First came instant potatoes, then instant replays. And now a computer software company says it has come up with a way to get instant sheet music.
All a musician has to do is hook up his electric keyboard or guitar to a computer and start playing. And presto!, out pops scores of sheet music for the tunes being played. The software, called Finale, can identify and transcribe up to 3,768 lines of music, said Paul Phillips, general manager for Bloomington, Minn.-based Coda Music Software.
Finale made its debut last weekend at the Anaheim Convention Center during the 1988 winter meeting of the National Assn. of Music Merchants. Composers can pick up the software and related equipment for about $800 to $1,000 starting late this spring, the company said.
For an encore, Coda is working on something certain to delight parents. It would transform an Apple Macintosh computer into a drum machine.
Belly Up to the Intoxigraph
Here's a new 50-cent video game for the corner tavern: Challenge the Intoxigraph.
The $1,500 Intoxigraph, distributed by United States Marketing Co. of North Hollywood, measures alcohol content in the bloodstream. After breathing through a straw into the "breathport," the machine flashes its judgment in 30 seconds. It classifies users as sober, mellow, buzzed, semi-tipsy, tipsy, legally drunk and drunk.
And while waiting for those results, there's a video-reaction game included to test your sobriety. "The novelty of breath-analyzing machines can quickly wear off," said inventor James Babington-Johnson, "but the video game gives you a reason to drop your money in."
Out of Commission at Cal
The next business school faculty meeting at UC Berkeley ought to be lively if the Oct. 19 stock market crash comes up. It seems that faculty members are on both sides of one of the hottest issues of the day, portfolio insurance.
First there were professors Hayne Leland and Mark Rubinstein who pioneered the now-controversial computerized investment-hedging technique. They parlayed use of the technique into a major Los Angeles business Leland O'Brien Rubinstein Associates.
Then came the crash, and portfolio insurance was blamed for greasing the skids because it unleashes huge sell orders for stock index futures as the market declines. Chief among the accusers was the report by the Brady Commission that investigated the crash.
It turns out that the commission staffers responsible for generating the data that put the blame on portfolio insurance are Berkeley business professors Terry Marsh and Albert "Pete" Kyle.
ZZZZ Book, Volume 2
Former ZZZZ Best carpet-cleaning king Barry Minkow--who was arrested last week on charges of fraud, money laundering and racketeering--wrote a book in 1985. Titled "Making it in America: 18 and a Million Dollars," it described "the rock-bottom essentials of making money in a free enterprise economy."
In recent weeks Minkow had been trying to sell publishers on another book about himself, but without much luck, sources say. "There is possibly going to be a book, possibly ," said Minkow's attorney, Arthur Barens. "The flip side of that is possibly there won't be a book." Barens would not comment further.
Meanwhile, another Minkow book is in the works. Reporter Daniel Akst, who broke the ZZZZ Best story for The Times last year and now works for the Wall Street Journal, has negotiated a contract with Macmillan for a hardcover on Minkow. Its tentative title: "Wonder Boy."