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26  DonationCoder.com Software / N.A.N.Y. 2015 / Re: Ideas Wanted! on: October 07, 2014, 01:12:33 PM

How about a good but basic standalone bookmark manager. Ideally one that stored its data in a text or xml file. Most of the old ones have either disappeared or are no longer actively developed. Or they have everything plus the kitchen sink included. I'd just be looking for folders in a tree, the site name, site URL, description/note field, and maybe be allowed some category tags. Hot key popup and the ability to capture the URL of whatever page is currently displayed in the browser would be a definite plus.
27  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Mind Mapping Software - What are the current top players now? on: October 07, 2014, 12:50:43 PM
I think there's too much emphasis on the public side (document, publishing, sharing) of MindMapping. To me, it was always a first-pass and highly personal sort of tool. And I don't find looking at other people's mind maps to be particularly informative or useful. Probably because I likely don't think the way somebody else does. And, to SB's point, the chosen center point for the map may not match what I consider to be the center point when examining the same topic.

FWIW, most times I mind map (which I do rarely), I'll do it on a large piece of 1/4" graph paper with a gel ink pen. I don't bother with colors. I'm not creating a work of art. Just something to help my thinking process get something done.

If I feel the even rarer urge to "pretty it up," I'll do it in FreeMind or something similar. For me, a mind map is a somewhat specialized process that fits some projects very well (e.g. exhibition, kiosk, menu or website design) very well, but misses the boat for most others. I don't see it as a general enough tool for the things I do to put a lot of time or effort into mastering it beyond how I use it now.

There's a bunch of Thinkertoys out there. Beyond a pen and a blank sheet of paper, I haven't found anything that fits all use cases for ideation, project  planning, or info organizing. Not to say I haven't looked. But life is short and I have things to accomplish - so I abandoned the quest to find the perfect all-inclusive mind tool about 5 years ago. Now, I just use whatever I think fits best for what I'm up to.

Increasingly, pen and paper (or index card) seems to work best for what I do. YMMV. Cool Thmbsup
28  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Who is your Favourite "Doctor"? on: October 07, 2014, 11:40:13 AM
I've only watched a few of the "modern" episodes and haven't found them anything like as enthralling.  Perhaps that's rosy-tinted nostalgia, but it just isn't the same show that I used to enjoy so much.

I think it's more we are constantly evolving individuals. And it's hard to maintain that sense of wonder we occasionally have when we experience something for the first time. Our tastes change over time. And every additional experience we have has a direct bearing on our personalities and tastes.

In the case of Dr. Who or StarTrek ( and NG was far better IMHO) I think it's not so much we miss the old versions of the shows as much as we miss the old version of ourselves that got so much enjoyment from watching them.

 '"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man." as Heraclitus so aptly put it back around 450 BC.
29  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: will they know? on: October 07, 2014, 11:27:51 AM
There are ways around it... but in general, most workplaces frown on the things that would get around it.  Connect via https to secure communications.

Many now have fairly strict policies about circumventing firewalls, network monitoring, or attempting to do an end run around content/website restrictions. That can include doing something to anonymize or otherwise obscure what you're up to.

Rather than worry, it's smarter to find out what the policy is. Hardly worth losing your job, or getting expelled from a school, because you wanted to do something you weren't allowed to do.

Quick rule of thumb: if you don't want anybody to know what you're doing online, at the very least don't do it at work or in school.

30  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Mind Mapping Software - What are the current top players now? on: October 07, 2014, 11:17:48 AM

I like MindMaple. I only wish they did a Linux version.

However, if you decide to go for the paid Pro version of MindMaple, be sure you look at the differences between the "lifetime" and "annual" licenses.

The "lifetime" @ $50 is good only for the life of a major version number. If they upgrade to a new major release, the lifetime license no longer applies. The "annual" license @ $10 does cover new major versions since it's essentially a subscription. It's all spelled out quite clearly on their website. But their 'lifetime' license may not mean what you think it does.

※ Minor version updates are updates that version number under the decimal point increases. For example, MindMaple v1.2 is a minor update for MindMaple v1.0. However, MindMaple v2.0 is regarded as a major update of MindMaple v1.0. Lifetime License will not update major updates, on the other hand, Annual License will during the license period

I'm not criticizing (too much), other than for them being a little nuanced about what they consider 'lifetime' to be. I'd rather they called that license something other than "lifetime.". Because those terms are pretty much what most software developers call a 'standard' license.

