Jul 31

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-07-31

  • Warwick Davis' acting as Griphook in the first 15 min of HP7 blew me away more than all the special effects that followed. Olivander, too. #
  • Wishing I didn't have the feeling that I'm riding an iceberg into the Titanic, work-wise. #
  • Working on a longer post about this, but I'm stuck on this idea about why music is declining in popularity among kids and parents. #
  • Watching little kids playing soccer poorly is still entertaining, but listening to music from anyone who's not pretty proficient isn't. #
  • Also, practicing music is often a solo activity at home, whereas sports often are a family activity. #
  • Finally, practicing sports outside gets kids out of stressed parents' hair, practicing music annoys worn-out parents. #
  • I wonder if there is a way for me to set up a soundproofed mobile music-practice unit without appearing to be a child molester. :-\ #
  • The whole 'what music would be acceptable for my little baby to learn' issue can't be ignored either. #
  • I mean, there's not a Rock song I can think of that wouldn't offend *someone*…that sort of being the point of rock-n-roll. 🙂 #
  • Well hello, auto-downloaded pre-order of Ghost Story on my Kindle iPhone app. #
  • Looking at @CoffeeScript JavaScript Pre-Compiler. Used with a Browser-or-web-based IDE and node.js, might enable completely cloud-based dev. #
  • I am inside you, Sweden's Mexico! #
  • Google Automatic Content Delivery Network: http://code.google.com/speed/pss/ #
  • See how much faster your site would run using Google's auto-CDN: http://www.webpagetest.org #
  • Question: If you had the opportunity to get money…a lot of money…from an industry you were uncomfortable with…would you take it? #
  • This release has gone poorly. Perhaps predictably so. At least it's the pre-pre-pre release. #
  • 1st lesson from business school: how to defer tuition. 2nd: shockingly large amounts written on management that I've never seen in practice. #
  • If you have iTunes, it's worth checking out Linkin Park's performance from the iTunes festival in London. Their Adele cover is spectacular. #
  • …and it's free. #
  • Hey @webfaction, thanks for making your host migration guide so solid! #
Jul 25

Why do something unprofessionally?

As I’ve been amping up my study of rock drumming, as well as working harder on my knowledge of recording and other music-and-audio-related stuff, I’ve been thinking a lot about *why*.

Why *study* something that you don’t plan to do professionally? I intentionally wrote “unprofessionally” in the title of this post, because it has interesting double meanings. Unprofessional doesn’t just mean amateur – it fact it has such a negative connotation that most people say ‘hobbist’ or ‘amateur’ instead of unprofessional. Unprofessional has the connotation of bad behavior *by* a professional.

If your hobby is scrapbooking, or gardening, or knitting, or lots of other ‘traditional’ hobbies, then you probably don’t practice. Sports and Music seem to be the main hobbies where practice is expected, *even if you are unprofessional*.

So the question always becomes what are you practicing music *for*? To be a rock star? Unlikely. Just like being a professional athlete, only the tiniest percentage of people who play music will ever become even locally known for doing so. But how many professional scrapbookers do you know? (I know a couple, but they are really professional salespeople).

Are you practicing to play a concert? For an open mic night? Or, as the trend is now, to impress people on YouTube? A lot of folks I know that practice quite a bit practice so that they can perform…at their church services. In fact, I know several people of dubious ‘faith’ that have found church services to be the only real musical outlet the can find.

Why has there been an explosion of Ukelele players of late? Why does Guitar Center stay in business?

If you want to play softball, or soccer, or golf, you can find a league near you.

But if you want to play music; it seems like the diversity of musical styles and the ‘independent’ nature of musicians makes leagues so hard to build as to be impossible.

Is that it, or is there more to it? One can’t ignore that watching little kids play soccer poorly is funny. Watching anyone play music poorly is not. So the specator aspect is very different. Why doesn’t my city have a giant park with band practice spaces in it, just like they have soccer and baseball fields? Is the the noise? The spectator aspect? The popularity? Or just the lack of ‘rules’ such that you can achieve a critical mass of people to all do something in an organized way?

It’s pretty weird.

So the question is, why do people still play music? I think one has to develop an appreciation of practice *as* the hobby, which is a bit odd compared to other hobbies. I mean, I may go to the driving range to play golf, but after that, *I go play golf*. But I can enjoy playing drums and guitar just fine without ever playing a concert or in front of other people at all. I record myself mostly as an exercise in learning how recording works, and as a way to analyze my playing.

But there is an element of music…playing with other musicians…that is where the magic really happens, and just ‘practicing’ all the time doesn’t really give you that. I think the Rock Band video game actually gives you a taste of that…better than just playing alone in your basement. It’s not the same as jamming, but at least you can feel how your part contributes to the whole, and what the song lacks if you screw up.

