tag:blog.welense.com,2013:/posts Bill Welense 2016-08-04T14:47:22Z Bill Welense tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1075916 2015-09-03T17:00:00Z 2016-08-03T18:55:46Z Several Weeks With Apple Music

I’ve been an iTunes user for over 10 years. I’m probably one of the few people out there who really enjoys the app, specifically how powerful it can be for managing a large music collection like mine. I was also an early adopter of Beats Music, so I was naturally excited when Apple acquired Beats and as much as announced they’d be building their service into iTunes. Beats recommendations inside of iTunes, yes please. My music collection and Beats’ streaming catalog all in one app, sign me up.

In execution however, the marriage can be quite a goddamn kludge.

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Bill Welense
tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1075900 2014-12-11T18:00:00Z 2016-08-03T18:32:30Z Apple Watch Pricing

It'll come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I plan to get an Apple Watch. Hell, they're practically coming out on my birthday. I've been thinking about what model to get an I've decidedr  on the Sport. It's not like I'd ever consider dropping $10,000 on a gold watch, like the Apple Watch Edition, anyway. However, I do think there's a market for the model, albeit a very small one. 

If you're a VP at Apple working on a new product, you're expected to use that instead of what you currently use. Giving up a shitty Palm or Nokia for an iPhone makes sense, as does a PC for a Mac to most extent. But giving up a Rolex for an aluminum sports watch does not compute. I think Apple made the gold Edition models for themselves and since they had to ramp up production anyway, why not make a "limited" supply for the few others out there like themselves.

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Bill Welense
tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1075913 2014-04-28T17:00:00Z 2016-08-03T18:32:38Z iTunes for Android?

Putting iTunes on Samsung and other Android-based smartphones is not about selling music, it's about selling wearables. Apple put iTunes on Windows to sell iPods to PC users. It created a halo effect with PC users switching to Macs, then the iPhone and iPad.

With their foray into multiple new product categories, as CEO Tim Cook puts it, Apple will need software for Android with which an iWatch, or iBand, or wrist-worn iPod Nano can communicate. In 2004, everyday consumers, not technology nerds or gadget heads, synced their iPods with their Dell laptops. Then they bought Macs after learning how much they liked Apple's products.

The same can happen in 2014: everyday people will buy an iPod Nano for their wrist and sync it with their Samsung smartphones. This is why iTunes needs a subscription-based catalog similar to Spotify, most Android users have never used iTunes, let alone ripped a CD.

Game over, Samsung? We'll have to wait and see. I'm getting my popcorn ready.

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Bill Welense
tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1075912 2014-02-27T18:00:00Z 2016-08-03T18:32:45Z “Even adjusting the volume of the radio is difficult.”

A recent article from Consumer Reports reminds me of an IxDA meetup from back in 2010. It was hosted by IDEO at their then brand new Chicago studio, brilliantly timed with the announcement that week of MyFord Touch.

The design team talked about the process they went through, including hacking together a real car’s steering wheel, their center stack prototype, and a PS3 running Gran Turismo. They showed some novel concepts for navigation which didn’t rely on game controller-like direction-pads or tons of buttons on the steering wheel, while stressing how deliberate and important the physical buttons and knobs were in their center stack design.

And then they played a clip of Ford's PR rep giving a demo of MyFord Touch. (I tried and failed to find the exact video on YouTube.) The PR rep stressed multiple times how important it was to have d-pads on the steering wheel and a big touchscreen because they felt they were intuitive to their customers. (Remember, this is before the launch of the iPad.) The IDEO folks made no comment after showing the video.

Now if the designers were at all like me, they’d be proud of their work no doubt, and happy to show it off, which they did. However, it doesn't seem a stretch to imagine they'd be pretty bothered by the piecemeal approach Ford took to implementing their advice. Here we are years later thinking just perhaps Ford should’ve listened.

