This is a New York City-produced set of haikus, so it’s accompanied by Brooklyn cherry blossoms. Photo (CC-BY-SA) Taís Melillo.

It occurs to me that I tend to write long articles, and people don’t always read them closely. And sometimes I do indeed obscure my own ideas, so I’ll make this as clear as possible.

James Lewin on Synthtopia responds to criticism of the iPhone, and differentiates his angle from my own. It’s well worth reading, and clarifies his thoughts, but there still seems to be some confusion about where I stand.

I can spell it out. I’m really not a fanboy of … uh, whatever I’m supposed to be a fanboy of. (Did someone say Windows? Oh, yeah. I can never get enough of Windows. You totally got me.) I’m not interested in taking sides. I choose technologies, and then I yell at them until they do my bidding or I get tired. Some of this yelling can’t be reproduced on CDM. It’d be a bit boring, and it wouldn’t be terribly family friendly.

On some issues – openness, standards, interoperability, free software, and expressive audio capabilities and performance – I make no excuses. I’m not neutral. I believe in these things. As for platforms, the iPhone right now is the superior mobile device, in terms of audio performance. Linux-based platforms, including Android, are better in terms of openness. I want both, but I can’t have both, at the moment. Happily, mobile phones are also not the entire universe. Hardware, conventional computers, game systems, custom electronics, and yes, acoustic instruments and voices and paper … we have lots of means of creating digital music. As writers, we simply put out ideas in the marketplace of ideas. But in the midst of partisanship and me writing so darned many words, maybe some folks lost the plot.

So, to be clear, let me reduce the number of words, and respond in haiku:

iPhone is made well /
Touch and audio work, yes /
Smule making money.

Apple are genius /
Also infuriating /
Lawyers make me sad

Android is open /
Audio drivers are poor /
Latency, jitter

Yay, ‘droid SDK /
Handset makers, please improve. /
Make better drivers

Phones are not PCs /
Verizon cancellation /
Credit card saddens

A synth makes a noise /
Oscillators, delicious /
We still love hardware

Readers become mad /
Shout, “no more iPhone stories!” /
Don’t feed the troll, please

So many platforms /
Create Digital Music /
Please some perspective

(Insert snaps here.)

  • Insert "snaps"? In Haiku? Japanese beat poetry? Coffee shops serving stir-fry? I'm a bit disoriented here… 😉

  • Relwal

    Is Smule really making money? They've borrowed something like $14M in VC funding with $3M in revenue in 2009.

  • Ah…

    Venture capital /
    Red ink or black ink, who knows /
    Speculation rules

  • rob

    that was beautiful, man.

  • I sometimes think people are forgetting the base of why we "create" digital music in the first place.
    Its the coolest feeling in the world to create noise, sound or music that comes from an electronic instrument or a device made from a kit. Add that to recording it and being able to mix it with other sounds on a digital desk or a computer, and you have a a world of expression at your disposal. If people let walls built from ideas like if its not made on a "real" modular synth, then its not authentic, or if you dont use a mac then your not a professional block them from doing what they enjoy doing – we have truly lost our way in this brave new world….
    I create music on whatever it takes to make the sound I have in my head, and that is it. I could care less about what the people think about the equipment I use because I am not making music for "them". I am making music that I like, with the equipment I like to use the way I like to do it. Now, if people happen to listen to what I have done, and they like it, then thats a bonus to me and the ultimate compliment. If they dont like it, they dont have to listen and can move on with their lives…..

  • Sorry for the spelling…. its been a long day. 🙂

  • ted

    i think you do an amazing job providing content & articles for this sight. (long or short) its my fking homepage. keep it up

  • where are these cherry blossoms? prospect park?

  • Chris Thorpe

    'Some of this yelling can’t be reproduced on CDM'. That's OK – for that, there's always Analog Industries. No-one yells better.

  • I thought the post was hilarious, but simultaneously effective and meaningful. I am watching Android closely for at least one reason as I doubt that Apple will be scaling touch screen devices much beyond the current iPad form factor. It might benefit us if Apple were to do the opposite as large, expansive touch screen surfaces have quite a compelling attraction for digital time-based art making. But Apple might surprise me and move in that direction even with its iMac line; flattening the computers, adding multi-touch and moving the hybrid display/interface closer to the user. But I think that niche companies will release larger devices first as multitouch displays proliferate, and they will probably be running Android.

