photo courtesy gizmodiva.com
Proving once again that Archos produces the best and coolest stuff that no one will ever hear about or buy. There's a marketing slogan you can be proud of. Maybe they can call it the iArchos or put this guy in a series of commercials opposite John Hodgman representing the Zune.
Is everyone heading down to the Great Outdoor Sports Equipment Supply Depot to get their backpacks ready for a three week stint in a line outside their neighborhood Apple Store to wait for the new iTablet? Have you borrowed your sci-fi geek friend's Dune-inspired Fremen suit so that you can filter your own urine and sweat and not give up your spot in line? Why are people so excited for a fragile 11" piece of vaporware?
I think Freddie Mercury would be proud of the time and dedication it must have taken to produce this - although he may have preferred some spandex be involved. Just goes to show how one can find music anywhere. It's a little bit hypnotic as well. I can't believe I just watched a tech junkyard create music for six minutes... I need help!
Through CNET's Crave, and several conventions over the past year or so, has GestureTek use-the-force hand-waving television remote come to the fore. And I cannot think of a more ridiculous idea.
Oh sure, the technology is cool, but do I really want to sit in my basement waving my arms around like I'm guiding a plane down the tarmac at LaGuardia? The traditional television remote control has reduced my inaction down to the most minimal press of my thumb. Why do I want to engage in a Karate Kid exercise every time I want to interact with my tuner?
I've got a gesture for the workmongers at GestureTek, and it involves quickly inverting an avian creature with my middle finger. I'll stick with my thumb press thanks.
An impromptu episode that asks why people (read: gearheads) are so interested in seeing new products "unboxed". I can put my $49 Printer/Scanner/Copier back in the box for you so you can see it unboxed in all its glory.
I've been playing piano since I was five and, while there have been short periods when performing music has fallen out of my interests, I have almost always had an appreciation for a completely live performance. Such a performance can include anything from a single instrument and voice all they way up to a full orchestra.
I remember playing as a teenager in the 80s-drenched synth-oriented dance pop that pervaded the charts. I remember even buying into the concept of a synthesizer or two but hated the concept of the dreaded sequencers and samplers that would allow even the most inept players to spout forth with "cool" sounding patterns and loops. I could tolerate the idea of a synthesizer making sounds that were unique to the instrument itself and not trying to generate something else. With the persistent adoption of drum machines and string patches and horn sections and poorly-modelled electric pianos, I retreated further into a state that I considered a bit of musical elitism: a piano sound should come from a piano, a drum sound should come from a drum, and a bass guitar sound should come from a bass guitar.
Don't get me wrong, I understand the attraction of simulation. I have recorded songs where I've used a keyboard to create multiple music tracks, but always, in my head at least, the exercise was just that - an exercise. Call me old-fashioned when it comes to music, but I believe there should be something organic to musical sound. And this from a guy who grew up idolizing Keith Emerson and his endlessly-tweakable envelope filters.
As I grew older, I developed a certain tolerance for auto-accompaniment, but always with a sense of kitsch. The idea of the cheesy home organ with beat generator and portamento was to being smiled at and laughed with instead of laughed at. I am willing to listen to someone satrize a traditionally serious song by giving it the Wurlitzer treatment.
And it was with all this derision that I shook my head in disbelief when I learned of Microsoft's Songsmith software during CES last month. While this product's limitations have been shown to glorious and humorous effect by copying the vocal lines of past hits into its engine and watching the generic "reggae" or "soft rock" accompaniment get triggered, could anyone have really expected anything different... you know what? I was exepecting better.
While I believe the concept abhorrent and completely against all of my sensibilities about music, I fully expect that the technology is not out of reach to mesh anyone's random vocalizing with a very solid sounding accompaniment. I anticipate that no matter how bad someone sings, the software's engine should, on the fly, fix any out of tune notes and quantize the rhythmless until they sound inoffensive. I expect that music AI has advanced far enough that realistic-sounding instruments can be modelled in real time to sound at least as good as many of the mediocre ballads that are in the top ten of most pop music charts.
I expect we're on that threshold and, while it should scare the hell out of me, I've discovered I really don't care because if some out-of-tune arhythmic cellar dweller can one day sell a million copies of a song they produced in their basement, and maybe flip the RIAA and the Big Four the finger while doing so, I'll buy a cake and with wry, smiling dismay blow out the last candle on musical integrity.