Posts Tagged ‘Open Source’

Experiences on sound editing

Saturday, February 5th, 2005

Recently I’ve been editing my soon to be released Skypecasts of various people in the field of Open Source in Education and also composed some tracks in the process with Skale Tracker.

Knowing how to mix and edit sound can make unbelievable difference in how a recording is experienced by the listener. Especially with podcasts and the increasing ammount of various offerings nowadays (thanks to IT Conversations and others), a listener might also choose the recording based on quality.

With quality I don’t mean your MP3 bitrate but how pleasant it is to listen. If there is a lot of background noise, hard to hear words, lots of low-fidelity information (ummm, annndddaaa….) or distortion, it is easy to skip to next one despite the content.

As podcasting could prove to be a quite popular medium, I urge everyone creating recordings and releasing them to learn the basics of sound editing and mastering. Learning basics is easy and really make a difference in the end-product. There are also free tools available to begin with.

Doug Kaye (Via Stephen’s Web) has gathered some links to tips on recording and editing. Good stuff to begin with.

I personally found this one very useful for beginners trying to do their work on Audacity.

Jon Udell pointed to Transom which is an awesome resource. If you are interested in movies or overall in how to edit music, talk and ambient sounds together in a way that people can still pick up the different themes without problems, see great article by Walter Murch where he describes audio through an analogy with visual spectrum and describes the unity of clarity and density through real examples from his movies.

Open Source beer from Denmark

Saturday, January 15th, 2005

Finally freedom as in beer (not free as in beer)! Danish computer science students have started to brew their own 6% Vores Øl beer. It includes quorana and caffeine for added energy boost. Serious geeks only? Maybe.

The recipe and the brand are shared under the Creative Commons Attribution & ShareAlike license. I hope some local brewery takes this recipe so I could use it to aid myself with all night coding sessions…

Check it out.

Open Source personal Tsunami Warning System

Sunday, January 2nd, 2005

The president of Finland announced, that the Asian disaster which also affected some finnish tourists is the biggest disaster in our country during the slightly over 50-year period of peace-time. In Sweden things are even worse, as they haven’t had any major events (last war was fought in 1814) in mid-term memory other than the sinking of Estonia, resulting in major difficulties for people to handle the issue.

I tried hard not to write anything about the Tsunami. Everyone else is doing it already in their weblogs and the level of information I’m able to provide to the collective pile is fairly low. Once again Wikipedia is a great source for updated “facts” of all of the noise.

Well, I guess I have found an element which connects to my overall interest so here it goes.

Robert Cringely has written a very interesting article about how to build a Global Internet Tsunami Warning System (or more conveniently, GITWS). The basic idea is that letting the governments build the multi-government warning system involves many many years of politics, new technology and great piles of money to build. The alternative?

We, of course – In a similar manner as weblogs provide alternative coverage to main-stream news and individual Open Source developers building great software from scratch.

A multi-government system requires a great ammount of data to process. Seismic sensors are monitored and as activity is detected, the data is combined and simulated automatically. From the simulation we can see how the event could affect certain locations and we could warn those locations beforehand. I expect a simulation like this requires a lot of calculation power.

If we attack the problem from another angle, i.e. “is my beach going to be devastated by a tsunami?”, the ammount of information and seismic sensors you require to figure that out are fairly low. I expect there are many things you could leave out of your calculation compared to a full simulation. It’s possible that this information could be processed fairly quickly on a single computer or on a local p2p application of some sort as a full simulation is not required.

If seismographs are online, all the data could be gathered electronically and a formula to calculate a disaster from your viewpoint exists, the system could be online in months, not in 10 years. The software could be released under Open Source for public good, of course. Everyone interested in if a tsunami is going to hit your location could have a nice tsunami icon in their taskbar, sending a horde of IM’s, SMS’s, email and flashing your screen to notify you in event of a disaster and give you plenty of time to sail with your precious cruiser to sunset.

It could be done?

Make, Buy, Outsource, or Open Source?

Friday, November 5th, 2004

Mikko Puhakka has written a nice article about the fact that businesses should start to look after IT Survival Strategies. It is evident that Open Source is here to stay and companies have to ask from themselves, “what is our Open Source strategy?”

I agree with most of his points. Businesses should start to think about these issues before it hits their forehead. There is one thing I don’t completely agree with:

watch out, incumbents! I suggest that you accept that open source is here to stay, and that it’s causing the value of your current offering to slowly approach zero. And you’ll have to find new sources of revenues while you still can.

In my opinion, Open Source is not causing the value of all closed source software products to approach zero. There is a certain group of specialized products which market is very small: e.g. a product which is only useful for say, windmills. If your software has only a handful of customers around the world, I argue that such software is not going to be replaced by an Open Source product.

So far Open Source has been successful in applications which user base is potentially very large and brings benefits to almost any organization around the world. Open Source products directly threaten the position of products that have such a broad market. My analysis is that in the future Open Source starts to threaten more specialized products indirectly, because Open Source platforms enable companies to bring a new specialized product faster, cheaper and more conveniently to the market by building on open platforms.

He later answered that I’m most likely correct:

“I was talking about theoretical possibility. Open source is a challenge to look at academically as e.g. existing economical theories pretty much say that it’s emergence should not have taken place….”

So all of you who have so far ignored the existence of Open Source: think about your strategy and the possibility that your wonderful product may sooner or later get replaced with an Open Source offering.