Very clever post from Chris Bolin on the value of disconnecting, even when you’re engaging with stuff you find through connection. People are neat.
Happy Eclipse Day!
In 2007, I set a poem by Archilochus1 about a total eclipse visible in Greece in the seventh century BCE.
Nothing can surprise me now, nothing can astonish
or alarm me now the god of gods has galled the midday
into night and trimmed the light of the westering sun.
Surely anything can happen now, anything at all,
so brace yourselves for the sight of milk cows grazing
the dolphin-crowded seas, of sure-footed deer
and mountain goats crossing the talus of a cresting wave.
The performance above is by Joseph Baunoch, bass-baritone; Marissa Olin, alto flute; and Kawai Chan, piano.
Where possible, recordings are available in the Spotify playlist. Otherwise, there are links to listen elsewhere.
There’s a plugin for that. Express sarcasm and condescension in a way normally reserved for face-to-face interaction, all while working from home.
UPDATE (18 Aug 2017): You can now install this plugin directly from the WordPress plugin directory. Just search for “So-Called Air Quotes” from your WordPress dashboard. Now, it’s official.
Anne Midgette, following on her review of the new Steve Jobs opera by Mason Bates, compares recent trends in new, big-budget operas to the era of “prestige television”.
… it led to the libretto of an opera called “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs,” which had its world premiere at the Santa Fe Opera on July 22, in which Jobs’s wife, Laurene, sings, “You were never easy./ But once you found your way,/Discovered you were ‘human,’/ We found a way/To connect.”
One of these things is not like the other. In a book or a movie, the lines Laurene sings would be scorned as Hallmark-worthy, romance-novel sentiment: A woman turns the bad boy good. In opera, it seems, we’re willing to tolerate it.
This strikes me as the direct result of opera companies’ focus on past repertoire. The saccharine plot turns in Mozart and the melodrama of Puccini just seem stupid when people are singing about iPhones.
… Opera — which is considered one of the highest forms of art — tends to uphold its formulas, sticking to tropes a century or two old. And opera audiences are willing to hold opera to a different standard — which effectively means that the bar is set a lot lower.
Sometimes, your opera is Two Broke Girls. Sometimes, it’s The Wire.
Philip Rothman at Scoring Notes:
Sibelius 8.6’s new engraving feature is magnetic glissandi lines — lines that snap to both their start and end note, updating their positions if the notes change.
Magnetic glissandi lines are quite intelligent, expanding and contracting to move out of the way of augmentation dots and accidentals. They will even slope in the correct direction between two pitches that share the same space or line.
You’ve got to check out the examples in this post. Two years after the disappointing launch of Sibelius 8, this is the first new feature that has me interested in upgrading from Sibelius 7.5.
Should President Donald Trump sign S.J. Res. 34 into law, big Internet providers will be given new powers to harvest your personal information in extraordinarily creepy ways. They will watch your every action online and create highly personalized and sensitive profiles for the highest bidder. All without your consent. This breaks with the decades long legal tradition that your communications provider is never allowed to monetize your personal information without asking for your permission first. This will harm our cybersecurity as these companies become giant repositories of personal data.
This wouldn’t be such a big deal if you could switch your ISP to somebody else. However, according to the FCC just last year, the vast majority of US households have only one option for broadband service. This is in addition to the roughly 10% of households with no broadband at all, which disporportionately affects rural areas and tribal lands.
As the EFF points out above, this is also a huge security problem. These companies have not always been great stewards of user data in the past, and they haven’t cared due to the lack of competition. You can’t switch easily like you can on mobile broadband, where competition has driven prices down dramatically just in the last six months. Other companies are using your data as well, like Google. But, you can pretty easily avoid using Gmail if you want to. You can’t choose a company other than your local ISP if you know they have a history of data breeches. Now, they’re going to suck up all that juicy user data and make themselves even bigger targets, with no benefit to consumers and no oversight.
This is bad. Support the EFF. Call your Congresscritter.
Update 30 March 2017: I made a neat (I think) little tool for generating these iframe embed codes automatically if you don’t want to keep digging around the iframe code.
Select "Copy Link", and under Share Options, set the access to "Anyone with the link". Set the Permission to "View only". Click Share and wait for Keynote to do a little iCloud dance in the background.
Depending on how large and complex your presentation is, it may take a while. When this is done, you have a URL on your clipboard. Keynote doesn’t really tell you anything about that, but trust me. It’s there.
In any part of a Medium post after the title, paste the URL and hit Enter.
After a few moments, the URL will be replaced by an embedded slideshow. Looking good!
Same as Medium. Just paste the URL into the Visual Editor and hit Enter. It will be replaced with a shiny new embedded slide show.
You can also post your Keynote slides as an iframe anywhere else, such as a self-hosted WordPress site like this fine establishment. It takes just a little looking around the code from the WordPress.com embed, and the formula is pretty clear. Start with the URL straight from Keynote’s share menu. Mine looks like this:
<iframe src="[[[ICLOUD URL GOES HERE]]]?embed=true" width="640" height="500" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="1" referrer="no-referrer"></iframe>
So my example now looks like this:
<iframe src="https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0BnBgSWdHQbQDKsC4gq1mUbZA?embed=true" width="640" height="500" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="1" referrer="no-referrer"></iframe>
You may want to tweak the width and height numbers to suit your needs. Apple made them 100% and 100%, but that isn’t going to work for this kind of context.
Note that this feature does not currently do much more than a straight-on shot of each slide. It doesn’t do transitions or even simple builds. So you may have to design slides expressly for this purpose. Also, if you’re using any fonts outside of the collection available on iCloud Keynote, they probably won’t render correctly. But even with all those caveats, this is still a dang cool feature that I’m hoping to use a lot.
Usually, Sibelius Blog is where I go to learn about how to do something awesome in Sibelius with a new plugin, or what I’m missing in Finale, or what’s exciting and new in Dorico or StaffPad. But the one time I spoke with Sibelius Blog’s proprietor Philip Rothman, my compatriot Sam was completely taken by his paper folding machine. Sam and I have spent years learning how to make the software dance in all kinds of twisted ways, so it was the level of care in the final production we found most novel.
Today, Philip posted a fantastic tutorial on folding parts the right way, complete with video and his own fantastic dry humor.
So now if you were wondering how to show your affection this Valentine’s Day holiday, there’s something called a bone folder on my Amazon Wish List.
Pulitzer-winner John Adams, no stranger to operas on controversial subjects in US history, responding to a hypothetical question about an a Donald Trump opera:
The idea of a Trump opera doesnt interest me in the least. First of all, because so much of what he does is theater to begin with. It’s a terrible form of exploitive theater, but there’s no point in trying to make theater about theater. Furthermore, you don’t want to spend time as an artist giving your very best to a person who is a sociopath. He’s not an interesting character, because he has no capacity for empathy. The only empathy that he can extend is to his family, who are just extensions of his own ego, and beyond that, he doesn’t care. Everyone else is someone to be manipulated and controlled.
Trump is so operatic that a man who has won awards for his operas and oratorios feels he cannot add any more opera. Sad.