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Bill Welense
tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1075896 2014-02-26T17:45:00Z 2016-08-03T18:55:32Z Google & Apple's Ecosystem Gravity

This is reply I posted to a thread on the Google Glass Explorers message board. Specifically, it outlines my experience using Google Glass with my iPhone. More broadly however, it describes the sometimes subpar experience of relying on an iPhone for Google services like Maps, Gmail, and Calendar.

I'm in the same boat: MacBook Pro at the office, Air at home, iPhone 5s, and iPad Air. I too tried an Android phone (Moto X) for a few weeks to see if my Glass experience would be any better. There were certainly some benefits (more later), but nothing so remarkable that I'd pick an Android phone over my iPhone 5s. For one thing, I think apps on iOS are far better than their Android counterparts. For another, the 5s is years ahead of the Moto X, which felt more like an iPhone 3GS in daily use, especially the camera.

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Bill Welense
tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1075908 2014-02-23T18:00:00Z 2016-08-03T18:55:21Z Rant: Stop staying you don't need an iPhone

“I got a Samsung because I don’t need an iPhone.”

—Every single one of my friends, family, and acquaintances who own a Samsung Galaxy smartphone

With the launch of Samsung’s Galaxy S5 expected at this week’s Mobile World Congress, I'd like to take a moment to unpack(1) this all-too-common argument. First however, I need to confess something: I’m an iPhone user and I love the Android operating system underpinning Samsung’s smartphones. I’ve happily used various Android devices for months at a time, including the Nexus 4 and 5, and the Moto X. There’s a lot I enjoy about Android as a platform: widgets on the home and lock screens, apps that configure settings and run actions based on my location, and sharing content easily between apps.

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Bill Welense
tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1075906 2014-02-17T18:00:00Z 2016-08-03T18:55:07Z Empathy: Where does yours come from & how do you use it?

empathy: noun. The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.*

I recently came across a piece on empathy by Chad Fowler. Chad's point is how the most successful people are highly empathetic. I agree with this, and I do tend I think of myself as an empathetic person. Specifically, I think empathy is an essential for those who create experiences with technology. Fortunately, it's a skill you can practice and learn.

Sympathy is sometimes confused with empathy, which is the ability of parties to relate due to mutual experience. Sympathy lacks the requirement of having this shared experience. For instance, I never in my life have broken a bone, but I can sympathize, offering comfort to someone who has. I actually find it easier however to empathize with others, putting myself in their shoes to feel their pain by projecting unto them my own experiences as reference.

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Bill Welense
tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1075902 2014-02-08T18:00:00Z 2016-08-03T18:55:00Z That feeling when something new half-works

I'm a power user and I know it. When I find a new product or service useful enough to spend time digging into, I won't stop digging until I've submitted several bug reports and feature requests to its creator. Even then, I usually don't stop there.

I've had Google Glass since the beginning of January, so about 5 or 6 weeks as of this writing. I'm currently taking an intentional break from it while my new frames are off at the lab to have my prescription put in, so I'm using this time to think back on my digging. For how polished it is and how much buzz the wearables category is generating lately, much has been written of how Glass is still a very novel, raw concept. My use corroborates this, and I keep a running list of *almost* every idea, bug, and "nice-to-have" I come across. That simple task--keeping a list--is so common to all peoples and technologies, yet it's one of the most complicated challenges we encounter in this connected, multi-device world.

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Bill Welense
tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1075897 2014-02-03T18:00:00Z 2016-08-03T18:45:07Z Hello again, World!

It’s been years since I blogged. Frankly, my writing has had little focus or purpose over the years, perhaps with the exception of my most recent and now defunct foray, Across the Line, which covered the intersection of music & technology for several months in 2010. As good as parts of it were, even it lacked the kind of truth and honesty I now seek. I believe my time away from writing has helped me break those habits. Secondly, I’ve always felt an intimidation factor that comes with any blog I wrote. The time to write for and maintain it being the most evident. Apparently this problem isn’t unique to me, hence why platforms like Medium and Tumblr exist.

