Archive for May, 2014

Other Ten Percent 5/6/14

May 06 2014 Published by under Daily Posts

So because I’m actually writing stuff today and going out into the world today my dance card’s a little bit full this afternoon. I was thinking of maybe skipping OTP but after I complained that nothing fell into my lap yesterday something fell into my lap today!
It’s an interview with the show runners on Person of Interest which is the best sci-fi show on TV and though it has some spoilers for season 3 it’s more just about the show and it’s relationship to surveillance and privacy and science fiction. I was trying to write up essentially this explanation of the show a while back and sorta failed but somebody actually put some time and money into the problem and BOOM this happened.

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Other Ten Percent 5/5/14

May 05 2014 Published by under Daily Posts

I hate it when I have like, half of a thing, and then I don’t have the energy to make it an entire thing thing so I just sort of search around all day trying to find something that starts a little more finished for the rest of the day. I hate it for all the regular reasons along with the “pretty apt metaphor for life there dude” reasons and I hate it because the end result for OTP is another long entry where I ponder what the hell I’m doing and what the future of this thing is going to be and then pretend like people want to read that. So, anyway, buckle the fuck up because here that goes again.
I feel like I paradoxically need to disconnect from the internet more to write OTP these days. The method where I just compressed the web down for you guys ran out of road a while back and I’ve been trying a lot of really original methods of not looking down. For a while I thought that doing pattern recognition and relating ideas to other ideas was enough of an added value to make OTP worth it but these days even those connections seem to have run out of steam.
I rarely see something where even the second order implications of it aren’t something I’ve talked about before these days. Certainly I don’t see five of them every week with enough content to be worth discussing. Plus half the time when I DO find something like that 2 or 3 of you guys e-mail it to me or post it on Twitter or Facebook before I can write it up and I think “oh, no need for that then.”
Obviously part of this is burnout. You can’t sift through “the future” forever without just getting kinda jaded about the whole exercise. We tend to get the most boring versions of our imagined futures. The 2014 where everybody knows about 3D printing and augmented reality hasn’t really led to a world where there’s a lot of exciting new content in either of those fields there’s just A LOT OF IT. The whole world feels kinda like 2009 with a lot more Vice articles about that shit. Everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy as our most jaded cultural critic Louis C.K. says. (Watch Louie on FX TONIGHT 10/9C!)
But I also think I’ve simply run out of the number of things I can build at this scale with this particular raw material. I tried just making OTP into a 2000 word project every day or scaling it up into a video project on a daily basis to make it feel different but that kind of output just isn’t sustainable without making OTP my job and oh man you guys would hate this thing so much if I made it my job.
So I think I need to be figuring out a new raw material to be working with and I think I need to find that material by spending a lot LESS time online. Constantly shifting the makeup of my RSS reader doesn’t really shake the basic relationship between internet culture and my particular preoccupations no matter what specific blogs I’m following. So I either need new preoccupations or a new culture I’m mining for this. I genuinely have no idea which of those changes will be easier to achieve I just know neither one seems all that likely just updating my feedly all the time.
I’m not suggesting I’m going to totally disconnect from the web or anything. That’s for people who want to corner you at a party and lecture you about the DANGERS of the internet. If anybody needs me I’ll still be available by e-mail and twitter, and Facebook and probably AIM at least occasionally. I’m not saying I’m never going to have commentary on stuff from the web anymore either. I still see stuff from time to time that is worthy of the full OTP treatment just not enough to keep using OTP as an exercise that keeps me writing everyday which is mainly why I value it at this point.
Mostly I just feel like I need to start having the raw material I’m working with here come less from disposable blog posts if I want my output to stop looking so damn much like a disposable blog post every day.

