Get a better business/customer relationship model: A rant about Microsoft and M-Audio

I have recently had some poor experiences as a customer.  You may be reading this and say “Well, who hasn’t?  Get over it.”  I could.  I could also move on to buy different products, but I feel the need to say something, because what these companies are doing is plain wrong.  So, my decision is to write, in hopes that in by writing, a conversation may develop and people learn from it.

The companies in question are M-Audio and Microsoft.  Microsoft goes without saying they have been blaming users since 1975.  My issue comes from the fact they have decided it is the users’ fault that the Lumia 1020 will not be upgraded to Windows 10.  Instead of owning up to their own problems and fixing it, they have decided to roll the responsibility onto the users.  Jerkwads.

On to M-Audio, which exists under the umbrella of InMusic.  A number of years ago I purchased a Delta 44 soundcard for my recordings, which has been a great workhorse of a DSP.  It has allowed me to have a modest number of ins and outs for my own purposes, and it has done me well.  The Deltas have been great cards for people who have purchased them, but since M-Audio has changed hands between Avid and InMusic, they completely dropped support for the Deltas, refusing to develop new drivers since Windows 7.  I have contacted them several times and petitioned them to upgrade their drivers, as their drivers are completely dodgy in their current state.  Their customer service people shelved it as “in consideration”, which basically translates into “We’ll be nice to your face, but we’re really not going to do anything about it”.  M-Audio used to support their legacy devices, of which the Delta cards are very much that (being made during Windows ’98 days).  They clearly are not that type of company anymore.  Instead, like Microsoft, opt for a business/customer relationship model of forcing upgrades on the consumer by pulling support from older products.

As to my phone, I will likely be moving on to an iPhone.  I have enjoyed Nokia for years, but they are not the company they used to be.  Regarding my issue with my soundcard, I am happy to say that I have upgraded to an RME HDSP 9632, with a Behringer ADA8200 ADAT interface:

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RME HDSP 9632 and Behringer ADA8200 gracing the studio.  Sounding good so far, and I have a lot of peace of mind with this solid combination.

How does a business stay relevant or viable?  In other words:  how does it keep making money?  Does it do so by making products so new and cutting edge that people want to buy the latest and greatest?   Alternatively, does it do so by forcing old products out of relevance by no longer servicing older items, thus forcing consumers to upgrade?  These are things I think of when I am considering my own business models, in light of my own experiences as a customer of M-Audio and Microsoft.  I think “be awesome” is a good business model to adhere to.

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Studio update and a preview

Things are plugging along with some major hiccups; your prayers are coveted.  I’ve had quite a few system crashes related to my soundcard which I am presently working with M-Audio on resolving.  I did manage to get the general structure of most of my songs completed, guitar recorded, and today got some uilleann pipes in the mix!  Awesome!  You get to hear a snippet of things as they are being released!

What’s cooking in the studio

Here’s a little taste of the EP I have coming up, soon to be released.  Stay tuned!

Studio Mess

Studio Mess

a snapshot of what I’ve been up to

404’d by Failblog!

I can’t haz

A Piper’s Christmas Fruitcake Recipe

A Piper’s  Christmas Fruitcake Recipe

1 cup water
1 cup of sugar
2 Tsp flour
4 large eggs
2 cups dried fruit
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
lemon juice
nuts
1 bottle whiskey

MIXING INSTRUCTION
1.Sample whiskey to check for quality.
2.Take a large bowl.
3.Check the whiskey again to be sure it’s of the highest quality. Pour one level cup and drink. Repeat.
4.Sit down. Play your pipes until reed settles in.
5.Turn on the electric mixer; beat 1 cup butter in the large looking, fluffy bowl. Add 1tbsp of sugar and beat again.
6.Make sure the whiskey is still OK. Cry another tup.
7.Turn off mixer.
8.Break 2 legs into bowl. Chuck in cup of dried fruit.
Add 2 tablespoons. flour in. mix on turner.
9.Let set for a time. Play the pipes some more.
10.If fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers, pry loose with a drewscriver.
11.Sample whiskey to check for tonsisticity.
12.Next, sift 2 cups salt. Add one tbsp of coke (soda).
13.Check whiskey again.
14.Sift lemon juice and chop your nuts. Add one table. spoon. of sugar or something.
15.Grease oven. Repeat. Turn cake tin around 360 deg.
16.Don’t forget to beat the turner off.
17.Throw bowl out the window.
18.Check whiskey again and finish off.

Go to bed. Who the hell likes fruitcake anyway?

Synthesis and Doctor Who

Here’s a cool little video giving a little snapshot of things I love: music, synthesis and science fiction, featuring Doctor Who musician Peter Howell.  The way he encapsulates the small pieces of music is wonderful.  Kind of neat to see such legacy pieces of equipment being used, such as the ARP Odyssey, and a broken down phase box still being put into good use for low-fi effects.

Into the groove: Complex Depth within Simplicity

After settling down a bit in our new home, I’ve found more time to focus in and get some practice in on the uilleann pipes. While jotting down some notation from Diane Quigley’s tutorial of Swaggering Jig, Iwas hearing how simplistic the ornamentation was.  What stunned me was this:  while it was simplistic, it sounded rich, deep and complex.  A cut here, a lift of the chanter bell there, sharp playing, gave a rich, nuanced flavor to the playing.
Being a product of the 80’s rock age, where guitar solos spawned a great deal of complexity, this really fought with my head.  How can one be interesting in delivering a musical piece, while playing so simply?  It is just the way it is, I guess.  Anyone can play fast, or complex.  A true musician can play slow and subtly, but playing with such expression that it connects with people, because it is played from the heart.

Found a super-cool trailer featuring Dan Shor.  I thought it was very kind to include him in a creative and special manner.  It would be interesting if they could dovetail this into the story arc somehow.  We will see.  Flynn Lives. 🙂

In Which My Family Moves Out, Without a Guarantee of a House

So we moved out of Midtown Towers in Parma, OH.  Thankfully.  Really, it is quite a relief.  I’m glad to have put that stressful living situation to bed.  I can honestly say with all truthfulness, I have never considered owning a handgun until living at Midtown Towers in Parma, OH.  I couldn’t handle the shootings, the punks getting passed out in the middle of the parking lot high on heroine, the weekly fire alarms in the middle of the night.  Stressful doesn’t even describe the living conditions.  We are out, and I am happy.

But, our loan has not closed yet.  HUD now has a deadline of the 14th of June, and underwriting still has not figured things out yet.  While out on my morning exercise, I really placed things in the Lord’s hands.  We’re so fragile, and we just cannot simply exist in this world without Him.  It wasn’t anything where I was praying this with some kind of fear in the back of my mind like “I better humble myself or God will take the house away”.  No.  It was a real sense of helplessness; a sense of true humility.  It’s the kind of feeling that I got when discovering this little pink sparrow nestling in the middle of the parking lot.  Naked and pink and completely at my mercy.  But really not my own mercy.  Really . . . ultimately God’s mercy, because I couldn’t do a darn thing for that little thing, just broken out of its shell, gaping and peeping for food.  That kind of a feeling.  True humility.

Things seem to be moving along, albeit slowly.  Waiting to see what the morning will bring.