Monday, January 10, 2005

Will Work For Food

Having just read some blogs extolling the need for free music for podcasting, I feel the "Will Work for Food" blues coming on. The web equivalent of food is fan mail coming in our email boxes. MP3.Com promised us incremental payments if the downloads of our songs rose above a certain rate within a certain time. None of it materialized except for those sharp enough to game the system, and that made it exactly the same deal we got from the major labels if we were sharp enough to get a deal.

On the web, musicians are required to acknowledge that the reward for spending years to learn, the money to get the gear, the thousands of hours of experimentation and revision, and the time away from good things like sex and beer is a bit of fan mail and some snarky ignorant kids sending critiques. Money? No one pays for anything do they?

No, if you really want the money, you have to do what your favorite girls who hang out late night at IHOP do after their gigs: no free samples, no free services, cash or an approved credit card, and "give them what they want" ethics; that is, if you were starving as a street musician playing your original songs, you'll probably starve as a podcaster for the same reasons. At the end of the day, popular tastes are the ultimate example of emergent effects and unless you've mastered the art of the network effect, you are just one more isolated node in a sea of digital clutter.

Hookers and professional musicians know they have one thing in common with the Real Estate witches:

Location. Location. Location.

Unless you are on a street known for the kind of service you are selling, your customers won't be there and you won't be shreddin' the 'natch. If you want to sell your music, find an ipodcaster who needs what the RIAA (Real International Access to Action) pimps won't give them: music tailored to the location. Work out a one time charge or services in kind, then move on.

"Connectivity: the relation of an agent to its neighbors, it can be sparsely connected (only affected by a few neighbors), fully connected (interfacing with every other agent in the system), or some intermediate arrangement. This parameter critically affects the dynamics of the system."

So, pick a place that has lots of traffic looking for the kind of thing you have to offer, but specifically, of the kind you can make. No Bach at the BoogiePalace. has a new deal for independent labels and others with the ability to make an mp3: a free downloads section. Read the contract. It is about what MP3.COM offered but it doesn't pretend you will make money and you do give them a lot of rights to use your music to make money. It is 'exposure', same as that street corner. Heck, at least they could provide you the equivalent of an 'open axe case' into which people can toss spare change while paying for something else in a neighboring site. Perhaps that is what these sites really need. When someone pays for a book or a used Masserati, they round up their purchase price and name a starving artist to send the spare change to, who of course, must be on the site to be eligible.

At least that's something. Keep in mind: music is not software. Free software gets reused a lot. Free music gets one or two listenings then becomes bit bucket filler. Today I get free email from At least on that corner of the street, they do appreciate the effort it took to record the song and give it away.

At, I'll be 'exposed'. Brrrr.


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Children with ADHD

There is a perplexing state of affairs in today's society, there lies a strong correlation between the affluence of a society and the amount of disease that is present. There is also another correlation that troubles many a people and that is with affluence comes disease at an Earlier age.

Working with children and the parents of these children I often get asked the question, 'Why are Children with ADHD on the increase?'

The answer as you shall find is one that is both interesting and challenging.

Children of today are really no more different from the children of yesterday in terms of genetic makeup. However, if you examine the issue more closely you will tend to find that many children today have been given labels. For example, 'Oh, those are children with ADHD' or 'Those are the children who can't sit still.' Or 'That is the kid that always gets into trouble.'

These labels are not only destructive but also become a self fulfilling prophecy as it is repeated adnauseum.

So as a 21st century parent or a parent with a child with ADHD or a parent with children with ADHD, what knowledge framework do you need to equip yourself with to ensure your children live out their true potential?

Here is a quick reference list for thinking about ADHD
� ADHD is a source of great frustration because it is misunderstood
� ADHD medications are a great short term time buying device and should be avoided long term
� The above point goes for any sort of drug consumption. Think about it for a minute. Unless you have a biochemical deficiency in your body like Type 1 diabetes where your body fails to produce enough insulin or any at all, why would you take an external drug? A body that is in balance is totally healthy. It is only when the body is out of balance that dis-ease symptoms start to creep up.
� ADHD is a biochemical imbalance of the mind and body.
� The Head of Psychiatry in Harvard states that drugs for ADHD simply mask the effects of ADHD. It does not cure ADHD. This is an important point because a cure implies never to have to take the medication. This means that once you start on medication you will have to be on it for the rest of your life i.e. you have medically acquired a dependency for a biochemical imbalance. That is like stuffing all your rubbish (problematic behaviors) into a closet (medication) where no one can see it. But if you continue to stuff more rubbish into that closet, one day you will not have enough space and need to do one of two things. You either empty the rubbish (the natural conclusion) or you get a bigger closet (i.e. change to stronger medication to control the symptoms). The choice is obvious but sometimes when you don't have the necessary tools to deal with ADHD you tend to think the bigger closet is the only option.
� ADHD children are super sensitive to the emotions around them. Often they pick up emotional cues from their parents without realizing. Many parents come home frustrated or annoyed from work, the child with ADHD picks this up and starts to 'cause trouble' by becoming restless. Parents frustration increase because they just want some peace and quiet. They get angry which in turn is picked up by the child who then intensifies their activity. Things get way out of hand and some sort of punishment is handed down to the child who has no idea what just happened. The cycle repeats itself every so often.
� Our brains are wired emotionally. Positive praise is interpreted as an analytical/thinking exercise. Negative criticism including scolding, name calling, physical punishment all go directly to the emotional brain of children with ADHD. This means in order to ensure you get your message across in the most optimal way, you need to learn how to communicate with your ADHD children the way they like to be communicated with.
� Every negative comment requires 16 positive comments to neutralize the emotion. Save yourself the frustration and agitation by practicing positive communication.

The list is by no means complete. In dealing with children with ADHD there are a certain set of behavioural principles to follow. I will detail these steps in the coming weeks. I'll also build on the list as you continue to learn about what appears to be a mystical disorder known as 'Children with ADHD'

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