The Mathematical Genius of Auto-Tune

Zachary Crockett, writing at Priceonomics:

But often lost in this narrative is the story of the invention itself, and the soft-spoken savant who pioneered it. For inventor Andy Hildebrand, Auto-Tune was an incredibly complex product — the result of years of rigorous study, statistical computation, and the creation of algorithms previously deemed to be impossible.

Hildebrand’s invention has taken him on a crazy journey: He’s given up a lucrative career in oil. He’s changed the economics of the recording industry. He’s been sued by hip-hop artist T-Pain. And in the course of it all, he’s raised pertinent questions about what constitutes “real” music.

Review: Travis Meadows – First Cigarette

When Travis Meadows sings about hitting rock bottom, you can tell he’s been there. There’s a rawness and pain in his voice that tells you he’s not just playing a character or weaving a narrative. His songs ache with the scars of a hard life. As a child, Meadows’ younger brother drowned, his parents got divorced, and he ended up the odd man out between a mother and a father who started new families and moved on without him. At 14, he was diagnosed with cancer. He survived the disease, but lost his right leg in the battle. Eventually, he turned to alcohol as a crutch. He was already writing songs, and already had a publishing deal in Nashville, but he was such a mess that no one would agree to write with him. It took four trips to rehab before he could make sobriety stick.

Meadows has been off the bottle since 2010. In the interim, songs he’s written have been cut by Eric Church, Dierks Bentley, and Jake Owen—three of the biggest male stars in country music right now. His songs, though, remain haunted by his past. In a recent profile for Uproxx.com, Meadows said that he uses songwriting to admit the secrets about himself that he’s too scared to say out loud. That honesty radiates through First Cigarette, Meadows’ second full-length album and the most starkly intimate LP that anyone has made this year.

From the Makers of Fantastical: Cardhop

Flexibits, the creators of my favorite calendar app Fantastical, have launched their new contacts app, Cardhop.

MacStories has a good run down:

Cardhop is based on a single text field that sometimes acts as a search field and other times is a text input field. Clicking on Cardhop’s icon in your menu bar opens a detachable drop-down window with a cursor blinking in an empty field. Below that is a column of contact groups on the left, which are the same ones you’d find if you open Apple’s Contacts app, and a list of recently contacted people and upcoming birthdays on the right. If you want to see all your contacts though, they are just one button click away. You can also hide the groups panel with a button at the bottom of the Cardhop window, which reduces Cardhop to its most minimal UI, which is how I prefer to use it because I don’t usually organize contacts into groups.

I think it looks really good, but I don’t have much of a usage for something like this. It sure is pretty though.

Frank Ocean Beats Estranged Dad’s Libel Suit

Melissa Daniels, writing for Law360:

Grammy Award-winning musician Frank Ocean beat a $14.5 million libel suit from his estranged father Tuesday, when a California federal judge ruled at a daylong bench trial that the dad hadn’t shown that his son defamed him with a 2016 Tumblr post that recounted him calling a transgender waitress an anti-gay slur.

U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson said that while the court doesn’t have to rule whether the statement was truthful, Calvin Cooksey still had failed to meet necessary elements to make his defamation claim.

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The War to Sell You a Mattress Is an Internet Nightmare

David Zax, writing for Fast Company:

In January 2015, Krim wrote Mitcham that while he supported objective reviews, “it pains us to see you (or anyone) recommend a competitor over us.”

Krim went on: “As you know, we are much bigger than our newly formed competitors. I am confident we can offer you a much bigger commercial relationship because of that. How would you ideally want to structure the affiliate relationship? And also, what can we do to help to grow your business?”

This entire story is bonkers.