I was reading an interesting article over at Linux Journal about some unfortunately closed-source commercial linux software.  Harrison has a compelling audio recorder.  Before I got too far into the article, I thought it was another open source effort, which is pretty much the only linux software I run.  While I was disappointed to discover this was closed source, it got me to thinkin’….

The software is called Mixbus and is a version of Ardour2, a digital audio workstation.  I am going to start with this product and use my powers of digression to wander over to other related concerns.

I have installed and previewed a large portion of the available audio recording software, so I have the tiniest bit of familiarity with what’s around.  What I haven’t had is a ton of experience…. I’m an old analog guy who came from a half-inch Tascam eight track reel to reel that I literally wore out.

My focus here is on how the design of the software impacts its usability and grok-ability (yes, I made that up, but it sure sounds technical-like and makes a powerful point, etc.).  It would seem the majority of software, including some made for Windows (yikes!) makes its own euphemisms for recording gear.  Upon seeing Mixbus, it occurred to me that perhaps this is the way to go to help a certain set of music-minded (potential) recordists succeed: don’t create analogs for recording gear: put the damn recording gear right on the screen and let the gearheads hook it up just like they’d be doing with their ancient analog gear in their antedeluvian home studios.

In other words, make the mixer look like an actual mixer, just like the folks at Harrison did with Mixbus.  FYI, Ardour is the open source non-commercial version of Mixbus and benefits from each purchase. Ardour does make use of this method also.

I’m not saying that every user of this software will benefit from this method but some certainly will.  It might explain why I sometimes fail to grok certain audio software.  I’m too much of a damn geek! Stop simplifying it and just give it to me straight, please.

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Here is where I start to wander a bit….

What form of lunacy invades the brains of software designers that causes their software, especially during install, to take up the entire ($*#ing screen?  Perhaps I’m multitasking, doing something else while your beknighted software is attempting to take up all of my screen real estate.  This is a territorial acquisition game, kind of like football, and your software’s default screen-grabbing is making me angry.

What’s worse is if there are multiple screens involved.  Have you ever seen an install screen splayed across two twenty-four inch screens?  It’s not pretty, folks.  It’s also not necessary.

While I’m wandering down the old screen real estate road, why is it that when I open anything at all in linux with a dual-montior system, everything opens up right smack in the middle of the two screens?  I have tried several remedies, believe me, but I’m always left going semi-blind, looking at some text input box with two monitor frames right down the middle of it.

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And lastly, having absolutely nothing to do with the above, why is it that I can sometimes click with my touchpad and have absolutely nothing happen, yet when I sneeze, I have inadvertently selected half the text of an unsaved blog entry and jettisoned it into the old bit bucket in the sky…???