Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Gibson Brands Ceases the Development of Cakewalk Products

Much to the dismay of myself, and especially the two friends I record music with, Gibson has dismantled Cakewalk (as of November 17th of this year - five days ago), which produces the Sonar Producer line of music production software. Cakewalk was originally one of Roland Corporation's subsidiaries.

When founder Greg Hendershott resigned as CEO in 2012 after 25 years with the three-decades old company, Michael Hoover took over as president, stepping up from his former position as EVP of Products for Cakewalk.

Only one year after that, the parent company Roland Corporation decided to sell all their Cakewalk shares to Gibson Brands.

And now, only four years later, Gibson has decided to shut down Cakewalk operations, in order to "better align with the company’s acquisition strategy."

For the tens of thousands of Cakewalk users, this is particularly stressful. Cakewalk had risen to a status that was effectively equal with Pro Tools, the 'industry standard' music production software from Avid Technology. Even though Cakewalk remains a perfectly legitimate software for producing high-quality music, it of course will eventually not be able to compete with the still updated Pro Tools anymore.

In honor of the exceptional DAW that Sonar Producer had become, I will now translate the short memo that Gibson saw fit to publish on Cakewalk's web site here:

http://www.cakewalk.com/Gibson-Announcement

What follows is a sentence-by-sentence translation of Gibson's terse blurb to their loyal Cakewalk customers. Original Gibson text in italics, my translation in regular font. The translations given are the author's opinion only, and should not, for legal reasons, be construed as facts regarding unknown activity at Cakewalk, Roland, Avid Technology  or Gibson Brands.

-----------------------------------------

Gibson Brands announced today that it is ceasing active development and production of Cakewalk branded products.

Gibson is dumping its sole software subsidiary, known as Cakewalk.



The decision was made to better align with the company’s acquisition strategy that is heavily focused on growth in the global consumer electronics audio business under the Philips brand.

Gibson lacks the vision to maintain the loyal and growing user base for Sonar, and would rather take the failing "Woox Innovations" subsidiary they purchased from Philips in 2014 (for $135 million), and jump on the gadget bandwagon, because they imagine that they can actually compete with real manufacturers like Samsung, Sony and Apple.



Cakewalk has been an industry leader in music software for over 25 years by fusing cutting-edge technology with creative approaches to tools that create, edit, mix, and publish music for professional and amateur musicians.

Even though, for 25 years, the talented individuals who created Cakewalk managed to turn a minor upstart piece of software into a genuine alternative to the overpriced Pro Tools, their efforts are now being devalued because at least one high-placed person in Gibson Brands was given an undisclosed sum of money by someone in Avid Technology to kill their one worthy competitor.



Gibson Brands acquired Cakewalk in 2013.

Gibson grabbed Cakewalk for a bargain in 2013 because Cakewalk's CEO Michael Hoover somehow managed to bungle enough to destroy Roland's confidence in Cakewalk's ability to compete in the DAW industry.



Gibson Brands, a growing company in the music and sound industries, was founded in 1894 and is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee.

Gibson Brands, a struggling guitar-making company that was actually founded in 1902 by Orville Gibson, has been purchased by several companies through the decades, because they just don't have enough business sense to stay afloat on their own, what with all these new-fangled musical doodads and all.



Gibson Brands is a global leader in musical instruments, consumer electronics, and professional audio, and is dedicated to bringing the finest experiences to consumers by offering exceptional products with world- recognized brands.

Gibson Brands decided at some point to diversify their manufacturing arm way past merely overpriced guitars, and thinks the way to stay relevant in the early 21st century is to join the "Me Too!" gadget vendors, even though the impressive description of themselves they've published above falls quite far from the ledge of reality.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

The puzzling lack of evidence

New star formation is kind of important, as evolutionary theory (applied to cosmology) dictates that we should eventually be able to observe stars in all stages of formation. According to our astronomical observations, our universe contains older and younger stars, so current theory suggests that stars had to have formed at different times since the Big Bang.

