I finally got around to putting up a page for the cracklebox project I completed a few weeks back. Really a fun device...will be incorporating much more of it in near future recordings.
The Grimley/Menche/SVS show last weekend was so really totally fun and amazing and impressive on all kinds of levels. Very inspiring. Grimley is on the radio right now...wish I would have had a chance to meet him and chat with him.
Last weekend, PARTS (the Portland Area Robotics Society) held its PDXBot.07 event at at hotel space in Portland, OR. Even though the space left something to be desired (the noise bed was sometimes nearly unbearable and the layout made it easy to confuse vendors with dorks), the thing was a lot of fun!
By way of Dorkbot Portland, my nonsensical quickcam-on-a-chip-with-antenna design thing was used pretty ubiquitously at the event. It was fun to see it on shirts and signs and similar. As a co-overlord now of Dorkbot Portland, I ended up becoming a judge and stand-in MC for the artbot events (both junior and adult). I enjoyed talking in front of an audience again, even though I was completely unprepared and just stuck to the accidentall-odd-guy-in-shades persona I adopted [after waking up with a harsh red spot on the white of my left eye again]. I'm not too cool for school...I was saving you from disgust factor nine.
In any case, Don's robot turned out nice...it was fun to see it come together at the last moment. Great platform, rushed software. :) My creation didn't get finished (I ran out of time), but hopefully I'll have an entry when (if?) we do it again next year. Something about a power struggle between feeder insects.
I have started ordering/assembling parts to build my own audiopint, which is probably several bazillion times better than rolling with a laptop. All I really want is a portable pd capable device that I don't have to think much about....although I'm sure I will overwork and over-analize things.
Last night in Portland, Negativland performed a live version of their Over the Edge radio broadcast. The performance was also simulcast live on KBOO radio (the main independent free form radio station in Portland). It was great to be able to see these legends in person and to see their methods...which, from what I could tell, were surprisingly simple.
On a whim, I decided to look on archive.org to see if somebody had posted a live version of the performance. No luck, but I did find the death of circuit bending. Who knew? :) I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet (nor the handful of CDs I walked away with last night), but I will soon...
There's a guy who posted some images of his Hulk hands midi controller conversion. Even tho I'm not sure what the actual mechanism is (is it just a single trigger per hand?) [Ed: I looked at the images again, there's a "spring and can" switch, so yeah, it sure seems like only a single switch per hand], I like the idea...although I wonder if he realizes that Wayne Coyne has been rockin the big hands for a few years already. Major loss of goodness points by showing Max/MSP screens instead of PD.
Now don't misunderstand....I've gone on record bagging on this whole AJAX thing and how the web browser is a terrible "platform" for all this software we like to run (a windowing environment or even OS in a browser is totally redundant, no?)...but this looks damn fine. I haven't tried a demo or anything, but the movies look quite nice.
Although maybe a bit simple and cryptic, the few examples of full "applications" (if dataflow languages create apps anyway?) being whipped out in a few mere minutes is, to me, pretty impressive. I suspect that [parts of?] it may be Firefox specific, which is probably less than ideal, but again, it looks to work really well!
When I first read about this project, it immediately reminded me of Yahoo Pipes, which has been making the 'rounds. This is like a streamlined, less AOL version of the same...one that (to be fair, without a demo!) seems to actually work well, in an efficient and more intuitive (at least to us patchers) way.
I've been getting into and exploring with Inkscape lately. Although I was first tipped off to it a couple (?) years ago (now already?), I hadn't actually installed/tried it until recently. Now that I have put it through some test runs, I'm quite impressed! Of course the main idea (at least to me), is to be able to draw nice bezier curves and have them be smooth and be able to arbitrarily scale them and to edit them later (which you can't do with traditional bitmap/raster editing software...even thought Photoshop and Gimp have incorporated "paths"). It does this beautifully...things are highly intiutive, I got up to speed pretty quickly I think...and although I hit the occasional quirk, it did just what I wanted. As with other software, like Gimp, I'm sure the Adobe design zealots will soon start ranting about how inferior it is and how it lacks all these great features that product has...but whatever...I've never claimed to be a designer, but I can recommend it.
Do superworms molt? I've got a bin of 20 of them in oatmeal and I've been adding potato chunks, but I'm worried that they're not doing well. I once read that they'll eat each other if they get desperate, and I've seen what now look like carcases, but it might just be exoskin or something. I haven't even had time to really take care of them properly, which also implies that I haven't yet had time to record them.
Of course, I get hung up on and otherwise find language often interesting. I am frequently capable of finding myself in that certain zone which entertains me and simultaneously frustrates others -- a fixation on wording, language, verbal expression. Oh, I'm no good at it...I never claimed I were. I just noticed that I used "smoking" and "patches" in an unintentionally clever context in my last blog entry. "Oh you're just arguing semantics!". That's all we have, bitch!
Digg labs is starting to be a huge time kill for me...I've been a voyeur of human nature for so long...this helps. Fortunately for me, the diggers are narrow and specific...if it were more contextually relevant, I'd be threatened.
I have a son now. I love him. I will likely not talk much of him in such a public and impersonal forum. Although once novel, advanced, and technologically impassioned, this whole connected thing is starting to kinda give the spooks. I've already sworn to wean myself off The Googleplex this year...it's going to be challenging. The increasing darknet war on anonymity and relevance and context is long begun. We'll continue to build 29 levels of protocol upon protocol, unless somebody actually reveals that the mathematicians have fucked us long ago.
I managed to find a source for the LM709 chips for the CrackleBox, and I made a new Eagle schematic and layout of what we plan on building...should be a fun tribute. I've got 3+ albums half finished...must progress. Building versus recording is becoming a burden (n'. recurring theme). Project-wise, tho, the crackle and the PIC-based artbot (for the Dorkbot hosted PDXbot artbot event) are topping the lists. Insects.
but I added a few twists (LEDs, speaker, switched caps and resistors). Even though I wanted to incorporate some of those nice Wacky Willy's piezos, I just couldn't hack anything decent sounding with minimal components...so I tossed it and opted for action over a drawn-out design period. I like that it's gritty and analog while still throwing out that low-res 8-bit sound that's all the rage these days...and it sounds especially nice and thick when bathed in effects.
I used the APC thing as a means to revisit board design, layout, and crafting, since it had been quite some time since I last did one. I maybe even picked up a few tricks along the way (ie. I never actually tried nail polish before etching to fill in pits/gaps). It's nice to build again.
I'd like to pick up micros again, mostly PIC or AVR, and I'd prefer to have a USB-powered programmer that supported in-circuit action. The arduino is a popular and flexible choice...and although it's slick, I still think it's kinda pricey. I'd rather spend a little more on a nice flexible usb programmer (Linux and windows support preferred) and roll my own bread/etched boards...got any good suggestions?
This week marked our 1-year quit mark for the quitting of the smoking! Really, it seems like only yesterday...and even tho I still crave on occasion, it's certainly become easier with each passing day. The Bikram yoga has certainly been instrumental in the success.
The last Dorkbot PDX meeting was virtual because of the extreme snow and dangerous road conditions...the one before that was excellent and drew quite a few new faces. It was certainly a record for the most contraptions on the table....I hope that trend continues! It's kinda exciting to be living during this trippy time of convergence and appreciation of technological weirdness...