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I think it’s safe to say we all run into situations where we would like to have some sort of automated or batch editing feature for our MIDI data/performances. It could be selective velocity moves that allow us to move entire groups of MIDI notes (or just a selected portion of a performance, for example) to a specific velocity value. Or maybe we want to quickly tidy up the tails of notes so they are all of a certain length (for example an 1/8th note). We might want to create a velocity crescendo, double/half the speed of a performance or even humanize it (explained below). All of these things can be cumbersome tasks, even if we aren’t talking about a massive epic song worth of notes and events.
The window is essentially split int to two parts: The upper Conditions panel we use to tell Transform what notes/events we are looking to target up top…
…and then the bottom Operations panel where we tell it what we would like to do with them down below. To keep things simple and understandable for our purposes today, let’s take a look at a common example where Transform would come in handy: batch editing the velocity of notes in the Piano Roll. With this one example, we can learn the basics of MIDI Transform enabling us to put it to work in several different ways and for a series of different applications:
2. Select the notes on the Piano Roll editor you would like to transform. From here we can hit command + 9 to open MIDI Transform.
Note: Or head up to the “Functions” menu along the top of the Piano Roll window and scroll dow to MIDI Transform.
Note: We can opt to highlight the notes we would like now or later, but for those getting started with MIDI Transform it is generally recommended to do it now to ease confusion. The “Select Only”, “Operate Only” and “Select and Operate” functions from within the Transform UI will get the trick done as well.
3. Hit the “Presets” menu along the top and select the “Fixed Velocity” option.
4. In the Conditions panel Logic has automatically selected MIDI notes for us in the Status panel and setup the fixed (“Fix”) velocity selector in the Operations panel. Now we can batch select the velocity of the notes we previously selected in the numerical pull down menu in the Operations panel.
5. Select a value and hit the “Operate Only” or “Select and Operate” option, and now all our desired notes are set to the same selected velocity.
Tip: For example, you may want to only select the bass notes, or left hand in a certain performance in order to get them at a certain velocity. Add a “Pitch” selection “Condition” by setting the top pull down menu in the Pitch conditions section to “<=” and the desired note in pitch selection menu directly below, in our case D1. Now only notes below D1 will be effected by the batch velocity change.
My synth lines don’t sound like a robot enough already. The same steps apply for trimming every selected note to the same length via the “Fixed Note Length” preset. Once the preset is loaded up simply type the desired length in the time pull down menu in the Operations panel. You’ll see a time divisions set at 0 0 1 0 by default, that represent bar, beat, division and tick. Typing in a length of 0 1 0 0, for example will set the length of every note to one bar. The division length is determined by your project settings, which can be set in transport bar, as seen here at 1/16th note:
You don’t honestly have to set every note in that crescendo manually. And again, the Crescendo preset will allow us to smoothly create velocity, pitch and more crescendos in our performances as seen here. Simply set the length (bars, beats, division, ticks) of the desired crescendo in the Position Condition panel and the range in the velocity Operation panel, as seen above.
Ok they are starting to sound too much like a robot. The Humanize preset can be used to randomize the position, velocity and pitch of our MIDI performance to create a more realistic or human feel to them. And the DoubleSpeed/Half-time presets can, well, lengthen or shorten our parts by a factor of two (be sure to provide enough empty space in your MIDI region for a performance that is about to be twice as long!). However, the new Time Handles feature in LPX might be an easier route. You can learn all about those in the 6 powerful new features you may have missed in Logic 10.1 episode of The Logic Pros.
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In this week’s episode of The Logic Pros, we are putting a hold on hardware month for the Logic Pro X 10.2.0 update. Apple is back at it again with another incredibly substantial offering. After it acquired Camel Audio back in January, hopes were high that some of the company’s world-class production software would make its way to Logic and Garageband, and now it has:
While we aren’t getting all of Camel’s fantastic software lineup, an updated version of its flagship software synth Alchemy is now free to all Logic Pro X users. Previous to the Apple acquisition, Alchemy was $249 on its own and well revered among music producers. It, in my opinion (and many others), stands toe-to-toe with just about any of the heavy hitters out there, and we are now getting the full package (and then some) for free inside of Logic.
