Month: November 2004

Bill Clinton gave a speech at the premiere of The Hunting of The President, which was arguably more interesting to watch than the documentary itself. Many of the points he made in his speech apply to the current political situation as much now, as they did before George W. Bush was reelected.

“I had one of those guys tell me, he was kind of a good friend of mine, he said, ‘You know I hate the way we treat you, but if we fought you fair you’d beat us every time, so we gotta convince people you’re no good. That’s the only way we can win — if we just demonize you, convince people you’re no good, then we don’t have to argue about whether your economic policies, your social policies, your foreign policies are right or wrong. We just say you’re no good.” [at 9’25”]

“… Those guys figured out that what really mattered was having a scandal. We thought we were in a bubble where politics didn’t matter, nobody had to take the work that the Presidency did, the work that the Congress did, and take is seriously. But it does matter, and since 9/11, we all know it matters again. It matters, it matters.” [at 25’28”]

“It’s very important. The thing that I hope that this movement will do… again I say… You can be outraged if you want to, but if I was outraged all this time, after I’d been outraged for years before, I’d be a dead man. Sooner or later you gotta let it go. … I want you to be outraged by the abuse of power — I just want you to understand that Kenneth Starr was not an independent actor. That’s what I wanted to say. And nor did he see himself as a power-abuser — he saw himself as throwing the infidels from the temple, and being part of this big movement to do that. And you can’t whip somebody that you’re on opposite sides with, unless you understand how they see the world.” [at 31’37”]

These are just a couple of tidbits — there are lots more. The video of the entire speech is here. [43’10”, 59.6MB]

Politics

From the picture, it looks like Apple’s new $130 audio I/O has eight inputs, but Todd Maffin says it’s only got two mic inputs. Having only two mic inputs would be a monumental mistake.

To record a real garage band using GarageBand, you need at least four microphone inputs (XLR or otherwise), and ideally you need eight, with the option of using microphone-level sources or line-level sources. Without more microphone inputs, you’re pretty much limited to two accoustic and six electronic instruments at once. To record a drum set reasonably well, you need at least three microphones. Two mic inputs is fine if you’re using drum loops and playing one instrument at a time, but won’t get you a live demo of your band in its proverbial garage. For that you need more than two microphones.

Also, there are already plenty of two-channel microphone-capable I/O devices that work through USB for under $200. These devices already work with GarageBand, and your band can do pretty much all the same things that you can do with an 8-channel I/O that only has two mic inputs. Having additional line inputs is better, but you’d need an external mixer to use those for microphones, and the mixer might cost you another $300-500. Now we’re in the $450-700 range.

Now we might be better off looking at some of the pro-level FireWire I/O options like the Mackie Onyx 1220 12-channel mixer — with the FireWire option it’s about $900. Or the MOTU 896HD 8-channel I/O with 8 XLR or line inputs and outputs, ADAT LightPipe I/O, AES I/O and integrated metering for about $1,150. Both of these boxes have sound that’s likely to be superior to the one Apple is working on.

Here’s the thing: Just about any real garage band I can think of, and even college bands, wouldn’t think twice about paying $300, $350 or even $500, for a portable 8-channel I/O. Along with GarageBand, you’ve got a viable digital multi-track solution for a lot less money than any of the other options currently available. Assuming that it would work with other software besides GarageBand (no reason it shouldn’t in these days of CoreAudio), Apple could really score big with a slightly more expensive box that you can hook 8 microphones to for recording your band, and watch your DVDs with true surround sound to boot.

The same amateur and part-time musicians regularly buy things like ADATs, and hard-disk based multi-tracks for two-to-four times as much money, and many of them may have already bought an mBox from DigiDesign for $500 that only has only two channels of I/O.

I’m pretty sure the $300 price point would be possible, considering that the 8-channel Behringer ADA8000 is only $230. Unfortunately the ADA8000 only has ADAT fiber-optic LightPipe connectivity and no FireWire, but its existence proves that it should be possible for Apple to do this at or near the $300 mark.

BTW: If they added phantom power for powering condenser mic’s, then it’s worth an extra $50 to me.

Talk to some musicians at your local clubs and music stores, and you’ll quickly get an idea of what I’m talking about. Apple would do well to do the same.

Music

Among the more interesting revelations in the Audion story is this bit:

“… if it wasn’t for Audion 2 and the new ‘Speed’ effect plugin, we never would have heard the mind-shattering, ear-haunting experience of what the Chipmunks really sounded like.”

Warning: Don’t click the above link if you ever want to listen to the Chipmunks again without cringing. Ok, you’re already cringing, but if you click the link, you won’t even be able to pretend not to cringe… And don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Music

This is one of the funniest segments ever on the Daily Show: Birds of a Feather is an exposé on gay penguins at the Central Park Zoo.

The segment starts out:

Dr. Dan Wharton of the Central Park Zoo: “We have penguins who have formed a very strong pair bond, and they are the same sex.”

Samantha Bee: “Gay penguins?”

Dr. Wharton: “It’s very, very common in all zoos, and again in nature to see homosexual behavior.

Samantha Bee: “Aah, just because it happens in nature, does not make it natural.”

[audience laughs]

Dr. Wharton: “Um, I think by definition, it actually does.”

It only gets funnier — seriously. Watch the video here. [4’39”, 11.3MB]

Politics

Lt Col Gareth Brandl as quoted by BBC News: “The enemy has got a face. He’s called Satan. He lives in Falluja. And we’re going to destroy him.”

So much for not making the war in Iraq into a religious crusade. But we already knew this…

[via John Robb]

Politics

This American Life‘s Jack Hitt did a story this weekend on voter fraud in the Presidential election.

Most telling is the fact that, at least of the incidents we know about, the fraudulent efforts made by Bush supporters, in some cases paid for by the RNC itself, have resulted in criminal convictions, and a substantial change in the actual vote.

On he other side of the fence, the Democrats efforts haven’t, as far as we know, led to any change in the vote counts themselves. As the piece points out, with new ID laws and signature checks, even if you’re registered 35 times, that doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to vote 35 times…

Listen to the piece here. [MP3, 14’55”, 3.3MB]

If you feel like someone tried to interfere with your right to vote, call the Election Protection Coalition hotline: 866-OUR-VOTE.

Politics

… he can’t be wagged.

Politics

From WBUR’s OnPoint, What Happened? [MP3: 48’49”, 11.1MB]

Cronkite says, as a non-affiliated liberal:

“We really must, we really have to come together… I am non-partisan, I do not belong to a party, but I am liberal… I must say that I am concerned about much of the administration’s program… For one thing, we’ve got to make new approaches to our former allies overseas, so that again the rest of the world looks at the United States as a nation that they can feel comfortable in following, whose leaderships that they can accept in the future, without our having to proclaim our superiority…”

Message for progressives and liberals: Let’s get to work!

(Here’s the WBUR page for the program linked above.)

Politics

But give me a chance to move back to the West Coast first… (bonus)

Thanks, Boing Boing!

Politics

This is a long, but must-read piece on Dowbrigade. My favorite bit is at the end, but read the whole thing. It paints a broad swath across the election itself, and the possibilities for the four years to come…

“Now that the election is safely in the bag, they can let Chief Justice Renquist down off of that terrible Zombie Juice that has been keeping him upright in his chair, and let him go gently into that night. With any luck, Bush will have three or four vacancies to fill, ensuring us a legacy of Compassionate Fascism lasting long into the 21st century.”

Politics