Just like in biological evolution, the magical element in star formation is extremely long time periods. Density waves shrinking dust clouds into new stars isn't the most feasible theory, as most stars are thought to be too far from each other to produce that effect, and since the universe continues to expand, they are growing further apart. Cloud collapse via vast gas clouds in nebulae, a more promising theory, has not been observed to produce a new star anywhere in the universe yet.

We have found candidate interstellar clouds that look promising, such as the Orion Nebula, where we have observed Bok globules which theoretically form new stars.

http://www.space.com/8298-star-formation-details-images.html

What's interesting to me in all this is that just like transitional fossils in biological evolution, according to Darwin's theory, we should see myriad transitional fossils of organisms in various stages of metamorphosis, with partially developed appendages, etc. Instead, such fossils are of extremely rare occurrence. So all sorts of explanations are offered to us for why we don't find those fossils.

In the case of new star formation, there is too much dust debris and gas in the Bok globules for us to see anything that looks like a new star forming. What we actually observe everywhere we look in the universe is star decay instead. We can use long microwave wavelengths to "look through" the dust at "newborn" stars, but the fact remains that the closest we've come to seeing a brand new star are the "final stages of collapse, before they are reborn as full-fledged stars."

Curious indeed, how something that theoretically should be observed much more commonly is actually a rare cosmic event. So rare, in fact, that it still has not been observed.



Monday, March 13, 2017

The unadvertised nature of science

The unadvertised nature of science is that "facts" are only as good as the evidence that supports them. Yet so many people, scientists and non-scientists alike, hold on to their world view paradigms with stubbornness seldom seen elsewhere in life.

As of 2017, many people have been made aware of the controversy surrounding the official dismissal of Pluto as our solar system's ninth planet. The details surrounding the decision by the International Astronomical Union sound reasonable enough, yet for many people there is a sense of indignation that yet another fact of science has been revised.

You can read more about the controversy here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Definition_of_planet

This sort of historical revision, due to new information, is nothing new to science. For centuries, the acceptable theory for the universe was referred to as "Steady State," which meant that it had no beginning, and eternally existed. This theory persisted although many great thinkers proposed otherwise.

Then in 1927 Georges LemaƮtre, a priest/astronomer/physicist logically suggested, based on astronomical observation, that the expanding universe had a starting point it had expanded from. This proposal was met with ridicule by the scientific community, despite Edwin Hubble's further astronomical observations in 1929 regarding galactic redshifts, which strongly supported the idea of an expanding universe. Even Albert Einstein initially rejected the idea.

The ridicule and public derision of the idea are what actually gave the theory its originally pejorative name "Big Bang." The overriding consensus of the detractors was that an expanding universe implied a starting point, which to their analytical sensibilities was much too suggestive of an Abrahamic explanation for the universe. In other words, they found the idea repulsive because it opened the door to the explanation of creation in Genesis to be possible. A Steady State universe that eternally existed would not have a starting point, thus making the biblical account clearly false.

Finally, in 1964, cosmic microwave background radiation was discovered, and the scientific community could no longer wave their hands in dismissal. The physical evidence that had gathered literally forced them to let go of their paradigm. But this process took nearly forty years, much too long for the respected scientific community to admit they were wrong.

Regardless of your ideology, and whether you like it or not, the same process is currently underway in the field of evolution. Just as the more powerful astronomical equipment and improved methods of cosmic measurement and observation provided physical evidence for the Big Bang, several fields in science are producing evidence that seems to refute Darwin's original hypothesis. The current official title for this theory is "Intelligent Design."

Again, these new observations and data are due to improved technologies in the last forty years. New data in microbiology, molecular biology, genetics and even cosmology are challenging the assertions made for the last 158 years since the appearance of "On the Origin of Species" in 1859. The ability to gather this data simply did not exist in Darwin's time.

Books have been published that represent decades of research and data, and the authors are observing that the physical facts as we now know them no longer fit the model that life originated by fortunate accident and random mutation. I have read many of these books, and their arguments are reasonable and science-based, not religious nor irrational. The questions they raise are highly relevant to the issue, and quite frankly, are not being sufficiently addressed by the proponents of evolution.

Are these authors correct or not? Certainly every individual will have an opinion regarding whether or not evolution by natural selection is true or false. Most people accept Darwin's theory as true, and even go so far as to insist it is fact, because this is what they've been taught as far back as they can remember. Much the same as those who refuse to let go of the idea that Pluto is a planet.

