The Intuitive-and-Friendly Edition Saturday, March 16, 2019

Inside Garageband, The Little App Ruling The Sound Of Modern Music, by Amy X. Wang, Rolling Stone

Musicians’ applause for Apple’s Garageband — which celebrates its 15th birthday this year, humbly, still living in the media shadow of many of the tech giant’s more glittering products — is similar across genres and skill levels. Artists from Radiohead to Kendrick Lamar have used the app to demo, produce and sometimes even finalize master recordings. “It allows you to not be constrained by what you can or can’t play,” Dan Smith, frontman of British band Bastille, tells Rolling Stone. “I can quickly get something out of my head. Or I can write a song from start to finish in a couple of hours.” Other “digital audio workstation” apps that also splashed onto the scene in the 2000s tech boom, such as Pro-Tools, Ableton and Fruity Loops Studio, are often dismissed as intimidating or time-consuming, especially when compared to the bare, intuitive and friendly interface that’s become a signature of Apple design. Producer Oak Felder, who’s worked with artists like Ariana Grande, Usher and Alicia Keys, says Garageband has made collaboration much easier by allowing even the most tech-unsavvy people to explain their ideas with self-cut tracks, rather than with an abstract tangle of words.

For better or worse, Garageband lets anyone from a veteran sound engineer to a novice teenager cut a track that’s professional-sounding enough to make it directly onto the radio — which it often does. T-Pain, in 2005, made his whole first album Rappa Ternt Sanga with the Garageband app on his laptop. “The Hand That Feeds,” a Nine Inch Nails anthem, came out as a Garageband project file for fans to play around with on their own computers that same year; Radiohead offered up the same idea with “Nude” in 2008. Haim, St. Vincent, Rihanna, Duran Duran and Usher are among artists who’ve all released music using Garageband’s suite of free sounds or audio loops. For Fall Out Boy’s 2007 “Thnks fr th Mmrs,” Stump and his bandmates decided they actually liked the sound of the app’s virtual instruments more than real ones they tried in a studio. “It’s funny — we re-recorded that intro section with strings and horns, but we ended up using a lot of my Garageband stuff,” Stump says.

How The macOS Finder Sidebar Is Slowing Things Down, by Vinod Pillai, UX Collective

I remember the day I was faced with coming in terms with the horrid OS X Lion update that came in the form of some greyed out monotone finder icons. In the following days, I could immediately sense I was spending longer amounts of time trying to accomplish basic operations of navigating within the sidebar. After denial, I was in the acceptance phase when I told myself, it’s a matter of time and eventually, I would never remember the blissfully colourful days of finding folders quickly. Seven years later, to this day, I still sometimes mourn the tragic state of misfortune that has come upon my poor finder friend.

Decision and Rates

Here’s Why Apple Is Saying Spotify Is Suing Songwriters, by Dani Deahl, The Verge

It’s likely that it’s this action — moving the process from the CRB to the Court of Appeals — that caused the NMPA to use the word “suing,” but all that’s really happening is the judges are changing and these streaming services are asking for another look at the adjustments they requested in the CRB’s ruling. As entertainment lawyer Jeff Becker of Swanson, Martin & Bell told The Verge last week, it was anticipated for some time that these platforms would take the opportunity to preserve their bottom line via an appeal — it is the obvious next step in a process with billions at stake.

Importantly, Apple Music will be covered by whatever decision and rates are set at the end of this process — so while Apple can sit back and take shots at Spotify for the appeal, it will benefit from any ruling that favors Spotify, Amazon, and Google — which is not a bad position to be in.

Spotify Responds To Apple’s Response Over App Store Flap, Calls Company A ‘Monopolist’, by Jem Aswad, Variety

In a response to Apple’s response, late Friday morning a Spotify rep said: “Every monopolist will suggest they have done nothing wrong and will argue that they have the best interests of competitors and consumers at heart. In that way, Apple’s response to our complaint before the European Commission is not new and is entirely in line with our expectations.

“We filed our complaint because Apple’s actions hurt competition and consumers, and are in clear violation of the law. This is evident in Apple’s belief that Spotify’s users on iOS are Apple customers and not Spotify customers, which goes to the very heart of the issue with Apple. We respect the process the European Commission must now undertake to conduct its review,” and asked readers to refer to their website for details.


Fans Of Classic Mac Designs Will Love The iBot G3, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

If you're an Apple fan looking for interesting Apple-related desk or shelf decor, I don't think you're going to be disappointed by the iBot G3. It's adorable, fits in well with Apple products, and looks good in any home or office environment.

UMKC Students Develop App That Helps Visually Impaired People ‘See’ What’s Around Them, by Alana LaFlore, Fox 4

The narration will tell people things like if it's safe to cross the street, or tell them what's in front of them. It works through a camera, glasses and headphones. The picture of video live streams into the app and the advanced algorithms do the work.


From Its New $38-million Home, Can Radio Tastemaker KCRW Adapt To A Podcast World?, by Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times

Within the ragtag rooms of KCRW’s old headquarters, hundreds of artists, including Adele, Coldplay and Radiohead, earned some of their first major exposure during the station’s 80 hours of weekly music programming. But unlike when KCRW first started broadcasting in 1945 — and when the three-hour music block “Morning Becomes Eclectic” debuted in 1977 — terrestrial radio no longer monopolizes the attention of commute-time ears. New automobile dashboards offer infinite options, from satellite radio to bluetooth-enabled portals allowing for instant podcast action. The audio marketplace is a feast of riches.

“Three years ago or four years ago, everybody was like, 'Radio is dead. Everything audio is dead,'” Ferro says. “Now, everybody's racing to do audio.”