It's pretty amazing how the internet enables people to work together. Tim O'Reilly has dubbed this the Architecture of Participation. Just the other day I made an entry in wikipedia. Wikipedia has this really cool feature where you can see all of the edits to a page and do a diff against them. Well within minutes of me creating an entry (which was easy to do and enabled common folk such as me to participate) another person had edited my entry! Pretty amazing.

Just today, I witnessed the AoP again. A co-worker happens to play guitar and was telling me about some software he used to display tablature. I don't profess to be a good guitarist at all, but it is fun to try and make music (my wife and the few others who have heard me can vouch that I have no rhythm).

I basically taught myself to play some chords by getting a Neil Young easy guitar book. (It really was easy to play the simple stuff). But I really haven't progressed much beyond that. I've got pages of print outs of OLGA guitar tabs (which also was created by an AoP), but for a man with no rhythm it is hard to play just by that, what I really needed was a program that would play the music for me and show me what to play at the same time.

Amazingly enough there is a program called Guitar Pro that does just that. Sadly enough it is Windows only (so I can't run it unless I do it under wine...). The cool thing about this program is that they have a website called mysongbook.com <http://mysongbook.com/>__ that has tons of tablature in gp3 and gp4 format. (Even better than the piecemeal chords I have from Olga and the ocassional nice tab). End users can create tablature and submit it here. There appears to be quite a collection.

So after less than a minute on google I find dguitar, a nascent effort to support gp3 and gp4 tabs under the java platform. The project is less than 5 months old, and there appears to be collaboration on their forums. The latest dev version works great on my machine, the only feature that would be really nice (for someone like me who isn't able to play super fast) is to be able to set the tempo, but I'm sure that will come. Great work guys!

I don't think dguitar would even exist unless there were tabs in the gp3 and gp4 format (which appears to have enough benifit over traditional tabs and chords that warrants people writing an app to support it).

(Now if I could only replace those nasty swing file choosers with native kde or gnome, every time I click to open a folder it thinks I'm trying to rename it...)