tom moody

Archive for May, 2008

EGA art

ega 1

ega 2

16-color art from the year 1990, made for an EGA screen, looks like today's pixel art made with MSPaint. (hat tip drx) Art is better when people have to work within limitations (hooded figures excepted).

- tom moody

May 31st, 2008 at 12:25 pm

Posted in general

Voyager Is Not True

(but it is kind of good.)
From Wikipedia entry on Ron Moore, TV producer who revamped Battlestar Galactica and briefly worked on Star Trek Voyager:

Moore's re-imagining of Galactica is noted for taking a more serious tone than its [1970s] predecessor, something that was foreshadowed in the January 2000 Cinescape interview, where he discussed what he saw as the root problem with Voyager.

"The premise has a lot of possibilities. Before it aired, I was at a convention in Pasadena, and [Voyager's producers] were on stage, and they were answering questions from the audience about the new ship. It was all very technical, and they were talking about the fact that in the premise this ship was going to have problems. It wasn’t going to have unlimited sources of energy. It wasn’t going to have all the doodads of the Enterprise. It was going to be rougher, fending for themselves more, having to trade to get supplies that they want. That didn’t happen. It doesn’t happen at all, and it’s a lie to the audience. I think the audience intuitively knows when something is true and something is not true. Voyager is not true. If it were true, the ship would not look spic-and-span every week, after all these battles it goes through. How many times has the bridge been destroyed? How many shuttlecrafts have vanished, and another one just comes out of the oven? That kind of bullshitting the audience I think takes its toll. At some point the audience stops taking it seriously, because they know that this is not really the way this would happen. These people wouldn’t act like this."

We were mainly watching it for Seven, Tuvok, and the Medical Hologram.

- tom moody

May 30th, 2008 at 11:18 pm

Posted in general

Hiphop and Peer Review

Disquiet on peer-reviewed hiphop mp3s: an analyis of the site Crate Kings, where beatmeisters trade beats and evaluate them, and post tech talk.

Most of the participants in the dialog post their own work, backing up their words with their own efforts. At cratekings.com, there are several places where users post their beats for the public. One is the Beat Battles forum, where a single sample is shared by competitors who, Iron Chef-style, seek to best utilize it in a rhythmic backing track. There’s also a freeform forum, where a typical heading will read “New Beat. Thoughts Wanted.”

Haven't spent much time there to see how in-depth it is but enjoyed the MySpace-posted songs of Organixlives that Disquiet recommended. Minimal ambient sample-bending provides the hooks and a driving, almost off the shelf beat runs throughout. Initially started listening with the idea that these were just backing tracks for vocals but then started thinking of them as little Philip Glass-like compositions or Varese with a pulse.

A word on "peer reviewed." The way Disquiet uses the term is completely accurate yet turns the notion of peer review, in the academic "final word by experts" sense, on its head. Internet sites such as Crate Kings can be hothouse labs where ideas incubate but they are communities of passion and shared interest and tend to come and go. As opposed to the academic journals where continuities of subject matter, archives, etc are built slowly across decades and unshakeable cults of expertise (Thomas Kuhn's paradigms, if you will) are harder to demolish.

An artist who I have intermittently clashed with on Rhizome.org and elsewhere (rarely productively) keeps saying "there are artists and there are critics and each does his or her thing." (Not a quote, a paraphrase.) Who are the artists and who are the critics at Crate Kings? There are only people with passion for a subject. Cults of expertise aren't good. Everyone has his or her own best way of "articulating" the art, and takes turns playing litigant, advocate, and judge. The internet has made this possible, but demands critical readers. Ironically the artist who reveres criticism enough to give it its own job is a net artist.

- tom moody

May 30th, 2008 at 8:02 am

Posted in general

sketch_d4

sketch_d4

- tom moody

May 29th, 2008 at 3:29 pm

Adrien75 - New Songs

Some new tunes up by a favorite musician, Adrien75. Two albums, am still mainly listening to End of an Error, from 2005. I recommend loading the mp3s and letting them loop as a group; the hooks and subtleties reveal themselves gradually and the vibe is very pleasant and innovative. "School for Mew" has a sublime middle section of looping guitar that becomes a kind of dreamy techno-bluegrass; I thought of The Grid for some reason, a mix of "Swamp Thing" (without the kitsch factor) and the spaciness of "Crystal Clear," but with added, unexpected key modulations. Another grabber is "Starlight Gleaming," with jazzy piano stabs intertwining with p-funk bass and smeared vocal (and orchestral) science. In all the songs the sound palette is constantly being critically tweaked in a lab funk kind of way; an interesting "urban beats" twist on what otherwise might be described as a lush electro-acoustic pastorale.

