Teach with Portals

Cool new initiative from Valve:

STEAM for SCHOOLS is the educational version of Steam, specially designed for use by teachers and students in a classroom setting either in a school or an afterschool or summer program setting (site). All functionality that isn’t core to the education experience has been disabled in this special version of Steam. The only game available through STEAM for SCHOOLS at this time is Portal 2 and the Portal 2 Puzzle Maker.

Check out the lesson plans.  Cool for hip, young physics teachers.

Microsoft Surface tablet: betting the company

I’m kind of excited about the Surface tablet.

Assuming it catches on at all, it will force iOS to stay on top of the game audio-wise.  Android tablets are woefully behind with regard to media processing as a system service (especially compared with Windows and iOS), and Apple has basically been able to stay on top while ignoring important things like “inter-app audio” until now.

As far as Microsoft is concerned, this announcement is a big middle finger to their channel partners who have to date failed to make a popular tablet (also, it’s kind of a snub to Intel, who only gets half of the action).

It’s risky and bold; Frustrated in a post-PC economy with no options to support their old business model, Microsoft was forced to take the matter into their own hands.  If everything turns out like the Xbox, this could be a big new platform for them.  If not, this could be the beginning of the end.  Check out The Verge’s video – if Josh Topolsky likes it, I’m paying attention.

Oceania

Bonus points to Billy Corgan (and whoever else he’s playing with who are demographically similar to the Smashing Pumpkins) for finding a new way of using iTunes to promote this album.  You can listen to the entire thing for free in a podcast-y stream through iTunes.  It’s definitely a good listen if you’re a fan of Gish and Siamese Dream – it sounds like those songs (to me, the best Pumpkins stuff).  It’s getting good reviews too.

Stream it here.

Reason 6.5 released today

Remember, the big news is the Rack Extensions.  It’s the only way forward on future platforms like iOS.  Even with cross-app audio APIs, providing curated plugins (rather than manually added ones) seems to be the ideal way to provide add-ons for your audio software in the new sandboxed era of computing.

Who else is ready?

Ableton: Max for Live could conceivably become their version of an “internal” add-on store.

FL Studio: Synthmaker patches could serve this purpose as well.

Logic: Apple can use the architecture from GarageBand lessons to provide add-ons within the app (you could say the “jam packs” are a precedent as well).

Pro Tools: *cricket, cricket*

Skate to where the puck is headed, audio companies.  With Microsoft sandboxing Metro, and Apple becoming the GateKeeper, there’s no question that external add-ons are on the way out.

Mac OS X Mountain Lion FINALLY fixes dual-monitor support

Hello, not that “Game Center enabled chess” wasn’t on the top of my list, but I think a lot of audio/video editors will be happy to know their second monitor won’t just turn linen in Mountain Lion when they want to go fullscreen.

From the 200+ features list: