Software Celebrities

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A few months ago, I bought a Google Nexus 7 tablet. I like to wait until I've used a device for a while before I post my experiences of it, but the disadvantage of that policy is that now the tablet I'm talking about has been su...
A few months ago, I bought a Google Nexus 7 tablet. I like to wait until I've used a device for a while before I post my experiences of it, but the disadvantage of that policy is that now the tablet I'm talking about has been superseded. That said, I'll pass on my comments anyway, since they may still be helpful to others considering their future tablet options. My driver for getting this device was two-fold. I got an Apple iPad just a couple of months after it first appeared. It's been a constant companion, but its age is showing. It's not just that it cannot run anything newer than IOS 5 (that's not a big deal to me), the major problem is that many websites will crash the browser these days (which I gather is due to memory limits). The second rationale was experimentation, I wanted to try Android [1] and also try the smaller 7" tablet form factor. On the whole I really like the nexus 7. The base Google UI is a touch better than Apple's. I miss the cross-application back button when I go back to the iPad. I also prefer Android's approach to completion in typing where they give you three words to choose from and don't automatically complete with the space bar (which regularly annoys me with IOS). My feelings are more mixed about the 7" tablet size. I find that most of the time I mildly prefer the 7" due to its smaller size and lighter weight. However some of the time I strongly prefer the 10" size because of the bigger screen. There are times - some websites, pdf documents, or books with code or graphics - when that bigger screen is essential. The consequence of this is that despite the advantages of the smaller size I end up taking the 10" device on my travels for those occasions where I need the larger screen. If I could only have one tablet, it would have to be a 10", but I do use the 7" more often at home. The other downside to Android lies in the applications. There are some nice applications for IOS that I can't find alternatives I like on the Android. To be fair this could be due to familiarity and a need to spend a bit more time searching. I need to put more effort into checking out what's available before I decide whether to use Apple or Android when I buy a 10" device to replace my iPad. Notes 1: I first got an Android device at the Google IO conference in 2009 (where Rebecca and I spoke about cloud computing). This was what's since been called the Google Ion. I enjoyed having a smart phone and the experience led me to upgrade my phone account to handle 3G - but the only way to do that was to get an iPhone, so that was the end of that Android experience.
about 17 hours ago
Who are you, and what do you do? I’m Matt Piersall, I’m the founder and the lead sound guy for GL33k, a company based in Austin, Texas that creates and implements audio content for video games. My typical day consists of sending a lot o...
Who are you, and what do you do? I’m Matt Piersall, I’m the founder and the lead sound guy for GL33k, a company based in Austin, Texas that creates and implements audio content for video games. My typical day consists of sending a lot of emails and doing a ton of sound design. My head is usually in about four projects at a time so I’m normally a little overwhelmed! What hardware do you use? I’ve got quite a few different setups for different purposes. My main sound rig consists of a Mac Pro, Pro Tools HD Native, an Ableton Push Controller, and a Neumann Microphone that’s always ready to go. In addition to that I have a 5.1 DynAudio setup. People are weird about speaker choices but I just know them well. In addition to all of that I also have a PC setup that’s mainly used for any project that uses non-Mac game engines like Unreal and Trinigy. All of this is connected to an internal network (around 12 TB) at our office that allows us to go from the creation stations to the implementation stations. Most of my work is done on my design/creation station. Also, I think this is important to note: I sit in a really weird chair that forces me to sit up straight. It’s actually sort of comfortable but the first few weeks I sat in it my abs were sort of sore. The chair is called an Ergo Orange. And what software? Wow, I could go into detail here, but I’ll start with the basics. Pro Tools HD, Ableton 9, Unity 3D, AudioKinetic Wwise and a host of others. I tend to use Google Calendar a lot as well as Gmail for business. My plug-in list is ridiculous so I’ll just talk about my secret weapons. GRM Tools Classic is a must have mainly for the Doppler effect, I use S-Layer by Twisted tools constantly. Native Instruments released a Reaktor patch called Skanner Xt which has been amazing for a sci-fi game I’m working on. SoundToys native bundle has been a must for me, and I don’t think I could have made it this far without the Adobe Suite which - even though I’m a sound designer - I’ve been using a lot of lately. I actually think audio people probably use more gear and software than most. When you include our libraries, our recording gear as well as our host of plugins (I probably have about 150 different plug-in effects) it really adds up! It’s oddly intimidating to try and list it all out. I was just taking a Sunday break earlier and realized I was using my laptop (13 inch Retina MacBook Pro), Traktor, and Traktor Kontrol S4 to do a DJ mix. I’d say out of the software list I’m at a zen stage with Pro Tools and Ableton, where I know them so well that I don’t really have to think about using them anymore. I finally got to that point where I can hear it in my head and I more or less know how to create it. What would be your dream setup? Compared to what I had when I started doing sound design professionally in 2001, I have my dream setup! If I were to think really big I’d say I’d like a proper foley stage in my office. I’d like to have the floors floated and pro out the space a little bit more. It would also be nice to invest in an Argossy desk, which is affordable but I don’t really need it (I’m also highly superstitious about my current desk). Overall getting the setup to be slightly more “Hollywood” would be nice but not completely necessary. I definitely like to stay agile and foley pits make it hard to move :)
1 day ago
Who are you, and what do you do? I’m a sociologist, college professor, and all-around “public intellectual,” traveling for public speaking and appearing in media outlets. I write almost every day at Sociological Images. You can read mor...
