Derps Crack In The Face Of Nonsense

Derp. FoxNews having to report on the Trump administration’s war on logic, and the press that attempts to determine it.

I expect you won’t see that dude on Fox for very much longer. I bet they are hiring his replacement right now.

Crazy times, folks. Educate yourself and protect your family from the trumpiness of what the insane 27% of voters have done to us.

 

Movie Lovers Coalesce The Vapors Around Streaming

It’s not just music lovers realizing that streaming has a long way to go to match physical media.

Film lovers see the same issues:  degraded quality, no extras, no ownership, unknown/ temporary access.

We give up a lot for the convenience of streaming.  #SaveTheAudio ?  #SaveTheVideo


TrumpTV, not President Trump

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Don’s mad he makes ratings with no slice of revenue.

 

Don John will drop out, call the election rigged, and launch his own TV network.

I’ve been posting this for months on various comment boards, and with my prediction record for Trump at about 15-1 I’m feeling good about this one.

 

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All retard all day

 

What will be on TrumpTV?  I’m sure there will be plenty of commercials for Trump products — cufflinks, steaks, board games, wine, ties, modeling schools, get rich seminars, penis enlargement, women’s shoes, etc..

There will also be many commercials for Trump University (since renamed) and plenty of shots of his properties. Wrestlers leg syndrome. Apple Pie in Golden Pans!

Placebo syndrome.

I expect some sort of news element, outdoing Fox News with more sexism, more sex, and more utterly retarded points of view.

Naked News?

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Doing a followup!


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What a collection of idiots. The yellow dress is his campaign’s african-american. He’s big with the mexicans too. Geraldo serves him Taco Bowls once a year.

 

Rumors are circulating that he could buy Oprah’s struggling network, or some other existing media company and just do what he always does – rebrand.

See, Don hasn’t built anything from scratch since the 80’s unless it’s a pyramid scheme or infomercial.

The new TRUMPTV™ might even have it’s own version of The Apprentice, regardless if NBC sues. Don doesn’t mind being sued, or suing. This man has 3500 active lawsuits!

 

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Bring it NBC! I invented the apprentice, I can prove it with 35 lawyers and endless free nights at my resorts.

 

 

The scary man with the short fingers does not want to be president. No 70 year old billionaire should want to be president.

Prez is alot of hard work and compromise and representing all of america, not just the parts you agree with.

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Everything here is fabulous. I put my name on it now it’s fabulous. Pay no attention to my child-like hands.

 

 


Update – here’s Penn Jillette talking about Donald and his reality show:

 

http://www.businessinsider.com/penn-jillette-reveals-what-it-was-like-to-work-with-donald-trump-2016-8

Team Eye vs. Team Ear Part 1 – TV Sets Through History

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Recording allows us to store and replay something. It is the first time-shifting. It’s been around for ~ 200 years but it wasn’t until the last 100 that they really started making tangible progress for commercial applications.

Images were first. Then sound. Then moving images. By 1930 they were all combined into “talkies” – narrative moving pictures with synced sound.

These independent technologies progressed through the 20th century: Phonograph was invented and perfected to bring recorded music into the home; TV was invented to bring moving pictures into the home. The march of progress was obvious. Each new era brought better tech with better specs.

Today we are going to look at the advancement of the TV set over 70 years.


 

[infogram id=”aHKoRm07UAUDaUs5″ prefix=”Yry” format=”interactive” title=”TV Set Historical Averages”]


You can see that overall screen size has risen linearly while pixel size has grown exponentially. Weight has come down and price, after adjusted for inflation, has come way down.

How do you think TV set history will compare with music playing equipment? Stay tuned to this series to find out.


 

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Ignoring Pussy

Made you click!

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Donny just called Teddy a P-U-S-S-Y because he doesn’t torture enough.

On mic, in front of a podium. Called that man a pussy. For not torturing enough.

Like Donny always does, he hid behind barely-plausible deniability. He led the crowd to the word then paused. A woman in the crowd shouted it out and well donny wanted us all to hear it, her word not his, that Ted Cruz is a pussy. He even mouthed the word, the crowd cheered, then started chanting the word.

