March 2011 Archives

In Seattle for a Nintendo event - as a sponsored blogger, no less. They paid for the trip - the opinions are all my own, though.  Just arrived this evening, so the main events are tomorrow.  I'm curious about the new Nintendo 3DS system - interested in whether the 3D camera system can be mis-used in interesting ways for art, interested to see if I can imagine any educational applications for the device, and interested to see if the 3D system even works for someone like me who wears progressive tri-focals.  Will report back tomorrow.

Over at BadMomGoodMom, a wonderful belated Pi Day post.  I had no plans to make myself any fraction circle skirt, but suddenly I'm tempted. (And I'm looking forward to the knitting ratios on July 22.)
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Ah.  It was late, I was sleepy and forgot that I have Handbrake, which helps me re-encode video in other formats.
One of the things I do not love about video is messing around with different codecs and different formats and trying to make things work smoothly with each other.  (My lovely new camera records AVCHD in .mts, and it's taking me a little time to get my Mac happy with this...)
I've had the fortune to observe people trying to make new and interesting things at extremely different scales -- from $100 budgets to $100,000,000 budgets.

One thing that I find very consistent: good ideas come from anywhere. The biggest factor in predicting where good work will come from is "how much does this person actually care about what they are working on?"

- Johnny Lee, The Re-Emergence of DIY vs. Big Organizations, republished in Make

The whole essay is worth a read...
Lots of puttering... house is somewhat cleaner... mostly offline for the day.
A day of moving projects forward. Nothing concluded, but everything inched ahead.

Just a link to remind myself of all the great activities, games, videos, and explanations on this site. Intended for students in elementary and middle school, but great for explaining computer science concepts to anyone. Including forgetful artists and accidental techies...
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Over at 365: Make a Book a Day, Donna Meyer is doing just that - creating a new hand-bound book every day. In her introduction, she writes, "The whole point is not really the books. The idea is to stretch myself in may ways as an artist and a person, to set up a discipline, stick with it and see what that teaches me."

I love that thought, and am in awe of the project. If you have time, rummage around in her archives - lots to learn from and get inspired by.

(found via Becky Stern at Craft, whose photo collage I pinched for the illustration above.)
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Some definitions from Kevin Kelly. Also an awesome project he did with his son, working with dollar store plastic toys, hot glue, and some scrap wood.



So appealing. Where did it come from? (I want to go...)

Happy Equinox.
Traveling again this weekend, and spending more time with family. Thinking about work and projects, but not doing anything specific to move them forward.

So happy to see this issue of Wired - for so many reasons.  I'm thrilled to see Adafruit's Limor Fried on the cover, and I'm pleased to see recognition for the DiY/Maker movement. In general, most consumer magazines could be improved by a greater emphasis on inventing and sharing and creative messing around... and by showing kids more women entrepreneurs, inventors, and engineers.
Traveling gives me great thinking time. I love being in the space in between places, turning over ideas as I wait - letting my mind drift during the pauses when I can't really be doing anything else.
Here's a terrific list of resources from the Exploratorium's PIE Institute. PIE stands for Play, Invent, Explore.  I want to read or view just about everything they've got listed here...

Make shares a great new page of information on Arduino, in easy-to-read question and answer format.  (Now, if only I could figure out which bit of trial software installed somewhere on my MacBook Pro is interfering with the USB Serial port, I'd be hacking away happily with Arduino these days.  Suspect I'll need to do some serious troubleshooting when I get home again. I know the Arduino itself is fine, because I can get it to work perfectly well on other people's computers.)

Phone snapshot of Kansas from the air.  Fields were snow-covered, but you could see the grid, and feathery systems of rivers and creeks.


Spectacular transformations by Turkish artist G├╝lnur Ozdaglar - more about her work here. She changes plastic soda bottles into jewelry and other beautiful things, using just scissors and heat.
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Wind turns the windmill, which runs the giant spool-type knitting device, which lets a tube of knitting flow down into building as it is created, and lengths are cut off to become scarfs.  Love thinking about this.  More info here

With the power of the wind, a knitting machine knits from the outside towards the inside of a building. The knitted material is harvested from time to time and rounded-off in individually packaged scarves. Each scarf has its own label which tells you in how much time it has been knitted and on which date.

Spring forward (early Sunday morning) and spring break (started after school today).  Two weeks to recharge and refocus, and then time to press on toward the end of the school year. 

Decided not to get the new iPad.  For now.  My 1st generation iPad is still working well, and I'm due to get a new phone when iPhone 5 comes out, so that will be my tech purchase for the season.
Up late and up early working on different projects, yesterday and today, and by late afternoon my attention span had melted to nearly nothing.  Note to self: get more sleep tonight.
So far, it's taken the better part of an evening to back up and sync my mobile devices (iPhone and iPad) download the new software updates and then resync everything again.

I've been using the iPhone application Instagram since December.  Until I started using it,  I didn't think that anything particularly prevented me from sharing snapshots online, after all, I posted a picture of a drawing every night. However, Instagram has made it much easier to share quick snapshots from my phone. I've loved that I can cross-post to Twitter with a click.  

It's similar to the shift to blogging.  I didn't think the software would make such a difference.  I mean, I could make web pages at the turn of the century, before blogging software came along (and I did) but once the software made it easy, I updated my site more and more often, until it became a daily part of my life. Now photo sharing is becoming part of my life, and part of how I use Twitter.

(And now Instagram has its own feeds, so if you don't follow me on Twitter, you can keep an eye on what has my attention that way.)

An elegant idea from instructables creator mizliz: To create an easily-interchangeable LilyPad Arduino for soft circuit prototyping? Add snaps! (via Make)
For a visual delight, check out Maria Burtis's painting blog - she posts a new piece of work each day, and passed day 2000 this week. (She's my sister - I can boast about her.)
"Along the way, I learned that computer expertise is not the secret to integrating technology - it's simply a willingness to play, discover, and explore."

For me, that was the key sentence in a good article, "Beginning the Digital Journey: Getting Started with Tech Tools in the Classroom," over on the Spotlight on Digital Media and Learning blog.
I've often thought that the most appealing way to learn programming would be to learn how to write programs for your mobile device.  But most introductions to mobile device programming assume you already know the programming language, and the tutorials are just set up to teach you the exceptions and differences. 

I also love teaching Processing as a way to learn a programming language (Java) while getting to make visually interesting work almost immediately - it's such a rewarding way to learn. 

So maybe the ideal combination would be to learn Processing and programming a mobile device at the same time...? Here's a link with (apparently) straightforward instructions on how to program an Android device, using Processing. 

I don't have an Android phone, so I can't test this in the coolest way, but it looks promising.  Something to pursue...
Wow. a resource-in-progress, but what a resource already! Kit-of-No-Parts is Hannah Perner-Wilson's thesis site at the High-Low Tech Research Group at the MIT Media Lab. Looks as if the site will feature Craft 101, Electronics 101, video links, code, material test results, and so on. "Recipes for Materially Diverse, Functionally Transparent and Expressive Electronics." (You may already know her as Plusea or for her awesome site: How to Get What You Want.)

via Make

Ooooh, I think I want to make some of these.



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