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Two ambient tracks

Friday 10 May 2013, 06:40

I followed a link from Warren Ellis's Twitter feed to this posting about a half-day MP3: "Frolic in Brine, Goblins Be Thing" by Aairria. The idea of a work of audio art (I hesitate to call this "music" but I suppose it meets the definition) consisting of twelve hours of background noise appealed to me. But I didn't really want to spend the time it would take to download that (probably more than real time, because the MP3 is high-fidelity) on my slow home network connection and then make a block of time to listen to it, and I was also a bit disappointed to find out that the actual title is "Frolic in Brine, Goblins Be Thine" (a reference to the Ring movies), which I think is much less interesting than the typo.

The same artist has a bunch of other work online. I downloaded Sleepwalking and listened to it during one of my Sunday-morning urban hikes. It's about 65 minutes of basically just a humming noise. On the one hand, I definely got something out of it. There's more going on here artistically than one might expect from the description "65 minutes of humming." On the other hand, by the end of it I felt disappointed. I thought that it didn't live up to its possibilities. So the next step is, can I do better?

I got Csound and played with it for a while, and have posted the first of my results to a new account on SoundCloud. Below the cut (because I don't want to put external-site iframes on my front page) are embedded Flash players.

GIMP 2.8 versus FontForge

Saturday 19 May 2012, 10:58

A few days ago, I ran Arch Linux's update process and it pulled down and installed a new version of GIMP, version 2.8. This version incorporates some changes in the user interface which apparently were under development for a long time, but only very recently finally put into the "stable" distribution stream.

The one that interests me may appear on the surface to be very small, but it is and is meant to be a really significant shift in the entire definition of what GIMP is. GIMP used to be, as the name "GNU Image Manipulation Program" implies, an image editor. With version 2.8, GIMP has become an XCF file editor with the ability to read and write other formats.

Plaid code

Thursday 19 May 2011, 15:45

Fans of my fiction writing will doubtless remember my theory that in the Future, girls' school-uniform skirts will be made of "smart fiber," capable of changing colour under computer control to act as a sort of display screen, and the wearers will use that to encode personal information into the plaid stripes of something like a present-day 2D barcode. Such technology already exists today (it's closely related to "e-paper"), though it isn't cheap and rugged enough yet for serious use in clothing.

Well, in one of my nefarious projects I recently had occasion to actually use a data-to-tartan encoding scheme, and you might find the results interesting. Here's a sample:

[Plaid code swatches]

See if you can reverse-engineer the encoding that generated those swatches. It's quite simple, and has an historical basis.