But this isn’t the real story. We all know Trump’s schtick and crowd is pro wrestling trash. He’s the heel.

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The entire media, particularly the conservative media, is ignoring this!  Drudge – nothing. Fox – nothing. CNN, NBC, HuffPost – nothing. Pro-Trump sites like Breitbart and Lucianne? Crickets.

The candidate just called another candidate a pussy and there’s media silence on it.

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Very strange. Points to conspiracy theory type of stuff. Would it not be good TV ripping this guy apart? Yet they seem bought off. Follow that Trump money I bet it props up some of those TV networks.


Or maybe this country is just in a spot where president bully calls people pussies as part of his communication style.

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Idiocracy is coming sooner than I thought.

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The Danger of Perceptual Coding

Perceptual coding is responsible for data loss that is greatly misunderstood and perhaps even dangerous to society.

What is perceptual coding ? It’s a data compression concept used in audio, video, and streaming technologies.

 


 

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ZIP is a lossless compression like FLAC. To permanently reduce media size, MP3 and AAC use perceptual coding to determine importance of data and permanently reduce it.


 

Why does perceptual compression exist? Native media files tend to be large. In the 90’s it was difficult to move these files around because they were too large for the network speed and storage prices of the time. Extreme data compression was needed.

A CD might hold 10 songs at 40mb each for a total of 400mb. How to get that 40mb song file small enough to fit through a dial-up modem and play on the other side in real-time?

The answer was perceptual coding, the trick behind lossy compression. It has been used for decades in voice transmission compression. You have to go inside the audio data and start throwing sound away.

 


 

PerceptualCoding

PerceptualCoding.pdf


 

 

But what sounds can be thrown away? How do you go inside of a mixed piece of music and delete things? And how far can you go before people notice a quality drop?

Perceptual coding can’t do things like delete the 2nd guitar solo or reduce the backing vocals, that can only be done in the mix of the song.

Perceptual coding also can’t make the song acoustic or shorter in length, those can only be done in the mixing stage.

What perceptual coding does do is analyze the sounds in the song and prioritize them. The programmers determined which sounds are more important on the scale.

First it locates the lead sounds – the main instruments/voices in the material.

There might be 5 primary sound makers in your song, let’s say drums, bass, guitar, keys, and voice. Perceptual coding manages to quarantine those and only removes small amounts of their identifying data.

This allows a listener to quickly ID the melody, the lyric, the artist, and the song since these primary elements are only slightly degraded.

 


 

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But you can’t achieve 90% overall data reduction by only slightly degrading the material. Perceptual coding achieves the brunt of it’s loss from outside of the primary sounds.

This includes everything not inside the primary sound including the echoes and delays of the primary sounds. In fact all reverbs, delays and room sounds are attacked and removed. Other things outside the primary sound are timbre characteristics, breaths, string and instrument noise, room shape and activity, and soundstage timing cues. All of this is shorthanded to “the tone” and “the soundstage”.

By masking and/or deleting all kinds of sounds that they believe are unable to be reliably perceived* by listeners they achieve massive size decreases.

*What the smart DSP programmers behind perceptual coding understood is that while people can easily hear this loss in the music, most can’t identify it reliably and consistently using the same terminology, and good luck having any of this come out in the whacked-world of ABX listening tests.

If most can’t identify what is gone, but can identify the song and sing along, the codec is considered a success. And MP3 was and still is a huge success by those metrics.

But listen to Ghost in the MP3 to hear an idea of what perceptual coding takes away from your music.

 


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The destruction of all of the natural movement, transients, and timing cues has a long lasting effect on our music, which has a long lasting effect on our psyche.

The things that perceptual coding deems unnecessary and inaudible are in fact the critical emotional elements of the music.

This amounts to a perceptual loss in all modern music and is the reason behind two trends: 1- robotic voices with fake instruments, and 2- hyper-fast switching of sounds from disparate sources with heavily active pan and audio limiter settings.

When your end result is forced to be artificial and limited in size and range, hip producers know to co-opt the weaknesses and make them strengths. The more artificial and huge you can sound the better.

No point in producing realism when there is none at the distribution.


 

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An approximation of lost data from this image after lossy compression.

