hacks things and practices open sourcery. Engineer.

jsTar: A Hack for the gTar and Other MIDI Controllers

gtarnick

Some words about audiovisuals and stuff

While I was in college back in 2010, I attended an event put on by Robert Henke, one of the developers of Ableton Live, and Tarik Barri, creator of the powerful Versum audiovisual cell phone tracker and spy software composition software, to view their collaborative piece called Monolake. The exhibition (or I guess you could call it a concert) involved spacial sound design (think surround sound audio) paired with visual representation of the soundscape Henke created, projected on all sides of the studio we were in. The environment created made it feel as if one was drifting through an environment governed by school writing paper sound. I had seen visualizers before, but it definitely did make me recognize and admire the almost jazz-like freeform factor of audio visualization in live concert.

While you definitely can’t play with your visuals as fast and loose as Coltrane on a trumpet, it does allow for considerable improvisation, making each experience unique and content writers different from the next. Most large concerts rely on lights and interesting visuals that have for the most part been pre-rendered (Deadmau5 comes to mind), but no one I’ve seen (aside from Robert Henke) is touring or has toured with someone who visualizes their audio on-the-fly (feel free to point some out, though!). I feel like a lot of people think the buck stops at programs like XBMC or iTunes, where you can “visualize” your music library, but it’s actually fairly easy to stream audio or MIDI into

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a visualizer using the right programs or language.

The first visualizers were made for DOS, so the idea is neither new nor difficult on early PCs, but these basic visualizers like MilkDrop or Cthugha didn’t allow for the human element or entropy that made the visualization of music as orchestrated as it was in Monolake. More recently artists have been using programs like MaxMSP with Processing and Ableton (Which are the tools Barri and Henke incorporated) to produce both

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sound and audio together, and other end of the spectrum you have guys like Dr. Bleep creating hardware dedicated to audiovisual synthesis. Seeing it in everyday concerts, though? I still believe it’s a ways off from being labeled anything other than “experimental”.

Continue reading

manages all content at Grand St. Invents things in his spare time.

Five Emergency Preparedness Products for Any Sticky Situation

wakapower

As we approach the end of October, the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy making landfall in New York City stirs some scary memories. Power outages for weeks, dead phones, commutes home in the pitch black, and even an apartment fire, to name a few. Below are five products that are perfect for preparing for any emergency situation. Whether you’re on the coast or in the heartland, these helpful tools will better equip you to deal with whatever Mother Nature throws your way. Continue reading

is a co-founder of Grand St. and infamous blogtress.

The Long Tail of Hardware

electronics

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better” echoing through the internet.

Two years later, and Downes

is more right than ever. Through Grand St. I’ve had a front-row seat to the emerging hardware movement, and the big realization I’ve come to is that it’s not just Best Buy that’s going to fade away, it’s our entire notion of “Consumer Electronics”. It will be gradual, but there are already signals that indicate a shift is happening.

It’s a tailwind that’s supporting a growing long-tail of hardware and a new kind of creator. Continue reading

hacks things and practices open sourcery. Engineer.

The Imp Cube Hack

Earlier last week, Dustin and I put together a neat little Twitter contest and gave away some Electric Imps and Rainbow Cubes. When a few lucky people hit certain multiples (64, 128, 256, and 512) with tweets including the hashtag ‘#ImpCube’. Whenever someone tweeted this, we would use the Imp to tell a Rainbow Cube in our office to light up a single LED in the cube – after 64 tweets, it would put on a little light show and then reset itself. The contest was fun (and distracting) to watch here at the office and was surprisingly easy to strap together using the Imp (which is programmed using Squirrel) and the RainbowCube (which runs on on Arduino – specifically the Rainbowduino). Continue reading

is a co-founder of Grand St. and loves the codes.

What Do Beer and Creative Technology Have in Common?

Science.

BrewCrate_Pour

Kidding aside, the Grand St. team is always looking for ways to be better members of the startup ‘ecosystem,’ whether hardware-related or other. We also think homebrewing fits in nicely with our own enthusiasm for making things, from robot phone booths and Arduino LED cubes to coffee drip towers and lemon ricotta pancakes from scratch. When phone spy for android free our good friend and fervent Grand St. supporter Sam Gimbel approached us with a

new idea he was working on, it didn’t take much to grab our attention and make us quite thirsty:

“I’m working on a new idea. It involves

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We were all ears. Continue reading

is an Intern at Grand St.

Invisalign and 3D Printing

This was originally posted to Medium on September 12, 2013

Teeth

I was in the chair at the dentist getting fit for my Invisalign dental aligners when a thought popped into my mind: Are we approaching the point where I will be able to have impressions taken and have the actual Invisalign to take home on the same day?

With the rise of personal 3D printing, I do not think my vision is too far off. When I asked my dentist (who also

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happens to be my uncle) about this, he confirmed that this should happen within the next five years, though he personally does not know anyone who has started to work on it. Continue reading

manages all content at Grand St. Invents things in his spare time.

Jamming with the Grain Audio Team

What happens when you try to make music sound as good out of a speaker as it did in the studio? Read what Mitch and the team at NYC-based Grain Audio had to say about the technology, craftsmanship, and inspirations behind their Packable Wireless System and making quality products that reproduce audio “as the artist intended.”

Grain 5

Grain Audio places serious emphasis on the use of wood in all of your products. Tell us more about the thinking behind that.

There are many reasons for this, both from a design and audio perspective. First off, a wooden enclosure, like the ones we use in the PWS, absorbs some of the sound waves inside of the PWS so they are not canceling each other out as you would see with a plastic enclosure. This helps with the overall quality of the sound coming out and makes the bass more pronounced, giving it the natural sound we’re looking for. From a design perspective, wood is a truly great material to work with. At Grain Audio, we have a commitment to high quality products using high quality materials, and while other people are creating a commoditized product, we wanted to give someone something of better quality, that they could love for years and years, and truly have a relationship with. Also, the variations in the wood grain itself make each product one-of-a-kind – one that will age with the owner, develop a unique patina, and truly be a reflection of the owner. Continue reading

manages all content at Grand St. Invents things in his spare time.

Producer Focus: Q+A with Crave

We chatted with Michael

Topolovac and Ti Chang, creators of the Duet, about their experiences bringing to market products in a category that was begging for better design and innovation.

Crave - Team Working

What was the inspiration behind creating Crave?

M: I was talking to a few female friends a few years back, and when I asked why they didn’t own a vibrator, the collective answer was that shopping for one felt like a ‘dirty’ experience. Ultimately, the takeaway was that women wanted a richer experience around buying and owning these products, and that was the key inspiration.

T: The inspiration began when I came to terms with the lack of quality products available for women. I believe that something so important and intrinsic to who we are as human beings should have more options – we have more options for hair nets than there are quality toys for women. Continue reading

designs interfaces, systems and culture.

Android First: Our Process and Lessons Learned in Making Our App

This post is adapted from a

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talk that Aaron and I gave on July 30 at the E-Commerce Demo Night at Huge.

Screen Shot 2013-08-15 at 1.28.15 PM

Graphics adopted from Kathy Sierra’s talk at Business of Software 2012

When it was time to make our native app back in March, we looked to Android. Why? First and foremost, we’re a small team of 7 and have limited resources. With many features yet to build and two veteran Android developers in-house, it made sense time-wise. Second, we looked at the market -

many of the apps we use daily, such as Sunrise, Day One and Currency, are iOS-only. Others who had attempted to make an Android version of an app simply fell short on visual design and performance. Continue reading