And so, here I am starting to write again. I promise what I write here will always have a focus, a single, running thread: to act as a chronicle of my experiments with technology.

Over the past year, I’ve experimented with integrating technology into my daily life in more in more ways than I can count. I owned and sold a Pebble smartwatch. I backed the Bike Spike on Kickstarter. I tried every which way possible to get my music library onto my Sonos. I got addicted to dictating notes and reminders to Siri. And I changed smartphones so many times I started a single-purpose site, whatphoneisbillusing.com as a joke so my friends could keep track. #firstworldproblems indeed.

Still, I often try my hardest to remind myself we live in an insanely challenging yet amazing time. Billions of people will have their first experience with the internet in places never wired for telephones. Some children born today will do “homework” at school and watch recorded lectures at home. Entire segments of economies, both developed and developing, will bloom from backing provided directly by individual patrons (I’m looking at you, Kickstarter and Kiva).

The technologies we create and the habits we engender around them have the power to change the world around us in ways we may never come to understand. My writing here serves as a chronicle of my own personal attempts at understanding it.

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Bill Welense
tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1078563 2012-05-24T04:00:00Z 2016-08-03T18:31:07Z Street Art 02: Wollylady


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Bill Welense
tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1075842 2011-09-23T03:39:00Z 2016-08-04T14:47:22Z MIDI Project: First Success! Throwing an Electrical Switch

Last night I spent my evening hacking at Pumping Station: One, Chicago's premiere hacker/makerspace. It was my first time really getting down to work there after joining a few weeks ago. What I love about working there vs. at home is the community. A couple members, Steve and Patrick, who much more experienced in electronics than me were incredibly helpful, teaching along the way. I wouldn't have had this first success without their help.

So what am I making at PS:One? Well, in short it is a MIDI-controlled channel selector for my guitar amp. Anyone who's ever seen my guitar rig will usually comment on my pedal board first. For all the complexities you see at first glance, it's actually rather simple and elegant. A few years back, I bought a box that plugs into the amp that selects between its clean and distortion channels. Then I started it on fire. I've since replaced the fried diode inside it and it works again (also thanks to the guys at PS:One), but in the process realized just how simple it would be to build one of these boxes myself. My guitar amp has three quarter-inch mono phone plugs, one for each channel. When the tip of a cable is connected to its ground (i.e., shorting the cable with a SPST switch), the amp switches to the corresponding channel.

Thus, the goal for my project is simple: Build a box that will receive MIDI program change (PC) messages and select the desired channel on my guitar amp (clean, rhythm, or lead). For example, MIDI PC 11 would be the clean channel, 12 would be rhythm and 13 would be lead.

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Bill Welense
tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1075844 2011-07-19T23:00:00Z 2016-08-03T19:01:41Z Spotify for iPhone's Missing Key Feature: Library View

Update 2016: I wrote this piece when Spotify had just launched in the US. They've since added a My Library view. Looking back on it, it's such an obvious feature. I wonder how many people it was immediately clear to that they'd have to get around to it eventually.

I've been using Spotify for a whole two days now since it launched in the US. I'll probably write more later, but for now I'm compelled to point out a glaringly obvious missing feature in its iPhone app. I recently posed this idea on Spotify's official forum on the customer service portal, Get Satisfaction:

Add "Library" view to iPhone app for iPod-style Artist > Album browsing 

I'd like to add to the chorus of folks who seem to think Spotify for iOS is a great start, but is missing some key features. The gaping hole in the mobile experience is that browsing for a specific album or song is incredibly cumbersome: you have to search by typing the name of the artist, album or song. (Sure, you could make a playlist for every album in your collection, but with a large library that would become unwieldy.) A scrollable list like the iPhone (and iPod Touch) has for Artist > Albums > Songs is absolutely essential.

