Plogue Bidule

Plogue Bidule is a modular sound design environment.

It acts as a host for audio and MIDI plugins, as well as providing numerous building blocks of its own to help you create and sculpt sound. Bidule works on Windows and Mac OSX (both PowerPC and Intel), and hosts Audio Units and VST plugins. What really sets Bidule apart from the myriad other hosts is its ability to connect modules in any way imaginable: any plugin can be connected to as many others as you want, and Bidule will automatically mix and amplify the signal. You can connect a module’s output to its own input for feedback, split a stereo signal to two separate effects chains (or 10!), monitor audio levels and recombine everything and send it to a multi-track recording module to record your music direct to hard disk. Musicians looking to add some unique flavor to their sound will definitely find what they’re looking for. Bidule is also designed to work with MIDI, from distributing MIDI signals from several hardware controllers to multiple synths, to creating entire musical scores based on mathematic principles. The possibilities are so great, that Bidule can be a little daunting at times. But, thankfully, and in stark contrast to some other software, Bidule makes it easy to get started playing music without having to build everything from the ground up. Many tutorial groups are included to guide the user through basic connections, and some pretty weird ones are thrown in there for good measure!

How to make interactive forms using Adobe InDesign and Adobe Acrobat

One of the best aspects about Adobe InDesign is how easy it is to create nice, professional looking forms with ease.

However, the problem comes if you want the forms to be interactive (i.e., you want the user to actually be able to type into the form instead of printing it out and supplying hand written answers). Luckily, making interactive forms is easier than you may think! First, you will need to create your form using Adobe InDesign.

Design the form exactly how you would like it. Use the frame tool to draw empty rectangles where you want your user to be able to input information. Next, save your file as a PDF. Next, open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat Professional. Now you need to add interactive boxes to your document. To start doing this, go to Forms > Create New Form… and follow the prompts. You will then get the forms toolbar added to your screen. That toolbar allows you to create input boxes on your interactive form. Finally, resave your document. You now have a PDF file that is interactive. Your users will be able to type in their information and print it out.

Access Flash Sites From My iPhone

If you are frustrated about not being able to access any Flash based site from your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, here is a good news for you.

CloudBrowse by AlwaysOn Technologies, Inc. is a wonderful software application that enables you to browse through flash based sites using your iDevices. Many iDevice users find it annoying that they cannot access or see majority of websites because Apple does not provide support for Adobe flash due to security concerns.

Now you can enjoy all flash based sites using CloudBrowse as it uses a remote server to process flash based sites and shows the resultant content in a format that is supported by your iDevices. One thing to remember is that, it makes browsing a tad slower, so you may find playing online games on your iPhone a bit sluggish.

TOAD Database Tool

If you are looking for a database development tool that has all of the bells and whistles for a low price then you need to consider TOAD by Quest Software.

This program is ideal for DBA, analyst, even the business power user because it is so easy to use and comprehensive. TOAD stays current with frequent updating by the vendor and Quest also allows free downloading for personal use. The thing I like most about TOAD is that it is multi-platform capable. Quest has a TOAD program for all of the major database platforms which allows you to learn one program for any platform you are administrating. I also like the query designer which uses helpers that auto load field names in your SQL and conditionals in your WHERE clauses. The connection wizard makes connecting to anything a breeze. No third party ODBC drivers or API’s required. I’ve use TOAD with MySQL, Oracle, and MS SQL Server. This tool blows any vendor supplied software away.

Intel Amazes Once Again

Intel has been relentless in releasing a new generation of microprocessors every twelve months.

This year will be no exception, as the Sandy Bridge group of chips is expected to start being shipped out of the factory by the end of the year, with retail availability by January of 2011 at the latest. The chip has many major innovations over its predecessors. Most important is the full integration of graphics into the same silicon die.

The graphics core shares the same L3 cache as the CPU cores, increasing theoretical performance. This is different from the Westmere solution, which had two separate chips in the same package. Sandy Bridge will also feature Advanced Vector Instructions to help increase the speed of floating point operations. Sandy Bridge will first be offered with either 2 or 4 cores, with hyper threading available in higher-priced parts. While more detailed information on performance will be released at the Intel Developer Forum in September, sample chips have leaked out and been benchmarked already.

The results are spectacular, with 20% performance gains over the previous generation being quite common in many applications. In graphics, performance has doubled over the Westmere integrated solution. With these promising results, the future for PC enthusiasts looks bright.

Constant Database

When coding in python I’m often performing text processing and I end up with some form of inverted index or associative array in memory and I want to persist it.

On and off I’ve tried using the Berkeley Database from Oracle. Inevitably I find that it takes forever to write out large data sets. There are some tuning parameters, especially the cache size, but it seems that the software just doesn’t scale well.

I recently rediscovered CDB, which was written by Dan Bernstein, with Python bindings. This has the basic functionality I need (large data sets, can split a dict out in a reasonable time span, and reasonably compact storage) and is amazingly simple. For more details see the internals page. The only disadvantage of it is that with CDB you can’t perform updates or deletes — instead, you need to be able to create your data set in one fell swoop, persist it all at once, and thereafter treat it as read-only. For me this works, as in typical and simple IR tasks you create some data structure that you save and then later use. Because of all the performance problems I’ve had with Sleepykat I plan on reducing the use of it and using CDB more.