Message category: Announcements

AHA! Software news items: The articles in this category provide notice of new products, new releases, and other such notable developments at AHA! Software.

September 14, 2015

Our Money Quiz is inexpensive

Categories: Announcements — Tags: ,

In fact it would be cheap at a trillion times the price, which you can’t say of most things. The Money Quiz is also in its humble way heroic. It dares to dive deep beneath the surface — to ask the tough questions that are all too often undeservedly ignored. How would Bill Gates rank as a national economy? Who was the joker that invented income tax? We don’t claim the quiz will make you wealthy, but then in our experience not much does.

August 26, 2015

It’s time to face the Music Theory Quiz

Categories: Announcements — Tags: ,

Nick wrote this quiz a few years ago, releasing the questions in a series of blog posts, but it was always intended that it would eventually land at Trivia Park, and here it is at last.

For those whose musical nerdiness transcends conventional bounds, we trust that this quiz will prove a delightful playground of the mind. Other users are advised to sharpen their intuitions to a needle-point en route to the title page.

Try the Music Theory Quiz

August 22, 2015

Instant log-in using a Facebook account

Categories: Announcements — Tags:

A few weeks ago we introduced a site membership system, so that Trivia Park users can now do things like review their past quiz results and resume unfinished quizzes from earlier sessions.

For the convenience of Facebook users, we have now added one-step log-in combined with automatic account creation on Trivia Park. When you use this log-in link or the one at the top of the page on the site, you’ll now see a Log in with Facebook button above the other controls. If you’re currently logged in with Facebook, clicking the button logs you in to Trivia Park immediately, and sets up your permanent site membership automatically. If you have a Facebook membership but aren’t logged in, Facebook will log you into their system first, then your Trivia Park log-in will proceed without interruption.

Go ahead — give it a try!

August 15, 2015

Thanks for joining Trivia Park

Categories: Announcements — Tags: ,

For the first time in our history, Trivia Park is now offering park memberships. If you have already joined, thanks for being one of the first to sign up. We look forward to offering an increasing range of services to our members in the weeks and months ahead.

July 21, 2015

A new quiz about a beloved character…

Categories: Announcements — Tags: ,

Anne quiz frontispiece: Folio edition, cover by Anna C. LeparOur brand-new Anne Shirley, Part One quiz celebrates one of the most memorable literary characters ever created.

The quiz covers Anne’s first year at Green Gables, a year of dreadful scrapes, agonizing despairs, and glorious delights.

 

October 20, 2011

Hierophant 1.7.5.2 release notes

Categories: Announcements — Tags:

This is a maintenance update of the FamilyGames.com freeware game Hierophant. Changes include fine-tuning of the installer and minor cosmetic tweaks.

Button to start Hierophant download Download Hierophant. After downloading, open the file to install the game.

For those who don’t know Hierophant, it is a simple 2-D game, generally reminiscent of a 4×4 tile puzzle. Unlike the usual toy version, however, there is no missing tile. Instead, movement is permitted by having the rows and columns wrap around. The object of Hierophant is to restore a randomly-generated ‘mystic symbol’.

Hierophant is compatible with computers running any version of Microsoft Windows since Windows XP.

Hierophant screen shot

Scrolling a column in Hierophant by clicking one of the arrow buttons (C) around the board.

October 15, 2011

NoteCard 3.3.5.1 release notes

Categories: Announcements — Tags: ,

This maintenance release (3.3.5.1) corrects a bug triggered by specifying a custom quiz length greater than 36.

Thanks to NoteCard user Zoltán Farkas for identifying and reporting the bug.

October 12, 2011

Christmas Trivia Screen Saver version 1.7

Categories: Announcements — Tags: , , ,

It seem that there are lots of folks who still like to have our Christmas Trivia Screen Saver running on some screen around the house during the holiday season, and we’re happy to continue to provide it as a free treat for Windows users. For several years, however, the screen saver has been in need of an overhaul to correct a number of small problems that cropped up with the release of successive versions of Windows.

Screen saver: The living-room scene

The living-room scene in the Christmas Trivia Screen Saver

Now those problems have been addressed, and a new version of the screen saver is available for download effective immediately. If you already have the screen saver installed, we recommend that you explicitly uninstall it before installing. Please note that this release applies only to Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.

The main action in the Christmas Trivia Screen Saver is a quietly animated fireside scene with a flickering fire, twinkling Christmas lights, and a working grandfather clock. In the foreground is a table with a snack set out for Santa, though it’s not he who finds it and starts to nibble.

Screen saver: A trivia page

One of 60 trivia pages that appear at intervals in the screen saver

Every now and then, a page of easy-to-read text reveals a Christmas fact you probably didn’t know unless you hang around our trivia site at Christmas time. With sixty different pages to view, there are plenty of fascinating nuggets to keep you entertained throughout the season.

MIDI renderings of fifteen Christmas carol arrangements provide an uninterrupted soundtrack if desired. Settings to control the music, the frequency of the Christmas trivia, and more options are available through Windows’ display customization controls (see this PDF read-me file, also included in the download, for more details).

Button to start screen saver download Download the screen saver. After downloading, open the file to install the software.

We hope you enjoy this screen saver, and we’d be delighted if you make it part of your end-of-year celebrations this year.

