Blog

News, Thoughts, Soapboxes, and/or Essays

Go give Wikipedia some money. No, really.

I donated to Wikipedia earlier this year (like I did last year). If you use it often, send some money their way. It takes a lot to run something that large.

-Kyle

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Dear Kyle,

Here's how the Wikipedia fundraiser works: Every year we raise just the funds that we need, and then we stop.

Because you and so many other Wikipedia readers donated over the past weeks, we are very close to raising our goal for this year by December 31 — but we're not quite there yet.

You've already done your part this year. Thank you so much. But you can help us again by forwarding this email to a friend who you know relies on Wikipedia and asking that person to help us reach our goal today by clicking here and making a donation.

If everyone reading this email forwarded it to just one friend, we think that would be enough to let us end the fundraiser today.

Of course, we wouldn't turn you down if you wanted to make a second donation or a monthly gift.

Google might have close to a million servers. Yahoo has something like 13,000 staff. We have 679 servers and 95 staff.

Wikipedia is the #5 site on the web and serves 470 million different people every month – with billions of page views.

Commerce is fine. Advertising is not evil. But it doesn't belong here. Not in Wikipedia. Wikipedia is something special. It is like a library or a public park. It is like a temple for the mind. It is a place we can all go to think, to learn, to share our knowledge with others.

When I founded Wikipedia, I could have made it into a for-profit company with advertising, but I decided to do something different. We’ve worked hard over the years to keep it lean and tight. We fulfill our mission, and leave waste to others.

Thanks again for your support this year. Please help spread the word by forwarding this email to someone you know.

Thanks,
Jimmy Wales
Wikipedia Founder

Looking forward, looking back

Every December 27th for the past several years, I have spent the day reflecting on the past year, what went wrong, what went right, and what I was going to do about it, creating a sort of “state of Kyle Vanderburg.”

But that's not what's going to happen this year. Starting this year, my focus will be less concerned with where I've been, and more concerned with outlining where I'm going. And it will chiefly be concerned with my professional life and NoteForge than with my personal life. So let's get started.

Operations in 2011 were focused on a few large ideas. First was putting out the fires from 2010. 2010 was a weird year, and efforts were made throughout this year to fix all of that. Second, and less vague, was simplification. NoteForge's website got a makeover, I let go of some domain names (such as Vandermusik and vdbg.us), and I worked toward unifying the NoteForge-created technology. This simplification idea led to the idea of streamlining as much of the NoteForge operations as possible, allowing for more time to do what I'm supposed to: Write music. With that in mind I wrote (and then re-wrote) SPADE, the Score and Parts Automated Download Engine, and conceived and produced HOE, the Hammer Opportunity Engine.

So as things stand, I have a self-hosted, multiuser, robust composer management system built to
streamline submissions to calls for scores (HOE),
Automate the delivery of digital scores (SPADE),
Sell products,
Keep the website and calendar updated,
And it's all based on proprietary NoteForge technology, running on a custom-configured modular server instance named Anvil.
I have a highly brandable company that isn't locked into music publishing (Ex, it's not named “NoteForge Publishing).
I have the very beginnings of a recording studio.
I have the infrastructure to run all of this.
And I have a catalog of works.

So where do we go in 2012? Here's what I'm thinking:

Continue developing Hammer-Based technology.
Anvil will require system updates (Apache, MySQL, PHP), which will be installed in March, July, and November. Also, I will be investigating the move to a different server platform.
Hammer, HIT, HammerSP, and others will continue to be developed. Immediate plans for Hammer include a bug reporting engine, with invoicing and other functions to be determined. These upgrades and cosmetic updates will be released in Hammer 2.2.
I'll be partnering with Jennifer Tripi, and we will be coding a music-teacher specific integration of Hammer named Keys, which will be based on a fork of Hammer 2.1. Methods for licensing this technology will be explored, but currently the technology is covered under VBIPA.

Renew domain names and revise usage.

