Jordan Rudess is a fan!


Jordan Rudess, Dream Theater‘s extraordinary keyboard player, is a big fan of AudioStretch. He’s made it his “Featured App of the Week“, and did a nice YouTube demo. Thanks Jordan!

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AudioStretch now supports Audiobus!


I’m happy to report that AudioStretch now supports Audiobus. Audiobus is the de-facto standard on iOS for sending audio from one app to another. It’s in version 3.6, which was released to the iOS App Store just minutes ago. (Note that Audiobus support is not available in the free edition, AudioStretch Lite).

As most readers of this blog know already, AudioStretch is my audio time-stretching app for iOS. It’s unique among apps of this sort in that you can scrub the audio by dragging the waveform, without changing the pitch even at zero speed, effectively allowing you to ‘freeze’ the sound. This makes it incredibly useful for music transcription as you can basically drag through the waveform, note-by-note, as you work out complicated passages (say, Charlie Parker or Joe Satriani solos).

While I originally designed AudioStretch mainly for the music transcription use case, many of my customers find the scrubbing feature makes it great as a sound design and manipulation tool. Folks in this sound designer crowd have been asking for Audiobus for months, on forums, reviews, and via support email.

Their wish is now granted :-)

Here’s an example created by one of my beta testers, Peter Schaufuss, scrubbing a bit of recorded speech in AudioStretch, feeding that into effects in IK Multimedia’s AmpliTube, and recording the resulting other-worldly sounds using Kymatica’s AudioShare.

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AudioStretch ad in Guitar Techniques Magazine


I’m really excited to have a quarter-page ad running in the next three issue of UK-based Guitar Techniques magazine, starting with issue 237 (December 2014) which should appear on newsstands any day now.

The ad concept and design are by Toronto-based Aestheticize Media. The aim was to focus on the most unique feature of AudioStretch, namely the ability to ‘scrub’ the audio without changing the pitch, and do that in a way that excites and arouses curiosity. Aestheticize nailed it!

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It’s a huge improvement over the crowded little 1/8 page ad I ran in the Classifieds section of Guitar Techniques last year. Since it was designed by an engineer (me!), it’s not surprising that it looks like something pulled from an engineering specification: basically a screenshot and list of features. Informative, but hardly exciting!  What was I thinking?

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AudioStretch: “One Of The Essential Music Apps”


Nice video review of my app, AudioStretch for iOS.

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No iCloud Drive on iOS? No problem


For quite a while, AudioStretch has been able to open audio files that are not in an iOS device’s Music library via the “Open In…” mechanism. For example, I can open the Dropbox app, choose an mp3, then click on the “Action” icon, choose “Open In…” then choose AudioStretch from the list of compatible apps that appears. After a second or two, the file opens up in AudioStretch.

I find this really handy for keeping a small selection of test files that I don’t want to have cluttering up my Music library, e.g. brief excerpts of various types of music, sine tones, etc.

Now that iOS 10.10 (aka Yosemite) and iOS 8 are out, I thought I’d try iCloud Drive instead. So I dragged a few audio files into iCloud Drive on my Mac, which is really easy, as iCloud Drive is nicely integrated with the Finder (as is Dropbox).

I figured I’d then open up Apple’s iCloud Drive app on my iPhone, choose one of the files, and use “Open In…” just like I do with Dropbox. Problem: Apple, rather incredibly, doesn’t have a iCloud Drive app!

With iOS 8, it’s now possible for an app to access files you put in iCloud Drive, but only if the app has been set up to do so. Specifically, it needs to use the UIDocumentMenuViewController class. I’m experimenting with it right now in my AudioStretch app. Works well, but before I can ship this feature, I have to figure out where to add yet another button to the UI, test it thoroughly, submit it to the app store, etc. which means it’ll be easily several weeks before it’s deployed.

In the meantime, there’s a stop gap measure: the Cloud Grab app. Ridiculously simple app: it just shows the documents you have in iCloud, and allows you to “Grab” and “Use” them (via Open In) in other apps. For $0.99 it was a no-brainer for me to buy it.

Seems a little crazy that Apple didn’t provide something like this out of the box, but hey, the developer of Cloud Grab was smart enough to spot this gap, so good on him! That’s entrepreneurship: spotting some little niche and filling it fast.

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Predictable PIN numbers


An interesting analysis of PIN numbers in this article in Data Genetics shows astonishing lack of randomness in how people choose PIN numbers.   For example, just 20 4-digit numbers account for a staggering 26% of 4-digit PIN numbers, with “1234” alone accounting for over 10%!

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Semisopochnoi


Besides writing audio software, I play guitar in various styles.  Mostly at home just to myself, but very occasionally I play in public.

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure and honour of playing the lead guitar part in the world premiere of “Semisopochnoi (Семисопочный)”, a concerto for solo electric guitar, electro-acoustic sounds and Niibori guitar orchestra. The piece was composed by my friends Robert Casteels (concept and acoustic music) and Peter Kellock (electro-acoustic music).

The premiere took place during the NUS Guitar Ensemble’s “Wanderlust” concert on 16 March 2014 at the Conservatory Concert Hall of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, in front of an audience of ~400 people, with Robert Casteels conducting.

There’s a very nicely-done video of the performance (below).  It’s a long and slightly unusual piece.  If you’d like to just see my solo playing, I reckon the best bit is the ~1 minute solo from ~12:00.

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