Making music

I’ve been playing around with music again. For my birthday, I ordered Teenage Engineering’s Factory OP-16 synth, which has been fun to tinker with. Here’s a quick series of patterns I slammed together into a track on it:

I’ve been trying to get it to play nicely with my Kaossilator 2, but they don’t sync, so it’s all upon my impeccable timing to get them totally aligned, which is a little difficult. In addition to this little bit of tinkering fun, a few weeks back, some coworkers and myself rented out some studio space and jammed for 3 hours. It was so much fun, we’re doing it again this Thursday night. I went and got a short in my guitar fixed today at Guitar Center and also got it restrung. The guy working on it was like “ooooh, this is a 78? Nice.” Sometimes I forget I have a really nice, somewhat rare guitar. I was looking at amps, because I need a new one, and walking around and suddenly I heard *my guitar*. I was sort of surprised that I recognized it’s tone across the way once the tech fixed it, but I totally did. Anyway, fun stuff.

Posted in Music, Personal | Comments Off

TUAW and Engadget #tuaw4ever

The saddest news about Aol. shutting down TUAW today is that TUAW has finally lost the battle against Engadget.

Don’t get me wrong. Engadget is great. Weblogs, Inc. was built upon the success of Engadget. Engadget was a blogging machine built by Brian Alvey, Jason Calacanis, and Peter Rojas after Jason successfully persuaded Peter to jump ship from Gizmodo and build a better Gizmodo. The audience followed Peter’s star power as an established gadget and technology blogger, Engadget started out-scooping Gizmodo, and it was a success. Weblogs, Inc was a machine of blogs built to feed off and grow the traffic that was contained by Engadget. Engadget linking to all the other sites legitimized those sites in Google’s eyes at the time and those sites all linking back to Engadget made Engadget even more relevant to Google and it started regularly beating Gizmodo and other tech sites in searches for keywords. “Sony released a new Vaio, let me research buying it before I go to Circuit City and pick it up.” User goes to Google, searches for “new Sony Vaio” and Engadget started becoming the first result. That structure, combined with a pack of some of the hardest working people I’ve ever known, is a very brief summary of what made Weblogs, Inc a success and an acquisition target in AOL’s eyes.

TUAW (and Joystiq, in a different way) was different. It was a site that at any moment could become irrelevant and absorbed into Engadget because it was another tech blog and a percentage of its posts were duplicative of posts on Engadget. However, (like Joystiq), TUAW was differentiated by a separate audience. A fanatical audience. People who liked to not think differently, but to think different. It was also not a professional blogging machine. It wasn’t just another tech blog. It was attitude. It was it’s own voice.

It was also farm league for Engadget. Barb was leaving TUAW in 2005 and on her way out, Jason, Judith, and Barb brought me in. As all of you know who know me: I am all attitude. I am opinionated. I am blunt. I am also playful. And so was TUAW. We weren’t chasing the pro-blogger thing. We were the other, slightly less loved kid, who often acted out.

That was unique. That’s what Aol. is killing today. #tuaw4ever

At least that’s my take. Take it for what it’s worth.

Posted in Blogging, Tech, web two point oh | Comments Off

Ditched my Cintiq Companion and upgraded my Surface Pro 3

So yesterday, I went to the Microsoft Store at the Domain, and traded in my just under a month old i5 128GB Surface Pro 3 for the top of the line i7 500GB model. I did this with funds I made from selling my Cintiq Companion this past week on Amazon Marketplace for ~$78 more net profit than I originally paid for it (thanks to getting it this summer when Wacom was running a summer ~$500 off sale + Cintiq Companion’s being hard to come by currently while everyone awaits the release of the newly announced Cintiq Companion 2). Aside: If you want to sell old gear fast at reasonable prices, you should really investigate using Amazon. Everything I’ve listed there has sold at asking price in under a week. This time it was just 2 days. The process of setting up the new computer has been rather seamless. I had to transfer some files that I hadn’t already backed up to OneDrive while in the store, but once I got home, all I had to do was reinstall the apps that I hadn’t purchased via the Microsoft Store. Everything else was already syncing automagically via OneDrive.

