outsourcing singing

NOTE: The music on this page is not hosted. I'm in the process of moving it to a more permanent location (the current thought is to put it on last.fm).

A while back, I got a midi keyboard and music software, and I wrote some songs. More recently, I decided to hire a singer on oDesk:

Vocals Needed for a Song

Job Description

This is weird, but I wrote a song (such as it is), and I'm a pretty crappy singer. I'd like someone else to sing it for me. Here's the song (with me singing, even though I'm not very good):

Please bid with a link to some sample of you singing.

If I hire you, I'll give you the lyrics, a wav file of just the music, and I hope to get back a wav file of just you singing. I'd also like at least 2 iterations of "this is great, but could you change X?"

I really don't know how much this should cost, so please bid what you're willing to do it for, even if it is more than my proposed amount.


My proposed amount was $20. I got many bidders. All seemed like they read the task, though not everyone submitted a sample.

$20Sri LankaFyesnone yet,
last contact Dec 20
$40United StatesMyesrough draft,
waiting on final,
last contact Nov 27
$63yesUnited StatesF

Olga Sapho

The singer in gold above is Olga Sapho. I was really impressed with her work, and she gave me the result the day after I hired her. It turns out that she writes her own music, some of which can be found on her MySpace page. I hope a recording label will pick her up soon. In the mean time, I have hired her to do more of my songs. In these songs, she also redid the instrumental track:

My VersionHer Version
Wave Pass
Side With The Band
When They Come For You
Drown Me


too much to do

Sometimes I feel like I have too much to do. So, why not add a comic to the list expressing my feelings? I drew a rough draft, and outsourced a nice version on oDesk:

Draw Comic
I drew a comic, and I want someone to make it look good ;)

To bid, provide a relevant example of your art.


I hired Albert Dela Cruz, an artist from the Philippines who bid $10, and showed a nice comic he had drawn.

He asked about the character's emotions, clothes, and setting. I said he was mild mannered with conservative clothes in a house. Here is his first draft:

I was concerned that the spiders at the bottom made it seem like there were spiders already climbing his legs (which he might notice). I also thought the second frame should show him in the act of smashing the spider. Here is the final version:

Then there is the issue of whether the comic makes sense. I showed this to a friend, and he did not understand the last frame. The idea is that the comic artist finished the second frame, but was then surprised by an onslaught of other things to do, and did not make it to the last frame. Of course, this is odd, since there is no indication that the character in the comic is also drawing the comic. Alas.

I love the artist's interpretation of the todo-spiders though, and I especially love the low-camera view of the ones on the floor.


homepage banner

I wanted to create a banner for my homepage using oDesk. Here was my job description:

title: Personal Homepage Banner

I am looking for someone to help create a banner for my personal homepage. Here is a very rough mockup of what I want it to look like:

Here is a photo of me for use in the banner:

guides about what I want:
- all text should be real fonts (not handwritten), except the word "me"
- the picture of me should be stylized somehow (it's a pretty crappy photo ;)
- the banner will sit on an all white webpage, and should have some sort of border (perhaps with a drop shadow)

Note that oDesk doesn't actually let me put images in the description, so I had links to those images in my public Dropbox folder.

I accepted 3 bids for this job, to explore different alternatives. Actually, the first "bid" was solicited by me -- I asked the artist who helped me with "tiger art" if he would be willing to do this job, and he was willing.

Note, I also told each artist to interpret the orange squiggles in my drawing as "steam punk".

First Artist

Here is the sequence of images from the first artist:

I gave the artist a list of changes I wanted, including a blue a background, removal of the mouth and hand, and putting all the text below the lines.

...and then I wanted a mouth back.

Second Artist

The second artist is Raluca Daniela Comanescu from Romania. Here is the sequence of images from her:

I liked the fishing pole idea, and asked for fish in the air as well.

I asked for removal of the eye-piece and leather, as well as a smaller ear. I also asked for more color, showing this colorful stack of books as an example (she had drawn those books).

Then, for some reason, I said I had too much hair.

I also asked if a colorful background was possible, showing an Arizona sunset as an example.

My dad likes the no-background version more, and my mom likes the sunset-background more. I'm torn.

Third Artist

Here is the sequence of images from the third artist. This first image was given to me as part of the bid, which convinced me to interview this artist:

I hadn't actually hired him yet, because I wanted to make sure he understood about the "steam punk" bit, at which point he gave me this:

At this point I had to hire him, and he gave me this final version:

I must say, I like that background. Apparently it comes from this image:

Why am I not using any of these?

Well, I actually have a test webpage using all 3 of these banners, but now I worry that the banner is misleading. It makes it look like I do all the work to create the output, which is clearly false, so now I'm contemplating a different banner idea.


Halting Problem, Gödel's Proof and Liar Paradox

boolean functions
true or false
or never halt:

bool x() { return !x(); }

and algorithms
can't always decide
which of the 3 it is:

bool x() {
return !returnsTrue("x()"); }

Halting Problem

can be proven
true or false
or can't be proven:

x := ¬x

and math
can't always prove
which of the 3 it is:

x := ¬provable("x")

Gödel's Proof

can be reasoned
true or false
or can't be reasoned:

this statement is false

and humans
can't always reason
which of the 3 it is:

this statement is not true

Strengthened Liar


tiger art

tiger art
I bought a WACOM Bamboo Fun Tablet, as well as Art Rage, and I wanted to paint something. I chose a stuffed tiger that was sitting on my desk:

I decided to paint the face in 9 segments, like the pieces of a tic-tac-toe board. I would paint each piece at a different time, and allow myself to experiment with different styles. I painted 7 of the pieces...

...but then I didn't paint for a long time.

When I started experimenting with oDesk, I decided to try hiring someone to finish the art piece. Here were my instructions:

title: small art project involving some computer-painting

this is weird, but I'm experimenting with collaborative art.

Imagine a tic-tac-toe board with 9 squares. I have painted 7 squares of a stuffed tiger's face:
[a link to a zip file in my public dropbox folder]

I have also included a picture of the tiger. I want you to paint the remaining 2 squares (using Photoshop, or a similar program, but using something that tries to simulate a brush). The squares do not need to line up with my squares (my squares don't line up with each other anyway).

I then want you to compose the 9 squares into a larger image, using your judgement about whether to include space separating them, and how much (I'm thinking a little whitespace between them is probably good).

I also want two "iterations", where you show me what you've done, and I request small tweaks (that you can veto if you feel strongly about them).

So.. if that isn't too weird for you, please bid. Thanks!
I posted a budget of $50. An artist from the Philippines bid $35, and posted this image as evidence that they could do the work:

I was impressed, and accepted their bid. I asked the artist to spread the pieces out a little, and give more texture to the background:

..his original version may have been better, but in either case, there we have it. Some art.