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Evan Laforge

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I'm totally getting a "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" vibe from this.  I always did, but with the move toward descriptions of artistic forms it's even more Borges-ian.  I look forward to someone writing some of those pieces.

I spent the day sampling some instruments.

Imagine sitting in a room, playing a note, and waiting for it to decay to nothing.  You can't shift position, breathe too suddenly, or even swallow.  It's very gradually getting darker, because you can't turn on the light.  You can't hurry, every note has its own decay and there is nothing to do but listen to each one fade to nothing.  About four hours like this.

It makes you really pay attention to every moment of a sound.  How it vibrates, how the room accepts some tones and rejects others, how each harmonic decays individually, how adjacent harmonics pass into the critical band and merge into one, or beat against each other.  In addition to watching day turn into night, moment by moment.

I finished only 10 keys out of 81, so it could take a few more days of this.

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Colonization / survival game roughly inspired by "The Legacy of the Heorot":

If they're doing it like I hope they're doing it, this could be really cool.

And now that I think about it, why is it that if I want to run around in some dusty brown vaguely Middle Eastern place shooting people there are about 500 high budget games with fancy graphics, but I still can't walk around in an orbital habitat, or asteroid colony, or Rama?  Or tool around that gas giant from "The Integral Trees"?  I mean there was that one nominally on a ring world, but it was the same old shoot everything, just with a different backdrop.

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I've spent a lot of time over the last few days fighting drag and void (interestingly, no lag though).  Any haskell-types out there with experience or advice on how to do that?

The blog entry is optional, though it provides rambling context.  It has some jargon, but is hopefully mostly understandable, and I think it's characteristic of laziness leaks that they're embedded in a giant tangle of complex context, thanks to the non-local nature of laziness.  And otherwise the problem would be boringly easy to solve, right? :)

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The new python uses an adaptive format for strings that uses a different encoding depending on the maximum character to save space:

+Bryan O'Sullivan Could Data.Text borrow this idea?  I imagine in many uses the space saving could be compelling.  On the other hand I know there was experimentation with utf8 Data.Text and the results weren't conclusive, and haskell doesn't use strings quite so pervasively as python...

If you use Data.Vector.Generic to work with both boxed and unboxed arrays, SPECIALIZE is your friend!

Sampling is such mind-numbing work.

First decide on how many dynamic levels, how many articulations, how many round-robin variations, how many pitches, and multiply all those together.  That's how many samples.  Then record them all, being as consistent as possible, plus a few variations to give choice when editing.  The slightest noise can ruin the sample.  Try not to swallow or breathe too loudly.  Unplug the refrigerator and wait for airplanes to pass.

Then proceed to snip up all 300-500 samples.  It should be somewhat automate-able, but it's not.  Get sore wrists.  Snip, snip, snip.  Try to pick consistent variations, but not so consistent that there's no point to having the variations.  The annoyance of every bug or UI misdesign in the editor's "inner loop" is multiplied by 1000 repetitions.  Be completely consistent about ordering and naming or samples will get mixed up or lost.

Then lay them out in the sampler, which is almost completely manual, and intentionally designed to resemble a cramped LCD screen from the '90s.  Get the dynamics smooth as possible.  Enjoy the bugs here too, evidently they figure not many people are creating their own samples so they don't need to polish that part so much.

Finally, find out if it actually works for music!  If you consistently played some articulation oddly then stringing them together sounds bizarre and stiff, like an automated subway announcement.  Maybe start over from the beginning, or redo bits, being careful to recreate the original recording situation as much as possible.

And this is percussion, probably the easiest thing to sample.  I have a lot of respect for the people who do this professionally.

Two months ago I sent my passport for renewal, since I was planning on travelling.  A week or so after that, I got the new passport.  Then I left the country, and a month later I returned. A week after that (which is today) I got email from helpfully letting me know that my passport was done, and I should receive it by 05/18/2012.

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I've felt a lot better about my Cabdury egg habit ever since I found out they were so healthy.

Giving up for the moment on making JACK MIDI work... that is one ornery API.
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