I Can Read Sheet Music

I taught myself to read sheet music this afternoon, specifically for the violin. The music teacher has an axe to grind about #2’s skill and practice. I never learned to play an instrument or read music. So I can’t correct it if I have no idea how to instruct it. As of today I have a rudimentary understanding of string music and it’s so COOL!! Why didn’t I do this before?!?

Meanwhile, the boy… Apparently 1.5 years of violin lessons in one district amounts to little more than training to make wet fart noises with your hands in another district. I walked him through just the notes, then the measures, then the annotations unique to strings (and bows), everything I had learned in the last 2 hours. Realizing there is plenty of work cut out for us, I ask him to break out his violin and demonstrate while Jaimi and I scramble to make a late dinner for the family.

There’s that special moment when you look at your spouse and you both know you’re on exactly the same page, that whatever the challenge is, it is yours together, and it will not defeat anyone in the household. You acknowledge with your eyes that this is about to suck. We had that moment while I was peeling shrimp and Jaimi was rinsing broccoli as we listened to the introduction to the slaughter of the St Lawrence Overture. It was time to come to my son’s defense, demand he put the device down, and for me to notify the instructor that the boy isn’t the right student for her, she’s not the right tutor for him and we all just need to move along quickly. No sense in wasting anyone’s time when there are serious education issues afoot.

It was really nice sitting on the sofa tonight, at 10:30, after the emails to educators where written, calls to the boy’s mom to get sign off on my plan, after the late-napping 2 year old was put back down to bed again, after dishes were done, after the boys had turned off their headlamps for their books, and Jaimi and I sat down – finally – agreeing not to recap the day. We just shut up. In 30 seconds we were both snoring.

Happy Monday.

Google or Apple Maps?

A friend asked his network, “Google or Apple maps? Discuss.”

I could rant for days here. On one hand, we have GPS. Its government controlled, slow, somewhat inaccurate but usually works. On the other hand we have a cluster of USPS data, cars & cameras collecting imagery, and wildly abused user-contributed information all of which are dumped into the collective hive-mind of free map software. Like a map, scrawled in Sharpie, on the wall of a bathroom stall.

Google maps is brilliant for traffic info. Not just real time, but predictively, too! That’s because every Android and logged-in gmail account has been sharing real-time informatics (whether you like it or not). It’s brilliant. You can even see traffic patterns based on day of week, time of day, even holidays. Provided that you know exactly where you need to go.

Apple/iOS maps… I think I had 3 birthdays the last time I tried to load that up. It was so slow I used my car’s navigation system instead. Gawd knows that’s an act of pure desperation.

In all fairness, I can’t attest to which system is more accurate for physical addresses. The final responsibility rests upon the shoulders of the US Postal service. Unfortunately, that tax-payer funded agency is now little more than an indentured servant to Amazon. Ultimately, we need the USPS for authority in this department…as if they should be surveying geological and location data, not just stamps and commercial mailers, and providing accurate information on locations and addresses within our country.

We could call it the United States Geological Survey agency, or USGS.govfor short.

Oh, damn, that domain name is already registered.

Auto-focus

There are companies investing hundreds of millions of dollars into cramming more and more tech into goggles and glasses: gps, video recording, augmented overlays, social media feeds. That’s all fine and dandy. But they’re missing one critical feature that would revolutionize the tech space:

Auto-focus. My camera can do it. My phone can do it. Why can’t my glasses?

(Drops mic)