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AVIT05::Day2:: philosophic discussion continuing

spark3.jpgAfter the very lovely first day and a good morning session with - and I have gotten his name now - Brendan Byrne - I continued with the narrative lab and Brendans test with surveillance cameras and making a narrative out of them. And yes it was of course working beautifully. The best test I didn´t tape when two of the attending vjs started running around wild and chasing each other and you could follow them to the beat on the cameras. After that I had a little walk around Birmingham. Its hard to describe the town and it reminded me with its feel of some of the cities in middle of China. Old culture that has seen better times meeting 21st century kapitalistik society. Its not the same style as in China nor is it as crowded but the old factory building telling you about the earlier better times next to a giant glass mall and the symbolic katholic church right next to it have a very inspirational feel all throughout the city - not something I would like to live in but very interesting for a visit. The best of it all was probably the greasy car repair shop in an old church like building.
Anyway back to the Custard Factory and therefore AVIT I found out that I missed the Be In Control workshop but since midi controllers are not my kind of main interest I was not to worried and hanged out with the programmers from VidVox telling them what I personally would like VDMX 5 to become. They are very open for the feedback and that will hopefully result in a good program for all of us.
Then I switched Hotels - now staying at this ultra conservative hotel concept called "ibis". All bussiness related and nice clean without personality but with a shower in the room.
Going back after the hotel switch and having some intermediate talks with attending VJs and getting thrown out of our working place in the old library I went straight to the informal meetings in the reception area. Toby/Spark was re:presenting his VJing for Postproduction (link follows) talk he had given at AVIT^C3.
After that is was the turn for Michael and me presenting the VJBlog. The interest in the talk exceeded all of our expectations. About 20-25 people sitting in front of us and more coming by and listening. There was this feeling in the room that we are really hitting a point with the blog and that we will get more contributors for it ones we have a better backend in place. A philosophical discussion about content arouse shortly.
The third talk after this was about NOW! the Movie from Dennise (sp?) manager of the cold cut originated project. She talked about the idea behind the movie and the form of contribution and showed us the pretty trailer. So I have had personal reservations not about the project but about the handling of the project - which seemed to closed and not communicated right - after hearing her talk and show her own contribution to the project I think I will be sending in some of my "world" loops. After that there was the VPEEK with much too loud music and nice but contentless visuals going on in the medicine bar and our table was filling with the "philosophical" crowd that has formed during the first two days - peter rubin, the vidvox crew, michael parenti, brendan byrne, willow and many more. If the music would have been just a little bit quieter a vivid discussion could have aroused - so we had this very intense one to one talks going on until the bar closed and thrown us out (yes to be thrown out is something you have to get used here :/
This morning after a wonderfull refreshing shower and nice breakfeast I arrived and went straight to the telematics and bodydataspace session going on in the old library. So I do respect the work the dancing company does and the interaction with vj mondo and moving the project out of the club into cyberspace and back into the club I thought their project is a little "hollow" without much content or the content burried so deep into the dancing side that I failed to see it as I am really no expert on dancing. Then a small work willing group of people formed in the old library only to be thrown out again and homeless we sit in the theater reception picking up the two bars of hidden wifi network preparing the PDF of our VJBlog session.

PS: Photo from Michael showing Spark at his "VJ Post" presentation.

Nasa fund superconducting NanoWire research

Its future year I guess. The reports don´t stop flowing in talking about technology that seems to be taken from good sci-fi books. This time: the superconductor. A thing that was thought to be as impossible to produce as a perpetual-mobile. Now Rice University is cooking something up that seems to do the impossible in its Carbon Nanotechnology Lab. Apparently its the same technology they are using for the space elevator so in the end we will get two sci-fi concept in one technology. Future not near?
Grain of salt until a product is showed to me of course.


AVIT05::It has started with philosophy

PeterMaxavisionAVITUK05.pngJust a little short report from AVIT. A lot of well known faces have already arrived and the spirit is high over here in Birminghams Custard Factory. After toby spark put me right into narrative lab after my arrival - which I couldn´t scope with right away I refreshed myself in one of the strangest hotels I have ever been to (totally automatic check in with pin numbers - airplane like toilets and breakfast empty at 10 am) and went straight back to the custard factory.
There was a session Peter Maxavision going on. Peter is the oldest among us and the video mix artist with the longest experience of all. He hates the commercialization of the scene and the fixation on tools and toys of most of the younger vj´s. He misses the content in the screenings and he misses communication.
The session was the philosophical prelude to the week and was very promising to raise awareness to the issue of content, communication and the real world.

This morning I was in the narrative lab session with - o shit I can´t remember his name will put it in when I found it - anyway it put some perspective on philosophical concepts of Deleuze in a narrative moving image context.

So a form of causality/narrative which feeds back on the material events on the floor and takes data from the outside world could produce a narrative of the social unconscious, more like a dream than a TV show.

