Computers: February 2004 Archives

Speaking of MIDI Software ...

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MidiPipe is way cool. You can basically filter all your MIDI data in various ways: like restrict the velocity to a certain range, reroute channels, split the keyboard between multiple channels, etc.

The main place I wanted to use this is with some of the bass guitar sounds in GarageBand. If you have maximum velocity (or close to it), the played note "slides" up to the actual note, for a kinda cool effect, but I don't want that effect, so I clip the velocity at about 120, and I don't get it ... in theory. GB just accepts all data coming in over MIDI, so MidiPipe apparently doesn't work with it. I'm still working on a way.

So to play around with this, I used Mighty MIDI to play a MIDI file to MidiPipe Input 1, then added in my pipes (Midi In, then Velocity Modifier, then Midi Out ... you can stack as many pipes as you want), then ran SimpleSynth, setting it to receive its data via MidiPipe Output 1.

I didn't even have to set the instruments in SimpleSynth, it just played the programs that Mighty MIDI told it to play.

Mac-Glue-1.17 Released

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Mac-Glue-1.17 has been released. Download it from the CPAN or

(Note: it may take time for the release to propagate to the various download mirrors.)

* v1.17, Wednesday, February 18, 2004
   Added option to target by PID, explicit option to target by
   bundle ID; cleaned up docs. (has)
   Only allow data type to be set to typeUnicodeText if Encode
   is available.
   Don't include BOM in UTF-16 data (use big-endian instead).
   (Bill Birkett)
   Fix documentation on ERRORS handler, and handling of error
   description.  Add error code (e.g., "errAEDescNotFound").
   Add an optional default ERRORS handler (setting it to a value
   of 1).
   Added typeLongDateTime (convert to/from Mac OS); added
   Time::Epoch. (Lars Eggert)
   Make AE records guess better at types.
   Export %MacErrors in addition to $MacError.
   No longer use Mac::Path::Util; we only used the module to
   convert from Unix to Mac paths, and we sucked those few
   lines we needed from it into Mac::Files.
   Fix incorrect printing of some debugging information when
   debugging was not on.
   Fix some spurious warnings.
   Make folder class work like file in %AE_PUT.
   Added getdata() method to fetch the data in a returned
   AEObjDesc (see docs).

Posted using release by brian d foy.
Mac-AppleEvents-Simple-1.11 has been released. Download it from the CPAN or

(Note: it may take time for the release to propagate to the various download mirrors.)

* v1.11, Wednesday, February 18, 2004
   Added typeComp (coerce to float).
   Added typeLongDateTime (convert to/from Mac OS); added Time::Epoch.
   (Lars Eggert)

Posted using release by brian d foy.

Mac-Carbon-0.64 Released

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Mac-Carbon-0.64 has been released. Download it from the CPAN or

(Note: it may take time for the release to propagate to the various download mirrors.)

* v0.64, 18 February 2004
   *Export* typeApplicationBundleID target type constant.
   Remove Mac::Path::Util dependence and add _Unix2Mac to Mac::Files instead.

Posted using release by brian d foy.

MIDI Over My Head

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I have been playing much music lately (especially check out Sunshine, recorded with my sub-2-year-old daughter on vocals). I had an old Yamaha YPR-9 keyboard that I did MIDI stuff on, but it was kinda crummy. I wanted something smaller and more flexible. So I got an Oxygen8 MIDI controller, a 25-key controller with modulation and pitch wheels, and a programmable slider and 8 knobs.

The only downside to it is that it has no internal synth, so I can't use it unless it's connected to something else. But I don't want GarageBand running in the background 24/7, eating up my memory and CPU. Enter SimpleSynth. It's lightweight and just does the right thing. The default sounds are just Apple's built-in non-GarageBand crummy sounds, but I just use it to bang out some tunes here and there, not for real work.

Other recommended MIDI software for Mac OS X includes the aforementioned Dent du MIDI for converting MIDI files to a form GarageBand can import, and MIDI Keys for turning your computer keyboard into a MIDI controller.

Fair Trade

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I was hoping I would see this movie and say, it's a great movie for anyone to watch. I was hoping it would do a great job of putting the movie in its proper historical context, of showing what it really meant to America at the time.

It tried to do that, but it just didn't succeed. The majority of people who are not sports fans who see this movie will come away thinking it was the Mighty Ducks vs. Russia.

I did like the movie, but I was hoping for something a bit more. It told the story of a legendary coach, a great team, and their against-all-odds victory, and it told it well. The acting and action were excellent. The movie flowed well. It was exciting, entertaining, and even uplifting.