Adding a "Library" icon on the tab bar at the bottom of the app is the first implementation that comes to mind which fits with Spotify's current design. This view would have the same contents as the Library in the Spotify desktop app, except in an iPod-style scrollable list with a drill-down structure of Artist > Albums > Songs. In "Offline Mode", the view would work the same except only containing content previously enabled for offline listening.

As a customer new to Spotify since its launch in the US, I see this as the key missing feature Spotify needs in order to create an experience that rivals and could potentially supplant iTunes.

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Bill Welense
tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1075895 2011-05-24T23:11:00Z 2016-08-03T18:57:47Z Thoughts on Maintaining Balance

This piece has been something I've been meaning to jot down for a while. For me, writing is a great way to shape and critique my own thoughts. The push to write this came when I received an e-mail from an artist I follow and friend, musician Quiet Entertainer, aka Greg Freeman. I interviewed Greg when I was focusing my blog on music and he and I have since continued to write back and forth. Greg's e-mail to his fans was a good push to finally put these thoughts in my head into words.

It's always striking to me to think back about how I spend my time, doing the things I do. To me, life is a puzzle with different pieces to it: all the friends we make, all the places we go, all the media we consume, balancing work and play, and the lack of separation between the two.

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Bill Welense
tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1078564 2011-05-07T03:03:00Z 2016-08-03T18:31:00Z Street Art 01: Dinofetus

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Bill Welense
tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1075845 2010-11-23T10:25:00Z 2016-08-03T18:57:23Z Hacking My Mac's Keyboard to Control Pandora

In this how-to, I’ll explain how I hacked my MacBook Pro’s built-in media keys to control the Pandora One desktop app. We’ll use AppleScript, Keyboard Maestro, Growl and, of course, an obscure utility posted to a French language forum. It took me a bit of hunting to piece together the essential bits, so I think you’ll find this how-to useful. 

Important Note: This hack is designed for how Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6) handles the interaction between the media keys and iTunes. It goes without saying that I take no responsibility for however you may break your computer :)

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Bill Welense
tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1075846 2010-10-13T00:42:00Z 2016-08-03T18:57:07Z Windows Phone 7: Fun With Interaction Design

If you haven't heard, Microsoft recently released their latest smartphone OS, Windows Phone 7. The blogs are already saying it's a great OS but is obviously late to the party. Google has a big head start, but Android mostly copies the iPhone as far as interaction design is concerned.

The biggest departure from the iPhone is what Microsoft is calling panoramic navigation. The idea is expanded from the UI of their Zune media players. The affordance, which I thought was ugly at first, is to display cropped text on the page that appears to spill over off the screen. Seeing it in action though, I'm pretty impressed with what some app developers have come up with already.

(Edited 2016: Unfortunately, the screenshots of these apps have been lost to time. Here's a list of the apps I referenced.)

  • Netflix
  • AP News
  • CTA Bus Tracker
  • Zune Music Player

I have to say that after seeing these demos, I'm kind of excited to see what design patterns we interaction designers can come up with for this new platform. Essentially, the UI is designed to get out of the way so you can use it quickly and get on with your life. And Microsoft's ad for this illustrates that point quite aptly (pun totally intentional):

 

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Bill Welense
tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1075848 2010-08-20T22:22:00Z 2016-08-03T18:35:14Z "Sound Dialogue"

Great piece on urban sound as music from New Yorker Liz Danzico (ACM Interactions contributor, founder of SVA’s MFA in Interaction Design). Read more…

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Bill Welense
tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1075850 2010-08-13T22:04:00Z 2016-08-03T19:12:00Z Detroit's Underground Resistance on Cars and Music

Detroit is known for two things, one more so than the other depending on who you talk to and when: cars and electronic music. Here, they converge.