September 5, 2011

NoteCard version 3.3.5.0

Categories: Announcements — Tags: , ,

This is the first public release of NoteCard 3.3. The download and buy links on the AheadWithMusic.com home page and elsewhere on our site have been updated to refer to this new version.

Undoubtedly the most striking new feature in NoteCard 3.3 is an ear-training mode for quizzes. In this mode, instead of each note being simultaneously played back and displayed on the staff during quizzes, the display of the written note is withheld until after you have entered your guess by ‘playing’ the note on your chosen input instrument. You must rely wholly on your ear, and in particular on its ability to identify the interval — the distance in pitch — between notes heard in succession.

For ear-training mode, check the option in NoteCard's quiz set-up task

For ear-training mode, check the option in NoteCard's quiz set-up task

The musical ear takes longer to develop than the musical eye. You should soon be fully versed in note-reading, with NoteCard’s help. However, you are likely to find that your ear training progress (indicated as usual by the percentage score in the Progress Gauge) has lagged well behind. There’s a simple reason for this: it’s harder. We recommend starting very gradually, with a single treble or bass staff (not both together), and without the sharps and flats option until your progress rating is near 100. Note that since the ear-training feature relies on MIDI playback, it is available only in Paid Mode. This means that to use it you must have bought your copy of NoteCard or be still in the 10-day evaluation period.

NoteCard 3.2 added an on-screen control for adjusting the speed of response required in quizzes. Now NoteCard 3.3 provides a parallel control for setting the length of each quiz — the number of notes you will be asked to identify. Both controls now support a ‘custom’ option that is governed by a value in the NoteCard settings file. Look up ‘settings file’ in the index of NoteCard’s help file for details on using the new and revised settings.

We hope you enjoy using NoteCard 3.3 and find it of value in your musical studies.

August 19, 2010

A look at NoteCard 3.2’s oversized piano keyboard control

Categories: Announcements, Close-up — Tags: ,
The on-screen piano control in NoteCard has an oversized mode in which the keyboard is wider than the NoteCard window.The available oversize keyboard control in NoteCard 3.2 comes as a bit of a visual shock, but will permit extra mousing accuracy.

This is the text of a press release: “Learning Musical Notes A Serious Pleasure With Notecard 3.2 (but satisfying user expectations needed literally out-of-the-box thinking, reveals developer)”.

AHA! Software has released a newly-enhanced version of its popular music education application, NoteCard, whose goal is to help even musical beginners achieve rapid but profound memorization of the musical notes. According to the developers, the new release retains NoteCard’s traditional focus on results, but continues an ongoing effort to make the software more approachable for users of all ages.

“We still have some great features in the pipeline for future cycles, but on this occasion we concentrated more on ease of use, and adapting to evolving user expectations”, says developer Nick Sullivan, who wrote the first version of NoteCard on a Commodore 64 computer in 1983, and has continued to extend and refine it ever since. “For instance, we had reports that some users found the keys on the onscreen keyboard to be just a bit too narrow for complete mousing accuracy. We suspect that in most cases this problem would probably have dissolved anyway after a little extra time spent with the program, but the fact remains that for some customers it made NoteCard less approachable.”

The goal of widening the onscreen piano turned out to pose a tricky design challenge, however. The piano keyboard already consumed nearly the full width of the NoteCard window. Widening it further would require either enlarging the window itself, or creating a new, independent window of the required size, but the designers were unenthusiastic about either option. Reconfiguring the main window seemed like overkill when the goal was to accommodate a single instrument. But giving the user the burden of a second window to manage was just as undesirable.

To resolve this design dilemma , the team decided that although a wider secondary window was necessary, physically detaching it from the main window was not. When the user selects the wider keyboard display in NoteCard 3.2, the keyboard appears simply to expand beyond its window borders. When the main window is moved, the keyboard window automatically moves along with it.

The resulting arrangement may raise some eyebrows for its lack of orthodoxy, says Nick Sullivan, but he predicts that users will adapt without difficulty. “It does look a bit odd right at first, as though NoteCard had suffered some sort of aneurysm. But then you see it behaving like a perfectly conventional window, one that just happens to stick out a bit at the sides, and you forget all about it.”

AHA! Software’s unvarying design ideal for the NoteCard software, easily stated though difficult to achieve, is to help users memorize the musical notes as efficiently as human brains will allow, and then recall them quickly and infallibly when needed.

“Note-reading is a prosaic skill”, says Sullivan. “It’s not essentially musical at all. But if you can read with speed and confidence from almost the very start, it’s a huge advantage. Many beginners spend far too much of their practice effort consciously decoding the notes. With NoteCard, note-reading becomes largely subconscious, as it is for an experienced player. That leaves the conscious mind free to deal with more important things, such as music.”

About the NoteCard software

NoteCard is a product of AHA! Software, distributed through AheadWithMusic.com. NoteCard can be operated either in Free Mode, at no cost, or in Paid Mode, with additional features, following a one-time payment of $19.75. Discounts are available for institutional and group purchases. NoteCard is available for laptop and desktop computers running Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7. Use of a MIDI instrument keyboard for note input is supported but not required.

# # #

For information about topics covered in this release, or to schedule an interview with the creators of the NoteCard software, please contact us at news@aheadwithmusic.com.

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

Powered by WordPress