tom moody

Archive for April, 2010

Jobs on Flash

Lauren Weinstein, Steve Jobs Posts Unconvincing Manifesto Against Adobe Flash:

Adobe was willing to do essentially all of the development work for Flash support, and Apple needed basically only to have permitted it onto the associated platforms. If users didn't want to use Flash (say, because they wanted a better touch interface or longer battery life -- two issues Steve discussed) nobody would put a gun to users' heads forcing them to use Flash anyway. An option to disable Flash could have been easily made available.


Clearly, the real problem that Steve Jobs has with Flash is that someone other than Apple has control over it. And the guiding principle of the iPhone/iPod/iPad ecosystem is Apple Controls All.

Sorry Steve. Nice try. Well written. But it just doesn't fly.

The silly rhetoric we keep hearing about Apple leaving the past behind (by, say, restoring books to 19th Century levels of uncopyability?) comes from Jobs himself. The fish rots from the head.

Update: Just received a complaint that this is a defense of Flash. There are probably as many gripes about Adobe on this blog (and its predecessor) as there are jabs at Apple. Suggesting that Sauron should give Saruman's followers a break is not the same as saying you love Saruman.

- tom moody

April 30th, 2010 at 10:00 am

Posted in general

Static on Static


Twitpic from Jon Williams aka Wizardishungry.

As if mind-reading Williams posted the above while a previous post here about jpeg noise and Sigmar Polke enlarging newsprint grain was being written. The assessment of whether a particular kind of compression noise could be interesting had to be changed from "never" to "rarely."

The image above seduces by melding two types of noise: a moire pattern reminiscent of the analog static of a TV transmission and the artifacts of saving and resizing digital video. The patterning is happening on two levels and to the extent it's possible for quantization noise to swirl that is happening here.

So, swirls within swirls in an intricate dance--antiform becomes content. The swimming pool algae color enhances the strangeness.

Just so it's clear, bad jpegs can be sublime--we were talking about a particular type of resizing noise that mars areas of solid color, usually looks bad, and is generally too omnipresent to be interesting.

Update: Am reminded that the precise term is quantization noise--originally had it as bicubic mush.

Update 2: Williams informs me that there is no analog in this--the moire pattern is also digitally made but reminded me of TV static. Corrections were made to the post.

- tom moody

April 29th, 2010 at 8:50 am

Posted in art - others

de-enhanced sigmar polke re-enhanced


Everyone loves that scene in Blade Runner where Harrison Ford scans in on the polaroid image while drinking scotch, even though the segment's rife with continuity errors and anyone who's used Photoshop knows enlarging mush just gives you bigger mush. Above is a Sigmar Polke grid from google images that has been enlarged, brightened, sharpened and de-yellowed. Some new content is revealed but no snake-woman in the mirror. (Maybe if we keep zooming...)

Polke made a career of enlarging newspaper photo grain but it remains to be seen if that can be done with bicubic quantization noise from a distressed jpeg (some of which can be seen in the upper left panel). Only rarely does it look good. According to the filename the title of this grid is "history ii." No history is complete without spanking (barely visible in the pre-Harrisonized version). Even at these dubious resolutions Polke has an exquisite eye (but not too exquisite).

- tom moody

April 29th, 2010 at 8:24 am

Posted in art - others

"Theme Nine for Saxophone"

"Theme Nine for Saxophone" [3.3 MB .mp3]

The tune from "Pretty Killbots" played on alto sax in a kind of Elton Dean-Les Baxter-'94 jungle quasi-mashup.

- tom moody

April 28th, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Posted in music - tm

When they're not breaking down doors they're installing them

Steven Berlin Johnson notes that you can't copy and paste text from the Apple iPad's iBook application. You can highlight it...


but then all you can do is "bookmark" it:

you can’t actually copy the text, to paste it into your own private commonplace book, or email it to a friend, or blog about it. And of course there’s no way to link to it. What’s worse: the book in question is Penguin's edition of Darwin’s Descent of Man, which is in the public domain. Those are our words on that screen. We have a right to them. [hyperlink, emphasis added]

With the "NY Times Editor’s Choice iPad app" (yuck) you can't even select, Johnson notes--it's just a frozen screen of words.

You just have to laugh, hard, when people say Apple is "moving us forward" or "moving computing into the next generation."

[hat tip ED]

- tom moody

April 28th, 2010 at 9:07 am

Posted in books

sigmar polke


found through google images - liking what the imagination supplies to this murk, contrary to what certain galleries try to enforce with no-photo policies - stop surfing, stare at this for five minutes (or more) and try to decode the panels

- tom moody

April 28th, 2010 at 12:22 am

Posted in art - others

Psycho from Texas

Wheeler, 1975
Psycho from Texas (USA reissue title)
The Butcher (UK video title)
The Hurting (USA reissue title)
The Mama's Boy (USA recut version)
Evil + Hate = Killer (undefined)

A friend gave me a VHS of this. Random excellent IMDb review from "Jeff Norris":

License plate on the car and the main actor are from Texas. Where is this taken place? Nobody says anything about that, in a town, and in no time in the middle of nowhere with a run down refinery. My Grandfather was the Bank President and Mr. Phillips best friend. His role was short and sweet to the point and I believe he acted as himself with no lines. He was just like, think about this, and added logic reasons, he should have been asked in the meantime why weeler cashed a check with no I.D. from someone else's account. Sound was what can I say, horrible, chase scene was miles long, so still trying to figure out where they were! I could tell though that the courthouse in El Dorado was noticeable in South Arkansas. More porn on this movie than movies of that nature nowadays. It's alright if your bored! I watched it only for the 2 or 3 minute scene my Grandfather played as the best friend to Mr. Phillips.

- tom moody

April 28th, 2010 at 12:14 am

Posted in films

iPhone, iPad ethics


My friends who are Apple fans scoff when I suggest that the company is "evil." Everyone knows it is basically benign, they say, and on balance its forward-thinking plans for the next generation of computing outweigh whatever aggressive business tactics it might have to employ on the way up.

As for Steve Jobs using a private police force to break down doors of people who leak his trade secrets--well, that might seem evil in the short run, they say, but whatever it takes to get computing out of cumbersome desktops and into devices we can carry around. That's what's important.

We've had some pretty heated debates about Jobs' plans to use the private cops to kill people and take their organs. He's not going to live forever, the Apple fans say, and since we need his magic to carry us to the next level of computing, fresh body parts for the next 40 years or so are not such a tall order.

What's a few lives against a system of file distribution and sales that even Grandma can understand?

- tom moody

April 26th, 2010 at 11:53 pm

Posted in general

Philip Glass - Modern Love Waltz

Was trying to think of something to send Travis for his tumblr playlist and remembered this home cassette taping of Margaret Leng Tan performing Philip Glass' "Modern Love Waltz" on toy pianos. This led to looking for other versions of the song, which might also affectionately be called the "OCD Tango." Found two on YouTube, which are not as good Leng Tan's.
Leng Tan adapted the tune for two toy pianos, played with brittle relentlessness. The YouTubes are conservatory-ish piano solos, played with attempts at expression and emotion. Wrong, wrong. Of the two, Amy Briggs' is better for being more robotic. Branka Parlic's version recalls Liberace, only boring.

- tom moody

April 26th, 2010 at 12:30 am

Posted in general

find similar images


This is what google's search algorithm considers similar to the "optidisc" image in the upper left corner. This is the entirety of the first results page, minus captions and borders. Not sure which is preferable--a world conjured by ignorant automata or a "wikipedia world" where someone attempts to makes sense of the noise.

- tom moody

April 25th, 2010 at 10:25 am

Posted in art - others, art - tm