WWDC 2018 thoughts

It’s been over a year since I last THOUGHT about writing a blog post, and even longer since I completed one!  So, it’s now time to get this thing back going.

Today was the keynote for WWDC 2018.  Last year’s WWDC was super exciting:  new iPads, updated iMacs, the iMac Pro, and the HomePod.  iOS and macOS were almost afterthoughts.

This year was different.

In 2018, the focus was software.  Now, I have no issues with that, if the software is exciting.  Unfortunately, 2018 is looking to be a bust.  Here’s my takeaway:

The Good:

  1. Siri automation – Basically, run a macro by telling Siri to do something.  Programmers will love it.  It will be cool for the general population once the apps start adding their own templates for it.
  2. macOS store and iBooks (Apple Books) store updates.  The new iOS store has been very good.  Bringing those concepts to both the macOS store and the Apple Books store will help both systems.  Loosening the restrictions on the macOS sandbox enough to let Transit & Office 365 be back in the store is awesome!
  3. macOS dark mode.  White is NOT easy on the eyes.  End of Story.  Even Microsoft understands this, look at Windows 10…

The OK:

  1. Speed improvements for iOS.  Great news, but, why the hell was it so bad in the first place?
  2. Group notifications.  Well, it’s a start.  Notifications are a real PITA.  I’m not sure what *should* be done, but currently, they are a bit of a mess

The Ugly:

  1. OpenGL & OpenCL depreciated?  Ummm… OpenGL is why a lot of games run on the Mac.  It’s a cross platform standard.  Taking that away will force devs to code to two different graphics standards that are platform specific.  Great for optimizations, but adding double duty to game developers who are already short of time & money will cause many studios to rethink their macOS commitments
  2. iCloud?  The web?  Is it just me, or did Apple completely forget about the web?

My last point really has me concerned.  Apple is reverting back to the ‘old Apple’.  They control the hardware, and are working on controlling the software.  That’s great, and it certainly locks the users in, but it feels like a very short sighted move.  No iCloud announcement is really worrisome.  iCloud used to be way ahead with the UI, but lately, it’s felt very dated.  Google’s gmail update, and Microsoft’s changes to outlook.com / office 365 are beginning to feel very modern, while iCloud is starting to just feel old.  Couple the lack of announcements for iCloud with no mention of Safari at all the keynote, and it just feels like Apple doesn’t care about the web too much.  The dev team is focused on Swift and native apps.  Not really sure where it’s gonna lead…

This should be a wake up call to all musicians…


Sigh… I usually don’t comment on what the writings of current pop stars, but this one hits home on a lot of levels.

The business deal is between Apple and the Record Companies / Label.  No one at Apple put any sort of gun to any of the record company’s heads.  My guess is that Apple and the record companies did a lot of back-and-forth with what we see today being the final outcome.  It is a business deal to both sides, nothing more.  Apple will make money selling the hardware and subscriptions, and the record companies will make money off of the artists.  Once the initial three months are up, the record companies will have a steady stream of income.  The record companies already have such deals in place with Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, etc…  If they didn’t like the terms, they could have refused to join, just like in the initial days of iTunes selling downloads.  So, the record companies and Apple are happy with the deal.

The area that Taylor Swift should be examining is the deal between the Artists and the Record Companies.  If the artist don’t like getting played for three months free, then they should be able to opt out, just like she did.  You notice that she didn’t pull ALL of her catalog, just the current one.  She’s not stupid, she knows that there is an opportunity for more exposure and money.

I don’t know if many people understand how record companies work.  It’s an interesting business.  Record companies provide three things to an artist.  One, an initial loan to produce and promote the artist’s first (or next) work.  Two, is the contacts and means to promote and distribute that work.  And three is the contacts to means to do professional package of the work.  There are some really important concepts that most people don’t realize.  The first one is that a record company does not give any money to the artist.  All money upon an artist being signed is ‘front money’.  It is a fancy cash advance.  The artist MUST pay that money back, regardless of how the work does.  A second concept is the value that the record company does have.  The Record Companies have is the contacts to create the music in a professional manor and the contacts to promote the music with radio and internet.  Also, they administer the payments and rights that an artist has.

I’m also a semi professional musician (I get paid for what I do, but not enough to make a living), and see this kind of misunderstanding almost all the time.

We as musicians, painters, dancers, etc… have done this to ourselves.  Trying to make a living as a professional artist is damn near impossible, even if you have talent, drive, looks, fans, etc.  The mentality of ‘do it for the exposure’ is prevalent through the entire industry.  I see show after show where the band works for free for the ‘exposure’.  Personally, I’ve stopped doing those type of gigs.  If I’m good enough to play, then I’m good enough to pay.  And, before someone says ‘charity event’, know this… the sound guy ALWAYS gets paid, I guarantee it.

