One of the best moments of having less to do during the summer break is figuring out what to do with all the time that is now available. It is kind of like watching a child who grew up in the city, having no back yard just walls all around him, and is then moved to the country where there are open expanses of fields and no man made objects can be seen as far as the eye can see. All you can do for the first day is run as fast as you can until you drop from exhaustion, then fall asleep until the realization hits that the alarm clock will not go off. This is probably to much of a stretch for the metaphor, but that is what it feels like.
I finely made good on my promise with helping my long time friend with his home network. I started converting and upgrading his system last spring, but as my time got to demanding with my commitments he had to get shoved to the back burner. I felt bad for leaving him in the lurch like that, but my busy life was too much to care for the projects that got started and demanded the extra time that I did not anticipate on. So I feel good that he now has a fully functioning network and all of the equipment works. Regrettably, having this type of network means that constant upgrading and learning how to deal with the server, as it may become temperamental, may be a job in itself. Already he experienced a brief power outage, and it took him several hours to put the server back on line again. The learning curve—it is a mean curve but one that must be climbed.
Lately I discovered some nifty new software that too me by storm. As some of you know, I’m a bit of a armature musician, and I like to dabble with writing and playing music everyone once in a while. When I tripped over this piece of software, I was gun a blazing with as I must of staid up the whole night playing on it.
I’ve always wanted to find a way of properly writing music out, just like the professional print shops. I learned to read and write music while in high school as I was in the school band, and in the local high school orchestra, but since then I gave up on it. Reading and writing music is nice to have as a skill set, but it is a lost art when no else can do it. This brings up my argument that playing by ear my not be the best way to learn music because I can run through a piece faster with the sheet music in front of me than I could if I have just a recording of it to go by. I see music in the same way as reading words from a book compared to watching a movie of the same story, there is a huge difference in quality and understanding of what the author is saying.
So this software is cool in my opinion. Not only does it properly lay out the arraignment to their proper proportions, such as the notation and multiple clefs and staffs, but you can play back the music through MIDI, with 128 voices of basic sounds. I was really surprised when I hit the playback function and the real time sounds of what I scribed into it played back on my speakers. That was very cool.
Like all open source projects, it lacks some good solid documentation, and it does not go out its way to teach you how to write and arrange music, that you must have already. It is sure a very nice tool for writing with if you want to professionally share your music with. I give it five out of five. This is one of the best kept secrets of the open source world in my opinion.
The Software: NoteEdit.
Note: it requires other packages from your favourite respotitory for yummy free sotfware, such the Timidity Server, which are linked from the authoer’s web page. If you run Ubuntu, or other common LINUX platofrms, these are prepackaged for easy installation. It took me about threes tries to find all of the dependnaties before I got it to its full glory.