First year

Life by design

Today it’s been a year since I started blogging about learning audio programming and I did learned a lot about audio. This year I learned a lot about distractions and the resistance to grow, I can say it was a very productive year with some mistakes of course. This year I absorbed all information I could about audio and it wasn’t easy because a lot of the stuff was way over my head, but some was easy to understand thanks to my previous experience as music producer and college education. Even though I feel that I barely scratched the surface about audio I should celebrate the small wins and never quit. I started by taking online classes on audio, DSP and programming in IOS.

Currently I’m making a ‘toy app’ which simply morphs your voice, but the first idea was to make that as an app extension for the imessage app until I discovered that I couldn’t use the microphone for extensions, so I had to change. Even though it’s a very simple app and there’s tons in the appstore like it, I just want to finish it and have something out there. The app it’s almost finished and I just need to do the tedious work of the app (variations of voice effects) and final details. I used swift 3.0 to program the app and it wasn’t very hard to make since it’s a high level language, but I learned a lot and hopefully someone will download it and like it, if I can make a couple bucks out of it I will consider that a success. I’m going to use search ads in the appstore to learn more about marketing (you pay to learn), and get instant feedback. “You can read all you want about swimming, but until you jump into the pool you will learn how to swim” that’s my motto for anything, we get stuck reading about everything and never making our own conclusions. TRY IT FOR YOURSELF AND MAKE YOUR OWN CONCLUSIONS!

Focus to finish

I need to focus more on one thing at a time, finish it and stick to it till completion or death. That’s something very important I learned as a music producer, I would start dozens of cool music loops but lost interest when expanding that loop into a full song. I learned that the completed songs stuck to me forever even if no one heard some of the songs, I felt proud and felt good. I don’t remember all the hundreds loops I did and I became so good at making badass loops but not badass songs, so the same thing we can say about building apps, or any other endeavor. Just finish it and get it out there!!!!

One of the biggest enemies of success is our own resistance to simply sit down and do work as perfectly stated in the book “war of art” a great book that I gave as a gift to my brother. One of my struggles are doing work in the weekends, I just can’t dedicate my weekend nights to work, when I want to be out and be social. During the weekdays I have no problem coming from work, microwave my already prepared chicken and focus on work on my side project until 10pm(sleep time), I guess it’s a great habit I built. On weekends it’s another story and its when I wash clothes, clean, meal prep, work out (frid,sat,sun) and I do some distracted work (by work I don’t mean my full time job) .

When I go out with friends I try to do it the “smart” way, by going out late 11pm-12pm and only if I know it’s going to be a fun night. I don’t go to the bar to just have a beer or hang out to have a beer or come home after work to have a beer and watch the game. Time is the most important thing in my life and I want to spend it wisely, that’s why I stopped going out on Thursday, Sunday and sometimes Friday when the newness of moving to a new city wears off.

My biggest focus is my dreams.

Things to be thankful about

Sometimes we compare ourselves to the top 1% of successful people and we don’t feel that we accomplished anything in life. I think it’s a very painful way to live and always comparing yourself to others and we forget our own achievements even if they’re small. I’m thankful I have health, I’m thankful I’m months away from paying my student loans and car loan, I’m thankful I have a cushy mid ~70k job (40hr), I’m thankful I have my parents, I’m thankful I’m moving to Dallas (I liked ft worth) in 7 months, I’m thankful I’m dating someone cool, I’m thankful I live alone and I’m thankful that I’m pursuing my dreams (at least half time). I’m thankful but not complacent, I want more of the good stuff and more requires hard work.

 

 

 

 

 

DSP class

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It’s been a while but I’m still in the struggle to learn audio DSP and last week I started my online DSP certification from UCSD and its three classes: DSP 1, Applied DSP and Wireless DSP. I’m currently taking DSP 1 and there’ s a lot of stuff that I already know from my signals classes from college, but this time is different because I have a purpose. When I was in college I was too distracted by girls, stress from other classes and my internships, but this time I have more time to dedicate most of my time to fully learn the concepts. Hopefully in the future I am able to write my own audio effects algorithms or at least to understand what’s under the hood. Sometimes I feel I’m not going fast enough, but I have to understand that things that are worth it takes YEARS. This past month I failed a lot to wake up at 5am, I was feeling too tired, but I am still on the game. “You only fail if you quit.”