Recommended books:
Deleuze and Cinema
The Aesthetics of Sensation
Barbara M. Kennedy

On AN(ARCHY) and Schizoanalysis
Roland Perez

He showed us a work where he stitched together multiple CCTV surveillance cameras in portugal to a panorama and explains why this is narrative. The afternoon lab session was a big "narrative in surveillance cameras" try out and it worked quite well with "hidden actors" that made people react.

An inbetween session has been with Charles Kriel - the BBC VJ. He showed off the capabilities of the Pioneer DVJ X1 and I must say that I am a little more impressed with the machine now then after my short interlude with it last weekend at the Maria. The capabilities are enough to make a DJ and a VJ happy. The big grief is its price. You get a powerbook for the same price and I would always opt for a new powerbook.

Tonight I will have my first session - it will be together with Michael about the vjblog in the old Library/Custard Factory around 8 p.m.


AVIT UK 2005 fALk schedule


Next week the AVIT VJ conference return to their home in the UK. This time the international VJ Scene will meet at Birminghams Custard Factory. For general information please see the website at http://www.avit.info/uk/.

I will be participating as lecturer and showcase vj in the following events:

Introduction to VJBlogging
michael and I will give an overview of the vj blog surrounding technologies, concepts and future plans

exiled.surfer & proto.beamaz:fALk
Wednesday April/27
8:00 pm
Old Library 2

Narrative Lab: CTRL-V a hacker story
I will give a one hour presentation about my evolved narrative test set "CTRL-V a hacker story" with a lot of inside thoughts on my proceedings regarding narrative storytelling in a VJ context. Beforehand Olliver (VJ Anyone) will talk about Storyboarding for VJs

proto.beamaz:fALk, VJ Anyone
Friday April/29
10:00 am - 1:00 pm

Narrative Lab: Work in Progress
Work in progress is a two hour session that highlights some of the narrative works going on in the world wide VJ scene. I will have 15 minutes for spoken overview of CTRL-V and a short video preview of a recorded performance.

Dan Roy, Raphael, Debbi Lander, fALk
Saturday April/30
2:00 pm 4:00 pm

Drop Beats Not Bombs
I will have a showcase performance at the Drop Beats Not Bombs Events. I perform CTRL-V to make case of point that a narrative does indeed work in a club setting. I will play in the Pool Marquee Trigger Room with finest electronic music

vjoxygen, HFR-Lab, proto.beamaz:fALk, Tektun
Saturday April/30
3:00 am - 4:00 am
Pool Marquee / Trigger Room

For more up to date information see the schedule. If you have any questions feel free to ask.

10 Years E-Gruppe


The Berlin cubscene celebrations are not ending yet. Tonight the vj, dj, art and promoter group e-gruppe is celebrating their 10th birthday. The party will be at the Maria am Ufer and will star many many oldschool dj and vj resident faces of Berlin. I am invited to play as well and will spin the harddrives as vj opener from 11.pm. til 1.30 am.

10 years hedonistic lifestyle support | 10 years of esoteric underground entertainment | 10 years electrochemo-pharmaceutical dance society | 10 years e-fusion network | 10 years explosive visual e-mc-ing | 10 years deep-into-ear-&-eye-action..........

tanith (vitriol), mijk van dijk (microglobe), duck (delikat records), gianni vitiello (aromamusic), daniel boon (ostfunk records), wolle haarnagel (electric ballroom), u.v.m.

protobeamaz, gif-tv, flashforceone, notch & bead, hollie & flockey, pixel royal, e-gruppe u.a.


Deep Sleep hibernation coming near you?

Its future month with so many strange announcements concerning topics beforehand only covered in strange Sci-Fi novels. Now this one will knock you out: Researchers at the University of Washington have put mice in a hibernation deep freeze sleep and have woke them up without any problems and without any damage to the mice. It was just a first step to human hibernation sleep as you have seen in many movies and novels (StarTrek f.e.) and the possibilities for usage are manyfold. Not only could those with cancer and other diseases be put to sleep until a cure is found - also people could travel to distant galaxies and not become old in between. Philosophical and Ethical this raises a lot of concern that needs to be talked about rather sooner then later. Only the rich will be able to use it? Who is responsible for waking them up after a major disaster on earth? How will people feel after a 200 year sleep - waking up in a society totally different then the current one?

That said the only announcement missing in the last month is the travel-to-past-time-machine but maybe if I put myself in deep-freeze-sleep connected to a Matrix-Style-Wireless-Brainkoppler I can just wait for it.

Blue-Ray and HD-DVD to merge?

