Stanford/Palo Alto Macintosh User Group Newsletter|
August 1, 2010
Thanks to Turner Kirk, the "Mule from Smule", seen here in his studio at Smule HQ in Palo Alto, and his colleague Ge Wang, hard at work below, for a great presentation in July. For those who missed it, or even those who didn't, Dave has a full report in this newsletter. And the gifts keep on coming - I have T shirts and stickers to give away at our next meeting!
Our August meeting will be on Monday 9th this year, to accommodate SLAC's need for the Redwood Room for their summer conference in the first week of the month.
|August 9th SMUG Meeting Agenda |
|Damir Seferovic from ESET|
For the most part, Macs have largely avoided the virus and hacker attacks that plague every other platform. As the percentage of Mac users grows, so does the security threat. ESET is a global developer of software solutions that deliver proactive, comprehensive protection against evolving computer security threats. Damir will explore perceptions about Mac security, and discuss a variety of Mac security topics including known malware, and countermeasures to protect your Mac. You will also be able to see a brief product demo of the upcoming ESET NOD32 Antivirus for Mac.
Plus Q & A, Shareware and raffle - T shirts, books, software!
|July Meeting Report: From Ocarina to Glee and beyond with Smule|
The speakers were Smule! The presenters were Turner Kirk and Ge Wang.|
They got set up. They brought their own projector that can
show an iPad or iPhone live, and also jack into their MacBook. Excellent!
They asked us if we have an iPod, iPad, iPod. Several hands went up. (Note from Dave:
I have the iPhone development kit! But it needs to be updated to OS 4.)
They left contact information, saying they will be happy to
hook any of us up with a t-shirt. Their office is near California Ave and El
Camino Real in Palo Alto.
The World is Your Stage! Smule does expressive Social Music
on the iPhone and iPad. And Turner is at our service! (Note from Dave: Well, he
did say that!) He does field marketing and music stuff for Smule. He gets into
lyrics and harmonies. Ge is on Twitter: @gewang. And Turner Kirk is known as
the mule at Smule! (Google it!)
So, how did they get there? Karma? No, C.C.R.M.A., the
Center for Comuter Research in Music and Acoustics at Stanford University, a
nexus of computer science, music, tech, and psychology. Wow, they showed an old
computer picture with lots of tapes and mainframes.
What are computers doing, what are people doing, what is it
being used for?
They showed a programming engine that is running inside
their apps at Smule: Chuck! They made some sounds with Chuck programming tool.
Here is code for three notes rising up.
Sin0sc foo +> dac;
220 => foo.freq.
2::second => now;
Sin0sc foo +> dac;
440 => foo.freq.
2::second => now;
Sin0sc foo +> dac;
880 => foo.freq.
2::second => now;
Now repeat some notes.
Sin0sc foo +> dac;
Std.rad2f(30,1000) => foo.freq.
100::ma => now;
Chuck is also about performing music.
On ustream.tv/channel/smule, you can see turner's broadcast.
He gets anywhere from 3 to 50,000 viewers.
They did some on the fly programming that grabbed sounds and
set them as the frequency every 200 ms.
They mentioned the Stanford Laptop Orchestra: SLOrk.
Director: Ge Wang!
This is a good way to get introduced to computer music. They
showed photos of people at Stanford on the orchestra stage with laptops and
Ge showed how he took an Ikea 11 inch bowl, turned it
upside-down, and made a SLOrk Speaker Array Enclosure out of it. He made
several of these and mounted speakers in them. He also used Ikea benches, user
interfaces, gaming interfaces, and keyboards. (Note from Dave: Ikea's Swedish
meatballs are pretty good too!)
OK, they are showing the Macintosh terminal command line.
They did a vocal pop, then a lot of pops, then adjusted them. They did a tilt
(sudden motion head of the hard drive) and played a sound for that: I believe
it was a Homer Simpson "D'oh!" sound. The drums and the like were
created with smack sensing, which detects for rapid changes in the tilt.