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Other Ten Percent 5/2/14

May 02 2014 Published by under Daily Posts

Oh right, OTP. Hey so I didn’t really talk about Nikki and I going to Disneyland last weekend. I thought I’d sort of mentioned it in passing or something but nope looks like I just never brought it up at all. It’s kind of a weird experience to go to Disneyland for the first time after spending your youth at Disney World parks and then not going to any Disney thing for like…12 years. You get the double whammy of coming back to your home town and finding life has totally moved on without you AND this odd feeling that you’re visiting a subtly different universe somehow. It should not take quite this long to walk from Tomorrow Land to Frontier Land and where the hell did 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea go?
I don’t mean to sound like some old bastard that thinks that Disney parks used to be more fun when I was a kid or something it’s just that when you go as an adult the whole thing is more fascinating than it is fun really. Or at least it was for me as I spent the whole day with Nikki analyzing every system Disney has to regulate traffic flow in the park (when last I went to Disney World Fastpass wasn’t a thing yet so the idea of scheduling people’s time on popular rides JUST FAR ENOUGH out in the future that they had to ride one of the lamer rides to kill time struck me as one of history’s greatest innovations) or just random minutia about why you can see the whole line ahead of you at Haunted Mansion but can’t at the Matterhorn.
One of the things that really fascinated me though, and that I’m fairly sure is more a product of the switch from 2002 to 2014 than the switch from Disney World to Disneyland, is that projection mapping was EVERYWHERE. There’s a climactic sequence to Big Thunder Mountain now which Nikki assures me is new as of even two years ago and it’s all projection mapping based. A lot of the standing in line sections for rides feature projection mapping, it’s also just kinda casually thrown around as a trick to replace animatronics in a couple places which results in some really uncanny valley faces on a few robots around the park.
I wondered idly a few times what another 12 years would do to Disney Parks while we were wandering around but I really started thinking about it when I saw Bruce Sterling link this on Twitter this morning. The tl;dr of that link is that Disney can now 3D print any arbitrary shape and turn it into a speaker which is the kind of trick that somehow exists in this weird Schrodinger’s cat state of being simultaneously “able to change absolutely everything” and “totally useless.” I can imagine a future where every object in a Disney park is alive with sound and one where that’s a stupid party favor your mom buys you for 25 bucks on the way out of the park.
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen a cool “future of Disney parks” thing going on obviously. Imagineering basically exists entirely so you’ll imagine that and two separate Cory Doctorow novels have really prominent subplots that exist pretty much entirely so that he can pretend to be an Imagineer for a few pages. What was fascinating about this trip was being able to see the purely mercenary economics behind what technology does or doesn’t get adopted into Disney Parks because OF COURSE it’s projection mapping. Like if I had to imagine the cost curve over time for the perfect Disney technology it would be incredibly steep at the very start to provide a barrier to entry and then drop down to zero as soon as humanly possible to save money and that’s basically the exact curve for projection mapping. To set the whole thing up you need specialized software and the time of experts and a lot of man-hours to make sure everything works perfectly. After that you just need a fucking projector that pays for itself with two car loads full of elementary schoolers.
I’d love it if the 3D printed speaker system worked the same way where Disney was able to utilize existing infrastructure (they’ve got to have a ton of these electronic components just lying around right?) to get the whole thing rolling. A Disney park where the lamps can just start talking to you at any moment seems like it would screw with you in a way I really enjoy and then they can just 3D print replacements on the cheap when they break. Or not, who knows? Who wants to go with me to Disneyland in 12 years to find out?

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Other Ten Percent 5/1/14

May 01 2014 Published by under Daily Posts

So I worked on quite a few projects today but none of them seemed especially well suited for OTP so instead let me show you a small project I created in like an hour earlier this week and then put aside because I didn’t really have the energy to scale it up on my own. It is called Andrew Garfield Minus Garfield and it contains, as you might suspect, pictures of Andrew Garfield where I have removed Andrew Garfield. If you would like to contribute to this tumblr just drop me a line and let me know. It takes, on average 15-20 minutes to properly remove Andrew Garfield’s head and arms from a picture if you’re careful to choose photos with relatively neutral backgrounds.

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