Known as a sample-manipulation synthesizer, Alchemy is capable of multiple synthesis and sampling types, along with a number of creative ways to blend the two. With Camel’s pedigree as a fantastic stand alone effects maker, and what seems like an endless number of ways to layer and transform sounds, Alchemy truly is a powerhouse instrument unlike anything Logic Pro X users have ever seen bundled in for free.
At its core, Alchemy is a 4-part sampler/synthesizer. Each of which can house a different sound entirely, separately routed to one of three multi-mode filters and the ability to be layered on top of each other. There are up to as many as 7 different synthesis/sampling types to play with/combine for each, including straight virtual-analog (wavetable), additive synthesis, formant shaping, and various sampling types: granular, spectral, and more. Along with the straight up sampling/subtractive-style synthesis options that rival just about anything out there, these more unique analysis options allow producers and musicians to get creative in ways you just don’t find very often.
As for the filter, there are 8+ Low, High and Band Pass options on top of a series of less traditional notch, formant, and ring-style types. The modulation matrix is just as fully featured as the filter with 7 sync-able multi-mode LFOs, 3 AHDSR envelopes, 2 multi-segment envelopes, a sequencer and up to as many as 15 different Mod maps. It isn’t hard to see why many musicians happily paid $250 for this thing.
We essentially have 3 main view modes for the UI: Browse, Simple and Advanced. Along the bottom of the easy-to-use Browser, you’ll find some of Alchemy’s macro controls (known as Perform), the Effects bank and and its 4-way Arpeggiator:
The Effects bank is filled with excellent sounding reverbs, delays, distortions, compressors and more, of which we can load up to 16 per patch. We are also seeing the return of what was already one of the best arpeggiators out there. There are 4 completely discreet Arpeggiators for each of the synth’s parts, each with various mode, pattern and timing controls, along with micro level editing on a note-by-note basis.
A few quick notes to keep in mind after downloading the new update:
Alchemy will appear in your list with a bunch of great sounds after downloading the new Logic update. But if you go up to the “Download Additional Content…” option in the Logic Pro X menu up top, you’ll find a few more. And by a few more I mean nearly 15GBs worth of free content, expanding Alchemy’s library to about 3,100 presets. Boom!
Those who were using Alchemy before Apple snatched it up, you can still use all your legacy presets. It looks just about everything from the Camel release is loading up inside Apple’s version. And lastly, while I’m still a fan of the aging, lightweight EXS 24 sampler, you’ll be able to get some more mileage out of its sampler instruments by loading them up inside of Alchemy’s sampling engines.
All-in-all, I can’t say I am overly surprised Camel’s work is starting to appear in LPX, but a full blown and fine-tuned version of Alchemy for free is pretty amazing. From the wavetable style options, plethora of filter types and what might be some of the most interesting and unique sample manipulation tools I have ever used, it’s hard to believe it’s in Logic for free now.
You can get a full break down of what the rest of the Logic Pro X 10.2 update had to offer here and Apple has some great audio examples up as part of the new Alchemy section of its site.
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This is the place to catch up on all the biggest product announcements, hardware, apps, synths, Logic/GarageBand instruments and so much more in the world of iOS/Mac music production. This week we have a new audio mangler from Audio Damage, major updates to Korg Gadget for Mac, the release of the latest Elektron drum machine and much more…Audio Damage releases the new Grind audio mangler for Mac
Audio Damage is one of those sleeper companies (for some people anyway) that makes incredible virtual audio processing plug-ins unlike any other. Automaton, Kombinat and the incredible Replicant are just a few its amazing, and very affordable products. The company recently debuted its latest audio mangler known as Grind. Described as a “true powerhouse of audio warfare” it can handle everything from “subtle tube-style saturation to full-on mangled wavetable distortion”.
Grind consists of three main blocks: wavetable lookup, in to algorithmic saturation/distortion/, and finally to a multi-mode filter. The wavetable module uses the amplitude of the incoming signal to replace the sample with one from 15 different linearly-interpolated wavetables, chosen for their mangling potential. Window size and phase controls provide further tone-shaping possibilities.
