Data Visualization, in Chinese; Where in the World is Your Knowledge?

It’s extraordinary to watch the flow of information and knowledge worldwide. You could trace the evolution of media arts over the past years as not so much the introduction of entirely new ideas as the maturation of the field, as those ideas become vastly more accessible and localized. Since knowledge has to be applied, that’s potentially more powerful than “innovation” in the sense of novelty alone. Instead of relying of a handful of people to come up with all of the work, it means we could see surprising new thinking as the basic building blocks and tools of what we …

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How to Make a Music App for iOS, Free, with libpd: Exclusive Book Excerpt

What will you do with this blank slate? Photo (CC-BY) Yutaka Tsutano. Apple yesterday described their iPad as “this magical pane of glass that can become anything you want it to be.” So – how about making mobile devices into what you want it to be? With the help of author Peter Brinkmann and publisher O’Reilly, we’d like to give you a taste of Peter’s new book, Making Musical Apps: Real-time audio synthesis on Android and iOS. Imagining that a lot of you are especially curious about iOS, we’ll include the chapter on how to get started with development. It …

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Pd, Everywhere: Free libpd Gets a New Site, New Book on Making Mobile Music Apps

Pure Data (Pd) is already a free, convenient tool for making synths, effects, and sequencers and other musical generators. But imagine stripping away all the things that tie it to a platform – UI, specific hardware support – so it will run just about anywhere, on anything, in any context. That’s what libpd, a free, embeddable, open source (BSD) tool for making interactive music, does. Coders can take their favorite language and their favorite platform, and just plug in the power of Pd. They don’t even have to know almost anything about Pd – they can let an intrepid Pd …

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Make it Tangible: Create Physical-to-Visual Interfaces with vvvv; Book Soon

The explosion of physical interfaces for computers continues. But it’s not so much the novelty of the idea as its evolution toward really being able to express ideas physically. Connecting visual expression to hands-on control, the creators of a new book entitled Prototyping Interfaces “sketch” in both the physical/electronic and digital/on-screen realms simultaneously. Color from an object can impact color onscreen, or a wooden knob can give a parameter physical form. Several things are significant about their effort versus the many other similar projects. First, they have beautiful documentation. (Yes, folks, if you’re scratching your heads wondering why you’re not …

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A Reader in Electronic Dance Music’s History and Creation, Now Available

I had the pleasure this year of working on a book that draws from over 30 years of coverage of Electronic Dance Music’s evolution. Collecting pages primarily from Keyboard, with additional content from Remix, we retrace the relationship of machines and music, technology and movement, in producing the sounds to which people dance. It’s impossible to be encyclopedic in such an endeavor, but part of what I enjoyed about working on the project was getting to see through the eyes of the artists. You hear them talk in astounding detail about how they actual craft what they make. They curse …

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A Handmade Children’s Book, a 7″ Vinyl Record, and Tangible, Handmade Music

In the midst of all this talk of intangible digital intellectual property and arcane licensing and Internet policy, there’s something comforting about thinking of music and art as something you make with your hands and give to someone. It was a discussion of that – even in the context of technology – that first led me to the discussion of “Handmade Music.” (Tip of the hat to my friend, Etsy’s Matt Stinchcomb, with whom this discussion has crossed the Atlantic from Brooklyn to Berlin.) Via Cool Hunting, here’s an old-fashioned way of making a music object. The music is on …

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Loss of a Techno Rebel: Why Dan Sicko Will Be Sorely Missed

Journalist, techno organizer, lecturer, and creative director Dan Sicko has sadly passed away this weekend, the victim of the rare but devastating condition of ocular melanoma. Sicko is best known to electronic music fans as the author of the terrific Techno Rebels: The Renegades of Electronic Funk (Billboard: 1999). A uniquely techno-focused story, that book is a particularly good tome on the underground roots of the techno genre. But Sicko contributed more than just that book, as a music writer (Rolling Stone, Wired, Urb), and a lecturer on Detroit music culture, as well as a fixture on the techno music …

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Mobile Game Audio 101: A Unique Reference to Crafting Mobile Sound; CDM E-book Discount

Charming, original hand-draw illustrations by Peter Jungers spice up the title. Sound and music for games is already a growing frontier for professional music careers; mobile, then, triply so. But with the expanded opportunities come unique challenges. Learning about them requires real-world experience, and short of word of mouth, that kind of knowledge is often scarce – even in the Web age. Composer, sound designer, and audio director Ben Long has put his sonic thumbprints on games and TV networks alike, and has recently turned his attention to sharing some of the industry secrets of the mobile realm, with work …

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The Most From Free Software: Book Review, Getting Things Made, Un-Procrastination

Is it time to get a round tuit? Photo (CC-BY-ND) Denise Mattox. For this book review, we welcome guest writer Andy Farnell, who himself has a terrific book on interactive sound design and free modular patching environment Pure Data, entitled Designing Sound. It began as a review of a book on using free software – but it could be, more than that, a chance to fight procrastination. And while this runs the gamut, including graphics and design and not just sound, that could be even more relevant to those of us who need to delve into those other areas for …

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Augmented Reading: ImaginArt Animates Books with Max/MSP

With all the excitement brewing over multi-touch and tablet PCs, it’s great to see a simple, beautiful installation, augmenting paper books with subtle fiducials, letting the book control the technology: ImaginArt from recreat on Vimeo. Built with Max/MSP/Jitter by recreat. Lovely.

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