Tab Dump 11/17/2009

A common feature on blogs is a “tab dump.” It’s a play on the old programming term “core dump”; a printout of the contents of a computer’s memory intended to help figure out why a program blew up.

Eons ago (in computer years), computers had memories consisting of little magnetized ferrite doughnuts, or “cores,” which were threaded on wires to form what become known as magnetic core memory. As a teenager, I got to program one of the very first mini-computers, the PDP-8, which contained a grand total of 4,096 12-bit words of core memory (0.07% of what comes in an entry-leve iPhone, by the way), pretty much filling the translucent blue box on the top:



A “core dump” was a printout of the contents of core memory: basically nothing more than a pages-long string of numbers (either octal (0-7) or hexadecimal (0-F), grouped in threes or fours depending on the machine), printed on green-and-white striped computer paper by a very noisy dresser-size box known as a “line printer,” from which the programmer was expected to determine what went wrong. Think “user-friendly,” and then imagine what the opposite is like in the seventh circle of Hell.

A tab dump, by comparison, is positively cuddly; it’s a list of links (or web browser “tabs”) with minimal commentary intended to suggest what the reader might find if he/she clicks on the links. It’s a nice way of providing interesting places for a blog reader to go without a lot of work on the blog writer’s part.

So here’s the Polyphonic blog’s very first tab dump:

About the author

Robert Levine
Robert Levine

Robert Levine has been the Principal Violist of the Milwaukee Symphony since September 1987. Before coming to Milwaukee Mr. Levine had been a member of the Orford String Quartet, Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Toronto, with whom he toured extensively throughout Canada, the United States, and South America. Prior to joining the Orford Quartet, Mr. Levine had served as Principal Violist of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra for six years. He has also performed with the San Francisco Symphony, the London Symphony of Canada, and the Oklahoma City Symphony, as well as serving as guest principal with the orchestras of Indianapolis and Hong Kong.

He has performed as soloist with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Oklahoma City Symphony, the London Symphony of Canada, the Midsummer Mozart Festival (San Francisco), and numerous community orchestras in Northern California and Minnesota. He has also been featured on American Public Radio's nationally broadcast show "St. Paul Sunday Morning" on several occasions.

Mr. Levine has been an active chamber musician, having performed at the Festival Rolandseck in Germany, the Grand Teton Music Festival, the Palm Beach Festival, the "Strings in the Mountains" Festival in Colorado, and numerous concerts in the Twin Cities and Milwaukee. He has also been active in the field of new music, having commissioned and premiered works for viola and orchestra from Minnesota composers Janika Vandervelde and Libby Larsen.

Mr. Levine was chairman of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians from 1996 to 2002 and currently serves as President of the Milwaukee Musicians Association, Local 8 of the American Federation of Musicians, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the League of American Orchestras. He has written extensively about issues concerning orchestra musicians for publications of ICSOM, the AFM, the Symphony Orchestra Institute, and the League of American Orchestras.

Mr. Levine attended Stanford University and the Institute for Advanced Musical Studies in Switzerland. His primary teachers were Aaron Sten and Pamela Goldsmith. He also studied with Paul Doctor, Walter Trampler, Bruno Giuranna, and David Abel.

He lives with his wife Emily and his son Sam in Glendale.

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