Capers applets… end of the line sadly

Well, I have to admit defeat on this one. I have been chasing the developer for months with no reply at all, so I am going to give up on this particular project I’m afraid.


Capers applets… what’s going on?

So, in 2006 I posted a few times about the capers applets, and in fact the demos are available on the Palm Sounds site (click title).

I had hoped to be able to make the source code for capers available in case anyone did want to take the project forward. However, to date I’ve not had a response from the original developer, so I have to say that I don’t think it is going to happen now.

I’m sorry if I got anyone’s hope’s up. If things change I’ll let you know.

Capers: Running the apps and more info

I have tried these apps on an OS5 device with little success. Where they worked best was when I had them working on my Palm IIIx using a Swivel Systems SG20. That was an excellent MIDI module in palm terms and worked really well with NotePad and BeatPad. The fact that it worked with the likes of hedgehog and burrito was a big bonus, but at the time I never delved deep enough into those apps.

Of course now I really want to I don’t have an Palm OS4.1 device anyway to use. So, I’ve decided to get an old Clie series palm. Why clie? Simple, the older clies (some of them anyway) have a built in MIDI chip and hence don’t need a module like the Swivel Systems SG20. If you’re interested there’s a good list of which ones have the chip at the MiniMusic site under the hardware section.

Anyway, I thought I’d put in some more information about the Capers applets / demos which I took from the cached pages of the original site. Sadly I have no images to post, but when I get a chance to get some put together I’ll post them.

Eggtimer {Demo} is a pattern-based MIDI-syncable arpeggiator with a two-dimensional control matrix for instrument parameters.

Hedgehog is a MIDI pattern sequencer. If you are familiar with the ‘matrix edit’ function of many upscale sequencers, or the ‘piano roll’ view, you’ll be right at home with Hedgehog. To make music, you simply draw on the grid: left and right is time, up and down is note. “What could be simpler?”
What makes Hedgehog so unique is its ability to sequence up to 16 MIDI controller values at every time tick along with the notes. For example, if you have a synthesizer that has filter cutoff, resonance, volume, pitch bend and LFO width controls, you can automate each one along with the note it is supposed to play. Think of the possibilities! We can’t describe the worth of such a tool in HTML. Just try it.

Hedgehog also syncs to MIDI F8 clock via Capers, and sends MIDI Sync as well, so it can play nice with your other gear.
There are math functions for pattern permutation: you can quantize a pattern to 1/8th, 1/4th or 1/2 notes, randomize the pattern or the controller sequence via various parameters, or stochastically alter the sequence while keeping either its tempo or melody. All in real time, while the sequence plays.

Capers can load any number of sequences, so you can load a group of them to play at once (or on different channels for different instruments.) Excited yet?

baby Hedgehog
baby Hedgehog is a standalone version of Hedgehog that lets you sequence 12 patterns and 2 channels per pattern. You don’t need Capers to use this version, and it is the version whose beta we are offering for free above.
From its menu system, you can set which controllers of the 16 each block refers to, the MIDI channel of the left and right side of the pattern, and the MIDI sync parameters.

Tractor Pull {Demo} is a MIDI controller LFO and control bank for controlling instrument and software parameters.


Capers: Anyone interested in taking the code further?

The next step with the capers project is to find someone to take on the code and take it further. Any takers out there?

Capers: Making the applets and demos available.

Thanks to fluxivity for comments. I really glad you like the blog. Please spread the word.

In terms of getting hold of these applets, you can’t download them anymore as the site has gone. However, google holds cached versions if you search for stuff like “hedgehog capers”. I am going to try and make the files available somewhere, I just need to work out where to host them. I don’t think there should be any issues about making them available as they were freely downloadable before. I will make sure I post a location as soon as I’ve got it sorted.

BTW I have also contacted the original developer about the source for capers but so far have had no response. If I do get a response I will post on it.

Found: Capers Demos and Applet betas

I thought I had these somewhere, but couldn’t be sure. Now I have them. This is what I’ve found:

  • Hedgehog
  • Egg timer
  • Meedy
  • Burrito
  • Tractor

My recollection is that they don’t work on an OS5 palm. However, my plan is to try and run them on StyleTap and see how that works out.


I remember seeing info about Capers way back when I started to look into making music on a Palm device. I thought it was just the coolest idea. A whole replacement OS for the palm that was only about music. What happened to it? I don’t know. I expect like a lot of really cool ideas it got lost along the way.

All I could find on Capers was the following:

Capers runs on the PalmOS and all compatible devices (Palm Pilots, IBM Workpads, Handspring Visors) are able to use it. The intended goal of Capers is to create a “replacement music operating system” for the Palm, in effect generating a handheld music platform rather than a group of applications.

Capers uses a common clock for all its “applets,” and the user can page through them at will while a sequence plays. There can be multiple instances of each applet; for example, three arpeggios, two sequences, and four controller LFOs can be used at once. Each applet’s output (called a “Pattern”) can be sequenced to create a song of a group of “patterns.” This sequence can sync in or out to MIDI clock to talk to other sequencers such as Native Instrument’s Reaktor, Akai’s MPC series, Ross Bencina’s Audiomulch, or even another Palm OS device running Capers!

Capers is in alpha testing and we will be offering it with the dsperado hardware shortly. (You don’t need the dsperado hardware, however, it works just as well with standard MIDI equipment.) To tide you over, we are offering demo and beta versions of three of the core Capers applets (whose full versions will also be available separately if you don’t need all of Capers.) These versions do not contain all of the functionality inherent in the full release versions, and may contain bugs. We hope you enjoy them, and please get in touch with any feature suggestions or problem reports.

API – Programming:
We also offer Capers as object code for developers who wish to create MIDI-enabled applets. Simply link the Capers object into your code and you can have access to a stable high-resolution timing clock, a MIDI input state machine for controllers, notes and Sysex data, and F8 Sync in and out. You can develop for the Capers master sequencer or create your own standalone applications.

Capers Applets and Downloadable Demos:
Eggtimer {Demo} is a pattern-based MIDI-syncable arpeggiator with a two-dimensional control matrix for instrument parameters.

Baby Hedgehog {Beta} is a pattern sequencer that also sequences 16 MIDI controller values. The beta version stores 12 patterns and allows for various math-based functions for random pattern generation.
Tractor Pull {Demo} is a MIDI controller LFO and control bank for controlling instrument and software parameters.

Coming soon:

  • Blueberry – MIDI Patch / Sysex Librarian and Sound Randomizer
  • Cardinal – dsperado Hardware Front End / Librarian
  • Carpetbomb – Xenakis emulation

There’s not much else, but what there is you can find by searching for Capers Dsperado.

It would be wonderful if it could be brought back to life, but I doubt that will happen. Anyway, good to remember it if nothing else.

Category: Capers

Here I’ll try to keep all the posts about Capers and related projects. So far we have:

Capers and the mobile studio (Palm OS4 project)

Capers Apps

Taking the Capers code further?

Capers applets and demos now available

Capers background information

As more capers stuff gets added I’ll try and remember to put it in here as well.