One has to wonder if the new management at Sony is responsible for a lot of interesting decisions coming out of the consumer and media products giant. While all people had its eyes targeted on a mud throwing adventure alá VHS vs. Betamax Toshiba and Sony seemed to have agreed - after only three years - to unify the upcoming high density, high quality DVD standard. Both of the competing companies now believe that a market adoption is vitally dependent on the simplification of the format - and two are twice as hard to swallow for customers then one. No it will be utterly interesting to see what comes out of this as about any detail of the two specs where different. Once could hold 50 GB (Blue-Ray) one only 25 GB (HD-DVD) one was to use Quicktime Container, MPEG-4 and AAC (Blue-Ray) and one Microsofts VC-9 codec (Windows Media 9). The concept, supporters and believers of both could not be more different - to unify those will be a task not so easy as it looks. I always was hoping for a market shakeout as Sonys format had already a head start with recorders and players available and the "better" guys and the better tech in the team. I always thought that competition would drive better technology even if it means that sometimes you are on the wrong side of the table and have made a wrong investment.
The outcome is kinda speculative - either you have cheap discs that can only hold 25GB with expensive sony drives to burn and read them and Microsoft DRM on em or you have expensive discs that hold 50GB with cheap drives from toshiba and still Microsoft DRM on them. I think the consumer will be the one who will benefit the least from this - but I love to be proofed wrong on this.

old arstechnica take on it:

new arstechnica take on it:

Tiny Beamer on the horizon

tinyprojector.jpgThe VJ gods are good to us. After the announcement that you can put a black and white beamer in a cellphone there is more news on the beamaz front. Battery Powered projectors the size of your palm. Not as strong as the big ones - the possibilities for usage are tremendous. The (vj)video warriors of the future wait to get their dirty hand on those cold LED brightened DLP beasts that still can project at least a 27" large screen on almost anything that you can imaganine (walls in a moving subway, moving screens on night demonstrations, walls of big corporations making a non violent non destructive statement for the masses). Mitsubishi and InFocus are the first to come out and plan to put the thingies to market in quantities for around $600 shortly.

It will be interesting to watch when the first laws coming from our powergovernments that restrict the usage - if not it will spark a new kind of powerbattle in the streets.


and the discussion on vjforums.com


Orwell rolls in his grave

A very interesting documentary concerning the concentration of power in american massmedia is available for watching at the information clearing house. A little biased as Michael Moores films it tries to shed light on the development of the Massmedia in the US and the fabricated storytelling of the "news" in newspapers, radio and tv. It shows the connection of media with politics and has interviews with News Editors from twenty years ago. It sure is worth watching if you are concerned about free opinions in the world.

You can view the real bad encoded two hour realvideo stream here:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article8560.htm (part 1)
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article8561.htm (part 2)

Sony to release royalty free video clips targeted at VJs?!!!

In a statement to counteract the rumors that Sony is preparing an online digital video store of the concept "iTunes" Sony Connect vicepresident Steve Banfield is telling the world that no such service is in the planning right now. BUT get this (siliconvalleywatcher):

Mr Banfield said Sony was digitizing its movies, and it would also allow some clips of its digital video to be used royalty-free for video “mash” projects, in which music and video footage is remixed, sometimes in live performance.

Sony is recognizing the VJs! Its clear that the VJ market seemes to have evolved enough that we are getting attention from huge corporation. As I always said this is VJ year zero everything onward from here goes UP.
Personally I will continue to prepare my own clips and movies as I ultimately think that this is the only way that will ensure that I have an distinct style but its a very noteworthy development.

PS(22.April 2005): after thinking about it a litte I have two intervened takes on it. First is that I think - purely speculative - if they really release some of their "better" content for vjs to use it will ultimately raise the quality of the vj content out there - which on first glance is kind of good. The twist in that seems that if a lot of newbie vjs use this high quality content it ultimately leaves those without much production money but their own content pretty much in the dust. And this is where I think this strategy comes from - fear - fear that the vjs might be somehow successful in their endover and posing a thread to traditional media - something like a preemptive strike. Now people like myself who produce their content not only have to scope with the "pre-delivered" (mostly shitty and replicated) content from arkaos, motion dive and the like but have to compete with the high end content coming out of big ass corporations. After thinking this over and over I think it does not help us much other then raise overall awareness - which could be good if it would not kill creativity at the same time.
But maybe I am just paranoid.


