Category Archives: UtterLameness

Thus Fades ‘fourstones’

Honestly, I don’t mean to be unfriendly about it, but being webmaster and admin on a public site and project lead for public projects for over 5 years has been a bit of a drain on my ability to distinguish between nice, cool, well-meaning virtual friends and the people I actually rely on, my real world friends and family, and right now, I need the latter. I have several friends who separate, blend and mix these things seamlessly but I’ve had less success at doing that.

Acting as a representative for other organizations, responsible for the public face of these projects made it a constant struggle to not be misunderstood simply by speaking as I do around the people that know me. My non-virtual friends and family occasionally forgive me, but more important, they always know where I’m coming from.

I love the idea of streamlining communications between my friends and family but I don’t know what it means to have 100s of ‘friends’ where I have no clue who they are. I’m sure it makes sense if you’re Tim O’Reilly but not for me. My understanding is that many of these public people have the equivalent of an unlisted number or a fake name for hotel registering and have ‘private’ Facebook and Twitter accounts they use for their personal life. That sounds like a lot of work to me but it may come to that.

OT: The Assault on Van Jones

I thought I have become inured to the debasement of dialog in American politics. In a brilliant analysis of these times , a Metafilter user said “the point is to flood the political discourse with stupidity” and indeed, there can be no doubt that American really is in the midst of a decades long culture war with itself where one side is continuously appealing to worst in us.

I’ve been working really hard and not sleeping well for the last few weeks so it’s possible I’m a little more vulnerable then when I’m taking better care of myself, but I’m surprised by how upset and disheartened I am today at the groundswell of attacks and calls for resignation of Van Jones – here’s a nicer article indicating the White House seems to be backing away from Van.

I consider it a huge privilege to be a friend of Van. He has been an invaluable inspiration to me and both my kids. We were honored when he mentored my younger son during the school application process. I don’t think I know a better person and it crushes me to think what’s about to happen to him – vilification, embarrassment, scape-goating – a media tar and feather circus. Fuck.

The White House is going to, if not already, pull him aside and point out that he is, or soon will be, a “political liability” – making it difficult to run smaller campaigns for House seats and governorships because the all-stupid-all-the-time side will wave some bullshit around about he thinks 911 was a Bush plot and Stalin is his hero and therefore Obama is going to ____ (fill the blank with stupid “evil” shit).

What a waste. This guy is so brilliant, his solutions for saving the Earth and inner cities at the same are so simple, so holistic, so correct and we’re going to throw him away because Glenn Beck has a bug up his butt. Yes, this is a Glenn Beck hack job. Why? Because a group Van founded, ColorOfChange has been calling for a Beck boycott.

So Beck wins, Jones and everybody you know loses. Congratulations everybody. Proud to be an American today.

Wheels of Civilization

There was a crooked man...If you ever want to see Western civilization with all the lights on and wheels cranked up full throttle then here are the steps to make that happen:

1. Be white.
2. Be middle aged. (Thin hair, lots of white helps.)
3. Have health insurance.
4. Walk into a hospital emergency room.
5. Point to the middle of your chest and say “This hurts.”

Wow, things happen at that point. All kinds of technology and expertise gets thrown at you. Note the JPEG x-rays (those are EKG pads, not my nipples and that crooked line running down the middle is my scoliosis-ridden spine.) My family has all kinds of history of heart problems (as in: every single male) so this day was bound to come, it was 100% expected.

Only, it was a false alarm. Turns out to be inflammation on the rib cage; two Advils with a glass of milk and that was that. Ah well, that particular drama will have to wait — for now it’s back to virtual flame wars with adolescently-arrested bullies and evil record companies.

Fruity Gone Batty

For the most part, a programmer who is good at algorithmic back-ends can’t be trusted with user interface. There are fantastic examples of exceptions, where there is an overall aesthetic that permeates the programmer’s approach to both coding and interface.

Unfortunately, FL Studio is not one of those exceptions. The back end stuff is as good as it gets: hosting all plugins, overall stability and clean mixer output. This, plus an unbeatable pricing model (lifetime upgrades for free) made it somewhat more palatable to overlook the painful, unusable, un-standard, ever-changing-without-a-direction user interface. Of course, this will incur the wrath of the cult-like following the overtly arrogant makers of FL have gathered over the years. (I finally had enough and dropped using FL completely after the rewrite of the Ableton rendering engine in version 7.)

I’m not generally bothered by a little arrogance. If the folks at Image-Line didn’t have at least a little arrogance they never would have conceived of Fruity Loops or continued it’s growth over the years; in a crowed field such as music software, you have to think you have a better way of doing it than everybody else. But theirs is a somewhat special brand that always struck me as an object lesson in humility that went something like “just because you had 3 good ideas in a row, doesn’t mean you’re next 7 won’t suck.”

It started when Deadmau5, a “big” recording artist I guess, noticed that someone else had released a song on iTunes, for sale, that sounded almost exactly like some tracks he had licensed to Image-Line to include in FL Studio. The tracks were marked as ‘demo’ but, you know, it shipped with FL Studio so, you know, you can use ‘em.

Or not.

Turns out that was never part of the deal according to Deadmau5 and he’s holding Image-Line responsible and everybody’s pissing over themselves and copyright and looping and sampling and ain’t life grand.

As Peter over at CDM is reporting the Image-Line folks are now saying “We’ll remove all melodic loops from FL Studio to avoid this kind of stuff in the future…”

To say that none of this was thought through with a modicum of intelligence is an insult to modicums. According to this logic there are two paths: Including all rights reserved samples in FL studio OR remove all “melodic loops” all together.

I can’t begin to parse the lameness running throughout this. I’m pretty immersed in copyright/copyfight stuff and there’s a world of esoteric stuff that makes my eyes glaze over when serious CC or GPL people start yammering away. But how ignorant of artists’ rights issues do you have to be to come to any of these conclusions. And how arrogant do you have to be to flaunt it.

Any wonder I’m on Ableton.