Archive for April, 2011
There are a number of audio programs available that allow users to import and edit MP3 music files on a computer.
These programs generally display a ‘waveform’ on the computer screen that represents the soundwaves of the music itself. Users can then modify the sound in various ways. However, such programs don’t allow users to isolate and edit individual notes.
Hit ‘n’ Mix is an innovative new application that attempts to go much further than previous products. The program can import existing MP3 or WAV audio files, or copy songs straight off a CD. It then analyses the recordings and attempts to isolate every single note within each song or track.
This conversion process took a while – about six minutes for Queen’s four-minute long Another One Bites The Dust on our reasonably powerful test PC – but once it’s done, Hit’n’Mix displays every single note. The screen display can be a bit confusing at first but the notes are colour-coded to help you out, with vocal lines coloured yellow, guitars in blue and other instruments in other colours.
You can select and play notes and phrases just by clicking on them with the mouse, then copy and move them around within the recording. Moving a note higher up the screen raises its pitch (making it sound higher) and there are a number of audio effects that can be applied such a touch of vibrato to a guitar solo, or using harmony to create a more layered vocal sound.
The Instruments panel in the lower-right corner of the screen provides extra help by listing the names of the various instruments within a recording and clicking an instrument’s name in the list will isolate it so only its notes are shown.
This aspect of the program isn’t perfect – it sometimes labelled Brian May’s guitar as a violin (which in fact may have been what the guitarist was aiming for) – but you can correct this in the Instruments panel if you need to. The audio quality suffered sometimes when we were picking out notes, although the developer has told us it is working on a free update that will significantly improve audio quality.
These rough edges mean that Hit’n’Mix isn’t precise enough to use as a professional editing tool.
However, it’s fascinating as a music fan to watch your favourite songs being deconstructed on-screen, and to experiment by picking out favourite parts.
To download this software visit
Send and receive faxes from an email account
Despite being overtaken by faster, more efficient and more environmentally friendly methods, fax machines still exist in some homes and offices.
But people who need to send or receive faxes don’t have to buy a machine any more, with the advent of computer-based services such as
Registering for the service was fast and it’s fairly cheap at £5 per month for 100 sent and 200 received pages.
Once we’d registered we received an email confirming our new fax number and account setup details.
Setting it up involved following a simple step-by-step procedure to send a test fax, creating a password and viewing an optional demonstration video, making it extremely easy for even total beginners to get started.
The online account page shows current fax usage and allows users to send and receive faxes, but the service also integrates with email applications such as Microsoft Outlook, if you have a compatible one installed.
To send a fax, the fax number and country code are entered into the To line of the email with ‘@myfax.com’ at the end.
For emailed faxes, the subject line carries the name of the recipient and any body text forms a cover sheet. Up to eight attached documents then form the fax message itself, so sending faxes through Myfax really was as simple as sending an email.
Received faxes, on the other hand, arrive in your email inbox as attached PDF documents, from where they can be saved, printed or sent on.
If you do have trouble during any stage of the process there is documentation available along with a quick-start guide and freephone support number.
We were impressed by the straightforward setup and operation of the service and, though it took a while for faxes to arrive (between 30 seconds and one minute per attached page), it is still going to be more convenient than dealing with reams of paper.
At £5 per month for the basic service, this is a cheap and convenient way for home users and small businesses to remain fax-capable without having to shell out for new machines and more paper.
Split data and calls between two Sims with this Android smartphone
Viewsonic is at the Gadget Show Live 2011 with its V350 Android phone, which can run two Sim cards at the same time.
The company says that the V350 is the world's first dual-Sim 3G Android phone. The phone can make calls from either Sim, connect to the internet using data from either Sim or split data and calls between the two. This lets users take advantage of cheap data-only plans on some networks or use a foreign Sim card when travelling abroad. It lets the user select what Sim they want to make a call on and it can receive calls to either number. The phone is fully Android-certified and can access apps in the Android Marketplace. It has a 3.5in screen and weighs 125g The Viewsonic V350 Android smartphone will be available in May for around £250.
To find out more about the V350, check the following video
This must be one of (if not the) coolest spy gadgets I’ve ever reported on. It’s sort of a cross between a USB memory stick and a GPS receiver and what it does is store where ever you take it on the flash memory.
The Portable GPS Tracker is pretty small so you could either always carry it on you or use it in 007 spy mode by planting it on a person or vehicle you want to monitor. You may be wondering how you retrieve the stored info and secret routes, well that’s where it gets really cool.
Once the tracker has done it’s travels and it’s back in your possession you simply connect it to you PC and download the data. This data can then be plotted on Google Earth, Mapquest, maps.google.com and Virtual Earth to show exactly where it’s been, how long it took and how it got there.
I just think this is so cool (may of said cool a record number of times in this post) it obviously has the spy functionality of tracking somebody else but to me it is even more useful for tracking your own holidays and backpacking adventures. So not only can you bore visitors with your holiday snaps you can also show them exactly where you went.
Full feature list:
Records time, date, location, speed, direction and altitude
Works with Google Earth, Mapquest, maps.google.com, Virtual Earth
Location points are downloaded into its software and then mapped
Battery duration is 5 to 7 days of typical operation with 4,000 records
Requires 2 AAA batteries (not included)
Dimensions: 4″ x 1 1/4″ x 3/4″
Comes with TrackStick, lanyard, software CD
You can used to be able to buy this nifty GPS tracker from Think Geek for $249.99, a good alternative now is Amazon.
Considering the big move of getting all of our cars to be electric, I guess it was only a matter of time before our planes went electric too.
NASA has recently sponsored a CAFE Green Flight Challenge, and this Elektra One is the PC-Aero entry. The plane is a single-seater aircraft, and it completed its main flight of 500 meters high and then quickly landing, all on batteries. On its second flight, the Elektra One stayed in the air for about half and hour.
Yeah, that doesn’t seem long in today’s world of flying, and 3 hours of flight time for a speed of 160 kph doesn’t seem that long either. Aren’t we saying that about electric-powered vehicles a few years ago?
In other words, we probably have a long way to go before our jumbo-jets will be completely green-powered. I am seeing an image from the future of a plane that “plugs-in” while the passengers are unboarding and boarding.
The future also looks quieter for electric planes, which means that the days of hearing deafeningly loud planes pass over are going to be a thing of the past. Part of me wants to think that technology like this is decades ahead of us, but another part of me wants to believe that we aren’t too far away from it.
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