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A Flower for My Friend

by Tobias on December 9, 2011

A Flower for My Friend

A Flower for My Friend

This tree thinks it’s spring,

With bright purple flowers,

Knows not of this thing,

We tend to call hours.

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In Memory of J.D. Falk

by Tobias on December 6, 2011

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J.D., well known for his fight against spam & friends to many, left us recently. (MAAWG has through memorial page for him here. Friends and family have a dedicated page as well.)

At his memorial this past Saturday I took a moment to voice my thoughts. Here is what I had to say:

I wish…
I wish I had known JD better; we were always just acquaintances. I wish I had known he was sick; I would have done anything to help in anyway I could. I wish I could have experienced more of his glowing smiles that emanated from the depths within him and emanated throughout his entire self. I wish…

But alas, wishes are the seeds I throw into the soil with intense dreams of trees growing fruit, but I know full well that they are only dreams painted by a wistful mind. Instead, I think it is important to focus on the seeds that did grow trees & bore fruit.

My sporadic interactions with JD were always wonderfully sweet fruit of experiences plucked and enjoyed from his tree of Life. When I would sit down idly to perhaps say hello or catch up, we would pluck that fruit, I would peel back the skin, split it in half to share, and look at it in amazement; The fruit of experience with JD were always glowing. It radiated the light of happiness from the center all the way to the skin.

I will always remember those fruit from JD’s tree of life in celebration. We may not be able to hold any in our hands, feel it, or see that light with our eyes any longer, but the sweetness shall forever live on in our memories.

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Kimba & T.bias

I rarely publish the lyrics to songs I write, but have decided to start looking back at a few. In this post I am going to let you in on the song “Lilacs” which I wrote for “Electric Ballroom“, the Specimen album released in 2007.

Get the song or the entire album on iTunes or…
Original Demo & Full Song Download After the Break.

Before you read the lyrics, make sure you have heard the song first. I vehemently insist that the words used behind a voice on a song is dependent on the combination of words and music. Sometimes the way a word, or set of words, lay upon the notes is poetry itself – regardless of what that word is. It can be the way lips and tongue lick your ears that can make the lyrics profound rather than their literal (or metaphorical, of course) meaning.

I used to pride myself in never writing the emotionally promiscuous and easily tapped Break Up Song™. As it happened, I went through a rather rough break-up just as I was beginning the process of writing songs for the album. There was almost no way of avoiding the topic that was consuming my brain at the time, so I gave in. “Lilacs” is completely, from head to toe, a Break Up Song™ and I am proud of it.

Continue on to the song download and lyrics…

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Local Seattle Feast

by Tobias on April 19, 2011

Truffle Gnocchi

I had some friends in from out of town which I find to be the perfect excuse to make a delicious dinner using all of the wondrous ingredients that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

I started with Kale stew I made last week; stews get so much better with a little rest. Full of red kale, red greens, black eye peas, celery root cubes, turnip cubes, tomato paste, mirepoix, veg stock, some mushrooms, and…well, probably other stuff I’m forgetting.

Then, insalata caprese. I used fresh cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, both from my favourite produce stand in Pike Market (Sosio’s), fresh mozzarella (made that morning) and some good french olive oil mixed with a nip of lemon juice.

The main corse was a fresh morel mushroom (again, from Sosio’s) gnocchi in a white vermouth cream sauce with black truffles served with baked purple baby carrots with ramps (I have never cooked ramps, but now I’m hooked!).

For desert I made a glass cub of coconut sorbet with shaved mexican chocolate and ginger syrup on top of fresh blueberries and cream.

To finish, I served up the stinkiest cheese I could find. A wonderful, gooey, and creamy cheese with an orange tinted rind who’s stink was met with a spicy bite and lingered for near 15 minutes after a nibble. (I made sure to end with the cheese due to the linger on the palate.)

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Kryptos Clue Released

by Tobias on November 20, 2010

Today The New York Times published an interview with Jim Sanborn revealing a hint to help unlock the fourth and only onsolved portion of Kryptos on the 20th anniversary of the instalation.

