Plans for March 2014

Dear friends,

I've told some of you about my big plans in March, but I wanted to write a big open letter to everyone for good measure. When I graduated college, I feel really silly for not sending an e-mail to everyone I knew telling them that I had graduated and was looking for a job. Now that I'm switching careers, I thought it'd be wise to send an e-mail. This time I'm not looking for a job.

I'm leaving the security industry in a few months to pursue independent research in nanotechnology. It's taken a long time for me to achieve my goal of feeling confident about my financial situation so that I can pursue research without spending years in academia as a grad student or as a researcher working on someone else's project in industry. It's not that I think those things are bad, in fact they can be great, just not a good fit for me. I've been very independent for pretty much all my life and I'm impatient waiting for nanotechnology which I predicted would be in full swing years ago. If you're not familiar with nanotechnology, there's a lot of very cool science going on which is headed toward the molecular scale, smaller even than Intel's new 14nm resolution CPUs. Applications are wide-ranging and could change the way we make things. Not just computers, not just medicine, and not just solar panels. It's the reason I got my Bachelor of Science in Physics and had I been smarter about it, I may have gotten a research job back then and be where I am right now but with 10 years of research behind me. So this is me righting myself.

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Talk to AI3

Nov 19, 2013

I wanted to post this to my Mexico blog here since I just told people that I'd be blogging there instead of here for the next two weeks, but I decided that a travel blog shouldn't have such an important announcement.

AI3 now has an alpha natural language interface. It doesn't yet query the database like it should, but it will. For now you'll have to be satisfied with thousands of possible conversations. What is a brilliant technology without a tutorial? Here we go.

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Nov 19, 2013

I'm in Mexico for a few weeks vacation. I'll be blogging at this new blog here until Dec 2, 2013.

Obligatory photos.

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Drums 2

Oct 22, 2013

Tonight I practiced drums until I felt like I could fairly easily reproduce all patterns given to me by my instructor at low speed. Some of them I can do at full speed (which for me is around 100-120 bpm). Of course not everyone agrees that full speed is 100-120 bpm, but that's another discussion. Tomorrow when I take my second drum lesson, I should be past the eighth note feet and the first beginning rudiments. I recorded the practice with arecordmidi (alsa's command-line midi recorder) and Rosegarden. If I clean these up or perhaps after my next review of those beats, I should have a handful of very good rock beats. I have seen these beats repeatedly in Rock Band songs because they are so common to rhythm. I've decided to do 2 hours of lessons in November despite planning a long vacation around Thanksgiving.

So I decided to spend a few minutes recording a quick jam, kinda like the ones I've been doing at the EMP. I only recorded for 4 minutes (a song at most) but I spent a lot of time listening to it. I decided to quantize it to 16th notes (something I can totally do but not totally reliably) and listen to it. It's a lot better than the original in many respects. The rhythm really comes together and the worst part about it is that the quantizing will cause there to be gaps that drop the beat for a short bit. That can be fixed really easily. Then I quantized to 8th notes (something I am quite good at now, but am still working on) and it turned out really good. There are the rests which make the rhythm drop from time to time, but if you only listen for things you like, you get a quite reasonable drum session. There are different sections and no single rhythm last more than a few measures. That's by design. I don't want people to think of my beats as being regular. Of course there's rhythm to be maintained which is why I have a pretty steady backbeat with the hi-hat and snare for many parts. What I was really exercising was my control over choice of rhythm, bass variety, and breaking the tempo. Why would I want to change the rhythm rapidly? I'm trying to give the listener something to distract them. They aren't going to get a steady beat from me. Of course part of art is being able to do anything and choosing to do something you want to do. So that's why I'm practicing and taking lessons. Once I can keep a beat and mess around, I will make some pretty crazy stuff. Until then you are stuck with this. Since I want to conserve disk space on my server, I'm not making flac or mp3 available, just Ogg Vorbis and midi. Let me know if you'd like either of the other formats and I'll post them. As usual, these files are available under the Creative Commons Attribution license.

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