Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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All wired up: Local music company aims to make studio-quality recordings mobile


Photo By: Diego Abeloos/Town Crier
Photo Diego Abeloos/Town Crier

Doug Wright, founder and president of Sonoma Wire Works, plays his guitar using GuitarJack, which allows musicians to connect their instruments to an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.

Class of 1990 Los Altos High graduates Doug and Michelle (Reynolds) Wright have a simple goal in mind: to provide musicians with the convenience and ability to play, record and share music simply by reaching into their pockets or turning on a tablet.

The couple – former high school sweethearts – started Sonoma Wire Works in 2003 while residing in Sonoma County. They moved back to their hometown in 2008, steadily developing a wide range of music software products among the way.

Doug, the company’s president, noted that the company’s overarching aim is “to make products that allow musicians to capture music themselves – less of an engineer’s tool and more of a musician’s tool.”

With this in mind, he pointed to products like GuitarJack, an iOS audio input and output interface that enables musicians to connect guitars, keyboards, microphones and other hardware to an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. The product is ideal for recording chunks of music – guitar chords or lyrics – whenever inspiration strikes, Doug said.

“For me, I never really ever have a whole song. I just have a new riff that I want to record,” he said. “It’s just super fast and super intuitive.”

When coupled with one of the company’s multitrack recording apps – FourTrack for the iPhone or StudioTrack for the iPad – GuitarJack also serves as an easy-to-use amplifier and recording studio on a mobile device, he added.

Other products, like RiffWorks, a Windows and Mac compatible guitar recording software program, and DrumCore, the company’s extensive drum loop library, provide customers with low-cost, do-it-yourself alternatives to traditional – and pricey – recording studio sessions, Doug said.

“We have more than 20 different well-known, A-list drummers and 45 gigabytes of content, which is just thousands and thousands of loops,” Doug said of DrumCore, which features former Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum, former Carlos Santana drummer Michael Shrieve, percussionist Luis Conte and more.

The inspiration behind the products stems from an unfilled personal need he recognized as a musician. As a member of rock bands in his early days, Doug recalled being tasked with the dual roles of guitarist and audio engineer during studio recording sessions.

He quickly discovered that the combination of using his technical know-how while simultaneously attempting to engage in the process of creating music was stifling.

“If you look at almost anyone in the music industry making products, we’re all musicians and we’re all doing it because we want the products as much as the customers do,” said Doug, whose products are available on Amazon, through distributors and dealers worldwide and locally at Present, 162 Main St. “We’re very in touch with the needs and desires of our customers because we are them.”

The company is also dedicated to making products locally, added Michelle, vice president of marketing. Hardware manufacturing for GuitarJack, for instance, is done in San Jose.

“We’re trying to do as much American-made as we can,” she said.

As for the future, Doug noted that the company plans to focus on converging its mobile and desktop products.

“Tablets are getting so powerful,” said Doug, who also teaches courses in audio software programming locally at Cogswell College.

“They can basically do anything that the desktops I originally programmed Riffworks on could do. You’ll start to see less difference between the desktop software we make and the mobile software … but all (fulfilling) the original purpose of making recording music easier and more accessible to musicians.”

For more information, visit www.sonomawireworks.com.

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