From the NYTimes Wheels blog:

Mr. Banks (of Underground Resistance) works out of a recording studio that originally housed a labor union on East Grand Boulevard, several blocks from Motown’s origins. He counts car designers from Ford, General Motors and Chrysler among the fans who come to the building to buy vinyl.
“There have been times at our small store here in the basement of the building that some rather odd customers will come through,” said Mr. Banks, an avid Chrysler muscle-car enthusiast. In 1991, his label released “G-Force” as an homage to Detroit drag racing. “These people aren’t your average dance floor D.J.’s that usually buy our products. They are young automotive designers. They listen to our music so as to inspire progressive thoughts of what automotive transportation will be in the future.”
Read the article…
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Bill Welense
tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1075857 2010-07-13T19:31:00Z 2016-08-03T19:12:13Z Trent Reznor Scores The Social Network

Says Reznor on NIN.com:

I was planning on taking some time off after the continual waves of touring that ended last fall and spend this year experimenting around with what would become How To Destroy Angels and some new NIN. Well, that plan didn’t work out so well. David Fincher started inquiring about my interest in scoring his upcoming film, The Social Network. Yeah, the movie about the founding of Facebook. I’ve always loved David’s work but quite honestly I wondered what would draw him to tell that story. When I actually read the script and realized what he was up to, I said goodbye to that free time I had planned. Atticus Ross and I have been on a creative roll so I asked him if he wanted to work on this with me and we signed on.
Read the post…

Talk about a trifecta: Reznor, Fincher and Sorkin, on a movie that’s a thriller about a technology startup. I have to agree, I was a bit skeptical when I heard Hollywood was involved with adapting Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg’s story into a feature film. But first we learned that the screenplay was written by Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, A Few Good Men) and later that it would be directed by one of my favorite filmmakers, Finchers (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, ZodiacFight Club). Now with Reznor and Ross collaborating on a soundtrack, I’m putting this film in my must-see-in-theaters column.

I mean really, just watch the trailer. The Social Network will premier at the New York Film Festival on Friday, September 24.

Updated 7/16/2010: The full-length trailer is out now and (fittingly) features a piano and choir version of Radiohead’s “Creep.” Check it out:

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Bill Welense
tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1075856 2010-05-12T22:32:00Z 2016-08-03T18:56:32Z In Conversation with I Fight Dragons

Ask I Fight Dragons lead vocalist/guitarist Brian Mazzaferri to describe his band’s sound and you’ll likely hear an explanation of an underground internet meme scene known as Chiptune. More on just what that is later.

You can start to get an idea of the how eclectic this band is by taking a solid chunk of pop-punk, mixing it with some old-school NES, Commodore 64 and Atari tones, and then throwing in lyrical references to everything from sci-fi pop culture to youthful idealism. If you’re skeptical, know that in just over a year this Chicago-based band has amassed a legion of fans, headlined legendary rock venue The Metro, and recently signed to Atlantic Records. 

Mazzaferri took some time out from touring and working on I Fight Dragons’ debut full-length album to take some questions. In our discussion, we cover the band’s unexpected beginnings, connecting with fans over the internet, and of course, the geeky gadgetry behind their music.

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Bill Welense
tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1075855 2010-05-11T22:09:00Z 2016-08-03T18:56:18Z My "State of the Line" Address

2016 Update: This post references a now-defunct blog I once operated, Across the Line. The blog covered the intersection of music & technology. Many of its posts, including all original content I wrote, have been imported into these archives.

Hello friends.

It’s been well over a month now since I re-launched my Across the Line domain as this experiment in blogging. I’ve received a fair amount of feedback from close friends and casual readers alike on what they think works and what doesn’t. As a reader of my blog, I’d like to take some time to share these findings and my plans (read: “best guesses”) for the future.

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Bill Welense
tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1075854 2010-05-04T22:07:00Z 2016-08-03T18:43:29Z Finally, a new music app for the iPhone (not the iPad)!

I’ll admit it: I played with an iPad yesterday. A colleague of mine brought his to the office and, low and behold, had loaded it up with a few piano/synth/drum machine apps. I played for a good few minutes before I drove a few people nuts by making 808 beats.

So, here comes this news from Propellerhead Software that they have released a new iPhone app version of their ReBirth composition software.

