that use a different part of the brain and I find it painful to switch all the time. Once I get into this sound thing I'll find Smart Systems dreadful because that will probably involve  programming in Objective C. After doing something artsy. I'm going to find it dreadful anyway.

Perhaps my lack of material will be good in some ways. I mean, I can record more or mess up more if I want to, but perhaps the amount of material is just right for a minimalist approach. Too much material is an overload. I want some structure to my work. Like, musical structure in some way. This is slightly at odds with the avant guard nature of the paper, though we're told not on constrain ourselves to preconceived expectations of the paper, I'm fairly certain that if I submitted a musical piece that it might not do so well marks-wise. I'm going to experiment with sounds and do unstructured (in a musical sense) stuff, and maybe my final piece will be that too. But it might also be musical. I don't really know at this point. I found myself struggling with the software earlier. Very annoying, I don't want to fight the tools when I'm trying to be creative.

    Tuesday September 11, 2012


Goddamn this undefined error is getting on my nerves. It doesn't matter what I put where to catch the error it still pops up. For ages I wasn't even sure what was generating it. PHP? Javascript? Today the finger was potentially pointed at JQuery Mobile. I think I've isolated it to a single PHP statement that shouldn't be causing any problems because the objective of this statement is to catch undefined variables!! This is driving me nuts, I really don't have the time.


I just figured it out. It IS JQuery Mobile. It didn't like a function that is supposed to redirect to a page on an error. I've worked around it by taking the function away and putting a html message and okay button which links back to the page instead. Seems redundant but at least I can get on with things. This error will be scattered all over the place because I did a marathon session a while ago and implemented it everywhere that it would be needed. I just need to change everywhere now.

    Tuesday September 11, 2012


I haven't been here for a while yet I've done so much. I still have a broken web application though. I'm stuck on creating a persistent session on the webapp. Information is thin. Well, if I was content to just sit and read loads of different tutorials or buy a comprehensive book on the subject I might be able to achieve it. I never feel I have the time to do that so I just try to muddle through.

I think I'll make more and shorter posts because so much information about what I've been doing relating to this project has been lost in regards to this blog.

I started creating a web application from scratch, then wondered how I'd turn radio buttons into segmented controls through styling. It turned out to be a bit difficult though not impossible and eventually I found my way to JQuery mobile which I started using to create the app. They've done all the hard stuff for me so I can concentrate more on just making the app. But it still wasn't plain sailing, I've written most of the PHP myself and I sort of wish I'd used some sort of framework for that too. But it's too late now I think. Maybe not... never know which path to take, you just have to go down one and stick to it. Last time I worked on the app I had quite a few bugs that resulted in a page loading into the app that simply said "undefined". Really helpful. I really dislike rushing along because of deadlines, I could do this so much better if it wasn't a uni project. I also have a load of conceptual and academic ideas on this project but I haven't written much down. I'm going to start a contextual statement in the next day or so. I just want to reach a milestone where sessions for example works. The path is slow.

Today I've picked up the app for the first time in over a week. I took a break from it to do other stuff. I hoped that doing so would clear my head somewhat. Not sure it has. PHP sessions don't seem to persist once a user has left the app for the home screen so they have to log in each time. So I'm looking into how cookies are set for sessions.

    Saturday August 4, 2012

Break through, but new challenges

The day after I wrote that post I had some downtime in a part time job that I do for the university (iPad support for staff, it's handy, I get an iPad to use out of it) and I looked into whether one could request location data from within Safari (which I thought must be possible on and iPhone, it is possible everywhere else after all) and yes you can and yes it's very easy. This suddenly got me thinking about how I could implement v1 of this app using a web technology instead which would enable me to actually get something working really quickly. So I got excited by this prospect and started working on it. This is of course ground that is well covered in development circles but it's all new to me. In the process I have discovered the things that I can't do easily. One is access the camera or the camera roll. There are ways around it, but none are elegant. iOS6 however will enable which is what I'm looking for. But that is iOS6... That isn't released until September some time (probably) and then there is the take up. Fortunately on the other hand, Apple devices tend to get updated. Unless the device doesn't support it the upgrade. I'm a bit puzzled why the iPad 1 isn't supported for example, not that it affects me.

Happy with this revelation about creating a Webapp that could possibly work enough for testing until I can make the native app, I decided to go down the route of actually buying an iPhone. Not an expensive one. Just a 3Gs. That will support iOS6, and I have a friend with a 4S so I can test applications on 2 different models of phone. The decision to buy an iPhone only came about because I was discussing running, mp3 players, the Nano with it's pedometer with a friend (Lidy) who then pulled out her iPhone with a GPS-enabled running app and all her running data. I managed to find a bargain on Trademe so swooped in. Hopefully it will turn up in the next week and I can use it to text my application (and for running with).

I've managed to book meetings with just about every tutor over the next 2 weeks so I hope I'll have something to show them before then and I can concentrate more on other issues.

    Wednesday August 1, 2012


I alluded to in my last Studio Post that I'd had a hell weekend and interruption to my normal activities. So I have recorded nothing new. What I have done is list a pile of things I would like to record so that when I do I'll have something to start on. One thing that I initially wasn't interested in (because it seemed like everyone would want to have a go) but now want to try myself (regardless) is buying some piezo discs and making some surface mount mics. From there I'm going to record a bunch of odd things like roads and footpaths and buildings. I don't know where I'm going to go with that but it just seemed neat. That's about it for now.

Edit: the mic I made:

Surface Mike