Friday, November 28, 2008

Slow Breath

I think I posted earlier that we have reformed our band, The Fishery Commission. This can only really be taken as a sign of my improved health and motivation (and Andy the singers super hero status).

A few years back we recorded a bunch of songs, this unfortunately coincided with life getting incredibly complicated and the tunes seemed to get scattered to the four winds.

However we have found 2 of them and I have posted one on our Myspace page today.

Hope you are all having a peaceful day, the world needs it.

Image from:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

more auto-completion

Today I will walk with my hands in god?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Is it just me or is the popular media on more of a witch hunt than usual? All these sad stories about parents with mental health problems, TV and Radio presenters who step over the line and then being shown zero compassion or forgiveness. Just when it was all getting too much I found this

It made me laugh a little bit and then I could get on with todays work.

Also I had to play with google auto complete to see what I will do today, can you believe how popular some of these searches are?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Today I am mostly thinking about snowflakes. (and working on my phd stuff honest Beryl).

Something about watching the snowflakes at the weekend has captured my imagination. I figured that being of a semi nerdal persuasion I would look into algorithms for generating snowflakes. The following if a list of links relating to snowflake generation.

John Maeda's Simplicity blog has an interesting piece on the Snowflake-A-Thon at MIT in 2005:

The winners code:

there is the the Koch Snowflake algorithm which seems like and interesting starting poitn for research but produces dull results:

Physics of snowflake formation:

Examples of snowflake code:




Stand alone generators worth a mention:

This list is by no means complete. I seem to get well over a thousand views per day, it cant all be google spiders. I would really welcome your ideas about snowflakes and any interesting links I can add to this post

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fluffy Snow

This weekend we took our kids on a big group weekend away at Minsteracres. A few times a year a group of us, us being a loosely formed support network of parents and friends of Kids with a range of disabilities get together and go away to celebrate birthdays or just try and get a break and catch up on the news. Its always:
# $emotionList = array("fun", "stressfull", "poiniant", "exhausting", "life_affirming");

I have to admit I usually shy away from it as contrary to what you who know me may think I really don't like large group dynamics. Anyhow this weekend I went and it was all of the array.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Click N Flip - first experiments with Quartz

As some of you know my son has Cerebral Palsy.

He loves books, comics and magazines. However he cannot turn the pages. There are page turners on the market to help people do this but they are enormous contraptions and they cost thousands of pounds.

So, I was thinking about this at the same time as I figured I would play about with Quartz Composer on my MacBook. And I wrote a small slide show patch that moves on to the next slide when the built in microphone detects a volume spike.

Now all I have to do is scan pages from his books and arrange them in a folder, Quartz will display them and move through them when the wee lad makes a noise or taps the table.

You can download the patch: Click-N-Flip

Image of the patch:

So the bad news is you need a mac to use it. But it should be a cinch to build in Pure Data then it is full open source and multi platform. Yes it is such a simple patch and idea that no doubt it already exists in a million forms. But what seems to be the nice thing is it took me 20 - 30 minutes to build and now I can add features as their need becomes apparent.

Here it is in action:

Here is a list of tutorials I looked at to get an understanding of Quartz:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Winter Bootstrap

Your reality, sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever” - Baron Von Munchhausen

Some of you might understand the term 'bootstrap'. In simple terms it is a metaphor for a self sustaining process.

I heard once that it comes from Baron Von Munchhausen pulling himself out of the swamp by his own bootstraps (although I seem to remember it was by his ponytail). I love the absurdity of it, yet sometimes it is exactly what you have to do.

Monday, November 17, 2008

better day

making notes for personal record here:

Was very drowsy today although in a better mood. Thinking about the possible benefits of going to one of those stand and tan places for a zap of artificial sunlight.

Deejaying tonight at Kinetic.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pictures speak almost as loud as the words I used when I saw this

Look what my cat did to my Wii :(

Oh scratch that

Did I say Thursday was uneventful?

Well I tempted fate didn't I. My cat got locked in the sitting room and in retaliation it crapped all over my Wii. It was unbelievably vile. So vile in fact I will upload the pics in the morning..


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Notes form under a bubblewrap sky

I was in the poly most of yesterday. I some how got the idea to do the flyer for our next datarama event purely as an ImageMagick shell script. Oh what fun it will be and how exciting i can then send it some very simple commands according to what size and quality I want it, hmm maybe I could put it server side and make it possible for anyone to manipulate. 4 hours later I have 3 lines of text on a black background.


However I did have a breakthrough in my understanding of it just before I packed up to come home. Also I am going to persist as I do like the idea of the flyer being a piece of Open Source code that can be modified by its user.

Other than that today seems like a relatively unremarkable day so far, had a nice walk to school with Roo who was in a sunny mood and now I am drinking nice coffee and thinking about meditating on cosmic consciousness.

Fishery Commission rehearsal / figuring phase 2 out..

Also here is an exclusive peep at some images from our first datarama..

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Chocolate script whistling

shell script niceness above, adding to my growing passion for imageMagick

What a cold day. I had to drink hot chocolate as several deadlines whistled past my ears.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I made a bed and need cheep transcription

I am currently transcribing all the interviews I did In New York. It is a slow slow process. I figured I would be lazy and look into paying a one of those virtual secretaries to transcribe em all for me. Wrong.. Its soo expensive (£54 for a 45 minute interview).

So today I gave my eyes a rest and my ears (from the constant looping of my own voice) and I made a new bed. Sometimes it is nice to cut wood and hammer nails, I would go as far as say it is good for your soul.

I am thinking of starting the ERL again (see 2006 entries)

I am thinking of eating some chocolate (see inside your own head for the taste of chocolate)

I am thinking of switching off this compu...

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Fishy reunions

Saturday morning 10am my phone went peep. It was a Text from Mr Brown from out of the blue. The end result is a planned rehearsal for the fishery commission for Thursday night.

I dunno if you ever heard us but I hope I am not tooting my trumpet too hard when I say we were good.

I have continue writing tunes quietly for myself and they have taken on a harsher more dubby feel. It is going to be interesting to see were this goes.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I now know were my parents went wrong

They didnt buy me a swing wing

Thursday, November 06, 2008

just a quick recipe

I wrote this a while ago, then lost it and had to re learn it:


convert -size 480x85 xc:transparent -font DemonCubicBlockFontShade -pointsize 72 -draw "text 25,55 'datarama 0.3'" -channel RGBA -gaussian 0x6 -fill darkred -stroke magenta -draw "text 25,60 'datarama 0.3'" datarama.png


It is an ImageMagick recipe. I will add more when I am not so pressed for time..

Image Magick Install notes:

Installing Image Magick using macports was not straight forward, I had to also install ghostscript and add the perl bindings.

# sudo port install ImageMagick +perl
# sudo port install GhostScript

I was still getting a ton of font errors until I found this tutorial

The font I used can be downloaded here,cubes

I prefer apt-get but since I'm on a mac lappy today it had to be done this way. I still love ImageMagick.