Sunday, January 31, 2010

OK, so I'm a dummy...

I've got to admit that I've never found a 3-D software program that made sense to me. I spent about a month trying to come to grips with Blender and I failed miserably. I could only do things that the tutorials said for me to do, and I could only do them exactly as the tutorials did them. For making my own work, I was useless.

Finally, I decided to spend time (for about the fourth time) with Google Sketchup, and I decided to get a book to walk me through it. I like books, and I like using books to learn something new. I went to the local B&N and started diving into the books that were available. It took about 30 minutes to come to a horrifying conclusion: I needed the "Google SketchUp 7 for Dummies" book in order to make sense of this software.

I've always thought that the "For Dummies" series of books were for people self-selecting themselves as idiots, and that getting one of these books meant that you would never actually become a useful user. This one book made me rethink the entire thing. Author Aidan Chopra does an excellent job of holding my hand through the learning process, but also provides a lot of tips and ideas that made me anxious (and able) to launch off into my own.

I've got a school project that's going to have some pervasive 3D work, and I'm glad I finally found a way to wrap my head around the problem. Now, if I can just figure out how to get these models imported into Max/Jitter, I'll be cooking!


Monday, January 25, 2010

Here I Come, Oh Ye Berlin Schoolers

Alright, so here we go with some Media Studies craziness. This weekend was Berlin School weekend. I spent almost 4 hours interviewing Mike Metlay about the early days of the Berlin School and the cassette cultuer that it bred. Then I pounded the Big Four Tangerine Dream CD's (Phaedra, Rubycon, Ricochet and Stratosfear) while programming step sequencers in Max for Live. More of the same today (except I was programming cellblock changes) - all in the name of science.

Social science, that is.

I'm in the process of writing up a mini-thesis about the Berlin School music fans that developed their own music, tradition, authenticity signifiers and communities as an alternative to typical "niche community" studies. I've found that most studies of niche culture either considers the group a bunch of pathological nitwits or a quaint but unsophisticated grouping ripe for TARGETED INTERNET MARKETING.


The deeper I dig into the Berlin School world, the more interesting I find both the community and the people in it. This is very different from, say, American Idol fan-nuts; the Berlin Schoolers took the music into their own hands and have developed it into a (sorta) living and (kinda) breathing form of expression. I'll have more details to post soon, but let's just say there is a lot of information here that will contradict most niche community study that's gone on to date.

I'm sure I'll be crucified for going this direction, but at least it is fun.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Real World iPhone App Marketing.

So how does an iPhone app developer do any marketing these days? I'm not really sure. With umpteen gadzillion apps on the market, I guess it's back to one-on-one sales. A good example is a recent snag of Looptastic Producer. I first saw this in action on my favorite web-production The Cranky Geeks. They had some guy on there talking about iPhone apps that he was hawking, and some audio program was used to remix the Cranky Geeks theme on-the-fly. It seemed fun, but didn't really register on my radar at all.

This weekend, I'm at NAMM and meet up with one of my long-time industry friend, David Battino. We started talking about all-things-audio - as well as all-things-interwebs. I mentioned that I was addicted to the Cranky Geeks show, and he laughed, saying that he'd been involved in getting one of his clients covered on the show. It turned out to be Looptastic Producer, and he was the person that had set up the remix content used on the show.

NOW I HAD A REASON TO PAY ATTENTION. Someone that I knew and liked had some direct experience with the product, was part of the "team" in some way, and I was motivated to give it a try. Well worth the effort, and a cool piece of software. An interesting turn of events, but perhaps this is really how software is marketed in Our Brave New World.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Must see non-TV

OK all you slackers. Here's a post for enjoying while just sitting around staring at the screen. Last week there was an opening at the Victoria H. Myhren Gallery on the DU campus for video artist Cliff Evans. Fantastic, inspiring stuff. He's got a fair amount of work on his website (, much of which straddles the worlds of utopia and dystopia. Challenging yet fun viewing, I suggest that you give it a view whether you like video art or not.