What’s the haps? This month, I’ve been exploring topics related to art, startups, and cryptoeconomics. Let’s get into it.
Universal Audio recently created a new digital audio workstation, called LUNA. Releasing a new DAW at this stage feels as bold as a new photo editor taking the stage to compete against Photoshop. It’s amazing to see just how much they got right with version 1.0.
I tend to take the stance that a version 1.0 should be bad – it should be quick, dirty, and serve as a small base from which to iterate. That’s not the case here. The application leverages a design liberty that was free from the baggage of previous software versions. It feels polished, intuitive, and performant.
For my 36th birthday this August, I treated myself to a Fender Jazz Bass. I’ve taken a long hiatus from writing music while focusing more on computing and entrepreneurial pursuits. I’m hoping to spend some time with LUNA and these instruments to allow myself to practice mindfulness through music and enjoy a bit more downtime between coding sessions.
View LUNA at Universal Audio:
YC Startup Library
Y Combinator has finally organized their content for startups and entrepreneurs into a single hub of knowledge.
“Over the last 15 years, YC has invested in and worked with more than 2,000 companies, and we’ve seen and learned from their successes and failures. The library consolidates the knowledge and advice we’ve previously published and provides a central location for new content.”
Check it out here:
On a related note, I’ve been invited to join the Wolfram Research pilot program, Eureka! which aims to connect startup business and engineers with mentors and experts to help:
- Create successful products.
- Refine engineering processes.
- Run successful business operations.
I’ll share what I learn as the program moves forward!
As part of the ETHGlobal Hackathon (HackFS) I worked on a fun prototype this month for a pure decentralized/distributed application (“dApp”) using the Ethereum blockchain to manage state (via a Solidity smart contract) with a React front-end connecting to a peer-to-peer IPFS gateway to manage data storage.
This configuration allows a community to persist online without a traditional hosting provider, domain name, or database-connected API backend. Moreover, strong cryptographic authentication and communication are provided out of the box. These dApps are extremely resilient to mutability, which has inherent pros/cons.
Here’s a quick, minimalist repository on GitHub to get you started:
Documentation is available at:
To use this dApp however requires quite a bit of effort and domain knowledge.
I see three possible scenarios playing out over the coming years for how this technology migrates in from the fringes.
Blockchain & p2p technology sees radical improvement in scaling to push the efficiency of the networks forward, while Web3 connected browsers become ubiquitous. Performance exceeds demand, fees are kept very low, and we can develop + distribute our wares in a fully decentralized/distributed environment.
Web2/Web3 hybrids allow users to bring their wallet, data, and computation or opt to use an often more-convenient (but generally less secure/democratic) hosted version. This could be seen as a trusted Web2 service with a trustless Web3 fallback (or vice-versa.)
Centralized hosts provide an ideal user experience with Web3 infrastructure behind Web2 APIs when proofs of ownership, timestamps, and computation are absolutely necessary.
Ethereum is only five years old, and with the rate of progress in computing, it’s not unimaginable to see option one happening relatively soon. However, I see the other two options as something developers can reach toward today, with the latter providing the best lens for development. We should vet our tools based on their performance today, and not where they might be at some indeterminate stage in the future.
Alexis Ohanian raised great points on the EthGlobal AMA discussion. If it can be summed up in one phrase it would be “We want the best user experience possible” – Let’s start our development journey there, without compromise, and see where it leads the implementation.
View on YouTube:
Fractal Neural Style Transfer
I’ve been diving deeper into the depths of recursive functions and refining my algorithms for rendering the inner beauty. I haven’t previously seen style transfer applied to generative art – the results are fantastic and the room for exploration is infinite.
You can view a few examples of these on my Instagram account. https://www.instagram.com/iryanbell
If you want to experiment with this yourself, neuralstyle.art has a very cool API that gives you fast, easy access to pretrained compute-heavy generative adversarial neural networks.
That’s it for now!
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” -Martin Luther King Jr.