Friday, November 12, 2010

Accoustic jam session

A few days ago I met up with the crew from 3D Music Box - Ali, Nima and Maneli to have a listen to some samples they are preparing for an accoustic guitar version of the Sound Selecta app based on Maneli Jamal's music.

They had a MIDI keyboard hooked up such that each key triggered one of 20 samples such as riffs, harmonics and percussion hits they had recorded in a session with Maneli.  They let me go to town on the keyboard while they played a set of 4 bar loops from one of Maneli's songs.

The result was better than expected... it pretty much hit the mark...everything I played sounded awesome.

Who is the guitar hero now?

High tech classics

It sure was fun to facilitate a collaboration between a classically trained musician and someone knee deep in the latest technology for sound production.

In this video, Nima Shams of 3D Music Box  is showing Alex Dyck how his MIDI keyboard can be sent through Apple Logic Studio to generate a sound that in real life would require an entire orchestra. Check out Alex's look of bewilderment and slight discomfort as he realizes the possibilities.

The two are working on using this technology to recreate music from some famous ballets to incorporate into the a Sound Selecta app to be marketed by the National Ballet School of Canada.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pumpkin Olympics

While Halloween is over the after effects of our annual party still linger as cobwebs on the edges of my mind.  Unfortunately we did not get to perform our ritual pumpkin massacre due to a special visit from Toronto's finest at 1:00 AM.  But we did get to hold our yearly pumpkin Olympics, a competitive event involving the orange gourds. 

In  case you want some inspiration for fun and games at future Halloween parties here are pumpkin sports that we have done at past parties.  Each year gets a different event:
  • bobbing for pumpkins
  • pumpkin bocci
  • darts - throwing darts at pumpkins marked with differing point values
  • pumpkin bowling - knock over tin cans with small pumpkins
  • pumpkin stacking - 8 pumpkins high was the recrod
  • pumpkin skee-ball - roll pumpkins up a ramp and try to get it to land in the box with the highest point value
  • pumpkin croquet - this year's latest addition!

Friday, October 29, 2010

School daze – the business plan workshop

Today I was transported to school daze when I had the good fortune to attend a seminar on developing a business plan to a primarily Ryerson student audience.  The seminar was presented by Dr. Dave Valliere and at $10 for three hours was the deal of the century.  The material was so engaging that I managed to fight off flashbacks of incomprehensible scribbles from engineering profs from yesteryear.

Going in I expected to be taken through the structure of the business plan, only to find out that templates are a dime a dozen and what really counts is the thought process that goes into it.
Some of the really important tidbits I learned are:
  • Let the investor know how they will get their money back as soon as possible in the plan
  • Investors will toss your plan in the garbage at the first opportunity.
  • The business has to offer a product that solves a problem exceedingly well.
  • The business is more important than the product.
  • Demonstrating the methodology used to make financial projections is far more important than the actual numbers – projections are always wrong.
  • The numbers should be synchronized with the information in the plan
  • Hire people that are smarter than you, get things done and are not assholes.

Do you want my 3D body?

Last week I got to check out a demo on the use of 3D body scanners by Tasha Lewis, an assistant professor within the Ryerson School of Fashion.  The scanner which costs around $30K is the size of a small change room and scans without using x-ray.  The technology is being used by the apparel industry to develop realistic models of various body shapes to be able to offer a wider range of sizes.
There were some folks from Princess Margaret Hospital in attendance that were interested in using the technology to monitor swelling as well as developing better fitting compression bands that often don’t fit well based on measurements from the old fashioned tape measure.
Above, Tasha Lewis is standing next to the 3d body scan of Gaya from the DMZ.  I would have volunteered but didn’t want the scan to capture all the holes in my underwear!