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Category Archives: Research

Just started reading  (bits of)

Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs

I thought this quote from the dedication section was beautiful:

“I think that it’s extraordinarily important that we in computer sci- ence keep fun in computing. When it started out, it was an awful lot of fun. Of course, the paying customers got shafted every now and then, and after a while we began to take their complaints se- riously. We began to feel as if we really were responsible for the successful, error-free perfect use of these machines. I don’t think we are. I think we’re responsible for stretching them, setting them off in new directions and keeping fun in the house. I hope the field of computer science never loses its sense of fun. Above all, I hope we don’t become missionaries. Don’t feel as if you’re Bible sales- men. The world has too many of those already. What you know about computing other people will learn. Don’t feel as if the key to successful computing is only in your hands. What’s in your hands, I think and hope, is intelligence: the ability to see the machine as more than when you were first led up to it, that you can make it more.”

—Alan J. Perlis (April 1, 1922 – February 7, 1990)

You can find the book to download here

Are we the virtual livestock?

The video below is documentation for a  live video compositor project developed in collaboration with James Moore. I was the sole As3 programmer on this project. The AIR app takes advantage of FFMPEG to allow videos uploaded to the system to be broken down into frames and also to render out (render out is still in development). FFMPEG was accessed via the native process functionality of the air runtime environment. The overall installation was setup using a matrox Tripple head running 3 projectors. The project is a lot bigger than it looks in the video.

I really enjoyed the collaboration with James. It was nice to take a back seat in the decision making and just concentrate on how the application would be coded.

The left projection functions as a media viewer allowing the user to browse through files in the assets folder. The center screen allows the user to edit the content before it is played back. The edit choices are stylised and restrictive to fit in with the overall aesthetic of the system which is based around a minimalist grid. The right side projection shows a playback of the video being edited with the changes appearing in real time.

 

A beautiful way of getting your music out into the community.

I have almost finished the rebuild of my Quadrocopter so I thought I would post it up here. All I am waiting for now is the motor mounts. I am very pleased with build as it will be a lot more maintainable than the original injected moulded plastic one as the carbon fibre rod is very replaceable. Its a bit of a dark photo but I like how stealthy and menacing it looks. I am very much considering ordering the Ardupilot and accessories for some added Arduino goodness.

Something new for Cornwall!

A hacker space for anyone, based at the Tremough Campus University College Falmouth.

If your interested in joining us here is a link to the site:

CORNWALL HACKERSPACE

Some awesome swarming quadrocopters

When I was a lot younger I can remember spending a vast amount of my time messing around with my second hand ZX Spectrum. I had a book to accompany the epic device which ran through how to draw an array of very simple pictures, everything from smiley faces to abstract madness. It took so long to create a simple picture and debugging was a nightmare. Things have definitely come along way. Check out the video below showing Iñigo Quílez (n) working some pure code magic to create a generated apple. It is also well worth checking out his tutorial page with over ten years of informative tutorials.

You only have to look back through this blog to realise that I have a great love for Rube Goldberg machines. There is something so alluring about the vested time vs the outcome. In a world where we want everything now but we don’t want to put much effort into getting it the Rube Goldberg machine is the antithesis of this. I admire anybody that not only has the imagination to dream up such machines but also embraces the absurdity and invest time and money into the craft of realising their creations.

If you’re like me revel in the absurdity then check out the video below which I found on the NYTimes website. Joseph Herscher’s love for Rube Goldberg machines has lead him to working within the community and is getting him some well deserved interest.

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