WOW. OH MY DOGE. MADE OTHER BIG RESPEKT BLOG.
So, I wanted to print out some of the infamous LOST DOGE signs and was surprised there wasn’t a download to make your own. So I whipped it up in Photoshop. Enjoy. I’ll be hanging a few around town to make people smile. 300 dpi for bestest print koalas! ;)
Check out this great website for anything and everything US and CHINA.
In the style of Drudge Report.
#1 source for China and China related US News aggregation.
Debut commercial release available on the Sound Groove Records “MIAMI MUSIC SAMPLER 2013″
It’s another year of music and mayhem in Miami, which means it’s time for SoundGroove’s latest batch of secret weapons and new grooves guaranteed to rock the beaches and the dance floors. Fearuring music from label veterans Maria Dark, Rick Corbo, Jaguar Paw featuring Anthony Poteat, and tracks from new label inductees Adrian Adonis, Dr. Suds, Dust & Dander and so much more. Get into the sound!
Please see the cause for Dani’s dog who needed a major operation, she is now struggling with the bill and will be committed to full time school this year. Any donation of any size is appreciated! Donating $5 or less is better than nothing at all. Look out for possible events to raise money for this. Thank you!!
This article of writing should be of interest to anyone, not just DJs. Because it tackles a very prominent issue in society today. Everything and anything is automated if possible. But have we really grasped what it means for our lives today?
I’ll cut to chase here, automation makes people stupid, and it’s infrastructure. It also allows untrained people to do advanced tasks at a click of a button without ever having to know the process. This as I said is a two edge sword.
So to put things in contrast here, a little about me. I’m an “oldskool” DJ who started on vinyl and was a bit grumpy when slews of kids who don’t even know how to beat match are eating up timeslots. I also upgraded my DJing solution to a controller with Traktor so I wasn’t a hypocrite in my disputes about “what real DJing is”. Oddly, I also work in computers at an office where I program script and automate redundant processes that eat up time for my fellow teammates. So here I am, smack talking automation and also building it from scratch for profit in other parts of my life.
So. Maybe I actually am a hypocrite, or I’m a person with a full scope of the confusion that surrounds the dying art of DJing.
Let’s look at all the players here by number:
- The automation designer. That’s programmers of DJing apps, and it’s also me, as I said
- The user, or the DJ
- The grumpy old man. Hates automation and doesn’t want to use it because it doesn’t feel right, or cheap.
So at work I was #1
In DJing, I was a #3 who reluctantly converted to #2.
So how does this all relate?
Let’s start with how I started as a grumpy old man. I actually picked a fight online with some new jack who was pro-automation based DJing and basically denounced the older generation for being so negative about folks like him.
In short, I lost this battle with him, but it was a learning experience. I also grew to learn that it’s not a fight that can be won really. See, I had my skill set in DJing, it’s NOT easy to learn how to DJ with precision regardless of what people say in arguments. A lot of the motivation for the countless hours of practice it takes to become a skilled DJ that can beat match and understand and feel music, count your beats, and be the music… it comes from wanting to be a finished product, a DJ.
I learned to stop being angry at the younger generation. I really just needed to remember how I wanted to be part of the show in my infancy. Can I really say, if I could hit a button and make it all happen would I not do it? I can’t answer that. All I know is that people defend their easy way to the death rather than just admit that they are skimping the skilled learning process. I just feel bad for them, because they may never know the ART.
I put emphasis on the word ART. Art is carried out by humans. Even when a computer is used to create an art, the art it’s self is most valued for originality and creative diversity. When we print out an image on the computer, the computer is not an artist. I’m sure you could program an app that makes random acts of eye candy and prints them out.. but is that an ARTIST?
No, I think not. As I understand ART is valued by others as works of skill and creativity from other humans.
I think this is what creates your grumpy old man character. Carpenters used to use manual hand tools. They used to have built shoulders, detailed skill level, and it was really worth something.
Now, you have power tools. Is that bad? Not really, power tools are awesome!! Even modern day carpenters agree. But a retired carpenter will tell you that some of the art is lost. And you can see this when you look at the amount of detail in an old house in the wood work.
Another, better analogy is a chef. You pay top dollar to go to a 5 star restaurant. You EXPECT a skilled chef to be there, and he/she is. The food is delicious. Hooray.
