discchord 2nd Anniversary!

It is hard to nail down exactly when to celebrate the anniversary of my involvement in the community. My first iMS-20 video was in April 2011, the first ECPM lesson was in July, the site was registered in August, and I started covering the daily news in March 2012. Since the site's technical birthday is August, and my own birthday is in August, I figure that's a good time to celebrate!

Now that the site is turning 2, it's time to start dispensing the gifts! For the 1st anniversary of ECPM I gave out $250 worth of promo-codes, how can I possibly top that? A troubling question I wrestled with for quite some time before pondering a further one:
Wait, why the hell am I giving you guys gifts for my birthday?

We've been doing this backwards!

Now that I'm turning 34, it's time to start settling into my mid-thirties. In Suburbia USA that means I need to take up golf and/or photography. I'm terrible at golf, but good at seeing things so this was an easy choice! I've actually been meaning to get into photography for a really long time, so I'm committing to it now.

With that in mind, I'm opening up this opportunity for you to collectively buy me a nice camera. I've resisted previous suggestions that I accept donations; on the basis that I would be the most unworthy charity. Since this is a birthday present we're talking about here, that's different...


$50 raised of goal $1,000

Flexible Funding:

Seriously, please don't give me any more money than you can or want to!

Not a registered charity:

I've got to pay taxes on this, but you don't get to write it off.

Backing Level:


"I once said I'd buy you a beer."


"I once said I'd buy you a beer."
(Plus shipping from Europe.)


"If ECPM was available as a DVD, I'd gladly pay for it!"


"I don't understand American currency, but $50 doesn't sound like much!"

Prints $20-80

Prints $20-80

Prints $20-80

Prints $20-80

Spoiler Alert: I already bought the camera. You can still help me pay for it, and maybe some new lenses. Think of this as an overly-elaborate joke crossed with a PBS/NPR pledge drive! A lot of you have said, "I'd buy you a beer!" I don't drink that much, so this will work out better.

I can't promise that I'll do more videos with this, but part of my plan here is to study photography to get more serious about my videography. Long gone are the days when a guy talking at a webcam was acceptable YouTube fodder. The live portions of my videos have always been pretty embarrassingly bad. I can say this will be used for at least one video I have planned, which is instructional and music related, but not app related.

Although I am very new to photography, I have been using Photoshop for 15 years. This is helping me turn mediocre results into great shots! I'm having a blast with this and I'm getting even more serious about it as I progress in skill. So serious that I've started my own professional photography business:
PEN1 Studios Photography, PEN1S.com.

I hate people who charge for wallpapers, so you'll always find free 1920x1200 wallpapers of my favorite photos on Google Plus. For the best of the best I'll be selling prints on SmugMug; without the silly watermark. As part of this Timmiegogo campaign I'm making 4 of my favorites available as a limited run. After August these will never be sold again!

Here they are in all their glory. Click on them to get a nice big wallpaper version, and to buy prints use the SmugMug badges on the sidebar. I tweaked down the prices to keep them affordable!


Hang In There Baby


The Speed of Light

Bridge to Nowhere

Stretch Goals:

With every crowd-funding campaign there is a risk that you end up giving the guy too much money and he just runs off with it.

In my case that threshold is surprisingly low!


Buchla Series 200e

If by some strange course of events I end up with $16,000, forget all that talk about photography and videos.

In fact you should probably try to avoid giving me this much money. Getting a Buchla would undoubtedly have a negative impact on the site. I'd get so lost in "modular-time" that the site could potentially go days, or even weeks, without any news updates.

Not even remotely affiliated with Indiegogo.

Touch Music Podcast - Episode 4

Chip Boaz from iOS Music and You, Sean Walker from iOS Musician, and myself finally got together to record the 4th episode of the Touch Music Podcast! We tried so hard to keep to a month release schedule, but all of our personal schedules kept colliding and preventing it.

This month we talk about our favorite new app arrivals, as well as the highlights of other recent events in the community. Download the MP3 here or on iTunes.

Subscribe to the Touch Music Podcast on iTunes

discchord - Consummate Consumer

Here is the 4th track on my upcoming album. I continue to try to find new ways to keep my knob twiddling interesting! For this video I use some classic footage meshed with time-lapse video I shot on my phone with iMotion, from DM1 developer Fingerlab.

Video Description:

This song is a fun, manic, adventure into the self-destructive self-hypnosis of consumerism.

