Henrik Carlsson's Blog

Regarding Apple’s suspension of Kapeli/Dash and the discussions of the matter on ATP and Core Intuition

On this weeks Accidental Tech Podcast (191: The Failure Mode of a Train), Casey, John and Marco talked about the controversy around Apple closing the App Store account of developer Kapeli. (I’ve mostly been out of the loop on this thing so most of my knowledge of it comes from said ATP episode.)

The discussion was informative but part of it left me feeling uneasy. My problem was that it seamed like all three hosts thought it was perfectly reasonable for Apple to be able to dictate what the developer expressed in public, if he wanted a chance to get his account back.

This seems so wrong to me. Either the developer broke the rules is such a way that it way right to close his account and that’s that, or he did not break the rules in such a way and therefore his account should be reinstated regardless of what he says or does in public.

Having an eight-hundred pound gorilla like Apple dictate what its developers should write on their blogs if they are ever in a controversy with them seems so wrong, regardless of whether what Apple wanted this particular developer was 100% true, 100% false or anything in-between. The App Store rules system is already iffy enough, should we also accept that Apple can dictate our complaints in public?

I was glad to hear the Manton Reece seems to agree with me as he argues similarly on this weeks Core Intuition (Episode 254: It Blew Up In This Case). (Overcast link with timestamp.

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The one thing that an audio book player should be able to do is playing back audio. Apple’s iBooks fails to do this alarmingly often. This is unacceptable!

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An iPhone without a headphone jack

There are strong rumors flying around the internet saying that the next iPhone will lack a traditional 3.5 mm headphone jack. If that is the case I will be sad. If Apple does this and keeps it up in the future, my next phone will likely be an iPhone SE (that has a headphone jack) and thereafter I’ll switch away from Apple. I don’t want to do that and since so far this is only a rumor, I don’t need to worry about it today.

Among the articles I’ve read on the topic, I think Jason Snell’s ”Searching for a good reason to remove the headphone jack” on Six Colors is the best.

I’d like to add extra emphasize to the way a (so far hypothetical) removal of the 3.5 mm jack would impact the audio and music business in a bad way. In recording studios all over the world, there are people connecting their phones to big, expensive mixing consoles. We do this for instance to be able to listen to reference material when making a recording. Same is true in the live sound world. In PAs everywhere there are phones connected to the Front-of-House mixers being used to play music that the engineer needs to calibrate the PA properly. So far this has been pretty straight forward, since every phone, every tablet and every laptop that I know of has a 3.5 mm jack.

So regardless of what (brand of) device people might use in your studio/PA, you can count on the 3.5 mm tele plug to be the simplest solution.

If Apple removes the headphone jack we will have a more stressful work-environment, with more crap to keep track of and more adapters to loose.

So please, say it isn’t so.

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Tech Companies to Unite in Support of Apple – WSJ

Several tech companies, including Google parent Alphabet Inc., Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp., plan to file a joint motion supporting Apple Inc. in its court fight against the Justice Department over unlocking an alleged terrorist’s iPhone, according to people familiar with the companies’ plans.

Tech Companies to Unite in Support of Apple – WSJ

This is old news now but since I’ve written about this issue before and specifically called out other tech giants for not standing by Apple I thought I should link to this.

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Apple vs FBI (Microcast och Wave) (swe)

En microcast om Apple vs FBI

RSS-flöde för att prenumerera i en podcatcher.

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Apple vs The US Government, or I stand with Tim

As most of you probably know by now the FBI has demanded that Apple build a new version of iOS with a backdoor in place. This iOS version is ostensibly only meant to be used on an iPhone 5C owned by one of the San Bernardino terrorists.

Tim Cook, Apples CEO, has publicly refused this.

First off, let me say that I agree with and fully support Cook in this. Good work Tim!

Second, if it wasn’t so serious it would be quite funny that suddenly private corporations go all in on defending civil liberties from the government. Should the government be the ones doing the defending of liberties?

This is a really important line in the sand than Cook is drawing. I’m not sure that Apple can uphold their stance in the long-run, but I hope I’m wrong and that they can.

As other people have said, the FBI has chosen this case wise to get the legal precedent they want. Nobody sympathizes with the San Bernardino terrorists so it’s easy to make a straw man argument about Apple being evil for being more interested in protecting terrorists than ”the American people”. But we need to realize that this is not about the San Bernardino case. This is about US federal agencies wanting the technical help and legal precedent to do whatever they want with the private data of whoever they want.

