TechKNOW Tomorrow – The Future of Creating Music

Image by Avi Naim via Unsplash.

We’ve come a long way since the invention of the piano in the early 1700s. Inventors have worked extensively to continue improving the numerous sounds it was already capable of producing at the time. Then we had the keyboard, which was invented in 1874, and even synthesizers (a device capable of emulating other instruments) by the 1960s.

When the two were first combined, the music scene changed dramatically with electric keyboards capable of a wide range of sounds. Remember the ‘80s, the decade with over-the-top, easy to produce, experimental sounds introduced in pop and metal? The synthesizer was largely responsible for this.

Up until a few years ago, digital synthesizers programmed into our computers probably seemed like the end of the synthesizer. How could we possibly progress this instrument any further? Was it possible to find new ways for your average music lover to craft music without necessarily possessing the technical know-how?

ROLI Seaboard Rise

Image by ROLI via ROLI.

Aspiring musicians have a nifty device to look forward to – the ROLI Seaboard Rise. It’s essentially a controller with an advanced, modern synthesizer built-in. It has a sleek, black design with keys, buttons, and switches controlled entirely by touch. The best thing to compare it to is a tablet without a screen; you lightly tap controls instead of using traditional, convoluted switches and buttons.

It’s worth noting that the Seaboard Rise is for home studio recordings or stage performances (there are more affordable models for home use). The list of features is incredibly extensive: you can play wirelessly over Bluetooth, it’s available in two different formats (25 or 49 “keys”), it includes a host of software and apps, and there are hundreds of various sounds to play with.

For instance, you can create atmospheric landscapes, emulate tons of instruments (e.g., guitars, vocals, flutes, etc.), and try odd or unique sounds that are preprogrammed into it. Many of these instrument sounds are more authentic than you’d find in a typical keyboard without other equipment.

There is a massive drawback, however. The Seaboard Rise is quite new as a technology; it costs $850 US for the 25 key version, and $1200 US for the 49 key version. That’s a steep price for someone that just likes to play music for fun in the garage or basement.

Affordable Alternative?

Image by ROLI via ROLI.

As the Seaboard has won several design awards in London and has been used by masterful composers such as Hans Zimmer, you can be assured that ROLI offers excellent quality throughout their entire product line. Choosing a knockoff might not be a good idea because you won’t be sure of the sounds that it can accurately produce.

In that case, it’s good to know that ROLI also has an entry level model called the Seaboard Block that sells for $350 US. Most of us would say that this is still quite expensive. That said, you are definitely getting excellent value for your money if you decide to purchase one at some point. Perhaps it’s best to wait for a sale or to buy it used!

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At techKNOWtutors, we realize that adapting to technology isn’t easy. Although most services have closed, we remain open – digitally – to answer your internet-related questions. If you need help with improving your digital literacy, send us an email at techknowtutors@cscnl.ca or join our Facebook group and send us a message.

Better yet, sign up for one of our online classes that we offer for FREE every week! Until then, stay in the techKNOW.

How to Use Zoom and Sign Up for tKt’s Online Classes

Some of our learners have shared with us that they are unsure how to register for a class, or join us in Zoom.

We’ve made the following videos outlining how you can join us on Zoom.

Step 1: Check out our online calendar and register for a class
Visit our website at https://techknowtutors.ca/upcoming-classes/ and follow the steps outlined in the video below to register.

Register for our classes!

Step 2: Download Zoom for either your computer or device (tablet or smartphone). Watch the videos below to learn how to install Zoom.

Install Zoom on a PC (Laptop or Desktop Computer
Install Zoom on Tablet or Smartphone

Step 3: Join our class!
After you register you will receive an email with a link. When it is time for the class to start, simply go to your email, click the link and follow the steps to join us in Zoom.

Join us in Zoom!

At techKNOWtutors, we realize that adapting to technology isn’t easy. Although most services have closed, we remain open – digitally – to answer your internet-related questions. If you need help with improving your digital literacy, send us an email at techknowtutors@cscnl.ca or join our Facebook group and send us a message.

Better yet, sign up for one of our online classes that we offer for FREE every week! Until then, stay in the techKNOW.

TechKNOW Tomorrow – The Future of Retail and Grocery Stores

As technology advances, people are not only forced to adapt to rapid changes in forms of communication, but also to major transformations to the fabric of society itself. It started with cell phones and texting, and has moved to automated restaurant kiosks and self-checkouts at drug stores.

Now things are about to shift even further.

Amazon developed a plan back in 2016 – Amazon Go – to open numerous retail stores across the U.S. with a new technological focus. Now that plan has become a reality. At these stores, shoppers can pick up any items that they want and walk right out of the store without waiting in a line to be checked out. It sounds a lot like shoplifting when you think about it. It’s the future of physical shopping, offering a convenience never before seen for consumers.

As if that wasn’t enough, Amazon just upped the ante by opening the first Amazon Go Grocery store. Fresh produce, delicious snacks, and dairy products are at a consumer’s fingertips without the hassle of waiting in line. And while this technology is still in its infancy, we could see stores like this one across the entire country within the next few years. We need to be ready for that.

So how does it work exactly? Let’s take a look.

How to Shop at Amazon Go Stores

When you enter an Amazon Go store, you’re greeted with a sight much like the gates seen at a subway station. You’re asked to download the Amazon Go app and scan the QR code, which can be retrieved from Apple or Google depending on your device. After scanning yourself – and family members, if applicable – everyone can go their own way and the app will keep track of any items taken off of the shelves by each person.

Image by Amazon via Financial Times.

From then on, you shop much like you would at any other store. Looking around, employees will be present answering customers’ questions and stocking shelves, but none will be on cash registers; there aren’t any in the entire store! Hundreds of cameras can be spotted on the ceilings, though they’re not there to catch shoplifters. Instead, the cameras exist to keep track of the inventory on the shelves. Through tracking software and item recognition, no stock will go missing.

Even more fascinating than this is what happens when you pull an item off of a shelf. The store’s sensors recognize that the item has been taken by you and puts it into your virtual cart on the app. Put the item back on the shelf and it leaves your virtual cart. In fact, you can put the item back on ANY shelf and your virtual cart will recognize it.

Finally, when you have everything you want to purchase, just leave the store. It sounds suspicious, like you’re stealing it all, but you are charged after leaving the store. All purchases are made through your Amazon account moments after you leave the store. It might even sound terrifying, but it’s actually quite safe. Amazon Go Grocery stores work pretty much the same way: walk in, grab your food, and walk out. It’s that simple.

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There you have it. Shopping in Canada’s about to change with convenience in mind. Is it scary? Maybe a little, but this technology is here to make our lives easier. And while there will be less personalized cashiers available, those workers will still exist and be invaluable as they develop new skills and help us enter the digital age.

Don’t have an Amazon Account? We have a course for Online Shopping with techKNOWtutors that will teach you the basics. During our drop-in sessions, we can even help you set up an Amazon account.

At techKNOWtutors, we realize that adapting to technology isn’t easy. Although most services have closed, we remain open – digitally – to answer your internet-related questions. If you need help with improving your digital literacy, send us an email at techknowtutors@cscnl.ca or join our Facebook group and send us a message.

Better yet, sign up for one of our online classes that we offer for FREE every week! Until then, stay in the techKNOW.