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An E-M wide project idea
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Re the barking... I chose to focus on text.. yes.. as it seemed that was the direction Tom was heading in.

Communication? In the sense of actual language/code based communication? Or in the sense that "a drum is an expressive instrument" and since music can "communicate" then a drum can communicate?

As for a knitpicking session on this subject, perhaps it is cool to discuss how we use the terminology?


My own take on this would be to turn the 100 USD laptop into some sort standalone instrument.. or several.. depending on which app is launched.

In that sense the computer with a touch area.. the mousepad?? could possibly be turned into a "better" drum or whatever.

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elektro80
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

v-un-v wrote:
Tap a surface with a series of taps = one word. Velocity could also change the meaning of that word etc


I still think this kind of text input interface is not productive. OK, we have Morse code, but should kids/students deliver their homework by Morse code ?

However, I think it is completely possible to come up with a drum/tapping/gesture interface for other stuff.. like music or whatever.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:

Communication? In the sense of actual language/code based communication? Or in the sense that "a drum is an expressive instrument" and since music can "communicate" then a drum can communicate?


Well, in the sense of conveying meaning from one person to another.

The way we have been looking at it now drums sound quite vague compared to -say- "I believe the issue is that the computer is not plugged in" but other ideas/emotions can be expressed by drums more eloquently then by text-based language. Let's not forget that text too requires interpretation, the word "water" isn't actually wet, much like a certain drum phrase itself may not be "sad" or "cheerful". We should also remember that the outward appearance of preciseness in text can also be a barrier when the intended meaning isn't, that's a prime issue in forum discussions gone wrong, you can see it happen right here every once in a while.

There are, BTW, music programs, including networked ones (if memory serves) that are already a part of the OLPC project.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:


Well, in the sense of conveying meaning from one person to another.



Right, I see what you mean, but I still think a QWERTY keyboard for text and language is a "better" interface than a drum.. if we define meaning to equal meaning and not meaningful. The fact that a text or a spoken sentence can be interpreted in different ways doesn´t change this.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

It seems the biggest roadblock will be the lack of electricity.
How to amplify the sound?

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

What is it that Dean is proposing here?

Software for the 100 USD laptop or something else?

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

egw wrote:
It seems the biggest roadblock will be the lack of electricity.
How to amplify the sound?


Does it need to be loud? There's not a lot of ambient city noise in rural areas. There is other noise. I don't think it's as much a problem though, and multiple small units can make a large sound in unison. Think choirs.

Here's a video of the Mini Tam-Tam included with the OLPC.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mini Tam Tam in use

where this link came from

Think what else can be done. Very Happy

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

egw wrote:
It seems the biggest roadblock will be the lack of electricity.
How to amplify the sound?


If you ever have the chance, go see "Powerbooks Unpluged", a band that does exactly this; non-amplified laptops, networks for collaboration, etc.

Interestingly they use both sound and written text (both as code and as English instructions to other musicians) to communicate.

I respectfully disagree with Stein that any of those would inherently have more meaning.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2007 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

...i'm thrilled that there seems to be some interest here. i've been thinking about this quite a bit, and here are some thoughts to shoot down Smile

any hardware is going to be an issue. even if it costs only $1, we will have to fund it somehow (not something i'm in a position to do), and get it to where it needs to go. if you look at:
http://www.laptop.org/en/laptop/start/features.shtml
you will see that there are 2 sets of cursor buttons, a microphone and external jack (that can deal with ac and dc) and a camera. i think we should try to come up with things that use these input devices rather than a custom designed drum pad or other hardware.

how about a simple sequencing app that uses the microphone for input? have a "setup mode" that allows one to play a variety of drums (pots, pans, logs, nails, sticks, etc) to define each to control various sequencer tracks. once setup, these "analog" drums can be used to input the sequences...and anything available can be used as the drum controller...even beatboxing!

i wouldn't discount a code based app (like chuck) as well. remember, these computers are designed to introduce/foster computer skills and learning....having the result of one's first attempt at coding be music rather than "hello world" printed on the screen might actually be progress.

i'd love to see something like audiomulch. i'm a big fan of effecting acoustic instruments, and it might be fun for kids in developing areas be able to use this as a bridge between the music they know about, and the possibilities of electronics.

the camera could be used as input as well..."conducting" the tempo, triggering events, etc.