Where are the other tech giants? Why aren’t Microsoft, Facebook and Google lining up next to Apple? So far the only CEO that I’ve seen taking a firm stance on this is Jan Koum, CEO of WhatsApp

I have always admired Tim Cook for his stance on privacy and Apple’s efforts to protect user data and couldn’t agree more with everything said in their Customer Letter today. We must not allow this dangerous precedent to be set. Today our freedom and our liberty is at stake.

Some links

Here are some good articles on the topic:

Or just look at ”the front page” of Daring Fireball. John has collected a lot of good links and quotes.

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Make keyboard shortcuts in Coda work with swedish Apple Keyboard

I’ve been using Coda as my primary editor for coding for over a year and liked it very much. However a few of the keyboard shortcuts has not worked for me. I’ve suspected that it is since I’m using a swedish Apple keyboard an a lot of the shortcuts uses keys that have a totally different position on it compared to an american keyboard. It seems this can be fixed easily by changing some OS X-wide shortcuts.

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Steve Jobs

This feels really strange. Yesterday Steve Jobs passed away. I didn’t know Steve, I never even met him, even so, tears fills my eyes when my fingers hit the keys on my MacBook Pro and I attempt to write this. And despite the fact that I never met him, it still feels quite normal calling him Steve instead of ”Mr Jobs” or ”Jobs”. It’s probably because the creations of his company is such a big part of my life.

Steve Jobs’ life’s work is truly unique. He was pinnacle in the popularization of the personal computer in the eighties. Then in the early 2000s his vision, along with the hard work of all the talented people at Apple, did what the music industry had failed to to; embrace the new technology and make money from it.

In the never-ending cycle of paradigm shifts in technology it’s no surprise that the popularity of the iPods would eventually demise. Nor is the fact that the omnipresence of the personal computer will soon decline in favor of other very personal computer devices. The remarkable thing about Steve’s achievements is that he was just as important in the popularization of the new smartphones and the actual creation of any kind of a real ”tablet market” as he was almost three decades ago when the personal computer where born, and ten years ago at the beginning of digital music sales. When the time has come to start the demise of one of his products, he has been the one in the frontline for the new up-and-coming paradigm. In en era when ”entrepreneur” is one of the most overused buzzwords, Steve is the one that will be remembered hundreds of years from now. He is the one that can truly be called an entrepreneur, as Schumpeter first defined the word; someone who drives the innovations and technological changes of entire nations.

So here’s to the crazy one. Steve, it’s been an honor to be able to take advantage of all the amazing things that has come out of Apple under your leadership and vision. To me you personified The American Dream and taught all of us to go our own way and work for what we believe in.

It was hard to begin writing this post but it’s even harder to stop writing it. Is guess the best way to end it is with two quotes from Steve, the first one from his 2005 commencement address at Stanford:

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

Then finally this second one, from his letter of resignation that was sent on August 24. It gets a new meaning now, even if you – like me – don’t believe in life after death.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

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The iPhone 5 will be announced on October 4?

According to AllThingsD:

Tuesday, Oct. 4.

That’s the day Apple is currently expected to hold its next big media event, according to sources close to the situation, where the tech giant will unveil the next iteration of its popular iPhone.

AllThingsD also states that Apples new CEO Tim Cook will be the one leading the keynote speech at this, and all future, Apple events. I think that is not necessarily correct. Cook will likely lead this one to show everyone that he really is the new man in charge. However in the future someone else might be better qualified to do the keynotes. To paraphrase John Gruber, Steve Jobs didn’t do the keynotes because he was the CEO. He just happened to be both the CEO and a really great keynote speaker.

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More facts on usage of iOS vs Android

Here’s another report of iOS vs Android use. According to Mobile Marketing Watch iOS represents two thirds of the mobile traffic that hits Google Search.

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”The perils of possession without utilization”

Horace Dediu makes a chart of ”Possession vs. Utilization for Android and iPhone”.

This data seems to support the hypothesis that Android users are disproportionately less willing to spend money (note that the data does not say that users don’t have money, but simply that they are not spending it).

Which is why my current idea for a smartphone app will be realized as an iOS app, not an Android one. (Click through to the original post to se the actual charts.)

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The iPad as a travel companion, part 2

Last week I wrote a blog post about my upcoming trip to Warsaw with the band Hedningarna and the fact that I would use my iPad as my main digital entertainment during the trip, and as my only computer-like work device. The trip ended on Saturday last week but didn’t really turn out the way I thought. (I will likely write a separate post about the music-related part of the trip.)

