31 July 2005

See you at SIGGRAPH 2005

Hello, computer graphics junkies. I'll be at SIGGRAPH this week to participate in a panel discussion about the future of displays: The Ultimate Display: What Will It Be?

Also, I was honored to be asked to write a technical article about volumetric 3-D displays for IEEE Computer Magazine's August issue.

That's it for now, Eddie keeps trying to type for me.

Chicago, Terror, and ... ?

A prize to the person who manages to convince me to stop drinking iced caramel macchiato at 11pm.

Chicago, Chicago ...
Hello, I am back from a day of business travel to one of my favorite cities: Chicago. I managed to get time to hang out with a college friend, CM, and his family for a fun stroll around town with their awesome 2 year-old. Along the way, we visited the new "Crown Fountain" by Jaume Plensa - two 50 foot structures with embedded LED video walls which squirt water every 20 minutes out of the mouths of giant projected people. (Photo at left is linked from a web page by Lynn Becker.) (I am still waiting on my lesson contrasting "which" and "that," you know who you are...)

Terror in London
I came across this site, I am f*ing terrified, through GeekPress.

Worst Album Covers Ever

Fortunately, someone's done the hard work of selecting exemplary bad album art for the rest of us.

Linked from here.

Well, that's all for me tonight. Here's to a totally gnarly Sunday.

22 July 2005

Portland, ME

[Largely, note to self. You've been warned if, after reading this, you wonder, "Why did G-Fav think I'd care about this?"]

Every now and then (like, once a week) I need to clear my head to restore my creative energy to what I thought it once was. So, I took today off to wander around Portland, Maine with a tiny notebook, books on Go and math, and a one-pager map.

Gilbert's Chowder House (92 Commercial)
Maine makes me crave fried shellfish, and I satisfied that craving at Gilbert's. Maybe, though, this was my last visit there. I agree with this article's description of their unusually thick and peppery clam chowder. Not that it's "bad," but next time I want to eat something healthy so I don't feel like I'm dragging around for the rest of the day. I admit it's no Woodman's of Essex:

This is Woodman's of Essex, linked from their website.

Breaking New Grounds (11 Exchange)
This is one of my favorite coffee shops. The wait staff are friendly and seem to genuinely enjoy being there; I like the music; and there are free tables (remarkably without 10s of people using their laptop computers). That photograph is from a website that reviews coffee shops: Cafe Geek.

Institute of Contemporary Art at the Maine College of Art (522 Congress)
I parked inconveniently far from downtown so that I'd be near the "arts district" for the ICA. The public museum is three rooms; two were curtained off for dark-room video exhibits. I enjoyed a piece called Soliloquy by Shirin Neshat, "a two-channel meditation on identity in Islamic and Christian cultures," which was filmed in Iran and Albany (!).

SPACE (SPACE558.org)
Space is a gallery for contemporary art pieces and - get this - houses one of the ART * O * MAT vending machines! Woo-hee! For $5, visitors can purchase a token that when put into the vending machine yields actual plastic-wrapped art. I would've bought some, but I showed up at the gallery at what felt like an odd hour.

The ART * O * MAT!

Book Traders (561 Congress)
I stopped into this used book store and snagged a copy of One Art, a 600-page collection of letters from the poet Elizabeth Bishop for $8.50.

Finally, I walked all the way downhill to grab a snack at what purports to be Portland's best sushi, Yosaku Japanese (1 Danforth). I showed up at 3pm, which was two hours too early.

Notes for next time: Go when it's 70 degrees, not 90. Park closer to downtown or in between.

21 July 2005

Andre the Giant Has a Posse

Linked from Wikipedia under the GNU Free Documentation License.

This is nothing new, but here are two webpages about the OBEY Giant and DISOBEY Giant stickers. They're all overthe northeast. You may have seen one in the mid-90s, for example, at Yale (New Haven, CT) on the traffic light outside SSS.

Wikipedia entry, Andre the Giant Has a Posse.

Official OBEY Giant website.

Also, there is a website which tracks "street memes" in general.

If the Great Gatsby had a Soundtrack

Hello, friends, from 90-degree Massachusetts. I bring you sentimentality. I bring you laughter. I bring you the Scopes Monkey Trial.

Max Raabe and the Palast Orchester
"Dance and film music of the 20s and 30s:" It took some time for the news to reach our country's shoreline, but German baritone Max Raabe's nostalgic and somtimes funny tunes have found their way here. His music is perfect for this weather; I imagine reading some Fitzgerald novel listening to crackly dance songs on an old record player.

Now - the reason you're here - check out his renditions of "Oops! ... I Did It Again," "We Are The Champions," and "Blue (Da Ba Dee)." Next week I'll try to answer the questions: "What if the French had a song called Nous sommes les champignons?," and, "Do the commas separating quotations go inside or outside the quotation?", and "What's the proper punctuation to terminate such a list, anyhow, especially when it ends with a question mark and not a period?".

Some of his music, evidently, is intentionally serious. Visit Max Raabe's website to hear several samples.