Kryptos

Kryptos

Kryptos, for those not in The Know, is a wonderful art piece commitioned for the CIA headquarters. Jim is an artist, not a crytpographer, so he was advised on how codes are made. Even the person who mentored his cryptography has been unable to decode the full piece.

Although Jim is best known for this piece, his work spans an amazing gaumet. His current project, which my dear friends Jon Singer and Doug Humphrey of Joss, Inc. helped with, is a remake of the first man made nuclear reaction:

“His next exhibit Terrestrial Physics, is scheduled to be displayed in June 2010 as part of Denver, Colorado‘s Biennial of the Americas. It will include a sculpture that is able to generate a 1 million volt potential difference. Utilizing a recreated Van de Graaff generator, Sanborn will have created a fully functional particle accelerator capable of creating nuclear fission.” – Wikipedia

Jae Ko: Paper Artwork

Jae Ko: Paper Artwork

Aside from being a great artist, he is also a great guy with a loving wife of amazing talent. Jae Ko holds her own rite as an amazing paper artist. You can see some pictures of her amazing artwork on the Walker Contemporary website.

I will have my ear on the ground as this pans out. Sadly, this event has meant that I am not hanging out and gutting fish on their little island…

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Subject:  “iLok is a Detriment to Your Business”

Dear AudioEase,

I am in the process of re-installing Speakerphone after receiving an email from one of your support staff.  I am writing this email as a separate aside about your copy protection method.  I am a devout user of Speakerphone and intend to be a faithful customer.

That being said, I absolutely feel that your copy protection system, especially your reliance on iLok, is detrimental to your business.

I make software.  My father has been making software since the 60s.  Most of my friends obtain their livelihoods from selling software.  I consider the ownership of software to be integral to the economy of software companies and all those involved in the market.  Just as musicians must retain the copyright to their music, software producers must retain their ownership and ability to make money from their hard work.

We all know that pirates threaten all software developers.  This is an issue that haunts all developers at every level.  As a software development company, you are required to take the measures necessary to make sure that users purchase your product instead of stealing it.  This is not only understandable, but a requirement of your business model.

That being said, I am a paying customer.  As a customer, I provide you with money in exchange for your product.  I happen to own a laptop and a desktop.  I feel I should be able to run your software on either machine (one could argue about needing another license to do this, but it is my belief that I am a single user and won’t be stealing from you in order to run your software on both machines).  On top of this, I feel that upgrading my machine, for example, should not require me to jump through flaming hoops to retain your copy protection.

You implemented a “call & response” mechanism to allow me to authorize Speakerphone on my computer.  Fair enough.  What I don’t find to be fair, on the other hand, is that I can’t install it on any other machines.  I feel it would be reasonable to allow each user to install a minimum of two machines, if not 3-5.  This seems fair to me, as an end user.  I make a point to send you my hard earned money to support the development of your ground breaking and essential plugins.  I fully support your development and hard work.

Last time I recovered from a hard drive failure, my authorization did not transfer.  Of course, I only found this out when I was in the middle of a late night session – the worst time possible to have a failure, let alone a failure that should never have happened.  Since I had recovered from a dead hard drive, I had no copy of Speakerphone to “de-authorize”.

I have now run into at very least three separate and, in my opinion, completely avoidable cases like this.  Each time it eats away at my customer loyalty.

In addition, each time the response has always been the same refrain: Get an iLok.

I find this approach to be borderline offensive.  I am your customer.  I have paid you money for a product, but now you are telling me that I must jump through yet another flaming hoop?  To make matters worse, iLok is, essentially, a USB dongle which are inexpensive to produce these days with GIGS of storage, but is somehow limited to 100 licenses.  On top of that, empty USB slots on any of my machines are more than spoken for.  I have real peripherals that actually need to communicate over the USB bus.  The iLok, on the other hand, feels like an unnecessary velvet rope act that says, “It’s ok, he’s with me.”  This feel archaic at best.

