What is Ruby's preparedness to do audio and midi processing? Are there existing
classes, things in progress, programs, or interfaces with other technologies?
Does Ruby have special tricks that might play well into the analog-ish
algorithms of audio processing? Or simple ways to map the many controls on a
keyboard to different processes? What about the possibilities of interfacing
these usb devices with web apps? Or building a top-notch mic preamp with
software?

There are many music products without doubt, but it's still in many ways a field
that is far from actualization - I think it could be a lot better and there are
still a ton of stupid obstacles in the way of making great music. All of you
can attest that the use of electronic instruments and software in professional
music usually seems far from ideal. Tools like Garageband that let you tweak
the algorithms with faithful semi-analog charm are loads of fun - except that
they're often underpowered in exactly the wrong ways and you can't really get
past stage 1.6 of your songs.

I think simplicity is called for, and there are definitely some great apps like
Cacophony out there that feel great to use. At the same time, the biggest
problem with the klunkier software is the learning curve of finding what all
the buttons and menus do - maybe an app that talked to you or gave brief
slideshows and videos about its features would be more 'intuitive' and less
frustrating. Or perhaps open sourcing your riffs is the best way to get them
worked on and improved - a p2p network for these music files could be a beast
of an institution.

It's stuff like this that makes me wish I was staring down a G6 release rather
than an Intel laptop. I think possibly the best strategy for making Ruby into a
musical instrument will be to interface it with some existing programs that run
on OSX - possibly including Apple's libraries and software instruments. A front
end that let you custom-map your midi controller's knobs and buttons with a
minimum of hassle, a usable interface for changing the shape of your sound
waves as if with a pencil, a way to synchronize recording on multiple
computers, a scale generator that could give you more than twelve tones in an
octave.. there are relatively bland but there are definitely cool innovations
that could come to the field. What do you think - could Ruby be part of the
answer?

-Mike