The plane ride was over a lot faster than I thought, which meant I really didn’t get to use the iPad as much as I thought I would on the way there or on the way home. This in turn meant I didn’t spend as much time watching movies and video clips as I thought. However in Warsaw I used the iPad a lot, both for entertainment/infotainment and for business.

For the entertainment part I mainly used Instapaper. I always have a fairly long list of unread articles in it that I never seem to get around to in my everyday life. However on a trip abroad I’m usually unable to update the list (due to horrible data roaming fees) which in turn gives me the time to read ”old” news. The work-related stuff was mostly done with Evernote because of it’s great offline-functionality.

At the time of this writing (Tuesday around 7 pm) I’m once again traveling. This time I’m on a train from Falun to Gothenburg. Al though a much shorter distance then from Falun to Warsaw, the fact that the trip is made by train means a whole lot of time to use the iPad. So far I’ve used it for everyday stuff like checking twitter (Twitteriffic), checking my RSS-subscriptions (Reeder) and checking mail. I’ve also watched a movie (Vanilla Sky), looked at some video clips (from Webstock ’11), composed and sent an invoice (with Numbers) and now I’m blogging, so it’s safe to say that the iPad enables me to do a whole lot of things.

What’s really great is mainly the fact that I can use it for most of the stuff that I would normally use a laptop for, but with a whole lot less weight to carry around and a whole lot longer battery life. It’s super easy to simply pick it out of the bag, do one or two quick things and then put it away. The on screen keyboard is probably not something I would write a novel on, but it’s a lot easier to use than I imagined before buying the unit.

When I bought it I decided to go for the 32GB WiFi-only version, a decision that I’m now happy that I made. The 32GB was chosen to be able to store my entire iPhoto library on it (which is somewhere around 20-20GB in size) but that proved to be a real overkill since iTunes optimizes image sizes to match the resolution of the iPad. But the extra headroom proved very useful once I started to want to put multiple movies on it. Since syncing can be a pain in the ass, I’d prefer to do it as seldom as possible. (I can’t wait for iCloud!) The fact that it’s WiFi-only hasn’t been a problem at all since I always keep my iPhone with me and sharing Internet from it is really easy.

What’s less great is the highly reflective glass screen. Sure, glass I pretty and it does make it look really expensive, but the high reflectiveness of it makes watching movies in any sort of daylight really hard. Seeing my own reflection in everything can be quite distracting. (In contrast, when I watched a movie in a pitch black room last night the iPad was perfect.) The fact that glass is quite heavy is another thing that’s not so great. The iPad is not really heavy per se, but if it were even less heavy it would be even more great, especially for long form reading when I’m sitting with it in my hand.

And speaking of long form reading, that’s one thing that is really, really awesome on the iPad. Instapaper is such a great app and the fact that I can sit in much couch or chair (or airplane seat or train seat etc.) and read articles like I would read a magazine is simply amazing. For this train ride I’ve also bought my first Kindle book (Clear and Present Danger, by Tom Clancy) for the Kindle for iPad app. So far I have not had time to read anything in it so I guess I will revisit this topic with yet another blog post.

To be concluded…

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More Final Cut Pro X

Serenity Caldwell’s written a thoughtful article in MacWorld about Final Cut Pro X, titled How Apple re-cut Final Cut Pro for the better. One of many very interesting points:

Final Cut Pro X isn’t about alienating professionals: It’s about finding out just what a “professional” looks like in this day and age.

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Some thoughts on Final Cut Pro X

You, my tech savvy readers, probably already know about Apple’s release of Final Cut Pro X, a totally ”rebooted” Final Cut Pro. This has been a very controversial move from Apple since it lacks a lot of the features that professional video editors need (and that the previous version, Final Cut Pro 7, had). A lot of bytes has been used to comment on the issue. One really good take on it is Jeffery Harrel’s blog post ”What went wrong with Final Cut Pro X”, and I won’t rewrite what he already written. If you’re unfamiliar with the FCPX controversy but interested in knowing more, read his post. You can also read numerous posts on Daring Fireball or listen to The Talk Show, Episode #49 to get John Gruber’s take on it. (Or just Google, a lot of people has raised their voices.)

Now I’m not a Final Cut user, so it really doesn’t affect me that much, but I feel a need to express my opinion. Some have argued that this is the latest in Apple’s ever-ongoing attempt to ”dumb-down” the technical world. Final Cut Pro X should, according to those expressing these kind of opinions, now be targeted at prosumers and normal users and be more of a pro version of iMovie and Apple is moving away from the pro market. (Clarification: This opinion is not expressed by those who I link to.)

