Thursday, May 2, 2013
Saturday, February 2, 2013
He cannot be but eight. He rubs the coppery inked wires of his father.
The other, at table end, twists and contorts. The hat cleft left. The unlit and unused cigarette an echo of other little habits.
Upstairs he crawls looking for ghosts. He creeps with meticulous detail. His weave. His bob. His focus. He is not to find anything this night. Again. So many times. Body aloof of the ritual.
Another wanders between the table aisles, looping the circuit. Recognizes peers at this communal gathering.
The surgical blue gloves clean the tables. Under the chemical air freshener breath, slurs and anger. The din of a bent rage. Years of movement away. Away from the centre. Periphery.
Somewhere else a dozen broken dreams revel with their bent synaptic sisters.
The tables clean up. The patron saints of this festival load their crosses. She prepares the same youthful visage of hair in the sodium vapour reflections of a greasy window.
Day by day. The only way to approach the arduous path ahead. To endure. To survive, as the gravel beaten DNA has instructed. At all costs.
How far they have to go. How far we've come.
With the hope of return for the next meal.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
The Nostalgia of a Yesterday With Less Crap
What is "Crap" really? What does it mean when we "Curate" something to remove "Crap"?
When we think of Crap we are actually thinking of the Other. Newness. Difference. Views outside of our own.
Postmodernism is a rejection of the narrative. An exchange of consistency and meta-narrative of truth for inconsistency and truths.
Our current culture of Crap is inconsistency. It is ideals and concepts colliding with the narratives of our lives.
Crap is FearCrap in the modern world is pervasive. While one could previously ignore the threat of Crap and the challenge to self, it is most certainly a more difficult task.
All that is left is to summon the spectres of a fictional nostalgic bygone era of Less Crap.
The Beauty of CrapCrap, given enough time, builds gravity, and in turn, attracts more Crap. There is inertia there. Momentum. The walls of Crap form coral Crap reefs to harbour a diversity of living Crap.
Over time, these Crap reefs can produce such a magnitude of Crap that the Crap ceases to be the Other. Perhaps the Crap trickles over via a viral Tweet . Or shared amongst minds that have been pushed out to the periphery. The recontextualisation of this Crap becomes inevitable.
Crap becomes pertinent. Meaningful. Ultimately important.
So perhaps it is time to call the Curators out for what they are; hegemonists in pursuit of the status quo. They are the Curators of a museum that, whether willing and conscious or not, seeks to extend the privilege of the past.
The supporters of Curators are nothing more than some Stolkholm Syndrome captive of a grande Milgram Experiment gone awry.
Crap is symptomatic of a flourishing ecosystem.
 There is another side that can yield challenging, and potentially culturally destructive forces, but that is likely another topic that crosses into the defense of liberties in the face of adversity.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
A Tough Nut to CrackWhilst attempting to write a high quality post production decoder, I came across a rather difficult issue with FFMPEG.
There is a basic loop in FFMPEG to decode a video stream into the raw whole-frame packets. After correct setup, it is loosely: The Presentation Time Stamp (PTS) and the Decode Time Stamp (DTS) are always in PTS order out of avcodec_decode_video2. This presents a bit of a problem for a video file of n length, as the loop will continue calling av_read_frame until it returns zero.
The problem here is that at various points in the frame stream, if a frame is a B (Bi-Predictive) frame before the needed whole frame I (Intra-Coded Picture) frame or P (Predictive) frame, avcodec_decode_video2 will return the got_picture_ptr with zero. If avcodec_decode_video2 returned a non-zero value, your frames would be out of order as the B frame requires a reference frame after it, and the decoder would buffer the before and after frames prior to decoding the needed B frame. (Phew.)
In this instance, the out of order frame is buffered internally.
So What is the Problem?The main problem is that if our stream contains n number of whole frames, and we iterate using the av_read_frame loop, av_read_frame will return finished at precisely the final frame count of n. This means that if there are buffered P frames where got_picture_ptr returned zero and as a result we could not perform an action on the frame, they will not show up in our total frame counts in the inner loop.
What is the Solution?The solution is as easy as either:
- Finish the main loop and call avcodec_decode_video2 until got_picture_ptr returns zero outside of it.
- Store a total count of skipped frames and perform a for loop after the main loop concludes.
Hopefully someone will find this useful out there. It took me far too long to sort the problem out...
Friday, November 2, 2012
Early Failure of CommunicationOver half a decade ago I wrote up a specification for a leading operating distribution entitled "Transition Effects."
From the 19th of August, 2006, I wrote:
"The current existing set of transition effects in omitted are both entirely restrictive, limited, and implemented in a very rough manner. If omitted is to compete on a worldwide level, the entire end user experience must feel polished and contemporary. Establishing a transition effects library, while a larger prospect, would have a high cost-benefit effect, as the results are clearly seen throughout the entire omitted experience, at nearly every user interaction."What happened?
