by The Fat Man, George A. Sanger
Welcome to the Executive Summary for BBQ 2004, the best, the kindest,
the most productive, the most…well, the most recent BBQ ever.
And the ninth.
We were blessed with compelling and inspiring talks by Ron Kuper;
Cakewalk (“The Blind Man and the Elephant”), Julian Colbeck;
Keyfax (“Support=Sales: Support, technical and otherwise, is
not a waste of time), Peter Drescher; Danger, Inc. (Sound Design For
Really Small Speakers), and Dr. Pat Gleeson; (The Problem With Sampling.)
An interesting and encouraging trend this year was that the groups
consistently looked back at past BBQ groups to see if they were working
on issues for which groundwork had already been laid. In cases where
it had, lessons were noted and built upon, rather than re-worked and
re-learned. Perhaps a good way to phrase this is that we've learned
to mark the trails that we have taken that have shown promise, and
we've learned to mark the trails that appear to be dead ends…and
moreover, to read those markings!
This year we again split fairly evenly into four groups:
MIFFED, the “Music Industry Foundation for Industry Development”
or “Music is Fun, Fast, Friendly, and Digital” attacked
the issue of education, reaching out to the huge potential audience
for music creation technology. They established a plan for an advocacy
organization to work within existing professional organizations. This
advocacy organization will be based on the IA-SIG EDU working group,
and will continue that group’s work.
The Strok-O-Phonz came up with some very interesting and well-founded
philosophical guidelines for the creation of better digital musical
instruments, based on the concept of “Flow” as explained
by Mihalyi Cziksentmihalyi in books such as The Evolution of the Self.
The dissemination of this very promising philosophy will be explored
by a new proposed IA-SIG working group.
The Marklar working group looked at issues of sound quality on computers.
This familiar theme has been explored in roughly five past BBQ’s,
and the reports from those groups were thoroughly reviewed and built
upon. A “Gold/Silver/Bronze” rating system proposed by
this group embodies a testing for computer sound systems that takes
into account audio quality from “air to air.” In other
words, it will no longer be as likely that a computer whose internal
sound is good will be mistaken for a good-sounding computer if it
only has tiny speakers or a poor microphone. An ad-hoc organization
was formed that will promote this testing/rating system to existing
organizations such as Microsoft.
The “Color of Suck” group engaged in the exercise of
applying to cel phones and other mobile devices the lessons we have
learned from the Web and from the gaming industry, in order, again,
to avoid problems of the past and cut out unnecessary and painful
learning processes. Jim Reekes asked how you catch a monkey. They
plan to submit their results to the mobile audio working group of
Two rogue groups were formed. One, the Pet Rocks and Game Music Alliance
[PRAGMA], explored the commercial space at the very promising intersection
at which console gaming meets music creation.
Another rogue group flattered us by looking in dumbfounded amazement
at past achievements and results of Project BBQ. They did this as
a celebration of our upcoming tenth BBQ conference. Attempting to
compile these impressive achievements into a summary also seemed helpful
in order to promote the event and to help attendees to blow away any
remaining resistance that their employers might harbor towards sending
them to an event called “Project BBQ.”
Again I feel lucky and honored to have participated in this, another
wonderful, influential and positive event, with some of the most impressive
people I have ever met. My heartfelt THANKS to our attendees, speakers,
With all my Love and Respect, I am…
The Fat Man,
George Alistair Sanger