For the record, a "lifetime" license that covers all current and future versions isn't a sustainable business model. I can understand MindMaple not offering such a thing. Because no company that wishes to remain in business can make such an offer. But I do take minor issue with companies that don't actually offer lifetime licenses (in the generally understood sense of the word "lifetime") call what they do offer by something it isn't.

Just my two cents anyway.
31  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: IP Address Assignment Manager - Does one exist? on: October 07, 2014, 07:06:15 AM
I'm guessing Josh is in that middle ground where there is too much to keep straight in your head, but not enough to justify the learning curve. This I can understand (we've got a /22 in house now..).

Yup. Right up there with end-user patch management and software updates. When do you say "the hell with this," bite the bullet, and automate it? Grin
32  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Recommend some music videos to me! on: October 07, 2014, 06:57:21 AM
Saw a Mongolian guy doing overtone in concert a few years back but cant remember his name...

Possibly Kongar-ol Ondar of Tuva? He's probably the most famous in the Western world. He was featured in the documentary Genghis Blues. And he was touring with Bela Fleck and The Flecktone some years back. Caused quite a sensation at the time. He passed away in 2013 at the young age of 51.

Here's Ondar demonstrating to an enthusiastic audience at the Fairfield University Quick Center. After that there's a short introduction of the three separate styles of Tuvan throat singing.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xD-VGQGPpZY" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xD-VGQGPpZY</a>

Tuva is an unusual country with a tragic history. Physicist Richard Feynman became fascinated with Tuva and attempted to travel there in 1977. His story about that ultimately fruitless attempt is documented in a book by his travelling companion Richard Leighton entitled: Tuva or Bust!: Richard Feynman's Last Journey

As a stamp-collecting boy always fascinated by remote places, Nobel Prize–winning physicist Richard Feynman was particularly taken by the diamond-shaped stamps from a place called Tannu Tuva deep within Outer Mongolia. He hoped, someday, to travel there.

In 1977, Feynman and his sidekick— fellow drummer and geography enthusiast Ralph Leighton—set out to make arrangements to visit Tuva, doing noble and hilarious battle with Soviet red tape, befriending quite a few Tuvans, and discovering the wonders of Tuvan throat-singing. Their Byzantine attempts to reach Tannu Tuva would span a decade, interrupted by Feynman's appointment to the committee investigating the Challenger disaster, and his tragic struggle with the cancer that finally killed him. Tuva or Bust! chronicles the deepening friendship of two zany, brilliant strategists whose love of the absurd will delight and instruct. It is Richard Feynman's last, best adventure.

There's an excellent CD by Ondar that's well worth a listen. It's called Back Tuva Future.


Highly recommended. Thmbsup
33  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Recommend some music videos to me! on: October 06, 2014, 06:14:02 PM

I would like to see her do a tutorial on how to do it. Just a very basic one. But everyone can do it? Wow. That's a big claim.

She does workshops. Just not around where I live.

But wait! There's more...

Here's an ensemble Ms. Hefele is part of: SUPERSONUS The European Resonance Ensemble ( http://www.supersonus.eu)

Ok...overtone singing, jew's harp, Harpsichord, Kannel (Estonian zither), and a Nyckelharpa (keyed fiddle) all on one group???


Definitely my kind of weird. Cool

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysSLfwEk5l4" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysSLfwEk5l4</a>

34  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: "Knotable" - new cloud-based group discussion threading service. on: October 06, 2014, 05:59:02 PM
Well, I'm in that holding pattern.  It would seem better and more professional not to let you get this far... especially as it says 'Ping Someone!' with no inkling of whom to ping.

Agree. I wonder how much of that is for purposes of LinkedIn harvesting.  Wink
35  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Who is your Favourite "Doctor"? on: October 06, 2014, 09:21:25 AM
36  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Recommend some music videos to me! on: October 06, 2014, 09:00:32 AM
This from OpenCulture.com

Musician Shows How to Sing Two Notes at Once in Mesmerizing Video

in Music | October 6th, 2014

Anna-Maria Hefele, a musician based in Munich, has an unusual talent. She can sing two notes at once. In the music world, it’s known as polyphonic overtone singing, and it’s believed that the practice originated and still endures in Mongolia. Above, Hefele offers a pretty captivating five-minute display of her technique. On her website, she notes that she offers concerts, lecture performances, and workshops in overtone singing. In fact, there’s a workshop being held later this month near Salzburg, Austria. Find updates on Hefele’s Facebook page. Enjoy!