Tidal Shows The Ghost In The MP3

This is a good start. Here’s Tidal trying to explain simply why MP3 sounds worse than CD quality. They want $20/month the stream CD-quality to you, so they will strongly market against lossy compression.

How great can music sound? from TIDAL on Vimeo.

 

But it is also a bit misleading because so much music is recorded in 24bit and then down sampled to CD quality. I do believe that 16/44 is officially the start of “high-resolution” these days, because MP3 lowered the bar so much.

16/44 is just the start of high-definition (it is high definition from 1980) and if people are willing to pay $20/month to stream it, I’m all for it. If they ever add a radio to the PonoPlayer I would stream 16/44.

The Tidal proposition – $120/year for random-generated CD-quality music. That’s what you’d pay for 7-10 HD album downloads, not a bad deal.

New Fox News Chyrons

http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/cy420r/hova-s-honor

Turnabout is fair play. They continue to refer to Jay Z as “a former crack dealer” so The Daily Show helps them correct their own guests.

I’d add “war criminal”, “shot his friend in the face”, “can’t spell potato”, “on his 5th wife” and “multiple allegations of money laundering” to the list.

Music Hoarding Future

OK I’m doing some serious internet-style scientific research (aka asking friends) on the future of buying music, discussed in this post. Here’s a few ideas so far on the future of music product packaging:

Idea 1-  The “All of the Above” set — for $40 you buy the release and receive a vinyl record, a CD, and download codes for both HD and MP3 digital files. Nothing new here but it’s a nice spread of the existing formats and gives you redundancy and multiple formats for different locations, loaning out, etc..

Idea 2-  The “21st Century” set — for $30 you buy the release and receive a Blu-Ray disc and also download codes for all of the content. The disc contains the stereo mixes and 5.1 mixes (if available), and plays in a standard BluRay setup. The data portion of the disc contains the HD and MP3 versions of the stereo mix. The download codes are for those without a BluRay drive in their computer. This gives you a new format (5.1) and doesn’t include any vinyl or CD’s. The entire thing can also be sold w/o a disc (dl only) for $20.

Idea 3- The “Sponsor/Crowdfund” system — this isn’t a product per say, but a new twist on an ancient system for funding music. For maybe $100 you become a sponsor/superfan/investor/subscriber for the artist for a period of time, maybe 2 years. In that timeframe you receive a few things: their new musical output for nearly free (maybe just cost of materials and shipping, or free online); free tickets to any of their shows in your region (you will drink alot that night and the venue will make money); some usual fan club stuff like stickers, swag, and behind the scenes stuff, and a more personal relationship with the artist.

An artist would have fans that were invested in their art and it’s output, and the fans just wouldn’t renew if they weren’t feeling the value of that relationship. 10k facebook likes could be 1 million dollars, which would fund many mid-sized artists for 2 years and cover the shipped product, and doing 25 shows around the country has the potential for 400 fans per gig before you even show up.  Those people bring friends, the place is packed, everyone makes some money, and music lives on (and everyone gets laid that night :-)).

Also, because you want them to succeed and make more music for you before your subscription expires, the artist is invigorated by this direct correlation between output and revenue and the fans demand excellence. A really amazing release where the artist pushes farther and better than before would up their capital immediately. Lazy and misguided artists would find their capital dwindling.

 

Each of these have pros and cons but I thought it would be fun to start thinking about such things.

 

Buying Musical Product – What Do You Want?

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So the CD is dead, the mp3 is going nowhere fast, everyone seems to stream or listen to their mp3 libraries, the HD Digital files are just starting to gain traction, and analog records keeps chugging along towards their 100th birthday.

What’s a music lover to do with their money these days? Many that I know go to shows whenever possible, buy vinyl, both new for around $25/LP and used around $2/LP. Many pay Apple, Google, Spotify or whoever to buy or stream an mp3 version. One strange dude I know still goes to BestBuy to buy new CD’s. Indie shops and truck stops still have random cassettes.

I’m getting a first generation Pono Player any day now, so I’ll be soon buying some HD digital albums to expand on the 5-10 I own now. I’ll also be re-ripping some of my favorite CD’s as 16/44 WAV’s to load onto the Pono Player – it’s high-end amp and DAC should make them fresh and new after years of mp3’ing my ears to death.