It is my firm belief that your business would flurish if you abandoned the iLok system entirely.  I would highly recomend that you either issue 2 computers per license, or merely do what all of my other non-audio software does: If you purchase the software, enter a valid serial number, perhaps go online and verify that it isn’t one of the hacked serial numbers, then I can instal it on as many computers as I like.

My day job is as a graphic and user interaction designer.  My fully legitimate copy of Adobe’s Master Suite Collection requires no dongle (~$2600 software).  Final Cut Pro doesn’t need a dongle.  Even Digital Performer, who is ostensibly in the same arena as yourselves, does not require a dongle.  I have yet to be in an office setting where a plugin or any software has required a proprietary dongle.

I understand that you must fight the pirates and the “would be customers” who instead steal software such as this, but in your battle you have been shooting down legitimate customers in your crusade.

Yes, the iLok is a bit of a “standard” in the audio world, but that should never be something to hide behind.  It might strengthen PACE’s monopoly, but it emphatically does not strengthen your marketing position.

Speakerphone especially will suffer from this.  My brother is an editor at PIXAR.  The would likely be more than happy to purchase him a copy of Speakerphone for him to quickly simulate environments, but the minute they discover he would require a dongle to run the software on his laptop and his workhorse desktop, they would quickly turn around and dismiss the idea.

It saddens me that one of the few plugins that I absolutely respect, promote, adore and use in nearly all of my recordings uses a copy protection method that has driven me to such distress that I felt I needed to write this email.

I have taken some gilded time away from my project at hand to write this email to your company.  I am not attempting to insight or fan any flames; I want AudioEase to produce the best software that I feel is worth every penny.  Sadly, I feel that your copy protection greatly diminishes the overall experience and usefulness of your hard work.

I implore you to reconsider your copy protection management for the sake of customer satisfaction.

From a loyal, but disheartened customer,
Tobias

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I am working on a book of my Bioflash images. I am using a Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 point’n’shoot camera in a method it was not intended.

More details to come, but in the meantime check out a few previews:

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Picture accidentally taken while phone was in my shirt pocket. Their expression & the hand says it all.

Yesterday I was walking around the Rivertown Revival festival with my iPhone in my shirt pocket. I didnt realize that Hipstamatic was running and that my body was accidentally hitting the shutter button.

I think their expression and the hand reaching over to catch their jaw says it all.

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SRL Live at Riverton Revival, Petaluma, CA

SRL (Survival Research Laboratories) will be performing Saturday, July 24th, 2010 at the Rivertown Revival in Petaluma, CA. You can find details on the SRL event page and the full schedule on the Rivertown Revival schedule page.

This will be the first performance that SRL has done since the move from San Francisco to the new location in Petaluma.  Both the Running Machine and Big Arm will be making a grinding appearance along with some other surprises.

SRL have posted some pre-show images & some pre-show videos to wet our appetites.

For those who can not make it, Ustream will be streaming the event live here:

Ustream.com Livecast: SRL at the Petaluma Rivertown Revival

If you are looking for direction, Rivertown Revival has provided a nice hand drawn map and a page for directions.

Rivertown Revival Map

Continue below for a Google Map of the location.

Keep reading for more details…

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How to type an ellipsis (…) on the iPhone. Why didn't I know about this sooner?

If you aren’t familiar with the three little dots and the fact that they are a type character in their own rite, then I recommend checking out the very informative Wikipedia entry.



ἔλλειψις

Hold down the period button until the secondary keys appear.

You can even do this while the keyboard is in alphabet mode. Just hold down the numbers key, don’t let go, drag onto the period, wait until the alternates appear, drag onto the ellipsis and let go. Bingo! You are right back to the alpha keyboard.

(After testing, it seems the dragging to/from both keyboard sets works only in certain settings. It definitely works if you click into the number layout and then drag and release.)

I love ellipses…

“Three little points of suspension…”

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