tom moody

newsweek and "poor larry"

On October 18, 2017, an item appeared on the Sourceforge blog reminiscing about Newsweek's transition from print to exclusively online mag:

Today in Tech – 2012
On this day just five years ago American magazine company Newsweek officially announced its transition from print publication to an online-only format. During this time print-news readership had dwindled while online audiences skyrocketed, leaving many in the publishing industry no choice but to switch to online formats. Newsweek’s shift was preluded by years of internal and external contractions in an effort to improve the magazine’s finances, all to no avail. Newsweek’s revenue dropped 38% from 2007 to 2009, prompting the magazine owner, The Washington Post Company to sell the magazine to audio pioneer Sidney Harman. Finally, after almost 8 decades of publication and the steady decline of print readership, Newsweek announced that the last printing of their magazine would be on December 31, 2012. They transitioned to an all-digital format called Newsweek Global.

Coincidentally, the same day, October 18, 2017, this item appeared on the Naked Capitalism blog about an essay published two days before in the all-digital Newsweek:

How Hillary Clinton Still Can, and Should, Become President After the Trump-Russia Investigation ... [Lawrence] Lessig’s thesis [published in Medium and recycled in Newsweek --tm]: Trump is removed because he was helped by “Mother Russia” (!), Pence “should” resign since he got the same help, Ryan steps in. “If Ryan becomes president, he should do the right thing and choose Clinton for vice president. Then he should resign.” This is where we are. Poor Larry. Such a shame.

Newsweek added the cutesy Mother Russia reference and refers uncritically to the "Russia cloud" enveloping the Presidency (but neglects to mention the Russia cloud enveloping Bill and Hillary Clinton). It describes Lessig as a "Democratic die-hard" and lends some of its rapidly diminishing credibility to his bizarre idea that Paul Ryan would appoint Hillary Clinton veep and then step aside. Lessig admits that scenario is "unimaginable" but says we need to start imagining it. Visualize whirled peas and all that. Ryan and Clinton are cut from the same neoliberal cloth, believing in the power of "markets," so it's actually not that big a stretch but that isn't what Lessig is talking about.

- tom moody

October 20th, 2017 at 8:59 am

Posted in around the web

david scher at pierogi

david scher

photo taken with blurry dumbphone

Works on paper by David Scher at Pierogi (formerly Pierogi 2000) gallery

more, from the gallery

- tom moody

October 19th, 2017 at 6:23 pm

vice on art

In Vice, NYC critic and curator Robert Nickas writes a mean review of an art exhibit by his former Index magazine colleague, Peter Halley (hat tip bill).
Halley was the publisher and Nickas was the editor of the Interview-wannabe magazine in the '90s; it stopped publishing over ten years ago.
One senses a late ax being ground.
Halley's paintings and installation strategies have been consistent for the last 25 years; one can't really accuse him of a bad faith attempt to repackage himself. (Whether the work has shown any growth or development is a different question.) The review is all about branding, comparing Halley to an overweight Elvis attempting to stage comebacks. There is no need for this!

- tom moody

October 19th, 2017 at 6:22 pm

Posted in art - others

"Snap Diary"

"Snap Diary" [6.2 MB .mp3]


Composed w/ Tracktion's Waveform DAW, running on Ubuntu Studio
Sound sources:
Beats "from the internet"
Collective (software synth/sampler)
Calf Monosynth (triggered and recorded using Ardour and imported into Waveform)
a-fluidsynth playing E-Mu Orbit samples (triggered and recorded using Ardour and imported into Waveform)
"Digging in the crates"

- tom moody

October 18th, 2017 at 2:12 pm

Posted in music - tm

work in process

Screenshot of work space -- Tracktion Software's Waveform DAW running on Ubuntu Studio:


Tracktion's core concept is the single interface -- midi editing and mixing can all theoretically be done in one window. By popular demand they've recently added separate, optional windows for those functions. An advantage of Waveform (as opposed to Cubase or Ableton) is its ease of rendering audio. MIDI piano roll sequences triggering samplers or softsynths can be converted "in place" to audio clips (as they're called). The rendered clips, with waveforms drawn graphically, appear in the same track position or on an adjacent track. In Ableton, one has to create a recording channel to capture the MIDI track output as audio; in Waveform, tracks are agnostic as to whether they are employed for audio or midi -- it's all based on the clip. Sampling from turntables or other sources is also very fast and easy. That this all works on Linux is impressive. The disadvantage for Linux users is still third party (non-Tracktion) plugins -- many of these crash or freeze. At the moment I've enough options just with Tracktion plugins, sampled sounds that can be dragged into the timeline directly from the browser, and hardware synths controlled and recorded by the DAW, that the lack of this plugin functionality isn't chafing (too much).

- tom moody

October 17th, 2017 at 9:54 am

Posted in music - tm

bank call

Citizen of India: Thanks for calling FleecemBank, how can I help you?
US Pigeon: I'm calling to authorize this replacement credit card you mailed me.
CoI: I can help you with that.

