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I'm afraid you're completely off base.

Most keyboards support aftertouch, but only as channel pressure, where the same aftertouch value is applied to all notes. Only a handful of MIDI controllers have ever supported polyphonic aftertouch, where the aftertouch value is applied per-note. On conventional keyboard mechanisms, this is extremely expensive, because each key requires a separate pressure sensor rather than simply measuring pressure across the whole keybed.

The LinnStrument also supports polyphonic pitch bend, which is even rarer than poly AT. Due to the limitations of the MIDI protocol, polyphonic pitch bend requires note-per-channel support, which is available on less than a dozen software instruments.

The only mass-market controller that is remotely comparable in expressiveness is the Keith McMillen QuNexus, but this is a much less musically useful product with only a two-octave range. The Eigenharp Alpha is truly comparable in features to the LinnStrument, but this is an exotic built-to-order product that costs $6000, has a six month wait list and requires proprietary host software.


Claims of this sort have been made about every communications technology in history. The postal service allows young women to communicate with unsuitable men un-chaperoned. The transistor radio is bringing a tide of filth into the bedrooms of young people. Video games cause violence and impair social skills. In every case, those claims were accompanied by plenty of tragic anecdotes but little evidence; In every case, they were eventually found to be largely baseless.

Without any evidence, it seems perfectly reasonable to categorise this claim with the others. If this psychotherapist has concerns, then the appropriate place to raise them is in a scientific journal, not a national newspaper. Doing so is the only way to constructively address the issue, by providing other mental health practitioners with useful case studies and making a case for a systematic investigation. I have found no such publication, but I have found other articles making the same claim in the same newspaper, dating back over two years:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/internet/9637676/The-i... http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/children/10234854/Han...


In general I tend to agree with your points, but we have also to take in account that the "time to market" of technology (in terms of adoption by a large percentage of the population) has decreased dramatically. So to take one of your examples: when radio was introduced, I doubt that 80% of teenagers got their own personal set before they had left home to go to college (or start working).

This meant that parents had some more time to get acquainted with the technology, and either decide it was not dangerous, or they could ban it if they thought it was really devil-spawned.

So while the complaints are probably similar, the actual scenario is different and would merit some consideration. I don't have offspring myself, but in my circle of friends this is something they have to worry about, and they are far from being luddites.


I'm so sick of government interfering in business. Why the hell are there so many pointless regulations governing electrical appliances? If I want to build a toaster with undersized wiring, no safety earth, no thermal cut-offs and no flame retardant plastics, why should the government be able to stop me? Why should I be burdened with the cost of product liability insurance? I can just base my company in the Cayman Islands and dodge the inevitable lawsuit when my product kills someone.

Taxis are regulated for a reason. I want to know that when I get into a taxi, the vehicle is roadworthy. I want to know that the driver is competent and medically fit to drive. I want to know that he isn't a convicted rapist. I want to know that his insurance is still valid when carrying paying passengers. Uber provides none of those guarantees, but intelligent regulation does all of that without creating a significant barrier to entry.


It sounds to like the solution to your problem is to use a service that does verify those things. If you don't like the risks of Uber, don't use it. The reality is the risk is pretty low, most people recognize that, and are fine with it.


Notice how you constantly say "I want". What if I, on the other hand, don't want to know those things and am simply concerned with the price, prepared to take a risk here? What right on earth do you have to tell other people what ratio of risk/reward is acceptable for them? Yet, this is exactly what regulation does: it says "this is in the public interest", yet "public" is very different in its preferences towards prices, comfort, risk and other factors.

If you want a safe taxi, by all means, use the government approved service. I for one couldn't care less, so I'm gonna go with a cheaper service. Everyone should have that choice.


Why should the people maimed by those cut-price cabs suffer from the poor risk assessment of the people using those cut price cabs?


Why would they suffer? If you are concerned with your safety and trust the government vetting process, you are free to use government-licenced taxi services exclusively.


You really don't get it, do you?

Road traffic is dangerous. Not only for people sitting inside those cars, but also very much so for everyone else.

The pedestrian your cheap taxi without working brakes just ran over didn't choose your taxi.

You did. And you're proudly saying that you have assessed the risk and... are willing to let other people take it.


When your poorly maintain cab plows into a pedestrian, crippling them, leaving them with medical bills (in some countries) and loss of earnings they're going to want to claim on the cabs insurance. But the cab doesn't have insurance because fuck regulation.


I cannot disagree more strongly.

Look at the technologies underpinning the internet. We badly screwed up a lot of things that are very difficult to fix in retrospect, because we didn't invest enough time and effort into foreseeing the consequences.