Good bye Tresor - a personal retrospective

This morning 9 a.m. the letters that meant so much for the Berlin subculture where dismounted under the tearfull eyes of many. TRESOR was more then a club - Tresor was the last standing symbol of free, loud, uncontrolled subculture and after 14 years it has to close so that the rich can build a sterile office tower in its place.
I was in the Tresor for the first time maybe 10 years ago - I was more one of the people going to the E-Werk in those times - a more personal preference then any issue with the club. Back then there was what counts as the most true subculture of all - a subculture that rose from the chaos that came with the dissolve of east germany. A healthy ground for creativity that inspired so many to work in the creative field in the first place. It was maybe three or four clubs that made all the vibe - the Walfisch that was the first to close and where my memory really blurs as to describe what it was like - the Bunker - known for the most extreme speedy Gabba Techno, the Tempel E-Werk and the holy steel walls of the Tresor. All the clubs went down one after another and most of the time it had to do with permissions and location problems. The bunker and the e-werk locations are still in existence today. Nothing happens in the bunker anymore and the renewed e-werk looks more like a renewed office building then a place for dirty loud subculture and some events that tried to revitalize the feeling from "back then" failed completely. The Tresor was the last standing bastion for a healthy subculture scene and a sign that you could always hold up and be proud of if you where afflicted with the scene in Berlin. Techno has seen so many faces in the meantime - a rise and fall of the loveparade - the rise and fall of thousands of smaller and larger clubs - the commercialization of electronic music into the extreme and the Tresor has survived it all - financially and bureaucratically and spiritual. It was always there for giving the scene some guidance and personally - to an extent - it helped making my own personal decision to become a VJ - I am addicted to the fusion of our mammal feelings(dance, spirit) and futuristic sounds(technology) and Tresor gave those feelings a meaning - everyone who ever danced downstairs to some good techno beats could feel free for a moment - free from all chains of the modern world. This dirty loud subculture is exactly what makes spiritual survival in the modern times possible for many young overstressed people and makes many of them communicate that would sit in front of the TV otherwise. In Tresor it never mattered who you are where you came from. I have seen people wear dresses next to dirty old punks next to beatiful topless girls next to the ordinary young neighbor. They all got along and all had their own way of communication - if they didn´t want to talk they danced and they loved.
That I got the opportunity to play as a VJ in Tresor is something I will never forget and that I will always be thank-full for. My first time vjing in the Tresor/Globus (the upper part) was almost a year ago - for a Sommersafari crew birthday party - and I can tell you that I was a very happy VJ that night - it was kind of magic creeping up in telling me this is what all the work is for even though the crappy beamers never really showed much of my pictures. That the Tresor Crew was so cool to let the VJs of AVIT^C3 play there on the Wednesday before NewYears Eve and that they bought this huge kickass videowall knocked me off my shoes and was about the coolest VJJam I have ever witnessed - but what honors me most is that they trusted me to book VJs and play there for their last birthday - 4 nights true spirit for those who cared most. With Friday the most interesting day music wise I have ever experienced inside the old shopping malls money storage and entrance hall. Playing at Tresor has brought me some of the most intense tight sets I ever experienced with a wonderful open crowd.
Thank you Tresor Crew for making this happen over all this time and thank you for letting me play and be part of this wonderful 14 year long experience. Yesterday was the day to say goodbye - very personally - I celebrated and danced and had a lot of nice memories pop up in my mind - an era is over at least for me - not much will change but much will be missed.
This last saturday will be the day that either marks a new future for Berlins subculture or its sellout and slow painfull death.
Good bye Tresor and I hope that the new home you hopefully find will be filled with the same true spirit as always.

PS: I would like to thank Micha, Ralf and the whole Lighting Crew for their fantastic support during my visits and hope that we can work together again in the future.

3D display technology coming to market

3D displays are the stuff of the future that has so many implementation problems - from producing content to actually viewing it - that every single approach to market such thing has failed. For viewing either you had to view it straight from the front or you had to wear special glasses or fill the room with smoke or the ideas without this never saw the light (literally). Now there are two announcments in two days that have two approaches that I see likely to overcome the former problems.
One tech is from a company called Puredepth. This aproach sound totally logic and the implementation does not seem to hard - but its a pricey solution as they put multiple LCD displays on top of each other. They already have a 17 inch monitor product that you can buy right now.
The other one is from a much larger company but the approach sounds almost esoteric. You simulate the light behavior of reality. the company that claims the revolutionary approach is Toshiba. They have no product right now but plan to introduce products based on this "very soon". I call it vaporware until I see it you can read the press release if you can read japanese and watch some 2D photos of the 3D technology.

