Thursday, April 22, 2010

Behold the computational power of my Text Editor.

Last week I finished a new website for the non-profit arts organization that I am running here in Berlin. I have finally managed to get around my own impatience and have learned a new language: XHTML/CSS. All of the code is hand written and is Strict XHTML with CSS style sheet, no Javascript or PHP used - even for the photo galleries. It is the first time that I have done any programming and digital design that I am not embarrassed of.

Take a look at the site, any tips or recommendations are welcome. We are still working on the content a bit.

The next programming bit that I will be tackling is integrating the PHP of the Wordpress event calender into the design of the main site.

w3schools has been incredibly helpful so far.

I am excited by the prospect of mentioning web development languages without having eyes glaze over and long blank stares, and since there has been some geeking out in that direction here of late . . .

Some of you might be interested in the project itself. As things develop further there could be an opportunity to show art with us in Berlin and/or do some sort of studio residency. After a period of about a year and a half of establishing ourselves we have been concentrating on professionalizing certain aspects of the project, hence my concentration on outside presentation of late. Major material improvements have been made recently to the main space, many artists are joining, we are taking over a second space around the corner for more studios, we will be receiving our first class of university students for a short workshop stint (from the U. of Northern Iowa), and we are starting to get grants from the city of Berlin for things like building an art network from the ground up in our neighborhood and administrating art festivals in the area.

So if any of you have some awesome art burning a hole in your storage space and you have time and funds to come out here, I am looking for quality work to exhibit.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Two Ians Talking

Python Resources

For the past few months my creative energies have been tied-up with Python.
At work, I am building a Django website, including a web-based project management application. I can't report how Django compares to other web frameworks, since I haven't used any others (like Turbo-Gears and Zope). From my minimal exposure to PHP, I can say I much prefer Python.
At home, I am about to start writing my own note-taking/ productivity application with the working title "Sally Forth!" (an Army of Darkness reference). I've been tracking my ideas and responsibilities in mind-maps for a few years, and that has proved problematic. It has been serviceable for work-related things, but when it comes to art and tinkering projects, it has fallen flat because none of my art or design ideas are little-boxes-inside-big-boxes, they are a confused knot of associations by their very nature. I have learned to accept this. "Sally Forth!" will be based on tagging and faceted search, inspired by a great talk I watched by the author of "Everything is Miscellaneous". (Link.) The application is going to use wxPython on the GUI side, and I haven't decided what to use yet on the database side.
Alex, you asked me a few months ago about Python resources that are out there. I've found a few since then that are definitely worth sharing:
  • MIT's introductory computer science course uses Python. All of the lectures, homework and tests are free to download. They're terrific. I've only worked through the eighth lecture, so far, but I plan on completing it sometime. The prof's stated goal for the course is to teach how to leverage computation to solve problems. I'm all for that! If you also wish to work through it, perhaps we could compare homework solutions. (Link.)
  • There are oodles of videos from the PyCon conference posted. They can be up to three hours long, and are very topical. But seeing a particular library or methodology demonstrated in great depth can be really valuable.(Link.)
  • PyWeek is a home-brew game programming challenge. Its site is a great resource because of the large volume of working code samples that are short enough to be digestable.(Link.)
  • ShowMeDo is also a good resource.(Link.)