And now they showed us videos! (Note from Dave: Ah, how I
They showed music generated by sensing the motions of one's
hands. Musicians had gloves on their hands, and they played bells without
physical bells, just by moving their hands. They also showed people with
headbands on head, banging their heads to play heavy guitar. (Note from Dave:
Whoa, COOL! Literal head-bangers!)
Smule took a good look at the iPhone when it came out, and
asked, "WHAT IS THIS? And what else can it be? How can we make use of this
music and creativity?"
The Sonic Lighter app. It is a lighter flame! You pinch the
flame on the iPhone display to adjust its size. They wanted the iPhone to BE
the lighter. You turn the iPhone to the side, and the light goes to the side,
looking and acting like a real flame where the flame always points upward. You
can blow out this flame or blow on it to make it dance (provided your device
has a microphone, iPod Touches do not have one built-in). Oh, and you can give
someone else's Sonic Lighter app a light by doing blowtorch mode.
Turner showed the globe with Sonic Lighter. The globe showed
the Sonic Lighters that were on over the world. The globe is in pretty much all
their apps. Smule want to do social, do location, have people connect with
other people. The blue flame on the globe was Turner. He took his iPhone 3G up
to Portland and he intermittently lit his lighter all the way up, and thus got
blue footprints along the coast! Turner mentioned two degrees of Sonic Lighter:
people whose Sonic Lighters he had lit showed up as yellow. He had globe flames
show up in China, France, etc.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is
indistinguishable from magic." Arthur C. Clarke.
OK, here it is, Ocarina! (Note from Dave: I like this, I
really like this!) Turner and Ge did an Ocarina duet with their iPhones. (Note
from Dave: Oh, that sounded beautiful. Sniff!) And they did not even rehearse
it. Smule used Legend of Zelda song as the Ocarina theme song.
One of our members cried when she got Ocarina, and played
it, just how beautiful it sounded. (Note from Dave: I can understand that.)
Ocarina takes advantage of iPhone capabilities: multi-touch
(notes), microphone (blow), and the accelerometer (tilt).
Smule has a website on learning to play Ocarina: http://ocarina.smule.com/play.
It shows the fingering to play each note. (Note from Dave: I have a 4-hole
ocarina, this is easy to learn.) He went to the globe, and listened to one
Ocarina player from Korea. And from Atlanta. We got some free jazz!
Smule is social. We want to connect people. But Smule felt
we do not need to know their identity, but we would like to know their
location. So we get a general idea of who are the people on the globe, are they
traveling, and people are listening to people as they play. You interact with
your touch and your breath on your iPhone. (Maybe get a flash Ocarina mob?)
They gave a kid at this SMUG meeting an iPhone with Ocarina,
and showed him the fingering holes. They had him blow into the iPhone and do
some fingering. It sounded nice: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. The kid got it
fairly fast, considering he never played one before! Although he said he knew
how to play the drums.
You can search for Smule Ocarina on YouTube. Most of these
users are not musicians, but they like music. There are about 2 million of
them! Like Laura from LA area: Oh Shenandoah, oh, that sounds nice, and she
programmed her piano to accompany her. Another girl was more unconventional:
she played Ocarina with her nose! She was on Ellen show playing dual nose
The globe showed the northernmost iPhone Sonic Lighter user,
out in the ocean. Hmm, maybe he was fishing in the same place, that lighter had
been on the globe for weeks. Maybe an oil platform?
In Pasadena, the globe showed a "hi" pattern!
Turner had spelled out Smule with his Sonic Lighter.
Leaf Trombone is another Smule instrumental app. You blow
into you iPhone, and you have three full octaves. Turner played Auld Lang Syne:
with Leaf Trombone, it had a rather drunken New Years Eve party sound.
Everyone has an opinion for music they like/dislike. When
you register your Leaf Trombone, you are registered as a judge, and you can
ascend from the level of Nobody to Master Justice. There are judges from
different countries. How do you judge? Listen to someone play, and you can tap
if you love this performance. Judges can get their sonic lighters out, and can
do a thumbs up (the smiley face icon). Hmm, one of the judges said some profanity,
but that was translated into $^W&$*#*. The little performance we listed to
was rated 9 and 10. This lets people be the judge.
