Ableton’s Link available in beta.

Ableton is developing a new technology, Link, that is available now to test as part of the latest Live beta release, Live 9.5.1 beta.

What is Link?
Link allows you to play in time with multiple instances of Live and a growing number of iOS apps. It syncs devices’ timing over a wireless network, so you can forget the hassle of setting up and jam with others as freely as a live band.
Anyone can start and stop their part while others keep playing. And anyone can adjust the tempo and the rest will follow. No MIDI cables, no installation, just free-flowing sync that works.

KUMU: A toolset designed to dismantle complexity.

Kumu – Hawaiian for “teacher”, or “source of wisdom” – is a web-based relationship modeling environment for developing network and systems thinking diagrams.

In the video you can see the ability to import data from Excel. The graphics look good, but the sample projects I’ve seen focus on customer relationship management. The manifesto offers a lot of philosophy about how to save (or at least change) the world,

We are Kumu — a small startup and an ambitious community changing the world one connection at a time.

so I doubt if it will be useful for my personal Shih-project.
However, as usual when I learn about a new information management system, I already signed up. 🙂

A Visual History of Human Knowledge

Via Ted:

How does knowledge grow? Sometimes it begins with one insight and grows into many branches; other times it grows as a complex and interconnected network. Infographics expert Manuel Lima explores the thousand-year history of mapping data — from languages to dynasties — using trees and networks of information. It’s a fascinating history of visualizations, and a look into humanity’s urge to map what we know.

Redux: a new VST/AU plugin from Renoise

Redux is a performance-oriented sampler and phrase sequencer for Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) and other plugin hosts on Windows, OSX and Linux. From what I understand it is still a tracker, like Renoise itself, but instead of working with patterns, it works with phrases, mapped on notes. These notes than can be sequenced in a standard piano roll of a DAW. So basically it is Renoise for other DAWs, like Ableton Live. I think Redux in Ableton will give you the best of two worlds 🙂

From the Renoise Forum:

Redux will be an instrument plugin (VST on Windows, OSX and Linux – Audio Unit on OSX – all in 32 and 64 bit flavors), which brings the sample-mangling and pattern hacking capabilities of Renoise to any DAW which is capable of hosting VST or AU plugins. Redux is NOT intended to be Renoise as a plugin – we have ReWire for that – but it has been developed based on Renoises’s new sampler and phrases to be an instrument. Redux has its own identity, and is more like Renoise’s little brother.

This means that, without resorting to tricks like Rewire, the sample-mangling capabilities of Renoise will soon be available to any DAW, too. We hope this is useful for everyone to try out the Renoise tracking workflow without leaving your favorite DAW, or for Renoise users to bring your Renoise way of composing into other DAWs. Any instruments created in Renoise will be fully compatible with Redux, and vice versa.

Although Redux’s core functionality is more or less complete, we want to give it more time for fine-tuning, and give it some more attention before we release it. Renoise 3, on the other hand, is already ready for beta testing, so we decided to concentrate on the Renoise 3 release first, then we’ll start testing Redux at a later date.

Redux’s price will be around 50 EUR.

The Art of CRIMPing

What is CRIMP ?
A definition by Stephen Zeoli:

CRIMP stands for a make-believe malady called compulsive-reactive information management purchasing.
Symptoms include:
– never being satisfied with your current system of information management
– continuously being on the look-out for something newer and better
– purchasing every new PIM program you learn about
– and secretly hoping you won’t find the perfect PIM, because then you’d have to stop looking for a better one

