Tonara: An iPad App for Musicians

Check out this video. iPad app listens to musicians and follows along, so you don’t need to switch sheet music. It does a lot more.

This is why the iPad is just so cool. Does your tablet do this?

Playing a musical instrument can be challenging, especially for beginners. Trying to follow along with sheet music and having to turn the pages while playing only adds to the difficulty. Tonara has developed an iPad app that helps eliminate this burden while providing additional innovative features to assist musicians.

“This technology is called acoustic polyphonic score following,” explains Yair Lavi, CEO of Tonara. “Score following is the ability, given the scores of a certain piece or song and the live performance of this piece, to follow with very high precision the exact location in the score of the performance. Acoustic means that it works with acoustic instruments like the piano or violin. It doesn’t have to have a digital connection. And polyphonic means that it works with polyphonic instruments. A polyphonic signal is a signal that is composed of several notes being played together. A piano is a polyphonic instrument, and several instruments being played together is a polyphonic setting.”

As a musician plays music from a score, a cursor follows his progress through the song and moves from page to page automatically. It works regardless of tempo and filters out external noise. There are currently 250 pieces of sheet music in the system, and Tonara is adding to the library at a rate of approximately 100 to 150 pieces per month.

Because it works well even for beginners, it can function as a great educational tool, showing progress from playing one page correctly, to two, to three and so on. In future versions, the software will be able to display the notes that were played correctly and those that were played incorrectly, so students will have a clear picture of where they need to improve.

Musicians can download each part of a piece of music but choose which part they want to synchronize on the screen. For example, the trumpet player might choose to sync only his part, while the pianist might choose to see everything. In addition to instrumental syncing, the app also works with vocalists.

“Tonara has the only polyphonic score following technology today,” says Lavi. “We actually developed it [over] a couple of years, even before the iPad. During the last year, we ported it into the iPad, and we plan to port it into different tablets. The tablet is the ideal platform for the musician, because they can place it on the piano or the music stand.”

Reposted with permission from Building 43.

Join the Tonara conversation over on our Google+ discussion.

Developers: Socialize Helps Make Your New App More Social

Mobile developers: make your apps social with Socialize.

Socialize helps developers make their apps social. Think about how to make your app have comments and likes, just like Instagram does. That’s what Socialize does, and here the execs show it to me and tell me about what their company and technology does. Plus you get really great analytics, too.

Participate in the Google+ discussion with us to discuss Socialize in-depth.

Shaker Brings New Interactivity to Facebook

The finalists at Techcrunch Disrupt are shaking… literally. In this video, I sit down with Shaker to give you a look at why I say this is going to be an important company in the social world. You’ll need a Facebook account to use this as it works in direct conjunction with the popular social site. I hung out for a while last night, shaking it on the bar and “buying” drinks for friends.

Shaker is a fun way to hang out with your friends and friends of friends. Make some new connections and chat with them one-on-one. There are a few features I’d like to see included in their next update, including a chat room of sorts. There needs to be a way to interact with everyone in the bar instead of only one person at a time. I’m hearing from my female friends that they would like to see customization options for their avatars. That’s not really as important to most guys, but women and teens will demand this option before they’ll embrace the service.

You can check out all of the companies who were the finalists for TechCrunch Disrupt and let me know who your favorite was.

Come join us over on the Google+ discussion to talk about Shaker in-depth and share your ideas for future iterations of the app.

RapidBiz: App Development Tool for Non-Developers

More and more companies are starting to realize that managing business processes using spreadsheets is a cumbersome and inefficient way of solving problems. However, hiring a software developer to create an application from scratch that replaces the spreadsheets can be costly and time consuming. RapidBiz is a tool that eliminates the time and cost associated with third-party development by allowing both developers and non-developers to create applications quickly and easily.

“When people want to have something done right now, they have a tool set that allows them to do it, and better yet, it deploys it immediately to the web,” explains Terry Bird, Founder, President and COO of VACAVA, maker of RapidBiz. “So if you want to get that information out to your customers, your suppliers, your team, you can do that literally in a matter of minutes or hours today with RapidBiz.”

The RapidBiz interface features a simple drag-and-drop methodology where users name fields, tie them to the appropriate field or column in the database, click save and create their app. In addition to stand-alone apps, users can create apps that serve as extensions of their existing ERP solution.

