December 29, 2002

The robot movie

...is on line.

Thomas planned it, created all the animation movements, performed the music, and wrote (dictated) the credits.

Technical notes: This was made using my digital still camera on a tripod. Thomas set up the scene. He moved the robot a bit, I took a picture, he moved it more, I took another, and so on. 64 photos. We used iPhoto to capture the photos, and then exported the whole batch resized at 640 x 480 pixels each to a folder on the desktop. Then we opened iMovie and imported the picture files. The images were out of order, but we could use the photo numbers in the file names to get them right. We dragged each one into the movie's timeline. The default length of each imported still frame in iMovie is 5 seconds. In preferences, iMovie won't let you make the default length of your stills less than half a second, which is too slow for convincing motion. Argh. But it would let us change the lengths one still at a time. So that's how we did it. We changed the duration of each still to 2 frames (1/15th of a second) (time code changed from 00:05:00 to 00:00:02) - so that the result feels like a 15-frame-per-second animation. A little jerky, but hey, it's a robot. Then we added sound effects and transitions and titles. Lastly, Thomas improvised some music on Piper's new electronic toy keyboard, which we recorded directly into iMovie, using the computer's built-in mic. When he was satisfied with the result, we finished the movie using the Export as Quicktime feature. I put the file on the web, and there it was.

Fun.

Posted by EGP at 11:23 PM

December 26, 2002

Restoration Blogging

Starting on January 1st, the Diary of Samuel Pepys (from the Project Gutenberg edition) will be presented in blog form by Phil Gyford. It's a pretty neat set-up, with links to background and to footnotes, and additional space for readers to add annotations of their own. Each day will bring a new entry.

I read about the project on BoingBoing, my source for so much info these days. I like the idea of the blog being used in literary ways - the form has potential which is mostly unused. I know someone already maintains a blog which chronicles the Gallic Wars from Julius Caesar's point of view, Bloggus Caesari, and there was an essay on fTrain (which I really should look up) in which Paul Ford outlined many ideas for creative use of weblogs... Here it is.

What happens to diaries or journals when they are written for an audience - not just the writer's future self, but for some other reader? I remember how Tanizaki's novel The Key plays with the form - with deception, betrayal, and suspense. Both husband and wife keep diaries. How much is being read by the other - and how much of what is written is true and how much fantasy? What would happen to that novel if it were rewritten as weblog?

Posted by EGP at 2:38 PM

December 24, 2002

I'm dreaming...

Whether watching NORAD track Santa's travels and listening to carols while doing a little more holiday cooking (me) or stacking and restacking a pile of coasters (Piper) or playing Gameboy in collaboration (Ben and Thomas) or running a couple of last minute errands (Mark), the whole house is getting ready for Christmas tomorrow.

And Christmas is getting ready for us.

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PITTSBURGH PA
258 PM EST TUE DEC 24 2002

MAJOR WINTER STORM SETTING UP TO PROVIDE RECORD SNOWFALL FOR PITTSBURGH ON CHRISTMAS DAY. THE RECORD SNOWFALL FOR DECEMBER 25TH IS 3.5 INCHES SET IN 1935. STORM WEST OF THE MOUNTAINS WILL BRING SIGNIFICANT SNOW TO WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA BEFORE THE EAST COAST LOW TAKES OVER AND BECOMES THE DOMINANT STORM LATER ON CHRISTMAS DAY. [.....]
TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS IN THE WARNING AREA WILL RANGE FROM 5 TO 10 INCHES.

We have no plans to travel further than around the block, so we'll just bundle up and enjoy the day. I'll post some photos if I get the chance.

Merry Christmas to all.

Posted by EGP at 5:11 PM

December 23, 2002

Anticipation meets procrastination

I've been checking out different Advent calendars online this year, and so far my favorite has been Leslie Harpold's. Today I must have spent half an hour playing with the Flash toy behind door number 23 - happy procrastination. I like her writing, too, so I've sent a fan letter. (Well, a brief thank you note, anyway.)

Now I really need to go wrap some presents while Piper is still napping.

Posted by EGP at 4:17 PM

December 19, 2002

And two weeks later, in Pittsburgh

There must be something going around. Dennis A. Mahoney posted this entry to 0(zero)format on December 5th.

I didn't think to take a picture, myself.

Posted by EGP at 9:46 PM

December 18, 2002

Am I distracted?

I just looked down to find that I am wearing one black sock and one dark blue sock. I know I have another pair just like it at home.... I suspect I wore that pair yesterday.

Posted by EGP at 8:15 AM

December 15, 2002

Flowers

I didn't see last Sunday's New York Times Magazine, so if it hadn't been mentioned in BoingBoing (a great weblog) I would not have seen the amazing work artist Katinka Matson creates with her flatbed scanner. Flowers on the glass. Something black has been placed over them, and they glow against that background. Instead of being seen from a single point at a single moment, her still images seem to exist in time as well as space.

(Post script - it is in tomorrow's, I mean today's NYT. But look at the link anyway. The images are lush, stunning.)

Posted by EGP at 12:32 PM

December 12, 2002

Let it Sn–

Large white snowflakes fall gently on my desktop. The image in the background is still visible behind them, and open windows are stacked on top of them, and still they fall. It's a nifty little freeware app for OS X called Sn–.

What actual snow we have has mostly melted. Then the ice storm on Wednesday, which turned to rain by afternoon and then washed away. So I have virtual snow, instead, however you want to spell it.

Posted by EGP at 11:52 PM

December 10, 2002

Area forecast discussion


This is taken from the National Weather Service site forecast discussion link verbatim.

It's best if you read it aloud.

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PITTSBURGH PA
923 PM EST TUE DEC 10 2002

WL UPDATE ZONES TO PUT ALL COUNTIES IN ADV OR WATCH. LAST 4 OH COUNTIES
AND SOME PA COUNTIES N OF PIT WL GO TO WINT WX ADV WED FOR FREEZING
RAIN TO START. OTHER PA COUNTIES N OF WINTER STORM WATCH WL GO INTO
WINTER STORM WATCH WED.

ALTHO MESOETA BUFKIT SHOWED RAIN FOR NRN ZONES, IT MAKES NO SENSE. ALL
AREAS WL START W/ WINTER MIX AND MOST WL CHANGE TO RAIN. PRES-TUCK-GARR
COUNTIES WL HAVE THE BEST ICE STORM. BUT EVEN BUFKIT CHANGES THAT TO
RAIN.

Posted by EGP at 10:22 PM

Which side are you on?

Among the many earnest bits of information which have darkened this screen today, one piece stands out. Eloquent. Inexact. The Non-Expert explains buttons on The Morning News.

(I am left handed.)

Posted by EGP at 8:56 PM

December 9, 2002

After a long silence

The months go by and I've been working on other things. Still taking some pictures, still playing around on the web - just not writing any entries here.

The family weblog is going strong - over a hundred posts since July, and half again as many comments. Photos galore, and even a video snip. Last week I played in PhotoShop to make a snow globe for our holiday party invitation. The kilimwomen weblog continues, with frequent posts and photos from Ortahisar, and the shipwreck site is now hosted by Ellis, and has been used with some success by three ninth grade history classes.

So now it's on to the next projects - whatever they are.

Posted by EGP at 2:22 PM