Who are you, and what do you do? I’m a sociologist, college professor, and all-around “public intellectual,” traveling for public speaking and appearing in media outlets. I write almost every day at Sociological Images. You can read more about my teaching, research, and media work at my website. What hardware do you use? I have simple needs. I spend most of my day on a Dell laptop provided by my college and Galaxy S III smart phone. The smart phone is essential for time management and for my media work. Being able to clear out emails or do other chores while waiting in line at the grocery store is a great help and responding quickly to journalists or producers is essential if I want my voice heard. Together my phone and laptop are my computer, browser, phone, TV, music player, camera, game player, video chatter, and audio recorder. I have a long abandoned, dusty iPad somewhere in my bedside table; I never really got the appeal. I don’t have a Kindle or Nook. I use libraries. Some of my work is done while on a Lifespan treadmill desk. And what software? I compose in Microsoft Word. For qualitative research analysis, I use MAXQDA. My blog and professional website are both on Wordpress. Many professors use reference management software such as Endnote. I don’t. I kind of like manually writing my bibliography; it’s the very last thing I do before I’m finished with a piece of writing and I like to savor the moment. I use Chrome for browsing and four plug-ins on a daily basis: an Alexa button (which tells me the traffic rank of any website I visit), the Pinterest pin button, Lightshot (a screenshot tool), and AdBlock (of course). I maintain relevance and visibility with Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Sociological Images has over 25,000 Facebook followers, making it the second largest referrer after Google Search. Twitter and, to a lesser extent, Pinterest are also powerful mediums for disseminating ideas. My blog tweets new posts automatically. I then use Tweetdeck to schedule additional tweets from my blog’s Twitter account, aiming them at peak user times. Though sometimes the content overlaps, I manually enter updates into the Facebook account. I haven’t found a way to automate updates that is aesthetically pleasing and, in any case, I think the personal touch makes a difference. I do the same for my own Facebook and Twitter accounts. Slides for all of my talks in my menu of public lectures are on Slideshare. I still keep my calendar in a book made of paper. I like the tactile experience and the concrete visualization of time as I flip through pages. What would be your dream setup? Preferably a well-paid assistant would come to my home at 10am 7 days a week and get me out of bed. I need help with that the most. By noon I’d be writing. In my fantasy, my computer is a lot faster, the autocorrect a lot better, and I always know what I want to say. At some point, there is a burrito. I never have to clean up my own messes. Email answers itself.
6 days ago
Often as I'm writing about particular software technologies, I'm so immersed that I need to deliberately ignore other technologies that might be percolating. I don't fret too much because I figure I can catch up at a later time. Such is ...
Often as I'm writing about particular software technologies, I'm so immersed that I need to deliberately ignore other technologies that might be percolating. I don't fret too much because I figure I can catch up at a later time. Such is the case with Windows Phone 8. ... more ...
7 days ago
I’m a fan of Eurogames - a style of approachable, yet thoughtful board games. I like them because you can usually learn and play one in an evening, yet they provide enough strategic interest to play many times. I sometimes get aske...
I’m a fan of Eurogames - a style of approachable, yet thoughtful board games. I like them because you can usually learn and play one in an evening, yet they provide enough strategic interest to play many times. I sometimes get asked more about them and what and what my favorites are. So here is a short article explaining them and an interactive list of the games on my shelf.
7 days ago
Who are you, and what do you do? I call myself a fermentation revivalist. I started experimenting with fermentation twenty years ago, and after a decade of indulging my obsession, I wrote a zine and then a book called Wild Fermentation....