obviously, these are just initial thoughts. i do think that this is a worthwhile project, and i'll do what i can to get things going.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2007 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

..those youtube videos are great. i didn't know these apps existed, or were so good.

that said, what i'd like to see is something more open and flexible...to get some of this outside of the laptop...but this is very good stuff that already exists. i'm impressed.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2007 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I like the capacitive/resistive touch pad/strip. THere's a lot that can happen here!
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2007 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

...here's another thought.

do you think an old 8ohm speaker might be relatively easy to come by in an area that is using these laptops? could we perhaps come up with a diy drumpad using a speaker from an old transistor radio? have drivers that are auto-ranging?

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2007 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Maybe what's really needed is the Anarchists Cookbook for electro-musical Devices. How to find parts, etc. in "common" items, that may be used in conjunction with other components to build your own instruments. This might be accompanied by something like Puredata customized for easy use "in the field"...kids could get the software together to go with their instrument in a very easy way.

So it becomes a lesson -- not only in music, electro-music, do-it-yourself electronics, programming, and maybe even how to surf the web to fill in the blanks that something like this can't provide.

Although, then it needs to be translated into languages that few of us probably speak. But that might be some one else's job. There's plenty of college kids out there in need of a project.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2007 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

jksuperstar wrote:
Maybe what's really needed is the Anarchists Cookbook for electro-musical Devices. How to find parts, etc. in "common" items, that may be used in conjunction with other components to build your own instruments.


Perhaps you are thinking of Stewart Brand´s Whole Earth Catalog?

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2007 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

jk...that is a perfect idea! what caught my attention with the mic input on the laptop is that it can accept both ac AND dc signals. ....lots of possibilities there, and a pd (or audiomulch) kind of environment would act as universal drivers. i love it.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2007 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

jksuperstar wrote:
I like the capacitive/resistive touch pad/strip. THere's a lot that can happen here!


Especially if it were interfaced with a thumb-piano Idea

Deknow wrote:
alternative input? have you tried naturallyspeaking?
Yes. It's awful as you have to train it to understand your voice first.

A thumb piano otoh is something that many (African) musicians already use

(I'm sorry I keep thinking about text and communication- but apart from hanging out at electro-music.com for the last 3 years I've had very little musical encouragement in that time. Too much emphasis on practical devices etc Confused )

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2007 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

jksuperstar wrote:
Maybe what's really needed is the Anarchists Cookbook for electro-musical Devices. How to find parts, etc. in "common" items, that may be used in conjunction with other components to build your own instruments. This might be accompanied by something like Puredata customized for easy use "in the field"...kids could get the software together to go with their instrument in a very easy way.


I think such a book would be quite popular in the "rich" countries as well!

Maybe we should test this first in conditions where the parents of the little darlings can afford to replace a AM radio :¬)

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
OK, we have Morse code...

Morse code is very efficient and easy to learn. The fastest morse operators are faster than the best typists.

Quote:
..., but should kids/students deliver their homework by Morse code ?

Well... why not. In Jordan, under King Hussain, kids were taught morse in school...

A genuine human binary serial protocol that can use almost any kind of signalling (electric, light, touch, sound, knocking) and be done using almost any part of your body (finger, toe, breath etc. - very good for disabled people). How brilliant is that!

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

DrJustice wrote:
Morse code is very efficient and easy to learn. The fastest morse operators are faster than the best typists.


i have a hard time believing that, as with typing, one only has to press one button for each letter...my extensive morse code vocabulary (s.o.s.), tells me that some letters require 3 key presses (dot dot dot).

that said, some quick googling found the following on c-net:
Quote:
Dotty old message beats out teen texting
Posted by Jennifer Guevin
Thnk ur gr8 @ txt msgng? You may think you're saving time cutting out all those pesky vowels when sending text messages to your buddies, but Gordon Hill, a 93-year-old Morse code specialist, just might prove you wrong.
In a competition staged by an Australian museum, Hill, a telegraph operator since 1927, was pitted against 13-year-old Brittany Devlin in a battle of the messengers. Hill was armed with nearly a lifetime of experience using Morse code; Devlin, with two years of text messaging experience and a slew of slang popular with chronic texters. A sentence was chosen at random from a teen magazine, and both contestants had to transmit the message as quickly as possible.
The results might have some reconsidering the value of doing things the old way. Hill transmitted the complete message in 90 seconds, while Devlin used texting shorthand and finished sending her abbreviated message a full 18 seconds later. Hill then handedly defeated three other young foes armed with their mobile phones.
And what was the all-important message that was sent? "Hey, girlfriend, you can text all your best pals to tell them where you are going and what you are wearing." That's enough to make anyone wish they could go back to pre-texting days.


