Saturday in Santa Fe

02010-04-03 | Photos | 11 comments

This is a longish post. You might want to grab some tea or coffee, or sit down…
The sun is shining and Spring has sprung in Santa Fe.

Went grocery shopping this Morning and guess what the first thing was that I had a hankering for now that the album is done? Miso soup. Not the instant kind, but fresh, with white miso and green onion and lots of tofu… I came home and made it at once. Miso soup at 11:00. Man, did that hit the spot!
Thursday the tide turned and after listening to the entire album I wrote this shortly before midnight:

Looking back I can’t see the road that led me up this hill. I don’t know what made me select this path and why, but I am grateful for the view from here. Listening tonight I could enjoy the music, seemingly for the first time, now that the elements are put into their proper space and balanced. Four days of initial recording and nearly a month of adding little details and mixing.

I always look back and wonder how he music happened, how an album came together. Where did that come from?

Q Where do you write? When? For how long?
A Most recently, in the library (which is really the dining room but who needs one?). 10AM til whenever, pretty much daily when it’s happening.
Q What do you eat or drink while writing?
A Whatever’s available.

(Via Gibson Blog)

Yep. Whatever is available.
Great article on the shift computing will experience, starting today!

iPad Is the Future – apple ipad – Gizmodo
Normal people don’t like today’s computers. Most loathe them because they can’t fully understand their absurd complexity and arcane conventions. That’s why the iPad will kill today’s computers, just like the latter killed computers running with punchcards and command lines.

Two opposing views of the iPad:

Apple’s iPad is a touch of genius – Boing Boing

Why I won’t buy an iPad (and think you shouldn’t, either) – Boing Boing

Well, the age of the tinkerer ended last century. My dad was one of the great tinkerers. He could fix anything, well, anything that could be opened up. People used to fix heir cars – now one can’t reach anything in the engine compartment that could use fixing and most everything is run with computer chips anyway.

Is the iPad for computer tinkerers and geeks? Maybe not. But neither are modern cars or appliances made for tinkering. Is that good or bad? Depends on who you are. I was never very good with mechanical devices. Only when we switched from analog to digital recording was I able to engineer my own albums.

I do like using an operating system, rather than messing around with the command-line. (((OTOH, “drutil eject” is a handy terminal command to know when a CD refuses to show up or eject, “drutil subchannel” is a quick way to find out whether a audio CD contains ISRC and what it is…)))

Let me gaze into this second hand glassball from RadioShack that shows the future… in the Nineties musicians began to flock to digital, not knowing that soon they would no longer derive an income from recording – drawn to the digital medium like a moth to the flame, because of it’s promise of new possibilities. Now I can see a future where a lot of geeks will also be out of a job, or will have to change what they do, because sometime in the next decade computers will be in the background, rather than the foreground. Knowing C+, html or flash will no longer be important, or even necessary, because we will speak commands to our iPad-like tablets which will translate our wishes into a web design or software mod. Instead of communicating to a person, who translates our idea, a computer will be perfectly capable of doing that for me. To be sure, the creative geeks, guys like my man Canton, will always be in demand, because they do more than just translating plain English into machine language. But the grunts of the geek-world, the ones that today make a very nice living, and who often laugh at the tremendous changes musicians have been faced with… yep, those guys are going down.

You could say, maybe the computer industry will recognize that and won’t develop the tools that will enable that. Nope, once the cat is out of the bag it’s running at high speed!! The iPad is the cat. And there will be so much money in it for the ones to first create the software that invisibly does what so far only programmers could do, that everyone will rush to develop it. Just as muscians saw the promise of digital recording – granted, most only saw the good parts and didn’t see that music would become over-produced, stale, and over-corrected – and couldn’t help but follow that path, the computer industry will create a new age of invisible computing.
From an email-conversation with SD – I wrote:

I wonder whether the iPad will do to TV what the Walkman and the iPod did to music – made it more personal. Instead of big stereos, and remember those awful giant boom boxes a lot of morons used to carry on their shoulders in public, people started listening on headphones. Now, maybe, people will use their iPad as their TV, instead of buying giant six foot projection screens, 50 inch plasma screens (which suck up a ton of electricity) and the like.

