February 2004, Issue 65

Published by Sonaris Consulting, Felix Bopp, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
[formerly Music for New Media Newsletter]

You can find the online version at: http://www.sonaris.info


Scientific findings: Fraunhofer IGD Rostock
Recommended book:
The Computer Music Tutorial
For disabled
: VisionConnection, Include, Trace
Club of Amsterdam
The Steve Jobs Zone
BeOS -
Multimedia Operating System: Zeta RC2, BeBits, OpenBeOS
Conferences & events
Subscription & feedback

: Scientific findings

Fraunhofer IGD Rostock
Fraunhofer IGD Rostock has four departments (Multimedia Communications, Innovative Interaction and Visualization, Mobile Multimedia Technologies, Entertainment Technologies) and operates a Lab for Mobile Multimedia Applications, a Lab for Innovative Interaction Techniques, and a Lab for Multimedia and Telecommunication. The main research areas are: a) Multimedia and Telecommunication
b) Internet Technology
c) Computer Supported Cooperative Work
d) Mobile Computing IT-based Learning and Training
e) Graphical User Interface Design and new Interaction Technologies
f) Virtual and Augmented Reality
g) Game based Interfaces
h) Intelligent Systems

Usability Services
In the last century mankind experienced extreme progress in the technologic field. However, particularly the development of micro electronics with the corresponding software and the development of modern interactive devices is hard to follow. Due to bad usability of new devices the end user is more and more distracted.

On one hand, new interactive devices contain more functionality and the user interface gets less clear. On the other hand, more products with similar functionality enter the market. The potential byer has to make a decision, which is more and more based on the usability and hedonistic quality of the product. Both qualities have to be ensured during the product development cycle using usability engineering. Usability engineering is a methodic interactive process to reach high usability of systems and products. Methods of usability engineering like user oriented analysis, usability testing, expert reviews, or empirical user studies give qualitative results. But there are also methods, that deliver quantitative results. At the Fraunhofer IGD Rostock in the project RealEYES a framework for the recording, visualisation, and analysis of sensor and behaviour data of test persons has been developed. At the moment the software supports usability tests of internet presentations and software products through recording, visualisation, and correlated analysis of application output (screen shot video), audio (test person), video (test person), mouse and keyboard events, eye gaze position, and skin resistance. Thus, RealEYES supports usability experts performing and analysing usability tests for software products.

As service, Fraunhofer IGD Rostock offers development and realisation of usability tests of software products.


: Recommended book

The Computer Music Tutorial
by Curtis Roads
The Computer Music Tutorial is a comprehensive text and reference that covers all aspects of computer music, including digital audio, synthesis techniques, signal processing, musical input devices, performance software, editing systems, algorithmic composition, MIDI, synthesizer architecture, system interconnection, and psychoacoustics. A special effort has been made to impart an appreciation for the rich history behind current activities in the field. Profusely illustrated and exhaustively referenced and cross-referenced, The Computer Music Tutorial provides a step-by-step introduction to the entire field of computer music techniques. Written for nontechnical as well as technical readers, it uses hundreds of charts, diagrams, screen images, and photographs as well as clear explanations to present basic concepts and terms. Mathematical notation and program code examples are used only when absolutely necessary. Explanations are not tied to any specific software or hardware. Curtis Roads has served as editor-in-chief of Computer Music Journal for more than a decade and is a recognized authority in the field. The material in this book was compiled and refined over a period of several years of teaching in classes at Harvard University, Oberlin Conservatory, the University of Naples, IRCAM, Les Ateliers UPIC, and in seminars and workshops in North America, Europe, and Asia.


: For disabled

VisionConnection is an internet portal for people who are partially sighted or blind, the professionals who work with them, the families and friends who support them and anyone looking for the latest information on vision impairment, its prevention and vision rehabilitation. Information about research on vision impairment and vision rehabilitation can be found in the Research section.

This is the main European website concerned with designing information and communication technology systems so that they are accessible to everybody including disabled and elderly people. This site contains a wealth of information including demographics of disability in Europe, relevant standards as well as legislative aspects.

Guidelines for the design of consumer products to increase their accessibility to people with disabilties or who are aging.