i wonder....could morse code make a comeback in this age? would this guy have been even faster with texting if he had been at it for 80 years?

having never sent a text message, i do find it a bit suprising to see that one of the fastest texters in the world took 108seconds to type that...it makes me wonder how much time people actually spend doing this, as everyone seems to be doing it all of the time.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

...i suppose that in a sci fi story, this is where the children start communicating with computers in the language of computers...binary....and the assimilation begins. stay tuned for our next episode...

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Deknow, you're right - morse beating typing in speed is probably not the general case, but competitions have been staged where morse wins out.

IMO, the official obsoletion of morse is a great loss. I doubt a comeback is in the pipeline, but that does not stop anybody from using it if they want to...

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

DrJustice wrote:
Deknow, you're right - morse beating typing in speed is probably not the general case, but competitions have been staged where morse wins out.

IMO, the official obsoletion of morse is a great loss. I doubt a comeback is in the pipeline, but that does not stop anybody from using it if they want to...

DJ
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Crikey, just think if instead of crappy T9 mode you had a morse mode. No more thumb problems and I bet people would really get good at code.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

As it happens, there are some morse code input devices available commercially and as open source/schematics for PCs (we've even made one here at work). I'd take morse over T9 any day Smile

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Just noticed this thread. I had a chance to ask Barry Vercoe (MIT Media Lab, CSound creator) and Richard Boulanger (Berklee school, CSound book editor) some questions about Vercoe's keynote at Worldcomp'06 where I was presenting a paper. Did you know that CSound comes on the machine?

The musical examples they gave were all attactive enough to kids, but the problem for me right away (folkee that I am at heart) is that they had absolutely nothing to do with the indigenous music where these machines were headed. Western scales, western rhythms, etc etc. Too much tech, not enough musicology. Vercoe replied that they recognized the potential problem of running over indigenous culture, but he didn't propose any solutions at the time. The discussion went into hardware interfaces for indigenous instruments, making it especially interesting to see it here.

I have a good concrete example of a related chain of events. My neighbor went to Tanzania for the second time in 2 years this autumn, this time taking his wife, with a group of volunteers coordinated by a local Lutheran church. Last year their church got together to build a relatively low tech power mill for grain powered by diesel, that could also drive a small generator. They also donated enough fuel to run the mill. This was for a small, poor, rurally isolated community. The mill was a success, but upon their return to Tanzania this year, they discovered that they had eliminated some small income that a local clinic and some other local entrepreners had previously made via their geographically scattered hand mills. People who used to go to local hand millers, who got a small share in return for their services, now traveled to the cheaper powered mill. Not to say the mill was the wrong thing to do, but rather that it was not all "win," and it was in fact a disruptive technology for some aspects of the local culture. The clinic needed the income.

They offered to get supplies for the clinic in the upcoming year (the current, 2nd trip was to build chicken coops and buy some Holstein bulls to improve the milk-DNA of the local 'herds' -- quotes because the cows are scattered and often loose) but the clinic told them that what they really needed was repairs to a small hydroelectric generator built in a waterfall decades earlier by Germans who were long since gone. The generator was having problems, and once down without repairs the clinic would be finished. The plan in October was to get a new generator.

I've seen Negroponte talk about how having the computers there pulls more kids into school. But I have also recently seen some video footage where someone got a steady supply of FOOD into some schools. Reliably available food was an even better attractor/retainer of students.

I don't think inexpensive computers including some music technology are a bad idea, but they fit into a bigger web of karma. The money my wife & I have donated to our neighbors' efforts for seed bulls and a generator will be useful. My only concern about the zeal for OLPC is the potential for overunning local culture, and maybe displacing more concrete necessities in the short term.

By the way, my neighbor says he has a bunch of video of the community's drumming and dancing, which his son was planning to get into mpeg files sometime end of 2007. When I finally get hold of some footage, I'll post some.

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