Archive for August, 2016

Civilization comes to protools

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

So, after years of frustration setting gain levels, I have discovered a protools plugin that returns me to a metering format that I understand intuitively and can use even when I’m using one hand to choose patches and the other to play riffs – yes, the old school analog VU meter has come to pro tools in a *excellent* emulation by Klangheim

You can’t tell me this doesn’t just warm the cockles of your heart:

The emulation is extremely faithful, although to get the behavior of the meters of my youth I had to yank the rise time down to 150ms. (And yes, you can tweak the rise, overshoot, and fall times)

Because it’s a plugin that goes into a protools plugin slot, you can also easily do things like sticking a meter both before and after a compressor – and with four skins to choose from, you can easily tell them apart. When tweaking a vocal that won’t sit right in the mix this can be a real timesaver. It doesn’t appear to use any CPU to speak of. As a side bonus, when doing faster than realtime bouncing, the peak lights still work, so you get a nice sanity check if you put it across the master fader on bounce.

I would give this my ‘best plugin under $10’ prize.

History Of Modern, remixed

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

Here’s a remix of HOM – this is much closer to the version that will be on the album..

Sheer – History Of Modern

Note this later appeared on Believing Is Seeing.


Monday, August 22nd, 2016

This is one of my posts that I make so I can link to it from facebook instead of repeatedly typing the same things in comments.

You’d think you guys had never watched pro wrestling.

Trump is playing a Heel. By choice, and I imagine to his great entertainment. It’s pretty clear, since he and Hillary are friends, that they decided to get together and rig a election. Nothing in the rules says they can’t do it, and I have to say, it’s starting to be a lot of fun to watch. He’s clearly having a lot of fun with his mustache-twirling villain role – now he may actually believe the things he’s saying, or he may not, but I would take anything he has to say with a grain of salt.

For me, this is a pretty winning situation. A heel is not going to win the election, and we don’t end up with a right-wing whacko running the country. But if you’re actually feeling outrage about Trump, well, I guess he’s playing his role well. What I really wonder is whether he will break kayfabe at the end or not. If he’s genuinely a force for good, he will, just to help his supporters understand how broken they are. Assuming they’re not just part of the gag as well, which – to be honest – they might be.

12 Bar Bach

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

So, this is a example of my sense of humor. Personally, I think it’s quite funny. I wasn’t going to release it, because I assumed it was just me who would think it was funny (sometimes my sense of humor is a little out of phase with everyone else’s), but then I ran it by a couple of friends and they also thought it was funny, so here we have..

How this track came to be – I recently purchased After much struggling with getting it installed, I spent some time messing with it, and then decided to try doing something absurd with it, just to see how it stacked up. And what could be more absurd than using a pipe organ for the 12 bar blues?

From there, I was reminded of a theory I had discussed with my dad a long time ago, that J.S. Bach was a jam musician. And, of course the talking blues are a traditional thing.. so..


Monday, August 15th, 2016

So, in a comment to, Alderin said “I agree that the software needs adjustment. The difficulty is that we don’t have the source code, we have to decompile and reverse-engineer it before was can being to find the bugs we need to fix.”

I think this is part of the hope of what we might gain through making a ANN the size and shape of a human.

1) It would let us find out what happens when you run our memetic software with a different instinct table
2) It would let us find out how our memetic software ends up rendered ‘on the iron’, which might be very instructive.

One of the questions that’s still very much open for debate is whether, even if we did know what to do differently for software, we’d be able to change the existing running software on the thundering herd of humans out there, or if all we could do is improve future generations. It is worth noting as a side note that, much as I loathe aspects of Christianity, I also recognize it was probably a significant upgrade from what was being memetically distributed prior to it being authored. Ideally a *really* good software upgrade would tend to be viral because the people running it would be better adapted – this I think was the plan in the fictional work Stranger In A Strange Land.

Believing Is Seeing

Sunday, August 14th, 2016

I’m proud to announce the first track from the upcoming 2016 Sheer solo album – Featuring Arthur St James on vocals and Bruce DeGrado on drums –

Complete credits:

Lead Vocals: Arthur St James
Backing Vocals: Sheer
Guitars: Sheer, Arthur St James
Mixing: Sheer, Arthur St James
Piano, B3, Synthesizer: Sheer
Lyrics: Sheer
Music: Sheer
Arrangement: Sheer, Arthur St James
Drums: Sheer, Arthur St James, Bruce Degrado
Producer: Sheer
Associate Producer: Arthur St James

Note this later became the title track for Believing Is Seeing, which was released in 2022.

