Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category
“It sometimes seems as though the world of classical music doesn’t change. Most of the music is from a canon that may be hundreds of years old; most of the time the musicians are still formally clad, the men in the evening dress of a century ago.
In one important area, however, new ways of doing things are starting to appear. Technology is changing the ways in which musicians rehearse and perform.
Pianist Kirill Gerstein sparked intermission discussions late last year when he performed Thomas Adès concerto “Seven Days” with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra using an iPad with a wireless foot pedal in lieu of a conventional score.
In an interview, Gerstein said he’s been using his iPad for 2½ years, the first, he thinks, among classical pianists. He uses it with contemporary music, where memorization is not expected, and in chamber music.
The tablet has practical advantages: It is lit, making reading it easier and eliminating concerns about lighting. It also eliminates the need for page turners. “They may turn the page too soon or too late, or make noise,” Gerstein said. “In cases like this, it is helpful to play with the iPad. I know exactly when I want to turn, and I turn it for myself.” His system has never crashed.
To do the turning, Gerstein uses a Bluetooth-enabled foot pedal called an AirTurn. He gets new scores from their publishers, or makes PDFs of older music by scanning scores from his own library.
In the case of out-of-copyright works, he recommends IMSLP.org. The International Music Score Library Project is community-sourced, like Wikipedia, and Gerstein calls it “an amazing resource.”
The site is copyright compliant, so there’s nothing from after 1923, and it’s free. “There are the most imaginable and unimaginable things,” Gerstein said. “Maybe you won’t find the edition of the Franck sonata from 1980, but you will find the original (edition) and four others. Things that used to be difficult to find are up there.”
Otherwise, Gerstein works from paper versions. “I do think it’s very important to keep buying paper versions of sheet music. We do want publishers of accurate versions around.”
With the iPad, he can tweak his scores by combining the piano part and a full orchestra score to give himself important cues. Sometimes he plays from the full score. By eliminating the white space of the margins, the notes become almost as large as in the printed score.
“Then, of course, there is the fact that I can carry a music library,” added Gerstein. “I can look at (scores) while traveling. It’s not possible with paper, just from the luggage side. Today, I decided to read the Franck sonata; it took a minute to download the score, and then I was happily playing it.”
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra section cello Bjorn Ranheim admires Gerstein’s score-on-tablet setup and wishes the SLSO could have the same.
via New technology is changing classical music performance : Entertainment.
AN : classical music meets new classic technology…and is all the better for it. Nice examples of how that works in the lives of several musicians and groups.
“New York City’s tech sector might not yet be at critical mass. But it’s booming by nearly every measure. By some, it has transformed itself into a tech city second only to Silicon Valley. Research from the Center for an Urban Future found that some 486 New York City start-ups created since 2007 have gotten some form of private investment, including from angel investors or venture capitalists. The New York Tech Meetup, a monthly geek revival, regularly fills NYU’s 870-seat Skirball Center theater, with additional $10 tickets sold to watch the demos and presentations from an overflow venue. Half of the nearly 300 start-ups on a “Made in New York City” list maintained by the Meetup recently reported that they were hiring.
Cornell’s long-standing academic reputation and Technion’s proven industry expertise were no doubt appealing, says Pinsky, but what was otherwise so attractive about the bid was the schools’ embrace of what’s already taking place in New York City. “Cornell and the Technion basically asked the question the same way” as the city saw it, says Pinsky. “What they asked was, ‘What are the issues we should be tackling given the competitive advantages of the city?’” That the schools were talking about “hubs” and “connective media,” not “majors” and “computer science,” told officials that they were willing to tinker with their academic models, with New York City itself as their muse.”
AN : great, longer article about the technology Hub and growth in NYC. Roosevelt Is. to be site for Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute, or TCII.
via Tech & the City – Next American City.
“Artist and light sculpture pioneer Makoto Tojiki is one of the most brilliant sculptures in modern day. He mainly works with light, and what fits better in a futuristic home than a couple of innovative light sculptures, right? His artwork, called No Shadow, has become a viral sensation and can only be described as a cord carbon copy of the holographic system. Standing at a distance will make it appear as such, and even if you walk up to it to take a closer look, you will be amazed by the accuracy that Makoto managed to implement into his sculptures with just a few lights.”
AN : the intersection and integration of Art, Light and Technology are vividly displayed here.
via Mind Twisting Futuristic Holographic Light Sculptures.
8 for 2050
What are some of the breakthroughs in technology that we might see, over the longer term, that might address some of our pressing issues in energy demand.
via Transformative Technologies « ART of the STEM.
“To understand how subtly revolutionary Leap will be, watch the video below, shot by the folks at The Verge, where you’ll also find more juicy details on the device’s specs and inner workings.”
via The Most Important New Technology Since the Smart Phone Arrives December 2012 – Technology Review.
