culture

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A settler’s guide to to reading, typing, and spelling Vancouver’s new shibboleths

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 30 Jun 2018 | Tagged as: Unicode, Vancouver, community, culture

My home, Vancouver B.C., just announced new names for two public places: “šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square” and “šxʷƛ̓exən Xwtl’a7shn” . In contrast to just about every other name in this town, these names are not Scottish- or English-derived. Nor are they a Chinese phoneticisation of a Scottish-derived name. Instead, at long last our town asked the First Nations leaders, whose people have been here the longest by far, to contribute the names. I think it is awesome. It is a step towards reconciliation, tiny but real. I think these names will become Vancouver’s new shibboleths.

But names like these represent change, and change is unsettling. The characters are unfamiliar-looking! We don’t know how to pronounce them! There are rectangular boxes showing missing text! There is no ə key on our keyboards! Heh. We seem to have no problem expecting immigrants who grew up with Chinese or Ge’ez or Gujurati writing to learn how to write and pronounce “Granville”, but we are reluctant to step up when it’s our turn.

Never fear. I’m a software engineer specialising in internationalisation and Unicode. Let me explain how to read, type, and spell these names.  It’s really very interesting. Continue Reading »

24 Goddesses

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 31 Jan 2018 | Tagged as: culture

Nina Paley is at it again! As part of her film-in-progress, Seder-Masochism, Nina animated pictures of ancient female figurines. They look like they are dancing, in 24-frame cycles. She posted them as 24 Free Goddess Gifs. They have enchanted people, who have given them various soundtracks and set them dancing. Personally, I am delighted by how the set of 24 look dancing together, as they are on Nina’s own page. I have composited the 24 individual Goddess gifs into a single animated gif. It is linked below, and is freely available for you to enjoy and re-use. Continue Reading »

CD storage and the 25cm x 15cm box

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 30 Sep 2017 | Tagged as: culture, music, robobait

I guess I’m exactly the right age to have this problem: hundreds of liner notes from CD albums, stripped from their jewel cases and also CD boxed-sets and many different CD gatefold cases. If I were any younger, I’d be subscribing to some music streaming service, or downloading pirated albums as MP3 files. If I were any older, I’d be building elaborate shelf units to store the hundreds of intact jewel cases, and keeping a multi-disc CD player running to play the music.  But here I am, old enough to buy CDs as a way to pay the artists for their work, but young enough to want to rip the CDs into music files, upload them to a file server, and play them via computer or from my smartphone.

All of this leaves me with a problem: having put the ripped CDs onto nice compact 100-disc spindles, where do I put the liner notes and booklets so that I have access to them if I want ?  I can throw out the regular or the 2-disc jewel cases, because those are generic. But the artwork is indispensable.  On the other hand, I don’t need to keep it out on a open shelf to browse. It’s fine for me to put it away, and retrieve it only when I need it.  And now I am happy to report a solution: a box, of just the right size to hold liner notes or CD box-sets or gatefold cases efficiently, easily available from shipping materials suppliers, and very affordably priced. I post this in the hopes of helping some else who is trying to solve the same problem. Continue Reading »

Labour, symbols, and free: the gate to digital-based music-making

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 05 Apr 2017 | Tagged as: Keyboard Philharmonic, culture

(Background: I was asked recently for a writing sample, and I took the opportunity to restate, more concisely, what I’m trying to do with Keyboard Philharmonic.)

Musicians performing classical music and opera, and teachers and students of this music, are on the cusp of a transformation from printed music scores to digital scores. This will be as significant as the shift of text communication from printed books and magazines, to web articles, blogs, emails, and tweets.

I believe a particular model is the right next step. I call it, “Labour, symbols, and free”. It is a policy package for a music score transcription effort. It fills a gap in the present situation, and opens a gate to move forward. I will also describe the strategic context. Continue Reading »

Requirements for comparing digital scores

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 30 Jun 2016 | Tagged as: Keyboard Philharmonic, culture, meetings and conferences, music

Back in May, as part of the Music Encoding 2016 conference in Montreal, we had a discussion about comparing digital scores. Just as you can compare text files, and get a concise statement of differences, we brainstormed about requirements for comparing music scores at the notation level. This blog post is a record of that discussion.

Continue Reading »

Recruiting people, and structuring their work

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 30 Apr 2016 | Tagged as: Keyboard Philharmonic, culture, music

The Keyboard Philharmonic overview mentions that one focus of the project is to be “a vehicle for recruiting people and structuring their work for useful results”. There are reasons why this focus is important.  Continue Reading »

I passed the Canadian Citizenship Test!

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 30 Nov 2015 | Tagged as: Canada, culture, government

Last week I passed the Canadian Citizenship Test. It was a simple 20-question multiple-choice test, on facts about Canada’s history, values, make-up, culture, etc. I scored 19/20, but unfortunately my spouse Ducky scored 20/20. She gets the bragging rights. Thus I switch to focussing on the fact that we both passed, rather than the details of who got which score.

This  test, and the documents check and chat with the nice woman from Citizenship and Immigration Canada which accompanied it, represent the last substantive filter to eliminate candidates from citizenship. There will be 3-5 months of process, pro-forma hearings, but not anything that is likely to reject us. Then we get a letter inviting us to an oath-taking ceremony, and we become Canadian citizens. I’m really pleased about this. It is the culmination of over ten years happy settlement in Canada.

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A 21st century container for music scores

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 31 Oct 2015 | Tagged as: Keyboard Philharmonic, culture, music

A music score is an information product. The printed book is a proven, well-understood container for information products. It is also a 16th-century technology approach. In the 21st century, we have a new container for music scores: the symbolically encoded, software-accessible digital file. The exciting task of our time is to explore how to move the music score into this new container, preserving the connection to our cultural heritage and our artistic tradition of music creativity, while transcending the limitations of the 500-year-old container technology.

I see the Keyboard Philharmonic project as providing an important bridge, to move the fine musical works of the classical music and opera tradition into their new home in the 21st century.

Why revisable formats matter for our digital scores

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 13 Aug 2015 | Tagged as: Keyboard Philharmonic, culture, music

The Keyboard Philharmonic overview mentions “revisable, symbolic digital notation formats” for music scores. Sometimes people ask if projects like the Internet Music Score Library/Petrucci Project aren’t already putting music scores into “digital” form. Perhaps a clarification will help. Yes, the IMSLP and many other worthy projects are offering music scores in “digital” formats — but not in “revisable digital notation” formats.  The difference matters. Continue Reading »

More on Vancouver Opera’s business situation

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 31 Jul 2015 | Tagged as: British Columbia, Vancouver, culture, music

Last month, the Vancouver Opera announced that it was going to have one more year of a regular season, then switch to a “festival” structure. That is, instead of four productions spaced throughout the year, it was going to have a concentrated three-week burst of opera once a year. Or at least that’s how the story seemed to run. Yesterday, I went to a town hall for subscribers. General Director Jim Wright spent 30 minutes laying out the Opera’s business situation, and an hour in a lively question and answer session. It was informative, and placed the Opera’s strategy in a much better light. Continue Reading »

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