“I think we all understand that ERP is great and provides a wealth of features and functions around the process,” says Bird, “but it can’t do everything for everybody every time. That’s where RapidBiz really shines is if you need to extend an existing solution, whether it’s ERP, financial or anything, then RapidBiz can probably do that very easily.”

While the tool is designed to allow anyone to develop an app, RapidBiz has consultants on hand that will help you through the process should you need assistance, or they will develop the app for you using the tool. Apps are 100% web-delivered on standard IE and Firefox browsers, and users can link to any database to which a connection can be established. Customers have already used the tool to develop a wide variety of applications from a global quotation process to a sales support system to a global supply management system just to name a few. Once your app is developed, deploying it is as simple as clicking a button.

“When we developed it, we knew that you couldn’t just do it so I could develop it and then I’ve got to hand it off to a programmer, and then the programmer has to deploy it,” explains Bird. “We didn’t want that. Literally all you have to do is change a radio button from in development to deploy or active, and it is now available on the web. And it’s available to whoever you give the URL to and who’s authorized to actually go after the app.”

Come join the Google+ discussion to talk about RapidBiz in-depth with us.

Translate on Your iPhone in Real-Time using Vocre

Two killer travel apps launched at Techcrunch Disrupt

Check out these two new apps:

Vocre is a very cool new app which can help you do translations on your iPhone in real-time.

Trippy, read the Techcrunch report on that. We have a great Trippy discussion going on over on Google+ if you’re interested in joining us. If you’re interested in trying out the app for yourself, use beta code invite scobleizer to sign up.

Vocre translates from one language to the next. Watch the video and see how it works, quite cool.

Trippy helps you use your online friends to travel. It’s quite useful and I predict we’ll see more like it as the world moves toward social systems like Google+ and Facebook.

Two cool apps, what do you think?

The game of all games: content and context (why Mark Zuckerberg, Marc Benioff, and Larry Page are carving up the social world)

Why is Google calling itself an identity company now?

Why is David Kirkpatrick, one of the smartest journalists I know, telling the world on Forbes that a social revolution is coming to companies?

Why have I moved almost all of my available time and blogging behavior to Google+?

I just spent 40 minutes in audio explaining why. I call it the “Game of all Games.”

It is the game to addict us, to impel us to give our identities over to Google or Facebook, and what will that do.

In the audio I talk about a few pieces of the new identity stack.

First, the things about us that they need to know:

1. Our health info. Do you have cancer, like Steve Jobs has? That’s part of your identity.
2. Your family. Who are you related to.
3. Your friends. Who do you hang out with? Who would you call to get you out of jail, or to help you move?
4. Your favorite brands (and most hated). That will tell the system a lot about you. Do you fly United? Or Jet Blue. Do you drink Pabst? Or RedBull? Etc etc.
5. The games you play. Monopoly? Blackjack? World of Warcraft?
6. Your politics? Says a lot about you and the kinds of people you would probably like to hang out with. Ronald Reagan joked with his doctors “I hope you are Republicans.” It isn’t really a joke.
7. Religion.
8. Music. If I try to take you to an Eminem concert will you like that or, will you be like my producer who threatened my life for trying that.
9. Food. Sushi? Thai? Steak? Vegetarian.
10. Questions and answers. What do you answer on Quora? Did your answer get the respect of the community there?
11. Books. Romance or O’Reilly tech book?
12. Location. If you live in New York you probably have different life expectations than someone who lives in Emigrant, Montana.
13. Interests and hobbies. Are you into pottery, like my dad, or are you into Ham radio, like Leo Laporte?
14. Movies. Star Wars or Black Swan?

Then I talked about the user interfaces of this new game of games.

1. App stores. The tools to use, the games to play.
2. Notification streams. What is happening. Things you need to know.
3. Activity streams. Metadata about what everyone did in the system and who is doing it.
4. News and media stream. Who is generating media (posts, videos, photos, audio) and who is doing it?
5. Pagination displays. Flipboard is one such UI. But there will be others before we decide on who displays our content and context.

