This post was published back during elections in 2008 - time flies. Same old problems though.
This is one of those “take a break from technology” posts to write about some non-technical stuff I play around with from time to time (although it does involve software). If you only read my blog to hear the technical stuff and aren’t interested in anything else then hold off reading anything until the next post.
About a month ago I started showing my son Danny (who’s at the ripe old age of 13) how to use some of my recording hardware/software since he’s interested in writing his own songs now. We started messing around with some ideas (he had a lot of cool ideas!) just to show how to create patterns, etc. in Project 5 and we ended up making our ideas into a song called Learning to Fall. The lyrics came to me really fast this time around….here’s why. Just a moment while I get on my Soapbox though. If you’re not interested in the Soapbox stuff and just want to hear the new song then scroll on down further.
After watching both the Democratic and Republican conventions here in the U.S. and reading a lot of people posting about them online it became really clear to me that society in general seems to be going down a road that focuses on negativity and blame. I suppose it’s been that way since humans first interacted, but it seems to be getting worse over time or is just “louder” than it used to be. From time to time I’ve definitely been guilty of adding to the “negativity noise” unfortunately.
There are always exceptions of course since I do know a few “positive thinkers” and am lucky enough to work with some of them (the famous Spike Xavier for example). But, I’ve noticed that no matter how many good ideas someone has, the other side always seems to point out the bad and throw blame rather than focusing on anything positive or accepting responsibility for problems (where appropriate). Some of the blame is justified in many cases since people do stupid things sometimes, but I really wonder if people do their research or are just lazy and believe everything they hear. Some of you reading this are probably already falling into the trap and thinking “Yeah…the other side needs to stop being so dumb and researching the facts more”. Which illustrates my point……
Sadly, it goes both ways but people get so emotional about things that they can’t even admit when they’re wrong or even consider the other side’s position. I’m guilty of this and so is every other person on earth. This trend was really evident during the two conventions I watched.
The part that bothers me the most though is that people hide behind their monitors and the Internet and dish out blame and negative remarks like it’s going out of style. Check out comments on sites like digg.com to see what I mean. Some people just thrive on complaining, dishing out blame, lies (and worse) which is pretty sad if you think about the amount of time wasted espousing negative things. Again, some of it is justified and necessary (after all…we do have free speech here in the United States), but a lot of it is just plain latching onto anything negative that they can latch on to in my opinion. It takes a lot of guts to rail on someone or complain about something when no one will ever know who you are and when you’re not willing to put in any time or effort to solve the problem huh? I’d love to see how some of these people are in real life. I suspect they’re not quite as tough as they try to sound online. But, I’m actually adding to the negativity that’s already out there by even posting this I suppose. So, let me step off my Soapbox. If you have an opinion on the matter of negativity increasing in society let me know by adding a comment below.
Seeing all of the negativity out there during the elections led me to write the lyrics for the song below called “Learning to Fall”. Some people just can’t admit when they’re wrong or even partially wrong (take a “fall” and then get back up) or attempt to find any middle ground since I guess they think that shows weakness. In my opinion it’s the exact opposite. I have much more respect for people who argue passionately for a belief but who can also admit when they’re wrong and get past their pride then I do for people who have that “I’m never wrong and know it all” attitude. The problem is, people in the “I’m never wrong” category don’t even think they’re in the category. For all I know, I’m in the category and just living in a state of denial!
Learning to Fall (MP3) (right-click to download)
By: Dan Wahlin and Danny Wahlin (one of my awesome sons)
I'm watching the culture trend
Viewing a world that's mired in negativity
So many can dish it out
While hiding behind a Web of anonymity
We're never wrong
We can't find the middle ground
Selfishness grows inside our personality
Never back down
Admit we don't know it all
Even the brightest stars will fall eventually
I'm willing to fall
I'm willing to say
I realize now that my pride and greed
both stood in the way
Yeah, I'm learning to fall
I pick myself off the floor and
Stand up for another day
So help me out here
If everyone's always right
Is anyone ever wrong?
If you know it all
Then everyone else is dumb I guess?
I guess ignorance is bliss
Spike Xavier and Dan Wahlin
No More DLL Hell (MP3)
Spike Xavier and Dan Wahlin
Here's a list of the equipment and software used since I know a lot of other developers like to play around with music as well:
- Cakewalk Sonar 7 Producer
- Cakewalk Project 5 (version 2.5)
- Jackson Guitar
- Roland Fantom X8 keyboard
- M-Audio Firewire 410
- KRK Rokit 5 monitors
- Sterling Audio ST55 microphone
- Dimension Pro and Rapture VSynths
- Native Instruments Kontakt 3 Sampler
- Native Instruments GuitarRig 2
- Native Instruments Battery 3
- Various VST plugins for EQ and effects
- Toshiba Satellite P200 laptop
- Windows Vista Ultimate (with SP1)
Microsoft just announced that jQuery will be supported in Visual Studio 2008 SP1 and shipped with ASP.NET MVC. Scott Guthrie mentions that an add-on for Visual Studio 2008 SP1 will be made available in a “few weeks” to provide intellisense for jQuery and that ASP.NET MVC will use it for Ajax server-side helper methods. The ASP.NET AJAX Toolkit will also be using jQuery for higher-level controls.
Clipping paths provide a way to hide sections of an object based on different geometries. You can apply rectangles, ellipses or even create your own custom paths to a target object and hide specific areas from view. I enjoy experimenting with things from time to time and decided to try creating a sports score scroller similar to the one found at the top of http://www.espn.com to see how much could be done with pure XAML. It allows a user to scroll a set of scores left or right by moving their mouse over corresponding arrows.
It’s amazing how much cool stuff is out there to learn! There’s never a dull day in the technology world if you enjoy learning and challenging yourself to grasp that next “big concept”. I’m excited to be involved with two workshops covering Silverlight 2 and AJAX in October and November. Here’s more information about the workshops for those who may be interested in attending. If you’re looking to get straight to the technology without all the “fluff” then talk your boss into letting you come to one of these workshops.
AJAX and Silverlight 2 Power Workshop (2.5 days)
For those interested in learning more about ASP.NET AJAX and Silverlight 2, Paul Litwin and I will be running a workshop in San Francisco October 6th – 8th. Additional details about the conference can be found here.
Silverlight 2 Development Workshop (1 day)