Drop da Bomb - Adobe buys Macromedia

What sounds like a bad April 1st joke has really happened. Grafiksoftware maker Adobe buys grafiksoftwaremaker Macromedia as heise.de reports. Everyone working in the creative field will see that this is about the worst thing that can happen as it effectivly gives Adobe the monopoly over the whole creative industry. The only real competitor to them was Macromedia that put some good products on the block to give adobe a worthy competitor. On the other side Macromedia was the more hated company. They subsequently made bad business decisions. The could have elevated flash to be a much more integrated tool by opening it up completely and trying to make it a webstandard - instead they kept it as close as possible did not go away from the binäry format for flash. With dreamweaver promising "WYSIWYG" webpublishing it always failed to produce platform independent code (most sites look good on Internet Explorer but fail to load properly on any other browser out there) but it had a market dominance in that field and LOTS of websites are produced with dreamweaver (look the code of those websites and you see why its always a bad idea to use "WYSIWYG" editors.
Adobe of course is not much better. With Photoshop steering more and more in the direction of an overbloated unstable piece of software that is targeted more and more in the direction of the consumer market (who has no use for about 98% of the functions that are present in photoshop and the Pro market has no use of 90% of the new functions in Creative Suite 2). GoLive might produce some better code in html (still far from perfect) but the usability was about as good as writing the code by hand.
The real battle between Adobe and Macromedia was always in the Publishing market. Freehand or Illustrator is the question when you are going into the field - the two programs in its core have the same output: 2d vector graphics. The approach of both is fundamentally different. One feels more like an addon to photoshop with reduced functionality as much as possible (Illustrator) the other got very bloated with tons of functions over the course of time and can now even do animations(freehand). I for one always liked Freehand - I started out on it and really liked the early versions - recently I switched as the code bloat that went on in Freehand was unbearable for users that just wanted to make 2d vector art. And there is much more about the fundamentals of those two companies and their approach to software.
I think it was just a matter of time that Macromedia got bought up. The first signs of trouble came a couple of years ago when they got bought up by company that produced server database software - a company that never had any experience in the grafiksoftware market. And from that point on Macromedia was about flash - every single decission in Macromedias software updates was circling about flash integration - and that is what made things even worse. Flash is ok - don´t get me wrong. You can make some small vector animation with it - that is great - but touting Flash as THE content delivering platform on the net is a failing approach - especially when you make it closed source and don´t let the web at large have a say on the development. Putting video into flash is like putting a Truckmotor into a Smart (ah the car car comparison). It could do more if it could carry the load in first place. Putting a closed source video codec that is five years old into a binäry container is pure bullshit.
It seems that predictions that Macromedia is tumbling blindly through corporate space seemed right and the only thing that kept them afloat was that the flash plugin was installed with every webbrowser from NS 4.0 onward. That is what Adobe is interested in - either by killing flash completely or by making the flash plugin display SVG code. That would be a good thing about the byeout. What will be bad is that adobe has completely stifled all innovation on the part of the market that was in their hands (it took them 5 years to include stupid RAW support to photoshop, it took them about the same time to include high dynamic range image support - they still have not included floating point support for image manipulation and so on and so on) now they can just sit back and relax and not worry that another company will be able to make a product that rivals Adobe in about the next 5 years - that is about as long as would take any company to make a stable product that could rival the 15 years or longer development of the existing products. Just to secure their income for the rest of all our lives adobe gets all the patents from macromedia which makes development of any other graphic tool almost impossible if you are bound to IP property laws of the US and soon Europe.
All very very bad for the creative space. I just hope Apple can set a counter example with integrating most of the image manipulation code into the OS and then let very small developers (or the content creators themself) create specified application for specific tasks very easily. Its the only way out of a Microsoft like situation on the grafiksoftware market.


Internet Censorship in China

As multiple sources report is the technology that is behind the internet censorship in China better then anywhere else in the world. That means the freedom to read or write anything critical of the upper class in Beijing is mutliplicly crippled. Yet China seems to be en vouge around the globe. A lot of people who do not like current US policy are embracing China as the last global power that could confront Washingtons military forces. Yet China kills 50 times more people on the death row each year (roughly 5.000 last year) it prepares for war and surpresses ethnical minorities. If you think I am full of it ask a Chinese student what he thinks of the Tibet problem for example. Typical answer: What problem? Everyone is living happily side by side! To see that this is not the case you just have to visit Tibet once and see the destruction that not only happened under Mao but subsequently forced relocation of the Han Chinese Minority and the laws against their freedom of religion take their toll on the whole cultural society of the Tibetans.
The students can not know - all they read and see are censored news censored to a point where all reality blurs. And yet Chinas Corporate Identity Brand is growing in acceptence around the world. Our own chancellor Schröder is considering lifting a weapons ban on the country. Let the vast military put a man in space seemed to be enough to convince the world that China is the right answer to the hegemonic power of the US. Yet in part this might be - on the other part Kapitalism is taking over in the country once so full of red thought and that brings instability - locally in provinces with ethnic minorities seeing uprisings and the few who are able to get to alternative news sources are also embracing to bring down the centralized government down and favor a decentralized model closer to that of Germany or the USA - but generally all want China to become a new western role model - a task that has not a single chance as the culture and inheritance of china is so vastly different then anything the west has to offer. Splitting China up will cause major instability in a region with over one billion people.
So maybe the hard measures from centralized Beijing are right? Maybe they should let the people stay dumb? Its a decision that is in the hands of only few people and the decision is not obvious. I would say everything they do from now on will cause instability - but freedom to let the people read what they want and be what they want might be the best option - even if it causes large scale war?!
I personally always thought that censoring the internet is a thing impossible to do but if you have many people monitoring it could at least make it hard enough that the mass population will not get precious information which makes it impossible for a large mass of people in china to get the full conclusion which gives a lot of power to the few decision makers. Should the growth in China collapse prepare for the worst down there - its cooking hot.