The amount of public ridicule and derision that has been thrown at these authors and their fellow researchers is in some ways even worse than the humiliation that Big Bang supporters endured. There is an ever more virulent constituency of "thinkers" who absolutely hate and reject anything that could possibly even hint that God exists. These angry critics don't tend to wax reasonable when they're on their soapboxes. For them, anything religion touches is poisoned.

In real life, that particular anti-God assertion is easily demonstrable as false, but that fact apparently doesn't figure into the militant atheist's reasoning process.

It's been 158 years since Darwin published his book. It will likely take a lot longer than that to finally get the official scientific community to stop forcing an antiquated theory on the layman, a theory which is slowly turning out to be more ideology than true science.



Saturday, January 21, 2017

Women's March on Washington

Apparently, women who are 'pro-life' are not welcome on the 2017 Million Woman March (wisely renamed "Women's March on Washington").

Why is that? Are they not equal to 'pro-choice' supporters in terms of their right to a public opinion?

Just like all the polarizing issues that plague this country, and I do mean plague in terms of pestilence against unification, the Women's March on Washington is an exercise in hypocrisy, disguised as 'the right thing to do.' I work with someone who attended, and although the reason she gave for the event was some nebulous manifestation of "solidarity," I seriously doubt it would have occurred if Trump had never mentioned his intention to overturn Roe v. Wade, nor his intention to return the gay marriage decision back to the individual states.

How dare I make such an inflammatory statement? Here are two questions to ponder:

Just what is it about the pro-choice movement that has women's best interests in mind?

Conversely, what is it about Trump's 'safety and protection' political platform that leads one to believe that women will be mistreated and stripped of their rights as human beings?

---

Let's do an un-politically corrected analysis:

1) How are we, as a society, protecting women's rights by encouraging the promiscuous behavior in men and women that leads to 'unwanted' pregnancies?

2) How are we, as a society, protecting women's rights by so easily facilitating an action that almost always leads to emotional scarring and unerasable regret?

3) How do we, as individuals, justify our collective conscience regarding the deliberate ending of life of other human beings who have clearly done nothing wrong? Human beings, by the way, who can't be referred to as anything but innocent, as they had no say in their conception, nor were they consulted for their opinion regarding their premeditated death sentence by the hands of others?

4) How are we, as a society, protecting the women and children we allegedly so highly respect and regard, when we deliberately change the verbiage from pro-abortion to pro-choice, as though the deliberate murder of unborn children is somehow a noble pursuit?

5) How are we, as individuals, truly respecting individual human freedoms of thought and expression, by berating and coercing an entire gender to silently acquiesce to a course of action that ultimately does not celebrate life nor freedom, but instead death and bondage to self-destructive behavior?

6) How long are we, as thoughtful, kind, and wise people created in the image of God, going to pretend that being selfish is somehow the same as doing the right thing?

There are many people who are inclined to heatedly argue that a fetus is not a fully formed human being, therefore is nothing more than bodily tissue without any rights or identity.

However, one need only talk to someone who was pregnant with a child they wanted to have, to discover how tragic it truly was when he or she miscarried. The lies we tell ourselves are for self preservation only, and are easily exposed when placed under honest scrutiny.




Saturday, August 27, 2016

The statistical difficulty of atheism

You're in a room. There are 100 people in it, including you. A math problem is presented to everyone in the room. Everyone is given whatever materials they need to work out the answer (no cheating allowed).

When everyone is done working on the problem, you find that 87 people were able to establish the correct answer, and 13 were not, no matter how hard they tried.

You are one of the 13, so you are disappointed and a bit irritated that you can't arrive at the answer.

So, what do you do? Do you:

1) Try harder to find the answer?

2) Befriend the 87 people and see if they can help you get the answer?

3) Give up and say the problem was useless and stupid to begin with?

4) Proclaim that the 87 people are simply lying, and did not arrive at the answer?

5) Start attacking the 87 people because that makes you feel better than admitting you just don't understand the problem?

