Decentralize!

Posted March 27, 2013 @ 5:00 pm | Filed under: Floor It To The Next Stop Light

Quite unexpectedly, one of the ideals that stuck with me from college came from a business management class. This class focused on being an effective manager… something I’m rather uninterested in, but the class still resonated with me because of the management style that was most highly praised: decentralization.

Management theorists have two main theories about motivation, which are unhelpfully dubbed Theory X and Theory Y. To boil each theory down: Theory X says people must be told what to do and directed from the top, and Theory Y says that people can be motivated and make decisions themselves in the right environment. From the class, I learned that a manager with a Theory Y approach tends to empower the managees and make them feel more responsible, leading to a greater sense of reward which increases productivity and their satisfaction with their jobs, not to mention greater respect for their manager because he/she treats them with the dignity they deserve. Inadvertently, this ideal meshed in my mind with several other observations, coming both from my personal experience and from other classes I took at around the same time. Whether warranted or not, I now tend to apply the Theory Y ideal, decentralization of power, to several (all?) other areas.

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Nutritional Journey

Posted February 27, 2013 @ 6:01 pm | Filed under: Reflections

I’m no nutrition expert, but the Paleo approach works pretty well for me. About a year and a half ago I wanted to try to eat healther and more naturally, and in my search for different approaches I stumbled upon a niche of journalists and nutritionists who promote paleo (a.k.a. the caveman diet: lots of meat and vegetables, moderate dairy and fruit, and grains and everything else very sparingly or not at all). So I started trying it out gradually, first by ditching any and all sugary drinks (including so-called “natural” fruit juice). I didn’t really buy into it though until I saw a documentary called “Fat Head”, which is basically a response to Morgan Spurlock’s “Super Size Me” but about 40 times more educational. From there, I started progressively replacing the majority of the carbs I ate with good sources of natural fats like meat, olive oil, coconut oil, and some organic dairy. Importantly, Paleo is not low-carb per se like Atkins is, it’s just a focus on eating more like our pre-agriculture ancestors did, which did include some carbs but most of them came from fruit. I usually shoot for around 100g of carbs a day which is the equivalent of about 8-9 slices of whole wheat bread or 4 apples. (The USDA’s original food pyramid recommended 6-11 servings of grains a day, plus 2-4 servings of fruit. And you wonder why America’s gotten so fat.)

So my typical daily diet consists of:
Breakfast: Eggs, and bacon or sausage if I have time; or if I’m really in a hurry I just eat a spoonful of coconut oil. Also a cup of black coffee.
Lunch: Sometimes I skip lunch, but when I eat it it’s usually a salad made w/ spinach, orange peppers and cucumbers, with various other ingredients like avocado, beef, chicken, ham, hardboiled eggs, cheese, etc.
Dinner: Usually a beef or chicken main course, with some cooked or raw vegetables.
Snacks: Nuts (I never realized how freaking delicious raw pecans are until all this), fruit (grapes, blueberries, pineapple, etc), or the occasional bowl of rice or corn cereal (with whole milk of course)… especially around exercise times (your muscles need carbs when they’re worn out).
Beverages: Mostly water, but also whole organic milk, coffee, and beer. No pop/soda ever, not even diet, which I’m convinced is worse for you than the regular stuff.

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Getting Started in Audio Production

Posted September 13, 2012 @ 10:00 am | Filed under: High Fidelity,Reflections

The other day someone used the contact page, asking for some tips for someone getting started in audio. This particular person is planning to go to an audio engineering program. I’m certainly no expert, but there are a few things that I wish I’d known starting out. Here’s an edited and expanded version of my reply:

The best knowledge comes from experience. In fact, you should think of going into an engineerging program as “paying for experience” more than book-learning. I never learned audio engineering formally, but I learned by working as an “apprentice” of sorts (with Darren) at my college radio station, where I got exposure to all sorts of gear and had to think my way through unusual situations.

If I could give anyone who is starting out in audio a few tips, the list would look something like this (My experience is mainly in recording bands, so this will be geared towards that type of work, but still applicable to most anyone):

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People probably wonder why on earth I would choose Linux for my daily computing needs rather than an “easier” platform, like Windows or Mac OS. Considering all the major software developers push for Win/Mac development, especially game companies and audio production software companies, you’d think Linux would be a person’s last choice. No, Linux is my first choice, and I don’t use it because it’s free… in fact I would gladly pay for it if I had to. In a nutshell, it all boils down to freedom.

Every discussion of freedom has to start with a very important definition: what, exactly, freedom is. One could argue that on another OS platform, I would be more “free” to do the things I want, because there are more choices. But freedom doesn’t mean being able to do anything you want. There are a lot of “false freedoms” that people strive for… True freedom, however, is synonymous with “God-given rights”, and God did not give us the right to do anything we want. There are three things in particular which are forbidden — things we don’t have the right to do — which affect our relationships with other people, namely: physical aggression, theft, and deceit. These three forbidden actions logically and necessarily imply three God-given rights which we all share, and which no government or corporation can take away: freedom from aggression, freedom from theft, and freedom from deceit. Note that among those rights, there is no right to healthcare, no right to a low interest rate or even to a loan at all, no right to a job, no right to use space or bandwidth on somebody else’s computer or network hardware, etc. Those are not rights, they are privileges, i.e. services that someone else provides, and if the provider of said services wishes, they can charge money for the services, provide them in any manner they see fit, give them away for free, or even deny providing them altogether. Not allowing service providers to deny proving their services to whomever they wish would amount to aggression against them and/or theft of their property.

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Miscellaneous project updates

Posted July 30, 2012 @ 10:08 am | Filed under: The Workbench

Sorry for the recent silence here folks. I have to say that I haven’t had a lot of nerdy stuff going on lately, at least nothing terribly interesting. But I figured I’d write about what actually has been going on to keep the content flowing.

Starting with the most on-topic project: Darren, Brian and I have begun a recording for Junction PA. We’ve had one session so far and started by capturing drums, bass, and keys for 7 tunes. We’d like to go back through the best takes and re-record the keys on a 7-foot Steinway and either Brian’s Wurly or my Rhodes (or both), to give the keys higher-quality sound. The drums and bass both came out really well, with a great balance between attack, clarity, and ambiance overall. I’ll try to keep blogging about our continued progress on this project, it’s been a lot of fun so far.

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