AN : getting closer to ” The Minority Report ” computer interface experience…. a virtual touchscreen.
Interesting overview and backcasting look at ” The Minority Report ” film and its forward looking human – computer interaction and targeting info push technology….
“Well before filming got underway, Spielberg gathered together a team of experts from a variety of fields for a three-day think tank. That included people like virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier, Wired co-founder Kevin Kelly, Whole Earth Catalog and WELL founder Stewart Brand, writer Douglas Coupland, and a number of other scientists and researchers. They were tasked not only with making sure the filmmakers got things straight, but with dreaming up and thinking through much of the technology that fills the film’s universe.
The stand-out piece of technology from the movie is undoubtedly the gesture interface that’s used to interact with the “Precrime” system central to the film (more on that later).”….
via Minority Report at 10: a look at technology from today to 2054 — Engadget.
There is a a paradigm shift in science and technology stemming from some basic observations from origami- paper folding. Whole article worth unfurling…
“Folding is, at heart, a geometry problem, and the groundwork for much of the new research is being laid by mathematicians. The increasingly ingenious applications, though, are driven by collaborations between engineers, scientists, and programmers: “Biologically inspired engineering” is an ambitious new way of doing science that treats living organisms like mechanical systems. Just as the diameter of a gear or the strength of a spring determines how a clock works, the shape and tensile qualities of folded proteins determine their roles in the countless processes that keep the human body running. Deciphering those relationships and building off of them are part of what the new science of folding is about.“
via Is Origami the Future of Tech? – Businessweek.
Serial entrepeneur Elon Musk and his Electric Vehicle (EV) endeavour Tesla Motors is profiled in the complete article.
Very inspiring overview of disruptive technology approach in a critical industry and mode of transportation which we so heavily rely on :
“When Tesla Motors moved into its new Palo Alto headquarters in 2010, CEO Elon Musk raised a flute of Champagne and toasted his cheering staff. In a light, elegant accent–a remnant of 17 years growing up in South Africa–Musk said to the crowd: “Here’s to creating the greatest car company of the 21st century, and to making a real difference in the world, and to moving us off fucking oil as fast as possible.” You can actually watch Musk doing this if you’re curious, about 80 minutes into the documentary Revenge of the Electric Car. But, in fact, this is the kind of thing that Musk says all the time, in television interviews and at technology conferences, and he’s been saying it about his firm even before people began paying much attention. Back in 2006, for instance, two years before Tesla started deliveries of the sporty $109,000 Tesla Roadster, its first (and so far only) model, Musk happened to write on his blog that the master plan for his company was fairly simple:
1. Build sports car
2. Use that money to build an affordable car
3. Use that money to build an even more affordable car
4. While doing above, also provide zero-emission electric-power generation options
What rankles Musk is how often his master plan gets ignored. Sitting at his desk in Palo Alto on a January morning, Musk tells me he has been repeatedly criticized for being an elitist–”one who thinks there’s a shortage of sports cars for rich people.” He seems resigned to the fact that the proof that he is not a snob will only arrive in good time. Soon enough, Tesla will demonstrate to the world that its products are not for millionaires but for everyone.”
via Why Tesla Motors Is Betting On The Model S | Fast Company.
The travails of Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM), the Ontario-based maker of the BlackBerry mobile messaging device, follow a pattern sadly familiar to technology-company watchers and admirers of classical tragedy. Brave innovation and superb execution create a new market, which the upstart dominates. But ultimately the very scale of the new champion’s success drags it down.
No tech company, least of all RIM, can be unaware of this cycle. The main lesson is in plain sight: Technology firms must be their own most formidable competitor. They must strive as eagerly as their rivals to displace their own commanding technologies. If they don’t, somebody else will.
The lesson may be clear, yet applying it is almost impossibly hard. One reason is that the bigger the initial success, the greater the reluctance to dismantle it. On Jan. 22, RIM proved the point. Its formerly class-leading, class-creating products have been failing in the new market for smartphones. Consumers and businesses are dumping their BlackBerrys for Apple Inc.’s iPhones or smartphones powered by Google Inc.’s Android operating system. RIM’s belated effort to market an iPad competitor was a costly and embarrassing flop.
Revenue (RI1) and profit have slumped and investors have hammered the share price. Earlier this week, RIM announced that its founders and co-chief executive officers, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, were stepping down. But the new CEO, Thorsten Heins, is a company insider who promptly affirmed his commitment to the founders’ vision.
What leads technology innovators astray is the idea that market dominance, once achieved by their own disruptive technologies, can be guarded from future disruption. This complacency is understandable because great innovators experience their sector’s barriers to entry firsthand. Economies of scale, the power of established networks, and the salience of industrywide standards and platforms make it hard to break through. However, the force of a sufficiently powerful innovation can overcome these barriers. And here’s the point: the next sufficiently powerful innovation is always on its way.