I think you know which group you're in. If any of you are pretending that 87% of the entire world is merely deluded... well, any reasonable person would know better.


 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Genesis 15:6

I have spent a lifetime being angry. Not every waking moment, of course, that's just silly.

But the truth remains that whether it be nature, nurture, or a combination of both, I have been saddled my entire life with a temper that can occasionally generate behavior that I am always embarrassed about after the fact.

I'm burdened with regret for all the wrongs I have done to others by reason of my sin. I have regrets for bad decisions that reach all the way back to ninth grade.

Did I just use the word "sin"? I did. As Andy Stanley has pointed out, referring to my past sins merely as "mistakes" doesn't sufficiently characterize the nature of the behavior nor the damage it incurs.

What I have learned recently is that in an attempt to take responsibility for the wrongs I have done, I have given plenty of gravity to the judgement of God, but not enough to the aspect of God that matters the most: love.

I used to think that people who preached about God's love all the time were not being realistic. Wasn't God the person who ended people's lives in the Bible for all kinds of disobedience? Wasn't God the person who eventually makes a final decision that separates the sheep and the goats, the wheat and the chaff? Wasn't God the person who grants entry to Heaven for the few there be that find it, and casts out into outer darkness those who refuse to obey His rules?

All these years I knew the words, but apparently didn't fully understand what they were saying. I was viewing God through a concept of reward and punishment, much the same way I was raised as a child, and as most people are raised.

My wife and I have been reading through the Bible from front to back. What we've found by reading all the text instead of just cherry-picked passages, is that the history of human beings is steeped in rape and violence, hatred and deceit, anger and retribution, selfishness and tragedy. It's quite similar to Game of Thrones in its shocking details.

What I get now by reading the text from the source, instead of reading other commentators on the text, is that the whole time, from the beginning to the end, God has had nothing but love for human beings, and has demonstrated it by forgiving us over and over again, despite our own propensity to spit in His eye.

What can a father do about a son or daughter who refuses to live a good life and be kind to others? What can a father do about a child who becomes an adult, and can't seem to stop his or her destructive and sometimes hateful behavior?

While a father may at times have to commit himself to things like 'tough' love, the truth of it is that no matter what the child does, the father (and mother) will always forgive the child if the child sincerely seeks reconciliation.

No matter how many times the child errs, the parent will always take the child back.

Because the parent loves the child, plain and simple.

So no matter what you've been told, or what kind of fear and anger you've held onto, the truth so many of us can't seem to wrap our minds around is that God loves us all, and can't stand even one of us having to experience the pain that goes along with bad decisions.

But what can God possibly do for those who refuse to admit they are wrong?

This universe, Earth, life... these are all too convenient to be a statistically impossible accident. The God in the Bible is not a dictator nor sadist. Those are lies that seem probable if a person would rather be angry than thankful. God has never, nor will ever, force our hands. That level of freedom is just one of the many, many gifts we were all given from birth.

A person either trusts God or they don't.



Saturday, July 23, 2016

Hidden meaning or coincidence?

The song "One Tin Soldier" has long occupied a personal place for me that no other song I know of can match. According to Wikipedia, the Coven version was the number one requested song in both 1971 and 1973.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPNDBEuKCdY

The song always gave me goosebumps from the year it first appeared. For many years I attributed that reaction to the poignant circumstances as described in the song.

When I got older, I found myself looking closer at the lyrics. I ended up seeing symbolism I wasn't aware of previously. The song is described as an "anti-war" song, and certainly that message can be found in the irony of the story it tells. However, there are aspects to the song that now give me pause.

Here is a line-by-line exposition, with my thoughts following each line. After consideration, you certainly can make up your own mind. Because the song tells a story, I've listed all the verses first, then the chorus at the end, as it repeats throughout the song and remains the same.


VERSES:

Listen children to a story that was written long ago
First we start by recognizing the story isn't the teller's, and furthermore, it is implied that it could possibly be ancient.

'Bout a Kingdom on a Mountain and the Valley folk below
A Kingdom above, and a group of "folk" below. Notice the Valley folk likely are not an actual kingdom, and the implication is that they are not as much of an established and cohesive entity. I believe the distinction of above and below is a metaphor for the Kingdom of Heaven and of the Earth.

