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benjamin pritchard

we found the stars tonight

By | Poetry | No Comments
Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh

we found the stars tonight, an original free-form poem by Benjamin Pritchard

I went out walking tonight,

around kent, a place where i live and grew up.

times have changed though,

and now, my wife is with me

and though i feel old, the world seems new.

enjoying the cool breeze, and the freedom of no destination,

eventually we wandered into a grassy place.

the world: quiet and still…

then all at once she proclaimed:

“look – the stars!”

and thus

we found the stars tonight

Lightning Path Skill is now available on the Amazon Alexa

By | KundaliniSoftware | No Comments

I got good new today! The Lightning Path Skill is now available on the Amazon Alexa.

Once you get, you can say:

“Alexa, tell Lightning Path to give me a quote”

or

“Alexa, tell Lightning Path to play a dialog”

The cool thing is that the back-end service [i.e. the logic I wrote which powers the skill] is hosted on Amazon’s servers, so even as the number of Lightning Path users increases, we will be able to handle the volume.

Kundalini Piano Mirror now available on the Android Platform

By | KundaliniSoftware | No Comments

The Kundalini Piano Mirroring Platform is now available for Android (!), and can be downloaded from Google Play:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.kundalinisoftware.PianoMirrorGooglePlay

Like the original PortMidi-based Windows version, the Android version is designed to represent a minimally-viable-product. (In other words, don’t look for a fancy UI here!)

Instead, the Android version provides the core functionality needed to facilitate symmetrically inverted playing– which is the whole point of this project.

But the world being what it is, expect updates in the future that provide a better user interface!

Kundalini Piano Mirror

By | KundaliniSoftware | No Comments

The Kundalini Piano Mirroring Platform is currently available for Windows-based systems, with both source code and binary installers released now.

Additional information on the system can be found on the main Kundalini Software website.

Up Next

Several enhancements are coming to the platform soon.

I am currently at work on an Android version of the software to be released through Google Play.

Additionally, I had an interesting idea recently to add the ability to map certain ranges on the keyboard to certain midi voices, so that multi-part music can be played with different fingers producing different voices.

More information coming soon!

Lightning Path 2.5 Released

By | KundaliniSoftware | No Comments

Today I updated the main Google Play version of the Lightning Path app to version 2.5

Very little actually changed on the surface, but I updated all my development tools, and am starting to restructure the code base (which is dated) so that we can support a more modern user interface.

Additionally, I integrated code I wrote several years ago in a different iteration of the app to include the Google In App Billing framework.

Once we start to integrate more recent Lighting Path content into the apps, we can allow users to all freely available LP content, plus have the option of either accessing LP student-only content via their LP subscription, or by purchasing student-only LP resources in a piece meal fashion.

The next thing I need to do is to update to the latest version of the FolioReader .EPUB viewing library that we are using in the app. Right now we are using a dated version, which has some bugs in it.

Kundalini Software is now active on GitHub, and am I am able to contribute some improvements to the open source library, as well as release some other Kundalini Software offerings as open source. (Note: The Lighting Path apps are not open source.)

But the newer version of the .EPUB library we are using is nice, and support audio narration. So please will be able to listen to switch back and forth between reading and listening to their Lighting Path books.

Looking back, the whole process of creating these apps was sort of a fiasco for me of starting, stopping, going off in different directions, etc, and transpired over more than ten years.

Version I created include at least:

  • a native ObjectC version that runs on Apple IPhones and IPads and IPods
  • a native C# Windows Mobile version, distributed through Microsofte
  • an Android Version using the Google Play infrastructure and libaries
  • an Android variant version distributed through Amazon using the Amazon in app billing and deployment infrastructure for use on Amazon Kindle Fire based devices, etc.
  • other stuff I can’t think of or remember

That whole time I made almost no effort to really get anyone using the apps or even much letting them know that they existed.

But in retrospect, I can see now that the whole thing is part of a large creative moment that is transpiring over an extended time span, whereby I am working in conjunction with Michael to create a useful platform to help distribute Lighting Path content on a big scale. Right now there are not many users, and my development efforts seem to be fragmentary.