So the reason for all this, besides having a separate personal machine from my work machine, which has been great, is because for all the things I’m really interested in doing right now, like working on Bosh and Bill and crafting children’s books with Jackson, the Surface is great. Not only that, but as a digital drawing device, it’s good enough to get the job done and to help me not obsess about everything being perfect. I need to become more fluid in my cartooning and relax. 256 levels of pressure is better for that than the 2K+ of the Cintiq Companion. That being said, I totally will eventually want a Companion 2 when they come out, as the screen resolution increase + the ability to use it just as a Cintiq when attached to another computer are both really cool and I do *love* Cintiqs. But that doesn’t change the fact that I need to be doing more doodling on actual paper and quick digital cleanup work rather than obsessing over the tech and the Surface is right-sized for me doodling more everywhere digitally.

Also, the difference in price between the Surface Pro 3 upgrade and the money I made from selling my Companion results in some extra money to go towards a nice large format scanner and some non-digital art supplies.

Added bonus: I no longer feel cramped on my Surface in terms of hard drive space, so I’m actually free to move more of my photos to my OneDrive archive via Lightroom than I had to date. I’ll eventually be able to stop carrying around the 2TB Seagate drive I’ve been using for keeping my photo library portable, and rely on a combination of OneDrive, plus the internal drive on this Surface, with the Seagate becoming a true external backup solution rather than a “my hard drive isn’t big enough solution.”

Aside from all this, I’m working on a big blog post about software development and engineering that I think many of you may like once I actually finish it./

Posted in Art, Cintiq Companion, comics, doodling, Gadgets, My Gear, Personal, sketching, Surface Pro 3 | Comments Off

No more advertisements

I’ve had advertisements on this site forever. I just removed them. There’s no point. In any case, if you like the things I tend to write and do and you want to motivate me to keep doing these things / do them more often, I set up a Patreon page where you can become a patron.

Although, I must say, although I like the idea behind Patreon, I don’t like the execution much. It’s very inflexible. Why can’t I set up different types of patronage for different endeavors at different price points? Why is everything either recurring by month or recurring by thing created? Why is there no one-time tip jar option? Why is there no commission option? Why is the wizard to create your page soooo annoying that it makes me want to create my own version of Patreon in competition to it?

Posted in Art, Blogging, Online Media, Startup | Comments Off

42

As I tweeted earlier today, I’m now the answer to life, the universe, and everything years old.

Kristin asked me if I felt older on the way to church this morning, and my reply was, “I feel like I’m learning new things recently.” This is my first birthday without a dad and it’s about 6 months since he passed. I was struck oddly today by the lack of him calling me up to sing the silly penny song that he’s sung to me every birthday that I can remember (counting pennies you receive for each year behind you). But beyond that small sadness, I’ve been examining my life in detail since he’s passed.

It’s been intense.

Most of my friends who have lost parents say that this period lasts for at least a year and that it is especially intense if you have kids, because you’re forced to come to terms with the fact that you had a parent, you’re a parent, and you’re mortal just like that parent, and your kid(s) is(are) eventually going to be going through everything you’re currently going through when you pass. Then there’s another layer to that where I realize, much more profoundly than I ever have before, that my dad was just a man, just like me, and just like everybody else. We’re all individuals, but we’re also all the same. We’re all just trying to figure life out and are attempting to do the best we can.

It sounds simple, but it’s been mind-blowing for me.

There are no rules. There are only consequences.

And when I say there are consequences, they are legion and often unpredictable. Out of those consequences we actually understand, we construct the rules we will follow.

I’m starting to realize that there’s no reason for me to follow some of the rules I’ve always had. I don’t have to hold myself always accountable and responsible for everything around me and for all the mistakes and decisions of those who I feel are part of my life. That’s not my responsibility. Again, it sounds simple, but that realization has lifted a weight from me and been exceptionally freeing, and has given me more grace when dealing with others’ decisions.

It’s also allowed me to start pursuing things that I never really allowed myself to pursue in the past. I’ve been making time for C.K. again. Instead of being some distancing thing, it’s been great and made me want to do more with others; especially when I see how interested Jackson is in participating in these creative things with me.

It’s amazing how, in life, you can always learn more and grow. I feel like such a kid.

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