On the Mountain was the Treasure buried deep beneath the Stone
Notice it's not 'a' treasure or 'a' stone, but "the" Treasure and "the" Stone. While this might not necessarily be significant, it does suggest a specific reference rather than a generic one. A specific description could be that the Treasure is an eternity in God's presence, and the Stone is Christ, also known scripturally as the Rock, and as the Cornerstone.

And the Valley people swore they'd have it for their very own

The idea is presented here that it could be possible for the residents of the Valley to take something away from the residents of the Kingdom on the Mountain.

So the people of the Valley sent a message up the hill
The intent of the "valley people" has never been ambiguous, neither in the song, nor in the embodiment of the anti-theist.

Asking for the buried Treasure, tons of gold for which they'd kill

While "tons of gold" could be a metaphor, in the end I believe it wouldn't matter what the Treasure is. It's just an excuse to destroy anything related to God.

Came an answer from the Kingdom, with our brothers we will share

This is the answer that one would expect from a Christian perspective, because God's intention of salvation and forgiveness has never been a secret since Christ rose from the dead.

All the secrets of our Mountain, all the riches buried there
The secrets of Heaven, that are scripturally described as being beyond our ability to even imagine. The riches are the rewards of the Kingdom, shared among all those who seek good and not evil.

Now the Valley cried with anger, "Mount your horses, draw your sword!"
The expected reaction of those who would rather not take the high road, and believe that they are entitled to anything they think they deserve. They are, after all, acting on their own conscience, and care nothing about what God may think.

And they killed the Mountain people, so they won their just reward
This is where the story diverges from reality. From an exclusively human perspective, this kind of carnage has historically happened so many times that it's delusional to imagine we have ever risen above it. In spiritual matters, the anti-theist ethos that drives many to rebellion for its own sake, encourages one to mistakenly believe that the darkness in the universe will one day triumph over the Light.

Now they stood beside the Treasure, on the Mountain dark and red
Another aspect of anti-theist fantasy. To rid the world forever of the allegedly hypocritical morons who humbly adhere to the writings of "bronze age sheep herders" is an unwritten dream of the dark side of humanity. The bloody imagery, coupled with the biblical reference in the chorus (See chapter 8 in the book of Revelation) about trumpets blowing, strongly indicate that this is a metaphor for Armageddon. The word "Armageddon" comes from a Hebrew word Har-Magedone, which means "Mount Megiddo."

Turned the Stone and looked beneath it
No comment.

"Peace on Earth" was all it said
A consistent desire of God from Genesis all the way to Revelation. The anti-theist labors to discredit anything that requires personal accountability regarding God's rules for the celebration and protection of life as a human being.


CHORUS:

Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend
As a boy I thought this was written with irony. Now I believe it's misguided admonishment.

Do it in the name of Heaven, you can justify it in the end
Anti-theism gives way to pernicious cynicism.

There won't be any trumpets blowin' come the Judgment Day
A direct reference to Revelation, and one that completely contradicts what is actually written.

On the bloody morning after
The morning 'after' Armageddon. Bloody is a clear reference because the Bible describes the aftermath this way: "And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs." For those interested in modern conversions, that's blood deep enough to touch the bridle of a horse for a distance of 200 miles.

One Tin Soldier rides away

This is a slander toward Christ Himself, who will lead the battle of Armageddon against the remaining anti-theists who eventually decide to summarily obliterate the last remaining remnants of believers from the earth. Referring to the triumphant and judgment-bringing person of Jesus Christ as a "tin soldier" is a sarcastic display of disrespect.


I believe it is no coincidence that the band Coven recorded both of the wildly popular versions, and I think the Biblical references and metaphors in the lyrics are also no coincidence. I believe the song had intentional malice toward Christianity. Coven weren't the writers, but the decision to have them record the song is at the very least a conspicuous one.

One of Coven's albums (from 1969) was called "Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls." Jinx Dawson, the band's singer, was often photographed wearing necklaces that featured upside-down crucifixes. Etc., etc.

But of course, as with anything else in life, subjectivity provides the possibility that everything I just wrote here is misguided.

What do you think?