Archive for August, 2006|Monthly archive page


I wasn’t sure when I started how much I would talk about music, and how much about software. Serendipitously they have been conjoining, although of course not always in a good way.

The other week, for example, I bought and downloaded my first album from the web. (For the record it was Sportscar, by Judie Tzuke). Now the transaction itself was fine, and within minutes I was listening to this currently out-of-stock recording. However I’ve now had my first experience with Digital Rights Management as dictated by Microsoft and I’m not sure I like it. I was hoping to be able to make a copy of the music primarily for backup purposes, and at the point of purchase the license indicated that this would be possible. Needless to say when I came to do that the ever wonderful Microsoft Media Player refused to let me. So is the fault with the media provider, or the software? Will I ever get around to complaining to someone? Or will I just chalk it up to experience and make sure I get REAL CD copies of music that I really want to keep? No need to answer on a postcard.

Pandora’s box

That’s all I’m going to say. You find it. This is a musical blog after all.

An avid viewer

Last week I had the fateful email. A company that I had known for some years has been swallowed by a larger one, never to be seen again. Actually that might be a bit dramatic since I’m talking about Sibelius, which has been successfully selling a superb music notation suite for some years, and it has been bought by Avid, a big player in the commercial “digital media” arena.

I’ve been an admittedly occasional user of the Sibelius music notation program, but every time I come to it I’m impressed. My main worry in the takeover is that the Sibelius product will be submerged in Avid’s attempt to reach the educational market. Sibelius has always felt like a musician’s tool, not just a computer program. The people who wrote it clearly understood music, and not just 1’s and 0’s. I will of course attempt to suspend judgement until I see version 5 and ultimately version 6 of Sibelius…

Tabbed browsing

Aaaaah! I was just composing a nice little entry about software and music when I killed my browser session by clicking on the wrong “X”. I was using the tabbed browsing in Firefox and wanted to close one of the tabs, and instead of which I closed the whole browser. Not only that but I responded incorrectly to the prompt helpfully thrown up by WordPress to try and stop me deleting my work. Naturally I didn’t read the whole message box and assumed that “Cancel” meant “Cancel the stupid act of closing the browser” when in fact it meant “Cancel out of everything. Now.” Oh well. I’ll get back to the other post later. Maybe. I do like tabbed browsing, I really do. I just happen to prefer the way it’s done in Opera than Firefox, which gives you the option of putting the tab closure “X” on the tab itself. I expect you can in Firefox, I just haven’t discovered it yet.

And I REALLY, REALLY like the shortcuts for forward and backward pages in Opera – “z” and “x”. I have these so ingrained in my consciousness that I get upset when nothing happens in Firefox if I do the same thing. Well, something does happen, I go into search mode and try to find and z’s and x’s on the page.

Isn’t software great?

Why “Soft Music?”

Simple, really. I work in the world of software and I play in the world of music (no prizes for guessing which instrument I play). So I’m hoping to say something about both from time to time. In the meantime, if you’re looking for an orchestra to play in as a non-professional player, try