I don’t think that this is the case. I don’t doubt that it lacks a few very important features and that Apple’s handling of this has been very, very poor. However I think that is what it is, poor handling, not evidence that they are abandoning the pro market. Marco Arment really said it best in Episode #31 of Build and AnalyzeCasual consumers don’t spend $300 on software very often.

That is a very important point. Pros are the ones that really pay for expensive software. Sure, the Mac App Store has made it a lot easier to impulse buy software, but nobody will impulse buy something that expensive. So even if the new price is a bargain compared to what FCP 7 used to cost it’s still to much money for the everyday Mac user who just want to edit some video he/she shot with his/her iPhone, especially since iMovie is basically free.

So isn’t it possible that Apple made a mistake? That they thought that prosumers and consumers would rush to this new product in such great numbers that losing the pros wouldn’t matter? Sure it’s possible, but I think it’s more likely that the huge mistake was to discontinue Final Cut Pro 7 on the same day that FCPX came out. If they had just let the two product coexist for a year or two (like with XCode 3 and XCode 4) I guess everyone would have happily migrated to FCPX as it got more and more great features.

I also think that the best solution for Apple is to admit being wrong in killing FCP 7 and put it back on sale for something like a year. If this is likely or not, I don’t know. Abruptly cutting ties with the past and head straight down the highway of tomorrow is a very typical Apple move. It will be very interesting to see if something similar will happen with Logic Pro in a not-so-distant future.

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The iPad and iPhone as travel companions

Today I will be flying to Poland with the folkrock band ”Hedningarna” for a gig in Warsaw. I’m going to be their FOH engineer. (The guy that controls the sound that the audience hears). This post will not be about sound engineering or about Hedningarna though. It will be about the fact that this little adventure will involve a plane flight from Stockholm to Warsaw. During this flight I will really try out my iPad (and iPhone) as travel companion.

I liked my iPhone from the second I bought it, however I think that my love for it started when I took a long train ride from Arvika to Falun two years ago. I had an Apple keynote video loaded into it and I’d just started using Instapaper. That long boring train ride with poor Internet coverage had never felt fater and less boring.

Now I’m hoping that the iPad will do the same for the plane ride. It’s loaded with a lot of articles in Instapaper, a few comics and some videos from Webstock ’11.

I will revisit this topic (although in a new post) once I’m back from the trip.

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More info about Apples IR-patent

http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2011/06/apple-working-on-a-sophisticated-infrared-system-for-ios-cameras.html

A few days ago I wrote about a patent application from Apple regarding a use of IR to augment the iPhone’s camera. Mikael Jorhult (@mikaeljorhult) then gave me this link to a very comprehensive overview. Please note the large number of possible uses that isn’t about obsessive control.

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Will Apple prevent us from taking iPhone-pictures at concerts?

A news-story about Apple attempting to patent a technology that will prevent you from filming certain live-events has been floating around for a few days now. Yesterday it started to filter into the swedish press as well. (You can read more about it in swedish at MacFeber and in english at MicroBlogBuzz). Needless to say the haters hate, the tin-foil hats go crazy and the press gets a few ad-clicks more.

So what’s my take on this? First of all, I think a patent and a real world implementation are two totally different things. For all I know this might be a move to mess with another hardware-vendor rather then us customers. I don’t think it can be exactly what the press predicts since the backlash on Apple would be far to big.

Second, interestingly enough I haven’t seen anything about this in neither Macworld nor Daring Fireball, even though these are generally the best sources of Apple news. Sure, the tin-foil hat might say. That’s because the Macworld staff and John Gruber (then man behind Daring Fireball) are Apple fan-boys who wants to cover it up! Anyone with half a brain will off-course realize how stupid that sounds.

And third, Apple is not the devil! (Neither is Google, Microsoft, Facebook or any other large corporation.) It’s a technology company interested in making money by selling hardware and software to people. The things they do aren’t motivated by some evil plan to rule the world. It’s simple business decisions. Stop seeing every move by a big company as something inherently evil.

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Why Instapaper still matters to me

A few days ago Apple opened its WWDC with a keynote showcasing some of the news in iOS 5OS X Lion and the semi-new service iCloud. One of the features that was announced was Safari Reading List, a special bookmarks folder inside Safari where you can save pages for later reading. This is more or less in direct competition to one of my very favorite iOS apps; Instapaper.

If you by any chance haven’t heard of Instapaper, here is a quick explanation. Instapaper let’s you save articles from the web to a list of things to read later. You can do all your reading for free on instapaper.com, or you can buy (for $5 i think) the iOS app that also downloads the articles you saved so you can read them offline (perfect for people like me who chose the WiFi iPad).

