Rozovian’s Music Log

Posts Tagged ‘apple’

iT phone home

Posted by Ad on April 23, 2015

Wow, it’s been a while. I had stuff written, but never posted. So, let’s get some new thoughts online.

There are different ways of using stuff. Take matches. You can light things on fire with them. The orthodox way is to draw the match against the striking surface and the bring the burning match near paper or kindling. A non-standard method is to use matches to light another match on fire, making them stick together. This isn’t the standard way of lighting things on fire tho.

Another creative, non-standard use of matches is to build things out of them. You can build animals out of them and pinecones, you can build houses and things out of them… and optionally also light these on fire.

I can classify uses of things into three categories: intended use, non-standard use, and advanced use. Simple enough?

So there’s iTunes, and OSX. iTunes worked great when it was a music library and little else. It works ok as an mp3-player manager, altho the clunky way of throwing files forth and back could be improved by making it possible in the Finder (or Windows) instead. But iTunes really breaks down when connecting to the web.

I don’t use the iTunes store for much. All my iTunes gift cards have been used in the App Store instead. I don’t really listen to the stuff iTunes sells, except for the stuff friends of mine have already released elsewhere (so I don’t need to buy it from iTunes). So I’ve disabled the store. I mentioned in a post way back when that iTunes wanted to check, twice, that I was aware that I wasn’t logged into the store. That was annoying, but at least it only asked twice.

That’s not the case with the new problem I’ve found: on a computer-to-computer network, the kind that I use when I don’t have access to any other network, and I want to connect two devices; iTunes wants to connect to internet radio. It can’t. That’s fine. What’s not fine is that it tells me. Not once, or twice, but _indefinitely_.

So I was semi-DJ-ing at this event, and didn’t want to have to run forth and back to adjust volume levels with my hastily compiled playlist, so I started a computer-computer network and connected the iPhone to that. And iTunes kept telling me it couldn’t connect to internet radio.


Time to check out Songbird again. With any luck, it can do everything I actually use iTunes for.

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Apple “genius”

Posted by Ad on August 4, 2012

While on the topic of piracy, lemme tell you about the dumbest Apple App Store things I’ve seen so far. Totally hypothetically, I mean.

So this remixer friend of mine is collaborating with another remixer on a track, and this other remixer uses GarageBand. Which I, I mean, my friend; also has. It’s an older version on the music computer, but the Lion (have I mentioned Lion is horrendous to use when used to SL or previous Mac OSs?) laptop I got… for him… this year, has the new version of GB. The problem is that it’s still an older version, so it doesn’t open the other remixers .band files. So my friend goes to the App Store to check the price of the newest version. 12 euros. That’s too much. He also happens to live in a country that Apple apparently doesn’t trust to allow doing PayPal purchases, and he doesn’t have a credit card. I may have mentioned that I have had that problem, and the Apple Support folks brilliant solution was “get a credit card”. In a rudely robo-polite roundabout rude way of saying it.

But he notices the laptop displays only an update button instead of a price. He assume it’s a free update, which the error messages GB gave him alluded to. He tries it. It requires him to sign in with his Apple ID. He does that, reluctantly. An App Store license change dialog open up. Yes whatever. The license appeared in neither my friend’s native language nor English. He clicked some checkbox thing and then a button thing and was then sent back to the App Store and could download the update.

Success! I am so smart- I mean my friend is so smart. S – M – R – T.

Also, this update can open the other remixer’s .band files without a problem.

So where’s the dumb thing, besides Apple reluctance to let Finns use PayPal? Here:

Once installed, my friend casually throws it from one machine to the other. And double-clicks it on the main music machine. And it installs 1.6 gigs of GarageBand stuff, and works just fine.

This all leads me to a couple of possibilities:

1) Apple is watching us, waiting for us to circumvent their licenses.. and when we do, the lawyers pounce. Considering the legal climate these days, it wouldn’t surprise me. Nobody reads license agreements anyway, for good reason.

2) Apple are trying to milk the wallets of rich morons, while not inconveniencing less casual users too much. This seems unlikely, because Lion.

