An offer: Orba 1

This is really about my daily life, but it’s also an offer of a sweet little — fits in the palm of your hand, just 3 inches in diameter — musical device, to go to a good home. The device is an Orba (specifically, the Orba 1) sold by Artiphon (link here):


[from the Artiphon site:] Orba is a handheld synth, looper, and MIDI controller that lets anyone make music immediately. With Orba’s integrated looper you can layer Drum, Bass, Chord, and Lead parts to create beats and songs on the fly. Play through the built-in speaker or use the ⅛” jack to connect headphones or amplifiers. Pair wirelessly to the Orba app to customize your instrument and share your creations with friends.

The offer. I don’t have any easy way to mail things out; I’m housebound and have no smartphone. There might be ways to surmount that, if I can get someone to take it to a shop that does the packing and mailing for you (someone I can also manage to reimburse somehow for the expense); but the easiest arrangement would be if someone can just pick it up at my house in downtown Palo Alto.

It’s of prime importance in all of this that the arrangements take very little time in my life; I’m giving the Orba up because I literally have no time for it, as I’ll explain below. If I can’t find a genuinely easy way to give it away, I’ll have to throw it in the trash.

Why I have an Orba. It was a birthday gift to myself, back in September. I used to be a serious musician (a pianist, specifically), but then I lost the use of my right hand for most purposes. With great regret, I found a good home for my keyboard and gave it away. But I missed being able to make music, especially as I’ve come to live in extraordinary solitude.

I then found that there were electronic devices that could be controlled with gross motions of just a finger or two, and I can manage that. The Orba (above) looked like the best of the possibilities. Something of an extravagance, but I was optimistic that it could expand my life a bit, provide me with some pleasure.

What went wrong. First thing: the Orba is a new and complex device, so (of course) required learning, even just to do the relatively simple things I wanted from it. And then, once I’d learned how to use it, I’d need time for playing it.

But then the rest of my life came to demanded most of my time: a great many more domestic responsibilities, further medical afflictions that required more time for care and also made simple activities take huge amounts of time (roughly five times what they’d take for an able-bodied person). Another big chunk of time goes to keeping in touch with people, exchanging talk with them, on Facebook — which is essentially my entire social life (carried on virtually rather than face-to-face), and is therefore extraordinarily precious.

And then there’s my occupation: researching and crafting daily essays for this blog. This is gigantically time-consuming, but also rewarding — and I’ve accumulated an archive of about 10,000 postings to draw on in writing new ones and building a body of work.

I’m now in the position where there’s only slivers of time for simple pleasures, like doing crossword puzzles, reading books, listening to music, or watching movies or tv, just for fun or engagement. If I can’t do it as a background activity, multitasking while I do my writing, then there’s no time for it.

In particular, there’s no time for learning to do new things. Not that I can’t learn — I’m still a pretty clever bear, as I hope you can see from my postings — but it takes time, lots of it. Which I no longer have and will never have again.

So, my Orba needs a new home. If you’re interested, e-mail me (arnold dot zwicky at-sign gmail dot com). Note the underline on that instruction; this is the way to reach me.

Please don’t write to tell me how to rearrange my life to have more time or get more things done. That will only make me monstrously testy, and I’ll have to consign you to the pits of hell.

One Response to “An offer: Orba 1”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    I also advertised the offer to linguists at Stanford, and one of them has now (12/17) claimed it.

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