Nothing. Not even an eye blink. Not even a comment.
I have since long removed the specification, and it took a trip through my GMail to even locate the post.
The saddest part of this is that I failed miserably to compel others to action. I failed horrifically in explaining precisely the value of transitions and why I believed they would become a serious keystone in our interactions with computing systems and experiential models. A march from a largely static era to one that, although currently nascent, was begging for an immersive cinematic presentation.
I failed, despite having the agency to communicate the vision to high(est) level individuals at the organization, to shape the vision in such as way to make it clear to the intended audience.
My failure still burns in a latent way when I remember this particular document. A clear and loud "You have failed miserably to communicate my boy!"
I think we all know what happened on June 29th, 2007. It frustrates me that transitions were a key aspect to the overall experience model.
Another FailureAt some point in the past, there was a focus on generating a custom typeface for a leading operating system distribution. At the time, while it was a long overdue moment, I was rather confused by the trend toward a heavily hinted version. Hinting is a technique that bends the lower level math curves of a typeface down to a rigid grid of pixels. In many ways it is a 'cheat' to resolve type onto a lower resolution grid.
My thinking at the time was that it seemed like we were heading toward a high density era. After all, how would our screens continue to wallow at HD when computer displays had, for a long time prior, eclipsed such resolution levels? Further, was it not logical that we would evolve toward the printing density standard of 300DPI?
Technology CreepTechnology creeps in. It can sneak up on us. Every now and then a development might happen that snaps us awake out of our somnambulistic state that makes us go "Wow, we have come quite a ways!"
I still fondly remember the nostalgia of some of the earliest video games on an old Apple desktop computer. Monochrome green. Clunky bleepy bloopy audio. Crusty joysticks.
But damn be I to think there wasn't something there. Something glimmering in the crust while parents chanted the derision of "You'll never make money playing video games!"
I would like to think I hold onto a reminder to always contextualize the technology in front of me. Always try to evaluate it from where it came and why.
(Probably) Another FailureI'm speculating that I'll fail again miserably to make a case for the point of this posting. Part of it is nothing more than a mental journal of where I am at a given point, although I've been thinking along these lines for a while.
The bulk of this post's point goes as follows:
- That computing limitations placed fabricated constraints on our design paradigms in the past. Those historical limitations have become an accepted part of our Eurowestern computing aesthetic.
- That said aesthetic closely parallels a now dated and transitioning phase known as late Modernist. In particular, the rigidity of the Modernist Architecture and Swiss Modernist movement. After all, the Eighties ushered in Postmodernism, which would suggest notions of late Modernism should be on last legs.
- That avant garde artists of the past are often leaned on to provide vision and guidance for alternate visions of our possible futures.
- That there are contemporary ideological shifts potentially within view. Historically, cultural ideological trends are spoken through a culture's art, design, and creative fields.
That rigid, late Modernist grids and lines are a vestige of the past. Ideologically pressured by the late Modernists and echoed through technological constraints.
With the dissolving of those technological traits and the potential for contemporary ideological shift, the resulting question is "Why not now?"
The Brilliance of the Early SovietsLittered throughout this posting are some works from the early Soviets.
I won't go into detail with regards to most of this era other than to suggest that any reader would be greatly enriching their minds by studying the work of the early Soviet imagers, artists, designers, and cinema makers. Lissitzky, Vertov, Constructivism, Suprematism, Mayakovsky, Shukov, Rodchenko, and the list goes on and on. Nor will you find easy links here, as the hope is that you will discover them for yourselves if they are new to you.
The graphic design from this era was so pronounced, so imbued with ideological change, and so emblematic of a new era in imaging design that it is repeatedly referenced as a critical era in graphic design. The design motifs and tendrils linger in the modern publishing we see today.
So, Where Does it Go?In a dream...
Gone will be late Modernist grids, with their industrialized rigidity. The pressure will come from a synergy of technological ability coupled with an ideological shift. Late Modernist's insistence on tiles, grids, and the motifs of such will wane in synchronicity with the ideological constructs of industrialization. Sameness will be equated with the negative connotations of Eurowestern hyper industrialization.
In their place will be diagonals. Perhaps your music application will have a notification that angles in from the corner of your screen. Perhaps we will see more curves, and not just in the dated rounded-corner-identical-everywhere paradigms. A new era of young computer interface designers that re-contextualize precisely where we are now, not where we were. A new generation of brilliant minds that aren't prohibited by the aesthetic hegemony of a bygone generation.
A file manager that illustrates an out of interaction focus by being slid off to the side and angled. A visual communication of "in focus" and "out of focus" via angular vernacular.
Photo applications that generate visual energy by a conflict of lines. Desktops and devices that are vastly less brittle than the current trend of over-organizational uniformity. Huxley's Will to Order dashed wide open with photos that land, drift, and shift akin to pictures resting on a coffee table, complete with the Eurowestern cinematic eye of depth of field, soundscape, and immersion.