I hate to say it, but I think the key problem with playing musical instruments is that the barrier of ‘good enough’ is way too high. I can play baseball and enjoy myself even the first day I learn how…but perfecting my throwing, catching, and hitting can bring greater enjoyment.

Instruments like the guitar take a long time to even play comfortably, much less play well.

And there is the issue of what you are comparing it to. When you play baseball with your peers, they likely play fairly close to the same level as you do, so you can enjoy the game at the same level…but with music, every song is like learning a brand new game. (Once you have a lot of experience, each song becomes a little easier). If you are a slow runner, chances are the guy on first base is poor at catching the ball. So everyone being bad at the game works in favor of the experience. But for music, it’s the opposite. If anyone is bad, it makes it harder for everyone else.

So what to do? People love music, and games like Rock Band have proven it.

Here’s my blasphemy: I think we need easier instruments. There is no way to ease into most instruments. There’s been a lot of progress with keyboards that light up under your finger and such, but those don’t really help you in a jam situation on a song you are creating.

I think the Fretlight Guitar is one step forward, but you still have to physically master the guitar, which isn’t easy.

I’m sure many of you who have lept the hurdle of playing a ‘real’ instrument are pshawing me. But look at what kids attention is competing with – games that teach them how to do things step by step. Instruments need to evolve. They can, and have (iPad instruments are amazing), but what is missing is that leaping point from being able to play along to your favorite song, to jamming…and somehow moving toward achieving ever-increasing proficiency.

I hope the future gives us more fun ways to be able to bring music back up to something that everyone can enjoy, and not just something that people tackle as a challenge, or practice ‘as it’s own reward’…

Jul 24

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-07-24

  • The simple metal card scraper, properly sharpened, is the most generically useful and under-utilized woodworking tool. #
  • And here's how to sharpen card scrapers: http://bit.ly/n5yCJN #
  • "Even excellent students cheat, in order to ensure a perfect grade": http://bit.ly/pJM2UB #
  • Local RPG Writer Scott Lininger is publishing his well-loved Children of Fire RPG in full color, thanks to Kickstarter! http://t.co/7s0hO9y #
  • Web Development Software Trends: http://trends.builtwith.com/ #
  • Pro Tip: If your goal is podcast subscriptions, a good starting point is having a "subscribe" button on your podcast page. #
  • My woodworking router decided not stop turning on this weekend. But @boschtools is shipping me a new power switch for free! #
  • Leverage is definitely a lot darker this season… #
  • I think my favorite part of the @wtfawd podcast is the hilarious pictures that @brantsteen chooses to represent the show topics. #
  • The wood shop has been taken apart, shop-vac'd and mostly put back together again. First deep clean in 4 years… #
  • Hey @Tablesaw, nice to hear you again in The Podgecast episode 148!!! #
  • If you are looking for me on Google+, I am here: http://gplus.to/timlwhite #
  • Syncopated drum grooves, I will master you!!!!! #HopefullyBeforeMyTeacherGetsHere #
  • Cool! @splickit looks like a solid implentation of my quick food customized ordering desires and dreams! #
  • Cool! @splickit looks like a solid implemtation of my quick food customized ordering desires and dreams! #
  • Here's the next thing I'd like to do, but won't be able to in my "spare" time: a Chrome-based developer platform with McGonigal extensions. #
  • Pro Tip: Combining Github Mac Git Client, Git commmand line, Aptana Git commands, and Dropbox syncing on the same set of files…BOOM. #
  • Unsurprisingly perhaps, the day *after* I catch up on all my podcasts is the day of the 45-min-still-not-halfway-to-work I-70 carmgeddon. #
  • Wow – turns out there are already a lot more web-based programming IDEs than I thought: http://bit.ly/d8V0jW #
  • G+ has spoiled me. I need a "mute topic" for email. #
  • It's annoying how many Python build management tools handle names with spaces in them so poorly. Is this 1975? #
  • The 1801 California building in Downtown Denver is now naked of all of the former logo signs of the company who illuminated the nightlife. #
  • I honestly don't think I can watch ST:TNG episodes with Yar without losing enamel from my teeth. #
  • I would be interesting to hear the LOTRO tale as if in an MMO. "Frodo, first you must kill 20 wolves and bring me back their hides…." #
Jul 17