From Propellerhead’s PR:

ReBirth faithfully emulates dance music’s three backbone devices: The Roland TB-303 Bass synth and the Roland TR-808 and 909 drum machines. Combine these with FX units, fully featured pattern sequencers and a quick-acting, scalable iPhone interface and you’ll soon be making techno on the train, trance on the tram or beats on the bus. 

More info and pics at the link. Via FutureMusic.

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Bill Welense
tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1075852 2010-05-03T22:46:00Z 2016-08-03T18:43:19Z "Apple, take note."

Tech giants Google and Apple have been in a bit of a spat lately as the two companies’ smartphone platforms (Android and iPhone respectively) vie for their peice of the martket. With their unofficial motto “Do No Evil,” Google is known for taking an open, transparent approach, exemplified by their recent decision to no longer cooperate with the Chinese government. While also a supporter of open source software, Apple is more so known for locking in customers by making exceptional products that use proprietary technologies.

For all its market-disrupting success with its iPhone App Store, Apple still encounters bad blood from time to time by banning content from the iPhone. As Wired.com points out, rather than banning a controversial music video by artist M.I.A., YouTube (which is owned and operated by Google) took another route.

From Wired:

Contrary to news reports that YouTube removed the violent video, the site simply put it behind an age-restricted click-through. That renders the video impossible to find unless you already know the URL.

Indeed, Google’s policy represents a more open and nuanced approach than what Apple is doing with its App Store. There, presumably overworked employees decide whether to censor content before it even shows up in the store.

This approach is a better way to handle problems than arbitrarily banning the content before it is ever available, as Apple does with the iPhone. As the article’s headline says, “Apple, take note.”

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Bill Welense
tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1075851 2010-05-01T00:56:00Z 2016-08-03T19:10:43Z Apple is shutting down Lala.com -- And why it matters

Lala.com will be shutting down on May 31 this year. The move comes after Apple’s purchase of the music streaming web site a few months back. Apple’s instant benefit from the purchase of the site was top-ranked results when users search for songs on Google. However, what Apple truly benefited from is the acquisition of a team that knows how to do music over the internet, or “in the cloud.”

When tech insiders speak of music in the cloud, they’re usually referring to an extension of the purchasing a song through a digital music store like Apple’s iTunes. Such a cloud-based service would ideally include storage of the song on the user’s computer but also access to that song from any number of devices connection to the internet. Put simply, you could buy a song on iTunes, you can play it on your computer, your iPod, iPhone as you can today plus over the internet on your friend’s computer, your computer at work or even your car.

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Bill Welense
tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1075858 2010-04-29T19:24:00Z 2016-08-03T19:10:37Z Feature: My Interview with Quiet Entertainer

Quiet Entertainer creates and performs music that is anything but quiet and is most certainly entertaining.

The moniker is that of Nashville artist and DJ Greg Freeman. In this interview, we’ll find out how he uses technology to blend electronic and hip-hop into a style all his own and reach his fans in the information age.

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Bill Welense
tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1075859 2010-04-20T23:49:00Z 2016-08-03T18:42:55Z Bill's Favorite Album of the Year 2009

The criteria I use for this tradition is simple: When I think back to 2009, what is the album that I will remember listening to and liking the most. This “award” is not an endorsement of superiority per se but a snapshot of what I enjoyed at this point in time.

This year’s winner is:
Flyleaf - Memento Mori

And the runner up is:
Third Eye Blind - Ursa Major

Picking my favorite album of the year on my birthday is a tradition I started last year. I noticed that I’d selected a favorite album around my birthday a few non-consecutive years in the past.