A long time ago, eating food cooked a traditional establishment was probably all there was. But then along came McDonalds with a factory line for making food, and “Chef” Boyardee cans of ravioli in gross red sauce. If you had to apply the artistry of food to any of these, I’d slap you if you said anything but our first example in the real restaurant was art. However, I’m not saying that I don’t occasionally enjoy cheap, easy, food that tastes O.K. at times. I think there’d be a public outcry if we tried to ban Micky D’s or Yuck pasta.
But let’s get it clear, one is art, the other is cheap product.
Getting back to DJing. Just like cheap hamburgers, you’re not going to get rid of the easy street DJs, but sad to say, they are not the Chefs of the industry and may never amount to anything except a burger flipping DJ. Or Chefboyardeejay. Haha. That doesn’t mean that a grill person may not take to proper cooking or go to culinary school one day. He just may need to learn how to make french-fries and other things instead of using the auto fry hopper or cooking until the beeping sound starts going off. While we are thinking of this scenario, let’s think about fries from fast food joints. The process is always the same, 100% of the time. The process is scripted for the humans, and more or less, we could compare this to a 100% automated process. The fries are generic and the same every time, they are also cheap. DJing has become a partially automated process, and there for cheapened.
The sad truth is that many will not take the time to learn the foundations of being a masterful DJ because there is no motivation. Especially when “cheap” DJs are foolishly being perceived as French chefs by event goers and promoters. As my friend Rob writes about in his blog, some promoters are banning some types of technology at their events. I think they are just defining themselves as a 5 star restaurant of promoters. I applaud them.
I can expect a boohoo from the masses of overnight DJs, but this was enviable. It’s time for the cheap DJ’s to face the music.
I also need to face the music. Since I started using Traktor my skills as a “real DJ” I can honestly say decreased. I noticed that it seemed senseless to beat match when the BPM is on the screen and due to the automatic beat gridding it’s usually pretty accurate. Admittedly once I got the hang of this adapted style of DJing, I got hooked on the perks of stable looping, being lazy and expecting things to just work. I let my guard down on stressful things that you have to be on point for in standard DJing.. like worrying that the track was going to run out. In a bind, I just hit loop, no big deal.
And there encompasses the problem. My time to practice for a gig dropped from 1 week of solid planning to 1 day.
And then, it happened. I never learned about beat gridding since 95% of the time it just works automatically. Even though I had gone through my whole set at home and it was good, I also had gone in and manually fixed the tempo on some older throwback tunes.. Traktor basically flipped out with it’s BPM and beat gridding in the middle of a gig and I had to slam two mixes. This was unacceptable to me. Not too many people noticed but damn.
That wasn’t a train wreck, it was a plain wreck. I call it that because many pilots who fly for airlines are suffering from “automation addiction” where they testify that they are losing their skills that they absolutely need in an emergency situation because they never actually land the jet. It’s mandatory that they use “auto-land” because, unless something goes wrong (in most cases it doesn’t) it’s more accurate and “safer”. Which may be true, but it presents the very serious issue of pilots who know that they are not fresh on “what to do” if they ever need to actually fly the aircraft.
So, I’m going to do two things.
1) I’m going to learn how to beat grid my tracks and except that I’m still a new jack to digital DJing and there’s an automated answer to my problem with automated DJing.
2) I’m going to also take the initiative and embrace that I am by right a 5 star chef of the DJ world. I just need to focus and see the need to practice manual DJing on the regular, take the time to burn the CDs, rock some vinyl sets, and do my homework on new issues and solutions. I could limit myself also but there are benefits to digital DJing. Also, as my other good friend Bass Rokwell showed me and as I’ve seen him do at his bookings, I could also solve the issue of needing or wanting to look the screen to see the BPM by flipping the computer around for the audience to see what I’m doing. Most good controllers have nobs and dials for you to select your tracks and work the surface like a traditional set up. The Numark Mixdeck and Mixtrack don’t include a button for Sync, which I haven’t covered the topic of sync in this piece but you can imagine how I feel about it. But is it really ,how much worse is it than getting your BPM by looking at the screen with your eyes?
From a bird’s eye view of the assessment of automation… automation is infrastructure.
Infrastructure by definition is “basic physical and organizational structures needed for the operation of a society or enterprise, or the services and facilities necessary for an economy to function”. Although not tangible, it becomes a commodity.