Figuring out what to buy from the world of music (and sadly, the fraction of it that is available in HD digital) will be tough but I’m all about getting as close to the “album” model of listening – put it on and let it play, in order, with no random access cueing, for 12-20 minutes, with an endless side. Then flip the side and play the rest.

Then’s there’s the issue of storage…. do we want nearly permanent discs of plastic, to be read by either vibrating stylus or laser light, for our precious music? Do we want to own nothing and just rent everything? Somewhere between those two extremes lies the answer.

More to come on this topic soon…

Freedom of Press

Good overview of zings from Obama’s comedy bit at this years Correspondents Dinner, aka “Nerd Prom”, the annual event where the news media and politicians party (in front of the camera) and the media gets roasted.

Youtube has the whole set, along with the headliner Joel from Talk Soup dropping some nasty ones on the crowd (… ‘this is the one night where Hollywood and Washington mingle, but you can easily tell them apart – Hollywood are the ones that don’t look like ghouls. Look around.’)

4k UltraHD Visuals Coming Soon – Where’s The Audio?

TV’s advance in resolution again – HD, 1080p HD, and coming soon 4k UltraHD. This thing can push 2160p to your eyeballs but it’s gonna cost you $5k for the small one, and $6k for the larger.

So this is the what, 3rd major format upgrade for TV in 15 years? Meanwhile we downgraded our audio format in the last couple of decades.

It’s a crying shame that music – which goes anywhere while encouraging activity, concentration, expression, and emotional fulfillment — is completely overlooked in the digital age in favor of again increasing our television performance.

Watching screens generally discourages activity, concentration, expression, and emotional fulfillment.

Shows where our priorities (ahem profits) are.

 

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Why Analog Matters

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In reply to a thread on CNet about Record Store Day, I laid out a long reply to the idea that buying vinyl these days is pointless, especially if the artist records digitally. The poster implied that the CD format was the gold standard and that prompted my reply. It was too long for their system so here’s the whole thing:

The issue with the cd format is not that it’s digital, it’s that it’s 16bit/44k digital. This is not even close to the full analog sound as produced in nature. This number was chosen because it was all the data they could cram through the DAC’s built in the late 1970’s. The “CD format” as you know it is the best digital audio format that computers (actually IC’s) could handle 32 years ago. Anything else a 32 year old computer is “good enough” for these days?

So why do most people think CD is actually the top standard, and that mp3 is “good enough”? Brilliant engineering, understanding commerce, and counting on people’s horrible (and often damaged) ears. Let me explain:

Continue reading

Racist Much?

Black President. Mixed President. Liberal President. Smart President. There goes the neighborhood.

These right wing nutcases manage to cram just about every offensive racial stereotype possible into this actual political ad. This shows an attitude that embarrasses the hell out of me as an american, but usually this stuff is relegated to the private hillbilly media. These people actually put this up on youtube thinking it would help their candidate!

Good luck with that California. Frickin’ insane. If I was the congresswoman in that ad I would run it on my own website, I’d even buy time for it to be put on TV.


 

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Modern Music Consumption

I’ve been thinking about music distribution and consumption alot lately. Being a lifelong music consumer and a music producer for the last 10 years (and then spending some time in FM radio before that), I’ve been in various roles in this industry.

When I read articles covering the front lines of piracy, copyright infringement, royalty disputes, streaming rates, etc. I always try to compare their examples back to my own daily reality.

For instance, I believe that a music consumer faces more choices now than ever before. Before the late 90’s the choice in America was which mall to drive to, park, and run into a record store to find?(or more than likely not find) the release you were seeking. But it was the mall and this was before the internet, so you usually found something else to do (like sculpt your mullet in the mirrored glass of the hot girl store).

Today this process doesn’t involve maps or mullets. The power to search servers literally planet-wide for a song (which is now just a “file” like any other) then decide to pay or not is the critical decision not faced by prior consumers.