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: ReactOS

ReactOS is an Open Source effort to develop a quality operating system that is compatible with Windows NT applications and drivers.

Before ReactOS
Around about 1996 some people formed a group called FreeWin95, with the goal to implement an operating system that would be a clone of Windows 95. Unfortunately, as with many new ambitious Open Source projects, it was stuck in a rut of endless talk about the design of the system, with no results.

ReactOS Beginnings
At the end of 1997, the project had burnt out with nothing to show. Jason Filby became project coordinator and called on everyone still subscribed to the list to revive the project. It was decided that the target should be Windows NT and that there would be an emphasis on results -- on written code rather than endless talk. The project was renamed ReactOS, since the operating system's roots grew out of a dissatisfaction with Microsoft's monopoly over the operating system market. In February 1998, ReactOS began.

Steep Climbing
The first few years of ReactOS were painfully slow, despite the large amounts of code that was being written. Only a few of the developers knew how to write kernel code. It was a time of only a few people writing the difficult kernel beginnings. Later, as the kernel became more complete and stable, as basic drivers such as the IDE and keyboard drivers were written, more people were able to get involved in development.

The kernel has come a long way and is quite stable and many APIs are complete enough for higher level work to be done. Substantial work has been done on many libraries. Initial networking code is there, but unusable for the moment. A basic implementation of the Graphics Device Interface (GDI) and a VGA graphics driver is paving the way for a GUI. The amount of developers are steadly increasing.

Near Future
Soon subsystems for Java, OS/2 and DOS will be started. Code to support a GUI, with the help of the WINE project, is growing more and more complete every day. ReactOS is set to experience massive growth in the near future.

ReactOS 0.2 is now available.

: Club of Amsterdam

: The Steve Jobs Zone

The Steve Jobs Zone
Words by A. David Cooper

Apple CEO and Pixar Chairman Steve Jobs is slowly taking America on a digital lifestyle ride that promises to change the way we think about computers, entertainment and creativity.

"Even people who use Windows machines, people who have never owned any shares of Apple stock, who never use the term 'hi tech,' seem to follow the ups and downs of Apple Computer with fascination. Steve Jobs had, like Walt Disney, created an institution." - Gil Amelio, Former Apple CEO

It's a balmy night in San Francisco. Lazily issuing forth through the dusky metropolis miasma, smoke billows from a manhole connected to the underground tunnel network that drives the city's erratic rhythm. Clad in khakis and a button-down shirt, a lone man strides casually in sync with the city's staccato mechanized palpitations. Passing a store window, suddenly, he notices movement. Beckoning from inside the window with its animated flat-screen face, an oddly anthropomorphic computer pleads for attention. Human and artificial intelligence meet, and it's love at first sight. A random passerby catches a glimpse of the man's gesticulations, and immediately the secret human-to-computer interface is dropped - no sane person actually talks to a computer. Right?

The full story can be read here:

: BeOS - Multimedia Operating System

As the Internet expands, and as electronic media becomes more prevalent, the high-performance needs of digital content design and complexity and ageing architectures of current mainstream operating systems are coming into conflict. BeOS is the first new operating system designed to unlock the door to much more powerful personal computers, and extract more performance from the systems we use today. [beosonline.com]

Zeta RC2, an operating system based on BeOS
yellowTAB was formed in order to fill the void created by the demise of Be, Inc., developers of the Be Operating System (short: BeOS) for personal computers. Zeta is a slick, well-crafted, user-friendly operating system designed from the ground up for multimedia and performance.

A resource for BeOS software.

Everything listed here is designed for BeOS - you won't find anything for Windows, MacOS, Linux, or any other operating system.

OpenBeOS is a project dedicated to the re-creation, followed by the extension, of the BeOS.
It is an open source effort to first recreate and then extend a most excellent, once-commercially-supported, closed-source, media-oriented desktop computer operating system called the Be operating system (BeOS).

: Conferences & events

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: Subscription & feedback

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Copyright 1997-2004 Sonaris Consulting, Felix Bopp. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without written permission is prohibited. Sonaris Consulting cannot accept responsibility for the accuracy of information supplied herein or for any opinion expressed.