Falasol is 1 year old

Yes, it has been 1 year since first release of Falasol. Time to stop for a second and take a look around: where it all has begun, how far has it gone by now and – what’s most exciting – where it’s heading.

Audio Engineering – research & innovate

The base concept is quite simple: audio structure capable of modeling any sound.
In other words design an application able to generate any possible voice after setting proper input parameters.
Of course those settings should be human-understandable and easy to manage.

After studying a number of human & instrumental samples I came up with concept sourcing from MP3 compression idea: modeling sound by it’s spectral frequencies. The innovation is in extending the ‘envelope + spectrum’ structure and introducing keypoints which allow animating the voice characteristic over time.

How has it all started

I was interested in music ever sine, however first time I articulated the idea was on a trip to Amsterdam with my colleagues – couple years ago. You can imagine there were some unusual substances which inspired me to give the speech (Absinthe was one of ingredients). I guess my friends just took it as another drunk-dude’s crazy idea that will be forgotten morning after. Not this time!

The Amsterdam experience was so awesome that the flashbacks haunted me many times since then (they still do). And so did the drunken lecture I gave. One year after the remarkable spiritual journey I was sitting alone in my apartment, with Copenhagen’s rainy autumn outside and out of any beers in the fridge. All the warm memories felt so distant… So I started writing first line of code :)

Meanwhile the World Finance Crisis flourished (which brightened my days a bit)… And First version of Falasol was ready after ~7 months. Not too pretty, but did it’s job. That was a year ago.

Road-map

You could look at version 1.0 as a proof of concept. Core functionality was there, but the Engine was still in prototype phase and User experience basically sucked. Those two things needed to be improved for the application to be usable by people other than me. And that’s what I did:

Application development graph

Application development chart (my subjective view)

Performance

The initial prototype engine was upgraded to Diesel-powered Streamline Calculation machinery.
More to be done: Add Turbo charger for calculation processor, fine-tune the formulas

User Experience

The rough-cut WinForms were replaced with redesigned and customized WPF UI.
More to be done: Leverage the Graph interaction, add support for custom color themes.

Functionality

Core audio modeling concept is implemented and my experiments proved this is the way to go.
More to be done: Few pages of ideas… Stay tuned!

Having finished majority of the work needed for UI & Performance, now I’ll be shifting the focus on adding new functionality – the fun part :)

This blog

The initial feedback from my friends on 1.0 release was that software, in order to stay alive, needs people to use it.
I’d also like to give special thanks to Margaret, girl in green & 42 for valuable comments!
First thing I did after 1.0 was redesigning this web-page. Now, after recent Falasol 1.1 release with much improved usability I’m rolling out some advertising activity. Started with submissions to download portals and later planning to shoot some video-casts. Those are new areas for a geeky coder like me, but I’m really excited about that!

Falasol site - visits per month since start

Falasol site - visits per month since start

Personal notes

I was surprised to notice that the audio research project had also influenced-back my personality. Most impact went to music perception – it’s not only the melody that matters anymore but also the sound texture. This enabled me to explore new flavors of arts which were previously indigestible. Everyday environments are more enjoyable: bird songs, urban noises, all the shades of emotions in human voice. I also started appreciating analog music, overtook my dad’s vinyl collection and started growing it. This retro-decadent spirit is a likely reason for my new wine tasting passion as well…
In vino veritas!

My retro vinyl player

Fantastic present from my brother & his fiance. Guess my favorite band...

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Reader's Comments »

  1. By girl in green on May 31, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    Happy Birthday! I hope you’ll develop falasol more and more, and that you’ll develop yourself as well.
    You’ve got great potential to make a change – don’t waste it!

    By koshik on May 31st, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    Thanks! That’s truly motivating :)