No better headphones for the price exist. I use them, so does Adam Lisagor and even Zack Arnold. They can be found in almost any audio suite on the planet.
(an unauthorized UsesThis interview)
What do I use to get stuff done?
(I really need to update this page...)
Kanen Flowers Creative Director at Scruffy.TV
Who are you, and what do you do?
Hi, my name is Kanen (but, I used to be called, "John"). I write software and create media -- like podcasts, movies, commercials and talkies, many of which you may have seen online. You may also know me from such popular films as Aaah Zombies! or my extensive IMDB resume or maybe even from that certain network security company I founded.
finishing almost finished with my own feature film, Jake Forgotten, which will be entering into festivals in early 2013 which will be available on iTunes, Netflix and other streaming services in 2013.
What hardware are you using?
Every single day, I use a
13" MacBook Air, with a Thunderbolt port MacBook Retina, 15" with two thunderbolt ports. I carry it and an Apple iPad in my 30L Thule Backpack. Inside, I also have a LaCie Little Big Disk 1TB Thunderbolt Drive and a Moleskin notebook, along with a Varsity Disposable Fountain Pen or three. I love this backpack, because it holds all my gear and even a Kindle 3, with a keyboard if I need to do any sunlight reading.
I use the LaCie for all my video editing, audio editing and general media work. It's pretty fast and I love the Thunderbolt connectivity, but I'd love it even more if it was bus-powered and didn't require a giant wall wart, which makes it much less "portable" than it otherwise would be.
I just started using the Western Digital My Book Thunderbolt Duo and I'm totally impressed with the speed, the noise (or lack of noise) and the fact that it is user servicable -- meaning; I can pull and replace the drives on my own!
I use an iPhone 4S and I'm basically in love with Siri. I use it to schedule meetings and set reminders. It's pretty much replaced my need for an assistant to manage my schedule.
I carry around an Apple Bluetooth keyboard and a Mighty Mouse. I use the keyboard on the iPad and the mouse on the laptop. I now carry around a pair of Sony MDR-7506 headphones, thanks to Adam Lisagor - who practically berated me for not using them, when he was on my podcast.
For podcasting, I use a
Yeti Blue Mic, which direct-connects over USB to my AirRode Procaster with XLR microphone and connect it to an Avid Recording Studio (which used to be called the M-Audio Fasttrack).
And what software?
Mac OS X Lion, of course.
I use Skype for podcasting and Call Recorder to capture uncompressed audio for all the calls. After that,
take everything into Pro Tools 9 I use Adobe Audition -- where I edit out the nearly infinite number of "uhms" and "uhs" so my listeners don't have to suffer through them while driving or listening to the show.
I never used to use After Effects because I think the forced installation of Flash and Java (along with the brain-dead licensing manager) on my Air is a very bad thing. CS6 and the Creative Cloud fixed almost all that nonsense, finally.
For general writing, podcast show notes and even writing this page, I use ByWord. It does native Markdown and exports to just about everything. When I write screenplays, I use Final Draft, because the Industry uses it.
I recently started playing with Smoke for Mac and I don't quite yet like everything about it.
For enhancing video projects, I swear by everything made by the great folks at Red Giant Software, I even color corrected the first feature film using Magic Bullet. These days, CrumplePop is getting my support -- their lens flares alone are amazing. For training, I'm deeply in love with Video2Brain -- those guys rock at online training.
When I write code, I used to use TextMate,
but I have since switched to BBEdit by BareBones. I really miss the smarter syntax while typing, but I do not miss the slow-as-molasses search through my projects then switched back to TextMate 1.5, because I couldn't get used to some missing features in BBEdit. I write nearly everything in newLisp -- which is this very wonderful, modern Lisp-like scripting language that I've used since 2005. I also code in ANSI C, like an adult.
And, there's Dropbox. I pay for the 50GB version and I use it as my Documents, Pictures and other folders on my Mac. I literally could not imagine my life without Dropbox anymore... it changed everything about how I sync my files.
If I examine my dock and my iPad, I notice I also use a lot of other software, such as:
- Reeder for all my yummy RSS and Google Reader syncing needs.
- PixelMator 2, which I am convinced is better than Adobe Photoshop.
- Levelator for normalizing audio podcasts.
- Transmission for legally downloading stuff from places like fxPHD (great training for VFX and media people).
I use Sparrow Mail. I tried the recent Lion Mail -- which is better and integrated into other applications. I switched from Chrome to Safari because of Apple's syncing across all devices.
What would be your dream setup?
I like being portable and I love the Air, so that's not really an issue. The biggest thing for me would be around control surfaces and displays. My ideal setup would include an Apple Cinema Display with Thunderbolt and other ports, so I could dock my laptop into it.
I'd love to basically have every Control Surface made by Avid so I could color correct and control my audio using a surface instead of a mouse and keyboard. While I'm adding hardware, I'd get the Thunderbolt AJA ioXT or the Matrox MX02 box.
But I'd also need a decent desk to put them on, which would require a quiet, private office. My current office is good, but not at all quiet. I recently converted a small room in my place to a private office, purchased the M-Audio speakers and they devour my desk nicely. I've considered the Promise Pegasus RAID, but that would require me to decide on a model, which I can't seem to do for some reason. It's slow and I use it for backup.
And, if I'm just dreaming, I'd love an external, portable, 2TB Thunderbolt drive that was bus-powered and fit easily in my bag, like the Western Digital Passport does. I'd also like to be able to add more than 4GB of RAM to my MacBook Air and upgrade the internal hard drive to more than 500GB.
Otherwise, I pretty much love my setup.