Nobody worried about the fact that SMTP allows people to send millions of unsolicited messages at practically zero cost until it was far too late to fix the protocol. It is entirely plausible that an RFC describing a proof-of-work scheme could have fixed the problem from the outset, but now we're stuck with Bayesian filters and black/whitelists that sort of work acceptably most of the time.

The issues we're seeing regarding surveillance and censorship could have been hugely ameliorated if our protocols were designed with greater foresight, if people like Cerf and Berners-Lee were more aware of those risks.

We look back in horror at the naive techno-utopianism of the past and the harms that resulted - tetraethyl lead, asbestos, nuclear fission, CFCs. They were all heralded as miracles of the modern age, but caused harms that we're still dealing with today. The technology industry needs to be far more circumspect about the hazards of what we do. We need less hype about changing the world, and more sleepless nights about the people we might be harming.

We need to be having big discussions right now about every aspect of technology, before we open Pandora's box. For example, the World Anti-Doping Agency already have rules prohibiting genetic doping in sport, because they know that it's a potential risk. They would rather figure out their policies now in the cold light of day, rather than in a panic when the Russian team arrive at the 2032 Olympics with a team of superhuman mutants.

AGI is a starting point for broader discussions about how society deals with increasingly powerful and ubiquitous computing technologies. Maybe it will happen, maybe it won't, but I don't think that's particularly important; What we can all agree on is that machine intelligence will only become more disruptive to society.

We need to plan now for what we would do if certain technologies come good. Driverless cars might never happen or they might be five years away, but we need to figure out what to do with the millions of Americans who drive for a living before we put them all out of work. What would be the social and ethical implications of brain-computer interfaces, of algorithmic decision-making in medicine or the criminal justice system, of ubiquitous facial recognition and tracking? How can we plan to mitigate those harms? If we don't give serious thought to those kinds of questions, then we're sleepwalking into the future.


With the automobile came the invention of 'jaywalking', and the idea that the street belongs primarily to cars rather than people. The nature of public space changed fundamentally.

Many European cities are heavily pedestrianised, with large areas of the centre accessible only for deliveries. There are big public health impacts - walking and cycling becomes more popular, children have safe spaces to play, accident rates fall and the air quality is drastically improved.


And not just an invention after the fact! "Jaywalking" was a word made up by the auto companies to sway public opinion in their direction (and paint pedestrians who use the street as stupid).

99% Invisible did a nice episode on it a while back: http://99percentinvisible.org/episode/episode-76-the-modern-...


There weren't many powerful automobile companies in 1891.



Obviously the indexed text of this book is not actually from 1891, given that the very next sentence talks about 1926 in the past tense.

> Results 1-1 of 1 > Page 49 > Within ninety days after the signing of those pledges, the records of the Bureau of Public Safety showed a decrease of almost 50 per cent in accidents resulting from jaywalking. In 1926 all honorary and special commissionerships in the police ...


Hah! That'll teach me to cut and paste fresh data....


Hm,that's interesting. I wonder why the OED doesn't mention this source in its earliest usage:


EDIT: In case that sounded sarcastic or like I didn't believe you, I'm actually curious about how they're so far off in their "first usage".


Because this is Volume 39, which was actually published in 1954, not 1891.[1]

Search the book for 1954, or any year before then, you will get results. Search for 1955 and you get nothing.

[1] http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/serial?id=ncycus...


Many European cities have 30km/h zones where the term jaywalking makes no sense because people has always priority over cars.

I really thing life is better in cities where people has priority over cars. But it is also true that the lower population density in a city, the higher dependency on cars it has.


I am currently in Kyoto where cars go pretty slowly and give way to bikes and pedestrians. Rather then honking a horn. Its rather nice.


There are a variety of development boards (Livid Brain, uCApps MIDIbox) designed to allow semi-technical users to build their own MIDI controllers. It's also reasonably straightforward to configure an Arduino Micro or a Teensy to work as a USB HID interface. If you can use a soldering iron and a drill, you can build a custom controller.


Absolutely. I've been known to break out the breadboard to that end. But soldering irons and arduinos are a level of too much... erm... wires, for what I'm thinking. Not to mention that making it control what you want takes time and debugging and perhaps a sympathetic operating system or app.

How about forgetting the electronics, and seeing controllers as just another UI problem. Software, implemented in plastic.

What would you want to build if it were that easy? Custom controllers for games? Custom games? MIDI Instruments? Dashboards with physical elements? Home / media center controls? POS interfaces? Hardware usability testing prototypes? Kitchen gadgets?

Maybe I'd be the only market, but I think it would be a big blurring of the line between hacker and maker culture.