RIM created valuable proprietary technologies. The particular way BlackBerrys connect to mobile networks was its main strength because it allowed the devices to work more securely and corporate IT managers to exert the control they desired. These benefits were overwhelmed, however, by the amazing ease of use and range of applications offered by newer smartphones.
RIM was too concerned about defending the technologies it had created, and not concerned enough about giving users of its devices the best possible experience — a strategy that could have meant surrendering its previous advantage.
Eastman Kodak Co., which filed for bankruptcy this month, is the classical instance of this syndrome. A paradigm-shifting innovator — in the 19th and 20th centuries, that is — Kodak led the development of film-based photography, established overwhelming presence in its burgeoning new market, and for decades reaped profit accordingly.
Sadly, Kodak can also fairly claim to have invented digital photography, the technology that destroyed film. But with a near-monopoly to protect, the company grew that business too tentatively. In a way, it wanted digital to fail. It rested on its laurels and the power of its brand.
Newcomers with less to lose arrived and swept its business away. Fujifilm Holdings Corp., its Japanese competitor, is one such rival. Less wedded to past success, it innovated across a wider range of technologies and embraced digital photography more wholeheartedly. Fujifilm is still a successful business, whereas Kodak is bust.
Will Microsoft Corp. one day be another Kodak? It’s possible. Microsoft still has a hugely profitable near-monopoly in its Windows operating system to defend, and has been an unimpressive innovator in technologies, including smartphones, which now threaten to challenge it. Compare that with Apple, which began its recent startling run with no similar grand success to inhibit it. That, by the way, has now changed. Today, Apple has its own platforms to defend and is no longer led by one of history’s most instinctively disruptive bosses.
Examples of wholesale corporate reinvention — of shattering competition that works from the inside out — are few and far between. In the technology sector, International Business Machines Corp. comes to mind. In its 100-year history, the company has been a serial self-reinventor: from mechanical tabulating machines to computers, from mainframe computers to personal computers, from computing machines to computing services. Transitions as demanding as the one that leveled Kodak have been taken in stride, not once but repeatedly.
Paradoxically, innovation for its own sake has not been the animating spirit of IBM, one of the world’s most innovative companies. Instead, it has been the desire to build and keep relationships with customers. That is worth pondering. Technologies come and go, but you always need customers. The watchword might be: Put their needs first, then innovate without mercy for their sake, not your own.
via Innovate Without Mercy Is the Lesson of RIM’s BlackBerry: View – Bloomberg.
Nathan Myhrvold, the former chief strategist and chief technology officer at Microsoft and the founder of Intellectual Ventures puts a back-spin on the auction and aquisition of the Nortel intellectual property and patents.
“Instead, the stalking-horse offer set in motion unprecedented scheming and counterscheming among strange bedfellows. Companies that normally fight one another, such as game-console rivals Microsoft and Sony and smart-phone rivals Apple and Research in Motion Ltd., pondered whether they hated the prospect of a patent-powerful Google even more. Investment companies like mine, which had been interested in Nortel’s portfolio for its potential financial return, decided the bidding was too rich for our blood, and dropped out. As the auction neared, rumors flew about who was teaming up with whom and how high the bids would soar.
Then, as the auction began, Google unveiled one more surprise. Its bids were numbers like $1,902,160,540. That’s a billion times Brun’s constant, which appears in the mathematics of prime numbers. And its successive bids were other mathematical constants, including one for pi billion dollars ($3,141,592,653).
Math geekiness, it turns out, doesn’t guarantee victory. A consortium of six other companies — Microsoft, Apple, RIM, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB and EMC Corp/Massachusetts — won with an astounding $4.5 billion bid.
The result effectively retains the status quo. Google still has no strategic weapon to compensate for the patent liability inherent in Android, so the lawsuits will continue. Some in the industry think Google acted brilliantly; the company is no worse off than it was before, and it cost its competitors $4.5 billion. Others argue that Google was somehow snookered by Lazard into a disastrous strategy that has left its competitors better armed for the fight — and more than a little angry. You don’t pay $4.5 billion for assets and then let them sit on the shelf.
More importantly, this sale validates the notion that patents will be a fundamental tool in the tech industry. They had been moving toward that position for years, but the magnitude of Nortel’s sale shows that they have arrived. Patents virtually define the pharmaceutical and biotech markets, and in the future they could play the same role for tech.
What’s next? The history of mergers and acquisitions suggests one possibility. Once upon a time in the clubby atmosphere of corporate America, hostile takeovers were rare; gentlemen just didn’t do such things. Then, in the 1960s, the hostile takeovers came to be accepted as a legitimate business tool. Similarly, the strategic use of patents now appears to be accepted in the technology industry. If that’s true, then Nortel is just the beginning.”
via Myhrvold: Tech Giants Discover Value of Patents – Bloomberg.