January 23, 2012
Yesterday I was reading up on Wikipedia about Audio Normalization, and I eventually found my way to the Audio Sequencer page, where I was enticed by an screenshot of an old version of the music-sequencer software Tracker:
Call this a sign of my youth and inexperience, but I had never really thought about how music software has been around for decades now (in Tracker’s case, since the 1980’s). I was immediately somewhat attracted to the idea of playing around with some really dated music production software; but, alas, where would I ever get it?
Personally, I think that once software is no longer being sold by the company, it should be available for free download. Instead, it’s typically phased out and eventually abandoned entirely in the interest of promoting new-and-more-powerful software.
Still, I think there is more to it. When we phase out old software in the interest of generating forced obsolescence, we’re really throwing away a big part of our history in the interest of selling a few more copies of a new software edition or game tier. And not only that, but we’re severely limiting access to the software for people who cannot afford the newest versions. For example, as much as I would love to purchase whatever Adobe’s latest Creative Suite package is (I stopped counting years ago), I probably won’t ever be able to afford it.
However, I still get by, for the most part, using my ancient Macromedia Studio MX (points to anyone who remembers this, or even remembers Macromedia). However, MX died, of course, when Adobe bought out Macromedia and integrated its software platforms into CS (Flash, Fireworks, Dreamweaver, for example).
I simply don’t believe it’s fair to hold copyright restrictions and diminish access to something as old and unused as Macromedia MX just in the interest of forcing people to buy the newest version of Adobe CS. If it were up to me, I would organize a giant digital archive of old software for free access, and create an initiative to reconfigure software designed for earlier platforms (i.e. Windows 3.1 or SNES) to work with modern Operating Systems. I mean, some of the greatest symbols of human achievement in the past have been our libraries, where we gather and archive thoughts and ideas to share them from person to person. I see a giant abandonware archive as a modern Great Library of Alexandria.
(Note: There ARE abandonware archives in existence, though they often technically violate copyright laws. You can find out more here.)
January 16, 2012
No, it isn’t to drop out. It isn’t not to drop out either. That, I believe, varies from person to person.
It’s this: No matter how busy your life is, make time for at least one of your own personal projects or goals, particularly something major.
This goes especially for those of you in college. All throughout the three years I was enrolled in university, I constantly used my school obligations and burdens as an excuse to avoid my own personal projects. I was always too busy or too tired for the big projects I wanted to tackle.
When I quit university last summer, I immediately realized how much I had let myself down. Not only had I neglected or abandoned projects, but I had terrible self-motivational skills. School can teach you how to work on different projects, but it can’t teach you how to work on your own projects, and I quickly found that these are entirely different.
So here are a few quick tips for self motivation that I’ve learned through my few months of being in full control of my destiny:
- Value your own projects at least as much as outside projects.
The key to this is balance and separation. Give yourself enough time to accomplish everything for your own projects and outside projects, and assign time spots or specific places for each variety of work. That way you’ll be able to keep outside projects from interfering with your personal projects and visa versa.
- Respect your own deadlines and commitments.
Every time you disregard one of your personal expectations, you’re making it easier for yourself to do it again in the future, or even make a habit of it. However, every time you uphold a personal commitment, you’re reinforcing it’s value. This is one of the most challenging areas when the only person expecting you to accomplish something is yourself.
- Don’t be afraid to stop and reevaluate.
If your schedule isn’t working out or you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a moment (or several hours, or a whole day even) to straighten things out. Every time you do you’ll learn more about how you work personally and how you can manage yourself–which is really the entire reason all this is so important.
That being said, do note that these guidelines are by no means easy to uphold. Balancing one’s schedule and priorities is hugely difficult, and holding oneself up to one’s deadlines is perhaps even tougher. Even a semester into my experience as a college dropout, I pretty frequently mess up one or the other. However, as things to work toward, I feel that each of these is invaluable.
Nash the Dropout
January 10, 2012
I don’t think I have mentioned it on this blog yet, but I have been doing editing work for the past three-or-four months now. The first of my editing projects was a lovely little novel by a friend of mine, Ethan Bryan. In his novel, Run Home & Take a Bow, he attends something like twenty Royals games over the course of their last season in order to discover a space in which faith meets baseball. The result is quite extraordinary.
I’m something less than a faithful person myself, and I’m admittedly not a very big fan of baseball, but as I edited, I found myself enthralled by the world Ethan paints. Though I would recommend it most for fans of baseball and followers of Jesus, I still found it extremely approachable and quite enjoyable. I even found myself a little bit more interested in baseball. Maybe next season I’ll have to pester him into letting me join him for a game.
Now that the editing process is finished, Ethan is working toward bringing the book into its physical form. Right now he is in the funding stage on Kickstarter, so if you’re intrigued by the idea, I strongly recommend visiting his Kickstarter page for more information and a chance to get involved in this project at such an early stage!
Speaking of Kickstarter, I want to add that I am working on plans to launch another Kickstarter campaign of my own at the beginning of February. This project is for the publication of a book of Coffee House Games that I have been working on. These are quick, simple, and fun writing games that I’ve been playing with friends in coffee houses for almost a year and a half now. More details on that later.
January 4, 2012
First, I want to say that I am deeply sorry for disappearing for nearly two months. I’ve been this weird combination of busy and lacking interesting things to blog about, but I’ve also been bustling around with friends and family for the holidays.
As I mentioned in my last post, I started over in my process of recording the album. I still have the 12 recordings from the 4-track cassette sessions I did, but I probably won’t be releasing them.
Anyway, I bought a small Behringer interface which allows me to run my mixing board out to my computer, and I have been playing with recording techniques. I have set up a little studio in my room:
Here is a little improvised, layered track I did on one of the first days after receiving my interface.
In further follow-up from my previous post, I have been practicing heavily on all of my guitar-based songs, and I have been happy to notice my playing style has been improving. It’s surprising what an impact the little nuances of playing can make on the overall sound, and I just really needed to be at a place where the rest of the performance–the lyrics, the chords, the motions–were all pretty well imbued before I could really focus on the tiny details. I hope this will show in my recordings.
I’ve also dropped two tracks from the final album lineup. They aren’t bad, but they just didn’t quite fit with what I am imagining for this album, and I’m shooting for pretty solid cohesion here.
As far as progress, I just finished base recordings for the remaining two songs, so I will be recording basslines and other additional tracks, as well as generally cleaning things up. However, the overall album should be finished before too long!
Now, for non-album news, I have several other things brewing at the moment, but I’m afraid I have to be a bit hush-hush about them for the time being. However, I promise that once I’m in a position where I can release some of the information, you’ll be the first to know!