Music Notation Software and the iPad

One aspect of the the iPad that seems to be missing just yet is the ability to do really good music notation. It seems that this would be a perfect medium for scoring, but as of yet, the magic is still to arrive.

One notable exception is Symphony Pro, which is not bad but still has a way to go. For now, it’s the leader… but where are the big 3? Where is Finale, Sibelius and MuseScore?

The following is a repost from Dan Gurney at the Concert Window blog which asks the same questions. It seems demand is growing.

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iPad Blog

Onswipe & FlipboardI host my blog on WordPress.com and they have come up with a pretty cool plugin for the iPad. Onswipe is a new theme that automatically gives your blog an app-like appearance… but only when viewed from an iPad.

If you have an iPad and are reading this blog, then you know what I’m talking about. For those of you not yet into the tablet world, Onswipe presents your blog entries in a series of windows. Tap on a window and your post expands into a pop-up-like frame that shows the post with attractive formatting, including pictures, videos, or whatever you’ve embedded. It is somewhat like Flipboard for the iPad. But again, if you don’t have Flipbooard, then you don’t know what I mean.

Speaking of which, I highly encourage iPad owners to get Flipboard. It allows you to enter your social networks and specify your interests. It then creates a magazine-like presentation that you flip through. It does an amazing job of identifying what I want to see. I spend more time on Flipboard than most anything else on the iPad. Check it out.

My Little iPad Review

iPad2I am typing this post on my new iPad2. I suppose this would be my official review.

Overall, I am amazed. This is simply an incredible piece of technology. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve most likely read multiple reviews by others and have heard all the neat features available on the iPad. Therefore, I will not spend time telling you what it does. I will focus on my experience. I will start with a grade of 100 (because this thing is stinking amazing) and go from there.

First off… the keyboard. I remember reading a review by Andy Ihnatko when the iPad first came out 9 months ago. His words of encouragement were to “trust the keyboard.” Now that I have one, I understand what he means. I am able to type quite fast and the OS is able to correct most of what I do incorrectly. The only real gripe I have is that my lazy right pinkie keeps hitting the return key. But that is more my problem than the keyboard’s. Still, deduct 1 point. 99.

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iPad 2

Yup, I’m a fanboy. Pour me some lemonade. I’ll drink whatever Stevey boy is dishin’ out.

So, unless you live in lower Alabganistashola, you’ve probably heard that Apple introduced the iPad 2 this morning. I did not buy the first iPad, even though I wanted one pretty badly. A combination of stay-away-from-first-editions and a lack of funds kept me out.

Fortunately, it looks like I’ll be able to jump into the fray with the iPad 2. Watching the video, it seems to be a big iPhone 4, minus the phone part. I anticipate using the hound out of it.

I’ll let you know how it goes when I get it. This is where I smile real big.

Pimp my iPhone #1

If you’ve followed my blogging, you’ll remember I’ve posted a couple of articles called “Pimp my Mac.” I recently purchased an iPhone and have been busily attempting to fill it up with apps. I figured I might as well talk about the good ones. I’ve mentioned a few on Facebook. I’ll probably post more here, since my blog is echoed on FB as well.

Today, I bought an app called TrueHDR. For those of you unfamiliar with the term “HDR”, it stands for High Dynamic Range and refers to a photographic process in which a series of photographs are merged together. Usually, a minimum of three shots are taken, one at normal exposure, one slightly over exposed and one slightly under exposed (real photogs will quibble at my choice of terms, but this is the easy explanation). These three (or five or however many you wish to use) are woven together within your software of choice to provide a much more detailed photograph than is usually possible.

The iPhone has never been able to provide HDR shots, since the camera/phone cannot change Fstop and exposure settings. Most of the HDR apps available just mess with the saturation levels and call it HDR. TrueHDR is different. This little app utilizes the tap-to-focus feature of the 3.0 software in the iPhone. After you launch the app, it walks you through the process of taking two shots of your subject. In the first shot, you tap on the brightest spot in your frame and then take the picture. On the second, you tap on the darkest and repeat. The software does the rest. It will align your shots and merge the two pics, giving you a wider range of colors, lighting and resolution.

It’s not as good as real HDR with multiple shots, but it’s a big step for the iPhone. Here are a couple of HDR-ish shots I took this afternoon, just before sunset. It’s not true HDR, as the app title suggests, but it sure makes an iPhone shot look better than it would normally.

While I’m talking about iPhone photos, I might as well mention a couple of photo editing apps. Photoshop Mobile is a good app. It does a good job of editing shots, but I prefer an app called PerfectPhoto. It offers more filters and options and I get generally better overall results.

Another fun one is Lo-Mob. This little program is chock full of special effects, the likes of which would have cost a pretty penny even just a few years ago. It’s worth the few cents that it costs. Enjoy.

