Tuesday, September 19, 2006

First Sketch in Probably a Year

I honestly can't remember having sketched anything in at least a year, much less completed any artwork for quite some time. I grabbed some paper and a pencil and just did this because I had to. Hopefully I can start to pry open the gates of my artistic well again.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Collector of Junk

I am the Wonderful Collector of Junk You Never Wanted. Being a bit of a packrat was handed down to me by my father, who has a garage and a large, two-story shed full of "junk", and that's when keeping it at bay with near-daily yardsales through spring and summer every single year. Obviously, I've got some strong habits to break this Cycle so that Caelan doesn't have to. We're trying to get things shaped up and ready so we can deal better when he is born.

I have a very large collection of movies, and its been the subject of "discussion" several times in the marriage, if you know what I mean by "discussion". Needing to get things organized and prepared for the baby, and my wife spending 90% of her TV time watching TLC's Clean House, has brought this subject back into the light. Of course, I rejected any thoughts of getting rid of my wonderous collection. Why, I have movies in there you could never find. I have both editions the classics Hercules and Hercules Unchained. I have Barbarella and Forbidden Planet. I even have movies so obscure, that I don't even want to watch them! Yeah, maybe I got a problem.

The thing is, I really like having the movies. Not the individual titles, and not to be able to watch them, which I admit I rarely do, but to have the collection as a whole, is a very nice thing, which I enjoy, for some reason. Rationality ate at my unnecessary ties to the collection and I may or may not have gotten overly mad at the idea of getting rid of them. I may or may not have thrown the first VHS I decided I never watched and never wanted to and never will watch into the box. Twice...

Packrats out there, we got a problem. Do what I did, and what I need to keep doing. Go through one group of things at a time, and really consider if you need each individual one. Try and cut it down by at least half, and later you can even cut that half down another 50%. Progress is the keyword here, and eventually that progress will lead you to something you never knew you needed: spacious tranquility.

I feel better looking at the shelf without two layers of tapes of DVDs on it and more stacked ontop of each row and on top of the whole shelf unit. Yick.

Cringley doesn't think Google is doing TV right

In a conviniently timed article, Cringley talks about how the server-client methodologies will not hold if internet distribution of video is to reach any ammount that would impress the media producers. Since I was just posting about Google TV, I thought I'd put up some related thoughts.

There are a lot of things to agree with and to disargee with. On the one hand, I can see that the current methods wont last if the userbase grows large enough to care about. On the other hand, I know those execs are afraid of the term "P2P" so lets keep away from it, or it just won't happen.

The majority of the content is pre-recorded, so we aren't talking about live streams; this is stuff that can be downloaded ahead of time and watched from your local cache, so that's in our favor. Also remember that current broadband can bring in a lot video faster than you can watch it, so the servers aren't even supporting the users for the entire duration of their entertainment time. This, at best, can double the number of viewers a data center can support.

So the current ways might live for a little longer than Cringley thinks, but in the long run he is probably right. Of course, this kind of thing won't be available easily and universally until its built in at a lower level. What we need is something like HTTP can operate very easily, be implemented quickly, and adopted by everyone. Most importantly, it needs to be transparent to everyone but the network admins and browser/player developers.

Grid Networks looks cool. When I get my new Windows box, I'll try out the demo and see what kind of content they have available.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Google Video needs to be Google TV

With Google Video, the G People are already building a humble video distribution chain, but they have some steps to take before it is ready for prime time. Here is just what I think would make Google Video worthy of being called Google TV:
  • At least a Mac OS X player, if not a Linux player, too.
  • Ad-supported viewing of for-pay content for one-time-view only. In other words, watch an advertisement before a set of music videos you want to see.
  • Channels. Although "On Demand" video services are a wonderful thing, sometimes I just don't want to decide and I want to watch "whatevers on".
  • Original Programming that isn't just a collection of internet clips. We need to see the formation of a Google Studios, that would produce news clips, documentaries, a sitcom, a drama, a cartoon, and a soap opera, to start with.
  • The ever-predicted Google TV Box for my grandmother.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Pandora, Personal Media, and Integration

I have two wonderful sources of music while I'm on the computer and working: Pandora and my personal MP3 collection. Now, often when I am listening to Pandora, I think to myself "I'm in the mood for a few songs from Tangible (of 8bit People)" and sometimes, when listening to my MP3s of Harvey Danger's latest release, I get in the mood for some songs from my personal Ventures radio station on Pandora. Makes me really wish there was someway I could keep a list of Media Resources registered on my computer, with a player that can be set to randomly request tracks from each of them, randomly. Request a random track to be played from Pandora, then one from my own collection, then play a song from one of my favorite Shoutcast stations, a few from Pandora and my harddrive again, then maybe something from my computer's Radio Tuner. Anything like this around? Does anyone know where to look into this sort of thing, existing or in some form that could evolve to this?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Less signs, less accidents

Less signs, less accidents: "Roads Gone Wild is a piece in Wired from December 2004 that a reader just brought to my attention. I love it. Here’s why:

Hans Monderman is a traffic engineer who hates traffic signs. Oh, he can put up with the well-placed speed limit placard or a dangerous curve warning on a major highway, but Monderman considers most signs to be not only annoying but downright dangerous. To him, they are an admission of failure, a sign - literally - that a road designer somewhere hasn’t done his job. “The trouble with traffic engineers is that when there’s a problem with a road, they always try to add something,” Monderman says. “To my mind, it’s much better to remove things.” "

Signal vs. Noise is a great blog about well thought design, and although it is the blog of 37 Signals, a software company, they appriciate design in all of its forms. For some reason, I really liked this piece, talking about the designers of roads. Who ever really thought of traffic as a medium of art? Well, when you read this, you can see how one would think that way. I enjoy finding something that I don't normally find interesting turned on a new corner to suddenly become interesting from a context I can grok and appriciate.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Blog Splitting

I've started a second blog for programming related posts over at (http://ironfroggy-code.blogspot.com/). Start reading there. This blog will remain for social commentary, political outbursts, and personal reflection.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Where Have I Been?

Mostly sitting right here. Things have been going on. I now know that my child will be a boy, and his name will be Caelan Mathew Spealman. I got my self my first contract programming job, developing a site called MMOUpdate.com, which is basically like Allakazahm or tthotbot. Anyway, I'm gonna try to get back to my blogging more. Hopefully if this contract work goes well I can do that full time soon. If I get a good contract for at least three months of work before this current job is finished, I may take the plunge. It may be a risk, but the freedom is worth that.