But actually, a lot of the ground work has been accomplished in the past, and it is ready to start to be “brought together” in the present. As a matter of fact, sometimes I can’t even exactly remember doing all the development work in the past, and it just sort of seems like the past is also solidifying behind us to help support out creative efforts in the present.

When I start seeing the world like this, it means I am functioning in a highly connected state, and can see the designs of higher consciousness more clearly as the manifest in linear time.

Lightning Path Alexa Skill Prototype

By | KundaliniSoftware | No Comments

I made the following short video to demonstrate my initial prototyping work on the Lighting Path Alexa Skill:

I haven’t done too much with the Alexa skill yet, except to sort of start to chart out exactly how it is going to be structured.

One interesting aspect of it, is that when interacting with an Alexa, latency is an issue. In other words, people don’t like waiting (!) for a response.

So the initial work I did had to do with reducing latency by pre-generating the required code, and hosting it all on Amazon’s server infrastructure.

This is a type of meta-programming (i.e. writing software to generate other software) which I have always been interested in.

In this case, what I did was create an initial meta engine that basically interacts with Michael’s main LP server to get some quotes, and then generates some quickly executing code for to deployment to Amazon’s cloud infrastructure that doesn’t need to interact with the main LP server at all on each Alexa request.

Doing it this way reduces lot obviously on the main LP server, and also causes the Alexa to respond instantly to your LP requests.

(Note: my meta engine runs periodically, figures out if new content is available on the LP server, and if so, regenerates what is needed for deployment to the Amazon cloud.)

Often I don’t really know why I am necessarily doing what I am doing. I just sort of go with the flow, and approach what I am working on in an intuitive way.

But in retrospect, how I can see now that how architectured this was right on.

For sure it was very smart to approach it this way from the beginning, because it will make a big difference once the user base of the Lighting Path starts to grow.

We can use a similar architectural approach when we port this functionality to the Google Assistant, and within a few years, we will have lots of our users engaging with Lighting Path content via their smart speakers and in-dash consoles in their cars.

It is amazing how quickly the world is changing.

Making Life Worth Living Again

By | LP | No Comments

Original Concepts: Kaizen Opportunity, and Post-Interaction Kaizen Appraisal

One famous quote attributed to Socrates is: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”  I think it is possible to attribute differing meanings to this quote; as a matter of fact, what I “get out of it” might be far afield from its original meaning. However, to me Socrate’s purported statement implies the idea that it is only through actively making decisions regarding our own fate, that we can achieve some semblance of freedom.

Another concept that has made a big impact on my life is the Japanese management philosophy of Kaizen, which in essence means “continual improvement.”

Combining these two concepts together, I have created a new guiding principle that I utilize in my day-to-day life. I call this concept a “Kaizen Opportunity”, which I am defining as an opportunity to improve some aspect of our daily life, or a better way to perform some routine action.

Framing my experience in terms of Kaizen Opportunities has changed how I interpret my life experience. It does this because it causes me to become focused on continual improvement, while also freeing me from “beating myself up” for not being perfect; instead, it allows me to see everything as part of a process of getting better and more refined.

I have noticed that I tend to second guess myself a lot; I think this has to do with an over-active inner dialog, which causes a tendency to ruminate on things. (As a consequence of my recent attempts to raise my day-to-day consciousness quotient, I have started to become more aware of my own inner dialog.) So one strategy I have started to use to deal with my over-active inner critic is to re-frame my thinking in terms of Kaizen Opportunities — always looking for ways to do things better the next time. This is a subtle, but important shift.

Another related concept is a “Post-Interaction Kaizen Appraisal“, which is what I do immediately after interacting with someone. In the immediate aftermath of an interaction — when the whole thing is fresh in my mind — I always ask myself: “What could I have done to make that interaction better?”

Taking the time to reflect on each interaction in this manor is helping me to become less of an automaton engaging in stereotypical and repetitive behavioral patterns. Instead, it is helping to me “actively reprogram myself” by performing continual self-tuning. Additionally, I feel reflecting in this way helps us to own our role in our interactions with others, and to understand the fact our reactions to things is ultimately the only thing that we are able to control.

In conclusion, I have found that examining our life by continually reflecting on ways to improve our own behaviors and interactions is a vital first step towards making life worth living again.

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