Happy Birthday, MIDI and the New MS Office

A power coniditioner midi synthesizer

It's been 30 years since the launch of a musical language so universal, it's used in every country on the planet. What's called MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) came out in January of 1983, a standard set of rules so that electronic musical instruments could talk to each other and trigger each other.

"It still works, and it's not broken, so people still use it," says Mario Andreoni, guitarist for the dance-punk band !!! (pronounced "Chk Chk Chk"), which has a new album on the way using MIDI. "To me it's been endlessly useful."

"Basically, what would happen was my product couldn't talk to anyone else's, and once we got MIDI going, and everybody agreed to it, any instrument could plug into any others -- and it's been the same for 30 years," says Dave Smith, one of MIDI's inventors all those decades ago.

The CEO of DaveSmithInstruments will receive the Grammy for Special Merit Technical achievement, along with Ikutaro Kakehashi, the head of the instrument company Roland at a special ceremony in ten day's time.


Microsoft wants puts hooks into your credit card. Those shopping for Word, Excel, and the rest of the Office 2013 upgrade will be prompted to sign up for it as an ongoing service for about 100 bucks a year.

"Just like you have a NetFlix subscription, maybe, or a subscription to the gym, now you'll have a subscription to Microsoft Office," says Sam Biddle, a staff writer at the tech publication Gizmodo. "What that does is it puts all of your documents in 'the cloud.' It syncs everything you work on whether it's a Power Point presentation or an Excel spreadsheet into Microsoft's servers so you can access it from any computer in the world."

You can still buy the new Microsoft Office outright, the old school way, if you insist. And, while we're talking about giving money to Microsoft, you should know that tomorrow's the last day to get super cheap upgrades for the Windows 8 operating system. An introductory teaser rate is gone once February arrives.

About the author

David Brancaccio is the host of Marketplace Morning Report. Follow David on Twitter @DavidBrancaccio

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