I have been interested in generative art (art generated by code) for as long as I remember, and Flight 404 was always one of my favorite websites. I hadn’t checked for anything new until just today. Boy am I glad I did. Amazing stuff. Read about the process if you are interested… (part One, Two, and Three).
As far back as I can remember Robert Hodgin did most of his work in Flash and Flight 404 was primarily used as his portfolio. For awhile now Robert has been dabbling in the Processing library for most of his experiments. Here’s another of his creations. Check out his blog for lots more!
You can now purchase a subscription for toilet paper!
Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon, spent a good two hours with us today, giving a high level overview of Amazon’s adoption of grid computing and cloud computing infrastructure. Quite enlightening given Adobe’s current reliance on a legacy ‘cluster’ model for our first generation SOA applications.
Werner was kind enough to clue us into the fact that Amazon, always the innovator, now provides not only a vast selection of toilet paper, but a subscription based model as well! There’s even an eco-friendly, 2-ply toilet paper made out of recycled material. Pleasantly surprised customers, having discovered that the toilet paper has a “rough” side and a “quilted-side” have even provided in depth ratings. You can purchase a twenty-pound 48-pack 500 sheet rolls, or subscribe to the same amount on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.
(Sorry…no gift wrapping available for this item however…)
The San Jose California “Mounted Police” have a sense of humor.
Taken at a local coffee shop where a pair of officers stopped in for tea and pastries earlier this afternoon…
Urinating on the back tire of a transport bus prior to liftoff is a tradition of Russian astronauts.
Charles Simonyi participated in a panel on domain specific language and parallel computing. The former head of Microsoft’s application software group, now CEO of Intentional Software gave us his take on Technology futures, and then pulled out his amazing photo-album from his trip into space. Charles has the distinction of being the fifth paying space tourist in the world (and the 2nd Hungarian in space ever).
Charles told several amusing anecdotes of his time with the Russian Federal Space Agency, but perhaps the most interesting was that on their way to the launch pad his transport vehicle pulled over and everyone got out, unzipped their space suits (which had previously been hermetically sealed by the launch crew in front of the press and visitors) and proceeded to urinate on the back tire of the van. Charles naturally joined in and also partook in a last minute smoke, while the launch crew (who accompanied the team on the bus), re-sealed their flight suits. The last minute smoke a safe distance from the launch ready rocket clearly made sense, but relieving themselves at the side of the road?
Ah, good old Ruski tradition apparently. In 1961, Yuri Gagarin, (the first human in space), stopped to empty his bladder. The act became a tradition with subsequent cosmonauts, who urinate on the back tire of the transport bus before their flights. I still can’t figure out the significance of the back right tire though, perhaps an homage to the first cosmonaut in space?..the Russian dog Laika?
Helvetica is the most ubiquitous typeface in this era.
Are you a typophile?…a typomaniac? At the remarkable and inspiring Future of Software conference held at Adobe this week, we were privileged to view a screening of Gary Hustwit’s documentary Helvetica. Helvetica is a “film about a font”. Really?? A film about nothing but a font?. If you are a graphic designer I highly recommend the documentary - you’ll find the film to be an invaluable historical record.
After watching the film, I can’t get away from Helvetica. It’s everywhere I look! As observed in the film, Helvetica is the “perfume of the city”….you don’t notice it, but you’d miss it if it wasn’t there. And considering it was invented over 51 years ago (by Max Miedinger and Eduard Hoffmann), it’s incredibly timeless. Helvetica is the tofu of the font world. It adapts to its environment and allows the content to infer the meaning, as opposed to most typefaces. Helvetica is about the negative space, “figure-ground relationship properly executed”, the space between letters, rather than the positive space. It’s a purely neutral font, clean, efficient.
When I look at a street sign, or advertisement now, and when it isn’t Helvetica, I have wonder what it is…. Have you seen or used those cell phones that can listen to any tune on the radio or TV and identify the artist and title of the track automatically? Well, there’s a damn cool site (and probably more) out there that can actually tell you what font or fonts are used in an image. You simply upload the picture you are curious about to the site and it will detect the glyphs within and report back to you the probable typefaces that match. One such site, MyFonts.com, provides a really nifty “What The Font” feature. Give it a try.