Something I was mulling over this morning

Sunday, August 14th, 2016

To what extent were the Jews in WWII the 1% of Germany? I kind of wonder if we’re seeing a repeat of some of the same patterns that led up to that war, and if maybe we shouldn’t back up and consider taking a different path. I mean, granted, you’ve got one set of people hating on the 1%, and another set of people hating on the immigrants, gays, etc, but you certainly have a bunch of people all saying that all our problems are caused by $SOME_OTHER_GROUP, when in fact almost none of them are.

Our problems aren’t caused by the 1%, because there’s as much food, steel, and concrete as there is. They’re caused by how we think about resources and resource allocation – beliefs that lead to food rotting in the field while people go hungry and people being homeless while houses sit empty. But that’s not the fault of the 1%, it’s the fault of the software we’re all running, the things we all believe about property and resources.

I could make similar points about the fatal flaws in the rule of law, in the criminal justice system, in our religions and morals, but what it all adds up to is that we’re running some truly crappy software, memetically distributed, and part of why that’s true is we’re afraid to write something better. And there’s no doubt that writing a new memetic operating system for humanity would involve a fair amount of risk, and would be something that would have to be done carefully and with some consideration, and that most of the people here apparently are not willing to open their eyes far enough to see that the current software we’re running is not that great. (Although, increasingly, there are people who are, and there’s always the hope that if and when we get a working neural network smarter than we are, it could help, or that the current generation, who see a situation where working full time won’t rent you a apartment because of our very stupid beliefs about inflation and the value of time – will rise up and come up with something better. Of course, it’s more likely a bunch of people will get shot and nothing will get better, but one can always hope)

And then, of course, this might all just be my conscious experience. I know there’s something wrong with my mind, and I know it has plenty of crunch, computing wise, so it may be painting me a picture that’s far darker than the real world for reasons of it’s own. If so, I wish it’d stop doing that.

Bible fails debug asserts

Sunday, August 14th, 2016

So, I wanted to talk a little more about part of what I’m trying to say in

What I’m trying to say is that the bible contains a failed if-then ladder.

Let’s write it out in psuedocode, shall we?

ASSERT(God == Love) (1 John 4:8)
ASSERT(Love == Keeps no record of wrongs) (1 Corinth 13:5)
ASSERT(God == Keeping a record of wrongs and will punish you for changing this book) (Rev 22:18)

See the problem?

You can’t have all three be true at once.

Another currency

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

So, recently a discussion with the domain squatter who bought after I missed a email about it needing renewed (many years ago) contacted me wanting to sell it. It quickly became clear that we were not in the same ballpark – my top offer was $1k, they wanted $9.5 – and while I miss it, I don’t miss it *that* much – it did get me thinking about another type of currency.

Domain squatters who register domains as soon as they become available after failure to register by the original owners are a example of one of those things that reduces happiness in the world. Presumably the people doing this are okay with this – they don’t mind being evil as long as they’re making money – but it makes me wonder how many enterprises make money at the cost of happiness. I’m talking about sum total happiness here – and it may be that if the domain squatter does make his $9.5k his increased happiness will cancel out my reduced happiness, or even I suppose be more than my reduced happiness although I kind of doubt it somehow.

But it does make me think about happiness as currency. In specific, the way this world is extremely overcomplicated, with taxes, forms, laws, customs, and the like reduces happiness, and a lot of it can be traced to people needing to do something in order to get paid. I think we’d probably increase happiness a lot if we stopped requiring everyone to have a job, *both* in the fact that people wouldn’t be made miserable by doing their jobs that shouldn’t have existed in the first place, and in the fact that a lot of those ‘makework’ jobs end up making lives worse for other people – I’m especially looking at government here, but I could just as easily be looking at homeowners associations.

Now, I doubt this particular domain squatter is doing this hustle just because s/he couldn’t find something better to do with h* time – but it would be really interesting to know if h* would still be squatting on domains if h* didn’t have to in order to keep eating and living indoors – that is, does h* do it because h* gets some particular joy from it, or is it just a way to keep on keeping on? Which leads me to think, not for the first nor I’m sure the last time that our insistence on everyone having a job is hurting us, since many jobs, by their very existence, hurt the happiness level of the person doing the job, and some hurt the happiness level of many people. (Domain squatting would be a example of a job which hurts a lot of people a little bit.)

I titled this another currency, because I’m starting to think of misery and happiness as something to be tracked and optimized for. Imagine a capitalist society where happiness was a capital that was optimized for.. I think my friend Andy is already thinking along these lines.. and how much better of a experience for all involved it could be.