I have always wondered how people (Just like companies) love to repeat the same mistake over and over.

Say, for example… why spend so much money on a device like this? (When you consider the cost of the subscription service and most likely the cost of WiFi service) when something as simple as an FM Radio does the same? (And yes, there’s no subscription cost involved).

Subscription services suck… not the concept. The implementation.

It’s cool to make your own playlists and what not, but it’s even better if you actually own the music, that means you get to control what you listen to and to make your choices (And simplify them as well)

Last.fm radio sort of worked well to suggest a few new artists that I might have missed otherwise, but to get 1 new artist I had to listen to 3 days worth of radio, and I had other things to do.

$144 a year for a subscription service (Even if it allows me to discover new artists better than say magazines, word of mouth or myspace) do, ends up being a lot of money for the pleasure of perhaps 10 new discoveries, which of course I’d like to buy instead of renting.

In this digital music space, it seems to me that companies are struggling to come up with ideas, and instead we get a rehash of the Columbia Publishers Club with the downside that you don’t end up owning the music.

Ain’t progress beautiful?

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There’s few words less paraded around than convergence these days. Every device, from your cell phone, to your toaster oven seems to be in a hurry to mate and leave mostly deformed offspring along the way.

I do agree that there’s an overabundance of gadgets and a shortage of pockets, shelf space and real state to place them, but to extract from there the notion that I need a fork that can also work as a toothbrush while at the same time be a competent screwdriver is a bit far fetched.

In telecoms, the whole convergence pitch has centered around Triple Play first, 4Play (Really bad choice of term in my opinion) later and when we ran out of technologies to bind the whole “Fixed Mobile Convergence” banner made its triumphal entry into the world of overused acronyms. Here is a case of want but not have, of course I’d love to get TV, Internet and Telephony from one wire (And if I can bind them together using wireless inside the home, the better) the problem is, all I’ll get offered so far is a half-assed approximation of each.

Things haven’t been different in the gadget front, my phone can be my MP3 player, PDA, messaging center and replace countless other items on the road (Including my laptop, unless you actually try to do work from its tiny keyboard on feature-starved office applications).

Then in music, there’s been genre convergence. What once was a death metal band today can be labeled as a technical blackened death band with some industrial overtones, every genre is colliding, mingling and leaving out interesting bands that writers around the world are ready to ruin for you with long, pompous, “genre” descriptions. Thank goodness, this is an example of convergence that I personally find attractive as it allows music to continue evolving.

But where is the problem? If you have read about The Tyranny of Choice (And if you haven’t here it is, good read/food for thought) you realize that there’s way too much choice involved in convergence. Do I take the multifunction device that does some things well and others not so well over the 3 devices it replaces? Or shall I stick to best of breed and proven devices it replaces?

I’ve had that internal debate raging for a while on several fronts, before I got rid of most of my studio to go mobile I was wondering if it was the right thing to do to sell my lovely analog console and AD/DA chain to replace it with a more compact “converged” solution. Also the Apple TV caught my eye, but I still wonder if it’d do a better job than a souped up XBOX 360 or PS3? (Debate still raging, so far I’m holding back on deciding that one)

In the meantime companies are going into some sort of identity crisis as they wake up one day and figure out they’re “Not Convergent” enough. Microsoft seems to have caught the bug harder, as their current schizophrenia doesn’t let them decide if they are a software company, a gadget company, a gaming company, a hardware company, a phone company or a media company. The result is the same, a ton of good intentions and half-assed ideas.

Apple seems to be undertaking it’s convergence transformation a bit better, but it’s too early to say. The iPod has sold well enough to warrant maximum attention, but their computer sales aren’t bad considering. Will the iPhone be one of those devices that aims for the moon and shoots to the ground? Until I hold one, it’s too early to say.

Sony has been an example of the complete opposite, they have thoughts about convergence and media centric devices, but the implementation always leaves a lot to be desired. The PS3 could’ve been a killer if it could simply stream media from nearby PC’s and Macs without requiring you to boot into Linux.

So… the trend will continue, for sure… I just fear for the day my Digidesign converged toaster/audio interface/toilet plunger stops working, forcing me to buy a Jack Daniels convergent whiskey bottle with extra plunging and toasting capabilities (Audio recording optional, requires purchase of Jack Daniels branded cables and will only work with drunk musicians)

So yesterday, at the worst possible time my Windows Bootcamp partition decided to go where Windows installations often go, to hell.

It’s funny, I have that partition due to three things:

    1. I haven’t updated my main DAW software because, well, the whole Nuendo 4/Cubase 4 business is still unclear and there’s no Universal Binary for SX 3 or Nuendo 3
      There’s a few plugins that only run on Windows (Like some of the Digital Fishphones plugins)
      There’s always that application that you desperately need that only runs on Windows or isn’t yet Universal for Mac OS X
  • The best part is that both Parallels and VMWare Fusion could open it and in fact run Windows without problems, but booting straight to it resulted on a hung machine.

    After all these years it still mystifies me that a perfectly good installation can go south without any new software being installed, but you learn to accept that, move on and do something about it (Usually a nice, clean reinstall), so why should it be different with Bootcamp?

    At least this gives me incentive to try Bootcamp 1.2 from scratch, and see what improvements were made to the drivers (Asio4All for example ran with all kinds of weird latency issues, yet my m-audio and Line6 drivers ran with no problems) and considering this is my main mobile recording machine the more stable the drivers the happier I’ll be.

    We’ll see how it goes, this Windows on a Mac journey hasn’t been half bad all things considered, Parallels with Coherence for example brought back memories of OS/2 Warp running windows apps, except more apps could run (Except of course for most of my audio apps). The only bad point about reinstalling is going through the pain of authorizing my software again, someone needs to come up with better licensing schemes, definitely.

    Wish me luck… it’s gonna be one really long day.

    God knows for how long I have resisted the temptation to write a blog, to stand on top of my virtual soapbox and spew endless lines of unwanted wisdom.

    Why?

    As amusing as endless commentary is, you realize there’s a point where pretty much everyone is saying the same about the same topics, and I’m not fascinated by obscure topics such as nanoscience, alien life forms speaking to me through TV static, conspiracies or the delicate intricacies of youtube social cliques.

    I am the most basic of creatures, I’m a musician, I’m an engineer (Recording and also telecoms), I’m a sound designer, I love technology and gadgets, I love music, I love food and I love sex. Can’t get any more basic than that.

    So what is this blog about then? Not really commentary, not really opinion, not really a journal. It’ll chronicle recording experiences of a few projects, it’ll feature rants from time to time about the state of things (Boy aren’t those fun?) and from time to time I’ll write about where I am (I have a tendency to travel a lot depending on the month and alignment of a few celestial bodies still to be found and named by astronomers).

    Why?

    Because yes, of course… why not?

    And those of you who spotted the Carter USM reference. We might actually be the only surviving boys in New Cross.

    Expect updates sparingly, first things first, make this thing pretty and usable.

    Hello, Good Evening, Welcome… and Good Bye!