By the end of 2012, NoteForge domains should be primary domains, and KyleVanderburg domains should be used for branding purposes. Current URL shorteners, the NoteForge CDN, Analytics, etc. are based at kylev.net. These will need to be moved to ntfg.co.
The majority of my domain names will need to be renewed this year, with the following dates:
KyleVanderburg.Net 2/24/12
NoteForge.Com 7/7/12
KyleV.Net 6/9/12
Vandromeda.Com 10/21/12
Ntfg.co 6/1/12
KyleVanderburg.Com 11/1/13
I'll be keeping these six domains for the time being, for branding purposes. Vandromeda is currently unused. Perhaps the KV names should be on odd years and NF names should be on even years.

Move away from Google/Reevaluate the NoteForge Email System
NoteForge/KV.net currently use Google Apps for mail purposes. I'd prefer to move to an exchange server or to a self-hosted solution. This will likely involve moving to Office365, Microsoft's hosted solution.
For the time being, KyleVanderburg.Net serves as the primary mail domain. I'd like to change this to NoteForge.

Shift current cloud services to Windows Azure, and shift more of NoteForge's data to the cloud.
Currently, I use Amazon AWS as storage for various files (personal archives, QUART files, sound backups, Anvil backups). To achieve platform unity, this information will be moved from AWS to Azure.
NoteForge Hosted sites currently use AWS as asset storage. This will need to be changed.
Eventually, via the NoteForge Stovepipe project, selected Hammer/Anvil functions will be moved to Azure.

So that’s the plan for 2012. Let’s do this.

Working from Home

Of course, it being Christmas vacation and all, I'm back in Poplar Bluff juggling family engagements, taking care of those things I can only do during those 4 weeks I'm in PB, and trying to actually get some work done. And finally, after 4 years of college and 2 years of grad school, I've finally figured out how to get a decent workflow going. Which is good, since I want to complete a lot of stuff this week.

I've mostly been working on the Pipe Dreams Band Orchestration this week, and I'm nearly halfway done with my first pass of orchestration. And it's going…better than expected. In addition to that, I'm thinking of my Missouri piano piece, my upcoming Kansas piano piece, and my prepared piano work.

But, for the time being, I thought I'd show off the workspace that I've built in my basement.

SAM_0903

I think most of this is self-explanatory. The speakers are my Mackie MR5MK2's and the mixer is an Alesis Multimix8USB, all from Oklahoma, the piano and the drafting table belong to my parents, and the ridiculous green bass on the wall is a Vanderburg original.

As far as what I'm doing here? Wait and see…

New Piece: Creatures from the Black Bassoon

I finally finished my first electroacoustic piece! (for those of you who aren't familiar with the genre, it uses recorded sounds as a basis instead of traditional notation and instruments. Wikipedia has plenty to say on the subject). This new piece, Creatures from the Black Bassoon, uses bassoon sounds to create a variety of animal-like characters. The form is more or less based on the golden section, with a number of contrasting “windows” in the sound.

Here's what it sounds like:

This piece was composed with Pro Tools 7 LE (Steven Eiler's copy), 8 HD (OU's copy), and 10 (my copy), with processing by DigiDesign/Avid's usual audiosuite plugins, GRM Tools Classic and ST, and Sonnox Oxford Reverb.

Those of you familiar with my music (both of you) will notice that this is pretty much unlike anything I've written. After all, if I'm wanting to be an acoustic composer, why switch to electronic music? Well, there are a couple of reasons. First of all, marketability. Most academic job listings for composers now require some sort of electronic background, and if I'm looking to get a job in academia, this can only help (Will I get a job in academia? Do I want to? That's another blog post). Secondly, the process of creating this piece has been valuable in learning how to use Pro Tools (an industry standard) and has allowed me to listen to (and think about) sounds in a new way. This is similar to my work with New IMPROV! Century Ensemble, where any sound is fair game. And of course, there's also the value in having an 8 1/2 minute long piece of music that requires no performers.

So what's next? Prepared piano? Instrument and tape? Pipe Dreams for wind ensemble? We'll find out.