A friend of mine is continuing to rid himself of worldly posessions...and I keep landing some pretty cool junk as a result. Case in point...this 60's era oscilloscope:
Sure, it's old, and likely doesn't work, but the case is just great and the controls alone are worth the somewhat strange looks it fetched on public transit. Not sure exactly what I'll do with it yet, but I'm slightly inspired by the vague but kinda stupidly awesome mini tv instructable. The case might even work as a little portable mini amp, which I've been wanting to build for a while.
...but new projects are on hold until I free up from a few existing ones...like the audiopint I'm building. I've ordered 4 iMic sound cards, an extra USB flash drive, and continued securing things to the inside of the case. I'm planning on mounting 8 mono input jacks on the top face tonight...and I need to start thinking about a serial LCD. Although it can certainly go without, even a little 2x16 can provide enough info to give a hint in the visual feedback path.
I recently got copies of the long-awaited 2CD "Power/Field" compilation CD that Bob Bellerue put out. I submitted a track nearly 2 years ago (IIRC it's track 11 on CD1)...and so it's great to see this come to fruition. Of course I'm biased, but the album is pretty damn great.
OSCON is this week, and as a result I get to attend a bunch of geeky talks about open source software and products. Not only am I looking to the shortened commute and temporary freedom from the office...I'm really quite excited about a few of the topics/presenters.
So this past Sunday was the first "official" (more formal) DorkbotPDX event in Portland. I've been meeting with the group semi-frequently and really enjoyed seeing the first major event come alive.
I gave a brief talk on the p5 glove controller as used as a sound controller with free/open source software...especially pure-data. I have slides and demo patches from the talk available here
I had a real blast! Things went pretty smoothly for being a first-time event...and we're well positioned now to learn from our experiences and move forward toward great success. The momentum factor is a big thing IMO, especially during mid summer when people are on vacation or are generally more active...travelling, enjoying the outdoors. That's a big yearly theme in the NW -- sun comes out, people go out. We tend to get really busy during the summer.
I'm slowly and surely working on building an audiopint, but I had to RMA the PSU, and so progress has been delayed. (crossing fingers hoping the problem is actually the psu). David has been super helpful in explaining some of their process and what the caveats/pitfalls are. I still don't have a great method of mounting things to the inside of the case/lid without poking through from the outside...but I'll likely resort to JB weld or a plastic weld to hold in brackets/bolts so things can remain secure. More updates on that project as it progresses...
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.