Monday, August 22, 2011

Firefox 6: Ok, it's still cool.


I've nearly defected to Opera on Windows because the graphics are so good with all the plush antialiased hotness and scaled fonts with serifs and everything! But then Firefox 6 is pawing at me to upgrade (half the uptight sites I know can't even support Firefox 5 yet) and I did it. Which led me to this incredibly cool feature which was simply a twenty question quiz to make a cute collage. The best web apps are this: one-off wonders with cheap thrills and a share link. We make something, we share it, we comment, our friends do it, and it's a conversation. Good job Firefox! Unify is alluring, but that browser has more compatibility problems than you, even (what it does with Javascript is such a pain, who has to be W3 ALL THE TIME). So for now, I'm still on board, and making my own personas.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Scarygirl: 2d needn't be a bore

Scarygirl Game Trailer from Touch My Pixel on Vimeo.

What a job. Part of my work right now involves Unity3d a gorgeous gaming engine. As a result I've been kicking around in gamedev circles more than ever, especially indie games. Some of my favorites are those with 2d graphics that pull out all the stops. This trailer for Scarygirl showcases an endless variety of stylish designs. The characters are lovingly detailed and produced, the colors incredible. I'll be posting some more of my faves this month so stayed tuned if you're into that.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Thanks Google, I needed that.

I found the Les Paul Doodle at 2am when I was supposed to by studying for a final. It's the kind of thing that gives me hope. As a programmer, there's a demand for all kinds of work that's not audio, and not shared, and for the most part I'm just doing what comes my way these days. But once in a while I get a chance to make some music or play with some sound and I really remember why I came to digital in the first place. It makes music so easy and so spontaneous. Who didn't play that doodle guitar? It was irresistible. When we look at the future of music, the future of folk music especially, we ought to remember my mother's definition: folks play it, don't they? Audio has long been the ugly stepchild of the web: there's not much capability for looping and layering without a plugin like Flash, and browsers may or may not support Javascript without latency. HTML5 has a new standard for audio, but when can we use it for complex projects? Even though Apple supported it with Safari, they only supported their own MP3 format, not even open-source OGG. BOOOO Mr Jobs! Anyway, the Google guitar is programmed exquisitely: the sound is dynamite, there's no latency on my machine, and you can play chords. Plus they released the code. I love you Google. There will be a marimba on my home page soon.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Trip Through the Uncanny Valley

Check out this vid with Hiroshi Ishiguro with blatant suggestions toward the gaming and sex industry. I gotta love his lack of fear. 'Probably it will be more fun.'

I've been taking a writing class this semester and my final research paper is being published in serial form on my other blog, Munjeli Cookbook. The paper deals specifically with the superstitions in the Western traditions that inhibit the creation of androids in human form. I've come think after significant reading that the unease we have with humanoids in contrast to say, Japan, where developers are making dopplegangers of themselves, has to do with the deeply embedded Judeo-Christian mythology of the Golem. It seems in our traditions a man-made man never comes to good ends. Check out the series and let me know what you think in the comments.

Beyond the Uncanny Valley

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Android Roundup: Joey Chaos

You gotta love Hanson Robotics: it's an art school hi-tech mashup creating ironically lifelike robots. Ironic because the thing people expect in a perfect robot is perception, yet it's something we rarely get out of another person. Joey Chaos' self centered ramblings seem more lifelike than any android searching for something appropriate to say. If you build a personality with a certain aspect of selfconciousness, like that hair, and the piercings, you can get away with less responsive or intelligent answers. Let me be specific: you can build a dumb blonde with a nice rack, and it'll seem more realistic than a nerdy Asian chick. One thing I think could have helped out Joey is more slang (though he's all over it in terms of 'cool' vocabulary) and some well placed vocal crutches such as 'like, man...'. But the well place 'Yo,' is an excellent start. He'd also fare better as a tenor I think, with a regional accent of some sort. Love the politics, nice touch.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Android Roundup: Gemenoid-DK

