Dalgleish, Mat; Payne, Chris (Group for Learning in Art & Design (GLAD), 2015-12)
The role of computing within the National Curriculum framework has changed dramatically in recent times. Traditionally, the computing curriculum in schools focussed on software competency and proficiency in common but basic tasks such as word processing, delivered through the subject of Information Communication Technology (ICT). In other words, students became perfunctory but perhaps uninspired end users, closely tied to ubiquitous commercial packages such as Microsoft Office. However, in September 2014, then Education Secretary Michael Gove made significant changes to the National Curriculum that affected both primary and secondary education in the UK. This has consisted in essence of an enforced shift from the prior ICT model to one that, at least in theory, embraces coding as a fundamental tenet of computing (i.e. active creation rather than end use, closely related to Rushkoff’s notion of “programmed or be programmed” ) and promotes computational thinking more broadly . For instance, Key Stage 1 now asks that students actively consider program structure and sequential design as well as demonstrate core competency . The inclusion of computational thinking seems particularly prescient and important: if the ability to cheaply outsource the drudgery of basic software development (particularly to the far east) may mean that the ability to code is, in and of itself, becoming less important from a UK labour perspective, it could be argued that students able to adopt a computational mindset, may be better prepared to apply computing principles to a range of scenarios.
The early 20th century saw a spate of innovative electronic musical instruments. For instance, the theremin (1919) and Ondes Martenot (1928) not only offered new sound generation techniques, but married them to similarly innovative means of interaction. However, by the late 1920s, the development of novel performance interfaces had stalled, and the familiar organ-type keyboard re-appeared on many electronic instruments of the 1930s (Manning 2004, pp. 4-6). Moreover, as the era of the tape-based studio began postwar, the link between electronic music and live performance seemed to recede (Ibid., pp. 19-74). Compared to the limited timbres of most earlier electronic instruments, the sound creation and manipulation possibilities of tape were more sophisticated. However, splicing together even a short piece could take months of toil. Thus, by the mid-1960s, a number of real-time alternatives had emerged, from Stockhausen’s electronic processing of acoustic instruments, to the modular synthesizer, and the live electronics of David Tudor.
Many people with a disability play games despite difficulties in relation to access or quality
of experience. Better access is needed, but there has been limited industry interest. For
players with motor impairments the focus has been on the controller. Numerous solutions
have been developed by third parties, but all are likely unsuitable for at least some users and
there remains space for radically alternative angles. Informed by my experiences as a
disabled gamer, concepts of affordance and control dimensionality are used to discuss the
accessibility implications of controller design from the Magnavox Odyssey to the present.
Notions of incidental body-controller fit and precarious accessibility are outlined. I
subsequently draw on Lévy’s theory of collective intelligence and example games Keep
Talking and Nobody Explodes and Artemis Spaceship Bridge Commander to develop a model
that uses asymmetrical roles and diverse input to fit individual abilities and thereby expand
Hassell, Rob; Dalgleish, Mat (Coventry University, 2018-10-25)
After the introduction of programmable sound generator integrated circuits (ICs) in the 8-bit video game hardware of the 1980s, the industry quickly moved on to more sophisticated sound generation methods such as frequency modulation (FM) synthesis and CD-quality audio file playback. Nevertheless, if once largely forgotten, the last decade has seen a significant and sustained revival of interest in the early video game sound technologies, and the rise of a vibrant ‘chiptunes’ community intent on exploring their distinctive musical possibilities.
Developed by Rob Hassell between May 2017 and May 2018 as part of the BA (Hons) Music Technology programme at the University of Wolverhampton, SIDsynth is a multi-voice chiptunes synthesizer based around the use of obsolete MOS Technology 6581/8580 Sound Interface Device (SID) chips; a specialised IC originally found in the Commodore 64 computer. Despite the age of the SID chip, the SIDsynth draws heavily on contemporary developments and could arguably not have existed until relatively recently. Online marketplaces enable increasingly scarce and revered second-hand ICs to be sourced from individual sellers worldwide. Dedicated enthusiasts have made crucial but previously rarely accessible technical documentation freely available in online repositories such as SIDmusic and archive6502. Additionally, by using open source and low-cost Arduino microcontrollers to interface otherwise disparate elements (three SID ICs, contemporary computer hardware and a physical user interface), the project has been able to benefit from the Arduino platform’s extensive documentation and community expertise.
The author describes the manipulation of time and memory in LOOP, a tape-based sound installation started in 2004. Many of my artworks are hybrid assemblages of obsolete and contemporary technology. The use of the obsolete is most immediately apparent in LOOP, a long-running (2004-present) sound installation built out of a Fostex X-34 four track recorder and C90 cassette tape. The Fostex X-34 is in many ways unexceptional: its sound and build quality are adequate at best. Indeed, most notable is perhaps that, by the time of its release in April 2000, it was arguably already rendered obsolete by the rise of MiniDisc recorders and audio-capable home computers. Nevertheless, the X-34 fitted the modest budget of a Birmingham schoolboy, and I acquired a lightly used and moderately discounted ex-demo unit about three months after its launch. The accessibility of the cassette tape was also key: while its popularity had significantly diminished after its late 1980s peak, blank tapes remained readily locally available.
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