In another note, I been learning more about core audio and I found a way to create a sequencer with musicSequence and AuGraph. Also I been playing with the new messages extension(ios 10) and I want to create a simple app that morphs your voice and sends it quick through the imessage app. It seems that the msmessage framework doesn’t work well right now, so I will wait until it’s released to the public and create that app.

Another goal that I want to achieve is to stop going out on Fridays and only go out on Saturdays, the problem about moving to a big city is distractions. Friends always invite me to places and since I live close to the bars and stuff I give up easily. My next apartment will be in a more calm area but close to downtown, because I’m moving in March 2017. Other thing that I’m happy with is about my debt is going down quick and I predict I will be debt free by April 2017. When I was in college I bought a bunch of stuff I didn’t need and now I’m paying for it plus interest. After being debt free I think I will have more confidence to start a risky idea and don’t be afraid of losing my job.

When you’re pursuing your dream you’re living the dream, enjoy the process.

 

Great introduction on how apple handles audio with core audio

https://www.mikeash.com/pyblog/friday-qa-2012-10-12-obtaining-and-interpreting-audio-data.html

Moving to more advance stuff

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April was a creative month and I half finished the app for the ipad.I added some delay knobs to the beat maker and I found a deal breaker. I was using audiokit framework for swift and I found sound latency. Now I’m going to try the amazing audio engine 2 in objective c and try to do a better app with low latency. Maybe it was the way I coded the app i don’t know and I want to know about what’s under the hood.

Currently I’m learning the amazing audio engine 2 in objective c, so its a big learning curve to learn objective c and the way the engine works. I have a feeling that I have a better understanding on how the audio works now. I’m trying to understand more about the buffer and how it stores and send the audio, maybe im making more complex things that are simple stuff I don’t know. I read the first chapters of “The Audio programming book” and “learning core audio”, but the books need way more time because everything is in C, but soon I will get there. I took a class in college “software design 1” in 2011 which I got a B and it was taught by a very challenging professor. In conclusion I will try and create the beatmaker with the amazing audio engine 2 with better functions.

I’m thinking of doing a certification in DSP from univ of San Diego which consists of three classes: DSP 1, Applied DSP and wireless DSP. It sounds fun and challenging but it will require a lot of focus, I think these classes will help me have better understanding in Digital signal processing. I’m not excited about the math and paying $750 per class, but I really want to learn this stuff. That certification may bring better employment opportunities, I don’t really want a job but to build audio products.Maybe in the future that certification will give make me seem more valuable if I ever do any consulting type of work, being the type of person that charges $500 an hour thats the dream! I’m blessed that I have a low stress/boring job which pays great, so I have the time to learn the things I want to learn.

In terms of fitness I’m still consistent and feel healthy, I go to the gym three times a week and eat relatively good.

I’m not going to give up on my dreams! 

I will build GREAT audio products and sell a lot of them.

In another note, I had great experiences when I go out partying and I try to do it the smart way(not wasting time ). I kind of miss playing video games and chilling, but I can’t I must sacrifice If I want to pursue my dream and have some social life. I keep myself busy all the time learning and building, I really want to be an entrepreneur.

On being alone

I don’t feel alone because I surround myself with friends and like minded people, I love living alone. People are scared of living alone and they never give themselves the opportunity to know themselves and I really recommend that everyone live alone for a couple years. People go from mommy to move in with in with a girlfriend, but I understand its scary and you feel you will never be with someone, but thats not true it just takes time to get used to it. One day I will look back and I will cherish the moments when I lived alone, I don’t know or maybe I will be alone forever. The only think that should be in my mind is to push forward everyday!

Sketch 3, Paintcode and audio UI/UX mysteries

When I was around 13-18 I taught myself how to use fireworks and Photoshop to create my own party flyers, forum signatures and photo editing. I never thought that those beginner skills would helped learn Sketch 3 and paintcode fast. I bought for $39 a course on Udemy to learn from A to Z sketch 3, I gave that course 5/5 star review because it was very well explained and fast paced.

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Something that was a mystery for me for years was HOW on earth do you design and program user interface on music software. There’s no straight answer on the internet(idk why) but people use software like Photoshop and fireworks to create the design, look and software like paint code to program the movement of the button. You create each part of the user interface and export each part so it can become animated and programmed such as sliders, knobs, led buttons, buttons, etc.. YIKES! Another piece of the puzzle.