She's pretty amazing! (She's also rather pretty too.  Wink )

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vC9Qh709gas" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vC9Qh709gas</a>

37  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Recommend some music videos to me! on: October 04, 2014, 03:14:09 PM
Robert Fripp's New Standard Tuning, maybe.

It's an interesting experiment. And probably worth pursuing if you want to play that "not really jazz" thing Fripp does. tongue

FWIW I think Alan Holdsworth does "not jazz" far better. And he uses standard Torres tuning most of the time. Cool

Speaking of which, here's Alan talking about his signature model Carvin:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DD2G-TfZOA" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DD2G-TfZOA</a>

To be honest, although I admire Alan Holdsworth as a musician and an innovator on guitar, I can't really say I find his sound and music to be all that enjoyable. Interesting perhaps. But not really enjoyable. He's kinda like John Cage, whom I admire more as a theoretician and experimentalist than I do as a composer or performer.

Just my two cents
38  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Recommend some music videos to me! on: October 04, 2014, 02:46:39 PM
Scott Fernandez's 12-string bass seems like it has more in common with a Chapman Stick or the sound of a clavichord than it does with the lute family from which guitars and pizzicato-style basses ostensibly trace their heritage. FWIW I'm starting to find the whole' tap-a-tap' bit is getting kinda old. It's fine as an accent point in a solo - if it fits within the context of the larger piece. (Think parts of Eddie Van Halen's solo in Panama or Somebody Get Me a Doctor for examples of where it does fit.) But a whole song (or show) worth of it? No thanks! It might have been real "rad" at one point. (Like maybe back in the early 80s?) But it's been so overdone after all this time that my ears switch off if neck-tapping goes on too long. And it doesn't matter how "good" it is. I'm tired of it. And I'm not alone.


Note: about the Chapman Stick and neck tapping in general

Maybe it's just me, but I'm always amazed at how people go ga-ga over a mediocre performance of something on an instrument clearly not designed to do what's being asked of it. To me, it's like the proverbial "singing dog" at a Carnival sideshow. People lay their money down to see it. And they applaud the performance...but...I can't help wondering if they're applauding because they actually liked what they heard...or they were just amazed that a dog could 'sing' anything at all? Kinda like some of these parent-proclaimed "child prodigies" who play a musical instrument. They don't really play all that well. But they do play extremely well for a 5-year old.

IMHO there are far better instruments to play most of what gets played by neck-tapping a guitar or bass. Keyboards, tuned percussion, and harps come most readily to mind.

So can we skip fixating on the party tricks so much and possibly get back to making some fine music again?

Dunno...maybe it's just me...but:


39  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: "Knotable" - new cloud-based group discussion threading service. on: October 04, 2014, 01:13:36 PM
Hmm. Hope it's more than just a GoogWave rehash. Still, for better or worse, I signed up. Apparently I answered correctly to the "Do you want to help make something great?" question  - or (more likely) they worked the opening day kinks out and are now accepting new users more quickly - because I'm supposedly "in" and just waiting for my account to be "activated."

Looks interesting. Worth a try at any rate. I'll PM you when (or if) if I'm activated. Thmbsup
40  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Win9 will be FREE! on: October 03, 2014, 09:04:29 PM
Just a reminder: The word 'free' is not part of Microsoft's vocabulary.  Wink
41  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Recommend some music videos to me! on: October 03, 2014, 08:32:34 PM
Not a fan of more strings than 6 on any guitar, and 4 on the bass.

I'm with you. 6 for a git, 4 for a bass. However, I do own a Spector 5-string bass. (Spector was one of the first 5-strings that actually had enough tension on the low-B string for it to be playable and actually have distinct notes. Many 5-string bass's low-B flops all over the place and mostly sounds like mud.) Currently strung B-E-A-D-G. I'll probably switch it over to a high-C string set (E-A-D-G-C) instead since that low B string isn't all that useful. If I regularly need/want a low open D, I can always put a Hipshot tuner on the E string and be done with it.