3) Plain old stupid.

I fear the first (for my friend, I mean), hope for the second, and suspect the third.

This is the stuff that – aside from the successful outcome in this particular anecdote – make me consider pirating stuff. And/or switching to Linux. Screw it, I’ll learn programming and make my own OS, and my own networking tools, and my own text editor. And my own DTP suite. And my own… music program stuff. Screw it, I’m stuck with Apple.

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Ninja Consumers

Posted by Ad on March 27, 2012

Finland’s allegedly trailing way behind our neighbor Sweden in consumption of streamed and downloaded music. I don’t believe that, I think it’s just a difference in behavior that accounts for the over 30% difference.

I may have mentioned having attempted to buy Logic 9 on the App Store, but was unable to actually pay. The store only accepts a bunch of credit cards, which I know better than to get. After some correspondence with Apple’s customer service (who politely/robotically suggested, repeatedly, that I should just get a credit card), I decided it wasn’t worth the trouble. So far, Logic Express 8 serves me fine, and when that fails, I can move to a different DAW. I’ve heard good things about Digital Performer, I’ve been looking at Ableton Live for live performance reasons, there’s always the very affordable Reaper, and beyond those a myriad of other options.

What bothered me the most is the lack of a PayPal option in Apple’s stores, as it’s an option in the US but not here. That’s what I use to buy stuff on Steam and Bandcamp, it’s a very convenient payment options that Apple seems to allow in other countries. Having to get a credit card is a hoop I might jump through if there was no other option. But that’s not the case. There’s other software… and other means.

My theory on piracy is that there’s three types of pirates: pirates of convenience, pirates of economy, and pirates of ideals. Pirates of ideals are the free-culture hippies that think information shouldn’t be locked up and everything should be available for free. Not sure to what extent I agree with them, there’s freedom of information acts on one side, and indie artists’ earnings stolen by labels and royalty-collecting agencies on the other. Pirates of economy are the ones who can’t afford the stuff they pirate, or who just don’t want to pay. In the developing world, I support this attitude. Get stuff, use stuff, build business and education. In the developed world, there’s certainly a lower class that may not be able to afford to keep up with the music and movies their more affluent neighbors consume, but the majority population can afford the 10 bucks an album costs these days.

Still, the most interesting type are the pirates of convenience. These include brats with a runaway sense of entitlement as well as lazy ppl who just want stuff in the most convenient way possible, and probably further still in… some direction. I use Steam because it’s convenient. It’s the ultimate combination of store, personal library and networking tool. I’ve used other means of getting the stuff I wanted… because it was convenient.

The thing is, pirates of convenience may well pay for their stuff (even to the point where they aren’t pirates anymore) if they get it without jumping through hoops. Bandcamp does this well. With a clean interface and a few clicks, I buy music and support the artist. I typically listen to music by my friends, released on Bandcamp (or ocremix), but if I wanted something else, Apple’s iTunes Store is among the last places I’d buy from. No credit card, no PayPal option, no way of paying short of buying a dozen of those iTunes Store cards from Apple Stores irl. Considering there are music stores out there that attempt to sell stuff released for free (eg free releases from Bandcamp, ocremix albums et al), I feel safer getting music from a place where I know the wrong ppl aren’t profiting from the artists’ work.

Despite speaking from a very limited experience with music stores, I think the main reason Finland’s trailing in music downloading/streaming is in measuring the wrong thing: only purchases and streaming services that are being tracked by the music… tracking… ppl. There’s YouTube (-to-mp3), there’s torrents, there’s a lot of ways to get music besides iTunes, Spotify, and whatever else was tracked.

It’s not like Finns are tech-illiterates. It may actually be the opposite. That’s why I don’t think my ISP blocking The Pirate Bay is gonna stop ppl.