There is a leaf trombone on-line composer so you can compose
your own score.
The iPad has the Magic Piano app. The CEO of Smule is a
gifted composer. iPhone is nice to play an ocarina, iPad is nice to play a
They showed a timeline of the iPhone devices. Around Dec
2009, Smule was thinking about the size limits of the iPhone. In Jan 2010, the
iPad was introduced! And in April 2010, Smule released Magic Piano. You can
find cats playing Magic Piano on YouTube. They showed the different keyboards
that Magic Piano can display: a doodle space (black display), a spiral keyboard
(this is hard to play), a regular piano keyboard, and a circular keyboard. You
can select a song to play. Ooo, some classical! They selected songs from a
scroll list: Auld Lang Syne again. (Note from Dave: I believe the dots
scrolling on the screen were showing people where to tap to play the song.)
They connected to themule! So we were going to the servers
at Smule and coming back down here! We heard the resulting delay. You can jam
with people with Magic Piano: for example, playing chopsticks!
We read a Twitter tweet: played magic piano: turned out to
be my son!
Magic piano has been played by infants and by cats, although
it is not really made for cats. Hmm, cats do not scratch the screen.
"The most profound technologies are those that
disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they
are indistinguishable from it." Mark Weiser
The purpose of a computer should be to do something else.
Computers: mouse, menu, etc.
Smule has the "I Am T-Pain" app. Sing into your
iPhone or iPad, and you too can sound like T-Pain, with that vocal effect.
(Note from Dave: Something we all aspire to? Well, something we can all have
fun with!) Cher used this vocal effect first. Oh, you can say the lines along
with the song karaoke, lyrics like "Buy you a drank!" (Such deep
lyrics.) You can sing with T-Pain, and share those songs via Facebook, MySpace,
Smule has a Glee app! Yes, this app integrates with the Glee
TV show. You can sing with friends
and the Glee cast. (Note from Dave: By the way, when you go to the website, it
plays a song, so be ready for that. I was wearing headphones and listening to
the Beatles when I was editing these notes.)
Glee is a great show, it has lots of good music. You can
press sing, or join, or share). Ok, he sang the song karaoke-style, we can see
the visualization of the music, and harmonies generated. Nice vocal effects on
his voice, singing "I'll stand by you! I'll stand by you! Won't let nobody
hurt you." (Note from Dave: A little different from buying you a drank.)
The Glee app has harmonies and pitch correction to help you
sing. You can record and share your singing around the world. There is a BIG
globe for the Glee app, it takes the social experience to another level! It
showed a number of singers at one spot singing "Like a Virgin." If
you really like the performance, you can give it a star.
The people who do this singing have a name: Gleeks. They
showed a performance: preza3000. You can add your voice to the song, and it is
now sung by 65 voices. It does not sound too good, but after all, that was 65
Someone asked, "How did you start out?" Turner
picked up bagpipes at the age of nine. In his senior year, he recorded a
bagpipe song, proving that music and tech can co-exist.
The iPhone is smaller, more personal. It is hard to port
application from a phone to a laptop and expect them to work the same way. A
phone is used at different times and in different ways than a laptop.
Smule is breaking barriers with sound, getting people to
channel back and play music. They always have something else in the works. They
believe in the expressive use of sound.
Smule's Zepher app lets you draw music, swish your fingers
across a visual landscape to create distinctive wind sounds to accompany your
The Sonic Vox app is a voice changer. You can sound like
Gollum, a robot, a cat, or other voices, like Darth Vader: "I find your
lack of an iPhone disturbing!"
Someone asked, maybe have a music app with color or
Here are the emails for Turner Kirk and Ge Wang.
Dave Strom/SMUG Vice-President
Smulers hard at work on their next app at Smule HQ in Palo Alto
|As advertised, August 9th in the Redwood Room.|
See you there!