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-07-17

  • Wallet hurting so much. Lightning fixes, tires, brakes, college, mortgage refi, drumheads, DjangoCon airline tix…when it rains it pours! #
  • Watch @CaptSpectacular 's model rocket embed itself in his grandparents' roof – from the rocket's perspective! http://bit.ly/r9ucVC #
  • Note that that rocket video I just posted is available in HD if you select the setting for it in YouTube – it's much cooler in HD. #
  • RT @bafadam: For public record: I realize the economic danger. It is okay to raise my taxes to pay off debts. -Signed @timlwhite #
  • This day just gets more and more interesting, financially. :/ #
  • In case you ever think you should believe Zillow's estimate on your home's value – ours was over 15% low; which is a BIG deal when you refi. #
  • More rocket POV HD Video (from the other grandparents' house this time): http://youtu.be/fzXPKtSGcTs?hd=1 #
  • Hear @CaptSpectacular have a real-life unfaked Double Rainbow freakout: http://youtu.be/MiK5RWJCMXM #
  • Just noticed two guys in the building across from me setting up a video camera that is pointed right at my window. http://flic.kr/p/a3b6DQ #
  • Microsoft Office Communicator is randomly forcing my work PC to reboot a 30 min process. On a day I didn't bring the MacBook to work. #
  • Microsoft Office Communicator is randomly forcing my work PC to reboot – a 30 min process. On a day I didn't bring the MacBook to work. #
  • Go USA women! Show the world we're not too proud to let our women win two World Cups when the men have zero. 😛 #
  • Hanging out at @tokyojoes eating sushi with @CaptSpectacular and trying not to think too much about work. 🙂 #
  • Wisdom of the day: "what makes playing catch exciting is the adrenaline rush of wondering when you will get hit in the junk with the ball." #
  • You can watch and laugh at me, er I mean laugh at my Ignite Denver Presentation now! http://bit.ly/oJxwav #
  • I think @Kim_Stone is addicted to @pinterest . #
  • The color of the ceiling of the outer lobby of my building is a gorgeous deep azure that my hone camera would never convey. #littlethings #
  • Via @doycet : "Belief in Evolution vs. National Wealth": http://bit.ly/oSFFCh #
  • My new sounds: BongoCajonFirstRun on #SoundCloud http://snd.sc/mXgDeL #
  • I made a little bongo cajon today as my first woodworking project to warm up the wood shop again. http://flic.kr/p/a4jqzG #
Jul 10

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-07-10

  • I had already launched and lost rockets as of 9AM this morning. #PuritanWorkEthic #AboutTheSameSuccessRatioAsNASA #
  • Craft Beer and #homebrew has infected even tiny rural Montana – just went to a #homebrew contest & rib off! All brews tasty and unique! #
  • Once again I am reminded of all the reasons that #IHateSettlersOfCatan . #
  • RT @Talulla: Why do some people hate Comic sans so much? #
  • Curse you, Taco John's. #
  • Home and: all smoke alarms going off, 1/2 front yard flowers dead, dsl router dead, garage door won't close. #HouseIsMadWeWereGone #
  • Oh, and all the upstairs breakers were popped. #
  • We must've had some serious lightning here… #
  • It's interesting to review the 'game-y' moments from my MT trip. Those moments you realize would make good game challenges. #
  • For example: Need to inflate tire. Note nearby workshop. It's dark, and PACKED WITH JUNK. Compressor is up on a high shelf, hose dangling. #
  • No obvious power cord visible. Quick check shows tire adaptor for compressor on little shelf near dangling hose…test…no air in tank. #
  • So, how do you turn on the compressor? Quick check shows no wall switches near hose, or anywhere except door. Door switches do nothing. #
  • Internet is down at the house, so am hanging out at the Honda dealership using $380 "free" wi-fi with included oil and brake change. #
  • And….power just went out at Honda dealership. #
  • Good news! Honda dealership has a backup generator! Bad news: the internet router is not attached to it. 😛 #
  • Logic boards in both garage door openers are fried. #ThePowerOfLightning #
  • Carbon Monoxide / Smoke Detector is fried. #ThePowerOfLightning #
  • DSL Router is fried. #ThePowerOfLightning #
  • Cordless Phone is fried #ThePowerOfLightning #
  • Urgh, photocells for left-side opener are fried. #ThePowerOfLightning #DefinitelyBuyingSurgeProtectors #
  • Lipstick-sized HD camcorder is suprisingly fun to play with. #
  • Who just cleaned out under the basement stairs and cleaned out the store room that hadn't been touchednin 5 years? >This Guy< and @Kim_Stone #
  • Who just cleaned out under the basement stairs and cleaned out the store room that hadn't been touched in 5 years? >This Guy< and @Kim_Stone #
  • Surge protectors installed for garage door openers! Surge protector installed for DSL modem once it gets here! Weather station repaired! #
  • Drinking my tasty #homebrew – my clone of the Rogue Morimoto Soba Ale that I first had at @Chef_Morimoto 's restaurant in Philadelphia! #
  • No Internet, so @CaptSpectacular is watching Pinky and the Brain on DVD. Overheard: "I'm Sweating with Jean-Luc! Set Buttocks to Stun!" #
  • Yikes! @CaptSpectacular watched @LOST_SKELETON again last night and is now running around the house intoning "Always Agree!" #
Jul 03

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-07-03