About me

I'm a geek working as a distance learning specialist for a large corporation.

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This is my favorite way to listen to music now.

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(Unfortunately, only works in IE.)

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Some of you know about the other site I had up, caddickscabin.com, that housed all my family pictures and some other stuff that less than nobody ever looked at. Well,Death of a domain: caddickscabin.com

My wife can't figure out what I do online for hours at a time. I can't blame her for being confused. Sometimes I don't even know how so much timeWhat's in YOUR browser?

I came across a post tonight by a professor at the University of Georgia. He uses his response to a recent post on the NPR blog All Songs Considered asChanging morality to fit the technology

Cheap trick. No, not the band. Seems like Deanna has the same sense of humor as Brother Cavel. But... we get another week of voting in, and everybody's back in play!BSG: The Last Cylon... not so revealed

Another year has gone by, and more fathering lessons have been learned. Hopefully my kids have learned a bit, too. For my part, I've learned - perhaps more than in otherHappy Fathers Day

To review: I'm talking about an article on ZDNet that tries to make the case for streaming first-run movies to a home theater. In the first part, I laid outMovie Theater vs. Home Theater (part 2)

TheGoldenParachute.com: Think Dual Incomes is a Great Thing? Not Always We've had discussions periodically in my house about my wife going back to work part-time. There are a variety of reasonsIs a dual income worth it in a marriage?

For the first time ever, this blog is involved in a contest. This isn't like a "who's got the best blog" kind of thing, but one that gives you theWill you win?

Way back in the distant past... I had an idea for a short web comic. Unfortunately, I have ZERO skill at drawing. Luckily, I know someone who has that skill inTime Travel Is Tricky

Portal - The Game. Free Download until May 24th. | The #1 bookmarked Freeware site. I love Portal. I first played it at my brother's house a few years ago, andPortal - The Game. Free Download until May 24th (ps: the cake is a lie)

For me, YouTube is like walking into a hospital with no immune system. I go in with one thing and come out with a hundred others. Lucky for you, IMore Banjo - with Steve Martin & Earl Scruggs

Two "robots" found on YouTube today... One: paint this dark grey and it would be the coolest homemade AT-ST (All Terrian-Scout Transport) Halloween costume on the block. Just add a WookieYouTube robots

Star Wars: The Clone Wars | Star Wars: The Clone Wars In Theaters and on Television in 2008 The Clone Wars animated series is going to start with a theatrical release! ThisSend In The Clones!!!!

Let's get this out of the way: if you stare too closely at the details of a Russell Davies' Doctor Who story, you might fall through a plot hole andReview: Doctor Who 2008

As I off-handedly mentioned, I went paintballing on Saturday. This was a group outing with a bunch of men and teens from our church. It was also the first timeBattle wounds

A colorful cavalcade of classical coolness

This excites me on many levels. It’s so simple, and yet so cool.

It’s not at all new either. In fact, there’s a multi-award winning film that uses something very similar in its most famous scene. (Comment below if you know what it is.)

What is it, and why does it excite me?

Don’t laugh.

It’s a bar graph.

Yes, seriously.

Wait, wait! Don’t go… it’s not just any old bar graph. This one moves. And it lights up. And there’s music.

Starting to see the cool yet?

Yeah, I probably wouldn’t either, if I was just reading this. Stick with me.

Let’s package it this way: This is a different way to experience music – visually and accurately. We’ve all seen light shows of one kind or another accompanying music, but most of the time it’s just pulsating to the beat or rhythms or some approximation thereof. What we’ve got below is accurate parts, durations, and relative pitch of the notes in a song depicted in a way that you could actually learn something about the music itself.

Check this out as a “simple” example from J.S. Bach:

I call that simple only because it’s one instrument and pretty easy to see how the thing works. But check out the first movement from Mozart’s Symphony #40 in G-minor (one of his best, for my money). For some people this may be a better example because you can actually follow a single instrument through the symphony (for instance, green is the violin (with other strings in shades of green)):

Beyond that fact that I just think it looks neat, I really think this could be used to get people to think of music in a different way. It could be used to help people see the connection between music and math (you can’t get a bar graph without math!). In our increasingly visually driven society, it could be used to help show the ebb and flow of the musical lines, and the intertwining of parts to create the whole. Heck, maybe it could even be used to help the deaf experience music in a new way (maybe it already is, for all I know).

Because this is based on MIDI, it would be pretty easy to single out a given part or parts for display to focus on just the brass, for example. All sorts of ways to slice and dice this.

Like I said, this excites me in many ways: as a music lover, as a technology geek, as an (extremely) amateur composer, and as a trainer/educator. It’s just plain cool.

In case you’re interested in how this works (from the technology side), it’s actually pretty simple. It’s a visual representation of MIDI, which has been around for quite a while (I actually programmed my computer to play the “Ghostbusters” song in MIDI back in the 80′s). MIDI is a mathematical representation of pitch and duration for each note in a score/song. Run that MIDI file through this free software, and it reads all that math and gives you that scrolling bar graph (or even a few other visual options). It’s fun! :)

Do did you figure out which movie used a colored bar representation for music yet? Here’s a hint… ba-ba-da-BUM-BUM!

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