Ultimately, it all comes down to money.  How much money does the artist generate?  What is it worth for exposure?  What is it worth for the services that a record company does?  I honestly don’t know, I’m not in the business, so my comments can be taken with a grain of salt 🙂

Update… I wrote these thoughts before Apple ‘caved in’ and agreed to pay the RECORD COMPANIES while the free trial period is going on.  Personally I think it’s a lot of crap, because the point is still being missed.  The only ones who will see ANYTHING is the record company.  This is one of the times that I think Apple shouldn’t have backed off.  Altering the business deal because one person, who WASN’T part of the deal, had no knowledge of what was being worked on, etc… is bad precedence.


Finding a way around the iPhone’s problem of erasing personal contacts when using Exchange

Walt Mossberg wrote in this article the following information:

"While you can have both personal and Exchange email accounts on the new iPhone, if you synchronize with Exchange calendars and contacts, your personal calendar and contacts are erased."

I was a little bit distraught when reading this.  I wanted an iPhone, but I wanted to have both my work calendar and a personal web calendar.  This statement made me think that if you have Exchange, that will be the ONLY calendar / contacts you can have. 

Well, this weekend, I picked up an iPhone, despite this limitation.  And, boy, am I glad I did.  I LOVE this phone.  But, I was hesitant to set it up to talk to my company’s Exchange server.  I didn’t want to loose my personal contacts!

Well, it turns out there IS a work around… Me.com.  I had purchased .Mac almost a year ago, and it has proven to be helpful at times.  The new server, dubbed, ‘MobileMe’ made things much more interesting.  The iPhone software can treat the MobileMe account seperate from my Exchange account, so both calendars can exist as well as my contacts remaining separated.

I am a happy camper!


I didn’t realize yesterday was my 3 year blog anniversary!

Wow, where has the time gone?  It was sort of fitting to finally publish a bit of music on my blog after 3 years on this blog’s anniversary.  I find it interesting to go back an read old posts, as I really get a feel for what was going on at those times in my life.

My blogging has slowed down, as I am writing a LOT more for my job (not sure if that’s a good thing or not).  I am studying to take my second exam for the MCTS, and I’ve been actually playing my guitar(s) instead of just talking/writing about them.  I’ll try to be a little better, November just had too many things going on.

A lesson in Cords

Yes, that’s Cords, not Chords, as in cables.  I just learned a very valuable lesson today.  That lesson is ‘pay attention to the little details’.  I recently upgraded my audio interface for my computer.  This has been an little bit of an ordeal.  The new interface is wonderful, but… I’ve been getting some strange sounds out of it.  After fighting a couple of battle with Leopard, crackles and pops, and drivers, I clean almost all of the problems up.  Unfortunately, I was STILL getting a hum through my speakers.  I thought that it might be the monitor interfering with the cable.  So, tonight I went down to the local music store, and ended up with a little bit of an education.  I found out that my old interface’s line outs were unbalanced.  My NEW interface’s outputs are balanced.  The unbalanced cables I was using (yes, the cables are different!) was causing the noise…  I really wouldn’t have believed it, but when I hooked the speakers up, NO MORE HUM!  YEAH!

As an aside, how did I fix the crackle / pops with Leopard?  First off, I cleared the NVRAM on the computer with Ctrl + Apple Key + P + R.  Don’t ask me WHY that works, it just did.  The second thing was that I reinstalled the drivers.  That seemed to finish off the problems.

Maybe WordPress is a good blog area after all…

I finally figured out how to do the image linking.  Simple really, but I’m kinda thick sometimes.  After uploading a picture, if you want the image to be a link to the full size image, click the image to be inserted into the blog/page to bring up the options, change the Not Linked menu item to ‘Linked to image’, then insert the image.

This allows the thumbnail to be put into the page, with a link to the full picture.

Here’s some examples… Click on the pictures to see the full image:

Cat yawning Cat in the box Cat hiding under blanket

John DeLorean passed away

Wow, John DeLorean died today.  I didn’t realize that he had invented the original Pontiac GTO.  My friend in college had one.  Imagine seeing a black DeLorean (yes, it WAS stainless steel, it was black, and it was VERY rare) driving down the University of Tennessee’s main drag with the door OPEN with two geeky college guys hanging out…  We nearly caused several accidents from people trying to get a look.  Oddly enough, my friend’s name was John…

Rest in Peace, John…

More gloom and doom…

Arrgh, it seems my favorite line lately has become, ‘the light at the end of the tunnel was attached to a train’.  Previously, everything had gone downhill, but I at least my job was enjoyable.  Well, even that’s losing high marks.  I had a ‘wonderful’ person throw me under the bus today.  The stupid thing was that it was for be positive and trying to map out my future.  Sheesh…  Some people just like to stick knives in other people for fun.  Bah…  No wonder I don’t keep many close friends.