That said, when I get my next guitar actually built sometime in the next 10 years, it's gonna be strung up in C.  Just sayin'  tongue

Not Nashville or Methaney Nashville? Wink

The prototype guitar I'm working on right now has 5 strings and is tuned to open G ala Keith Richards. I love it. Now all I need to do is make one with better materials. Still up in the air about electronics although some combination of lipstick, mini humbucker, 'jangle-tron', and P-90 is definitely where it's going.

And what of the piccolo bass?  Which one is it gonna be?  All these overlapping ranges, a man could go MAD I tell you!

What of it indeed? I like the piccolo bass. Like it a lot more than going up above the 12th fret to get the same notes - but with zero sustain.

Checkout Zander Zon who "gets it!"

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtVkxXOu_Mo" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtVkxXOu_Mo</a>

FWIW Ibanzez currently sells an 8-string guitar intended for the Metalhead that can't get low enough with their 7-string grunge plank. Can a 9-string be far behind?

Oh, for the love of Pete, just STOP... STOP I SAY!!  STAAAHHHHHHHPPPP!!


I SAID STAAAAAAAAAAHHH... oh never !@#$%^&ing mind...  mad

Agree! Really sucks (no better word for it unfortunately) doesn't it? Just goes to show, if you want something bad enough - you can get it. And that junk is about as bad as you can get it. undecided

Oh...since we're on the subject...don't forget that noble (but mostly forgotten) little gem of an instrument: the tenor guitar. Now that's one sweet little box o' strings.

Here's the modern Eastwood version:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCiJCAiszO4" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCiJCAiszO4</a>

But there are dozens of variations on it that go back to the beginning of the last century including some beautiful antique Martins.

Gibson even did an SG version they never released to production. This circa 1964 one-off has got to be among the rarest of rare Gibsons!

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-LiS9SDcys" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-LiS9SDcys</a>


42  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Recommend some music videos to me! on: October 03, 2014, 03:56:33 PM
I like the range of that guitar.  I've actually found that I enjoy playing simple mid-tempo solos on the piano in that range from middle-c to a couple octaves down.  Makes it sound funky.

I like it too even though everybody seems to play it with reverb or delay cranked up to the nines! Grin Not what I'd call subtle...unless you're a Spaghetti Western or hardcore surf music fan. It's extremely easy to overdo it. And the baritone's sound character is distinctive enough that it can easily overwhelm an arrangement. Snarky Puppy compensated by going completely over the top with the low end. It worked for that piece. But you can only do so many songs like that before it starts to get gimmicky. Mr. League walked a fine line and pulled it off. Most players don't have his level of musical training or enough good
taste to take chances like that.

My old band had a baritone in the equipment list. I used it on one song to good effect. Did a delicate octave doubling and some harmonizations on the bass line. The regular guitarist played bass on that song since he couldn't get his head (or hands) around the baritone guitar. Too much culture shock I guess.

Quick note: don't confuse the baritone guitar with the rare six string Bass-VI /Bajo Sexto that Fender sold back in the 60s and early 70s. It looks similar, but it's a totally different sounding and playing instrument.



FWIW Ibanez currently sells an 8-string guitar intended for the Metalheads that can't get low enough with their 7-string grunge planks. Can a 9-string be far behind? Grin
43  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Recommend some music videos to me! on: October 02, 2014, 06:33:12 PM
Dark, deep, and powerful: Lucy Woodward doing Too Hot to Last backed by Snarky Puppy.

Of interest is the presence of not one - but two baritone guitars. They occupy the frequency range that falls roughly between a regular guitar and an electric bass. The 'bari' is an interesting and unique sounding instrument that's really hard to find a good place for in most arrangements. Coupled with a voice like Lucy's and lyrics like these however, the baritone guitar becomes the perfect accompaniment. Check it out! Thmbsup

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9J7hlSTiysY" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9J7hlSTiysY</a>


Note: for enthusiasts out there, Mike League is playing an Eastman Sidejack Baritone, and Bob Lanzetti is playing a Danelectro of some sort. I have no idea what the model name is.

This is the sound of the baritone by itself along with a little discussion of why someone may want to use one:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxNl1-ECLzg" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxNl1-ECLzg</a>


44  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Win9 will be FREE! on: October 02, 2014, 03:19:46 PM
Clever trick

So it would seem, wouldn't it? undecided
45  Other Software / Developer's Corner / Re: Random electronics projects on: October 01, 2014, 03:25:30 PM
I'm almost exclusively an analog (audio/music) buff, although I have an unopened Arduino starter kit I keep trying to find time/energy to get down with.

