recent findings: Product design management, jQuery sliders, and color sound synaesthesia

Testing out the embedly wordpress plugin.  These are a few pages I’ve recently visited that I’ve learned from.

1) There is a lot I can pick up from Julie Zhou’s blog. She is involved in product design and management.  Good product people are as essential as the best developers in growing a company.

A Manager’s Manifesto – The Year of the Looking Glass10) Always get the full story before making a decision. 9) It’s incredibly easy to ‘flip the switch’ and start writing people off after a few bad experiences. Resist at all costs. You were bumbling once too. You made poor decisions. You learn and grow, and so does everybody else.

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via Medium

2) Noura pointed me to an awesome tutorial for jQuery sliders. I’ve been making browser synths so I’m pumped to learn more about building nice UIs.

Colorful Sliders With jQuery & CSS3 | TutorialzineColorful Sliders With jQuery & CSS3 Martin Angelov jQuery Trickshots is our new epic jQuery tips and tricks book. Check it out! In this tutorial we are using jQuery and the new transformation features brought by CSS3 to create a three dimensional dynamic slider effect.

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3) I love the color sound synaesthesia Neil Harbisson talks about. The matching of hue to pitch makes sense. I wonder how the mapping could be adjusted to take into account sonic harmonies and color harmonies.  Or how saturation and lightness can affect the sound too.

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via TED

Now blogging from

I’m now blogging from .  This WordPress blog began to slow down, and after adding caching and a few other tricks, it still was not as fast as it used to be.  This would make it hard to iterate on posts, and the page load times were noticeable  Instead of spending way too much time chasing every possible issue, I figured I’d try another platform, where I don’t have to think about maintenance.

I like tumblr.  It has a great mobile app- I can easily take a photo or video and share, or read posts.  There are many great styles available, and mobile support of the blogs.  Instead of figuring out how to share my thoughts and projects, I wanted to focus more on my thoughts and projects.  I’m also impressed by the findability available in tumblr.  Through the tagging system, and probably other methods and algorithms, my posts surface for quite a few people.  That sort of distribution is exciting, and hints at a strong, thriving community around tumblr.

A few years ago when I put together this site, I was still figuring out how I wanted to present myself and my ideas.    It is something that will continually change over time.  Having all of the options to hack on top of the WordPress theme was great- to get exactly what I wanted.  I’m focusing on the making and documenting now.  Over the next few months I’ll gradually figure out how to present my projects and what else I’d like to highlight.

I still get plenty of hits on some of the posts and tutorials on this blog, so I will keep them up.

You can find the new blog here.

on the Tech Advisory Board of the Together Festival

For the last few years I’ve gotten involved with parts of the arts scene, music scene, and tech scene here around Boston/Cambridge/Somerville.  When I arrived here, it was the first year of the Together Festival.  Since then, it has expanded from being solely about music, to including technology.  At their events I would meet artists I would soon collaborate with, or curate. I would perform, and I’d hear great music.

I’m thrilled to say that this year I’m part of the Together Tech Advisory Board.

Together’s Technology Coordinator, Robby Grodin, has assembled a group of thinkers, visionaries and tech industry pioneers to guide the technology programming, panels and events of this year’s Together Festival, May 13th-19th, 2013.

It is a great opportunity, and I’m already brimming with possible panels and events to throw- mostly seeing this as a window into showcasing artists and makers whose work I’ve found compelling around town.  Some panels I’m thinking about now are Public Art and Technology, Interactive Art, and Creative Coding. Events wise, I’ll be doing WHIRL again, and definitely stirring up excitement around a hackathon.

weekend jam : five lights – be

Last week Five Lights released a new track. When this happens, it always feels like xmas.  Not only is there a new track, but a sweet, thoughtful cover image comes along with it.

five lights be

It starts with a familiar forward pushing beat- you know it means business- with a synth hit on the downbeat, slowly opening the filter cutoff.  A melody riff comes in reminiscent of Kraftwerk, followed by gorgeous pad chords.  The vocal sample from which the name of the song comes, tucked in, mixed right in with the beat.

What gets me most about this track is the production.  The elements may feel familiar, but there are bold touches in how they are mixed, and that makes all the difference.  A week or so ago I was playing with minimal four on the floor with a filter env bass to add a sharpness on the downbeat, upbeat, or both.  It is easy to get the parts down.  It is difficult to make it all compelling.  This makes me appreciate more patterns in this track, like the intro.  Enjoy:

murmur at NEC, ATNE processing workshop, arthackday:godmode ; creative coding events week of 2-24

A few events this week that look pretty cool in the creative coding space.
Tomorrow at NEC a piece with surround audio and projects called murmur at the New England Conservatory, by Amanda Justice and Amber Grizel Vistein.