Tiger on 29th of April

I have no Idea if I am lifted from NDA yet but the cat is out of the sack as we say here in germany and it will fuse with your loved computer on April 29th. I think personally that it might not be such a good idea to release it now but what do I know right? There will surely be user complains about various things but the general OS is great. The new features are clearly visible everywhere. Apple has put attention to detail - cleaned up the code and has implemented new ideas which is good.
I will report more and have a new version of my special Tiger version of the "Optimizing OSX manual for live video performances" available. There are also some more prototypen gadgets in the pipeline :) I will release some of this right when Tiger ships so you can anticipate the 29th even more.


Steven Wolfram - A New Kind Of Science

Since I had to do it for our school interface anyway I will make a duplicate here on the blog. I will probably review some more classic and not so classic design and culture books here in the near future but my review qualities are really bad so see it rather as a book exploration.

Exploration number one on this blog is about Steven Wolfram - the guy who founded Wolfram Research, Inc. a company that is better known for its flagship product Mathematica. Mathematica is a very simple programming environment for people studying mathematic functions.
The book is full of mathematics of course but the real topic are Cellular Automatons. If you are not familiar with Cellular Automatons you may have heard about John Conway´s Game of Life if not go check it out. Basically Cellular Automatons are a way to discibe how things (pixels etc) live in a world full of basic rules.
Steven Wolfram has taken this subject and made a whole new brand of science out of it - or so he claims. The book is a bible. It contains 1192 pages (yes your read it right) and has hundrets of illustrations. Steven Wolfram puts a lot of efford into making us believe that we are witnessing something truly new and unique. There are million of examples of how and where Cellular Automatons can be used to solve complex and less complex problems - even to make art. He shows every detail in thousands of mathematical equations trying to back up his claim. Yet the whole topic is so simple to understand that - if you are a bit familiar and have read the first two chapters - you have no problem to follow him along. And this is where the catch comes in. Since every page contains a lot of hyped sentences you start getting a feeling that he tries to sell you something. I still have no idea if it is because he truly believes in his findings - something I tend to do as well from time to time - or if something is fishy with the whole topic and just wants to justify the book in general. The funny thing is that just yesterday I have seen an article about nanoresearch that specifically points out that Cellular Automaton Rules where used to create the Assembly - something Steven Wolfram predicts in his three year old book.
So to sum it up - if you want to learn about Cellular Automatons this is the definite resource. If you are on the hunt for A New Kind Of Science its probably to light on hard facts WHY this could lead to a science revolution. I see as an evolution of mathematics on computer systems and would not be surprised if artificial life will be based on Cellular Automatons one day - until then an interesting book for sure.

A New Kind Of Science @ amazon.com

Tagging - what and why

The question of how useful tagging really is came up during a class as part of my communication design studies. Since tagging is a very hot topic today I asked a community about tagging that is as hot as tagging: the video bloggers. I know the people who program ANT are on that list and are thinking about the tagging problem at the moment. Here are some answers to my sometimes naive questions:

While thinking about the problem of tagging it seems apparent that the diversity of tags that are user or creator defined could cause chaos and anarchy. The simplest idea is to make it hirarchical so the question that triggered it all.

Can tagging be put into a hierarchical system?

Andreas from http://www.solitude.dk wrote:
If you want a hierarchical system I think you're
probably better off using something else (since tags are flat by

Michael from interdigitate.com wrote:
so as an example, this group would create genres or whatever.... and
you make a video about rage... and its funny. so tag could be
rage_comedy, comedy being a predefined genre established by the
community. you could search for rage. you could search for comedy.
you could search for rage_comedy.

you keep the tagging as an open system, like technorati.... and
utilize it in a more localized manner with a structured reference
naming convention/taxonomy.

Is it a better idea to make an organized hirarchicial system out of the anarchic tagging?

Andreas from http://www.solitude.dk wrote:
To take a classic example: "Horse" would be classified as something like
"Animal -> Mammal -> Horse" by a zoologist (probably with more steps), but
to a economist that classification doesn't make sense. He would probably
prefer "Goods -> Animals -> Horse", and I personally might classify horse
under "Quiet Sunday Afternoons". It all depends who you are, where you
come from, what you're trying to do, what role you're playing right then
and so on.

Adrian Miles from hypertext.RMIT wrote:

it isn't anarchy. It *is* an ecology, literally and I mean that
literally. for the ecology to be viable it needs diversity. The web
is a social system first, all content on the web that gets tagged is
100% social. I tag my institutions pages describing rules because I
need to find them for students, that tag (lets called it
RMITRulesandRegulations) is sensible to me, and possibly no others.

