One of the annoying things about being based in Europe instead of our Baton Rouge office (apart from missing that incredible Cajun food…) is I also miss out on cool stuff like being there for our Hallowe’en Zombie Video shoot that is going on today! As someone who has personally bagged many thousands of zombies as Special Agent G in House of the Dead (and many, many other videogames) this pains me greatly. I even have zombie wallpaper on the desktop of my studio computer (because that’s what I usually look like after an all-night session in the studio).
If you missed last year’s Studio Channel of the Living Dead video, here it is again. I love working for a company that makes promo videos like this. Can’t wait to see the new one.
You know you’ve just done a major release when you spend the entire day doing nothing but answer emails and you still have more in your Inbox than you had when you started. That was my entire day yesterday – I think I got to what I laughingly call “home” at about 11pm, and then I was so pumped up I ended up catching up on old episodes of Dexter until the wee hours of the morning just to relax.
Today I’m having a look through the forums to see how we’re doing as well as passing on some bug reports. Although this thing has been in beta for months (we really did a long beta test), it’s inevitable that in software this complex there are going to be bugs that everyone misses. You might think that’s ridiculous, but you’d be surprised.
Let’s take the most simple thing I can imagine – say we are in the business of releasing a new, improved coin flipper. It’s a coin that you toss up and it comes down heads or tails. That’s about as simple a product as I can imagine – there are only two variable states that you can have: heads or tails. What could possibly go wrong? But let’s assume that thousands of people buy Coin Flipper and start tossing it up. Sooner or later, if enough people toss it enough times, by some bizarre turn of events, it’s going to end up on its edge instead of landing heads or tails. That’s a bug. OK let’s solve that! Easy solution: we mill the edge so it is really thin to make it harder for the coin to land on its edge and stay upright. Everyone is happy with the new, improved Coin Flipper 2.0. But then some newbie with no experience tries catching it and the new improved thin (and now very sharp) edge cuts them. Ouch! So by fixing the little tiny bug for pro users we have created a really major bug for new people entering the fine sport of coin flipping. The forums go crazy with users screaming at the Coin Flipper developers for missing such a huge bug. And so it goes…
Now that’s the simplest example I can think of. Multiply that by the (literally) millions of permutations of things that people want to do with a modern Digital Audio Workstation and you’ll get some idea of what bug fixing is like. And we’re pretty lucky compared to some companies out there, since the internal Studio One code is really modern, modular and efficient. It’s a lot easier and faster for us to fix bugs than it is for some of the other guys. That’s why if you look in your PreSonus User Account you’ll find that the installer for Studio One 2 in there is already 2.0.1 build 16909 even though we only officially released version 2.0 on Tuesday morning. And I’m writing this one Thursday afternoon…
Actually the biggest problem I find with bug fixing is people frequently don’t report them. When I’m out doing shows I get people coming up to me all the time saying things like “Well I guess you know about this bug already, so why didn’t you fix it yet?” and then mention something that I’ve never heard of. When I ask if they reported it, the answer is usually “I just assumed you guys would know already.” No, we don’t – unless you tell us. Pretty much everyone at PreSonus is a musician and a Studio One user in our “spare time” so we do actually find stuff all the time – that’s how we come up with our ideas, we scratch our own itch as they say. But we can’t possibly cover all the millions of things our thousands of users come up with, so please please please do tell us when we screw something up. That’s how we make this stuff better.
We’re not going to be happy until we’ve created the greatest piece of music software the world has ever seen. So beta testers and bug hunters: thanks for helping us with that. We really do appreciate it.
It’s 18.30 in Germany and the news on 2.0 has pretty much hit round the world now. We just finished the first of three live webcasts, I’ve been fielding excited questions from stores and magazines all day, and I finally feel like I can breathe again. There’s another webcast at 21.00 German time, and I’ve (stupidly) agreed to hang out in the office until then and join in on that one too – I really don’t want to miss anything (well, I’ll miss dinner, but whatever…).
Responses by mail and on the forum has been extremely positive so far, which doesn’t really surprise me to be honest, I’ve been using this thing since June already, and I know just how awesome it is, but it’s still very gratifying to see that other people love it too. Unfortunately our servers are getting hammered with people wanting to upgrade or download the demo. No matter how much we increase our server capacity, we still get taken by surprise
So now to relax a little and sit back before the next show…
After more than two years of work, we finally show everyone Studio One version 2. It didn’t really hit me fully until I looked on Twitter and saw that Celemony already put up a video showing the integration of Melodyne and S1. Although I’ve been secretly showing lots of journalists myself how it works over the past weeks, it’s the first time I’ve seen someone else actually using it – and wow… it’s amazing to see it from another perspective. It really is unbelievably that good!
Am so excited to see what people think now…
Am in the Hamburg office at the moment, helping to get the last things done before we release Studio One 2. Last week was stupidly busy, and I think this week will be no different.
Was in Berlin last few days – my first stop there was the studio of musotalk.de, which is a great German website specialising in in-depth gear reviews. I’ve known the main guy behind it, Non Eric, for many years but I was still very surprised at what a great webcasting setup he has there. He’s a real one-man band, running a highly professional operation using state-of-the-art gear, pretty much on his own, with just some camera guys when needed. All the audio editing is done on Studio One as well, which is pretty awesome.
On the downside, he insisted on me using his five year old Macintosh to demo Studio One on, and some of my demo material uses ridiculous amount of processing (my demo laptop is a PC Audio Labs machine with a quad-core i7 inside). So I had to do some serious fiddling to get everything working – but much to my surprise, it did! Quite remarkable that our super modern kick-ass software will still run well on relatively ancient technology. So if you’re running an old machine, guess what, it’s still going to be pretty awesome. The new Transform Track feature helps a lot here, because you can easily transform MIDI Instrument tracks with tons of plugins into Audio tracks that use very little power, including all the inserts on those tracks. What even more remarkable is you can edit the transformed track as much as you like, and still transform it back to MIDI while preserving your edits! It’s a killer feature, and totally saved my life during this demo!
We did a great show in the end – Musotalk wanted to shoot the whole thing live, which was a hell of a challenge given what we were doing, but we shot for about an hour and it worked out great. The video will be online from Tuesday 18th, so if you are a German speaker, do check it out. (But please forgive my less-than-perfect German!)