Grind is available now in all major formats for all major DAWs at $49
Korg drops major update for Gadget along with free light version
It was great news when Korg brought its quirky and powerful Gadget instrument platform over to the Mac. And now the company is offering a free intro version known as Gadget Le which comes with a trimmed down selection of Gadgets (“five standard gadgets and tracks.”). This is perfect for anyone interested in the instruments but want to give them a test run before dropping $199 on the full version.
The complete version of Gadget also received a pretty major update that is free to existing users:
Milpitas gadget added.
Preview sound of gadgets added.
Improved the display behavior when switching tracks.
Improved the MIDI channel for Darwin by enabling Omni reception.
Various other adjustments to improve stability and ease of use have been done.
Elektron Digitakt Drum Machine and Sampler Now Shipping!
The latest hardware gadget from Elektron, Digitakt, is now shipping and available for purchase. The $679 digital drum beast will soon be fully Overbridge compatible, which means it will work seamlessly with Logic Pro X (any major DAW) on the Mac. We already gave you a full rundown of how Overbridge works in our hands-on review of Elektron’s Analog Heat, and you can expect a full review of Digitakt as soon as the Mac integration is up and running!
Check out Cenk, the Elektron grand master, get busy in the video above.
More: Logic Pros Review: The ‘Unique’ virtual analog synth and wild vowel filter comes to iOS Logic Pros: How to send MIDI from Logic Pro X to iOS synths wirelessly The best MIDI keyboards for Mac and Logic Pro 2023 Edition
ICYMI: Here’s all of the biggest news and updates from last week…
The Logic Pros are: Justin Kahn and Jordan Kahn, who also front Toronto-based electronic/hip-hop group Makamachine.
Want more Logic Pros? Check out the archives here and stay tuned for a new installment each week in 2023.
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It hardly needs to be said but storing and maintaining the integrity of your operating system, personal information, and personal files is basic to data management. While disasters are rare in Linux, protecting your data from system crashes, corrupt files, and lost or stolen computers is still an absolute necessity.
Backing up your files protects your data from corruption and restores your data in the unlikely event that something does go wrong. Linux makes file backups easy for new users to its platform. Whether you want to put the whole thing on auto-pilot or manage the nitty-gritty elements of a back-up file by file or folder by folder, Linux has the capacity to deliver accurate backups with a high degree of customization.
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In Linux, back-ups can be performed via external drives, internal partitions – or both. They can be zipped and compressed, or synced in real-time, file by file and bi-directionally.
Below are several ways you can automate file backups in Linux.Use Dropbox
One popular cloud storage platform is Dropbox. It will host and sync your data across multiple devices.
There is a free version that allows 2GB of free storage. You also have the option to upgrade if you need more.
Below are the simple steps to install Dropbox for Ubuntu 18.04. To use the Dropbox installer, you first need to install GDebi.
First, open Terminal and type:$ sudo apt-get install gdebi
This will install GDebi which you need to run the Dropbox Installation. Now download Dropbox from the official site. Select the appropriate package for your Linux Desktop.
If you did not install GDebi first, you can use this command to manually install Dropbox in Terminal.$ sudo gdebi dropbox_2023.10.28_amd64.deb
When the download is complete, exit out of the pop-up box. The Dropbox login page will automatically open in your web browser.
If you already have a Dropbox account, log in. If you don’t, sign up for one.
The installation process will put a folder on your Ubuntu desktop called Dropbox. The data in this folder will be synced across all the devices where you have installed Dropbox, as well as the Dropbox website.
If you want to, you can also create subfolders that will also be saved in the same hierarchy to your online account.Bacula
Bacula is one of the most popular and widely used Linux recovery and backup solutions. It is open source and enables users to:
Verify data across networks.
Recover damaged or lost files quickly.
With Bacula, you can run it entirely on one computer and backup your data to other types of media, such as disk and tape. It is efficient and relatively easy-to-use. Bacula is scalable because of its modular design and works on a single computer as well as an extensive network with hundreds of machines.