  • haha!

    your long articles are interesting to read, please don't stop.
    I for one would love to read about your vision of possible venue futures for example.

    or a text about synthesis programming on mobile platforms, pros and cons, and links to how-to's (if there are any).

  • lematt

    i'm a big reader of CDM, but i think there is far too much articles about iphone.

    i have an iphone, but i think that device is overrated for music making in here.

    there must be so many other stuff to write about on the internet !

    more max, more pd, more arduino, more sound making software, but less iphones and mobile devices PLEASE !

  • Pingback: Create Digital Music » For the Record: Mobile Platforms, Music … | Blowelt | Crea tu Blog()

  • Pingback: For the Record: Mobile Platforms, Music, and Partisanship | VJ Heaven()

  • Damon

    That's not poetry, it does not rhyme.

  • Thanks CDM. In enjoy reading the articles a lot and if something doesn´t interest me I stop. It´s your thing Peter and it´s very good as it is.
    Best from Vienna

  • kid versus chemical

    CDM is great, I never thought you were a fanboy of anything really except open-source stuff, open standards, and OSC (or openness in general I guess,).

  • Pingback: San Diego Band | San Diego Band Vaude Villain()

  • Peter can really only be accused of being a Theremin fanboi. His obsession is replete and he has no shame.

    Seriously, I hope Peter does continue to cover the iPhone and I suppose now iPad developments as they relate to "Digital Music" as it can have a far wider impact on developers of "controllers" and devices possibly pushing products in new directions.

    Seen a Theremin lately Peter? 🙂

  • I will continue to cover as much as I possibly can of everything, partly because I'm lucky enough to have a readership that is fantastic about watching this stuff and sending tips.

    I am indeed a standards and open source fanboy. (Sounds a bit like being a fanboy of chocolate or beer, but yes, full disclosure.)

  • Pingback: Create EBooks & Make Money With EWriter Pro PDF Creator. | Air Purifier System()

  • in_harmzuay

    i have an iphone and would be by many to be considered a fanboy but…

    for me it is the case of it just working.
    i make electronic music on my mac, attached to my mac are other pieces of expensive hardware and software that i have slowly aquired over time.

    when i want a free multi touch midi controller i can just download one from the app store, or two or three…

    my friend who also uses mac to make music purchased a droid(as he had a verizon contract and is not in love with the iphone though he could also be considered an apple fanboy). He downloaded a midi control app for his droid with the only result being his droid got fried like R2D2 at the end of Star Wars when they are assaulting the Death Star and he had to get a new phone. Nothing like that has happened to my phone yet.

    im in the camp of "please just make it work", i got burned out on crappy expensive technology a long time ago(IBM thinkpad anyone) if i am going to be spending any of my hard earned limited cash on something, especially something im locked into for some time… then yes im willing to sacrifice a little openness and if the tradeoff is that the probability that its going to sh!t the bed is much much lower.

  • and after all that…..
    someone still finds away to talk about their mac boner….

  • all platforms fail me /
    shove it, switch to BeOS /
    or there's Amiga

    No, seriously, BeOS is an option:

    I like the name. 🙂

    Chromium runs on it, too:

  • Fanboys we are not
    The glittering potential
    Seduces us still

  • a total lack of phone stories wouldn't hurt this blog at all

  • iphone is pure hype
    no-one needs this crap to live
    steve jobs can suck ass

  • I shall respond to your response in short, abbreviated sentences.

    Don't worry about what people say on the Internet.

    Peter, you are the shit. 🙂

    If you want to see tons of hardware posts google the matrixsynth site.

    Don't get mad at a blog. Get mad at BP or something productive.

    Since when in history have people been able to make all types of music ON THEIR PHONE? Sounds newsworthy to me.

    Everything is an interface. 808, Ableton, Lemur, iPad, guitar, vocals: they are all tools to make sound. It doesnt matter which one you use, just make cool sounds.

  • Jon

    Electronic sound,
    Options abound and are vast,
    Better than ever.

    And I think that I'm qualified to say this since I've been doing music since before MIDI…

  • griotspeak

    I would just like to point out that Peter's post is a haibun.

    That tickles me.

