Ableton Live Non-Song

What makes a “non-song?” In this instance, it is the lack of overall structure. Here, I am, somewhat randomly, adding and subtracting loops that I recorded.

Most of the sounds come from samples of my 8-string guitar. The techno bass is the Novation Bass Station plugin. The drums are from the Ableton Live sample set.

I enjoy putting tracks like this together. They are pieces of something else. Maybe a story. Maybe a video. Maybe something that just sits there while you are doing other things.

Let me know what you think.

Augmented Reality and My Kids

I know what I need–Augmented Reality (AR) glasses for tending to my newborn triplets in the middle of the night. Think about it. It’s 2 a.m., one of the babies starts crying. They all start crying. I wake up, bleary-eyed, confused. I put on my AR glasses and say “baby lights on.” In my field of vision, it looks like I have turned all the lights in the house on full blast. I walk downstairs, get their bottles ready, change them, feed them, put them to bed. I never turn on the lights as far as they are concerned. But, I see everything, get enough light to wake up, and when I am done, take off the glasses and pass right back out until the next feeding time in what feels like 20 minutes.

Of course, there are technical problems here. Headset AR is too bulky right now–I am not going to strap on a HoloLens and stumble around the house. I also don’t want to horrify my children as I am leaning over their cribs with a giant mask on; I may as well wear a pair of night vision goggles. I need something that wears like a pair of glasses.

Aside from the bulk, the type of simulated lighting that I want is not generally available yet. What would it take to scan the room, use the available light to map it, and then re-render everything as if it was bathed in bright light? If it isn’t possible now, thought, it will be. Heck, the technology will eventually be able to bath the room in starlight, or make the room look like it is on the surface of another planet. If I am going to tend to my kids in a fog, maybe it can be the fog of Venus’s atmosphere.

I’m ready. But, by the time this is all available, I think the kids will be past nighttime diaper changes.

Productivity and Control

Over the past few years, I have gotten into the idea of productivity and optimizing my workflow. This desire grew from working in an environment defined by the constant churn of responding to emails and attending meetings.

It was easy to fall into the trap of trying to clear my inbox and calling that productive. Or, I would have a full day of meetings and, again, label that as getting things done. The reality, though, was that not many real tasks get completed through email replies and hour-long share outs. I could say that I was “busy,” but busy is not the same as being productive.

Eventually, I started to think about how to get out of that trap. How could I be proactive, rather than reactive? How could I be the boss of my own work? I’m not talking about being my own boss. I’m talking about having some degree of ownership of my work product. The problem is, when you have a boss who wants you to be responsive to their emails and meeting requests, you don’t get to be proactive. You are stuck in a state of reactivity. No matter what your title, you become their admin assistant.

And so, I realized, that all of the Harvard Business Review articles, and all of the Tim Ferriss podcasts wouldn’t magically give me more control. I needed to find a different outlet, whether a new job, or a new hobby.

There is a lot to be learned from all of the self-help and productivity gurus out there. You just have to accept that their advice is going to be tempered by the control (or lack of) that you have in your present situation.

More on that another time.

Fiction and Future Law

I am interested in putting together a short story collection of sci-fi law stories. Below is the beginning of one. Not sure if this is an opening crawl, or something else yet. Lots of writing and editing will still need to happen, of course. Enjoy!

As the sophistication of AI increased, the need for living legal representation decreased. It started with a simple bot to challenge parking tickets. Shortly after that, contract drafts were selected by bots. Then AI made suggested negotiation points. Then it began negotiating on our behalf. At each step, another set of lawyers was put out of work.

The last surviving areas were in legal scholarship–which was augmented by AI researchers–and litigators. AI hadn’t quite caught up to the nuance of trial strategy when 12 jurors, and multiple human witnesses were involved. It wasn’t great at the rhetoric needed to sway emotions. Not yet, anyway.

But, technology kept pushing forward into the legal industry. And the best place to beta test litigator AIs was in misdemeanor criminal defense–low stakes, common fact patterns, and most importantly, limited power on the part of the first test clients. Indigent criminal defendants couldn’t afford to go elsewhere. Besides, they always complained that they wanted a “real lawyer” instead of their public defender. The complaint would make a lot more sense with a terminal screen and a synthetic voice.

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say, can and will be used against you. You have the right to an attorney, if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be programmed for you…