Who are you, and what do you do? I call myself a fermentation revivalist. I started experimenting with fermentation twenty years ago, and after a decade of indulging my obsession, I wrote a zine and then a book called Wild Fermentation. I’ve continued to experiment, taught workshops all around the world, and last year I published a much more in-depth book on the subject, The Art of Fermentation. You can find out more at my website. What hardware do you use? I use crocks, jars, jugs, and many other forms of hardware. Fermentation has inspired great inventiveness and many of our most basic technologies were originally developed to facilitate the fermentation arts. I use thermometers and temperature controllers when I need to regulate temperatures. But in general I stay away from specialized equipment and high-tech tools and gadgetry. My interest is in the processes of fermentation and their underlying simplicity. And what software? The software for fermentation would be the food you are fermenting, along with the bacteria and fungi fermenting them. I ferment all sorts of foods (and beverages). Mostly I rely upon wild fermentation, meaning the organisms present on the food itself, but in certain cases I introduce specific microbial cultures. I maintain a sourdough culture that I’ve kept going for about 15 years and two different yogurt cultures (one from Bulgaria and one from Lebanon). I also maintain several SCOBYs, which are Symbiotic Communities of Bacteria and Yeast: kombucha, a rubbery disc used to ferment sweet tea; kefir, rubbery blobs that look something like florets of cauliflower, that I use to ferment milk; and tibicos (also known as water kefir), rubbery crystalline structures that ferment fruit juices, sugar water, coconut water, and any other carbohydrate-rich liquid. In addition, for a few exotic ferments such as tempeh, koji, and natto, I use imported powdered pure strain cultures. What would be your dream setup? Certain ferments require very specific temperature or humidity conditions, but most of them can be made anywhere. After all, these are ancient rituals that our ancestors have been practicing for longer than history has been recorded. I experimented for many years in an off the grid communal kitchen, nothing fancy. My dream set-up would include an unheated cellar, for long-term storage; several chambers with the potential of creating simulated environments at different temperatures and humidity; and lots of crocks of different sizes.
8 days ago
RT @whitehouseostp: Statement by @whitehouseostp Director John P. Holdren on #IPCC Physical Science Report --> #ActO…
RT @whitehouseostp: Statement by @whitehouseostp Director John P. Holdren on #IPCC Physical Science Report --> #ActO…
12 days ago
Who are you, and what do you do? I’m Santiago Ortiz, married father of two, living in a small town in Argentina. I invent stuff using code, I research a lot and I love to experiment. I do interactive information visualization, and I’m a...
Who are you, and what do you do? I’m Santiago Ortiz, married father of two, living in a small town in Argentina. I invent stuff using code, I research a lot and I love to experiment. I do interactive information visualization, and I’m a specialist in networks visualization. I’m interested in diversity (books, activities, people, places, data, stories) and innovation (creativity + social meaning + methodology + time + execution). I studied mathematics, with an emphasis in complexity, which I reckon is my most basic tool. What hardware do you use? My first computer was a Macintosh 512K (well, it was my parent’s computer but I used it like hell), and at 15 I got my first own one, a pocket tactile computer, the wonderful Casio PB-1000 (tears). Afterwards I began using all sort of desktop Macs, with a 6 month black hole using a PC. Then, in 2001 I quit Colombia and start living in different places, and of course I started using iBooks and MacBooks (the first one: the “snow” iBook, the most beautiful one so far in my opinion) I’ve tried different things: small screens, comfortable to travel with, and big screens, comfortable to work with, and I still don’t know what’s better for me. Currently I’m with the big screen - I have a 2010 MacBook Pro 17”. I’m in the verge of buying a new portable and still can’t decide whether to buy a MacBook Air (perhaps I should wait for the 13” with Retina display), or the 15” MacBook Pro. Other important hardware I use: iPod nano 6th generation, - I don’t think it will be beaten for a long time (why bigger, why smaller?). I mainly use it for listening to audiobooks, so it has a considerable impact in my work. I have an iPad but I don’t really like it or use it, so it’s basically for my kids. I hate cellphones - I have an ugly one that I barely bring with me (I never charge it, actually). My favorite gadget is, without a doubt, the Kindle, and I’ll soon update it to the Paperwhite version. For some reason this the only device I consider a ‘gadget’. The other hardware are tools, and it’s nice to have the most suitable ones, but I’m never extremely excited when buying one (and I don’t give a shit about Apple device packaging). On the contrary, I’m very eager to get my brand new Kindle and I can imagine I’ll be carrying it in my bag, even if I know I won’t read anything. And what software? I use the development tool Aptana Studio 3 to code all my projects. I code in Javascript and use my own framework which is actually my main software. I’m not completely satisfied with Aptana (it’s slow), but I’m not sure there are better options (perhaps I’m waiting to change computers to see things working better magically?). I often create my own tailor-made software. For instance: I have created a freelancer projects manager application, which of course contains visualizations of how I’m doing with schedules, intensity of work, milestones, deliveries, money, and also travel and work and personal events (Could it be a product to be used by others? Maybe). One of the most important tools in my work is Delicious, which I believe has been highly underestimated. I don’t use it as a simple bookmarking tool, it’s the place I’ve organized my research for the last 10 years. I have more than 3K references and I’ve spent a lot of time taking a care of it, organizing, cleaning and renaming tags and creating my own use rules. It contains more than 700 Wikipedia articles that somehow define the conceptual basis of my research. I have what I call categorical tags, that act as definitions instead of associations: [post_blog], [wikipedia_article], [project], [video], etc. Based on my Delicious information I built my knowledge database exploration space. Evernote is amazing. I have a notebook with more than 160 well-described projects I want to do. And as Evernote allows me to export the data, I have in mind this project of publishing and visualizing these ideas, allowing people to comment or to choose the ones they
13 days ago
Who are you, and what do you do? I tell stories across multiple media that are larger than the individual media components (video, text, performance, and so on). I develop audiences for other people’s properties using social media and m...