Two more things, mostly unrelated: I’ve got a plan/idea/design for a movie/tv-show site, one that includes a way to make money from the site. There’s just the problems of convincing advertisers, and to consolidate shows and movies into a single service rather than have each studio and network demand special treatment/jack up prices for their catalogues or otherwise make their own services… thus driving ppl to the quasi-legal link sites and torrent searches instead. Tho for a single-network service it might work, too. Maybe I should just patent my idea and sit on it, then sue anyone that came up with it independently if they get big. That’s apparently how the big tech companies do it. If only game devs could do the same with to get CloneVille (as in Zynga) off the map.

The other thing is my new album plan: my old music as a free album… or album series. We’ll see. I think I have four tracks being worked on atm that fits my old methods, so they’re candidates for this album. Any proper album would be a later concern, now I’ll just focus on finishing random tracks and giving some extra attention to my few thousands of old tracks.

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Apple Doesn’t Work on This Anymore

Posted by Ad on March 9, 2012

Remember AppleWorks? I remember it from back when it was called ClarisWorks. I like it. Sure, it wasn’t Photoshop, it wasn’t Office, it wasn’t even Word, but over the years, it became a useful wrench in my workflow. While the database and spreadsheet functionality saw some use towards the latter years, the painting functionality barely any use at all, those are fairly easily replaced. Now if only I could get LibreOffice spreadsheets to convert a text-based field to boolean while keeping the information…

The drawing functionality, however, is difficult to replace. Any DTP layout program should suffice, but it’s hard to find something affordable and stable. Especially now that I’m out of a job and don’t have spare hundreds to spend on software. Vector graphics and layout programs are sort’a in the right direction, but not quite. EazyDraw, developed as a replacement for the drawing tools in AW and capable of reading most of the information in AW drawing documents would be great, if not for a clunky interface.

That’s probably what irks me the most: interfaces. X11’s interface puts two rows of redundant stuff on the screen, and Inkscape looks ridiculous with 5-6 rows of menus and margins before I actually get to the document itself. I kind’a feel the same about OSX sometimes – the dock is useful and looks nice, but it takes up precious real estate on a laptop screen.

Anyway, I spend some of my spare time trying to design board games, card games, games of whatever type I can. Before I do any prototyping and testing, I sketch it out on the computer. I mean, I did. Now I have to rely on TextEdit – which works ok when it’s just notes and card lists, but it doesn’t let me put text blocks, lines, and images wherever I want. That’s what I did in AppleWorks.

On a related note, I use Snow Leopard’s TextEdit because Lion’s doesn’t fit my workflow, and didn’t give me any working options to change its behavior. For that matter, lots of apps in Lion don’t even understand command-Q because they don’t have a quit option, only “quit with windows” or “quit, close windows”. Apple, Y U NO keep it simple, stupid?

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The Lion Experience…

Posted by Ad on January 26, 2012

…is horrible.

I bought a new laptop. So far, I’ve found that my previous workflow with TextEdit won’t work, so I gotta find another light-weight editor to work with. I’ve found that my previous use of cmd-tab and cmd-> (default: cmd-tilde) to switch between applications and windows within them (respectively) won’t work. I can’t even leave TextEdit in the background without it disappearing from the cmd-tab menu.

I’ve also found that Logic 8 doesn’t work on Lion. That means I can’t work on music on my brand new laptop. Sure, there’s baby GarageBand, Reaper, and other DAWs around – but all my music is in Logic. My music workflow is in Logic. I can neither pay for Logic 9 with PayPal (because my Apple ID is registered in the wrong country) nor can I use Logic 8 on it. Buy Snow Leopard or don’t make music on the laptop.

I can handle the cosmetic differences, and I can appreciate much what’s changed under the hood, but when a machine I wanted as a portable music studio can’t do music anymore, it makes me mad. I have half a mind to write a message to Apple on the machine and throw it through the window of an Apple Store somewhere. I try to resist the urge of slamming the thing into the wall. This is not the ease of use that Apple promises its users.

In trying to find solutions to these problems, I’ve found that long-time Apple users all over the net despise Lion. If they want everyone to get an iPad instead, why create Lion at all, why not sell 27” iPads?