The first two symptoms really apply to me, the third only partially – I actually test every PIM (= Personal Information Manager) I learn about, but I am lucky that my financial means are limited, so I can’t buy all the candy in the store.
And, concerning the last symptom: since I am an information freak, I definitely hope to find the perfect PIM, to store and access all information I gather, for life.
My goal: becoming nothing less than a Master of Shih. (Shih = the aesthetics and beauty of knowledge).
MindMapping sounds like a good idea, but it is only there to represent a limited amount of knowledge, e.g. a book or article. It is great for brainstorming or memorizing a speech you are going to give, because you can always find your way in the information you want to deliver to your audience, without being bound by your own preparation. But it is too limited for getting the overall picture of the System of the World.
I’ve tried the TiddlyWiki system, which is an interesting effort to develop a non-linear, portable notebook with tagging and hyperlinking. It works on a thumb drive, but as your Tiddly grows, it slows down because it is actually a single html page.
Another system is ConnectedText, that also combines the advantages of a TiddlyWiki with portability, but looks more like a personal Wiki-system.
Until now The Brain is my favorite PIM, because it has the idea of MindMapping, but with more flexibility in adding and connecting branches of information, combined with tagging and hyperlinking. The Brain is also there in a portable version, but it also possible to store your Brains in the cloud, so you can access them everywhere on your tablet. You can even edit your brain on your tablet, but since my brains are quite large, this is a bit of a challenge.
The OmniOutliner-app works fine for outlining a book, exporting as OPML and importing it in The Brain so you can combine linear note-taking with non-linear linking with other information. But, for me, it doesn’t work to read a book or e-book with my iPad next to me. Old fashioned as I am, I like to take notes in my note-books. A few years ago I switched from Moleskines to LiveScribe. The LiveScribe notebooks have the look of Moleskine, but writing with the LiveScribe never felt good, although it was a welcome feature that I could export a completed notebook to pdf.
Now my LiveScribe pen doesn’t work anymore. I am thinking about buying a new one, but probably I should see it as an opportunity to go back to the good old handwriting with a 4-color pen, like I used before.
Especially since I came across the interesting W. Ross Ashby Digital Archive via a post on the TiddlyWiki mailinglist. His archive of 25 NoteBooks and his two card index systems made me feel sorry about destroying my own card system that I maintained for indexing choral music many years ago. (IRL I’m a choral conductor). My system not only used two alphabetical systems (one on composers, one on song titles), but also worked with colors (in the first system for mixed, male or female choir, and with or without accompaniment; in the second system colors for special use like Christmas, Eastern, love-songs, etc), that made it easy to consult and find the repertoire I needed for scheduling the concert. I expected computers and the internet to not only replace my card cabinets (and thus creating some space in my house, already cluttered up with books and magazines, but also to make it easier to index and retrieve the choral music I was looking for.

What a huge mistake.

W. Ross Ashby’s archive – a mère a boire – inspired me to value the card index again. But going back to paper file cards is no longer an option. Two programs for a digital file card (“Zettelkasten”) system are there: the iPad app “Index Card” (especially popular with writers, because it integrates with the Mac-version of the Scrivener software. The other one is Zettelkasten. Free and portable, unfortunately not available for your tablet, yet. And, biggest annoyance, the two programs don’t talk to each other. Both are good, but you cannot export your Index Card-cards to a format Zettelkasten can read.

A good introduction on using the Zettelkasten-system is written by Christian Tietze: Create a Zettelkasten for your Notes to Improve Thinking and Writing. At this page you can find some other programs, but unfortunately most of them are written for the Mac.

So, for now: back to basics: manually note-taking with 4-color pen and Moleskine, transferring it into Zettelkasten, The Brain and ConnectText.

Hojoki is shutting down

That’s the problem with all those new companies: you never know how long they will last and are able to maintain their service.
Almost a year ago I wrote about the then-new service Springpad. It was gone before I got a chance to learn how to use it. I am glad I didn’t leave Evernote for it, although I think Evernote could use some competition.

Now Hojoki is shutting down.

I liked it and it worked for me. But, I must admit, I used it only to automate notifying me about facts I posted myself somewhere on the web, so it was more a kind of Logging system focusing on my scientific work.

So, I hope Diigo will be around for some years, it has some features I miss in Evernote. And Tresorit. Great product for cloud storage, but with only a small group of users and thus difficult to integrate with other services on your tablet.

The lesson is: Redundancy Rules. You never know how long your data are safe, so I use as much similar services as I can.

Jupiter Ascending

I can’t wait until Andy and Lana Wachowskis’ “Jupiter Ascending” will be released – 24 July 2014 in The Netherlands. The trailers look spectacular – even though the first “Official Teaser Trailer” was rather short.

Now there is a longer trailer that shows more scenes, but of course it is all to put our patience to a test and make us hungry for the real thing.

Here is the storyline:

Jupiter Jones was born under a night sky, with signs predicting that she was destined for great things. Now grown, Jupiter dreams of the stars but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning toilets and an endless run of bad breaks. Only when Caine, a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along – her genetic signature marks her as next in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the cosmos.

But let’s be honest: I don’t care at all what the story is about – the movie is about the effects, the gear, the amazing visuals and, probably, the cool fight scenes.
Finally two other small pieces of dog food that are thrown to us: two posters that were just released.

That should suffice to keep us alive until the whole meal is being served.

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