I could go on and on about the greatness of Instapaper because it’s an app and service that is absolutely essential to the way I browse content on the web, but I won’t. There’s however one more thing I have to explain about Instapaper before I get to the point of this post and that is the way you get articles to Instapaper. Thera are a few different ways to do this. The most important ones (according to me, off course) is:

Safari Reader uses more or less the same approach as the second point. Though not a bookmarklet it will be a special menu alternative inside Safari. The first item in my list is not really something that the user of Safari Reading List will miss since it is not necessary because Reading List is inside Safari. You do not interact with another app.

For some people this might replace the functionality of Instapaper. Marco Arment, the creator of the Instapaper software and the owner of Instapaper LLC (and also the host of the brilliant 5by5 podcast Build and Analyze) has commented on it, both in his blog (link to Marco’s blog post), in his podcast (link the the episode ”Circling Birds”) and in some other tech related news. He brings up a lot of valid arguments why Safari Reading List might actually prove to strengthen his business. However I think he misses one very important feature where Instapaper will likely kick Reading Lists ass; The API.

The Simple Instapaper API allows third-party applications to add URLs to Instapaper.

And a lot of third-party applications on iOS and OS X does this. As far as I know every respectable RSS-reader or Twitter-client (again on iOS and OS X) is integrated with Instapaper via the API. Whenever you stumble upon an article in you RSS-feed that is too long to read right now, just send it to Instapaper. When you browse you Twitter-stream and find a link to an article but haven’t got time to follow the link, send it to Instapaper. Especially for twitter this is great for me since I usually check my twitter-feed when I’m on the go or have a few minutes break. It’s enough time to see what’s new, but not to do any quality reading. (Yes, I know that by now I’m starting to sound like an Instapaper commercial.)

So that’s that. Quite a lot of text to make a small point; Instapaper’s API is it’s best feature compared to Safari’s Reading List, for me and probably for a lot of other geeks.

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OS X Lion and multitouch

After watching the video from the WWDC keynote I must say OS X Lion shows great promise. However it seems like most multitouch gestures are backwards compared to the same functions today. That means it will probably take something like a week to get adjusted and back in the flow. Well, that’s what holidays are for.

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Mac App Store

Nu finns Mac App Store ute för allmänhetens förnöjelse. Uppdatera bara ditt Snow Leopard till senaste versionen (10.6.6). Därefter finns det en ikon i dockan (och ett program i programmappen) som heter App Store. Hittills har jag bara tagit en snabbtitt på det, men det verkar lovande.

Jag har installerat Twitter for Mac på min jobbdator (15″ MacBook Pro). Installationen flöt på utan problem. Dessutom kände App Store av att jag redan hade Coda installerat, trots att detta var installerat långt innan App Store fanns och därmed köpt på Panics hemsida och installerat genom en vanlig nedladdning. Mycket intressant.

Om några minuter kommer min firmadator (13″ MacBook Pro) att vara ominstallerad. Jag har haft lite problem med den under jul så hårddisken behövde formateras. Hur som helst så ska det bli mycket spännande att se hur den fungerar med de köp som redan har gjorts i App Store. Twitter-klienten borde den ladda ner och installera helt utan problem. Om den dessutom ger mig möjligheten att ladda ner och installera Coda (som jag alltså redan betalt för, men inte i App Store) utan extra betalning så blir jag oerhört nöjd.

Jag kommer helt klart att skriva mera om App Store inom kort.

(För övrigt så väntar jag med spänning på nya versionen av Twitterrific for Mac. Troligen ett mycket trevligare program än den officiella klienten.

Tankar, åsikter? Kommentera gärna, eller skriv ett inlägg i din egen block och se till att göra en pingback hit (länka till det här inlägget i ditt inlägg).

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Att byta från iPhone till en Android-mobil

Sitter och slöläser en guide till hur man som iPhone-användare vänjer sig vid Android. (Länk till guiden, länktipset kom från Daring Fireball.) Fastnar direkt för några textstycken.

When you download an Android app, you’ll need to consider its source and note the warnings about the sorts of data it can access. Be prudent and think before you install.

Certain Android phones (that’d be you, Evo) have embarrassing battery life. […] [D]ue to Android’s true multitasking, the battery life falls a little short. You may be able to eke out a little more longevity by utilizing apps like TasKiller (see #6) to quit processes you don’t want running […] There’s a debate over TasKiller’s efficacy, and you don’t want to abuse its power in fear of killing off an important background task you actually want running, but I’ve found it helps me keep the phone on a little bit longer. If you don’t want to take such extreme measures, just make sure you actually quit apps when you’re done with them. Unlike the iPhone, you need to be a little more active in your app management.