This is my official Curriculum vitæ or résumé, if you are an American and not in Academic circles.
John vs. Kanen? Huh?
Born as "Baby Boy Allard" and adopted at birth and named John... I realized, after years in the business world, several trips to foreign countries and years of therapy, I could actually accept the nickname I was given at 11 -- "kanendosei".
A Short History (of nearly everything)
I've worked on a few pretty interesting patents and written a number of technology articles and blogs. I have taught editing and film at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and I have been an instructor at fxPHD (on both Avid and Indie Film).
I am passionate and I do not suffer fools gladly. I am an order of magnitude the productivity of most people you know and I navigate information, media and technology in a way which borders on mystical.
I get frustrated when I am not challenged. I love solving difficult problems. I love working with smart people. I love film, media and breaking new ground in cross-discipline areas. I am only interested in doing freelance (or consulting) work because, bluntly, your organizational bureaucracy will likely only frustrate me.
Fun fact: I've slept between 3 and 5 hours a night, every night, since I was 13 years old.
If you want to see some code, go to my github.
My recent interviews on Ruining it for Everyone is probably the best way of getting to know my personality and my history. You should listen to them.
My So Called "Work History"
I worked for Microsoft Corporation in the mid nineties, writing some code and providing high-end support for almost every Microsoft product. I built the Internet infrastructure for a Fortune 500 company, using Linux and Solaris and then went on to become a founding employee at Farcast (later InQuisit). From there, I founded nCircle Network Security in 1998, where I worked full-time until 2002. I spent almost two years traveling, then started kozoru (acquired by the co-founder of Ask).
I've worked on or had my software used in a ton of films, many are not listed on my rather pathetic IMDB page.
Now I work in film and visual media, while maintaining a strong foothold in technology, statistics and networking.
Some Fun Stuff
- Ruining It For Everyone - "Borderlands of Kanen"
- Ruining It For Everyone - "Land of Kanen"
- Listen to the fun iMovie chat at Typical Mac User, 2009
- Read The SANS: Thought Leader Interview
- Listen to Beyond the Perimeter #90 "kane box"
- Listen to Beyond the Perimeter #91 "horror films and hackers"
- Mactalk Australia interview
I solve interesting problems. I want to do something challenging. I know media, software and technology. It is that simple.
Chief Mayhem Officer -- 2006 TO TODAY
Research and development, including design documentation and prototypes for a stealth Bay Area startup with specializes in high-volume, complex data analysis and statistical modeling for the purpose of event prediction across social networks.
A few highlights:
- Wrote, Directed and currently in Post Production (now with a distributor!) for Jake Forgotten, a full-length feature film.
- Color Corrected, created visual effects and developed workflow (between different CODEC and video formats) using automated technologies (in Lisp and Python), for several feature films, including Wasting Away, now Aaah! Zombies! (available on Netflix and iTunes ).
- Created scripts and special effects for King Kong, Star Wars III and several other feature films -- especially those where data and video formats were transferred and workflow automation was needed -- in Shake, After Effects and Final Cut Pro.
- Built automated Color Correction tools, using statistical analysis (various forms) to correct several feature films (many of which would prefer I not share their name with the public).
- Twangle: A Mac Twitter Client
- DST - the Hard Drive Speed Test, which measures real-world video playback and recording speeds on Mac OS X systems.
- Jiles, the next generation of Ask.com, where I worked with the co-founder of Ask Jeeves.
The Technology Side
The kane-box Project -- 2009-2010
An Open Source software project, written in Lisp and C and PHP, which used the Linux or BSD kernel to create a new firmware for low-cost networking devices. kane-box used an FPGA-accelerated, custom hardware and a Bayesian method of determining network exposures, rather than a rules-based method. It was significantly faster than other technologies (Cisco/Linksys, Netgear, D-Link) and provided real-time threat protection against attacks, exposures, viruses and other network-based issues. It has been abandoned, because -- frankly -- there's no market for "faster + cheaper hardware" in the network security field.
kozoru -- 2004-2006
Founded, designed, conceived and developed much of the kozoru search technology. A web-based, text-messaging and instant messenger platform-based search system which used natural language to answer complex questions. Several articles, including Business 2.0, were written about this platform, which was acquired by the founder of Ask Jeeves in late 2006. We were the first technology company to create a system in newLisp for any business of any size and we went on to contribute changes, modules and code to newLisp -- along with creating a large set of Open Source libraries and modules from our work.
nCircle Network Security -- 1998-2003
Founder and Chief Architect of one of the largest privately-held Network Security company in the United States. Designed and developed nCircle's vulnerability scanner, intrusion detection system, IPS and distributed communication system. Created IP360, the Ontology System (a complex scripting language for detecting vulnerabilities in a remote network), the IP360 Scoring Methodology, coined the phrase "Target Intrusion Detection System" and "Intrusion Prevention."
Farcast -- 1995-1996
Chief Architect for the first news-gathering and delivery system acquired by Ask Jeeves. Created and implemented technologies in Python, Perl and Objective C (NeXTStep and OpenStep). Designed a Data Center and environment which ran Linux, Solaris and other Unix-based systems as the back-end for the news delivery system.
I am the inventor or co-inventor on too many patents to list (over twenty as of 2011, with more being issued).
Here are a few highlights: - System and method for detecting network activity of interest, Jan 2013 - Network Security Interoperability - Network Security System Communicating with a Traffic Monitor - Advanced Search Methodologies - Brute Force Pronoun Detection - Information Systems Retrieval - Natural Language Search - Syntactically Accurate Messaging
And many more...