The bulk of the research was done by going through archives at the NAMM HQ in Carlsbad, Ca. and some interviews with a few people that were there at fThe bulk of the research was done by going through archives at the NAMM HQ in Carlsbad, Ca. and some interviews with a few people that were there at founding of the standard. It includes a chronological history of the development of MIDI with a lot of social and cultural commentary in between. There were a lot of details I was not aware of such as the marketplace telling the industry that it was too complicated and that at one point in the late 90's they though they could increase the market with MIDI 2.0. I felt it could have gone a little deeper on details although maybe a lot of these are just lost to time. There was mention of the first fabled demo with the Jupiter 6 and Prophet 600 at NAMM 1983 including a photo. There was a lot of hand wringing from users about what was not included in the first spec which were really just product and feature requests that any manufacturer or software developer could have take on. The book starts by talking about the origins of NAMM and the piano manufacturers dating back to the 19th century. NAMM also gave Ryan access to a lot of member surveys taken over the years which gave insights into the thinking of MI dealers.
I did enjoy the story about John Chowning, Stanford, and the DX7. And there is the history of Korg, Roland, Oberheim, Emu, but not too much about Rodger Linn or Akai. No mention of the MPC60 or sampling in hip hop, but there is a through analysis of hip hip and MIDI. No mention of Ensoniq, MOTU, Voyetra, JL Cooper, Midi Solutions.
The book does not delve into the basics about how midi works. It is in no way a technical guide. At times it assumes you know the basics but then the author goes one to explain tidbits like 16 channels, mono/poly modes, and system exclusive, perhaps just for reference.
I found the pre-midi solutions section interesting. Both Herbie Hancock and Don Lewis had personal systems in development. But there was no comprehensive stories about CV/gate, DCB, din sync, aftermarket MIDI mods by Kenton, the addition of MIDI during the run of the Prophet 5 and PPG Wave production.
There is not a ton of "synthspotting," mentioning what synths were used on what tracks. Perhaps because the author wanted to stick to MIDI and not synths? But that is the primary place MIDI is found. There are no interviews with anyone who made pop records in the 80s or electronic albums in the 90s with MIDI. No mention of MIDI's use in early DOS PC games and how they used General MIDI which would have been interesting. The launching of General MIDI is mentioned but without a lot of details on how it worked (piano is patch 1, drums on channel 10, etc). There is no a lot about the explosion of electronic music in the 90's, a time when the instrument industry was apparently in a slump, hence the development and pushing of General MIDI at the time.
It almost feels like the author thinks that despite the sever limitation of MIDI that it is any wonder that it worked. Perhaps because of the jockeying of control of all of the various parties like the manufacturers and the groups like IMA, JMSC, MMA. I feel that there are, at this point, there are not too many limitations due to all of the solutions developed over the years and that it did and does all work as promised. But given the long view of things a manufacturer could just easily release a feature that would allow two machines to talk in a specific way and it would either become a standard, being adopted by other manufacturers or it wouldn't.
The book's history of MIDI ends in 1999 after the various working groups gave up on MIDI 2.0 and does not mention any new adaptations like MIDI Polyphonic Expression which probably happened right after the book was finalized.
Perhaps the author will write a follow up of the book with more stories. I think next I may read Any Sound You Can Imagine - Making Music/Consuming Technology by Paul Théberge which covers similar topics....more
Once you read this book a trip to the grocery store will never be the same. You will watch your fellow shoppers walk around the store an pick up itemsOnce you read this book a trip to the grocery store will never be the same. You will watch your fellow shoppers walk around the store an pick up items like mindless creatures; like your the only one who knows whats really going on, kind of like in the film "They Live."
The section on fat is mostly about Phillip Morris's acquisition and then spin off Kraft Foods. As the author talks about the various executives, marketers, and product developers I can't help but think of the characters in Mad Men since some of the events take place at the same time.
It also tells the story of Kellogs, Post, Oscar Mayer (and Lunchables), General MIlls, General Foods, Kraft, the dairy and meat industries' coziness with (read: heavily lobbied) the USDA and their tax payer funded scheme to make is all drink more milk (Got Milk?) and meat (Beef: Its Whats for Dinner) through programs called checkoffs.
Four cheese! Sounds good, right? No, just a way to make you eat more cheese. Diet Coke? That's kind of like a filtered cigarette: it's healthy(er), so indulge!
Most processed foods (bread, cheese, cereal, snacks, candy) tastes terrible without salt.
When a food is labeled as having less sugar, it might have more salt and/or fat. When a food is labeled as having less fat, it might have more salt and/or sugar. When a food is labeled as having less salt, it might have more fat and/or sugar. When a food is labeled as having a large number of vitamins added, it is to compensate for the fact that it has large amounts of sugar and/or salt and/or fat.
If you switch to low salt or low sodium versions of a food your sensitivity for salt will go down. You might notice it the first few times you eat it, but eventually it will taste like it has the same amount of salt. Processed food is loaded with salt since it helps extend foods' shelf life, so the industry has an intrest in keeping your tolerance hight, which is bad for you.
“Real fruit juice” or “natural fruit juice” and “no added sugar” claim on drinks is a trick. The juice has had all of the fiber filtered from it, so it is all sugar. The fiber is what makes fruit healthy, so the benefit is lost. It is not too different from extracting high fructose corn syrup from corn, and then claiming “real corn juice.”
“Diet” versions of bad food are “healthier” in the way that filtered cigarettes are “healthier.” Of course neither one is healthy. You’re tricked into picking the lesser of two evils.
The tobacco company Philip Morris purchased Oscar Mayer, who used their cigarette-like marketing tactics to get kids to think Lunchables were cool. The daughter of the inventor Lunchables did not let her kids eat it. The inventor of Lunchables has regrets.
Kraft created a council that tried to make their foods healthier. It included at least three people (industry insiders) that truly wanted to help reduce sugar, salt, and fat. They succeeded but once shareholders started to complain about the stock's performance, the companies, to the dismay of the three health conscious council members, reversed course and expanded into new geographical territories.
A conclusion I came to that was not covered by the book after reading the book:
Food that never contained gluten and that you would not think of as containing gluten will be labeled as gluten free, possibly to counter the perception of its large quantity of sugar, salt, or fat....more