  • doclvly

    I love apple dissenters, always smug. Go fix something on your computer instead. Hating on a company based on your limited experience with there products/service just leaves you in the dark. Know thy enemy at any rate, napoleon could have befitted from similar advice.

    FYI. Had A mac my entire childhood till adolescent. PC then on
    Would say i'm strictly a pc man these days (DO want multitouch gesture!!)
    I IPOD touch 3g and making music with it is pretty awesome now and is only getting crazier.

    OH and to the author. Beatmaker 2 was announced on Intua page. There really bad with PR its on the forums on a backwards post.

  • doclvly
  • monokit

    Just leave your articles as is. They are great. Love ´em! And for a refresh to read something about the Rock Band 3 Keytar is awesome!

  • msduchess

    iPad, iPod,

    iThink we need to talk less about who's a fanboy, or who's a PC guy, and who's an open source nerd (though it would be nice to include us females every now and then, boys…) and make some music.

    and if you're afraid that Jobs or Gates might take over your world, you feel it's too expensive, or you just hate it, then use something else, but this ongoing dribble on these blogs about PC vs Mac vs Open vs vs vs vs is getting really boring.

    Hi. I'm a mac. And I'm a PC.
    and we'd like to get on with it.

  • i create digital music because it's A LOT cheaper than creating analog music…and when all you got is monkey nuts for cash…i like free chips

  • Keats Handwriting

    I'm mixin' it up with a limerick:

    Yee old blog named Synthtopia
    Should be renamed "MisQuottin'Ya"
    Taking quotes out of context
    without so much as a hypertext
    The iPad talk is nuthin' but hyperopia

    ::Big eyes and head wiggle with attitude, before glancing you up and down like you're day old chicken nuggets::

  • Another thing I consider alot is the fact that there is such a steady stream of content on this site. "Slow news days" effect any kind of reporting, and our hobby is no different.

    The articles here are actual articles, and not just headlines about software upgrades or a list of links to YouTube videos of people playing synths. Synthtopia and Matrixsynth are in my 'rotation' of music related sites I visit. I enjoy CDM because it's more of an informed, in depth discussion about things important to the electronic music making community. Alot of times that means covering things that are "hyped", even if it's really just an examination on why these things should or shouldn't be hyped at all.

    Remember when everyone was complaining about the amount of coverage for the Monome? There were plenty of posts, but there was plenty to discuss. New controller form factor, boutique hardware creator, open sourced hardware designs, OSC implementation, on and on. But now we've discussed most of that, the Monome is a fixture in the electronic music community, and there isn't much else to discuss.

    Now the same thing is happening with iPhone, iTouch, iPad. Perhaps I find it more interesting than others here because I am also a web developer. However, there are multiple interesting topics involved here. Cheap and effective multitouch controllers, wireless controllers via WiFi/Bluetooth/3G, truly portable music production applications, new operating systems, open/closed source issues, an entirely new Linux platform for music software, and on and on.

    Sure the iHype is at a fever pitch, but there's alot of different aspects that are totally worth talking about. It's nice to have a place where those issues are fully fleshed out and debated. Sure enough, something else will come to take it's place within a year's time.

  • Don't apologize for things beyond your control. If there were more android apps for EM music, you'd be blogging about it. In fact you are my only source for EM music android apps. Don't take fan-boyism serious.

    mac vs. windows
    Mario vs. sonic
    Amiga vs. Atari
    loudness vs dynamics
    peter vs. trolls

    You're in good company.

  • Thanks, folks. I appreciate the support and feedback. And I do think there's something to be learned from all the vigorous debate; there's always some food for thought.

  • It's OK to take in suggestion, take criticism seriously and all that, but in the end please just keep doing what you are doing and post about what you find interesting. That's what sets CDM apart from everything else.

  • I totally agree with you, Peter.
    Let's cross our fingers and hope that Android devices will become usable audio platforms in the next year or so…

  • Keep doing what you have been I say. Open standards are critical for optimum innovation and progress.

  • David Prouty

    I’m a fan boy of CDM, but i think there are too many articles about the Iphone and Ipad. It gets boring so then I go looking for other blogs that write less about Imoble stuff but end up back here once in awhile. There must be many other things to write about. on the internet! Please less iphones and mobile device articles!

  • Pingback: Create Digital Music » Virtual Reality: Guitar Notation, Amps, and Effects Appear on Apple Mobiles()