Maybe in ten years this scenario could happen: if I want to watch a program I’ll watch it on something like an iPad. If I want to watch a footballgame with friends I’ll rent a room with a big TV in it. I mean renting a truck or van a couple times a year is cheaper than buying one and paying for gas and insurance. Why not rent a big TV and sound system in a room somewhere for the five times a year one actually wants to watch something with four or more friends.

Makes sense to me.

He wrote back:

I could see that happening. Yeah, when I needed to pick up a chair last year, I rented a truck and used it for the afternoon and that was that. Haven’t had a need for one since.

I don’t imagine families watch TV together much anymore. Probably about as often as they make music together – although that was quite common a century ago. Oh, and maybe price of renting a TV-room with a large screen and sound system also includes cleaning. That would make the business a sure-fire success!
SM told me about the P5s last week. Since I have several B&W speakers and am fond of their sound, I purchased a pair right away. I found this review to be fairly accurate:

Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) P5 Mobile Hi-Fi Headphones Headphone Review | Macworld
British high-end-audio manufacturer Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) has been making speakers for over 40 years, but it’s only with the P5 Mobile Hi-Fi Headphones, announced last November, that the company has ventured into the field of private audio listening. Offered as a set of premium, full-size headphones for mobile listening, the $300 P5 is pricey, but it’s an impressive product that’s worth a look if your wallet can handle it. (The P5 is available initially only from the Apple Store online and Apple Retail stores.)

Read on here.

My first emailed reaction to the headphones was this:

Just took the P5s for an hour-long walk, listening to my latest mixes.
LOVE them! I like ’em better than my $500 Ultrasones!

The one thing that I don’t love is that when one takes a call on them (they have built in iPhone control and mike) one cannot hear one’s own voice, because the headphones do a very good job of keeping noise out. But that’s a minor thing.

I think they are great.

Asked to compare them to my Stax I wrote:

What do you expect? My Stax are powered by a Stax tube headphone amp and they cost something like nearly seven times more.

The P5 are very good but not that great. The Stax are great, and since I have no issues with headphones like some people (shape of ears, shape of head, cranial sensitivities etc. ), I think they (((the Stax))) are probably the greatest listening experience available to me.

A few months ago I rigged my Stax up to run with my big THX subwoofer. That was amazing: the clarity and soundstage of the Stax combined with the physical experience of the bass!! Fantastic!

But, there is something similar about the two, now that I think about it. Beautiful mids and no exaggerated lows and highs.

Let’s just say the Stax offer MORE of what it is I like about the P5.

On the other hand, the Stax aren’t mobile and don’t have a plug and mike for my phone…

Since then I have listened to these headphones for at least an hour every day, checking the lastest mixes before going to sleep, and I still love ’em. They are better than my Sonys (((sorry Stevo))) and Ultrasones, they are cheaper than the Stax or the Ultrasones, and hey, you can take calls on them, because they have an iPhone remote and mike built in. Smart, BH&W, very smart!
Just discovered this response to Doctorow’s BoingBoing article I linked to above.
And in case you are wondering. Yes, I ordered an iPad. Wi-Fi + 3G with 32GB. No more $10-20/day internet charges from hotels! Hell, I might even save money with this thing. And reduce the wear and tear on my MacBook Pro ten-fold. Sure, I’ll need the laptop for work, for music and for photography, but how many hours a week am I browsing, checking email, looking up things – just today a friend said: “Don’t give me any flak for that.” and I had to look up the term. I thought that flak meant anti-aircraft-fire, and discovered that I was correct. Ist ja auch das gleiche im Deutschen: Flak – daher kannte ich das Wort also. I don’t need a computer for that. And I don’t want to wait for a computer to start up to find out either.
I read last week that Apple Germany totally underestimated demand for the iPad in Germany. They ordered 75,000 iPads from the mothership, but Germans pre-ordered 250,000!
More iPad opinions are arriving: this one is along the lines of what I wrote. This post on iPad multi-tasking is very good. And, as you can see in a video clip, you can make salsa with it. Myrtle get my calm pills!


  1. steve

    Ottmar wrote: “Now I can see a future where a lot of geeks will also be out of a job, or will have to change what they do, because sometime in the next decade computers will be in the background, rather than the foreground.”