I’ve been spending the past day trying to figure out how to get Lion to behave, but it doesn’t let me. Perhaps I should just get Linux, it’s probably less trouble.

edit: I now got Logic 8 working, and I got rid of Lion’s TexEdit and replaced it with SL’s. Progress!

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Apple are Morons, RIAA worse

Posted by Ad on January 24, 2012

Lately, iTunes has been asking me to sign in a few seconds after starting the app. I get it, it’s a music store that I persist in using as the music library it used to be. But you’d expect the program to let me opt out of logging in every time. What’s more annoying is that it asks twice, with some delay in between. This even happens when the iTunes Store is disabled in the Parental options.

I had a similar problem with an old version of Photoshop Elements, where every so often after I’ve started it, it “couldn’t get info” from… somewhere. Didn’t matter if I was in the middle of tweaking an adjustment layer or effect, it just dropped everything to let me know that it couldn’t get info from wherever. I’m tolerating that because once it’s tried a few times, it stops. Besides, I don’t use PS for much anyway, and that old version will be retired along with my old laptoip once I get a new one.

But when Apple does this to me, it’s worse. It’s not a glitch, it’s something that someone decided was a good idea. I don’t like the idea of logging in to do stuff on my own computer. I don’t use the iTunes store, and I’ve only bought a handful or Apps via the App Store. While it never actually requires me to log in, asking – twice – is annoying.

Speaking of which, I’m not likely to purchase much of anything from either store anyway. I don’t have a credit card, and I can’t get either store to accept PayPal, which I use for my online purchases. I’ve heard there was an issue with the App Store charging as much as 4000USD for Lion through some glitch, but that’s no reason to pull support for it… especially as so many other parts of the internet use PayPal without any apparent problems. I mean, every game I’ve bought on Steam I’ve bought via PayPal. IIRC, all the music software I’ve bought over the net I’ve bought with PayPal.

And segueing from iTunes, the fallout from the rightfully rejected SOPA/PIPA has shown the true colors of the MPAA and the RIAA. The way I see it, we could do without those two. The less power they have, the more they’ll have to focus on good music, not just metrics and a bland copy of the next hot thing. Maybe they’ll support real artist instead of manufacturing their own?

The way I understand it, Spotify has to deal with whatever they demand for their music, and if Spotify doesn’t make enough dough to keep up, they lose their contracts with the big music companies. That might actually be a good thing. If I knew my money was going to the ppl that make the music I listen to, I’d happily pay for a subscription to Spotify. Currently, I wouldn’t.

If the big labels pull their stuff, Spotify could survive as a transparent, independent music platform, delivering great music, supporting the artists that make the music, promoting new and interesting indie artists. Last I used Spotify, it was a search engine for names of songs and artists, with a “featured” page with the “hottest” music. I don’t care. I’m apparently too hipster to like most modern pop music. What if I wanna find some new, cool, underappreciated artist, or discover the unknowns hits of some niche genre, or catch up on jazz history or video game releases?

The movie industry could do better too. While stuff like Attack the Block and other gold does appear from time to time, we’re still getting huge budgets on mediocre films. Sure, Inception was cool, but Avatar was predictable and gimmicky, like the entire, color-ruining, still not focus-altering 3d thing. Granted, you need money to make movies, so why not spend more money on movies and less on bribes?

While big, spectacular films, good or not, will always draw ppl in for the things that money can buy on screen, the record industry is in a terrible position where music is all over the place and the value of any given album or song has dropped dramatically.

While Apple tries to remedy this with a convenient means of buying music, and Spotify paying big money to use the big names on its service, I’m hoping someone’s gonna come up with a, big new music service that’s better than both of those. Something that doesn’t ask you repeatedly to log in to your own music, and that actually pays the artists.

In the mean time, I’ll use PayPal to buy my music from artists’ bandcamp pages or from cdbaby or something. As for my own music, I’m still on Logic Express 8, and while I’ve been meaning to upgrade, Apple doesn’t make it easy for me to hand them my money…

PS. I’m still displeased with wordpress’ new interface. I can see one or two paragraphs of text in the New Post text box, and the resize thing doesn’t work. Navigating through the site to get to the Add New Post page thatactually works is troublesome because the whole thing defaults to the wrong blog. I have two. This belongs on the music one. Dear webmasters, stop “fixing” things by b0rking them!