But while the movie is based on a great story --one of my favorites -- its form isn't all that unique. David beats Goliath, and does it with team chemistry and hard work. We see it all the time, and it is a wonderful story, but what really sets this story apart is the surrounding context, and I just don't think it was really nailed. It is certainly mentioned -- the opening titles focuesd solely on American history of the six years prior to the events in the movie -- but it was mostly lip service.

Well, there was the one scene where the assistant coach and team doctor are waiting in line for gas, and every once in awhile someone mentions how this is more than just a hockey game, or how Americans really needed something to feel good about, etc. But I didn't really feel it, I didn't experience it like I wanted to.

So, I like it and recommend it to anyone who wants to see it, and I will surely buy the DVD, but I am just disappointed, as I think it could have been better.

Wrist Surgery

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Back in early October I hurt my wrist (probably playing hockey), and after two trips to the family doctor, one to an orthopedist, three x-rays, one MRI, and then a trip to a wrist specialist, it's been determined that I have damage to the TFCC (cartilage between ulna and hand) in my left wrist.

The symptoms are primarily a nagging, constant pain that I could possibly live with, but also include signficantly reduced strength and increased susceptibility to significant pain, when twisting or lifting. Plus, I can't type for as many hours in the day as I used to.

Possible treatments include waiting for it to heal (it's been over 4 months), cortizone (not permanent), arthroscopy, and osteotomy.

Osteotomy would involve removing a section from the ulna, shortening it (my ulna is a couple mm too long, which may have predisposed me to the injury, and shortening it might relieve the pain and also help prevent further injury). It would also be a significant surgery that would lay me up for months.

The clear winner here is arthroscopy. They want to try to repair it, but that's usually not an option for this type of injury: first, because it's been so long and the tissue probably can't be repaired, and second, because it's in the center of the cartilage, so it is hard to get to for repair. So, they'll likely remove the damaged portion. From what I understand, I'll take 1-2 weeks off from using it for typing, and another 2-3 months for full recovery, and return to hockey.

Surgery's scheduled for March 12. I go out to a Slashdot meeting in MI on March 18 anyway, so that gives me a little more time to not type.

MIDI ... Old School

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I wanted to work some with an old song I did in '92, using Electronic Arts Deluxe Recorder. So I pulled out the old LCII, found the file on one of the hundreds of old floppies I had lying around (it's a good thing I was anal about labelling things), copied it from floppy to the hard drive, popped in the DRecorder floppy, opened the file (man, that screen shot makes the software seem so ... old), and saved it as a Format 0 MIDI file.

So far, so good. Now, how to get it to another computer? One option would be to copy it to a floppy that the Linux box can read, since it's the only machine on my network with a floppy drive, but I don't have the software, that I know of, on this old LCII box. I do have a LocalTalk (PhoneNet)-to-Ethernet adapter, but for some reason that just wasn't working. The AppleTalk wasn't getting from one computer to another.

So I pulled out an old Power Mac 7100/66. This computer was my main axe for years, but now it is in a bit of disrepair. I couldn't get DRecorder working on it (the software was built for System 6, and it's running Mac OS 9), but I could copy the file via floppy, and then copy it to the Mac OS X Server box via AFP. Of course, to get the floppy in, I had to pull the cover off the computer, because it doesn't quite line up with the case ... so now I have computer parts and cables strewn all ove the room, but all in the name of art, right?

This has convinced me I need a USB floppy drive. You can get them for under $40, and I have a ton of floppies lying around, some of them with important old data from school etc.

And it worked; I got my MIDI file, and using Dent du Midi I got all five tracks imported into GarageBand. Now I've just got to clean it up in GB and play with it, which will take some time. I just wanted to get the data now while I still have my wrist.

Oh yeah, I should mention my wrist ... next entry.

Mixed Messages

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Two spam subjects I just got, back to back in my inbox:

Re: You still look the same!
Re: You look great!

Well, which is it?


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In Mac::Glue, I have some code to automatically convert text to UTF-16 if typeUnicodeText (utxt) is expected. It uses Encode, and it seems to work fine for stuff like setting the iChat status message.

But when a user tried to send Unicode text to Adobe Photoshop CS, it failed. Hm.

After some experimentation, I found that if I sent the text without the BOM, using UTF-16BE to encode (big-endian is assumed without it ... though I am not sure if it will work that way should Mac OS ever run on a little-endian platform), it worked.

I found a technote describing how some apps couldn't handle the BOM when it was placed on the clipboard. I guess some apps have trouble with it in Apple events too, which is why I found that utxt data created by AppleScript and the like doesn't have the BOM either.

Not Joining Orkut Now

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Going To 11

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Because I can! Just a simple trip to Interface Builder for /Applications/
<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Computers category from February 2004.

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