Bacula doesn’t require intervention as it is an automated task once it is configured via a web interface, command line console, or GUI.
To learn how to install Bacula, read the Bacula Community Installation Guide.FlyBack Software
FlyBack is a software program that backs up and restores your files. It is a snapshot tool based on rsync (a command for copying and synchronizing directories and files both locally and remotely.)
The functionality is similar to the Mac OS Time Machine by creating successive backup directories that mirror the files you want to backup.
It also hard-links unchanged files to your previous backup. Using Flyback, users won’t waste disk space while at the same time it enables them to have access to their files without a recovery program.
If you backup to an external drive and your computer crashes, you can move the external drive to a new device. Using any browser, you can then copy your latest backup.
Some of the features include the ability to:
Schedule multiple backups.
Automatically run selective backups.
Schedule when to automatically delete old backups.
Have control over the location of the backup as well as what to include or exclude.
Scan your directory structure during a backup process.
Back up any directory to any location including an external disk.
Learn how to install and use FlyBack to automatically back up your files in Linux.Relax-and-Recover
Also called ReaR, Relax-and-Recover is a tool to back up your files on Linux. It is true to its name in that once you install and set it up, there is nothing else you need to do. The backing up and restoring of your files are done automatically.
The set-up is easy, and there is no need to perform maintenance. Both home users and Enterprise users can benefit from ReaR.
Use the Quickstart Guide to try Relax-and-Recover.fwbackups
Another free and open-source tool is fwbackups. It is simple yet powerful, enabling you to perform backups easily.
Schedule backups to remote computers and never worry about losing data. Some of its many features include:
Flexible backup configuration.
A simple interface.
The ability to backup all your files.
Excluding directories or files from being backed up.
Fwbackups’ free and open-source software is cross-platform and full of rich features. It’s simple and intuitive interface enables you to back up your files easily.
No, the new MacBook (and its single USB-C) isn’t for everyone
More controversial than the keyboard, more divisive than the battery life: the thing that’s causing the greatest number of arguments about the new Retina MacBook is its paucity of ports. A single USB-C on the left side of the notebook isn’t, as Vincent observed in our own review of the 2023 MacBook, a deal breaker, but not everyone is quite so ready to be convinced. It’s a legitimate concern, even if in the grand history of tech it’s not a new one.
Apple’s minimalism is partly a side-effect of trying to build the skinniest, most power-sipping laptop possible, and another part “Grand Scheme” thinking. Sure, a second USB-C – a technology which can handle not only data, but hook up displays and even charge the MacBook – would’ve been a nice addition, but that’s just how the Cupertino designers and engineers made it.
So, you live with it, or you buy something else.
Living with it involves dongles and adapters, at least during the transition period. I’m not so worried about cost per-se – since USB-C is an industry-wide standard, not something any one company controls, I don’t have concerns of price-gouging – and I think that the standardization means we’ll see faster adoption than, say, Lightning or even Thunderbolt.
Dongles may not be the most elegant aspect of mobile computing, but in many ways they’re unavoidable. I currently carry around a 15-inch MacBook Pro, and always have a Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter in my bag: sure, most of the time WiFi is sufficient, but there’ll occasionally be a point where a wired connection is faster, more practical, or simply the only option.
Am I ready to do the same for the outgoing USB port? At first glance it’s hard to imagine, though when I really think about it, there’s a limited number of things I’m found commonly plugging in. USB sticks and an SD card from my camera are probably the most frequent.
On the desktop, meanwhile, I rely on an iMac rather than plugging my MacBook Pro into an external monitor. Dropbox and other cloud services keep all of my files up to date across both machines. If I use a mouse, it’s Bluetooth not wired.
Most galling then, personally speaking, is the fact that Apple doesn’t include even the USB-C to USB adapter in the box. That seems a little miserly, to ask an extra $19 on top of a $1,299+ laptop, when it’s frankly impossible to imagine any MacBook buyer not needing to plug at least one old-school USB device in.
After all, right now there’s no such thing as a USB to Lightning cable, so even Apple’s own phones and tablets need a dongle if you’re not content with a wireless link.