Here is a past clip

Murmur Documentation from A Justice on Vimeo.

Details on FB

On Wednesday a processing workshop – generative art using computational physics- by Mark J. Stock at the cyberarts space in JP. Details on the ATNE website.

Generative art is created with the use of an autonomous system, usually a computational process fashioned by the artist.  Many methods used by generative artists such as Golan Levin, Casey Reas, and Scott Draves are, at their origins, simulations of complex systems which exhibit emergent behavior. The natural world is full of such systems. Computational physics is the study of converting the often impenetrable mathematics of real physics into a virtual, computer-friendly form. In other words, it lets us turn differential equations into ordered streams of simple operations: addition, multiplication, and the occasional square root.

And on Saturday in NY will be a closing reception of the arthackday:godmode, at 7pm , at 319 Scholes street. Details on their page. The premise sounds pretty cool:

What would you do if you were granted the power of invincibility? It’s an age-old question and one that game developers have been playing with since the early 80s by incorporating a feature called “God Mode” which offers players unlimited strength, seconds of invulnerability, a change in camera perspective, or access to previously unreachable areas. Since then, God Mode has reached beyond gaming and become pervasive in digital life. It’s the secret backdoor embedded in all our electronics, it’s the jailbreak, it’s how phone companies know where you are, it’s how ISPs know where you surf, and it’s how the NSA can eavesdrop on your communications.

Between February 28–March 2, sixty artists and hackers will inhabit 319 Scholes to explore the idea of God Mode and produce new, collaborative projects. Visitors are invited to engage and interact with the works as they are uploaded online throughout the hack and join the teams on Saturday March 2nd starting at 7:00pm for a closing exhibition, live performances, and massive party.

Over the past few months momentum has been growing in the creative coding space in Boston, with the Boston Creative Coders, and Art+Code meetup. This is exciting.

generative construction in the sandbox (or snow box! )

For the past few months I’ve been thinking of public art as the dinner table. You can gather around it, talk, share ideas, and get to know one another. My favorite pieces would do it, bringing people together in a city.

Yesterday I came across a metaphor which I like a lot, that of a sandbox. Like the dinner table, it is an object with intention- people go to it for a specific reason.  What is different though is that the sandbox far more easily taps into the idea of generative construction that I find so compelling, where you create a situation that allows participants to be creative in unexpected ways- together or alone. The sandox is like the dinner table that encourages generative construction.

It is ephemeral, things break down, encouraging creation.

When you go to a sandbox, you dont arrive and stand around it, you go inside.    You’re in it.  You’re standing on the materials you’re using. That immersiveness must make it easier to get into the state of mind to imagine and make.

inside a sandbox


When you’re in it, you can meet a friend, you can invite people.  You can share ideas with words or with the sand.

in a sandbox with a friend


You can build alone, you can build together.  You can append, you can create, you can destroy, together.  Here the sandbox has become a means for so many ways to know one another, and so many possibilities.


Screen Shot 2013-02-09 at 9.33.43 AM


I love that. I want to make things that allow that sort of collective creativity.

Right now we’re in the middle of a giant winter storm in the northeast, Nemo.  Looking out the window we have tons and tons of snow.  We’ve got all this great material dumped all around us.  We’re coordinating to meet at parks, or squares, to play and make together.  Whatever we make, it will melt.

Getting up and running with the Raspberry Pi!

So I just got a Raspberry Pi. The good folks at Adafruit sent one over because New American Public Art recently had a huge order for Listener.

One thing you gotta keep in mind- unless you already have a keyboard, mouse, and monitor, you’re gonna spend a few more dollars, and by a few dollars potentially several times more than the Pi actually cost. Don’t assume all keyboards and mice will work, some don’t. Here is a list of verified peripherals for the Raspberry Pi. I just went to Adafruit and saw what was in the starter pack and ordered the peripherals from them. I got a monitor and mouse from Staples.

Though there is a getting started guide on the raspberry site, I found this one on engadget pretty awesome, lots of handholding, esp during the config part, which is nice.

screen from raspi

The monitor is a bit distorted. It’s because I’m using a super old CRT TV. While it was cute, I had to get a monitor because the TV cut off the edges, and it was hard to read.

raspberry pi