Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Microsoft Surface

Holy shit! This is the tech demo I linked to in the last post's thread, which is over a year old. But now it's not a tech demo, it's Microsoft. Cower in FEAR!!!

From a slashdot post...

"I find this very interesting from a marketing perspective. They are promoting this as if it was a product, and yet it isn't on sale - and even the implementations they are talking about (T-Mobile, Sheraton Hotels) are really trials with partners that won't be happening until the end of next year.

So what is this all about? The Vista and Office '07 launches haven't gone well from a marketing perspective - there has been a lot of press basically saying that Microsoft is losing its competitive edge. Couple that with the iPhone, and the fact that Apple is almost certainly going to be launching new products with multi-touch capabilities over the next year or so, and I think it is clear what is going on. Microsoft really want to improve their image in relation to Apple - they don't want Apple to be seen as the innovator and them as the company that's lost it.

Notice on the website [microsoft.com] that they have a section called "origins" giving the history of the technology within Microsoft - I think they are trying to reverse the image that they copy Apple. Now when the touch-screen iMac is launched (or whatever) Microsoft will have done a fairly good job at taking some of the shine off the launch, even though they don't have a consumer product in the area, nor will they have for some years."

More on the tech of this thing from Ars Technica...

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Cave

A 4-d CAD model has been created of the human body. A 4-d model simply relies on a layering system through which different sets of information can be isolated. VR caves, which I've seen in lectures about architectural modeling, use anamorphic projection on the surfaces of a small room to immerse a subject; like a panorama, baroque architectural painting, or in a simulator. Also, this is a bizarre image.
via Science Daily.

Re: NWN 1.69

I posted the above on the NWN forums. Bioware is taking a long time on the 1.69 patch, which will be the last for NWN 1. If they do not move the game to some sort of open source arrangement, they will be missing a tremendous opportunity for the most modular game ever made. Link.

Takako Minekawa...

... possesses obtuse and inventive powers of musicianship. Rare qualities for someone who comes from a J-pop background. Recommended for all deranged persons.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Tell it like it is...

I called my rep about this. You should too.

This is also spot on...

"But (someone protests), can't you at least admit that the Democrats are better than the Republicans? And if you love the country, or care about the world, aren't you obligated to support the lesser of two evils, even if it's only slightly less evil?

To which I reply: What's really evil is being forced to choose between people on the one hand who support the war, and accuse anyone who questions it of "helping the terrorists" -- and people on the other who oppose the war, criticize the war, pledge to the end the war, and then vote to keep it going.

Or being asked to choose between the village idiot and someone who's consistently outsmarted by him."

And from Greenwald...

"This has long been the principal flaw of Democrats and it has not changed. They are both fearful and incapable of defending any position unless, from the outset, they are assured, by their conniving and principle-free consultants, that most Americans already agree with it. The idea of forcefully articulating a view in order to change public opinion -- such as explaining why de-funding is a perfectly valid option like all the others for ending the war -- never occurs to them."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Fallout 3

"We're running out of time!" *spoilers*


TERRORIST: Mr. Bauer, how do you stay so dry under such intense pressure?

JACK: Read the label. (pause) READ THE LABEL!

TERRORIST: D... Degree for Men?? This can't be.. its odor and wetness protection are unparalleled!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooo!

JACK: Chloe this is Jack, tell CTU I'm setting up a perimeter...

(Jack swipes degree under each arm)

...as penned by Quest For Glory II of Something Awful.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Meanwhile, down at HQ...

Oh my!

Website 2.0

With Ubuntu Linux as a platform, a program called KompoZer, and a mildly improved understanding of html programming, I have managed to completely redesign my website from zero. There is not much in the way of new content, but I was hoping everyone could poke around there a little bit to make sure it is all working correctly. Any design suggestions would also be welcome, particularly by those professionally inclined to this kind of stuff.

My hope is that this is polished enough to be a good cyberspace calling card for my impending exhibition and legal employment hunts.

This project was also about learning to replace my last Windoze program. The only thing I have used lately on that OS is Planescape: Torment and I have had little time for getting involved in super intracate mind boggling wacky plot role playing computer games of late.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Microsoft Details FOSS Patent Breaches

via Slashdot...

Edit: From the Slashdot comment thread...
"Microsoft is afraid, plain and simple. This an edorsement by the market leader that Linux is ready for the desktop. They were afraid to see Novell pushing it but when Dell went onboard and picked the most user friendly of distros to do it with; Microsoft became terrified.

Do you know why you never saw something like this from Microsoft before? They didn't think it was worth their time."

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Toys and grids

Over the past couple of months, I've been noodling with a lot of free software that doesn't have the common ingredients of gameplay. Rather, the object in each seems to be to allow the user to generate/explore/discover/compose pictures. Another thing these toys have in common is that they are marvelous demonstrations of the interplay between order and chaos. I can see how this could all look like screensaver fodder. My reply to such a jaded reaction would be that there are things in life other than points, frags, and money. The following is a short inventory of this software:

Celestia is a planetarium package. Everything is placed accurately in regards to time, space and scale. It's like a pinhole camera onto the yawning infinity of the universe. A good companion for dragging out a chaise lounge into your yard on a warm night. Versions are available for all platforms. Link.

Construo is a simple program that simulates forces on articulated structures. It seems to only be for Linux. Link.

Fyre renders Peter de Jong maps. It is also only for Linux. Link.

Xaos is a fractal navigator. After the mid-nineties craze surrounding the Mandelbrot set, I thought that if you'd seen one instance of fractal geometry, you'd seen it all. They are infinitely repeating, after all. Xaos, which has 23 different formulae, disproves this idea and demonstrates that the fractal phenomena is one of tremendous variety. No longer will I think of fractals as digital tie-dye. There are versions of Xaos for all platforms. Link.

I'm reading Rudolph Arnheim's "Dynamics of Architectural Form". In it is this idea that the universe is a series of nested spatial indices, with their delimitations based on scale, and each having an intrinsic level of chaos. So the shape of our cities are ameboid and strange, but our city blocks are simple grids. The location of a piece of art or architecture in this universal index is instrumental to its definition and effect. Architecture interfaces with the landscape and the city grid, on the large end, and people and furniture, at the small end. A painting interfaces with the space of the room and its other constituents at the large end, and a painting being a portal, it relates its limits to all its subordinate parts, at the small end. At any point, the work can skip several strata and point towards something of a vastly different scale or something not present or even extant. This is very common in paintings, but in architecture it is far less so. One dramatic exception is how architecture adapts to solar exposure, much like plants do, skipping several spatial-frameworks.
All this stuff about scale and universal context is why I see Frank Stella's new sculpture on the roof of the Met as a funky planetarium.

(pictures from Flickr)

Monday, May 07, 2007

Kings of Metal!!!!!!!!!!

I was checking out random co-worker's music playlists over the network via iTunes (i know, hate away) when i ran across the most metal music archive I've ever seen. While grabbing coffee in the break room, i see the guy who owns the music and pay him a compliment. His response was, "you like that stuff?"

long story short... he burned me 12 DVDs full of metal mp3s. HELLS YEAH!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Hive mind

"Dividing the robots into separate villages that only occasionally interact with each other should also help to ensure the greatest diversity of behaviour..."
Link via ArtsJournal.