Eclectic Ruby, MIDI, and Dr. Von Funk

One of the things I like about the Ruby community is that it seems to attract and even encourage eclecticism. I suppose it was only a matter of time, then, before a book like (Practical Ruby Projects: Ideas for the Eclectic Programmer)[] was written. I'm interested in particular in the chapter on using Ruby to drive MIDI. Someone's even hooked it up to Reason. This is, of course, awesome.

So, my grand plan is to turn my iPad into a step sequencer for Logic Pro. To do that, I'm going to need to figure out how to send MIDI signals to it, but also how to receive MTC from it. Even better would be to figure out how to send a note with particular timing information (i.e. "Play this note here, and this other note there, etc." instead of just waiting for a particular time and saying, "Play this note now!"), but I'm not sure that's possible at the moment. It's kind of daunting when I haven't done any audio programming before, but Ruby makes it a little less daunting, because it allows you to strip away a lot of the hassle of programming and get to the point quickly. One of the hardest things with any project is proving to yourself it might be possible. Possible enough, at least, to start hacking away at it.

Also, I started a new job. I have a view with a window, and I get to make software in Ruby on Rails that helps people make cute cartoon characters to help welcome and guide other people through cyberspace, all the while avoiding the perils of the uncanny valley. That's a lot of helping! Everyone here has a window seat, which is great because I've never really had a good view before (well, once I did, but the whole time I was there, people would walk by and say, "How the hell did he get that desk?" and I never really got to enjoy the view because I was too busy trying to figure out what it was that I did – apparently whatever it was, I did quite well at it, which was somehow even more unsettling). So having a view that everyone else has that can give your eyes a break every so often from the computer screen is great. Working with other people in the same physical space is also great. I didn't realize how much I'd missed that until now.

Here's something (I think) I'm learning about creativity. I'd spent several years looking for more and more freedom. Less structure, more blurry lines, less certainty. That's good to a point. I think it helps you to be creative if you're comfortable with those things. But creativity can also use a good dose of structure and space every now and then. Walking to work. Coming and going at regular hours. Glancing up at the awesome view when you've hit a roadblock. Being able to leave work at work. I'm also working with a great team that I think I'll learn a lot from and contribute a lot to. My girlfriend keeps asking me, "Are they the ones behind The Paperclip?" I don't think so, and that's also nice, because I think enabling The Paperclip and its plans of world domination would be much more taxing than working with cute cartoon characters like Dr. Victor Von Funkalicious.