>MMCs are nearly always more expensive than the more conventional materials they are replacing.

Most MMCs replace base metals that cost a few dollars per kilogram. Gold currently trades at ~$37,000/kg. Even comparing against a relatively costly base metal like tungsten, gold is three orders of magnitude more expensive. Spending $100 or even $1000 per kg to halve the density of a given volume of material vastly increases the cost of aluminium, but greatly reduces the cost of gold.

I have absolutely no doubt that Apple could significantly reduce their materials cost by using this process.


One of the underappreciated competitive advantages of Apple is their ability to scale complex industrial processes for consumer products.

Going back to the first iMac, their industrial design work has included developing or scaling new manufacturing techniques. Examples include co-molding white and clear plastic to get the liquid look of the iPod, and of course machining laptop bodies out of aluminum blocks.

If there is a company who could make this work at consumer scale, it's Apple.


In central London, there are a large number of "iceberg houses", with basements far bigger than the original house. Strict planning constraints restrict development, but local authorities have been liberal in granting permission to develop below ground.

Many homes built by the super-rich have large areas with no natural light. Security concerns often limit window placement, and it is common to design the main bedrooms and living spaces to function as panic rooms with reinforced walls and doors.

I see a significant and lucrative market for this product.



>I presume Yanni could afford the best amplification equipment

Being able to afford good amplification and having the technical expertise to implement it correctly are very different things. Audio engineering is a fine art, but most musicians know very little about it. They face the same sort of hiring problem as non-technical managers in our industry - they don't know enough to spot the difference between a bullshitter and a bona fide expert. Often musicians rely on house engineers in live venues, or the recording engineers and producers chosen by their label.

The best audio engineers go completely un-noticed, like the best sysadmins. There's nothing to draw your attention to the technology, because it is implemented flawlessly. A great live amplification setup has no noise or distortion, the instruments are all perfectly balanced and placed within the soundstage, and the amplification system works in sympathy with the natural acoustics of the room.


> Being able to afford good amplification and having the technical expertise to implement it correctly are very different things.

I can certainly agree with this, but I'm not certain the rest of the analogy holds. The problem with hiring excellent sysadmins and programmers is the lack of a straightforward test of quality. You can ask them to code something, and that will tell you that they are capable, but are they exceptional? I might be being naive, but I don't think that testing for that is so cut and dry.

However unless taking the 'best amplification equipment', setting it up for a performance takes substantially longer than a few hours, why can't an interview panel of listeners with a known good quality performer act as a test of capability?

- Panel, can you hear any distortions or noise? - No - You're clearly excellent, you're hired!

This certainly isn't my domain though, so I'm sure there are subtleties I'm not considering, but I'd love to hear about them.


Yanni is a professional musician who did music all day every day. I'm a lay person and I could hear it. I find it hard to accept that he couldn't tell the difference between excellent and inferior sound reproduction, and wouldn't demand the former.

He was at the height of his fame and so had a reputation to uphold and the resources to do it.


We figured out how to build good skyscrapers and jets by building lots of bad ones and studying the failures. We stopped building skyscrapers that collapse and jets that fall out of the sky by amassing institutional knowledge, not individual knowledge. We developed processes and methodologies that prevent major blunders from making it into the final design, and mitigate the impact of minor ones.

If some element of guesswork wasn't involved, we wouldn't need massive safety factors, because we'd know exactly how strong and stiff to make things. If engineers could be trusted to avoid disaster purely through their own skill and expertise, then we wouldn't need building codes and inspections, we wouldn't need FAA regulations and the NTSB.


"Some element of guesswork" != "just winging it"

If 99% of the job is applying well-understood techniques to well-trod problems you have an intimate domain understanding of, and 1% is judgment calls you can't rigorously justify, that's not "winging it".

What I think is going on is that people think back to their work, only remember the 1%, and then casually conclude that "aw, heck, the whole thing is just judgment calls", which doesn't follow at all.

Many projects crucially depend on someone having that deep understanding, and their success proves that at least one person (and probably a lot more) aren't winging it. If people would just operationalize what this nugget of wisdom is supposed to mean, I think we'd find a lot more disagreement on what it means, or a much less surprising insight.


hmmm, sounds like a job for J.E. Amrhein (speaking about structural engineering, but broadly applicable to many engineering disciplines):

"Structural engineering is the art of molding materials we don't wholly understand, into shapes we can't fully analyze, so as to withstand forces we can't really assess, in such a way that the community at large has no reason to suspect the extent of our ignorance."


Again, "not fully/wholly understanding" != "lol just winging it".

If the New York City skyline is "just winging it", then it should no longer be reassuring to tell someone that "lol don worry we're winging it too".



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