As Andreas said, centralised taxonomies won't work, and can't, unless
we get reductionist. Once we do that, the intelligence of tagging is
destroyed. It is the opposite of existing 'tagging' because it is
idiosyncratic, bottom up etc. An example i used with students the
other day.

A book enters the library. About videoblogging. This book cannot be
catalogued under that topic heading because it doesn't exist. Under
Dewey classification it might end up in the 600s, as a technology or
800 under literature and rhetoric, or 400 under language, or 000
under generalities. Perhaps 700 since it seems to be more about the
arts. and this will probably depend on the individual librarian.
You're a student wanting this book. What topic heading would you look
after? If you wanted to learn how to do it, perhaps you'd think of it
as an art, or a technology. If you're looking for an overview,
perhaps you'd think it should hang out with the new media theory
crowd. If you're a comp sci student you'd probably think the book
ought to be near to the other technical manuals. With tagging this
decision is taken from the cataloguer to the end user. the context of
relevance as it applies to them is how it is catalogued. that's a
tag. So each user tags the same object in different ways.

This is better than excellent. It allows serendipity, sharing,
interdiscplinarity, tag browsing, and for entirely new things to form
(i follow a tag on del.icio.us and discover intriguing things that
i'd never have tagged that way). Yes, tags will become irrelevant,
die, etc. Remember, cataloguing / taxonomies largely developed at a
time when things were thought to be stable, the web is pretty much
the most unstable thing out there, so the most successful tools are
those that are as adaptable as this place.

If its an ecological system if it then survival of the fittest?

Josh Kinberg wrote:
Its not survival of the fittest, unless you're trying to create a
"popular" tag. The idea is to make things findable. So, rather than
force users to conform to a system and learn that system's vocabulary,
instead we let users create the system and design their own
vocabulary. You've got to listen to Clay Shirky on this.... totally
worth it!

a general user perspective on tagging from Raymond M. Kristiansen
(dltq.blogs.com/vlog) wrote:

As Adrian and others have noted, tags as they work today make an
ecological system, and it is interesting to see how it works out. I
recommend Jon Udell's screencast on del.icio.us in case you have not
seen it: http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2005/03/14.html#a1193"

I might have mentioned this on this list before, but another
interesting use of tags is Ross Mayfield's "indicatr". It is not
"indicator", but indicatr - a social code between those few in the
know, and who want to join in on that game. There are similar memes
out there, as Michael Meiser once blogged about on his blog (forgot
the url for that, sorry Michael)
(hah, there I triggered Michael Meiser's alert signal, I typed his
name so he will read this post because his scripts alert him. mwahaha,
thought control!!)

To me, tagging is very useful, and yet I understand some of fALK's
scepticism. However, I do not agree with this part:

my comment on the count of the taggs:
because once there are like 1 Mio. Taggers out there
there will be about every word in the dictonary be a tag - I think.
And that would make tagging useless because searching for a certain
thing would be nothing more then a text search.

Useless?! Far from it. I would LOVE to tag-browse one million tags.
Jumping, and documenting my tags-surfing. It's like a mindmap... I
will Show what I mean in a screencast of my own one day.

Today, one of my favorite hobbies is to surf the delicious-feeds of
some of my favourite bloggers/thinkers publishing online. Jon Udell
(http://del.icio.us/judell), Ross Mayfield
(http://del.icio.us/linkorama), and Howard Rheingold
(http://del.icio.us/hrheingold) are good examples of people whose bookmark collection I like to surf.

Part of the whole point is that tagging is very forgiving. There is no
little helper popping up asking you "do you Really mean indicatr? May
I suggest indicator instead?" (Like that guy in MS Word. I HATE THAT
GUY!). I can add a bookmark in my del.icio.us feed (which by the way
is at http://del.icio.us/dltq) with no tags at all, or I can enter 3,
5 or 20 tags. Tag-spamming Can be a problem, but it will be a

To me, tagging is as important as RSS, which basically means that
tagging and folksonomies will change EVERYTHING. At least how we deal
with information online.

So if tagging works for you you have to try it out. It certainly is a new way to experience the web through tags - an experience that can be rewarding or leave you lost in space. I personally start to like it more and more but still need time to see the full potential. The above comments gave me some more insight that I really needed to get into tagging at all.


Get perpendicular - 10x Hardwarestorage on the horizon

Even though I always hope that one day we will get freed from Mechanical moving parts inside a computer its still always a relieve when Harddrives as we know them today are getting bigger, faster better as my job requires LOTS of storage that should be as safe as possible. Well Hitachy - the company that bought IBMs harddrive storage unit - has a solution: Let the bits stand up instead of lay down. Sounds strange but seems an interesting concept. If you have no idea what I am talking about Hitachy has a "geeky, strange, funny, silly, ugly" flash animation that explains it to everyone - even if you have no idea how a harddrive functions. I think they should find better musicians and better hand draw artists but the general idea to transport such a difficult topic to the masses is noteworthy and very interesting concept.


