Romey's Ramblings

Random musings of Jeromey Balderrama

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November 19, 2016
by Romey
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Photographing South to Cedars

Last night Amy and the Peace Pipes played at the Stuff A Truck benefit for Homeless Gear at Pateros Creek. We had the honor of sharing the stage with Aires Attic and South to Cedars.  I managed to snap a few shots during South to Cedars set.

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In all honestly, the lighting was pretty challenging.  Pateros Creek has a great room, but the stage area shares about the same lighting as the rest of the room, with the exception of some flood lights that are covered by transparent colored film.  Pateros also had the (very good) problem of being completely packed for the evening, which limited the angles that I was able to capture images.  South to Cedars put on an amazing show and feature some awesome harmonies by all of their members (they don’t normally had a drummer, they had a guest sit in for the last few songs, so a lot of great singing moments.  In addition, the fiddle was a lot of fun to capture.  It’s not too often that you get to capture tight shots of musicians and their instruments.

As always, all of my band photos can be found on Flickr.  I’d love to hear what you think!

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November 17, 2016
by Romey
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Photographing Wolfer and Places Back Home

A few weeks back Amy and the Peace Pipes played a show at Nixons with Wolfer and Places Back Home. Nixons has a really cool lighting setup on their stage, so I took it as an opportunity to capture a few shots of the other bands.

Ben Sawyer, Wolfer’s lead singer, has an awesome beard that was a lot of fun to shoot while light bounced off of it.

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Places Back Home also had a lot of energy in their performance. They were all over the place while they were on stage, which made capturing “full band” shot a bit of a challenge. They gave me a lot of really cool action moments!

Are there any pictures that you like?

November 16, 2016
by Romey
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New Gigposter: Stuff A Truck Benefit Concert

We have a really exciting gig coming up with Amy and the Peace Pipes on Friday, where we’ll be playing with Aires Attic and South to Cedars to benefit Homeless Gear.  Members from the three bands has been doing a lot of work towards things, getting some generous businesses to donate really cool prizes that we’ll be giving away.  I got a chance to design some artwork for it, I do have to confess that I did borrow from a previous design that I put together 8 years ago – but I figured the Statute of Limitations for my artwork expired and I could make it useful again.

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One of the biggest challenges was the use of all of the logos for the sponsors. Everyone’s managed to come in different shapes, sizes and colors.  I also found it difficult to striking the balance to providing the logos enough prominence without detracting too much from the other information I was trying to convey.

I also played around a lot with the new Facebook banner design, coming up with this guy:

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The gap in the middle was allocated to give space for the event title and date that Facebook imposes. People who would click onto the cover art would see the full “donate items” text, but I wanted to put the most striking content above the fold. Here’s what it looks like over on Facebook:

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I played around with the art some more, making a 1×1 image for our Twitter and Instragram profile pictures:

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I’d definitely welcome any thoughts or input!

July 7, 2016
by Romey
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Dallas 

My heart goes out to all those in Dallas, especially for the police officers that were killed and wounded tonight. I grieve for them and their families. Make no mistake: this is the greatest tragedy tonight. 

I’m also deeply sad for the thousands of people who have had their voices hijacked by people who sought to commit terror tonight. If you can set the tragedy aside, it’s remarkable to think that so many came together in so many communities to further the conversation our society needs to have about injustice, racial tension, and overreaching of authority by those charged with protecting us.

The problem is that this may now devolve into another polarizing issue that’s over-simplified to being either anti-black or anti-cop. Just like Orlando prompted discussions about whether certain people shouldn’t be able to buy guns, we need to have the same conversation about whether certain people  shouldn’t be able to become cops. 

It is possible for people to grieve these officers in Dallas and other law enforcers who have made grave sacrifices, while at the same time question whether current climate and procedures give way to an abuse of power by police, and whether they should be held to a higher standard. I’m fearful however that our idea institutions and leadership have become so weak that we won’t have that thoughtful discussion before more lives are lost. 

Tonight is a sad night, this week is a sad week – not only for those lives that were lost, but also for our kids. I’m sad about the world they’re going to grow up in. 

June 30, 2016
by Romey
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Apple’s playing with “Monopoly” money

Spotify: Apple is holding up app approval to squash competition

Let’s get this out of the way: Apple is completely within their rights to set whichever app approval policies in their platform. It’s their OS, their store, their rules. I’m not a lawyer, but when it comes to Apple enforcing their own policies: I don’t think Spotify has a legal leg to stand on.

That said: Apple may (and should) lose in the court of public opinion, and their behavior is asshole-ish to say the least, and likely anti-competitive to the point that they may (and should) be punished.

I get it, you built the store and thus are entitled to take a cut for setting up and facilitating a profit center for app developers, and I realize Apple feels they deserve a cut for digital goods and subscriptions for apps that charge nothing up front.  Throughout the course of the app store, Apple has become competitors in many of these markets, and are now using their platform ownership to slant the playing field in their favor.

In the case of Spotify: aside from the fact that Apple Music is a red hot mess, Spotify has superior music discovery features and an easy way for me to interact with my friends and embed playlists in various posts.  At the time, it’s a superior product, but Apple is hiding behind their app store policies to give themselves a competitive advantage in price-point.  Sure users can sign up through the Spotify web site to get avoid the Apple tax, but it’s asinine that even mentioning that through their app prevents the update from being approved.  This “Minister of Truth” garbage makes no sense.

As the app ecosystem has evolved, many legitimate questions have arisen about how app makers can continue to monetize based off their apps.  Now that we’re reaching a saturation point with users, we’re finding out that it’s not sustainable to pay $3 for a Podcast app and expect feature enhancements until the end of time.  I’ve come to accept that in order for apps I love to stay in business, I’ve accepted that I may need to fork over an annual fee for an app like PocketCasts or Tweetbot.  Apple facilitates the platform and should probably maintain their cut. Their new subscription platform does offer some reprieve if users subscribe into their second year. This seems like a fair way to do business.

On the other hand, there are apps, platforms and business models that have developed their own sustainability and are expected to be omnipresent in all computing platforms: Amazon Kindle, Spotify, Netflix, Comixology to name a few.  These apps have their own revenue streams and ultimately the app store doesn’t play a meaningful role in delivering that content to the user.  Apple is just another platform – albeit one of the biggest – in this service’s eco-system.  By forcing these apps to tax their users or simply pretend they don’t sell the content (Comixology does this) and trust that you’ll figure out to go to their web site, Apple demonstrates that they don’t give a crap about your user experience while using this app on their platform – which goes completely against their mantra of simplicity and elegance in their UI.

Then there’s apps that are in all places (e.g. Social Networks), making their money by selling advertising through their own platforms (combined with the user data they can harvest).  I could be wrong, but Apple doesn’t get a share of that ad revenue. In many ways Apple and the social networks have a symbiotic relationship with one another.  I’m pretty sure that for some apps like Facebook, some money has exchanged hands with Apple to get the deep OS integrations – but I don’t believe for a second that the App Store is taking a cut from the ads that Instagram serves me.  How is this different than the content that’s being served up the previously mentioned omnipresent apps?

As much as I’ve enjoyed having the latest and greatest apps on my elegant piece of hardware, the anticompetitive stupidity that results in these awful experiences may ultimately drives away users like me.  What’s 30% of $0 spent, Apple?