That course gave me the tools to design a better UI for the beat maker app as you can see in figure 1. I created the pads with some texture to look more real and this is the first draft.

Bitfountain Auto Layout Course Review

Auto Layout was a very mysterious tool and it felt like another programming language to learn, but I was able to learn all the mysteries with this course. Bitfountain offers a $25 video course and I completed most of the course. They teach you the foundamentals from different ways of doing constraints i.e NSLayoutConstraint, anchors, Mainstory board constraints and VFL. I think it was lacking MORE exercises for each topic, but for $25 I do think its great value.

The best investment is in yourself!!!

aaaand I just bought sketch 3 and a course on udemy.

My sanctuary in Fort Worth

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This is my studio apartment where I learn and sit for hours after work, I only have what’s necessary such as: An imac, kitchen, good sound system, clothes, bed and just healthy food on the fridge. A lot of friends get alienated because I don’t have a Tv, game console, a pet or any other unnecessary stuff that people buy. I live on the top floor to sleep good 7-8 hours and pay $1200, i know that’s expensive but I believe its important where you live. Its VERY close to my job, gym, store,  restaurants, river, park, bars, etc… and maybe it can be bad because of temptation(partying) sometimes. I love this place and I enjoy it every day, this is where I’m pursuing my dreams and I’m willing to sacrifice to live in a good apartment, a fancy car isn’t that important to me. I keep my apartment clean by the help of a roomba robot(can’t wait for the future robot chef) and keep my fridge full of chicken and carrots.

In one year I will be in Dallas in another apartment and I’m planning where to live.

Results

So here’s my first audio app, its a  simple drum pads with sounds loaded and I feel very proud of it. I learned how to use AVAudioPlayer and PaintCode for the buttons, it appears that it has 0 ms sound latency but around 150ms latency when I use bluetooth headphones.

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On another note, I finished the nerd ranch programming book and I think is a great book to start learning IOS programming. I’m waiting for the updated standford course and finally finish that course. On the meantime I’m learning protocol oriented programming and learning more about the framework audioKit.

AND REMEMBER

YOU ONLY FAIL IF YOU QUIT!!!!

Roadblock

I started a Stanford class on IOS development, but I came across a roadblock and I think is because the class is outdated from the new swift 2.1. I changed strategy and started reading other swift books from the big nerd ranch guide and I think they’re really good tutorials I’m half done with both books(IOS programming and swift book) after finishing those two books I will try to create a simple prank app.

Other notable small achievements are:

-I was able to wake up at 5am and study on the mornings before work.

-started to eat more to increase muscle size currently at ~170lb.

-I didn’t played too much video games.

-started meditating 15min a day.

-I think my English communication skills improved.

Update on my journey

 

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Happy 2016

I stopped posting because I was very busy with the holidays and I finished the Audio Signal processing from coursera(free) in November.Also I completed a nano degree from Udacity in Beginning in IOS development($200 cost) to learn the basics on building apps for apple and it was very challenging.

I’m still not sure where I want to move, I wanted to go to Barcelona, Austin and now Dallas. I guess it’s part of the process of being a confused young person, but I’m sure by next year I will be somewhere else.

On my path to learn Audio signal processing I started to learn audio on the iphone and played with some 3rd party frameworks such as: Audiokit. Then I notice that I needed more practice on my Swift skills and I’m doing the Stanford class Iphone/ipad apps(CS193P)(free), its a very challenging course, but I think after the 17 lectures and assignments I will be ready to develop some basic audio apps on the IOS.

Overview:

  • My discipline has improved +
  • started eating more clean chicken and less meat +
  • I feel that my English speaking skills improved +
  • On my way to pay off my students loans aggressively +($15k to go)
  • emergency fund ready($1k)
  • -I went back and played 2 video games for 1 hour max each week-(that’s a minus point)

 

You can find the Stanford course on iTunes University app.

 

Small update

I started working out less(a maximum of 3 times per week) to focus more on studying and next month is my 25th birthday. I don’t really know how my life will turn out to be, but as the quote says “A bad decision is better than no decision at all.”. I’d been thinking of quitting my job and move to Austin and try and make something work instead of going to Spain. I want to focus 100% on making audio apps and making money by solving other people’s problems. Its very hard to leave my comfortable 9-5 and go risk to run out of money, but what’s the worse that it can happen? go back to a 9-5?.

Maybe its my gut telling me to go for adventure… In the meantime i will save money and complete my audio DSP course.