Monday, 22 December 2014

Marking a Season of Accomplishments and Vigilant Virtuosity

This Christmas is the one to be remembered. Its been a thrilling year in the making with relentless focus on the production of Virtuoso over the summer and fall. I'm very happy to say that some of the more time consuming aspects of music notation are complete. We now have an extensive notation symbol font suitable for diverse scores and our API for font loading, glyph drawing, morphing and metrics is fantastic. For sound we have the amazing Web Audio API, which is having its first international conference in Paris.

My dream, vision and mission has always been to marry a graphic musical score with uninhibited interaction and immediate reaction. A key component to making this happen is our indexer module, which watches on its own concurrent thread behind the score surface for every move the composer makes and generates the result of all live editing. These facilities coupled with our exchangeable view system allows Virtuoso to render its output using WebGL or any other graphic technology.

These graphic solutions form the client side backdrop of Virtuoso. With this backdrop in place the curtain can lift for the real magic of Virtuoso to take the stage. As a metaphor we can say that the backdrop is the road or race track and the real magic is the Lamborghini to be driven on that road. The real magic is the front-end of Virtuoso, where the tasks and aspects of music composition are engineered into productive tools that facilitate the flow of realtime thought to medium.

Our mandate to turn anyone using a mobile device into a prolific composer is then on the immediate horizon. Given our breakthrough inventions and the work to date plus the support of fabulous and enduring technologies the future is now. Its extremely exciting to consider what this means when the growth of the internet and proliferation of mobile devices continue to sky rocket. Virtuoso is a jetpack for this rocket that will make the internet and social collaboration yet more impactful.

With Virtuoso being a new kind of musical instrument, that has built-in social media and collaboration facilities, it is possible to also see the formation of a whole new kind of online classroom and university for music formed around it. Comparatively, it has always been easy to see that Virtuoso is a game changer, while it is an enabling disruptive force that liberates the many it might also bring an initial discomfort and reality check for those in the culturally established roles that music has settled into over the centuries. Alas, the times are a-changin'.

Speaking of change, I was surprised to read that some developers are ditching their trusty retina MacBook for the new Surface Pro 3 from Microsoft. Looking at its specs and feeling the lug of my Macbook carrying backpack daily I think I want one too. Here we use a recent iPad and the Samsung Note II as deployment test platforms and having the well received Surface Pro 3 with its Windows 8 OS would round off the workbench nicely. It would be perfect for constant on the go development and sessions at Starbucks, the shot below has Ulysses, myself and Graeme on deck.

While developing with gusto its always fun to kick-out the jams with my guitar at the end of the day, its my version of a hot spa. The tunes and licks just keep leaping of the fretboard and I do my best to record them as they roll in. There's quite a collection of tunes so at some point I plan to work them into musical projects of their own. The whole Singularity concept on technological as well as metaphysical levels interests me and I've been thinking about doing a series of albums based on the theme.

Before I close the post I would like to say how tremendous it is to finally see technology stabilizing during these past months. When Steve Jobs pulled the plug on Java and Flash in 2010 the dominos started to topple throughout many industries. Not only have mobile devices flourished, JavaScript has also evolved into ES6 and now Firebase has joined forces with Google. From 2011 to 2014 has been an unprecedented time for web related development and 2014 bleeding into 2015 gets us to 60 FPS and full on Hybrid Apps. Remember, API-First and we'll see you in the new year!

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