enharmonix writes: I have a big decision to make. I am probably going to buy a laptop that I will primarily use for music. I would prefer an OEM distro so I don't need to install the OS myself (not that I mind), but I have no preference between open- and closed-source software as an end-user; I just care about the quality of the product. There are two applications that I absolutely must have: 1) a standard notation transcription program with quality auditioning (i.e., playback with quality sound fonts or something similar, better than your standard MIDI patches) that can also accept recorded audio in lieu of MIDI playback, and 2) a capable synthesizer (the more options, the better). If there's software out there that does both 1 and 2 in the same app, that's even better. I've played with some of Ubuntu's offerings for music a few years ago and some are very good, though not all of them are self-explanatory and the last time I checked, none of them really met my needs. I am not so worried about number 2 because I think I could pretty easily develop my own in.NET/Mono, which I think would be a fun project (which would be open source, of course). I am a Gnome fan so if I go with Linux, I will almost certainly go with standard Ubuntu over Kubuntu, but Gnome seems to rule out Rosegarden which was the best FOSS transcription software out there the last time I checked. The other solution I've thought of is to just shell out the $600 for Finale, which I'm more than willing to do, but I'm not so sure I want Windows 8 and I'm just not sure I can afford to go with a Mac on top of the $600 for Finale. I don't intend to put more than one OS on my laptop, either. Any slashdotters out there dabble in composing/recording, using MIDI, sound fonts, recorded audio, and/or synthesizers? What setup of hardware/OS/software works for you? Can FOSS music software compete with their pricier closed source competitors?
enharmonix writes: Although Google initially invested in Intellectual Ventures, a patent holding firm, the two have since parted ways and are about to face off in court over some technologies used in Motorola (and other) phones. This is an important battle and the timing is significant given Congress's recent interest in patent reform.
enharmonix writes: "Courtesy of Bruce Schneier, it's nice to hear something good about data mining for a change: predicting and stopping crime. For example, police in Redmond, VA, "started overlaying crime reports with other data, such as weather, traffic, sports events and paydays for large employers. The data was analyzed three times a day and something interesting emerged: Robberies spiked on paydays near cheque cashing storefronts in specific neighbourhoods. Other clusters also became apparent, and pretty soon police were deploying resources in advance and predicting where crime was most likely to occur.""
enharmonix writes: "The Chinese government has launched an online game where players advance by killing corrupt government officials using weapons, magic, or torture. Apparently it's very popular — the game has already reached 100,000 downloads and even had to be taken offline while they upgrade their systems to handle the load."
enharmonix writes: "The Register posted this article about an amazing new technology from Microsoft called Photosynth that can assemble massive amounts of images in 3D space. You must see it to believe it. Or try it yourself at Microsoft Live Labs."
enharmonix writes: "The Register is reporting on a strange new phishing technique that is able to fool IE7's phishing filter and Norton 360. Spoofed sites include PayPal, eBay, HSBC and others. The sites are confirmed to be fraudulent but are cleared by both security tools. The exploit seems to be specific to Internet Explorer (FireFox just goes straight to the correct site). Roger Thompson of Exploit Prevention labs believes users may have an html injector that communicates directly with IE and modifies the HTML of legitimate websites."
enharmonix writes: "Just a bit of an update on the recent digg revolt over AACS. Well, the New York Times has taken notice and written quite a decent article that actually acknowledges that the take down notices amount to censorship and documents instances of the infamous key appearing in purely expressive form (I was pleased to see the similarity to 2600 and deCSS was not lost on the Times either). More interesting though is that the EFF's Fred von Lohmann blames the digg revolt on lawyers. And in an opinion piece, John Dvorak expands on that theme."
enharmonix writes: "According to an article in PCWorld, "The U.S. departments of Defense and State received F grades, and Homeland Security a D, in the latest scorecard measuring their information security measures. Representative Tom Davis... said it was 'troubling' that three of the main agencies fighting terrorism received low grades again in their compliance with the Federal Information Security Management Act.""
enharmonix writes: "I recently came across this post to alt.tv.futurama that references this IMDB entry. Yup, it's Bender's Big Score (a.k.a., The Futurama Movie). Before you get too excited, this guy claims to have read the script, and states that it will be broadcast in 4 parts in X-mas of 2007, though it's not clear whether these are the first four episodes of Season 5 (2008)."