Usability testers needed

Posted on 27 February 2009 in Resolver Systems

A repost here from the Resolver Systems news blog:

We're looking for experienced spreadsheet developers to spend a day with us in our London office, building Resolver One spreadsheets, as a way of usability-testing our software. We're paying GBP200/day for this, so it's perhaps something of most interest to current business school students.

Does this sound like something for you, or for someone you know? Drop us a line!

Praying that this isn't a hoax...

Posted on 19 February 2009 in Funny

In Variety:

Will Clark is set to direct "Pride and Predator," which veers from the traditional period costume drama when an alien crash lands and begins to butcher the mannered protags, who suddenly have more than marriage and inheritance to worry about.


Posted on 13 February 2009 in Programming, Python, Resolver One

One of our customers had been asking about how to call XMLRPC servers from Resolver One. It doesn't work in version 1.3, and he was having problems getting it to work in 1.4. The problem turned out to be simple and fixable, and unlikely to affect other people, so I'm proud to present a really simple XMLRPC/Resolver One example that you can use as a starting point: a Python script that creates a server exposing an is_even function (which tells you if a number is even or not), and a Resolver One spreadsheet that uses it. There are only two lines of code in the spreadsheet, which is pretty cool :-)

Good music composition software

Posted on 5 February 2009 in Music

All that talk of music yesterday left me searching for a decent composition package, so I asked for recommendations on Twitter.

What I want is something that allows me to enter music on a stave, write and view multiple parts at once, playback with MIDI, and record as an audio file when I'm done.

Last time I looked at this, years ago, I used Cakewalk, which back then did what I wanted apart from being able to easily export to audio. Perhaps it's worth looking at again, though I must admit I don't remember the software with any real fondness. (To really date this -- my solution to the audio problem was to output from the sound card to a MiniDisc -- remember them? -- and then re-sample and record to MP3 from the disk.)

Back on Twitter, Orestis suggested Sibelius (warning: irritating noisy Flash site), which does everything I want and more... but costs almost £600. They have a "student" version which does everything bar the audio recording but is affordable. It's certainly got a good reputation, so probably worth giving a go, anyway.

njr suggested Lilypond, but that looks more like a way of printing scores from its own markup (though I may have the wrong end of the stick there). [Update: apparently it has a TeX-like input format, but prints scores and generates MIDI files from it. That sounds well worth investigating.]

Konrad suggested Noteflight, which I've only had a quick glance at -- superficially it looks pretty interesting, and I'll post more once I've had a look at it.

Definitely more research to be done. In the meantime, I'll occupy myself with my piano roll spreadsheet, which can play back a tune using the .NET Console.Beep function :-)

Copyright and Composers; or, did Intellectual Property kill the English Baroque?

Posted on 4 February 2009 in Copyright, Music

Last weekend, my fiancee and I went to see Fretwork at the Wigmore Hall. The programme was a mixture of 17th-century English music and more modern pieces, and in the interval we got to talking about what went wrong with English -- indeed, British -- "art" music, and why it all-but disappeared for almost 150 years, from 1750 to the 20th century. It's an interesting story, and not entirely unrelated to this blog's normal software industry-related posts.

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