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Weblog | Archives for May 2005
Past posts.
Pure Data 101

O'Reilly: Make Your Own Music Software with Pure Data

To create a program in Pd, you connect little boxes to one another with the mouse using graphic "patch cords." [...] Once you've created or loaded a patch, you can interact with it by sending MIDI messages to your computer from a hardware controller and by using onscreen sliders and buttons.

If you've ever seen or used Cycling '74's Max, Pd will look eerily familiar. To a considerable extent, Pd is Max. Puckette created Max at IRCAM, the French research facility, in the mid-1980s.

I tried using Pure Data years ago and just couldn't get it. Now with more documentation and a larger community, I'm definitely going to try again.

Processing Blogs

Processing Blogs syndicates the weblogs of people working with the Processing media programming environment. Tom Cardin did a great job setting this up.

Hopefully I'll finish configuring a Processing-only feed soon, so that you don't have to wade through my personal notes.

iPod Shuffle Review

I bought an iPod Shuffle this weekend. Before I bought it I couldn't find any reviews that addressed my own questions, so this is my own review.

Disclosure: I'm on the PC side, and generally skeptical of the hype surrounding Apple products. Discrediting myself further, I have never owned a USB drive or MP3 player.

Does having to shuffle suck?

Sometimes. Finding a specific track is nearly impossible, of course.

After a few loading sprees, I found a workable strategy: order the tracks on the Shuffle by genre. All of the radio plays on mine are grouped together; I switch tracks in shuffle mode until I hit any radio play, and then switch to order mode to navigate to the track I want.

I can imagine a number of ways to make finding particular tracks easier (track bookmarking?), but they would all require complicating the Shuffle's interface. A single button to jump to the first track would have been a nice compromise.

Will I actually use it?

I have a bin full of expensive gadgets that I've used for only a month: a MiniDisc player and recorder, battery chargers, a Zip drive, and so on. I bought these things thinking that I'd use them every day, but soon lost interest for whatever reason. I'm picky that way; if it's not perfect, it eventually goes into the bin.

The Shuffle has literally been within 10' of my person for the last five days. When I'm using a computer at work or home, it's plugged in as a flash drive for my project files. While doing mindless paperwork, I listen to old radio plays. On the commute, it's plugged in to a cassette adapter for music. The Shuffle has fit into my daily life seamlessly.


Having to use iTunes. I had to install this ugly, pushy salesman on my computer. During installation, iTunes did its best to make itself the default organizer and player for desktop media. No thanks.

Following installation, iTunes' default action is to load the iTunes Store. If a customer is installing a copy of iTunes that came with a new iPod, doesn't it make sense that the customer is more interested in loading the iPod than buying new music?

Galactic Looking Glass

Near Perfect "Einstein Ring" Discovered

Massive celestial bodies bend the light passing around them. If the bodies are arranged just right, they act like a lense though which we can observe extremely distant galaxies.

Background, diagrams, photos of Einstein Rings

(via Kottke)