There’s something about (multi)touch on Android that isn’t quite as elegant as the iPhone. The animations aren’t as smooth, touch doesn’t always respond the same way and things just don’t feel right.

Det räcker för mig som anledningar till varför jag inte vill ha en Android-mobil istället för iPhone. Jag vill inte hålla på och manuellt avsluta processer för att batteriet ska räcka lite längre. Jag vill inte fundera varenda gång jag ska installera ett program huruvida programmet kan vara skadligt för min telefon eller inte. Jag vill att multitouch-funktionerna ska kännas rätt.

Jag har inget intresse av att byta min iPhone till en Android och hade inte heller det innan jag läste den här guiden. Hur som helst så var det intressant att läsa och direkt få några bra anledningar (förutom anledningen till att jag gillar i princip allt i iOS4) till att inte byta.

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Hurdy Gurdy i surround

Som jag skrev om tidigare idag så har dagens och gårdagens stora projekt varit att agera tekniker åt Hurdy Gurdy för en livespelning. Det speciella med dagens tillställning var att det skulle göras i surround, vilket blir lite speciellt när mixerbordet som används (LS9) inte har stöd för surround. Bandet förlitar sig dessutom enbart på Ableton Live, vilket också saknar surroundstöd. Spännande utmaning som jag nu tänkte ägna ett blogginlägg åt att bena ut lösningen på.

Grunden för Hurdy Gurdy är de två musikerna Stefan Brisland-Ferner och Totte Mattson. De spelar live på sina vevliror, tar in ljud från dessa i varsin laptop och processar det i Ableton Live. Från Stefans dator kommer det även några backingtracks (även detta vevlireljud från början) medan Totte skapar loopar i farten med sin dator. Ljudet från datorerna går sedan vidare till mixerbordet där jag och Daniel fixar utljudet och monitormix. Så långt gott och väl, men hur blir det med surround?

En idé skulle kunna vara att skicka ut ljuden ur datorerna på fler kanaler och i mindre submixad form för att då kunna ha mer att jobba med vid mixplats. Problemet med den idén är att det skulle tvinga oss att göra om de redan noggrant intrimmade datorriggarna, vilket inte kändes så lockande. Dessutom riskerade det att i onödan krångla till saker på scenen.

Lösningen blev istället dels att lägga surround-effekter (delay och reverb) på ljuden samt att jag vid mixplats skapade nya loopar av det som Totte och Stefan spelade som sedan kunde placeras ut i bakhögtalarna. För att göra dessa liveloopar så använde även jag Ableton Live. Det är ett program med många intressanta egenheter och frustrerande dumheter, men vissa saker är riktigt bra. ”Looper”-pluggen är en fröjd att jobba med vid liveloopning. Jag skapade ett antal spår med loopers som inserteffekter och styrde dessa med min Novation Nocturn. Live har alltså inte surrounsstöd, så därför fick jag skicka ut ljudet i stereo och ta in det på två kanaler i LS9 där dessa kanaler via två stycken MIX skickades till bakhögtalarna. ”Mina” loopar hamnade alltså endast bak i ljudbilden vilket passade bra för att balansera upp det som spelades live och de backingtracks och loopar som fanns i fronthögtalarna.

För att få någon sorts sammanhängande surroundeffekter så använde jag mig även av Apple Logic i min dator. Där skapade jag lika många spår som vi hade kanaler från Stefan och Totte i mixerbordet. Dessa kanaler i mixerbordet skickades via sina direktutgångar till min dator och in i Logic. Där kunde jag sedan med styrplattan styra volymer och auxilliarysendar till surroundeffekterna. Framförallt använde jag mig av ett antal Delay Designer-pluggar där jag programmerat in hur delaysvansen skulle bete sig. Logics surround-output skickades sedan in i LS9 och genom ett småkrångligt system fick vi ut Ls-kanalen till den vänstra bakhögtalaren, Rs till den högra bakhögtalaren, C till både vänster och höger fronthögtalare och L & R till vänster respektive höger fronthögtalare. (Vi använde oss alltså av 4 högtalare, trots att ”surroundmixen” gjordes i 5.1.)

Komplicerat? Mja, så där. Nördigt? Mycket. Kul? Hur mycket som helst.

