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With Mobility Rising, MacBooks Looming, Don’t Assume Optical Discs for Distribution

Endangered species? Maybe. Worth double-checking you can do online distribution, if you haven’t already? Definitely. Photo (CC-BY) Adam Jackson. Memo to music software developers, artists and labels distributing music, and anyone else who uses optical drives: stop assuming they’ll always be there, because they won’t. Talking points: Netbooks and tablets already lack optical drives. With more mobile devices, they’re unlikely to be alone. Next up: laptops. Many laptops over the years have put optical drives in removable drive bays or shipped as external options to shed weight and bulk. HP Envy models recently came with external drives. And now, it’s …

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How to Install ReBirth in Linux, Get a Free Rack of Beat Machines

I just picked up a $280 Asus netbook and installed Ubuntu on it. ReBirth seemed a perfect addition; its compact-sized UI, lightweight processing and memory requirements, and simple functions are the ideal companion to a netbook. And, thanks to Propellerhead, it also happens to be free. If you stick with Windows, just download and go. On Linux, though, you have to give the installer some help to see the install disc. (Why install Linux? I’m finding Ubuntu is just fine for battery life, and I wanted to take advantage of the OS’ optimizations for netbooks and its flexibility for the …

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Indamixx + Renoise + CDM Music Production Contest: Tracker Ninjas, Now’s Your Chance

At work in Renoise. Photo (CC) Federico Reiven [blog]. If you’re ready to show your skills creating digital music, we want your work. UPDATED! New contest entry page, new deadline (10/25): http://www.renoise.com/competitions/indamixx/ Plus tips, tracks, and more to give you additional inspiration: More with Less:”Efficient” Renoise Music Tracks and Tips Renoise, the "bottom-up" music production tool that makes brings modern comforts to the tracker interface, and Indamixx, the turnkey Linux-powered mobile music rig, are working with CDM on a contest to produce a new song. You’ll need Renoise to make your track, but the software now runs natively on Mac, …

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The Mobile Music Netbook: Linux-Powered Indamixx OS + Laptop Looking Slicker

Going ultra-mobile: Korg’s nanoKEY controller plus a svelte, two-and-a-half-pound netbook running Linux and energyXT. Laptops for music are nothing new. But better versions of Linux make no-hassle music production easier and more powerful – and new netbooks make it cheap and ultra-portable, too, for times when even that 15” laptop feels clunky. Netbooks aren’t for everyone, and I imagine some people will miss Windows and Mac OS, even with better compatibility and powerful features on Linux. But if you are looking for an additional, more mobile machine, the combination is definitely worth a look. A significant revision to the one …

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glitch-sequencer: Free, Processing-Based App from GlitchDS Creator Hearts Netbooks

For those of you longing to mutate beats like so many promiscuous Petri Disk bacteria, programmer Bret Truchan is a kindred spirit. Bret has created a series of instant experimental classics for the Nintendo DS: glitchDS, a cellular automaton music sequencer, repeaterDS, a visual sample mangler, and cellDS, a grid-based sequencer you can script in Lua. The Nintendo DS is portable and cute, but it’s not normally open to running software without the Nintendo Seal of Quality. (Insert snickers here.) To run Bret’s software, you need specialized hardware that fools the DS into running software. The DS isn’t entirely stable …

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Garritan Rescues Giga Sampling Technology, Talks Open Standards

Should sounds be part of a closed format that may not last? What happens if the format and platform that once were trusted by musicians and sound designers ceased to be? That’s the hard lesson learned by users of a popular sampling “standard” – but for once, the news is good. GigaSampler has been a huge part of the sampling landscape since its introduction a decade ago, and users have massive investments in Giga sound libraries. As I noted over the summer, however, Tascam ceased development on the aging Giga platform, leaving users without an important tool – and some …

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DIY Compact Music Workstations: Magnets, Eee, x0xb0x, Recycling

Very often, computers and music gear greedily consume whole corners of the room. Here’s a tidy alternative, modest in space consumption as well as in cost. So, what’s so wonderful about DIY creations by our friend Sasa Djuric (aka fibra)? It isn’t just that his stands are recycled from monitor stand parts. It’s not just because the free ReBirth for Windows and an Asus netbook make for a wonderfully affordable computer music station. It’s not even that his cases for the x0xb0x 303 clone and a MIDIbox project are beautifully executed, or that magnets on the stands more effectively support …

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Indamixx Laptop is First Pre-Configured Music Netbook, Running Linux, $499

Five hundred bucks. In music tech terms, that usually gets you, what, a single app bundle? Now, it can get you a whole computer, pre-loaded with a bunch of music software. It may not be as powerful as a modern laptop, but it’s also in a cute, smaller form factor you can keep everywhere in case inspiration strikes, or balance on the corner of your Steinway grand. Meet the Indamixx laptop. Whether you want one or not, it’s emblematic of the ongoing commoditization of laptop technology, with ever-cheaper, lower-power brains. Highlights: Brains: 1.6Ghz Intel Atom CPU netbook (looks similar to …

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Lenovo S10 Netbook Does Ableton – and Developers, Go Grab a Netbook

Yep, that’s an ExpressCard slot. Photo (CC) Ja-ae (Jarawee) – hello, Bangkok! (Know we have some readers out there.) Tim Hanlon of gizmag.com recently got an IdeaPad S10 – Lenovo’s lovely, $400 “netbook” – to test. He didn’t just do the usual benchmarks, though. His review also included the unlikely choice of Ableton Live and, thanks to a free ExpressCard slot, a MOTU Traveler FireWire interface.

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