MP3 Available here: https://soundcloud.com/discchord/consummate-consumer

• Time-lapse - Shot on my phone with iMotion (from the makers of DM1 Drum Machine)
• Acid Lead: Cyclone Analogic's TT-303 Bass Bot
• Lead Distortion: Sunsine Audio's Vanishing Point
• Bass: Moog Minitaur
• Really Pretty Shit: iMini(moog) for iPad
• Nasty Pretty Shit: Elektron A4 Analog Four
• Melody: Elektron A4 Analog Four
• Glitch Brain-melting Drone: Elektron A4 Analog Four
• Drums: Native Instruments Maschine
• Wiseman: Alan Watts

Buy iMotion HD on iTunes: Free


Buy iMini on iTunes: $9.99

Subscribe to the Alan Watts Podcast on iTunes

Eulogy for Cantor & Orphion

Shortly following the events at WWDC, Apple contacted developers Rob Fielding and Bastus Trump to let them know that their apps were getting pulled from the App Store. Both Cantor and Orphion have been on the App Store for over a year, but suddenly Apple in their infallible wisdom have decided that these apps are no longer fit for the general public. The specific reason for this is some dense technical shit that I only barely understand involving Private APIs; an issue that has existed in a grey area for developers. This area is so murky that Rob Fielding made sure that the very first version of Cantor (and all subsequent updates) explicitly stated to the Apple Review team that he used these APIs for finger-area sensing; in order to make sure that there would be no surprises and he wasn't sneaking anything past them.

Rob and Bastus are some pretty clever developers, and they have been pushing the envelope in terms of what we can do with our shiny iPads. Rob has been particularly instrumental in designing instruments that push MIDI to the very edge in his work with Jordan Rudess on GeoSynth. Cantor was an evolution of that design, including finger-area sensing for greater expression. As with Orphion, when you're playing an instrument on a glass screen you need all the help you can get to make your play expressive.

When Apple approved Cantor back in May of last year, Rob breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that his hard work would get out to users. He even made the app free on a couple of occasions to make sure that it did, and left the app completely free since November.

Then out of the blue, and just after Apple started off their WWDC keynote sucking up to developers for a half-an-hour, they gave Rob and Bastus the call. This casual reversal on what had already been approved will have a chilling effect on the developer community: Don't push the boundaries, or Apple can and will yank your income.

Artist Rendering: WWDC 2013 Keynote of the Apple App Ecology

The Apple App Ecology is a fragile one. Developers invest their time in making iPad apps, but they are complicit in their own potential demise. They know full well as they enter Apple's domain that at any time, and without any meaningful appeals process, Apple can just fuck everything up. They accept this frailty because they know that a majority of Apple's users have surgically graphted their mouths to Apple's ass, and so they buy into Apple's own ass kissing at WWDC.

This is not a conducive environment for the kind of bleeding-edge music technology and experimentation that we have come to enjoy from apps. Another grey area for apps is anything that breaks out of the "sandbox" that Apple insists all apps run in. This is exactly what Audiobus does when it sends audio from one app to another. It took them a year to make Audiobus, and the whole time they were in a state of limbo; unable to get a definitive answer on whether or not their effort would ever see the light of day on the App Store. They took that pressure and stress on themselves, but now Apple is retroactively reversing their decisions for previously approved apps. In the time since Orphion's release in January 2012 there have been 7 updates. Bastus continued to develop that app under the impression that it would pay off. Then a call out of nowhere and that ends, all of his efforts were wasted and his users are left high and dry.

I've given up on Android offering any meaningful competition for Apple in the music app space, and Windows RT/8 was dead on arrival, so this is the situation we're all stuck with. Developers are in an even worse position. Most of these guys are doing this in their spare time, whatever that means, but increasingly developers are hoping to make music apps full-time. That's part of the promise from Apple when they drone on endlessly about how many credit cards they have on iTunes accounts, or how much money they've paid out to developers in the last year. That's all a nice public front, but the private phone calls indicate that developers either play it safe, or risk suddenly losing an income they hope to depend on.

Some have started a petition to get Apple to reverse their decision, but I think that is naive. Apple isn't going to do that, because Apple doesn't have to do that. When they were a scrappy underdog 15 years ago they needed zealous fans to support them. Now they are second only to Exxon, and it is time to start treating them like the behemoth mega-corporation they are when they squash smaller companies clinging to them and their platform. Apple will not end this casual tyranny until their users start to hold them accountable. As long as you treat Apple like they can do no wrong, then they will go on acting like that.

Buy Cantor on iTunes: Free (On Sale, from $2.99)


Buy Orphion on iTunes: $4.99

discchord - Know Shame

Having addressed binary morality, Know that Shame is also a primitive concept with no place in modern cultures. This song, the third on my upcoming album, is a lighthearted look at the time in every boy's life when he realizes that he is certainly going to Hell.

Video Description:

Download the MP3 Here: http://snd.sc/11S4h6W

Synth-nerd details:
  • Acid Lead: Cyclone Analogic's TT-303 Bass Bot
  • Lead Distortion: Sunsine Audio's Vanishing Point
  • Melody (Left): Cassini Synth (iPad)
  • Melody (Right): Elektron Analog Four A4
  • Bass: Elektron Analog Four A4
  • Sub-Bass: Moog Minitaur
  • Drums: Maschine (Custom hybrid-acoustic kit with TR-909 hats)

Buy CASSINI Synth for iPad on iTunes: $4.99


Buy CASSINI Synth on iTunes: $4.99

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