    Yup. I am part of that scenario. I worked for a Fortune 100 company for 22 years as a highly specialized geek/tech guy. That job was shipped off to India in 2003, and was done by a PhD there for four years who would work for 15% of my wage (at the time). The same job is now done semi-automatically using a super-computer, some A.I. software, and an engineering technician in Mumbai.

    Even the Indian PhD that was doing the job for 1/8 of what I was paid in 2003 is now out of a job.

    So I now teach at a technical college which is kind of like being a charlatan in a way, since a student earning a four year technical degree these days will have ~50% of their acquired knowledge base obsolete (or at least down level) by the time they reach their junior year.

    The rate of change is accelerating: or for you calculus geeks, the first derivative is most definitely positive.

  2. yumi

    “Well, the age of the tinkerer ended last century.”

    Let’s hope that making miso shiru (soup) from scratch doesn’t go in the same direction.

  3. Matthew

    Love this quote: “Looking back I can’t see the road that led me up this hill. I don’t know what made me select this path and why, but I am grateful for the view from here. Listening tonight I could enjoy the music, seemingly for the first time, now that the elements are put into their proper space and balanced. Four… days of initial recording and nearly a month of adding little details and mixing.”

  4. yumi


    I think it is great and am impressed that Ottmar made his own miso shiru.

    …and of course, good homemade miso soup is always an art form.

  5. Adam Solomon

    I wrote some impressions of the iPad here a while back when it was announced. It’s definitely a beautiful device and would be nice to have, but it’s got too many holes – and so too few benefits – to be worth what it costs. I have an iPhone, and it’s fantastic, but that’s mostly because of its portability, not the over-simplified (read: limited) OS.

    Right now the iPad just isn’t a computer replacement, though it’s being billed as one. They’ll eventually plug a lot of those holes by adding multitasking and such, but the fundamental philosophy of dumbing everything down at the customer’s expense seems unlikely to go away any time soon. If (as some of your links proclaim loudly) iPad-style “tablets” replace real computers, I’ll see it as a serious regress rather than progress. Limiting freedom is never the wave of the future.

  6. Adam Solomon

    In other news, miso soup sounds delicious right now, and although I’m hoping June doesn’t come soon (graduation is in late May and the thought of leaving Yale is frightening), some POP will definitely make it better. As will finally turning 21 :)

  7. Adam Solomon

    True to an extent but it’s always possible to overdo that philosophy. When you can’t even download an application which isn’t approved by Apple, it seems like you’ve crossed that line. The other issues of limitation – no flash, no multitasking, etc. – will probably be gone by the next version (flash might not, actually), but it seems like there’s just a bit too little control with this machine. Put it like this: I can’t see this as a laptop replacement just yet. Can you? It seems to me there’s always going to be a couple of things you’ll need that laptop with the nice Mac OS X for, at least for now….

  8. Ottmar

    The iPad is a cross between a mobile device, like an iPhone or other smartphones, and a game console. Do you open and program a Nintendo or a Play Station? No, you enjoy the games they sell you – if you are into that sort of thing.

    The iPad does browsing really well, probably does ok with email, and will be a fast way to look anything up on wikipedia, in addition to holding a few hundred books for me to read. I don’t know how you could even think about comparing that $500 machine to a full MacBook Pro that costs four times at much. But, that said, I think the iPad will influence what MacBook Pros will become in the next years. Maybe eventually all computer screens will become touch screens, for example.

    I think I will be able to use the iPad about 50% of the time I would normally use my MBP. And that will mean a lot less wear and tear and exposure to the internet for my MacBook. At least for the next year or two, the MBP will be essential for my work, music, photography, design and so on.

    When the iPad was rumored to be $1,000 some people screamed that they wouldn’t pay more than $500. Now it was announced at $500 and the same people say they won’t pay more than $200. Funny that. Next the iPad is compared to a MacBook. That’s just plain folly!

    I tell you, I have a few people in mind, people I know are struggling with their computers. These folks are going to LOVE the iPad. I wish I would get a commission for every iPad I am going to help Apple sell this year.

    My dad would have been all over this thing.

    I found a very very cool non-Flash audio player for WordPress and am hoping to replace all of the Flash-based audio on my site within the next few months.

  9. yumi

    “…in addition to holding a few hundred books for me to read”

    It comes with several (understatement) classic books that are already available.

    I think after playing with it for the first time yesterday (and it is more of that feeling), that creative possibilities will open up even more.


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