Image linked from WOW Report.

G-Fav humbly appreciates the secret puzzler who introduced J-Fav to this Germanic sensation.

Scopes Monkey Trial Raises Troubling Question: Is Science Being Taught in our Schools?
The July 20, 1925 The Onion answers that question and more. You can find a link to the PDF of that day in history on their website.

Obligatory Reference to Thorstein Veblen
Who isn't curious about economist and social commentator Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929) these days? Was it his hairdo, or his sneaky ways with womenfolk? Visit the Thorstein Veblen Linkpage and find out!

13 July 2005

What does "Atari" mean? (Playing Go (Wei-Chi or Baduk))

Notes to self about computer go:

A good Mac OS X GNU Go-based game is GOBAN.

A good Windows go system is glGO which uses a GNU go engine and connects easily to the Internet Go Server (IGS) Panda Net.

Just joined the Massachusetts Go Association, which meets in Davis Square right near the Diesel Cafe.

"What's go," you ask?
Go is a board game developed in China 3,000-4,000 years ago which, in my limited experience, seems to test many faculties of strategic and tactical thought. It helps me realize, for instance, when I'm going too fast and not thinking things out completely - in general. That is, it has tendrils that reach into my daily life. And, sadly, I stink at it.

Learn more at the American Go Association [what is go?].

My favorite books are:

(1) The free book that comes with some go sets, whose URL I can't find right now; and
(2) This book by Janice Kim:


07 July 2005

Thursday Night Hyperlinks

Hi -

I caught you looking for something to do on your computer!

Lunchroom Manners (1959)
This is a funny and retro look at a 1950s instructional film to teach children good lunchroom manners. I am convinced that school films from the 50s and 60s used the same narrator, background orchestra, and color gamut. It's funny to see all these kids who are now basically our parents' ages, though as J-Fav pointed out, "They're so... white!" Got good bandwidth? Worth a look.

Click thumbnail to access movie, from Internet Archive. See links on left in new window.

Here is a graphic designer's personal discussion about his experiences with synaesthesia. You might also enjoy his collection of "boring Swedish postcards."

In the "what the heck!?" category: please help me understand what this brief movie is about. The poor pronunciation in the voice-over just doesn't jive with the fairly advanced vocabulary. The move is the Evolution of Evolution.

Wow! Old Commodore CBM Doing "Rendering"
Well, not really. But this wacky artist thought it'd be fun to twirl a physical realization of a wireframe teapot behind this vintage computer. (Yes, it's the Utah Teapot. For you non-computer-graphics people, a certain Melitta teapot now rests in a computer museum because it is one of very few standard 3-D test models for 3-D graphics algorithms.)

Corporate Identity Designer
Eric Strohl (Brooklyn) designs corporate identities (logos). Easy-browse collection.

Startup Sounds
This is a song made up of Microsoft startup and error sounds.

Thift Store Art
Many, many galleries of thrift store art.

Image source: Thiftstoreart.com

Modern Living
VERY wacky and inventive tiny animations. Try #91, "Why Not Sneeze..."

The Amiga! A 1985 Episode of Computer Chronicles
No way are you nerds getting any sleep; I just caught myself spending 20 minutes watching this free archived episode of The Computer Chronicles. They actually have the "Boing!" demo from the first Amiga, coverage of 1985 Comdex, amazement that the computer has DMA channels, and even an appearance of a new young software company, the 3-year-old Electronic Arts. Sigh... Prepare to get sucked in to this.

Linked GIF from Internet Archive

That should keep y'all going for a while.

04 July 2005

Goosebumps at 2am: Deep Impact into Tempel 1

I think this is absolutely spectacular. I have goosebumps from watching the CNN video of scientists jumping up and down, yelling, crying ... from successfully slamming a projectile into a comet moving at 6.3 miles per second.

Find yourself a fast internet connection and watch the online CNN video "Scientists Celebrate the Mission's Success" while the video's still available.


Crystal Radio, Digital Sundial

I'm back in Mass., following the 3-day jaunt to Tahoe and a 2-day business trip. This weekend we went on a fun whale watch ["A Cape Ann Whale Watch" 1998-style website], which I finally believe every New Englander should try a few times. It corrected my belief that dolphins only live off the coast of Florida.

Also, I am nearing the final day of my favorite holiday: the Fourth of July weekend! The weather here is perfect, and I am looking forward to our traditional chill-out-on-the-grass-of-MIT-with-friends evening. Until then, for my and your reading pleasure:

Crystal Radio
The MAKE magazine blog directed me to a sentimental how-to guide on building your own crystal radio. It made me feel like I was in 7th grade again, wrapping magnet wire around an empty plastic film cannister to make a no-batteries radio receiver. (Nerd!) Here is the article at sci-toys.com.

Digital Sundials (yes, Digital)
Over the years I've mentioned this to a few people. Here's a link to a company that makes sundials which yield a "written" image of the time, rather than a shadow of a pointer to the time. Check out digitalsundial.com.

Image linked from Digital Sundials International.

Happy Holidays.