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På nya äventyr med Hurdy Gurdy

Bandet Hurdy Gurdy och mitt samarbete med dem har jag skrivit om några gånger tidigare. Nu är det alltså dags igen, vilket jag tyckte var en bra anledning till att blogga lite. Det blir allt tunnare mellan inläggen här nu. Ska inte lova någon bättring. Både ni och jag lär blir varse huruvida bloggandet blir mer frekvent eller inte.

Hursomhelst, i dag är det dags för ett nytt gigg med Hurdy Gurdy. Högskolan Dalarna ska inviga ett nytt labb/maskinhall i Borlänge och som en del i det så ska Hurdy Gurdy bjuda på lite flummiga ljud. Jag och Daniel är med som tekniker, precis som i New York och setlisten blir ungefär den samma som då. Den stora nyheten för den här gången är att vi ska genomföra spelningen med surroundljud.

Lokalen lämpar sig egentligen inte alls för detta och mixerbordet som vi använder (Yamaha LS9) har inget som helst stöd för surround, men vi tänkte ändå ge oss på att lösa problemet. Igår riggade vi samt soundcheckade och det verkar faktiskt som att surround-biten kommer att fungera. Jag skriver nog ett nördigare inlägg så småningom som beskriver processen och setupen mer utförligt. Enkelt uttryckt så kör vi ut samtliga istrumentkanaler i mixerbordet via direktutgångar till min laptop. I laptopen går sedan dessa signaler in antingen i Apple Logic eller Ableton Live. Logic används för surround-delay och -reverb som specialeffekter. Live används för att loopa upp delar av musiken och placera i någon av surroundkanalerna. Hittills fungerar allt utom synket mellan bandets datorer och min dator

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Att uppdatera eller inte uppdatera

Strax innan nyår beställde jag Snow Leopard och Logic Studio 9 från Apple Store. Trots att det nu är över tre månader sedan så har jag ännu inte fått tummen ur och installerat någon av dessa på min stationära dator. Jobblaptopen kör numera Snow Leopard men inte Logic 9. MacMinin kör Leopard och Logic 8.

Varför har jag då inte uppdaterat? Jo, helt enkelt för att jag vill passa på att rensa hela datorn när det är dags för uppdateringen. Backa upp allt väsentligt, formatera hårddisken, installera Snow Leopard, installera de program jag verkligen använder, lägga in de dokument som jag behöver från back-upen etc. Börja om från en ren installation alltså. Det tar ganska mycket tid när det gäller en dator som använts länge och samlat på sig många program som används mer eller mindre. Därför drar jag mig för det.

Nu har jag dock fått ett incitament. Som jag skrev i förra inlägget så har jag köpt en ”Novation Nocturn”-kontrollenhet. Den fungerar alldeles ypperligt för att kontrollera tredjepartsplugins. Däremot är den inte alls särskilt effektiv när det gäller att styra Logics egna AudioUnits-pluggar (AU). Av någon anledning verkade det konstigt nog fungera desto bättre för Johan. Nu har jag klurat ut att det beror på att Johan har Logic 9 och att stödet för Novations ”Automap”-protokoll är mycket bättre med Logic 9.

Alltså finns det ett tungt själ att uppgradera men om jag ska göra det så vill jag fortfarande följa min ursprungliga plan och formatera datorn samtidigt. Visst skulle jag kunna ägna en större del av påskhelgen åt det, men jag vill ju även hinna med att göra musik. Uppgradera aldrig under pågående projekt har jag blivit lärd och själv mässat gång på gång. Problemet är att jag alltid har något projekt pågående, eftersom inga av mina egna projekt har några fasta deadlines.

Vi får se. Jag ska ägna kvällen åt lite funderande, men troligen sätter jag igång en ominstallation senare i kväll som får stå på över natten.

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Spotify till iPhone

Till min stora lycka så godkände Apple Spotify till iPhone härom veckan, så detta fantastiska program finns nu i AppStore. Haken är att man måste vara premiumanvändare hos Spotify för att kunna använda tjänsten. Ett gratiskonto duger alltså inte. För mig så var iPhone-programmet dock precis vad jag behövde för att ta beslutet att bli betalande Spotifylyssnare.

Numera har jag alltså tillgång till all musik i Spotifys databas direkt från min telefon. Jag kan lyssna direkt via 3G om jag vill. Om jag vill spara på datatrafikskostnaden så kan jag även använda ”offline playlist”. Det innebär att jag laddar ner någon eller några av mina playlists till min telefon. Detta sköts automatiskt av programmet så fort som jag har WiFi-uppkoppling. Jag väljer bara vilken eller vilka spellistor som ska vara tillgängliga offline. På så sätt så måste inte låtarna streamas via telefonnätet, om jag inte vill.