Who are you, and what do you do? I tell stories across multiple media that are larger than the individual media components (video, text, performance, and so on). I develop audiences for other people’s properties using social media and marketing but with fiction. Some call this transmedia storytelling. I am also very active in community building for transmedia and web series in Toronto, across Canada and internationally. What hardware do you use? Hardware is a hard term with complex definite edges. As a transmedia storyteller, I deal with the constant tension of binaries between analogue and digital technologies, the meatspace and “cyberspace” (ahaha - what a word!), the corporeal and the cerebral. That being said: I use some sucky tools - a crappy Samsung laptop to do much of my work. All my media type friends make fun of my lack of Mac ‘appliances’. I did recently win an iPad mini and it’s quickly become My New Best Friend. So now I’m much less resistant to getting a Mac in the future for my main work (sooner than later). For video I use a Rebel T3i which I adore. Nothing looks bad filming on it. For sound, I like the Zoom recorder since I only mostly need to capture a bit of dialogue. In addition, I like to tell stories using old technologies in unexpected ways in particular: that blending of digital superimposed on analogue being a fave of mine. I’ve told stories with old Kodak slide projectors (on rocking chairs for a performative piece), stories that include underwear, stories on polaroid film, and so on. I use all the normal artist tools for painting, sculpting, bookbinding, and so on… are these hardware technologies? I guess you could ask Foucault about that. And what software? Software is a soft term with fuzzy edges. I use a lot of image manipulation software. Photoshop of course, but recently discovered that GIMP can do some things really well that Photoshop cannot. With my iPad, I’ve fallen in love with an app called Procreate that allows me to digitally paint the way I draw – a software I’ve been waiting for with this kind of responsiveness for years. Of course as a writer: I use Microsoft Word quite a bit. Dictionaries and thesauruses (thesaurusi???). I prefer to hire someone to edit video than do it myself. Occasionally I have to code, and I hate it and am very bad at it but can duct tape a bit of bad code together when needed. I tend to use Wordpress a lot, which I resent but it’s one of those things you can’t avoid in this line of work. Don’t get me started on spreadsheets. Much of audience dev takes place on social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. I’m getting tired of having to figure out the latest popular platform and beginning to feel like an old fogey about it. At the same time, Facebook Pages’s days as being a viable audience dev platform for indie productions are almost all but over as far as I’m concerned. I’ve tried implementing every group organizational/project management software in existence with little success. People prefer clunky email and Facebook messaging over anything that is remotely efficient, I have found. Not to be overlooked is one’s internal programming. Since many of the stories I’m a part of or am the creator of rely on creating audience participatory spectacles for live events, often I have to think of myself as a Ringmaster in these situations. Performative storytelling in a theatrical aspect - ARGs and immersive theatrical experiences - calls for a particular skill at facilitating audience engagement. This requires a lot of push/pull skills: charisma, knowing when to be bombastic, a leader, but also when to be passive and let the “audience” jump into the foray and fill the gaps in play. It’s not really acting at all… more like grifting with informed consent. So my skillset and brains is a sort of software I employ. My brain is soft anyways. What would be your dream setup? I’m always looking on the horizon for the next way to tell stories in ways th
15 days ago
Traditional choral music is often written in four parts called SATB — Soprano and Alto (the high and low women’s vocal ranges) and Tenor and Bass (the high and low men’s ranges). SATB choirs were the rule even in centuries gone by...
Traditional choral music is often written in four parts called SATB — Soprano and Alto (the high and low women’s vocal ranges) and Tenor and Bass (the high and low men’s ranges). SATB choirs were the rule even in centuries gone by when women weren’t allowed to sing in the church and the high ranges were handled by boys, countertenors (men who can sing in the alto range), and sometimes castrati. ... more ...
15 days ago