[Exchange of personal identifiers]

CoI: How else can I assist you today?
USP: That's it.
CoI: OK. In the future, you can authorize your card by going online at or texting us at [number] to receive a download link.
USP: Yeah, I know. I don't want to do this kind of stuff online.
CoI: Yes, many customers prefer to speak to a live representative...
USP: It's not that, it's that online transactions are rife with fraud, "hacking," and identity theft. I'm reading about it in the news every day.
CoI: I'll pass that information along, is there anything else I can help you with?
USP: That'll do it.
CoI: Have a nice day.

[Call recorded for quality assurance or training purposes.]

- tom moody

October 13th, 2017 at 5:40 am

Posted in computers-R-stupid

"Trance Terrarium"

"Trance Terrarium" [4.7 MB .mp3]

Song made with Tracktion's Waveform digital audio workstation, running on Ubuntu Studio.
Sound sources include:
Tracktion's Collective synth/sampler (running on Windows 7);
Helm softsynth, running on Linux
Tracktion's FM Synth plugin on Linux PC ("organ" patch arranged in an augmented 7th chord)
Various E-Mu samples triggered in Waveform sample players
Beats are scratch samples played in Reaktor Krypt, further sliced in Octatrack and mixed with other percussion.

Update: Made the bridge/ending a hair less simplistic; re-uploaded.
Update 2: Increased the tempo of the bridge/ending and extended the finale with new melodies added; re-uploaded.
Update 3: Opening verse melody slightly de-simplified; re-uploaded.
Update 4 (Oct 14): Opening verse melody de-simplified more; re-uploaded.

- tom moody

October 7th, 2017 at 8:36 pm

Posted in music - tm

get ready for work hardening, seniors

"Haircut" is a classic Ring Lardner short story employing an unreliable narrator. A barber describes his swell chum who the reader quickly determines is a complete ingrate. Wired magazine (intentionally -- I think*) uses this device in its recent article Meet the CamperForce, Amazon's Nomadic Retiree Army. Written in a perky, upbeat style, it describes the grimmest of circumstances: a man works his way up the ladder at McDonald’s, retires at 60, loses his savings to shaky investments, and spends his twilight years in a soul-deadening Amazon warehouse job.

And not just by himself: there is a small army of elderly camper nomads in the outbacks of Nevada, Tennessee, Texas, and other states (cheerfully called "workampers" in the article) who are being exploited by Jeff Bezos in the same manner. Their aging bodies aren't accustomed to 10 hour days schlepping consumer goods around the inside of a warehouse so Amazon begins their (seasonal) work cycle with "a period of half-days called 'work hardening,' meant to help newcomers adapt to the physical stress of the job."

Amazon makes arrangements with existing trailer courts to provide space for the "CamperForce," as Amazon calls these itinerants. In the off-season they camp elsewhere: on public land, in the desert... Wired describes the loving, friendly communities of seniors in rickety, leaky RVs, who have all found each other in their post-retirement estrangement from US consumer society (the term Hooverville is not used). As Naked Capitalism commenter Off the Street put it:

Divide and conquer springs to mind. Hard to resist the societal tides as one piece of jetsam. Given the low savings of most Americans, there is an oversupply of potential workamperserfs to depress wages through their remaining nasty, brutish and shortish lives. If there are silver linings, then those may be through human connections, less need for a wired or credit-driven world and more appreciation of what people once had. Who knew that the Mad Max movies were destined to become instruction manuals? What other movies are in the works now ;p

*The tone of Wired's article is difficult to pin down. The essay isn't original to the magazine; it's a teaser from an upcoming book from a major publishing house. Is the author naive, or passive aggressive? Consider this line: "Many of the freshly arrived Camper­Force workers were curious and strangely excited to work alongside the robots that threatened to replace them." Is the author afraid to speak critically of Amazon's brutal labor practices? Is she being constrained to speak by her publisher? The "Haircut" style makes the article less palatable than if she simply took a stand.

- tom moody

October 5th, 2017 at 2:22 pm

Posted in around the web, books

the present situation


- tom moody

October 3rd, 2017 at 3:57 pm

"Lizards from Planet Reagan"

"Lizards from Planet Reagan" [3.7 MB .mp3]

Astute listeners who lived through the '80s may recognize attributes of a great TV theme.

Song made with Tracktion's Waveform digital audio workstation, running on Ubuntu Studio.
Sound sources include:
Tracktion's Collective synth/sampler (running on Windows 7);
Helm softsynth, running on Linux and Windows 7
Recording of hardware modular synth
Tracktion's FM Synth plugin on Linux PC ("sitar" patch arranged in a 7th chord of some kind)
Attributes of a great TV theme.

- tom moody

October 3rd, 2017 at 3:53 pm

Posted in music - tm