Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category

Tiny USB Wifi Access Point

I travel a lot for work, and a surprising number of the hotels at which I stay still don’t have in-room wifi. Because of this, I’ve carried an Apple Airport Express in my luggage for a couple of years, so that I can have my phone and tablet online while in my room, in addition to my laptop.

Wandering through an electronics store here in Tokyo this afternoon, I came across something confusingly also called an AirPort, from a company called I-O Data. Packaging was all in Japanese, however after a bit of deciphering of diagrams and the odd technical word in English, I realised it was a tiny, USB-powered wifi access point. How tiny? I think the technical term is “bloody tiny”. Here’s a photo beside my Airport Express.

Small enough to be permanently connected in my USB travel pack, which is a small, padded, zip-up case I’ve kept in my laptop bag for a few years now, containing a portable HDD, a few cables (iPhone, micro-USB, etc) and now, a wifi access point, all permanently connected to a USB hub (also in the case). One USB cable to plug in, no need to even unzip it, everything I need already connected, and only one thing to remember to pack up again.

Reasonably cheap too. 2,300 yen, which is less than $30 US.

Anyone want to buy an Airport Express? Only one owner!

Interesting use of 3D UI in music software

Awhile back I wrote about music technology being one of the areas pushing new user interface\interaction technologies, such as the Kinect, and the Wii before it.

Well, I’m a little behind on this one, but this video preview of AudioGL is another example, this time in terms of 3D UI.

Apart from the opening credits, the first section is a pretty standard, albeit slick, 2D interface along the lines of other modular DAWs or instruments. However, around the 8 minute mark he suddenly zooms back from that 2D interface to show all the modules connected on a plane, with the automation tracks flowing through the property on the 2D interface and away to a vanishing point in the distance. Shades of Tron meet Dance Dance Revolution.

I have no idea if this interface would be useful or usable for composition, it appears it may be more oriented towards performance, but I’m impressed with the leap of imagination taken to render automation on the “z axis”, and I’m now wondering about the possibilities for generating 3D datapoints dynamically and the applicability to other domains.

Multitouch is so passe, Face control is where it’s at.

Natural User Interfaces are developing at a furious pace. It seems like the Kinect has really put a fire under this space.

One of the more interesting (and potentially embarrassing) examples of this I’ve seen recently is using a webcam and some custom face tracking software to control music software via OSC. There are a few videos below.

A lot of early momentum around alternative input mechanisms seems to happen in music software. Controlling a DAW with a mouse and keyboard is pretty limiting compared to the tactile nature of musical instruments, and it’s difficult to give a good “performance” with a mouse. A lot of the early hacks for the Wii controller happened in this space, the Kinect was the same, now face control. Will be interesting to see what if anything useful falls out of this for business application.

FaceOSC JAM2 and Ableton from Jonathan Hammond on Vimeo.

faceOSC & touchOSC testing with ableton live from Kostia Rapoport on Vimeo.

FaceOSC from Kyle McDonald on Vimeo.

Uwe continues to do great work on the community version of VersionInsight

Uwe Schuster just keeps on adding new features to VersionInsight.

If you’re using Subversion he’s posted a long list of changes/fixes/new features here. He’s well underway on adding Mercurial and Git support as well and LiveBlame is looking very cool also.

If you haven’t updated the version of VersionInsight that comes with XE to the Community version yet, he’s even got you covered with instructions. Nice one Uwe!

Review: Seven Languages in Seven Weeks by Bruce Tate

I mentioned my interest in this book awhile back when it was in beta, but over the last few weeks I’ve been working through Seven Languages in Seven Weeks by Bruce Tate. the languages covered are Ruby, Io, Prologue, Scala, Erlang, Clojure and Haskell, and while he doesn’t aim to make you productive in those languages, he does aim to give you a sense of what each one is aiming to do, and the relative strengths and weaknesses.

Read On…

SQL and No-SQL, two sides of the same coin.

This is an interesting, if a bit dry, look at the connection between different database models and how ultimately the whole SQL vs. No-SQL discussion is a little silly, as they are essentially two aspects of the same thing.

The first section sounds like it is a business model discussion, but bear with it, it gets back on course.

Review : Masterminds of Programming by Federico Biancuzzi

Over my last few flights I’ve been reading Masterminds of Programming by Federico Biancuzzi. It’s a collection of interviews with the creators of a whole bunch of different programming languages, and is quite full of advice and insight, even for those of us who’ll never design a language.

I expected to be most interested in the interviews about languages I have some exposure to (eg. C#, C++, SQL, Objective-C) but was surprised to find myself much more intrigued by the discussions on unfamiliar languages (eg. Eiffel, Lua, Forth, Haskell).

Read On…

VersionInsight in RAD Studio XE – Part 4 : Blame/Annotations

I’ve recorded a few videos giving an overview of the VersionInsight capabilities in RAD Studio XE (Delphi XE and C++Builder XE, to be specific).

Part 4 covers VersionInsight’s support for Blame or Annotations, the ability to see the details of the last time a particular line of code was changed. This can be very handy when trying to understand why something no longer works, or the larger context of why some changes were made.

Read On…