So that was ten years, what comes next?

This is my final post for today, and I thought it would be good to take a quick look at the future and maybe give you three things that I think will be important in the next ten years.

I’m sure you can guess at least two of these, but I’ll explain what I’m thinking about anyway.

Firstly, wearables:

Whether it’s smartwatches or bracelets or something completely different, I think that wearable computing and how it interacts with smartphones or tablets will get better in the next ten years. I think that the relationship between these two kinds of devices will start to be exploited for creating music and that could be really exciting. To date very little has happened. There have been a few experiments with the Apple watch and a lot of people have said that this is a dead end. However, I’d remind them that people said the same about making music on a smartphone and look where we are now.

Secondly, modular things:

By this I don’t mean modular synths but modular devices in some form. I’m pleased that people are experimenting with this stuff at the moment but I think there is a very long way to go to get it right. For now the designs are missing something important and I don’t think that any of the current market entrants have got it right, but someone will and that will be exciting for mobile.

Lastly, bots:

This is another area that is getting a lot of interest generally and so far very little in terms of music creation, but I think it will and when it does it will be really cool. Siri for your synth maybe? Possibly, but I expect it to be something much more innovative. The idea of bots and AI inside music tech, whether it be apps or something else entirely, is a truly exciting field and I believe that we’ll see some very unusual developments here in the next few years.

So that’s it from me for today. Thanks for staying with me, and thanks for being a part of PalmSounds over the last ten years!

In ten years what have we learnt

It’s time to round off today with a couple of final posts about where we have got to and where is next. The images above are all from the project I’ve worked on for a long time now called SoundLab. It’s something that’s really important to me and it has taught me a great deal about music, about technology, and about what works and what doesn’t.

For me the one thing that the world of mobile music has done is increase accessibility to making music. In my view that can only ever be a good thing. People will argue that isn’t for a variety of reasons, but I don’t buy that at all. Getting people to be creative and to experience the joy of making music is a positive force and it always will be.

It makes me think about the interview I did with Disquiet. Marc came up with this equation:

Accessibility + Immediacy = Joy.

That still works for me, and if the technology doesn’t fit this it needs to be re-thought.

Just so many amazing people

When I look back at the last 10 years of PalmSounds I have to say that one thing that really stands out for me is the huge number of truly amazing people who I’ve managed to meet, get to know and even work with over the years. There’s just a tiny selection of them here, but when I was looking at these photos it made me realise what a huge privilege it’s been and just how fortunate I am to be a part of such an amazing community.

After the C.24 what next for Miselu?

What comes next? I’ve heard nothing much at all from Miselu since they delivered on the C.24. It was a tough job for them I know, but I thought that there might be something more coming in terms of the modules they’d talked about.

Anyone know?

There is going to be cake, but just not today

Which is probably a little strange, but there are multiple mitigating circumstances around this which mean that it is pretty much impossible for there to be cake today. But there will be cake soon!

Of devices (useful or otherwise)

Again it struck me when looking over old photos that so many of the devices we have for mobile music are simply not designed for the task. Looking at the array of devices above most if not all fit into that category. Some are of course better than others.

The DS turned out to be an excellent place for the DS-10 and DS-10+. The Dell Axim is amazing for running music apps, and the T3 was the best device for running Bhajis Loops. Others though, not so good. The Sony Clies were always under powered as were some of the Palm devices, but even with these criticisms you can’t really blame devices for not being good at something they weren’t designed to be good at. That’s not really fair.

Of course if you had a bespoke handheld for music …

Guess this, then tell me why it’s now abandonware?

If you know it you’ll know what I mean. It’s an older app but it was great and I still think it should come back.

Recollections of PalmSounds: Jim from Yonac

As you will see from what Jim has written, I’ve been following their apps from the very beginning, and I still have a very special place for miniSynth (1) which I remember being a bit of a revelation in terms of making music on an iOS device (before iOS was iOS of course).
It makes this is message from Jim a very special message indeed …
Just the Beer Light to Guide Us
“Our first exchange, in my mind, was a funny one. I remember receiving an email from Ashley about Thereminator (it was our first sound-maker app). He was asking if I knew whether it worked on an iPod Touch. One glance at it, and I must have sprung beads of cold sweat: “Who would ever be interested in something like this? Who is this person, anyway? What does one say?” I was young, less jaded, only mildly cynical, and naturally…I didn’t have an iPod Touch.
Not knowing a blessed thing about Palm Sounds, I replied to the tune of “it probably should…er, if you’d prefer, I can forward you the cost and could you please try it?”
He didn’t write back except a couple hours later telling me that it works perfectly fine, and here’s the place where I could find a video he’d just shot. Not having paid a penny for the privilege, and with utmost curiosity of seeing something I made in someone else’s hand, I landed on this very site for the first time. Purely and unabashedly with selfish reasons. Yep, there was my Thereminator, in all its sprightly glory. I hope in the excitement I didn’t forget to write a prompt “Thank You” back.
This is not just a reminisce. To me, it illustrates how passionate Palm Sounds is about “this thing of ours.” One among a handful who thought of the mobile, the small, and the micro as a serious music making platform, it actively sought us out before we even knew what we were up to. To boot, it was already doing this for over two years by that happy afternoon of Summer 2008 –just to remind you that the idea lived before our fancy devices of today. To us, the eternal music nerds of the third kind, it provided a coalescing point. And it helped us meet many others like us, whose input and camaraderie helped pass a rosy decade, turning us into the incorrigible creatures we are.
I’m sure I’m not the only sad bottom code-monkey who feels appreciated and legitimized, thanks to Ashley’s tireless effort and foresight. For Palm Sound’s 10th, I’ll put on Power, Corruption & Lies, dim the lights (on my monitor) and raise a pint to another glorious decade. After all, it’ll be another generation of bright young things, and you’ll probably hear it here for the first time.”
I think that I might have to do just the same as Jim, especially as Power Corruption and Lies is a personal favourite too.
Thanks Jim, it means a lot! I’m raising that pint!

Some of my favourite app ads over the years.

Speaking of making music in strange places …

Another couple of photos that take me back to the early days of mobile music. You won’t recognise this chap I expect. But I don’t forget that easily!

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