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Sibelius and the meaning of ‘available’

There aren't many good options for Music notation software. Sibelius is in my opinion the best, which as this software goes is not saying all that much. For it's functionality it's quite good, as a piece of elegant and usable software, it gets a "B" at best.

Over a month ago Sibelius announced their Version 6. Like any software company they made a much bigger deal of it than the changes would justify. Still there were a few things in it that I wanted.

They started taking orders over a month ago. They have a not very generous deal for upgraders (I already have version 5) but still I decided to order it.

A month later, Version 6 is still on 'backorder ' whatever that means. I asked the rep I just spoke to what they mean when they say that it 's 'available' (Yes I admit I was being a pain in the ass and that she is in no way at fault.).

She said, it means that you can order it.

I couldn't resist pointing out that for me, available should also mean that once I order, they actually have something to ship.

Makes you wonder what 's going on behind the scenes. Was it pre-announced to freeze out the competition? Was it pre-announced to please their stock holders? Did they experience some late in the game software development crisis?

Technorati Tags: sibelius, musicnotation, prerelease

[GEEKY] Interesting article about code leaks

Check out this interesting case study of how one awful memory leak was tracked down and killed:

"It’s every developer’s worse nightmare. You’ve bet the farm on a development framework, spent thousands of person-hours developing your application and then find a memory leak. Worse yet, you’ve got a memory leak in an interpreted scripting environment where you have little to no control over how memory is allocated and managed at runtime." (from Tracking a memory leak in Rails)

Technorati Tags: rails, memoryleak, geeky, programming

Wolfram on Computable Knowledge

Stephen Wolfram is a genius. (Ok, he's also a bit grandiose, self-promoting and arrogant, but I think he's amazing. Kind of like I feel about Ray Kurzweil, another genius IMHO.)

Wolfram|Alpha is his latest product, and it's a fascinating experiment. I can only imagine the work that has gone into it, both the Mathematica foundation and the data collection, cleansing and organization. In my own experimentation with the site, I have had mixed results. It's still growing up. I see the promise, and I am rooting for it. But for now it isn't that useful, for me, anyway.

Wolfram has written a very long and interesting treatise on Computable Knowledge as he calls it. I won't try to excerpt or summarize it. For people interested in mathematics and computation, or in Stephen Wolfram himself, it's worth reading. I really enjoyed it.Technorati Tags: mathematics, stephenwolfram

Microsoft still has some tricks up it’s sleeve: Office 2010

Now I've been a mac for about 4 years now, so I generally don't pay too much attention to Microsoft's new product releases. But take a look at some of these videos about Office 2010. There's are some impressive new developments.

I am particularly impressed with the 'backstage view' which appears to pull together all the functionality that relates to how to get information into and out of any of the office apps.

One this site, Office 2010 revealed, you will see many cool videos. NB, they seem to have been snatched from a momentarily present web site, so Microsoft may force them to be taken down.

Technorati Tags:office2010

Modesty or ego?

Check this post Food for thought from Paul Krugman:

According to a new site called Mediaite, Mark Bittman of the Times is the 8th most influential columnist in America, ahead of Arianna Huffington. It's also noteworthy that Glenn Greenwald of Salon is #10. On the other hand, Christopher Hitchens is #5. Why would God allow that? And the less said about #1, the better … (from: Food for thought)

Is he being modest by not titling his post, "I am #1" or is this a clever way of leading all of us to go look at the list and seeing that he's "#1" without needing to say it?

Anti-paprazzi clutch bag gives pushy shutterbugs a taste of their own medicine

Not that I care about Paprazzi countermeasures, but this is just c-l-e-v-e-r! Check this post Anti-paprazzi clutch bag gives pushy shutterbugs a taste of their own medicine from Gizmag Emerging Technology Magazine:

Take that paparazzo!! (Photo: Adam
Harvey/ Celebrities looking for a way to combat those pesky paparazzi that doesn’t involve fisticuffs and a less than flattering mug shot will want to hope this new "anti-paparazzi device" makes the jump from concept to commercial availability. The concept is basically an LED flash built into a clutch purse that emits a photo ruining flash of its own when it detects the flash from a camera. ..

Pandora is saved!

Pandora is one of my favorite music sites. It's a quick way to get an infinite play list built around a song that you give it to start with. I've become a fan of several artists that I heard on Pandora for the first time. I hear that their catalog of music isn't nearly as large as some other well known music sites, but I could never tell any lack of grat music. So Pandora is pretty excellent… except they were in danger of going under due royalty rates that they were being charged.

Well here's the good news: "Pandora (And other internet radio) Has Officially Been Saved!"

iPhone 3GS – Questions

Ok so I've had the new iPhone for a little while now. This is my first ever iPhone and I have some questions. Maybe you can help me?

  • iPhone knows how to announce the album name and artist (using the voice recognition "what song is that" command.) Then why can't I enable it to automatically announce each and every song?
  • Why is it so dang hard to convert a DVD I own to iPhone format? I tried a bunch of 'solutions' using software I already have, as well as 2 or 3 utilities I downloaded. None finished successfully. All took forever. Isn't there an easy way?

Any experts out there who want to comment?

Technorati Tags: iphone

Can ‘Electronic Voting Machines’ be ‘Trusted’?

Leaving aside what exactly an Electronic Voting Machine is , the New York Times weighed in with this editorial the other day:

"Electronic voting machines that do not produce a paper record of every vote cast cannot be trusted. In 2008, more than one-third of the states, including New Jersey and Texas, still did not require all votes to be recorded on paper. Representative Rush Holt has introduced a good bill that would ban paperless electronic voting in all federal elections. Congress should pass it while there is still time to get ready for 2010 […click here for the whole thing]" (from How to Trust Electronic Voting, New York Times)

I wasn't sure whether or not Representative Holt's bill was good or not, so I was interested to read this commentary on another influential elections related blog. Let me jump to the punchline:

"The New York Times just doesn't get it. You'd think, by now, they would. But they don't. And they should print a correction immediately […snip…]" (from New York Times wrong again on E-Voting')

and more:

"[snip…]The reference to "paperless electronic voting", aside from being so very 2005, is also incredibly misleading. The idea that "electronic voting machines that…produce a paper record" are somehow more trustworthy than those which don't, has long ago been discredited by computer scientists and security experts.[snip…]" (also from New York Times wrong again on E-Voting')

And here then is another rebuttal from someone who believes that having any automation involved in counting votes is big trouble:

"[snip…]The simple fact is: you can NOT trust electronic voting. No paper receipts, paper ballots, recounts (where, as we saw in NH's 2008 primary recount, ballot chain of custody is a joke and recounts are likely conducted with compromised ballots to validate a fraudulent computerized count), no statistically improbable audits (as proposed by Mr. Holt), can reverse the untrustworthy and completely unverifiable results of a privatized, computerized, non-public, concealed vote count.[snip…]" (from "Forget Iran, say NO to concealed vote counting in the US of A")

You can see that there are strong opinions.

Yet, I wonder whether, looking into the real future (50 - 100 years) anyone can imagine that we will still be marking up pieces of paper and then scanning them. I don't think so, therefore the only question is how long it will take.

Technorati Tags: voting, evoting, newhampshire, ballots, rushholt