- tom moody

May 28th, 2008 at 9:06 pm

Posted in music - others

Twitter Scalability Meltdown!!!

As the social networking site Twitter has risen like a hot air balloon in a gale force updraft it's become completely snarled in its own guy wires and functions are getting dropped over the side like so much dangerous ballast (archives, IM access, tweets "with others", etc.)
JonW sent me a link to this article which discusses Twitter's scalability issues. (Meaning how it will it grow.)
I have no opinion on whether relational databases or cloud computing are the answer...
sad fluffy
...but Robert O'Brien's comment seems likely:

Your assertion that Twitter can't be decentralised conflates the notion of discovery and service. Discovery can be centralised while the service provision can be decentralised. DNS is a perfect example of a centralised namespace with a decentralised service that maps names to ip addresses. Bit Torrent is another. And to over simplify, what you describe in terms of an architecture is typical of many P2P systems - it is just P2P inside the wall.

In a perfect world there is no technical reason why, for example, a twitter type discovery and friend management service couldn't map all message delivery on to a network of decentralised jabber end-points.

The scaling problem comes because Twitter is trying to "capture" all our tweets, control the UX and API, control the namespace to insert themselves as a centralised message utility in order to extract value. i.e. it is the constrains of the business model that makes Twitter have a bundled service and therefore means Twitter (the business/service) can't be decentralised.

Will Twitter "succeed" so that all our "tweets" are owned by Rupert Murdoch or Bill Gates or will the balloon pop in midair? Pass the cotton candy.

- tom moody

May 28th, 2008 at 5:56 pm

Posted in general

preserved tweets

Selections from my twitter account.
Doing this because twitter is gradually losing functionality as it becomes popular.
First we lost the ability to group our tweets with those of people we're following.
Now you can't page back more than one page. They say they're fixing it but it's been out a couple of days.

they should call twitter "memento"--nothing can be remembered but it's worse because you can't even tattoo yourself
not sure how good a "diary" is that doesn't let you page back past one page
twitter needs to get its shit(ter) together--half the stuff doesn't work--they should have prepared better to be popular
beats and bits, bots and brats, bleets and butts
found tweet: "if these fucking people do not stop doing YOGA ALL AROUND ME at this coffee shop, i am going to decapitate all hippies ever"
(in reply to WIZARDISHUNGRY) yes, software and remembering to convert from English to metric
"With liquid water comes the possibility of life" is a sentence I wish we could quit reading--the science excites w/o little green beings
the mars landing simulation employs the battlestar galactica shaky-cam, as one blog noted
nasa blog: 4:53 [PDT] pm: Touchdown detected!! We're on the surface of Mars and there is celebration in Mission Control!!
mars landing soon--will it work? from the simulation it seems precarious as hell
loud neighbor party--it's not music, their laughter is earsplitting
octavia butler theme: something changes you and you have no choice but to accept it
"old people should not try to speak LOL Cat"--found tweet, hard to argue with
twitter is worthless between 5 and 9 pm Eastern (as in slow or "something's wrong")--right?
day two: mashed up two old songs, drew annoying viscera, went to cleaners
when I bought some clothes yesterday one of the clerks sang "ring my bell" at the final tally
nine days to run errands, make art
Divine to tabloid reporters: "Ask me more questions!" (Pink Flamingos)

- tom moody

May 28th, 2008 at 10:16 am

Posted in general

sketch_d3

sketch_d3

- tom moody

May 28th, 2008 at 12:25 am

sketch_d2

sketch_d2

- tom moody

May 27th, 2008 at 4:31 pm

Violent Redneck Media

Back in February 2008 this blog called for a moratorium on talking about the 4ss4ssin4tion of a certain candidate. The trend was just gearing up then, with little morbid hints in the papers and even some friends spreading the concern meme. Then Senator Clinton blatantly ignored the call for the moratorium with some stupid talk, and the necrophiles in the media POUNCED. They milked it for days; right wingers were given permission to openly, affirmatively joke about it. This will only get worse, with the toxic sludge piling up higher and higher until the election.

- tom moody

May 27th, 2008 at 11:49 am

Posted in general