Speaking of commodities, I got to see what New Jersey looked like in the after math Hurricane Sandy. I know the majority of the people reading this article are going to be from the same area and probably could relate. Why the HELL are we so dependent on gasoline as a society? It’s not necessary. Other fluids are combustible like ethanol that can be made from corn or even leaves with the right enzymes. Yet, even our emergency equipment such as generators are relied upon due to the illusion that there will always be oil shipped here from halfway around the world.
It made me think, not even electricity is certain due to solar flare threat.
Homes are built now without wood stoves. Leaving people frozen in the winter when there’s no access to electricity or oil. One really starts to fully understand how important these things are when you’re hit with two hurricanes in places that aren’t used to getting hurricanes.
Once something that commonly occurs, is present, it often becomes a paradigm, something we accept as true, the norm.
We covered the motives of “the grumpy old man” and “The User or the DJ” and their motives. But let’s end with #1, the provider of the automation. As I said automating things is part of my job. My initial goals were always good, to facilitate redundant, annoying, tedious or difficult tasks for myself and others.
I developed tools and received praise for them. The tools weren’t perfect, some worked better than others. For difficult tasks I could only offer partial assistance. The intention was to expedite the skills of the employee and to increase the value of the employee.
In time, my company looking to cut costs let go many of my skilled teammates and replaced them with offshore personnel. They were not skilled and required a what-to-do script to help people. For the record, in my case my team mates were offshored not because of my automation, but due to cost. But my automation in parallel also enabled unskilled workers to succeed instead of fail at providing a poorer but tolerable product of IT support. They also did not take the time to learn everything that we knew manually. When something changes, and my automation breaks, they have no idea how to do the work manually because they are accustom to the automation, in short, it’s how they learned to perform their job.
Is it my fault that they are dumb? No. But I also have to accept that it’s human nature to seek the most effective method. Selfishly, I will continue to automate things. It increases my value to the company, it doesn’t make me stupid specifically because I am the designer and manual knowledge is necessary. As I’m sure the folks that make DJ programs are enjoying their fat paychecks.
This is the two edged sword. Art is taken away, product yield is increased. You will see an increase in quantity of clubs and people “DJing”, you can already see this. But a clear reduction in quality. You can’t stop it, but you can adapt.
I urge everyone DJ’s of all skill levels (those dependent on automation included), event organizers, and event goers to take automation and other given things that are normal in this complex society with a grain of salt, but do not cast it away and understand how it can be useful OR destructive. What would you be or where would you be without that expected item or service? Are you prepared?
Just in case that sneaky one forgets to give you this. Remember, you have 24 hours regardless of what he or she may tell you. And Saturday counts as a “business day”.
Google finally did something that separated Google Tasks from Gmail. For MONTHS I have fought with trying to find something to replace gTasks because my job blocked all webmail.
Things I need:
- Subtasks (this is huge. You have no idea how many task management apps don’t have this)
- A Native android app (GQueues almost fixed this for me. But I don’t like having to use a website that I can’t access when my shitty sprint service isn’t working)
- Web access (that’s not blocked by my job)
- The ability to print our a nice clear list on paper (TOODLEDO’s print outs need help)
- Multiple lists (When I looked into this, workflowy really let me down here)
- Free or reasonable cost ( less than $25 a year)
I tried to get all this and was not able to figure it out. The closest and most nifty thing I found was do.com – this thing rules… except no subtasks (but it has “sections”) . Do.com was also nice because it has collaboration. Other downsides are that it’s still not super light weight or quick, and that it has an always profile view on my epic 4g touch.. no landscape view yet on their app.
So eventually Google calendar adds gTasks as a gadget. This was good news to me. But wait… it’s a sidebar, and a side bar with no option to make it larger.
No problem. I wrote a winbatch script that injects variables to blow it up big. It requires that you are logged in, and that you have the tasks panel open on a previous login from internet explorer.
gTask Cal Fix (executable)
gTask cal Fix Source (source)
My roommate was a little more helpful today. I expressed that I wanted to drink a beer, he offered to get me one, and I declined. “Please don’t encourage me dude”. He went to the store and only returned with some healthier things for himself, and one small beer for himself. Not bad! I was expecting him to get me one anyway, he didn’t.
I had more energy to clean and do chores. My friend who came over to do music kinda just worked on his own project while I caught up on chores.
I had a dream last night, I had convinced myself that “soup” was juice. I started to eat it, then realized the cold truth that I was eating noodles, and that I failed. It was just a dream! I work up with a little more motivation to stay on target
I also added a fiber pill to my diet. Not food, but is good for cleansing and helps me feel full.