MLS

Anyone who knows me would probably assume I’m talking about Major League Soccer. Not this time. Since we are moving over the next couple of weeks, we have contracted a Realtor to deal with our house here in Midland. Therefore, MLS refers to the Multiple Listing System. At least I think that’s what it stands for.

Anyway, our house can now be seen on Realtor.com at this link. Or you can just search our MLS number, which is 78589.

On another front, I enjoyed watching Gizmodo’s live coverage of the WWDC keynote where they announced the new iPhone. I’ve waited 2 years for this one. My contract finally expired about 5 months ago, allowing me to upgrade around Christmas. I got phones for the family, but held off for mine. I suspected that there would be a new iPhone coming down the pike. I’m glad I waited. 3Gs 16G for me in late June! Whoohoo!

Pimp my Mac #2

MacHeist is a pretty cool annual offering. Never heard of it? This is year three for the event. It’s gotten progressively bigger every year.

The MacHeist people conduct an online spy game, leaving clues on servers all over the world. It’s very detailed, so much so that I’ve never really gotten involved in the game itself.

The cool thing is, they bundle together a ton of software as the reward for being involved. I signed in this year as a player and basically observed the contest. Doing so allowed me access to free software as the game progressed.

At the end, they offer a great bundle of software to anyone who wants it, player or not, for a ridiculously low price. A large percentage of the money goes to charity. It a great way for software developers to get their product into your hands.

This year, the total retail value of the bundle is $950.70 and they are selling it for only $39. Ridiculous. And it’s good stuff too. I highly recommend it. There are a couple of programs in the bundle that are easily worth $39 alone.

Here is a link to the bundle. Check it out. And no, this is not an April Fool’s joke.

http://www.macheist.com/bundle/u/39573/

Pimp my Mac #1

I have pretty much made the switch from PC to Mac. I held on for a while, living in both worlds. This week, I am transferring all my personal files off my PC in my office (bedroom) and sending the PC to my daughter’s room. And I’m giving my Toshiba laptop to my son. That leaves me with a Mac Pro and a Macbook Pro.

I have always been a fan of the underdog, doing my best to utilize the really good programs that don’t carry the Big Dog names (ala, Adobe, Macroshaft, etc). I figured I might as well share the programs I really like. Thus, Pimp my Mac #1.

It was hard to choose where to begin, but for this entry we start with Pixelmator, an excellent image editor designed for the Mac. And that’s one of the first things you notice when you open the program. You think, “Wow… this is so Mac.” The architecture of the program is just pretty. It’s the kind of thing you find only in the Mac world.

The program is available as a direct download and has a free 30-day trial. Afterward, the costs is only $59 and well worth it. I use Pixelmator 90% of the time, only opening Photoshop when I have to. For seriously advanced editing, Photoshop is still the way to go. But for everyday image editing, which I do a lot of as a web designer, Pixelmator is great.

I won’t go into details on the program since the website is very good and provides an in-depth overview. I will say if you are short on bucks and need a good image editor, terminate Photoshop and pick up the Pixelmator. Now read that last sentence again with a Schwarzenegger accent.

By the way, you may ask what I plan to do with the kid’s current computers if they are both getting my old ones. Ashley’s Dell may get set up somewhere in the house as a backup for my wife. I may have changed to Mac, but she’s not going quietly. In the spirit of going with the underdog, as I mentioned earlier, Austin’s Dell will soon become a Linux box. Ubuntu awaits.

And he smiles.

Oxymoron

This past Sunday our minister used a few oxymorons to make a point in his sermon. Here are a few of them with my most favorite at the end.

Jumbo Shrimp.

Civil Litigation.

Fairly Accurate.

Negative Growth.

Nothing Much.

Pure Evil.

Short Sermons.

And my most favorite had to do with a bit of software many people know…

Microsoft Works.

There you go Lana, how ’bout that one?

Microshaft Hat Pt.2

You may have seen one of my earlier posts entitled “Microshaft Hat.” I’m not supposed to hate anyone, so hat is one letter short. Anyway, I’d sworn to myself that I was not going to buy another Windows machine. I have a Mac Pro at my office and I love it.

And then my son’s computer went on the fritz. Yes, it was running XP, but it was also glitchy when dual booted with Kubuntu. It’s a 7 year old white box so it was time. I wanted to give him my computer and get me a Mac. But the money was just not there yet. I can’t drop a grand or so.

Then I found a good deal ($330) on an Emachine at Best Buy. Running Vista of all things. I had to have something since school starts soon and my son needs a computer for his work. So, he got my 10 month old Dell and I am writing this from a new Vista Emachine.

AAAAARGH!

Now I need to start saving money for a Macbook. Everyone needs a laptop. Right? I need to start working on an angle to justify that one…