danwinckler.com/general


Jan
3

I was surprised and touched by all of you who wrote or commented to wish me well after my last post. I hadn’t realized I seemed so glum (then again, things are fairly monochromatic here in the Fortress of Solitude). I’m alright, thank you. I got Gang of Four’s Entertainment! for Xmas and it’s keeping my spirits up. I’m quite leery of posting about these things, out of respect for Beth, so if you don’t see me writing my heart on my sleeve, assume I’m happy.

Incidentally, I got a good appraisal at work for last year. Yay, the Dan. (That was a happy thought, right there.)

Is that Thomas Jefferson…or Riff-Raff? Either way, I’m boycotting the obverse (but still bully for buffalo).

[CNN Money article]

Home now. Had a nice meetup with Anton to see how I could contribute to the new Share website. I’ll be focusing on enhancing accessibility for disabled users. Then he showed me Vade, the VJ application he’s been working on. It’s really sweet and I’m excited to be one of the beta (alpha?) users once Anton compiles it. (One of the cool aspects of MAX/MSP is that you can turn any patch into an application, thus sharing the wealth with those who can’t afford its weighty pricetag.)

After we’d dorked out in the extreme on XHTML, CSS, MAX/MSP, VDMX and other acronyms, we fell into a discussion of interfaces, improvisation, and the current limits on both of them in live video/audio performance. Anton seemed to feel — and I agree — that we’re close to the next great tipping point in interface design, like in the 80s when the GUI leapt into public use. We’re both quite keen on getting our grubby muscles twitching in the guts of the machine.

Skinnamarinkeedinkeedink

Wore a belt today to keep my pants from falling off my skinny butt. When I got weighed at my physical a couple weeks ago, I was surprised to find I was 140 lbs. For some reason, when I did induction last year I thought that I’d only dropped 15 lbs (from 160). I must have gotten down to 135 or so, actually. “Lean of face and strong of chest,” as my brother remarked in an email today. I owe it to staying plenty active, switching to diet soda, and snacking only rarely on good stuff like cashews. Also, heroin.

Procrastinate faster

> Seven things – If you’re too overwhelmed to even think about a big system, try this. Get to work early and make a list of exactly seven things that you can do by the end of the day. Each one should take no more than 30 minutes to complete, but try to make it just 10 or 20. Break one big project into seven little ones or just prioritize your clutter. Do the four you least want to do by 11:00, and I promise the remaining three will topple like fat kids.

43 Folders focuses on getting things done and Getting Things Done. It’s turned me on to Quicksilver and a lot of other cool apps and lifehacks. If you wanna try Quicksilver, consider Merlin’s suggestions for how to start with it.

Ultima

I bought the Ultima Collection on eBay and it came in the mail last week. For those who don’t know, Ultimas I – VIII are PC-based role-playing games from the 80s and early 90s that set a high standard for those which followed. Using Exult for Ultima VII and Radnor for the rest, I’ve been living large in VGA. If you’d like to get your Avatar on without coughing up high dollar on eBay, i.e., “borrow” my CD, email me.

Sep
8

My friend Chris Genoa has written a novel. It’s called Poof! and it’s really, really good. I should know: I’m one of the privileged (yes, and snotty) few to have read it already. Beth designed Chris’s website and Chris Daily (another old friend) did the illustrations. Since it went live, Chris has been blogging in the voice of a mite living in one of his eyelashes. The mite Pepino chronicles the death threats and impertinence of other insects upon the personage of the author. It’s hilarious.

Some friends and friends of friends have started a news satire website called FNN: Fake News Network. One friend Will Hines says: [People] say “Like what, The Onion? Like The Daily Show?” And I say, “Yes, like that.” Then I tell people how we are updating it every day. And then people say “Wow.” And I say “Yeah.” From what I’ve read, it’s lean and nasty*, fresh out of the gate. Perhaps they’ll fill the humorous caption gap now that Dennis Miller sucks.

Beth’s new site went live yesterday. I helped clean up the structure and spiff the code a bit. Readers of her original blog should enjoy it just as much, if not more. I enjoy it more because I’m in it more. :)

Now, I brave the floodéd streets and tunnels for fifty minutes of meditation and guidance. Nay, do not beg me to stay. Avaunt!

  • in the best sense of the word.

Last night I dreamt we went to Burning Man. It was beautiful: huge, sail-like tents/sculptures receding in staggered lines into the distance, obscured by the swirling dust. This morning I dreamt that there was a workman standing in Beth’s bedroom smoking a cigarette. I was outraged that he was smoking in the house and flicking ashes on the floor yet too torpid to get up and chew him out. Plus, I couldn’t smell it and Beth was blow-drying her hair and ignoring him.

Beth and I had a wonderful weekend. We had a little fight a week ago that helped us work out some boundary/space issues. After the scrap, the resolution and a day apart, things were/are peachy. On Saturday, we hung out with Georgia, who’s adjusting quite well to the city, and had dinner at Tortilla Flats, which actually has good salsa (surprise, surprise). Huge thanks go to Beth for helping me negotiate tricky geometries and complete my enormous maps QTVR. At Share, once we’d converted the Photoshop files into a QTVR movie and it’d spun on the screen for a while, Eric swapped cables with me so it was playing on the projecter — and I put a negative filter on it because high contrast stuff looks much better on that screen. Suddenly I noticed that the overlapping maps were causing moiré patterns: my seed idea from weeks ago that I’d almost forgotten about. It’s a really good feeling to realize my initial vision of this patch — I was so pleased that parts of me ceased to block photons.