My last project was this dynamite little FET audio preamp. I think I've built a dozen or more of these puppies for various music projects and friends. I've also built four of J. Donald Tillman's superb JFET guitar preamp, which inspired the above circuit. (The J201 FET in Tillman's circuit is becoming difficult to obtain so I don't let these preamps out of my sight. All my music cronies love the way they sound. And I wouldn't put it past some of them not to try the old '5-finger discount' move to get one. naughty )

I love simple little electronic projects like these. It's nice to get professional quality at very reasonable prices. And building it yourself just makes it that much sweeter. Thmbsup

46  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Win9 will be FREE! on: October 01, 2014, 11:16:25 AM
Why not jump to LibreOffice which is much better and doesn't rely on Java and is actively being developed?

This! Thmbsup

Or Softmaker's FreeOffice if you don't want a FOSS product. Linux version available too for that day when and if you decide to walk away from Windows.

WPS Office Free 2014 is another viable alternative. The Windows version is mature. Kingsoft has been around for years. Their Linux version is still officially an alpha, but it is available for public download. Links to do that can be found here. FWIW I use it ( the deb version) regularly and it's a very stable alpha. I've had no surprises at all in a year+ of regular use.

YMMV Cool Thmbsup
47  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Win9 will be FREE! on: September 30, 2014, 08:11:54 AM
Windows OS goes monthly ...(today's letters become F and O)... Stoic Joker Goes Linux.

I bit the bullet and really started using NIX a while back. More as a hedge in case Microsoft went psychotic. So far they haven't. The Office 365 deal (in its present form) is pretty decent and makes sense for many people.

But despite all that, I still ended up preferring Linux over Windows on the desktop. Windows just feels clunky and looks cartoon-ish to me. Virtually everything I do for myself these days is done under Linux.

Windows Server is still a fine OS however. I have very few issues with using or recommending Microsoft's server products.

Just my two cents. YMMV
48  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Win9 will be FREE! on: September 29, 2014, 06:38:47 PM
^I don't think they really care.  tongue

Seriously, their big money is from corporate, institutional, and government. As long as Word and Excel are the dominant desktop apps - and .NET rules the waves for custom apps - Windows future is secure. Home users will pay the toll, or do without updates, after something like one year following purchase. Especially if OEM Windows gets replaced by a 1 or 2-year subscription copy.

Besides, everybody thought Adobe was committing suicide with their Creative Suite. Last I heard, it's working beautifully for them. And pretty well for their customers too. Intuit disables online functions on Quickbooks and Quicken after a certain amount of time. It'll only be a matter of time before they pull shrinkwrap and standalone versions from the market and follow Microsoft and Adobe.

The subscription model is very doable for any software title that completely dominates its market. Excel, Word, Photoshop, Quicken, etc. are good examples of apps that could (or already do) easily survive completely as subscription-only products.

Ditto for Windows as an OS. Subscription licensing was the only way to buy mainframe and minicomputer software a few decades ago. UNIX, VMS, VAX, and all the old operating systems used to be "sold" that way. And that way only.

It's all coming back in one big circle IMO.

"So it goes." Cool
49  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Win9 will be FREE! on: September 29, 2014, 06:18:08 PM
've read that upcoming Windows versions will be "rolling releases" anyway,

That's because Microsoft will soon be shifting completely over to a subscription model for their OS. Just like they are doing with MS Office, which is gradually transitioning over to Office 365.

Since you'll be paying monthly or annually, a rolling release is the only thing that would make sense once their 'boxed' products get pulled off the market.

Figure within the next three years give or take.

50  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Does anyone here use Bitcoins? on: September 29, 2014, 04:15:18 PM
 This may be of interest to Bitcoiners.  It's called BitKey. It's by the folks that brought us Turnkey GNU/Linux. It's a bootable Linux distro running from a USB key that allows you to perform highly secure "air-gapped" Bitcoin transactions.

No opinion since I don't trade in Bitcoinage nor do I have the expertise to comment on the effectiveness of the build. That said, I have found Turnkey GNU/Linux targeted solutions worked very well for me in the past.

Worth a look at any rate. Cool
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