Jag har testat det i någon vecka nu och min spontana åsikt är att det är ett väldigt trevligt program som väl motiverar månadskostnaden. Det finns ett par problem med det, så jag vill testa det en liten stund till innan jag lämnar ett slutgiltigt omdöme. En ordentlig recension kommer inom kort.

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Soundtrack Pro

Häromdagen fick jag veta av Andrew att mitt blogginlägg om Soundtrack Pro hamnar väldigt högt uppe vid en Google-sökning efter just ”Soundtrack Pro”. Det gör ju att jag kanske borde skriva lite mer om det, nu när det har gått cirka en vecka sedan jag började använda det.

Till att börja med så vill jag klargöra att det är version 2.0.2 av Soundtrack Pro (STP) som jag använder. Det är den senaste uppdateringen av version 2 (som följer med Logic Studio 8). Numera finns Logic Studio 9 ute och i den ingår Sountrack Pro 3. Det är mycket möjligt att en del av de problem som jag har med STP har åtgärdats i version 3.

Soundtrack Pro är ett mycket intressant program på flera sätt. Jag har inte själv särskilt mycket erfarenhet av Final Cut Pro, men den lilla erfarenhet jag har säger mig att dessa båda program är mycket lite. Dessutom tycker både jag och mina kollegor att det känns väldigt enkelt. Enligt mig har det ett betydligt mer strukturerat användargränssnitt än Logic. Det är inte förrän nu som jag förstått att det i Logic Studio-paketet ingår ett ganska omfattande bibliotek av ljud för ljudläggning – människoskrik, ”rabba-dish”-trummor, explosioner, babyjoller etc. Inte överdrivet många ljudfiler men ändå mycket komplett.

Soundtrack Pro kan jobba i två lägen, multitracksläge och audioediteringsläge. I det senare fallet så blir den en mycket kraftfull ljudredigerare med funktioner som känns långt mer välutvecklade än de motsvarande i Logic eller Pro Tools. Dessutom kan det integreras i Logic. Istället för att jag öppnar min Logic-region i Sample Editor så kan jag göra det i Soundtrack Pro, direkt ifrån Logic. Mycket smidigt.

Nackdelarna med Soundtrack Pro är framförallt två stycken. Det är många paneler och flikar, precis som i Logic, vilket kan göra det rörigt. Det kan dock ganska enkelt lösas på samma sätt som i Logic, med hjälp av egendefinerade ”screensets”. Problemet är att dessa inte kan nås via snabbkommandon. För att växla från en fönsterinställning till en annan så måste jag gå via menyn vilket känns riktigt uselt eftersom det hämmar arbetsflödet.

Nackdel nummer två är att det har varit ganska instabilt. Jag har haft många krascher vilket känns väldigt tråkigt. Förhoppningsvis så rättas det till i version 3.

En sista sak. Soundtrack Pro ingår som en del både i Logic Studio och Final Cut Studio vilket är ett stort plus. Både ljud- och bildmänniskor har det ofta tillgängligt i sina datorer utan att ens veta om det.

Se där, det blev ett helt inlägg. Någon slags recension rent av. 🙂

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Soundtrack Pro & Record

Idag försöker jag sätta mig in i två för mig nya mjukvaror. Den kanske viktigaste är Apples Soundtrack Pro som ingår både i ”Final Cut Studio” och ”Logic Studio”. Jag håller just nu på med att titta på några instruktionsvideos och sen ska jag djupdyka i det på egen hand. Hittills ser det ut som att det blir någorlunda enkelt eftersom jag redan har Logic som huvudsequencermjukvara och Soundtrack Pro har lånat det mesta av sitt användargränsnitt från Logic. En del saker är dock annorlunda så jag kommer säkert behöva tänka efter ordentligt vid ett par tillfällen.

Det andra programmet är Record från det svenska företaget Propellerhead som tidigare gjort det fantastiska programmet Reason. Record är deras första försök att göra en komplett audio/midi-sequencer. Tänket bakom det verkar vara lite annorlunda mot andra sequencerprogram, men förhoppningsvis ska det vara fullt greppbart. Det kommer komma ut på marknaden i höst men redan nu kan man ansöka om att få vara betatestare, vilket jag fick tillåtelse till igår. Jag har även ett par extra invites att ge bort så om någon är intresserad, hör av er.

När jag testat de båda programmen ett tag kommer jag avrapportera här. Förhoppningsvis är båda mycket bra på sina egna vis.

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