It's always Apple, Apple, Apple

Volume 7: June 7, 2021

Just dance! if you caught up in the holy ghost trance
If you stop! ima put the killer ants in your pants
I'm the o-d-b as you can see
FBI, don't you be watching me

— Old Dirty Dirty

— aka Russell Tyrone Jones (November 15, 1968 – November 13, 2004)

Volume Seven. Anyone taking bets if we make it to ten?

Originally I started writing again as a precursor to the Winter NAMM show and the hope to bring back a community for Sonikmatter. Alas, NAMM is long over, nothing really interesting had come out and the sense of community that I had by visiting Sunny LA in the middle of January has gone away the same as it has with online forums. Here in dreary Indiana, we are awaiting Sweetwater's GearFest 2021, however, with the mask mandate being rescinded as of this month, it is still virtual.  

https://www.sweetwater.com/gearfest/

Located in the northeast corner of Indiana, surrounded by cornfields on all sixteen sides of the campus, it has been an accessible, albeit smaller, festival with thousands of visitors and top-class performers that are just as accessible as the Big Show. Hopefully, V8 will focus on the new products announced at this show even if it has to be virtual.  

As a note, my 6-month Grammarly subscription has finally run out meaning that my writing will be far less proofread and even far less polished. "Polished' as if even artificial intelliegence can make me sound good. Intelllligence? Inrelligence? See -- speel check isn't even working!  Someone quickly send me money!

Without further adieu, let’s talk Apple. Some of you love them, some of you hate them, and some of us…we might be stuck in the middle with the love of our devices but the hatred of everything that makes them great. Wall Gardens, Heavy Price, No Way To Customize It To Make It Truly Yours…Love Hate.

Today, Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference is streaming as I write this. And honestly, it may be the most interesting thing in entertainment for the moment. In the coming months as tour busses are de-mothballed, and Broadway opens, and symphony halls fill up maybe we won't need filler material. 

Updates, and please note I’m only listing the things I find interesting:

Facetime. Still not a zoom killer. But sharing of music, video, and high definition audio now available through a web browser even on competing operating systems. Can a musician use this for smaller intimate shows? Yeah. Probably.  

Notifications. I just need a feature that stops Apple from sending notifications when editing audio. Without hitting Do Not Disturb. Focus is a new feature that seems to do just this. And it looks as though if you have it set up on your iOS device, it will extend the ability to focus on your Mac or vise versa. This could be useful.

Photos. Search is updated. Hey Siri, please find the photoshopped app where I have more hair and a smaller belly to send to my groupie-groupie. What do you mean not found? No Siri, you don't have to be insulting. Yes, Siri, I know I have no fans, and photoshop broke trying to recreate hair where none existed. Oh...and an Actor/Musician search in the photos now. So you can easily find that friend that overshadowed your career. If only you hadn't quit the band back in '92 and watched him score award after award. Screw you Apple.  

Siri, I'm getting a little depressed. Can you skip this event until there is something relevant to musicians???  

Earpods. Conversation mode. Reduces ambient sound while increasing the voices in front of you. Guitarists, please stop placing your Marshall stacks behind the keyboardist. Our ears are not designed for this abuse. No. Yes, I apologize for asking. No no, you don't have to remind me not to disturb you. This feature is great for anyone with impaired hearing.

Secondly, Spatial Audio. One of the least guarded secrets before WWDC, it was said that Apple was introducing a feature that allows for 5.1+ audio from music that has been Dolby Encoded. FIND LINKS BEFORE SENDING THIS OUT. OR DON'T. I DON'T CARE. I'M JUST TRYING TO FILL SPACE. My editor is telling me I'm running out of time if I want to get this out before midnight!  

iPad OS15 Multitasking. If you are like me, your iPad occupies a significant portion of your workflow. Multitasking has always felt like an afterthought. With any hope, having multiple audio apps simultaneously will work as they should. 

Privacy. This has been a hot point of contention over the last several months. Facebook and others have claimed that Apple's privacy is going to be the death of them. Good. The industry has resorted to taking out full-page advertisements in the newspapers of record in most 1st world nations with Facebook and Google leading the charge. The only change is a privacy setting in preferences that says DO NOT TRACK ME. This, apparently, is the worst thing an Operating System developer could do. Who'd have thunk that just giving the end-user the ability to control their information would be such an item of contention.

