Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Everything Just Made Sense

Mike Stock :

Anyway, for Rick Astley’s song I didn’t want it to sound like Kylie or Bananarama so I looked at the Colonel Abrams track Trapped and recreated that syncopated bassline in a way that suited our song. It gave it the extra dimension that made it successful.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

2017 Q2 : Composing to Focus on Music?

Context : 2017 Questions

I've actually managed to do quite a lot of music-related stuff in 2016. From organizing MusicHacking events in Brasilia, to more music for dance, to technoshamanic remixes to podcasts and more.

This year I want to explore more raw, self-built, "ataripunk" style electronics.

And more free software. How do I produce more, "finished" music using things like Faust and Sonic Pi and Ardour and qtractor etc.

And electronics?

I want to get more of it out there and people listening to it.

Speaking of which, if anyone ever felt the need to own any (or all six) of the official gbloink!tunes albums while making a small contribution to my future works they are now all up on BandCamp :

One thing that I'm pondering is how to represent my music.

For a while I've depended on SoundCloud as my main music showcase. But actually I want to write more about making music. Particularly with Sonic Pi and Faust and other free-software. Where should I do that?

Well, how about a blog called "Composing"? Even if it has been mainly for political venting in recent years.

So ... here's the question ... should Composing return to being my main music / music-software etc. blog?

One reason my activity declined here a bit (apart from Google doing an appalling job of keeping Blogger a cool and relevant platform while things like Medium and WordPress rolled over it in terms of ease of use and functionality) is that I don't like to be so dependent on Google or give them primary control of my content.
If I do choose to focus on music here in the next year ... I'll need to have a back-up / mirroring strategy. Maybe RSS-grabber but ideally something that creates content I own first, and mirrors it here.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

2017 Q1: What is the politics of the social media age?

Context: 2017 Questions.

Pretty much everything I've believed in and championed over the last 15 years in terms of blogging, social media, freedom for anyone to speak out without gatekeepers etc. has come true.
And the result is what we've seen in 2016 ... President Trump, Brexit, the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff etc. All driven by massive disinformation campaigns across social media. We are in a "post-truth" society or as I actually predicted many years ago "the end of consensus". Conspiracy theories are the epistemic mode of netocracy.

So what now?

"What now", in the sense of how can we reinvent a politics which "works"? And "what now" as in what are the responsibilities and strategies for people like me who work in software and have championed the spread of technologies of open communication? What can and should we try to build next to "fix" the problems we've caused? Finally "what now" as in what actual policies can be advocated for netocracy where many traditional gatekeeping epistemic strategies are no longer available.

In one sense we are seeing a burst of authoritarianism which is covering the profound weakness of governments to control what's going on. Everyone in power wants to control borders to prevent the movement of people. When their real "problems" are flow of information and capital which remain harder to control than ever. Scapegoating the poor is the standard tactic of an elite in trouble, of course. I now think we're moving to "scapegoating bodies" for the frustrations and failures to constrain information (including finance which is now revealed as a subset of information).

So ... 2017

2016 was a hell of a year. Though, so far, I'm not too personally affected. (For which I am truly grateful.)

I'm not into reviews of last year (most people probably think "thank God that's over ... OMFG what's coming next?") or too many resolutions / promises that I may or may not keep.

But the turn of the year is a good time for some reflection / questioning which may set my agendas for the next 12 months. (Or not, as the case may be)

Some of it is the usual, self-indulgent angst about what I'm meant to be doing, why aren't I more productive and "successful" (for some value of success) etc. I'll spare you all that.

But I'll post a couple of the, perhaps more substantial, even though quite personal, questions over the next few posts.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Policies not Deals

David Weinberger has a good blog-post on why Dealmaker Trump is a bad idea.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Paper written by iOS autocomplete accepted for conference

Nonsense paper written by iOS autocomplete accepted for conference

Some comments I just made in an email about this :

Ouch! "Unreasonable" recurrent neural networks will be doing all our jobs soon. (https://karpathy.github.io/2015/05/21/rnn-effectiveness/)

What happens when we have automatic tools to summarize news items, journal articles, and perhaps provide early filters (routing-queries) in "what's interesting" from the journals. Perhaps lazy reviewers will just run the filter over a paper to see if its worth reading.

And then if we use the same models to generate papers ???

Just like automatic high-speed trading algorithms go off and autonomously create bubbles and crashes in the market, could we see runaway feedback between automated science paper generators and automated science paper accepters create entirely new subfields of science / pseudoscience?

I suppose, given that this is a physics conference, it's a great response to the Sokol Affair.

OTOH, sadly, it seems like this is a junk conference put together by "open access" publishers. The terrible thing here is that the term "open access" which should be a term of approval, is now getting discredited as vanity publishing.

I don't quite suspect a conspiracy by academic publishers ... but ... it is awfully convenient.  :-/

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Servers down

It seems all my servers are down ... giving DNS errors. Some problem with the name provider I think ...
Will keep you all posted.

Friday, September 02, 2016

Theresa May will lead us into a bleak future

Martin Kettle has an insightful comment on current division within Tory government's approach to Brexit. Not for or against, but which gets priority, controlling immigration (No 10) or free market (treasury).

Since No 10 will ultimately win that battle, the question is how the Treasury will react. In its determination to maintain the City of London’s global position outside the single market, the Treasury will find itself inexorably drawn down the road towards remaking the UK as an offshore, low-tax financial haven. Just at the very moment when the EU locks horns with Apple over sweetheart tax deals, so Britain may roll out the welcome mat to international corporations such as Apple, offering Britain as the new Ireland, or as a European Singapore.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Politics doesn’t need a brick through the window, or civility. It needs basic fairness

Abi Wilkinson :

This week I was asked on Twitter if I thought it was OK for someone to
call me a “fucking useless journalist”. My honest answer is yes. I might
not like receiving such a comment, and it’s unlikely to lead to any
sort of constructive dialogue, but I think it counts as a morally
acceptable form of self-expression. Not all anger can be considered
equally justified, but if we insist on civility as a requirement for
having a voice then we inevitably exclude those who are at the end of
their tether – and they’re the ones that should be listened to most