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Bill Welense
tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1075861 2010-04-09T21:10:00Z 2016-08-03T18:42:48Z My thoughts on Apple's new programming language restriction for iPhone apps

With the announcement of some new features in Apple's iPhone OS 4 yesterday, I have to say, it will be nice to be able to leave the Pandora app but have its music still playing. The big thing for me though is Apple's new restriction on programming languages. They've essentially made it impossible for Adobe or Microsoft to make software that can compile applications as iPhone apps. I understand Apple's business motives (John Gruber has a good summary up on the topic), but it just doesn't sit right with me. Between the app store and this programming language restriction, Apple has the iPhone entirely locked into their proprietary development ecosystem, as I'm sure they want. However, I saw some speculation that Apple is actually trying to damage Adobe so they can acquire them down the road. I'm not saying it's plausible, but they certainly have ability to do it.

For the most part I'm mad simply because I was looking forward to making iPhone apps with Flash CS5. I have years of Flash and ActionScript experience, but haven't touched anything resembling Objective C since undergrad. With the looks of it, I will have to suck it up and learn how to build apps the Apple way after all if I ever want to make one of my own.

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Bill Welense
tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1075862 2010-04-06T18:59:00Z 2016-08-03T18:42:41Z Music Production on the iPad. (Or why I might cave and buy one yet.)

Now that the iPad is (finally?) out in the wild, here are a few reasons that just may intice me to cave and buy one yet.

I’m pretty jazzed after reading through the great round-up at Create Digital Music of apps designed to use the iPad to make music. For me, I’m excited to try the iPad out for a few different purposes:

  1. Practically speaking, it would be a great MIDI controller for my software synths, by using it to drive Reason and Pro Tools. I have a MicroKorg, but the portability of the iPad, to easily sit it on my lap, would be unparalleled. I’m curious to see how the latency is though.
  2. As a control surface for Pro Tools. I’ve never had one, so I’ve always controlled Pro Tools with my keyboard and mouse.
  3. To use it as a live musical instrument. This will certainly require some imagination on my part, but mark my words, I will make this happen. After all, inspiration is out there.

Now I just need to actually pick one up, but I promised myself I wouldn’t get the first generation.

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Bill Welense
tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1075864 2010-03-31T04:56:00Z 2016-08-03T19:10:22Z Wrigleyville: Where bartenders skip Johnny Cash songs

This weekend, my good friend Jason and I went to an unnamed bar in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood. I will not name the bar because I at least attempt to have at least some level of class. Our first impressions were low, but after all, we were there to begin with so they couldn’t be too high.

Our conversation included music and tattoos as usual, so that naturally lead to the recently deceased photographer, Jim Marshall. Marshall shot many an iconic photograph in his day, including famous shots of Hendrix setting his guitar on fire and Cash flipping his middle finger. John Mayer did a great write-up of Marshall and the Chicago Tribune featured the photographer in this Sunday’s edition. 

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Bill Welense
tag:blog.welense.com,2013:Post/1075890 2010-01-30T16:06:00Z 2016-08-03T19:10:02Z In Conversation: Thoughts on the iPad

Following the announcement of the Apple iPad earlier this week, my friend Adam Pavlik, a life-long die-hard Apple fan and shareholder himself, posted to Facebook his thoughts on the new device. Now, when I say Adam is an Apple fan, that is slightly an understatement. While I got my first Mac in 2004, Adam grew up in a home with them and never owned another brand computer that I know of. When I commented on his comments, he commented on mine, and a back and forth of a caliber like I never anticipated ensued.

I am re-posting my conversation with Adam's permission here for two reasons: 

  1. You never see a conversation like this on Facebook. (Frankly, I feel sorry for the other two guys who were tagged in the post because their inboxes were filled with our uber-nerd-fest.) After all, and this is a completely subjective and unscientific observation, most "dialog" on Facebook consists of "OMG lolz!!!1!!one!" and "ur dumb."
  2. Adam and I both make what I feel are valid points and managed to summarize a good portion of the news swirling around the media about the iPad. It saves me from writing a blog about it myself. My friend and roommate Josh and I for one have conversations like this all the time about myriad topics, including Apple of course. It's just that I've never seen an instance where the conversation was so well-documented and played out in a written form.

 So without further adeu, here is the conversation itself:

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Bill Welense