Some say the market for companionbots will be women; they traditionally are alienated from the institution of prostitution because of the exploitation of women but the number of women paying for it is increasing. They tend to go on vacation and indulge in tourism in the Caribbean or Southeast Asia. It's referred to politely as a 'Vacation Romance'. Well, the market is a bit different in other ways too. A Madame in Spain who runs a brothel for women was quoted in Love and Sex with Robots discussing the importance of conversation to her female clientele. When I saw the Gemenoid-DK, with his distinguished greying hair and mild manners, I thought, hey, that's a gold mine. It'll be interesting to see if the dynamic plays out that way, but one indicator seems to be the strong market for women's bedroom toys.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Android Roundup: Repliee Q1

She's been around for a while, and just seems to keep getting better. Repliee Q1 is a Japanese humanoid robot that has made great strides in lifelike movement and expression. I was rather impressed with how fast she was moving in this video which is about a year old. While some people are always going to complain about the smoothness of her movements, there's definitely been improvement in her gestures and postures, and there are a few moments where she really hits her stride in this video.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sex With Robots: When Not If.

I went to a new class today and as part of the discussion we were asked about potential topics for a research paper. When I mentioned I was interested in doing a paper about the emergence of androids in the sex industry it was news to some. It's funny how my media habit has got me seeing it as a done deal when others are completely in the dark. Writing a paper will at least give me an excuse for all of those creepy teledildonic links I've collected. Regarding the issue, I'm an optimist. After reading David Levy's book Love and Sex with Robots I've had time to adjust to the idea and do some research of my own. Stay tuned, I'll post more on the issue as I study it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

From My Reader: The Comics Journal on Lines and Colors

Lines and Colors is a blog about visual arts that profiles some great illustrators and painters. They linked into this newly redesigned comics site which had loads of information on the production techniques for graphic novels and the like.


Sent to you by Ele via Google Reader:


New Comics Journal website
The Comics Journal is a venerable (30 year) print publication that aimed to bring highbrow criticism and commentary to the oft maligned field of comics.

In the process it has been alternately unbearably stuffy and highbrow, and wonderfully informative and in-depth, often featuring book-length interviews with comics creators. I'll take the good with the bad and say that it has overall been a welcome addition to the limited world of comics journalism, even as the mainstream media and web journalism have taken up the slack in recent years and expanded the range of writing about comics as an industry and an art form.

The Comics Journal's own website, unfortunately, has been less than stellar. Despite some excellent blog writing and other occasional standouts, the overall presence has been weak and not well focused.

That looks to be changing, as new editors Dan Nadel and Tim Hoder, editors of the Comics Comics site, have launched a new, redesigned version of the TCJ site, with declared intentions that sound like the site can become a new destination site for those interested in comics on many levels (including highbrow). The first change of note is a new, much better and more usable interface.

The new editors promise that in addition to new material, both short posts and in depth material, the archives from the print magazine will continue to be added to the site, with the remainder of the past issues online by the end of 2011.

[Via Comics Beat, Heidi MacDonald (@Comixace) by way of Eric Orchard (@inkybat)]


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sounds Like: the Weather in Nebraska

Nathalie Miebach: sculpture
I was chasing links around some sites of women in technology when I came across this gem: Nathalie Miebach uses weather data to generate musical scores and related sculptures. It's worth a look at her site. The playful colors and dynamic shapes are a new take on a complex data source. When we talk about data visualization the reasoning isn't always accurate and detailed analysis. Sometimes art will bring us a better sense of the gist of a thing, and in the long run, that understanding can promote better 'big picture' decisions.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Found this while researching C# on Stack Overflow. Someone was trying to reproduce the mouse effect. I spent how much time just mousing around the landing page? That little map in the corner was particularly compelling. On my second visit I was using the links like orange cones and driving around as fast as I could. Good design makes a monkey out of me.