there are 15 posts from November 2008

November 20, 2008

he met the walrus

“It’s all there.” (Via VSL.)

November 17, 2008

wanted: friends for the JS-909

I love JS-909, the Roland TR-909 drum machine emulator built entirely in JavaScript. After I finish a pattern, though, all I want to do is save it, share it, link to it, find and friend other people making patterns, listen to theirs, borrow and steal from them, learn from them and make more.

Instead, I’m stuck with my simple dance track that looks like this. Feel free to replicate that pattern manually and rock out with me in spirit.

November 14, 2008

it's what's for dinner

It’s Aaron Copland’s birthday (he would have been 108!), so take five minutes and listen to Hoe-Down from the Rodeo ballet. And then tonight when you get home, cook up a steak!

November 12, 2008

it's all right there

David Byrne’s long and thoughtful post on his visit to Philadelphia, the Quilts of Gee’s Bend and the work of James Castle is worth reading.

Now, one of the qualities that is often brought up to separate Castle or the Gee’s bend artists from those who more regularly show in fine art galleries, auction houses and museums is intention. It is assumed that there is an awareness and intention in a work by Warhol, Ruscha, Betcher, Polke, whomever, that is not there in someone like Castle. I would suggest that his work proves that this is just not true. His intentions may not be geared towards the same marketplace, collectors and trade publications, but aesthetically it’s all there. The response to the world, a way of looking, a seriousness, and an investigation of phenomena, thoroughly done and from multiple angles — it’s all right there.

November 10, 2008

puryear @ sfmoma

The Martin Puryear show is all its cracked up to be. I snuck a few snapshots at Friday night’s opening before the guards told me to cut it out. I like this one best…


Relatedly, Tyler Green takes the new SFMOMA website to task. “You don’t so much as see SFMOMA’s website, you hold still while it throws itself at you.” That’s good, but so is this:

San Francisco is ground zero for web and software innovation, but you won’t find evidence of that here. The museum hasn’t tried to integrate much that’s new and interesting – say, Twitter – into how it interacts with its audience, not does it provide new ways for its audience to interact with it. SFMOMA’s site is mostly more of the same.

We ran out of time and didn’t see the Participation show, but Kenneth Baker called it a “relic” in Saturday’s paper. Ouch.

November 10, 2008


I’m digging Daytum, the site from Ryan Case and Nicholas Felton “for collecting and communicating your daily data.” The UI is a bit inscrutable at first – you have to want to use it – but once you understand it you want to experiment. The data capture mechanism – and the underlying data model – is flexible enough to support multiple viz’s of the same data set, which should be fun…as long as I can figure out something more interesting to track than number of cups of coffee imbibed and number of hours slept. (Feature request – ability to layer one data set on top of another…)

November 09, 2008

paging cayce pollard

Via swissmiss comes The Future of MUJI.

MUJI is not a brand. MUJI does not make products of individuality or fashion, nor does MUJI reflect the popularity of its name in its prices. MUJI creates products with a view toward global consumption of the future. This means that we do not create products that lure customers into believing that “this is best” or “I must have this.” We would like our customers to feel the rational sense of satisfaction that comes not with “This is best,” but with “this is enough.”. “Best” becomes “enough”.

MUJI is opening stores in the US, most notably (IMHO) the MUJI to Go store at JFK International Airport.

November 06, 2008

matt webb's 100 head cattle drive

Matt Webb likes plastic cows. And he wants 100 of them. But, as he says, “there is no way I can justify to myself spending that much money on plastic cows. Really, there is no way.”

I could however justify giving that same amount of money, or more, to a worthwhile charity. That would be an easy thing. And while I personally could not justify splashing coins on plastic cattle, I would be perfectly happy encouraging 100 other people to each spend 1% of that (plus postage and packing). This is because of my willingness to take advantage of that happy human psychological miracle called out of sight, out of mind.


[this is good]

November 04, 2008

yes we can

Obama-speech-wordle visualization of Obama’s acceptance speech.

November 04, 2008

dataviz heaven

Quickest way to distract yourself from the nervousness of watching election results is to just marvel in all the data visualization bits that all the news sites are breaking out.


My favorite right now is the Times’ big board. Their map is nice, too, but I’m enjoying the state categorization and the ability to switch between different news organizations to see where their predictions stand…

November 04, 2008

a few home pages


I grabbed some screenshots of some news site home pages from around the web tonight; they’re collected in a Flickr set.

November 03, 2008

participation, silence and online works

As part of the upcoming exhibition The Art of Participation (which I’m looking forward to almost as much as the Martin Puryear show, which opens the same day), SFMOMA will be staging performances of John Cage’s 4’33” in the galleries. Also part of the show are a few online works that will tickle the memories of oldtimers, including Bumplist and Communimage.

November 03, 2008

i'm hopeful this isn't the greatest impact

Now this is interesting. Steve Schmidt, John McCain’s chief campaign strategist in the Times piece on how this campaign will change campaigning: “The great impact that this election will have for the future is that it killed public financing for all time.”

November 03, 2008


I really need to start blogging something other than the Times, but alas, here’s Virginia Heffernan on her Kindle.

I can’t seem to put it down. It’s ideal for book reading — lucid, light — but lately it has become something more: a kind of refuge. Unlike the other devices that clatter in my shoulder bag, the Kindle isn’t a big greedy magnet for the world’s signals. It doesn’t pulse with clocks, blaze with video or squall with incoming bulletins and demands. It’s almost dead, actually. Lifeless. Just a lump in my hands or my bag, exiled from the crisscrossing of infinite cybernetworks. It’s almost like a book.

November 02, 2008

meursault should have lied

I’ve been slowly making my way through Sam Taylor’s The Amnesiac, which, in short, I’d describe as “difficult reading.” But I loved this paragraph…

The next shelf contained works of serious literature belonging to James himself: novels and plays by Kafka, Melville, Camus, Beckett and Shakespeare that he had bought or been given when he was younger. It would be an exaggeration, however, to say that James had read all of these; certainly he had begun them all, but in each case he had become irritated and impatient with the protagonist’s indecisiveness, lack of common sense, apparent insanity, or sourceless melancholy. As far as James was concerned, these so-called antiheroes deserved everything they got. Surely it was obvious that the land surveyor, K, should just have forgotten about trying to reach the castle and gone home? Similarly, Ahab should have given up on trying to catch the white whale and gone home; Meursault should have lied; Vladimir and Estragon should have left Godot a note and gone to the pub; and Hamlet should have just made up his mind.