One of the additions to privacy is the ability to run a VPN directly through iCloud+.

https://www.theverge.com/2021/6/7/22522998/apple-icloud-plus-subscription-vpn-scurity-wwdc

https://www.fastcompany.com/90643627/apple-privacy-wwdc-private-relay-vpn-icloud-plus-macos-monterey

As a side note, given the fact that Apple's very own contractors leaked sexually explicit photos of a student, posting them on her own Facebook page as well as to her Instagram account...some might find a little schadenfreude over this whole smug push. Apple forced the student to sign an NDA to receive the settlement, noted in a second lawsuit by an insurer to be in the 'millions'. One would hope that a company that claims to be so privacy-minded would own up to its own mistakes. And to my readers that went to that link to see if we actually linked to said photos, grow up!!!

Continued. Mac Continuity Universal Control allows mouse and keyboard access on your phone and tablet to control the secondary device. As a long-time fan of Sidecar utilizing my iPad as a portable screen, this could be a game-changer. Edit documents on one machine, move and drag them to another. 

Scripting. Shortcuts come to the Mac! As a builder of macro keyboards, a devotee of Streamdeck, a user of Keyboard Maestro...I have been waiting for this for a long time. Anyone that wants to focus on productivity should take a look at these tools. On iOS, Shortcuts in a little infuriating to use. It is slow and inefficient. And suffers from the interface that is designed to do one and only one thing at a time -- and this is what Shortcuts overcomes. On the Mac, utilizing Keyboard Maestro and Apple Script, one can do even more. Apple Script is powerful but also very complicated if one is not a programmer. The hope is that Shortcuts on the Mac will allow for the simplicity of Shortcuts with the power of Apple Scripting.

As a note, I have been working on a series of videos utilizing the Streamdeck in my workflow, but for the time being, check out The Automators Podcast focusing on this feature.

And that concludes the live-but-not-so-live-to-you-blogging of the WWDC. As more information shows up, check the Sonikmatter website for other articles that may be added that will not make it to the newsletter. If you have two hours to spare, watch the event here: https://www.apple.com/apple-events/june-2021/

What am I Watching?

Bo Burnham: Inside (Netflix)

A powerful tribute of a musician/comedian on the verge of a mental health crisis in the wake of a pandemic. The entire film was written, edited, scored, filmed, lit, and produced by Burnham in a single room while on lockdown over the course of a year. Watch it. You'll thank me later.  On Netflix. Or a Torrent. I’m not the police, you do what you do boo…

What am I Listening To?

Dolly Parton's America.  

Released in 2019, I had listened to the first two episodes, loved it, and then forgot to download the rest. I have quite a few television shows like this, but podcasts are a little harder to lose unless I start listening to them in one app and then...revert back to the old podcast player. It's the boy meets girl story all over. However, this is the girl meets boy, marries Carl Dean, girl gets hired by Porter Waggoner in an abusive but ambiguous relationship, leaves saying she only wants to take one thing with her and that's her name...though I may be confusing two very different stories...writes two of the biggest songs in history over a 4-hour period, and gets deified in her own theme park. Or something like this. Don't ask me where Ike comes into play, I just don't know. But I could listen to another season or two of Dolly telling stories.    

https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/dolly-partons-america

What am I Reading?

Cultural Notes of an Honest Broker.

Ted Gioria is the writer I wish I could be. But I write about technology and not artists. I honestly feel as if I am not cool enough to even suggest his newsletter. Go subscribe. And then you'll think why am I subscribed to two music newsletters. And I'll tell you why: Ted Gioria has the wit and energy I don't, and his dizzying pace will make your head spin. Come back here where you can take it slow and read on average one newsletter every sixteen weeks.  

The last newsletter, "Why Are Investment Funds Obsessed with Old Songs" asks "Octogenarian musicians have never made so much money as now—but why?" is an exploration into artists selling their back catalogs and retiring into the sunset. If it were me asking this, the answer would be BECAUSE ELON MUSK DESTROYED CRYPTO AND I DON'T WANT TO BE A POOR ANYMORE!!! Fortunately, Ted has other explanations.  

https://tedgioia.substack.com

Endnote: 

While watching Facebook choke on the fact it can no longer serve relevant advertisements to me anymore due to the recent privacy updates on my devices, this appeared:

https://www.lewitt-audio.com/mix

A music mixing challenge by friends of Sonikmatter Spitting Ibex. Download the multitrack, remix them, make them your own, someone for god sakes delete Valentin Zopp's sad keyboards and replace them with tracks from the new K2700 before he gets a chance to own one just to rub salt into his ears...and you may win a studio bundle of microphones.

No, this is not a sponsored advertisement, but when you see friends doing amazing things, you promote them.  

Sonikmatter: Mind + Music + Technology

Barely Edited, Never Fact-Checked, Always Opinionated. 

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