Music Tech Store


Make the web
work for you!


Catch the TechTotally blog!

Tips for fiction writers





















Technology can be cool or hot, shiny, corroded, heavy and strong, compact, huge, finely machined or good enough.

But however they look and feel and seem, the machines and gadgets that we use to create and change and improve our world are the totally coolest kind of tech.

Let's explore!

MUSICPOLE MIDI device and synth
Musicians seem to be especially adept at inventing unique instruments, and these days that often means ones that can also be connected to a computer. Here's a recent novel MIDI device: the MusicPole


Apparently you strap contact strips to your thumbs, then to hit the notes you slide your thumbs over live areas, the “keys,” arrayed on a tube in a unique way to improve usability.

It costs about $400, and is lightweight, festive looking, and versatile, since it can serve as keyboard, percussion, or other synth instrument.  It is being sold by the musician-inventor.


Tex-Edit Plus, richly basic text handling software

Sure, you can get Microsoft Word, the ultimate text program, which can drive you to the store, buy breakfast, cook it for you, eat it for you, then drop you off back home.

And when you are writing a book or other elaborate project, there’s nothing like it.

But for everyday notes and pounding out fictions and essays, the handy little shareware Tex-Edit Plus fits the bill perfectly.

It is lightweight, very fast, and awesomely stable. Back when Apple’s built-in SimpleText/TextEdit was too simple and cranky, Tex-Edit came along to carry the load, and those who started using it then have never stopped.

It’s fine for the most basic use: pop it open, type, save. Then do some basic formatting, change fonts, save as RTF or ASCII or Word, and leave it running quietly in the background, ever ready.

If you feel adventurous, do some exploring, because it has lots of capabilities— record sound, choose from a variety of Applescripts, write html code, and clean up or sort text.

It is also the most polite of sharewares— does not nag, expire, or turn purple (unless you want it to.) This surely has cost developer Tom Bender some revenues over the years, but has also made him legendary. Tex-Edit Plus is like a good pencil— it does exactly what you want, yet supports finesse. And, bonus, it never needs sharpening.

http://www.tex-edit.com $15.00


MacSpeech Dictate

For everyone who has enjoyed and tussled with MacSpeech iListen, there’s a new kid on the block and it looks amazing.

It’s called MacSpeech Dictate, and according to the manufacturer, it learns your speech exceptionally fast, with “up to” 99% accuracy. And is based on the venerable Dragon NaturallySpeaking voice recognition system.

It will be great to have voice recognition that reliably recognizes voices–a task that Bill Gates said several years ago was one of the most difficult in computing.

But we may miss the sheer poetry that erupted when iListen attempted to interpret mumbles or unusual phrasing.

There’s a discount when you upgrade from iListen.


MacBook Air

The MacBook Air has arrived!

The flash memory (rather than hard drive) version costs a fortune, but while most will opt for the hard drive, it’s good to see the future arriving.

And the light weight is sure less back-breaking than the old portable–amazing how much difference a couple of pounds makes.

But how will life be with only 1 USB connection to the world?

And is there a place for a lock?

The consensus seems to be to buy a USB to Ethernet converter to transfer the contents of your old Mac to this machine, otherwise it's too tricky and takes too long.

Apple MacBook Air 13.3″ Laptop (1.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 2 GB RAM, 80 GB Hard Drive)

Three high quality handheld audio recorders
Many people need to record high quality audio--music, podcasts, or tutorials--outside a studio. The latest recorders can do that in a compact package, with large storage capacity, and with quality high enough for live music recording.

Three of the newest hottest recorders (Thanks for the tip, Bill!) are the Edirol R-09 digital hand recorder, the Zoom H4, and the Zoom H2. These three offer lightweight, high quality, portable audio recording. All are suitable for no-frills live music or voice recording. They differ in features, such as effects and input/output options.

The Edirol R-09 Wave MP3

Features-It has a 1/8" mic input for an external microphone.
Power source-AA batteries
Storage-SD card
Sound-MP3, and WAV up to 24bit/48kHz sample rates
Price-About $400

The cool thing about these recorders is that they are unobtrusive (unless you buy the red Edirol,) great for recording an interview while reducing self-consciousness.

Also, they are small, so they will actually be there when you need them, and versatile– all use flash drives and have USB hookups, so they talk nice with your computer.

The Edirol can timestamp, has additional mic in and headphone out, as well as effects like reverb.


The Zoom H4 Handy 4 Track Recorder

Features-It has a 1/8" mic input for an external microphone. And it can be used as a USB input!

Power source-AA Batteries you can buy anywhere--the most convenient.
Storage-SD card
MP3, and WAV up to 24bit/96kHz
Price-About $300

The Zoom H4 adds microphone and headphone jacks, as well as effects, and looks awesomely geeky.At the moment, the Zoom H4 is very tempting– and that’s not ALL based on looks.

You can put several hours of high quality audio on the 2 gig flash card.  You can use it as a USB interface, and it includes Cubase LE.


The Zoom H2 Handy 2 Track Recorder

This is the smallest and newest of the three.
Features-It has a 1/8" mic input for an external microphone.
Power source-AA batteries
Storage-Flash memory card
Sound-MP3, and WAV up to 24bit/96kHz
Price-About $200

The Zoom H2 is the newest one, appears to be the smallest, and all use rechargeable AA batteries, a big bonus.


© 2008 techtotally.com

The coolest gear to get the job done—and have fun!