Monday, August 21, 2017

On Academic Administrivia

Guardian nails it :

The first step in cutting back empty administration is eliminating the demand. An important aspect of this is to remove creeping government attempts to micro-manage the sector. Putting an end to the research excellence framework would save the sector £250m. It would also eliminate pressure on faculty to publish obtuse articles which are read by few people. Killing off the new teaching excellence framework will immediately save the sector £20m, plus countless hours of staff time spent complying with the exercise.

The next step is to root out the supply of empty administration in universities. A modest first step would be the elimination of “bullshit jobs” in universities. These are jobs which the people doing them think should not exist. Creeping forms of corporate escapism in universities would also be wound back. This includes everything from fanciful strategy development exercises, managerial vanity projects like opening campuses in exotic locations and overly elaborate leadership retreats. Staff need to be given space to question and even veto any new administrative initiatives. When any new initiative is proposed, faculty need to ask: “Is there any evidence this works? What is the logic behind it? And is it meaningful to staff and students?” Answering these three simple questions is likely to cut back empty administration substantially.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

I'm really enjoying playing with Protoplug for scripting your own VST plugins in Lua.

This sketch uses 3 scripts with the plugin.

My own Waveflavours synth (playing the ever-evolving drone chords). The default "midi chordify" (that chord isn't programmed, it's being generated automatically from single notes) and another self-written variation that chooses random notes from a chord which is driving the u-he's "Triple Cheese" plugin.

All these scripts are hosted in FL Studio, which is also providing the drums.

Protoplug is really exciting to me, because I can finally turn FL Studio into something scriptable, and which I can use more like the way I was using Sonic Pi, to experiment with algorithmic composition.

Update : You can find my scripts for ProtoPlug on GitHub

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Resistance To Corbyn


Jacobin Magazine has a good overview of how much the media / establishment opposed Corbyn during the last two years.
It just makes his performance in the election all the more impressive.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

George Monbiot :
Who, in this fissile age, would wish for a prime minister with no discernible convictions, no perceivable moral core? Who, when we need courage in government more than at any time in the recent past, wants a prime minister who rolls over to everyone from the Daily Mail to King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud? Who, as we face negotiations with the European Union that will determine the future of this nation – negotiations that demand the utmost delicacy and care – wants a government peopled with buffoons, blusterers and bullies?

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Political Quote of the Day

Shern Ren Tee on Quora.

Threatening a former director of the FBI with secret tapes is like threatening Stephen Hawking with middle school math homework. I have no idea how the FBI would respond, but if they really took Donald Trump at his word, his Tweet as an invitation to spar, the ensuing rout will be more one-sided than a Möbius strip.

*munches popcorn*

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Bernie Sanders on Trump's first 100 days

UK Delusion

 Simon Tilford

Britain’s sense of economic invulnerability is even more puzzling. Why does a country that is significantly poorer than Germany, with fewer internationally competitive industries and greater dependence on foreign capital and managerial expertise, believe it can afford to quit the single market? Britain’s economic performance is no better than France’s and on some important measures – especially productivity – far worse. Yet nobody from France’s political mainstream seriously thinks that the French economy would thrive outside the EU.

Much of the British elite know little about how Britain’s economy compares. Few realise that three-quarters of the country is poorer than the EU-15 average; that Britain’s growth performance has been mediocre at best; or that there are relatively few British-owned and managed businesses with a strong record of growth. There are bright spots in the British economy, but its commanding heights owe much to foreign capital and expertise. Foreign-owned businesses generate more than half the country’s exports, and many of these exports are intermediate goods – links in international, predominantly European, supply chains. These companies are especially vulnerable to Britain leaving the single market. If the British economy were more locally owned and managed, it would be easier to understand the British complacency over the economic impact of Brexit. But for a developed country so dependent on foreign capital to do something so damaging to its ability to attract that capital has few precedents.

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