Thursday, January 26, 2017

"Regal" - Orchestral Tune

One morning, a melody came to me while having breakfast, so I spent a few minutes transcribing it. The whole thing kindof snowballed however once I realised that the French Horn can't actually play some of the higher notes I'd been building up to, hence the introduction of additional instruments, leading to horn + trumpet + strings (vln 1, vln 2, vla)  + flute  (added in that order).  Apart from the crappy quality of the synthesizer (blame the MuseScore folks :P), the following clip captures what I set out to achieve that morning quite well I think (plus, it turned out quite nice too IMO :)

Violin Layering Highlights - January 2017

Over the past few weeks, I've continued playing around with my "Violin Layering" series of improvised recordings. Here is a collection of some of the highlights from this month. Hope you enjoy :)

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Voice Controlled AI Devices - A Reaction Post

In response to the article about voice-controlled boxes being activated by a news item about how a kid managed to buy a dollhouse + cookies off Amazon via the voice control.

Interpreting sound has never been an easy thing. Not for humans, and definitely not for computers! If you actually think about it, it's not that hard to imagine how hard it is for a computer to understand speech and sounds. For example:
   * How many times have you had trouble understanding someone's accent? Or had a misunderstanding because you misheard someone's muffled speech over a noisy/muffled/faint/crackling/unreliable phone?  Well, guess what, for a computer doing voice recognition, the only input it's got is the sound coming in from the microphone... which of course is mixed in with everything else going on sonically in that environment (e.g. TV's, smartphones, gaming consoles, music players, rangehoods, kitchen equipment, aircon, running taps, open windows/traffic-noise/neighbours, bickering flatmates, etc.). And that's not to mention that the users may be out of range of the microphone, or the microphones may be cheap trash bought for bargin basement prices, and have been wired backwards...

   * How many times have you been watching a film or tv show, and found yourself lurching for the fire escape as a siren sounded on screen? Or reached for your phone, only to realise that it wasn't your phone ringing, but that of the lady at the next table? Or perhaps you've responded to someone calling your name, only to find that a stranger had been calling another stranger, and not you (the now slightly embarrassed sucker trying to pretend that you didn't just not-answer to your name). Clearly, even us humans get it wrong quite often, but at least we often have the benefit of *context*, the ability to use our other senses to diambiguated the situation, and a few other "on-the-fly" techniques. (This probably goes some way towards explaining why there's a reason that people like me really don't like answering phonecalls or having to call people on the phone...). Anyways, if it's hard for us humans to get this stuff right, expect the computers to have an even harder time to disambiguate all of this!

Inspired by all this, I wondered what a "day in the life" of one of these voice recognition boxes would be, when deployed in a domestic environment that's not kindof far from the "idealised model-human" fantasy that designers often find themselves falling back to... The answer was that it would feel like they were a lost and isolated operative thrust into a war zone - "hostile enemy territory"...

First Steps with Rust

A few days ago, I suddenly got the urge to download Rust and have a little play around with it. Truth be told, I've been hearing some good things about it, and seeing as they now have a stable version out, I felt it was finally time to give it a little play around.

So far, I've played around with it for about 3 days. There's still a lot I don't know about the thing, but at the same time, I now have a decent feel for some "everyday aspects" of coding in this language.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

2017 Kickoff - Holiday Inspirations

We're a week into the new year now, and as most of us return to work from our holidays, I'd like to mention a bunch of interesting stuff I came across in the second half of my holiday (i.e. the stuff that came after alternating between lounging around like a vegetable and running around going to exotic locations for fun). I've gotta say, it's been great having a break!