This is a geeky update, but Roxor now has the Sparkle Framework built in.Â The end result for you is that you’ll always know when the latest version is posted, and the updating process is really easy. Go hit the downloads page to get in the loop!
Archive for July, 2009
We're very excited to have Ben Darnell joining the FriendFeed team starting today! Not only is Ben our newest employee, he's our first new employee in over a year!
I had the honor of working with Ben on the Google Reader team and I'm thrilled to have him bring his ninja-fu data-storage and scalability skills to FriendFeed.
Of course, now that we've hit 13 employees we're beginning to face the inevitable 'big company' problems. With the addition of Ben Darnell to the team already populated with the illustrious Ben Golub, we've now encountered the 'Two-Bens' conundrum.
Welcome, Ben Darnell, to the FriendFeed Family!
Beatseqr was created like all inventions… from the lack of a perfect match of a problem to known available solutions.
So what is it then? Beatseqr is a physical interface for sequencing data, be it OSC triggers or MIDI data going into a software drum machine.Â It was primarily devised to give us a hands-on method to creating drum patterns, but in practice we’ve also found it to be very valuable in sequencing other types of digital music instruments and visuals.Â It’s designed to do this one task, and do it well.Â It’s designed to fit into the toolchain of sound sources you probably already have.
We have multiple sources of samplers, drum machines, and model-based sound generators.Â Some even have sequencers built in.Â Â What we found is that for software-based instruments, there’s a distinct lack of satisfaction with a creativity-sapping amount of mousing, click, mousing, click, mousing, click, mousing, click, etc., etc., etc.Â Making changes in realtime when you can utilize the creativity in the moment seemed to come so easily with hardware based sequencers and/or drum machines.Â The problem with these is that they’re typically frozen-up with whatever sounds they shipped with.Â Or they cost more than we wanted to spend to get the functionality we wanted.Â Or they were so cluttered up with everything and the kitchen sink that they become like piloting an airplane just to get off the ground, so to speak.
USB based hardware controllers seemed to get close. Every one we saw came close, but was missing a critical piece of the puzzle.
Even the monome, of whom we’re very much admiring of, had drawbacks in the low end models.Â And the models that came closer to what we wanted controls for was still lacking a few key dedicated controls, and was priced waaay out of reach, assuming you could get in the queue to buy one.Â I can’t really say much about what it’s like to own or use a monome.Â They do have an awful lot of polish on them now and they are worthy of drool, for sure.
So around April of 2009, the Arduino Mega was released.Â I take one look at the specs and notice 54 digital I/O pins.Â Golden, in my opinion. That would let you do a 16 step sequencer with buttons and LEDs, similar to the classic Roland TR808 and TR909 layouts.Â Plus a whole bunch of other pins for other stuff. It didn’t matter, really. We could finally get 32+ digital I/O pins without the use of additional hardware.Â The other pins were nice, and I think we came up with a decent interface that we can grow into for a long time by upgrading the functionality of the software.
And while on this topic of upgradability, being based on the arduino mega is a HUGE plus in my opinion, because it’s a known platform.Â It’s cheap. It’s easy to program for (obviously, if we’re doing what we’re doing), there’s tons of support, and you can even take the arduino mega out of the beatseqr and use it for other stuff.Â How awesome is that?Â When we roll out products after hammering on prototypes, I think we’ll even sell a version without the arduino if you already have one so you can just plug in, upload the beatseqr code (improve it if you want!), and start making beats (or whatever else you could use it for).Â This is the new world: modular pieces…Â more like Lego, less like bricks.
Have a look at the making of the first prototype here:
And then here’s a gallery of the second prototype:
As a devoted FriendFeed user, I have tried to convince all of my friends and family to join the site, but a handful of them never quite got their accounts set up properly. With our new Recommend friends feature, I can fix their FriendFeed experience by recommending subscriptions to them.
Visit http://friendfeed.com/friends/recommend, and you can recommend subscriptions to any of your friends. I found out my dad wasn't subscribed to a number of our family members, so I sent him ten recommendations:
When you send friend recommendations, your friend will get an email with all of your recommendations, including a link to subscribe to all your recommendations with a single click. (This is the best part for me — it lets me do all the work for my dad, and he just needs to click a single link to get his account in good shape).
You will also find "Recommend friends" links in the popup bubbles that appear when you hover over someone's name:
And you will see them on profile pages of your friends who joined the site recently:
You can currently only recommend friends to people who are also subscribed back to you. Let us know what you think in the FriendFeed Feedback group.
Today we are launching version 2 of the FriendFeed API for beta testing. We focused on making the API simpler to use, and we added number of compelling new features:
- Real-time APIs - utilize long polling to get feeds in real-time, including search!
- Flexible sharing options - Direct message users. Share to multiple feeds.
- File attachments - Attach images, pdfs, spreadsheets, etc.
- OAuth support - Register your application now.
- Simplified response format - Your application doesn't need to know the difference between users and groups, how "friend of friend" works, or deal with hidden entries until you want to. We provide the HTML for representing entries so you don't have to construct it. Authenticated responses include a list of possible commands on every feed, entry, and comment so you don't have to do the detective work.
Documentation is available at http://friendfeed.com/api/documentation. A Python library that implements the new API methods and OAuth support is available at http://friendfeed-api.googlecode.com/files/friendfeed-api-v2-beta1.tar.gz.
You can play with a sample application that uses OAuth and the new API methods at http://friendfeed-api.appspot.com/. The complete source code for the sample application is available at http://code.google.com/p/friendfeed-api-example/.
Send us your feedback in the FriendFeed API v2 group. We are looking forward to using your new apps!
Variety is the spice of life, and we know you like some spice when you 'feed, so we cooked up a few more themes to please your palette.
Grasslands gives a breath of country air to the FriendFeed experience and, if higher altitudes are your fancy, we've got Orion (thanks for the pic, NASA!) Knot brings a little bit of elegant decoration, and be sure to grab your goggles and brandy snifter to enjoy Steampunk!