Thursday, September 21, 2006

Samplitude 9 Boasts New Eversmeier Effects

am-phibia user interface
The Samplitude website has been updated with a new look and all the features of version 9, now shipping. This looks to be another major step in the evolution of this product, which has a small but dedicated audience. Now effects are not the first thing I look for in a multitrack sequencer, but in this case there's something special.

Several Samplitude FX are written by one person, the remarkable Sascha Eversmeier, who began by offering the free plugins Endorphin and Dominion. Both of these rapidly became favourites of mine, for the subtlety of expression they made possible. Now that he's employed by MAGIX, we know him as the author of the "analogue modelling suite" tools am|track and am|pulse. These have been reworked for version 9, but, more importantly, have been joined by two new effects.

VariVerb is a digital reverb unit that uses distinctly different algorithms for each class of its presets. In this way it's like having multiple different reverb units in one. Check out the digitalfishphones site for some samples. This could be the be-all and end-all of reverberation FX, great for those places where the convolution reverb (room simulator) is simply too much, and the pre-existing channel reverb too little.

Joining the analogue modelling suite is am|phibia, a tube preamp channel strip. This has a pre- and post-amp filters, optical compressor and cabinet simulation. While all of this seems possible with the existing Samplitude kit, I am sure this particular plugin offers unexpected audio delights.

While most multitrack applications throw in extras with little thought, the quality of Samplitude's effects reduce (or eliminate) the need for third-party products. I am sure the new offerings from Eversmeier will continue this tradition.
Thursday, September 21, 2006

Python 2.5 Released

Python 2.5 has been released, ahead of schedule. I announced this version back in March, at which time it was due in mid-October. See that previous post for a summary of new features. I'll cover others here.

In making the transition, there's one thing to look out for in your code modules. If you use any non-ASCII characters you need to put a declaration at the top of the file specifying the encoding. In Python 2.4 this triggered a warning, but now it gives you a syntax error. Go fix those files!

Several deprecated modules have finally been removed, so if your code uses any of the following you will finally have to rewrite: regex, regsub, statcache, tzparse, whrandom.

In addition to those I mentioned before, there are further new standard library modules. ctypes lets you call arbitrary functions in shared libraries or DLLs. wsgiref provides a WSGI-compatible web server for testing purposes.

A wrapper for the SQLite embedded database has been added, as sqlite3. I have used this database as an easily administered alternative to the "big boys". It's great for testing or to include in a standalone application.

As usual, performance has been improved, though maybe not as dramatically as in previous versions.

Finally, a nice tweak to the interpreter means that typing quit() or exit() will now exit the shell. It's common sense and long overdue, IMO.
Thursday, September 21, 2006

Pocoo: A Python Bulletin Board

Want an open-source Python application for hosting your own bulletin board software / message board / forum / what'cha'call-it? Help is on it's way thanks to the fine folks at Pocoo. Though only version 0.1, this app has a nice editor, threaded posts, an extensible authentication scheme and what looks on quick glance to be nicely written and documented code.

Since Pocoo is written using SQLAlchemy, it supports many databases transparently. It is also WSGI compliant. Jinja is used for templating. The web site is clear and contains with a fully-operational demo.

This is a big step towards filling a gap in Python application software. If you have some spare time maybe you'd like to help the development team out?
Thursday, September 14, 2006

USB Twig Storage And Other Design Delights

USB twig
Want to hide away from the world for a few hours? Oooms has what you need, a cardboard box specially designed as a refuge, named City Hideout. I wouldn't normally link to a site that's just a Flash presentation, but this designer has some cool stuff going on.

I particularly like the Rebellious Cabinet, which refuses to have all of its doors closed at once, the Wireframe Chair, which is an implementation of the model of the chair, hats made of human hair and USB sticks that look like twigs. This last item is available for ordering, but most are designer one-offs.

Speaking of USB keys or memory sticks or whatever you want to call them, does anyone have any peculiar designs they can share? I'm not talking about any of the following, too normal ideas:

Nope, I'm looking for illuminating rubber ducky drives, cute plush animals or sushi.

Those I like.
Monday, September 04, 2006

Engaging Baudrillard

This is a late reminder of the fact I am delivering a paper, tomorrow, at the Engaging Baudrillard conference in Swansea, Wales. This conference has a stellar list of guests, including Mike Gane and Douglas Kellner. Baudrillard himself was unfortunately too ill to attend.

If you happen to be in Swansea you may be able to get a pass to a session. Tuesday at 2:30pm I will be in the Faraday Building, Room J, which is immediately to the left once inside the main entrance. My paper, entitled "Time And Reality Die In Spectacle: Doctor Who As The Perfect Crime", will be accompanied, in proper multimedia fashion, with an illustrative custom DVD. Unlike a more traditional media studies approach, based on a hierarchy of commentary and source, my work treats the programme, Baudillard's theory and contemporary cosmology as narratives on a level playing field.

It is not coincidental that BBC Wales is producing Dr. Who. Indeed the TARDIS was spotted on Swansea University campus only last week. Find out more on this intriguing page of Wales/Who connections.