Am I a niche user considering a laptop made for niche users? Certainly. For me, a dongle or two in my bag is preferable to a heavier computer overall. I’m not saying that’ll be the case for you, but I can weigh the compromises involved and decide that, like giving up on optical media, I’m at a place where I can make the leap to USB-C and all that entails.
Make no mistake, though, this is the direction Apple is headed, and other products will only fall in line in future. Just as earlier Macs did away with optical drives, and slimmed the number of ports down in favor of multifunctional ones like USB, so the chase for “one socket to rule them all” is almost certain to spread across the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and onto the desktop.
Is the new MacBook the laptop for you? Possibly not if, as Vincent pointed out, you have a bag or desk full of legacy devices you want to hook up. The lessons Apple learns from it will proliferate through the Mac range, though; USB-C specifically is meanwhile showing up on machines from other manufacturers already, so even if you’re not an OS X fan it’ll be something you need to consider eventually.
Early adoption isn’t for everybody. Neither is it always headache or compromise free. It’s the reason why the new MacBook sits alongside – rather than replacing – the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro: some people will buy it, but nowhere near every Mac lover. Happily, a little patience and many more will get to enjoy the fruits of Apple’s research.
Wearable computing is not exactly new, but the concept has been refined over the decades.
The definition of wearable computers has evolved over time, much like how the definition of “smartphones” has changed.
Wearable tech has mostly involved head-mounted displays and wrist-mounted user-interfaces like watches.
Wearable computing is no longer reserved for uber-geeks, especially with Google Glass and smartwatches now going mainstream.
These user interfaces are not just reserved for mobile computing, but also for other purposes, like accessibility, learning, research and navigation.
The earlier years of the new millennium weren’t as productive in the field of wearable computing as today. No major milestones were reached, but there were a few systems created in the pursuit of wearable computing. Nevertheless, the Tinmith wearable computer by Dr. Bruce H. Thomas and Dr. Wayne Piekarski was introduced in 2000 at the ISWC conference. It was a system created to support research in augmented reality.
Sacha Chua in the early 2000s with a Twiddler one-handed keyboard and an M1 head-mounted display. (Photo: John Chua)
In 2002, Xybernaut’s Poma Wearable PC was introduced. It won an award from a tech magazine but did not find commercial success. In 2003, the Fossil Wrist PDA was released, running on Palm OS 4 and offering MicroUSB to PC synchronization. Moreover, the W200 wearable computer from Glacier Computer was introduced in 2009. It was designed to run either Windows CE or the Linux operating systems. It featured a touch color display with a 320×240 resolution, backlit keyboard, and integrated wired and wireless connectivity including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS. The W200 was designed for emergency services, field logistics, and security and defense purposes.
After the rise of the smartphones, wearable computing technology has jumped on the “smart” bandwagon to come up with a counterpart or complementary device: the smartwatch. Wristwatches have adopted new technologies to do more than just displaying time and date. They now come with significantly better displays, connectivity, and software that match those of smartphones. The definition for a smartwatch, however, is quite ambiguous. There are no well-established standards as to what qualifies as a real smartwatch. Nevertheless, among major international manufacturers, it is Sony that introduced the world’s first smartwatch in what the company aptly but uncreatively calls the Sony SmartWatch. This smartwatch does its job as a wristwatch and pairs with a smartphone to offer a number of functions like viewing social media feeds, reading text messages, receiving notifications, and serving as a remote control for a smartphone. Sony’s smartwatch fits the bill on what can be the ideal wrist-worn device.