What are the verbs that everyone is using to hook these systems together? The lowest-common denominator ones are:

1. Post.
2. Comment.
3. Share.
4. Like.
5. Buy.
6. Review.
7. Tag.
8. Circle, or list, or group.
9. Read.
10. Search.

But there will be many, many others. I’ll soon have a video up with Badgeville, who are building addiction systems for bloggers (oh, sorry, you all call them gamification systems) that are tracking hundreds of verbs.

Finally I get to the meat. I talk about what this means to:

1. People discovery (finding a doctor in San Francisco, today, is what you do on Yelp, but Yelp has a “masses is asses” problem. It doesn’t know to bias your answers based on your politics, religion, health background, family background, and other stuff talked about above.
2. Content discovery. In the pre 9/11 world we went to news brands to get our news. You know, New York Times, or CNN, or Yahoo. After 9/11 RSS brought the news to systems like Google Reader or Twitter. But in the future it will come to us via notification streams on our phones. What content will come there? Your identity system will decide for you based on your context and actions you take.

Add this all up and you can see you’re soon going to have to choose between Facebook or Google for your identity systems (or, like I am, both).

How does Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, play into this? He’s carving up the “at work” identity systems and pulling them into Salesforce Chatter. I believe that for the next 18 months most people won’t think Benioff is important in this game of games, but that sometime in 2013 it will be clear that Benioff has an identity system to play the game of games with.

It’s a game for everything we do on our phones, our tablets, and on our TVs.

It is, simply, the game of games and it’s about to get really interesting to watch and participate in.

It’s why I’ve moved most of my content development into Google+. I’m playing the game of games and want a front-row look at how it’ll work out.

Join us on Google+ discussing this.

News360 is Changing the Content Delivery Game

Posted by Kat Armstrong.

You’ll find a lot of news apps for your iPad, but there’s virtually nothing available for Android, the iPhone, a RIM Playbook, Windows Phone 7 devices or even your desktop. News360 is changing the game. The application makes use of semantic analysis to keep you informed of major ongoing events – and to give you content that is relevant to you.

The company’s CEO took the time to talk to me about the reasons their offering is something that you’re going to want. This app is in a very crowded space. They’re not only having to compete with things such as Flipboard. News360 also has to watch out for stand-alone apps such as the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal. What makes this particular product stand out above the crowd?

It was interesting to me to learn how different the users are based on their platform of choice. For instance, the iOS version of the app has more than 2500 very positive reviews on the App Store. This may be great for ego pumping, but these people didn’t give any real criticism or feedback. The iOS device consumers have been happy with the application, yes… but they haven’t let the company know what’s missing. What more are they looking for? What else could they need? Alternatively, the Android userbase has been much more vocal. More than 100 people have written in to discuss what they feel the app may be missing in terms of features and functionality. My theory (and this has definitely not been proven scientifically!) is that the people attracted to Android devices are often geekier in nature and more of the early-adopter crowd. Another issue is that there are SO many apps out there for my iOS device that I cannot pay attention to any one of them for long – there’s just too much demanding my time. With Android devices, I tend to become consumed by a really well-done application because there simply aren’t that many. News360 is one of those which can completely hold my attention.

There are several cool features built in to News360. Saving and sharing are simple matters using one-click buttons and menus. The cool factor begins to show when you need to learn more. You can tap on highlighted terms within article text to learn more about a company, person or location. This is the part that sucks me in… I’ll be reading a great article about some hot new company and need to find out more about the movers and shakers behind the scenes. I’ll be off in my own little world for untold amounts of time as I click around to read up on who’s who, what’s where and why things are working the way they are.

You’ll need only one tap of a button to get to your local news. The app uses your GPS or WiFi connection to pinpoint where you are. You can also set a custom location by turning off this function. This allows you to follow the news at home when you’re traveling without having to search for a link to the tv station back home.

Having a list of top categories to search is a great idea, yes. Even better is the ability News360 gives you to create your own. The semantic analysis engine can (with your permission) check out your Twitter, Facebook, Google Reader and Everlook accounts to understand what your area of interests are. This allows the app to bring you stories which will be the most important to you. You can skip the social media stuff and set up your personal feed choices manually if that is more to your liking.

Which news app do you rely on each day to consume content? What about that offering keeps you coming back?