Sunday, May 19, 2013

Google+ Comments

G+ comments are nice. But are they worth it?

I've just noticed that it's still possible to use blogger with a personal domain. As part of my project to reclaim my independence from the mega-corps of the internet I'm tempted. But I'll lose both the existing G+ comments and this integration.

Is it worth it?

What do you think?

Answer by G+ comments .. for now ;-/

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Mashable :
iRobot recently announced that it will outfit Brazil with 30 PackBot robots, units similar to those that have been deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq and inside Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant. Each PackBot is camera-equipped and remotely controlled to allow operators to examine suspicious objects and explore threatening environments.
The robots will work in tandem with thousands of soldiers who will be patrolling the 12 host cities in Brazil. The $7.2 million in contracts include maintenance, spares and associated equipment.
Each PackBot 510 unit typically costs around $100,000 to $200,000.
Brazilian police will also be donning some high-tech gear. Officers will sport facial-recognition camera glasses that claim to capture 400 facial images per second, then archive each face in a database that stores up to 13 million faces.
In their attempt to make “one of the most protected sports events in history,” Brazil invested $900 million to boost its security forces for the 2014 World Cup. Besides purchasing surveillance equipment and helicopters, the country reportedly acquired four Israeli-made drones to provide additional security at the FIFA Confederation next month.
Yeah. I'm sure Brazil (with massive inequality and paranoid rich people) will lead the world in cyber-security. :-(

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

RIP Ray Harryhausen

Gates of Dawn

Windows has spontaneously imploded for me, leaving me unable to use FL Studio or other music software I'm used to. So, I'm taking the opportunity to get to grips with Pure Data.

The problem is, I've always found the UI of PD fairly fiddly and off-putting. I don't want to have to think about laying everything out in 2D space when all I'm really interested in is the flow relationship between objects. Also, I've never ... ahem ... quite worked out how to do reusable components. It looks laborious to me.

Theoretically, I'm much more attracted to the SuperCollider approach of writing code. But that has some quirks. Also PD seems to be running in more interesting places (eg. as an engine in Android and iPad apps) than SuperCollider.

Because of this I decided to look into the text representation of PD patches. It's very low level, but easy to understand. So I had a quick go at creating a Python library to generate it.

The first (after a day or so of work) draft is now up on GitHub.

Already, I'm pretty excited about this. It works the way I want to think about synthesis. Objects are connected by function composition. Here, for example, is how you take any signal and turn it into a feed to FM synthesis.

def fm(sig,id=1) :
    return sin(sigadd(


Every time you call functions like "phasor" and "slider" you get new instances of the objects, added to the patch. So this is actually a declarative description of the relations between objects. It's partly inspired by my playing with signals in Elm-Lang. Though there's nothing similarly clever happening here, it's just producing a text-file.

Sliders controls are layed out automatically. Once again, it's very crude and lacking. But enough to make a small workable instrument.

Anyway, as I continue to explore Pure Data I'll do it by adding to this library. Will keep you posted with updates and some musical examples soon.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Decluttering, Platform Wars

Various changes going on at the moment. I'm working on some new things. And I've started to feel the need for a new online identity. And to try to find some collaborators with similar interests to join me in this next project. That's something I'm going to talk about more, very soon.

But I can't keep opening up new fronts. There's a balancing / decluttering that's needed too.

I just shut my Facebook account. That was for other reasons, but it's also going to clear some space and time. And it's pushed me towards thinking about further changes.

Therefore I've decided that I'm going to close Platform Wars.

Permanently. Unless I can hand it over to someone else within the next week. It's possibly my most popular blog. But I've basically finished with it. I have nothing more interesting to say on the matter. I'm done with fantasizing about running other people's companies. It's time to worry about running my own virtual career.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Shut Your Facebook

So, I officially shut my Facebook account.

It seems I can reactivate it at any time, just by logging in. And I can keep the option that anyone sends me a message or invite I get an email. So it's not clear exactly how much I'm "gone". (Would be interesting to hear from someone else if they still see me and my posts. What my "absence" looks like.)

But I am (kind of) out of there.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Google Glass and Segway

Story about Google Glass looking geeky.

My comment :
Why do so many people misunderstand the Segway? Segway didn't fail because it looked dorky or was too rational. It failed because it solved the wrong problem : people don't use cars to avoid walking, they use them to a) stay dry, b) carry their junk around, c) feel safe on the streets and public transport. Segway solves none of these problems.

Is Hungary Turning Fascist?

Bloody hell!

This isn't good at all. Sign the petition.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013