Sony patents advanced Matrix Brain Koppler

Yes its seems it is future week. Today comes something totally unexpected this early in the millennium. A device that everyone who has seen one of the Matrix Films knows about: A Brain Plug. Its not quite a Plug though as you have seen in the movies. It works through ultra sonic sounds so you don´t even have to implant a port.

The pulsed ultrasonic signal alters the neural timing in the cortex…

now get this:

No invasive surgery is needed to assist a person, such as a blind person, to view live and/or recorded images or hear sounds.

If that is not something that is taken from imagination and patented "just in case we have a product in the next 100 years available" its one of the most revolutionary advances in technology I have ever witnessed. Basically it means you can now be totally immersed in a multi media landscape -> all fake and it happens right inside your brain. But I believe it when I see and test it myself. Would I test it? I think so... Sounds like one of the weirdest trips down memory lane.

original reuters article
arstechnica on the case
Slashdot bubbles as well


Bionic Eyes coming to a dealer near you

Yes artificial eyes are becoming a reality. Its no hoax and comes much earlier then anticipated by a lot of people - the eye that lets the blind see. Though its still a "camera in the glasses" version but the actual transceiver is in the retina of the patients real eye. Resolution is 100 pixel total right now and much worse then anything you expect from a normal eye. Apperently this is 100 pixels more then blind people ever saw before so it is a breakthrough. And …
… with all technology this is only the beginning. expect to see improved versions that can see better and in more spectrum then the normal human eye soon. Until you get something like this you can see how the world through an artificial eye will look like here.


Google goes VideoBlogging

A week too late for my taste google tries to grab the internet edge for themselfs again by announcing a video blogging service. It seems they do so because they want to research video searching. The current offering for video search has two shortcomings. First you need the full abstract of all spoken words to search inside the video - something that only big TV stations seems to do. Secondly you will only see still pictures of the videos - which makes the whole service totally mute.

from the advancedIPpipeline article:

Google, which already offers the Picasa service for storing and sharing digital photos and the Blogger service for blogs, wants to learn how to better sort and search video to improve the user interface for finding video data, Page said.

"It's still a long way [today] from an ideal experience," he said.


Cybernetics on the rise

Not even two years ago (I think) there was an article somewhere on the net that told the world that someone implanted a "nerve to electronics" interface in his arm and could read out movement values. Noone seemed to care but it has set the tone for a scientific research arm that once was only the region of thought for science fiction authors. Then there where a couple of announcements by Cyberkinetics Inc. that they want to try out a brain to computer interface with real humans.
Now the day has come that a paralized man can move a robotik arm just by thinking about it. Needless to say that this is only the start and that we will see significant advancement in the near future.
Would you like to have a brain implant today and just think about a text and it types in front of you inside the computer? Or an implant that visualizes the pictures you have in your head. No? We speak in 20 years again my friend - I remember you didn´t want a cellphone 10 years ago.

4337 600673

Google in Hax0r stlye:

also google typed in as cellphone number (not so cool but maybe useful):

Johannes Paul II. and Us

I know it has been beaten to death by hundreds of news sources but I would like to chime in on the death of the only Pope I have known in my short life. I am not religious in any ordinary way so this is a hard post to make and not accidently step on people toes. Besides lots of things that I wanted the Pope to address - I still liked him. Not for fiddling with politics - oh no religion and politics should be as far separated as possible. I liked the Pope because he has tried to teach one thing - that all religions on this world should come closer together because – I like him believe – that the root for all religions lies in the deep connection of our minds deep inside we are one entity struggling for survival. The roots of all religions seem to come from the same source of thought - that live is endlessly intervened and life for him was the holiest of all holy things.
The pope has been reaching out to muslim, jews, buddhists and more and it was more then just phrases to polish up his image. The deepest interconnects of all living things lies somewhere in all religions. If you ever heard the chants of tibetan monks and been in a christian church with an organ pipe you will never stop thinking that they have something in common that is not explainable with words. You somehow feel deeply connected to a bigger entity even if you do not call this entity god or buddha. Maybe all life together is this godly feeling and to change we have to embrace not the one god for selfishness but the entity that is life for all life.
Besides all his shortcomings (and this list is very long) it is this why I have deep respect for the Pope. Its this departure from monotheism that can heal a lot of wrongs in this world as we understand that we are one and have one destiny. We all live and our thoughts - even only as thoughts - will change this world forever - every single one of us does have the same power. Let his departure from the real world bring all of our thoughts closer together - life is something so wonderful and we should not waste this beautiful heavenly earth to the greed and power of some few.
Rest in Peace JPII.