Thursday, February 19, 2009

Little Girls Secretly Plotting World Domination

I'm generally not one to believe in conspiracy theories. In fact, one could say that I'm a skeptic who generally looks at wild theories with a critical eye. However, a recent conversation with a friend of mine now has my head reeling with the possibility that little girls are about to launch some sort of attack on me.

In retrospect my first suspicions of little girls began with the birth of my first daughter. Her ability to control my emotions with nothing more than a flippant look should have alerted me early on to the mounting storm that, I now suspect, is on the horizon. Now that I have two more daughters I know that the powers that infant girls hold over me is nothing compared that of a more experienced toddler who has honed her skills at captivation to the precipice of breaking point and even that is but child's play compared to their denarian counterparts. My oldest daughter, now ten years old, has achieved grand master status in exerting her will over me.

Now, until last night I was blissfully unaware of the scope of this problem. In a seaming innocuous conversation with a friend, that was purely innocent, the proverbial wool was removed from my eyes. Walk with me now down the road that led me to my current state of paranoia.

My daughter is, among other things, a girl scout and in that capacity she has recently been peddling cookies which arrived in their packaging to my house last night. This not so unexpected event sparked what I like to call "The Thin Mint Conversation." If, like me, you have a particular affinity for these little culinary wonders you have invariably had this conversation. It goes some thing like this:

Person 1: "Hey, I see you have procured some Thin Mints"
Person 2: "Indeed, they are a favorite of mine!"
Person 3: "I as well list these among my favorites. However, When consuming them I am unable to limit myself and invariably eat an entire sleeve."
Person 4: "I also find myself in a similar predicament."

or some variation and the two people continue there lives unaffected. I myself would have not given this common conversation any more though if this particular conversation hadn't included an addenda that include how Thin Mint's plastic sleeving splits all the way down the middle no matter how much attention and care is given to opening the packaging. This phenomena leads one to not risk wasting any that might have spilled out let alone those now unprotected cookies that will probably go stale if placed back in the box. As such, one finds themselves in a position of eating the entire sleeve to save them from an unfortunate loss of flavor. Having finished this conversation my friend left and probably didn't give it any mind. I however couldn't help contemplating the fact that this design might be intentional and part of a greater plan for little girls to advance some agenda I was unaware of.

I still do not know their demands, probably something to do with ponies, and I don't know if they will be forgiving overlords, but the execution of their devious plan is brilliant. Every facet is carefully crafted to make me completely docile and in their control. They leverage their cuteness and charm to get me to buy a frightfully addictive product who's very packaging is designed to coerce you into eating and buying more, all the while pacifying you and fattening you into complete complacency. If they apply these tactics to any other industry, well, god help us all. I can only hope that they remember how good I was to them when their regime finally gains control.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

SAE Ends Financial Support For Ardour

Unfortunately it was recently announce soon after the release of Ardour SAE Edition that SAE would no longer support the development of Ardour financially. That has placed the lead developer of the project, Paul Davis, in the position of considering how to supplement his income to make up for the shortfall. According to the main page for Ardour, he is considering consulting to other open source projects. This, of course, would leave him with less time to work on Ardour development. For the community around Ardour that would mean slower releases and implementation of new features.
Currently the project receives $1632 per month from 195 subscribers using their PayPal accounts to show continued support for Paul's work. However, Paul is making a plea to the community to increase the monthly contributions to the project to $4500 per month($54,000 per year). This would allow Ardour development to continues as it did with SAE's financial support.
I have to admit that, although I use Ardour nearly daily, I hadn't contributed to the project financially. As soon as I heard the news though I went to the site and subscribed at the $10 per month level. Shamefully, deep down I know the reason I didn't support the project financially before was most likely because of SAE's financial contribution. I guess I had the attitude that the project was doing all right and didn't need any of my hard earned money. I also think that this was pretty common among Ardour users.
So, in a strange way, albeit bad for Paul in the sort term, this might just be a catalyst in the community to take more responsibility for the project. It's just not acceptable to sit back and hope that another SAE is going to come along an make everything right. I don't use free software because I'm cheap, maybe complacent sometimes but not cheap. I use it because it's what is right.
It's scary to think that the music that is being recorded right now is held in proprietary formats and in 50 years from now, when the next great development in music technology comes down the pipe, we won't be able to work with that material in it's native format. Think about digitally re mastering audio for CD. Sure, Pro Tools might be an "Industry Standard" but the format is not a Open. There is no competition or alternatives that read all the info contained in a Pro Tools session. That means that very talented producers and mixers work is going to be forfeited to the history books because we won't be able to read automation data, what plug-ins they used, etc. Instead of taking advantage of digitals ability to preserve data we are trapping our data into undocumented file formats and doing nothing about it.
This brings us to the heart of "Free Culture". Enabling creators to create by giving them the tools to develop their art freely. Not based on how much money they have, but by how much skill they have at their art. Eventually art becomes public domain and I would hate to think that the works of Mozart or Bach would be lost to eternity because we couldn't read the paper it was printed on because of proprietary ink technology or even works some type of DRM that coded the music so it could only be read by special glasses that aren't made any more.
Art should not be about elitism, as Apple would wish, it should be about expression of anthropomorphic ideas and of the human experience. Supporting projects like Ardour breaks down barriers that are being forced on us by our technology. I urge everyone to step up to the plate and make the continued development of Ardour a reality.