Of course, before Sony outed its own smartwatch, there were a number of smaller companies that already came up with their own versions of the device. Chinese manufacturers have already developed wristwatches that were capable of making calls and accessing the Internet even before the Japanese electronics giant introduced its smartwatch. These devices left a lot to be desired in terms of quality and reliability, but they were already able to implement the concept of a wristwatch that can make calls, receive text messages, process information, make calculations, and access the web. Other players in the consumer electronics field are widely believed to be in the final stages of developing their own versions of the smartwatch. Apple, for instance, has already applied for an “iWatch” patent in Japan and beyond. Qualcomm is expected to launch the Zola smartwatch in September. Intel is reported to be experimenting with smartwatch product. A Samsung VP confirmed that it is currently working on a smartwatch. Google is also rumored to be developing a smartwatch based on the Android operating system. However, it is a group of college students from India that could be considered the first to launch a smartwatch that offers the full features of the Android OS, also capable of making calls and taking photos. This £150 ($227) smartwatch is called Androidly and offers Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi connectivity. Other smartwatches worth mentioning are the Pebble Watch, MotoActv and WIMM One. Pebble Watch is a smartwatch developed by Pebble Technology under a crowd-funded model launched on Kickstarter. It features a 144×168 pixel 1.26-inch low power memory LCD display more commonly referred to as an “e-paper.” The MotoActv is Motorola’s version of a smartwatch that comes with a 600 MHz OMAP3 ARMv7 CPU, 256 MB of RAM, 8 GB flash memory, and Bluetooth connectivity. It also has an FM tuner and runs on Android. Its display is a 1.6-inch capacitive multi-touch LCD with a resolution of 220×176. WIMM One, on the other hand, runs on a modified version of Android and features a transflective bi-modal screen, 3-axis magnetometer, 3-axis accelerometer, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and USB connectivity.
Google Glass and other “eyewear computers”
Fortunately or unfortunately, there isn’t a generic term yet for this new type of mass market wearable computer pioneered by Google. (While Google is certainly not the first ones to design a wearable device in the form of glasses, they are the first ones who have successfully garnered enough mainstream interest.) Google Glass would seem to establish a new kind consumer electronics device distinguished by its integration of an optical head-mounted display, augmented reality, camera, web access, and voice-based interaction.
Forget glasses. Innovega’s iOptiks plans to embed an Augmented Reality system right into contact lenses. I’m thinking of MI: Ghost Protocol right now.
Aside from being considered a wearable computer, Google Glass is also categorized as an “ubiquitous” computer — mainly because it is meant to be used both actively and passively. Some of the device’s notable features are 5 MP camera with 720p HD video recording, touchpad input, a 640×360 display, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer, ambient light sensing, and a bone conduction transducer. It has an OMAP 4430 dual-core CPU and runs on the Android operating system. A number of companies are expected to release their Google Glass counterpart devices. One of them is Scope Technologies, which has partnered with Epson in developing a computer-assisted eyewear dubbed as an “augmented reality training system.” Another possible rival is the Spark from Seebright. Spark is a head-mounted device intended to provide an immersive experience by allowing its user to look into the small details of an object being examined or to see different points of view. Innovega, on the other hand, is embarking on a more ambitious goal of developing a contact lens that presents images right on top of a user’s eye to enhance normal vision. Then there’s also Vuzix, which has been touted as one of the bigger potential competitors against Google Glass.
Technologies that improve wearable computers
What do we need wearable computers for?
I would have wanted to write this part in an earlier paragraph. However, considering how wearable technology has been progressing, it would seem more appropriate to somewhat use this enumeration of purposes as a summary after examining the development of wearable computers through the years. Wearable computers have doubtlessly become significantly better since they were conceptualized before the 1980s. They are expected to achieve near-perfection and possibly undergo another technological revolution in the years to come. Therefore, wearable computers are expected to be more useful in serving the scope of purposes listed below:
Enabling ubiquitous computing and wireless communications
Assisting visually-impaired and hard-of-hearing individuals in interacting with their environment
Aiding deaf-mutes in communicating with other people
Recording and documenting activities, processes, and events (especially for scientists, or perhaps intelligence agents)
Accessing and sharing information quickly and wirelessly
Making computations and preparing electronic documents on-the-go
Schedules setting and tracking
Capturing and sharing textual, audio, and visual data
Interacting with or controlling other electronic devices
Facilitating learning and instruction
Even with Google Glass expected to go mainstream soon, we’re only hitting the tip of the iceberg in terms of the potential of wearable computing, especially with how quickly development has accelerated compared to the previous decades. In the future, instead of smartphones and tablets, perhaps we will all be plugged into the cloud through our eyeglasses, watches and even our clothes. Isn’t this an exciting time we live in?
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