Imagine if the store next to the record store in the mall had more new releases, a more in-depth back catalog, more information on the artists (approved and unapproved), and NO cash register? See, in this store everything is free, brought to you by someone who gets paid for every person that looks into the store! Continue reading

The Day I Cut The Cord

I hate TV. I watch too much TV. How much? Anything more than an hour a day equals too much. I can get a weeks worth of sitting around done in one lazy night in front of the the TV. I always said If I just wrote/played music or worked on my other projects instead of watching the boob tube then Hello Productivity!

Plus nowadays, I just turn off the TV to end up on Netflix, Hulu, or watching a DVD for another couple hours. So I’ve finally done something I’ve wanted to do for years — yes, today the man is coming to shut OFF my cable.

It’s called “capping the line” according to my friendly cable company rep, who’s voice dropped to a silent defeat when I told him I want to keep my broadband and get rid of the cable package. He must have known from my cheap package and the tone of my voice that I wasn’t going to be talked out of it.


 

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I think I’ve lived with cable about 29 of the past 30 years so it will be an adjustment for sure. I’ll have to report back after a few months.

But for now, today is the big day, February 2011, goodbye Pawn Stars. Goodbye Top Chef. Goodbye Operacion Repo. Goodbye Sportscenter. Goodbye Daily Show and Colbert. Goodbye Chelsea Lately. Goodbye Tosh.O. Goodbye anything else that I can’t find (or won’t bother to watch) on the internet.

If I can survive this cold-turkey I’ll probably end up with Apple TV and an iPad sharing more media than ever before to every room in my house. But at least it will be things selected by me, and my preferred* ‘promotional messages’ will be selected by me also.

*yeah right

Touching on the Pad

The ipad is gonna be everywhere in 1-2 years. All those people saying “how could I replace my laptop with that” are lying about how much work they do. Most people I know spend at least 75% of their time in front of a computer doing exactly what the ipad is made for – consuming/sorting their media, browsing the web, and reading or composing short text blurbs like IM, email, and internet postings. I personally produce music and develop software – 2 things iPad v1 can’t do. But that doesn’t mean everything else I do with my mac can’t be more conveniently done wherever I want with the pad. And look at iPod/iPhone as a model — you know iPad v3 will add the missing features of earlier models (like a camera, the phone app, hulu, an outlook client, and theater sound to list a few).

Think work. Think any job that doesn’t keep you in a cubicle all day. Think about a private app store for an enterprise, stocking only their approved apps. Think about your work database, your POS system, your customer list, etc. being on a pad being carried around the office or around the neighborhood/route. Ever walk with a laptop or a netbook? It’s the UPS brown-tablet for the rest of us, doing things way more exciting than collecting our signature.

Think about presentations without a $1k projector. Ever pass a laptop around a large room or conference table so everyone can see up close? Yeah right. The pad will be there making laptops look like corded phones. Oh it’s so sensitive looking with that thin screen, better not get too close or lean near it! I love my macbook pro, but clamshells have never been cool unless you are baking them.

Oh yeah phones… yeah, think of all those people grabbing their iphone to do everything. Can’t get that damn thing out of their hands! Yes the pad is like a larger iPhone. Think about that, it’s not an insult. The only real thing hindering the iphone now is screen space. So the iPhone goes back to pocket-mobile only, and the iPad becomes local-mobile. You are not gonna write or browse on an iPhone if an iPad is nearby, but to me crouching in front of a laptop on a table is starting to remind me of getting up to change the channels.

I think security and deployment software will be needed on the iPad, and I’d consider investing in carrying cases, handles, sterile stylus’ and cleaning products. There’s a ways to go, but just like the iPhone, entrepreneurs should lead the way with software and hardware to bring the 21st century to us (finally).

But it will be everywhere, and like the iPhone it will take other companies 2 years to even come close to it. I predict it being a complete lifestyle changer, like the web itself. Remember when people would try to live using the internet only? Same thing for the iPad — it will do so much so easily we won’t ever go back to before it.

Online clicks and traffic — the new radio?

Since commercial radio is another world, almost completely inaccessible to independent artists, has the internet completely replaced it by this point?
Are clicks, views, plays, comments, reviews, and general traffic building online the new version of requests and radio buzz?
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I’m not sure because I don’t have any stats correlating radio plays to record sales in the old days. But I know that it feels as though the mass communication of music is over and we are all searching for that narrow market of people that patronize our art.