The odd

Well, with the car in the shop, I have a rental.  It’s the most unusual rental I’ve ever gotten.  I’m driving around in a brand new Cadillac SRX.  I don’t like SUV’s at all, but this one is VERY nice.  Cadillac is one of those companies that has become a modern phoenix.  They’ve realized that their target audience is going away, and that they need to aim at a new generation.  Gone are front wheel drive land-yachts, replaced with american-euro styling high performance cars.  You’ve got to give a LOT of credit to whomever allowed the CTS-V to be built.  Who’d thunk that they’d take and stick a Z06 engine and transmission in a middle-range sedan?  M5 watch out!

The bad…

I was on my way to meet a friend of mine that I used to work with, and a lady ran into the side of my car.  Scratched the car up from the middle of the passenger side door to the end of the car.  Fortunately, I was calm, called the police, and everything was taken care of in 30 minutes… Grrr, just as you think that you get a handle on things.  At least this time when I called my insurance provider, Progressive, things got handled a lot easier.  They have a good body shop on their list that I was able to use.  Plus, they set me up with a NICE rental car.  More about that later…

Calm after the storm…

After the blizzard of blog entries yesterday, it’s back to being normal.  I finished reading The da Vinci Code.  Interesting book.  What’s amazing and a little frightning is that I heard all of these ‘legends’ over 15 years ago.  A friend of mine actually was studying the subject when we were in college.  There’s a lot more information out there that supports the ‘story’.  It’s just weird to have something out of your past jump up and ‘say hello’.  I will say this, the book piqued my interest enough that I’d like to go to Europe and see some of the places mentioned.

People are reading this?

It’s wonderful to know that people are actually reading your blog.  I think that inspires more writing.  Thank you Happiest_Lily_lover_9282!  I’ve uploaded more pictures of the cat (she’s a lot better to look at then pictures of her feeder(me)!)

I think we all have little voices that want to come out and touch the world.  Living life in a shell is hard for a human being.  It seems like most people have an artist in their soul.  The people who find the artist and let him/her seem to have a lot of joy in their life.  They have a reason to live and a reason to enjoy each and every day.

So, go out & let the artist out!

Lousy day…

I’ve been trying to keep personal stuff off this, but today I think I’ll change that. 

Some background… A year and a half ago I had a life changing event.  I lost my job suddenly, and the option that I chose was to take a job very quickly.  Nothing good came of this.  The ‘new’ job paid less and required many hardships.  Unfortunately I had a ‘series of unfortuante events’ while working the ‘new’ job.  Let’s just say that during the time I worked the ‘new’ job, I was living off borrowed time and money. 

About seven months ago, a windfall came my way.  I was able to take a new job that is now my current job (and will be for a while).  While I am making more money and spending a LOT less, I am having to pay off bills that were racked up from the previous 10 month.  I’ve been working on these bills.  Today was supposed to be the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, a pay-day that would finally bring me back ahead of my payments, and give me a tiny bit of breathing room.

Well, the light turned out to be the headlight of an oncoming train…

First thing was to get the oil changed in the car.  Simple, right?  All I wanted was a basic oil change (as the computer on the car was complaining about oil life).  Forget that!  The brakes needed to be rotated.  Ok, we can handle that.  Nope, they needed to be completely replaced.  Bye-bye paycheck.

Also, one of my co-worker’s had a family emergency.  I didn’t get the details, but it was serious.  I hope & pray that all goes well for her family.

There is a bright side.  I still have an excellent job, a great boss, and a wonderful cat.  I have a roof over my head, and some food on the table.  Maybe it wasn’t such a bad day after all.

Things are going to change around here…

Now, as for those changes, first, more organization.  It’s hard to do anything beyond reeling like a drunken sailor if you don’t have at least a faint idea of where you are going.  Part of organizing is going to be to write EVERYTHING down.  Blog, wiki, documents, whatever. 

A tablet PC is going to be in order, maybe by the end of the year.  It depends on how much I actually stick to this plan.  A tablet may be the reward for doing all this work.  A PDA may be in the closer future.  Heck, even an iPod or a device like that so that I can play music and be reminded of appointments and such.  Hmmm, more research.

10 years in SoFla

Wow, it just hit me that I’ve been living is South Florida for over 10 years.  The first three were the wildest, by far.  I changed jobs four times, moved twice, recorded a CD, and actually met a girlfriend.  Since then, I moved twice more, changed jobs another four times, and let’s not mention the female situation.  I’ve DONE a lot, have some good stories that I can tell (have some better stories I CAN’T tell), gotten a cat and a couple of Corvettes, BUT…  None of this has been because of a plan.  I’ve been riding the wings of fate and fortune, and while ‘the Lady’ (read Terry Pratchett) has been good to me, she’s also delt some pretty heavy blows.  I think it’s time for some changes.

It’s 5:00 somewhere (unfortunately that’s 5 AM)

Hi All!

It’s time to get serious about the blog thing.  Right now, I’ve been up since 3 AM, and am not too coherent, but will continue on anyway…

Mostly this blog is going to be about either computers, music, cats or cars.  Also, it’s a way for me to start working on practicing my writing skills and thought processes.  So, here it goes…