Rhymes with “jerk”

Bjork’s new album is great. It’s almost entirely vocal — the beats and bass are supplied by beatboxers, including Rahzel. The Bjork.com special (subsite) is really nifty. Be sure to launch the Quicktime player.

O, you Nicene Creeders

David Kirkpatrick of the NY Times on the role of the evangelical Christian base in the Bush campaign. One speaker (a bishop) compares Bush to St. Athanasius. Eigh. Also, dogs in cars [mefi].

p.s. Google is ferociously expanding Gmail. If you’d like a Gmail account, just ask me for an invite.

Sep
1

Movable Type 3.1 got released today with a plugin pack including the new version of MT-Blacklist, which means that I can now lower the Typekey bar without letting in a flood of comment spam. You can now comment with or without a Typekey account and with or without leaving your name and email, i.e., anonymously. Useless jerk comments will still be summarily deleted. Fellow code geeks will be interested to know that MT now has dynamic PHP publishing, e.g., you can have your indices be static and your archives dynamic, thus obviating the need for manual rebuilds. You can also schedule posts: useful if you feel like leaving some morsels in the fridge for your readers while you’re on vacation. The plugin pack also includes Markdown, a plain-text-to-XHTML converter, which I’ve been looking forward to trying, in the hope that it might relieve some of my hand strain. In summation: whoopee! I was sick of getting complaints about Typekey and looking forward to slimming down my site even further with the dynamic publishing and such.

a fellow Dan makes the pretty

I really like the look of Dan Vatsky’s front page. Each image in the mosaic rings like a bell.

and speaking of making the pretty

I’m going to be doing several refined patches at Share this Sunday. Come see.

Aug
31

Friday: Meet Beth’s coworkers at lunch; they are all nice. I take my girl out on a date! We pack up the truck with Nicole and Jennie’s help.

Saturday: pack up the remaining few things, including the bed, with Nicole’s help (and Chik-Fil-A chicken biscuits, thankyouthankyouNic). Hit the road at 9:50 am. Evil traffic at several choke spots between Charlotte and New York. Arrive around 1 am. Get keys from new roommates, leave truck under pigeon-clad bridge, take car to my place and crash.

Sunday: Beth pokes and prods me awake, which takes a couple of hours. Break our fast with blueberry pancakes and head over to the new place to unpack with Jeremy and Stacey’s swell help. Return Budget truck to Harlem, return for chicken and fries at a place I ate at three times a week when I lived in Queens. Unpacking, unpacking. Desk assembly (many pieces of fiberboard, one jen-you-us, one excellent helper).

Monday: another date!

Today: I work, she orients. Tonight: we create and code side by side. :)

p.s. I had my physical yesterday. Today, my doctor called to tell me that “my insides are beautiful.” 114/70 BP, 143 total cholesterol.

Today at 5:30 pm I fly to Charlotte to help my girl move up here. I am very excited. Ohboyohboyohboyohboyohboy. My knee-bobbing is in hyperdrive. Beth is moving into a roomy basement in Astoria. Here is a giant map (400k) of the Legend of Zelda’s overworld with all secrets marked.

zelda map

Please do not hotlink this image. Not cool.

Aug
24
The State of all Things Visual and Live.

Lately I’ve been doing lots of live visuals, as has been previously stated. To paraphrase Beth, I’m still in the puppy phase of this work: I’m very excited about the possibilities and the people I’m connecting with. I’m very focused on the process of my work, constantly looking for ways to better enjoy whatever I’m doing (i.e., avoid boredom, stay productive) and stimulate lateral thinking, whether it’s Photoshop drudgery, a thorny logical problem in a Keyworx patch, performing, or somewhere in the ideation/imagination at the beginning. And yes, I’m using the Oblique Strategies. ;)

Keyworx is an excellent place to start out. It’s got a simple look and interface, and complex patching capabilities, yet the limit of eight image layers restrains the impulse to pile things. The multi-user possibilities are cool; I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface there. It is, however, quite buggy and touchy. For instance, one has to quit out of the program to load a saved patch: if you try to, it crashes. It’s beta software: them’s the breaks. I hope it makes it to v1.0. Regardless, it’s a great program that doesn’t require you to reinvent the wheel, i.e., code from scratch, every time you make a patch.

Sunday at Share, Dan Vatsky was doing a set in the back room using live video from an iSight camera, shooting toys (robots and dinosaurs) lit with flashlights. His friend Terra was manipulating the camera, toys and lights when I came in, and I quickly joined in the fun. Interacting with Dan, Terra and the projected image confirmed further that improvisation in this work is just like improvising on stage. The same basic traffic patterns and precepts apply: pay attention, take a back seat and support for some of the time, and alternate gradualism with sudden shifts. It was very fun. :)

By the way,

check out Adrian’s fucking cool new vogroll(info). Which brings me to half the point of this post: I’ll resume vid blogging soon. The spinning wheel was up there for a reason: I wanted to give my attention to the live work and reconsider what I put into the box and what I would not.

Aug
24

I seem to recall telling someone that I’d give them a Gmail invite the next time the system gave me another to dole out. Who was it? Email or comment if it was you.

Update:

Fabian’s taken the invite. However, I just popped into Gmail to see if I had anymore to dole and it sez, ‘invite 5 friends to Gmail’! It seems Google’s expanding its trousers. Chime in for tightly scripted interface goodness and super-duper searching.