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Change / Policy

Posted by Ad on August 21, 2011

Two things, besides acknowledging that I haven’t been nearly as much on AIM as I used to, and have been slow to respond this summer. I blame it all on it being summer. 😀

So, thing #1 – Apple. I’m starting to dislike how they handle some of their products. I went through about 150 semi-old projects I’ve made in Logic to bounce them to mp3 and see which ones I like enough to make real songs out of. Well, each bounce required at least 6 manual mouseclicks – no shortcuts. I could have played with AppleScript to get some macro going, but Logic has some inherent stability problems in that it can run out of memory and crash without any warning, so I’d rather do things manually so I know when and where things go wrong. Still, no keyboard shortcut for bounce audio? No memory as to what format I’ve exported the last HUNDRED projects as? No way of getting out of the id3-tag window without using the mouse? Stupid.

But what really bothers me is when they change stuff without giving users the option to switch to the new scheme or keep the old one, they don’t offer options for advanced users. The other day, they changed the order in which tabs open in Safari. A minor annoyance for ppl who use two or three tabs. A stupid, unreasonable change for ppl who open a dozen tabs and want to go through pages of a forum in the order they’ve clicked on them. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Offer options, sure, but don’t go “fixing” stuff just to annoy users.


Thing #2 – I removed a comment by someone who apparently runs a recycling blog or something. I don’t know if I’d call it spam, but it seemed more like self-promotion than a response to my post. The comment itself was short tho applicable, but it seemed like someone trying to get their search engine rank boosted. Just wondering if any readers have any option on this – should I treat it as spam or as a genuine comment? Remove link and approve? What do?

And no, this is not about politics. No Obama talk here… atm.

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Mass Defect

Posted by Ad on December 15, 2010

A copy of Mass Effect recently appeared near one of my computers. It said it worked on Mac. It kind’a did. After a couple of hours trying to figure out the problem, I think I’m sure it’s the graphics card. The game allegedly runs fine of an nVidia-MacBook, but not on my Radeon-iMac. And obviously not on my pre-Intel Radeon PowerBook.

So what bothers me about this? That there’s no official Mac version? That it works on some macs and not others? That it took me hours to figure this all out? Yes to all applicable, but the last one more than the others.

The game and the audio works just fine, but the 3d parts of the screen turns white and a lot of models are missing. I saw vistas of space and empty chairs in the intro, then a quick whiteout and flashes of the geometry. Said white flashes might be effects, since they managed to obscure just part of a hallway at one point, but once I turned too far the whole world went white again. Not the HUD, just the world.

On a related note, we have a lot of snow outside. They say there were these things called ditches than ran across the lawns. I have no idea what they’re talking about.

Anyway, missing models and a big whiteness. And there are instances where I found myself probably in a corner with the camera inside some thing, outside the geometry. There I could see something, but it was pretty weird and abstract looking. And dark, so probably just the other side of the thing I was looking through.

I might have spent 2-3 hours on figuring this out, trying different settings and seeing if the same problems persist, googling how to tell if the firmware is up to date and how to force an OS X 10.5-compatible updater to update on 10.6, rendering issues and how to access the graphics card’s settings, getting all kinds of support forum posts and torrent links in all that searching. And it all leads me to a simple solution:

I need to steal that laptop.

Also, I came across probably dozens of threads with ppl stating these same problems, or similar. On that note, some Radeon-OS X compatibility problem could explain the weird texture things happening on big ships in FreeSpace 2. Or did I solve that with some vSync thing, I don’t remember.

And to address the piracy issue, I’d buy a Steam licence if the game would work for me. It’s just 15 euros. BioWare, do you hear me? Make an official Mac version available, or leak a Radeon-compatible Cider version or something. Keyword: Radeon-compatible.

Post title refers to defects, not defecting. It’s punny in writing.

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