Perhaps it will echo those early Soviet Avant Gardes. Perhaps it will be an evolutionary shift where instead of a radical departure, we see motifs and designs that are closely aligned with that early Soviet work.
Further ReadingOne particular Tumblr link that covers so much on the Soviet Avant Garde.
 If you are a keener and want to drudge up the past, you can find the link at someone's site that should be writing vastly more than he currently is. A clever mind that appears to have wandered away from the candle of creation. Perhaps help him relight it...
 I still believe that the erroneous assumptions individuals made with the advent of HD, such as being more resolved than film, led to the stagnation on this front.
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
It might be sold as "better faster gooder," but in the end, we ceased to purchase technology a long time ago. Gradually, our rights to ownership of our technology has given way to End User License Agreements, but who reads those?
In place of ownership of technology is now a meta doppelganger. We now lease ideology.
So while my American peers focus on a political system to choose new leadership, it is entirely plausible that we missed a much more pressing political decision in our technology.
Entire ecosystems of technology have now been created. Islands. Isolated. Fragmented. Complete with Foucaultlian pluralities of hegemony privileged to define the ontology of your existence. Defining good. Defining bad. Defining aesthetic. Against. For. Each with technological fences high enough to prohibit a transfer of ideological systems for all but the most technologically savvy.
Perhaps we were too busy focusing on other things. Perhaps the need to ownership is a vestige of a twentieth century nostalgia, only to have the nascent mental appendage drop off at some point in our corporate leased futures.
Vote with your wallets.
Because it works so well for governmental political systems...
Friday, October 26, 2012
... I think that what we are going to see is …a people on the whole with very little freedom but with an oligarchy on top enjoying a considerable measure of freedom and a very high standard of living. -- Aldous Huxley
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Of Signs and Signified
Of Data and Signs
Of Data and Signified
Of Data and Systems
The Big Questions
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
How much of our lives are slowly being morphed and pushed toward a hyperconsumption culture?
Intellectual Fast Food. Not the kind of culinary delight that requires time, patience, and experience to craft and enjoy, but rather a mass produced, mass marketed, genetically maligned brain filler.
Addicting as the fattiest and sweetest craving food one could muster.
We consume gobs of it. Akin to the heyday when mass produced and over processed fast food was at its peak, we gobble up the devices and feeds with a euphoric voraciousness. It is carefully crafted of unbalanced form, composed largely of what seems to be mechanically produced fats, salts, and carbohydrates.
What is it doing to our minds?
When we lift up out of this somnambulist haze, we see devices and forms carefully engineered and sculpted to prey on this newfound habitual addiction. We see brains that have been behaviorally aligned specifically to the new endless menu of SuperSizedGibsonBugers, HuxleyPops, and OrwellLoops.
And out of this new consumerist culture we see the creation of new descendant forms modeled in their image. A second coming of shallow, quick, and Just Create(TM) form. An abomination of creativity.
"The old nuanced, informed, and painstakingly learned creativity doesn't fit into our systems."
"Then change it."
A smacking new, low rent, never-baked, and dollar shop Frankenstein creativity crammed and rammed into 140 character orifices.
Now the sages of the era inform and contextualize the new creativity in ways that the historical system couldn't bend to.
"Your audience used to give you fifteen seconds. Now they give you 140 characters. Make sure to keep your message simple enough to fit within the first 100 in order to provide an image."
Entertainment software the is lauded for vaulting you into the environment and algorithmically altered to prey on habitual genetics.
Software that installs with the ease of a click to get you sharing your inner creativity, through the studied and craftsmanlike application of canned effects, meaningless captions, and zero voice.
Bite sized reading jammed full of inflammatory click grabbing, fanboy and fangrrl masturbatory self reassurance, and laced with the dark syrup of astroturf or shill supported journalism.
Brain Gut Load.
Will it take an entire generation (or two or three or four) to develop some sort of backwards neural deficiency before we take issue? Or will this cerebral diet have such devastating impact on our mental muscles that will render the emergency stop button out of reach of our atrophied state?
Will we care?
Do you now?
Sunday, September 11, 2011
A low level term that normally flies under our detection. It dresses itself in the seductive positive robes of desired terminology. Who doesn't want better?
And yet in that ridiculously small term that we have a complex comparison. It compares a selective set of traits to another selective set of traits. Unwritten. Codefied. Secret.
With both aspects of that equation, much of the detail is obscured when we use the term "better". Sometimes it is an ethnocentric and egocentric benign omission. At other times, the omissions may be more ulterior and obscured, for fear to catch scrutiny.
And yet clearly a comparison, how often have we foolishly read it as an endpoint? How often have we erroneously assumed it to be a goal unto itself?
Better is a hollow piece of trickery. Reject it in exchange for framing.