Macbook Vinyl Decals
All designs available at etsy. I recently discovered the underground subculture of vinyl macbook decals on etsy, there are literally one million different designs (no really, I counted!) you can buy and adhere to your glow-y Apple logo, but really, can you beat Hipster Snow White? She was into apples way before you ever purchased your Macbook.
I also think Kickstarter should be used less like a fundraiser and more like a bake sale. People shouldn’t feel like they’re ‘donating.’ They should feel like they’re getting something of value in exchange for their hard earned cash… like a cookie.
Here’s something that I don’t think a lot of people working in what are euphemistically referred to as “content industries” — books, movies and television of all kinds, and more specifically the delivery of those said items to consumers — are aware of:
Customers don’t care about your excuses.
They don’t want to have to understand what an mpeg4 file is, or that there are two different book formats out there and which one the kindle supports and which one nook does and where do those free books Google has work, or even want to contemplate the intricacies of taking a movie they “own” (on DVD) and watching it on their Kindle Fire.
“I was told it reads books. Why don’t the books my friend gets from the library work?”
“I thought this could play movies. How come I can’t watch my DVDs on it? Don’t I own them?”
If your answer is not something along the lines of “put the media *here* and press a button,” you are failing your customers. They don’t want to be told that books bought on one device don’t work on another device that you support, as is sometimes the case with children’s books or magazines on the actual nook devices versus the phone apps. They don’t care if it won’t look all that good; they just want the option. (Well, they want it to look good, too. But even if it doesn’t, they want to know that it’s possible.)
Shockingly, music has nearly reached this fluid state, at least in the mp3 form. Everything reads mp3s, they’re easy to make from physical media, and they’re sold from many places unencumbered by DRM. This is not what most people a decade ago would have predicted for music on computers. (Notably, easy access to mp3s has done little to curb interest in streaming services, which have the walled-garden problem in an entirely different way.) For this, we probably have Apple and Amazon to thank above all others — iTunes for making mp3 purchasing commonplace, and then Amazon for forcing the issue with regard to DRM, or more specifically the lack of it.
The fundamental disconnect here is two different ideas of what goes into delivering content to a consumer. Someone who works as a publisher looks at media and sees a complex web of rights, payment, distribution, and technical limitations, with a dozen players and phalanxes of lawyers. A user sees “a thing that I paid someone for, and now it’s mine to do whatever I want with.” Rental v. ownership. One of the most common questions I get about ebooks is about the incomplete mapping of the metaphor of ‘book’ onto the ‘e’ part of ebooks — “Why can’t I give this to someone else, like I can a real book?” Nothing I say at this point — nothing! — is a good answer. If I say something about rights management, the response is “well, I paid for it, didn’t I?” If I wax sympathetic, it just feeds their desire to treat the ebook file exactly the same as a printed copy. (The limitations applied to ebooks in this case are perfectly legal, just not logical to the average reader.)
iBooks Author, and its limiting EULA, are a perfect example of the conflict between the tech and the traditional. Ebook creators want to create one file and make it available to anyone who wants to pay for it — if they have to distribute it through seven different digital storefronts, fine, that’s a hurdle most are willing to clear. But those storefronts, each operated by a separate tech company (and yes, Barnes and Noble’s nook business definitely falls into that category) want to differentiate in how they offer ebooks — to compete on breadth of content, not just quality of service. So the neat ebooks that iBooks Author can create are only allowed to be distributed (for cost) through Apple, for iPads and iPhones. And Apple is perfectly within their rights to require this. But now users have yet more fragmentation to deal with in the ebooks space — iBooks only work on Apple devices. While publishers squabble, the experience for the end user suffers.
The magic solution for this, of course, is probably impossible for now: One format for books (analogous to mp3, it doesn’t have to be the most technically accomplished format, just the one that everyone decides upon), access to the files in an unencumbered format (the actual digital file — a single blob of .epub or whatever), and readers that will read that format on any screen, even across manufacture lines (there is software read an .epub on a PC, an eInk screen, an LCD tablet). Modify the various technologies and formats in there for the applicable media, and you have a recipe for happy consumers, who can choose between technical platforms on their own merits, and not feel locked in to their respective media libraries.
Instead of offering any sort of constructive ideas on how to curb piracy, Sopa’s opponents say the music industry should move with the times, not hold on to an old business model. Yet, despite many of them declaring themselves entrepreneurs, they can’t offer any valid suggestions of what that business model might be. Quality content is not cheap to make, hence why online ad-funding has not managed to save some of the world’s best newspapers from running at a loss and cutting staff. We may not see the repercussions of it now, but a Wikipedia-style blackout of all music, television and film would give a taste of what’s to come if we do nothing. Maybe then these technology companies would realise there is something to lose, even for them. Believe it or not, there’s a limit to how many cute animal videos one can watch on YouTube.
Seriously? You’re going to Atlas Shrugged us? (or should that be Atlas Shrug us?)
This is Auria, a 48-track, plug-in supporting Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) that runs on the iPad.
For the non-audio nerds among us, realize that the above description is completely absurd. So absurd, in fact, that Peter Kirn at Create Digital Music can’t describe Auria without heavy caveats to shield his integrity when/if this unicorn product fails to materialize:
I’m writing about this thing based on their description, but it’s worth adding that the track counts (with these kinds of plug-ins), multi-track recording, and even plug-ins were previously believed to be impossible by many developers. That makes this an … interesting announcement.
It’s certainly interesting. Here’s the alleged specs, as described by Krin:
-48 mono/stereo, 24-bit/44.1kHz tracks, with recording for up to 24 tracks (you’ll obviously need a USB audio interface that can do that – see notes below)
-64-bit, double precision mix architecture (something even Pro Tools only just acquired)
-Full delay compensation
-“Vintage-inspired” channel strips, with a desktop-like UI and VU/RMS switching
-VST plug-in support (requires some work to make them compatible with iOS – but out of the gate, PSPaudioware, Overloud, Fab Filter and Drumagog all work)
-Dropbox, SoundCloud, AAF, MP3 export
-Advanced channel strips, EQ, expansion/compression and dynamic controls ready to go
-Convolution reverb. (Really.)
-AAF import/export, making one definite application using this as a satellite for your desktop DAW (more on that notion below)
In an update, the developer has addressed questions from the skeptics, but we’ll have to wait until NAMM1 to put it through the paces.