So, now that you know Helvetica is lurking everywhere… have you ever heard of the Trajan font? No? Guess again. Watch this absolutely great video:
…what it feels like to be poisoned by food.
Ugh. What a rough couple of days. Decided to have a healthy fish dinner with friends. Took a few bites of my Halibut, followed by a fourth..only the fourth tasted like I was biting into one of Davy Jones rotting tentacles. So nasty. I returned the dish and the chef confirmed it was bad but it was too late. 25 minutes later I was vomiting. Made it back to my hotel and continuing getting sick (think dual exhaust) - and by four a.m. I was completely unable to walk due to dehydration. Hotel security called an ambulance for me and I was off to the hospital to replenish the 25% of the fluids that I’d lost. Another twenty four hours later I could finally stomach water — don’t wish such an experience on my worst enemy…
I will be travelling to San Jose today to attend a week long internal developer’s conference at Adobe. In preparation for some minor compiler surgery I will be digging into the compiler guts on my flight there. I did learn this morning that a good portion of the compiler is based on Apache Velocity, so I’m snagging some research material and filling up the laptop.
While in San Jose I will also be attending a day long Hydra boot camp. If you aren’t familiar with Hydra (name to change soon), you can start here, or just Google around. Essentially though, it’s a shader language that will allow you to write to-the-metal (well, soft-metal anyways) pixel shaders for raster image manipulation. The sneak peaks making their rounds internally of potential use cases have been mind blowing.
So, lots to learn this week (and still make headway on my rework of the Flex State model).
Last week I learned:
Internet Explorer will finally nix the ‘click to activate’ behavior it’s had for years.
Sorry, I forgot to post this earlier, but last week I did receive confirmation from Microsoft that they have in fact settled their browser plugin grip with Eolas and will be soon releasing an update that finally rids the world of the ‘click to activate’ step for interacting with web based plugins (inclusive of Flash). But hey..fwiw, don’t stop using SWFKit and family, they are still a much cleaner way of embedding.
They Might Be Giants are still cranking out some seriously rad tunes… even though most are now for three year olds.
Throughout college one of my favorite bands was always TMBG (They Might Be Giants). Ana Ng, Don’t Let’s Start, Birdhouse in Your Soul… super eclectic alternative tunes that fit my personality. It was only recently that I learned that a good number of the tunes I hear daily as the father of a two year old, were written and sung by the band. The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse closing tune “Hot Dog”, and the opening theme was recorded by the group, which came as a surprise to me, I hadn’t realized they’d crossed over to this other genre.
Listen to Hot Dog, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse:
Turns out they’ve been out of the exclusive pop world for quite awhile. They also recorded the catchy theme song of Malcolm in the Middle - apparently which won them a Grammy.
So, these were all interesting revelations a year ago or so..but then… it happened again. My son Jack has been singing this song “Zeroes” over and over again. It’s a freakily addictive tune about the number zero from the Disney Channel.
Listen to Zeroes, Here Come The 123s
I decided to look up who sang it and lo and behold, there they are again, TMBG, with a whole series of spots on Disney called “Here Come the 123s”. The tunes were released as a precursor apparently to an entire DVD called “Here Come the 123s”. The songs are so well done, and are as good as any of their mainstream songs were back in the day. And I don’t feel guilty at all driving down the road singing Nonagon, or…Eight Hundred and Thirteen Mile Car Trip…
Listen to Nonagon, Here Come The 123s
So all this kid music apparently has done them well. The album they released prior to Here Come the 123s (Here Come the ABCs), was certified gold! Only one of their mainstream albums (Flood) was as successful.
Mark my words, Here Come the 123s will be equally as popular — it’s crazy good. They Might Be Giants have been video podcasting previews of their new numbers DVD on iTunes and my son just loves it. Unfortunately some of the better videos are no longer available, looks like even if you subscribe you can only download the most recent three..but give it a try if you have young children.
Listen to One Dozen Monkeys, Here Come The 123s
Oh…and can’t forget, they recorded the opener for the Daily Show…