20 May 2006

Flickr on the Tree of Life

accurate generalisations about
human behavior on the Tree of Life
are hard to come by
because data is limited
superficial and unreliable

but plummeting prices
for public data storage
and for semi-objective
data-capture devices
(cams, mics, etc)

open an unprecedented window on
human behavior now

millions of photographers uploading
hundreds of millions of candid pix
in a raw stream anyone can tap into [rss]

instants of gaze

point at a tourist spot
point at a flower
point at a baby
point at a pet
point at a friend

pose them in front of the tourist spot
holding the flowerbabypet
making a crazy face
making a hipster face
making a happy face
making a sane face
a funny gesture
with hand, or tongue
jump wild
flash some skin

or at a party, the mad snapper
making everyone selfconscious
(unless they already were)

human nature occasionally sneaking in
accidental private truth

15 May 2006

The game-console race

i'm not following the E3 news that closely
but there's some points that i haven't seen made

mainly that gesture recognition on the wii
will be as hard a problem as handwriting recognition

(in fact, the wii should innovate handwritten input)

because gestures have a pre-existing logic
that logic does not yet know

if you're tired
if you're hyper
if your body position changes

simple gestures become harder to distinguish

so expect a lot of frustration
as programmers/designers master this new domain

the whining about the ps3 price is a joke

people already forgot how they'd been making jokes
about buying a ps3 just for the cheap blu-ray drive

nextgen game machines can't possibly cost less to make
than top-of-the-line gaming pc's

and serious gamers will pay

but the real contest between xbox2 and ps3
will be their online experience

and sony is playing multiyear catchup there

07 May 2006

The flickrState of the artUnion

i've been scratching my head
wondering where all the flickrblogs are

but i think i've figured out why
there really aren't any...

the natural procedure
for flickrblogging is
when you see a snap you like
you add it to your blog
with a short comment

and people who share your taste
subscribe to your blog
and scan it regularly
for new discoveries
they can add too
if they have a flickrblog

and the 'blog this' button works fine
if you're willing to set up
a (free) offsite blog

but flickr itself seems to discourage
this style of blogging
because their 'add to faves' button
doesn't allow feeds, or comments
and reduces everything to
75*75 thumbnails
which are almost worthless

or the photographers themselves
can submit photos to 'pools'
with narrowed themes
which are rss-subscribable
but hardly worth the bother, because:

the quality within a theme
varies wildly

and the requirement that
photographers submit their own
amplifies the ego factor

so i fall back on
the raw feed [rss]

which is 95% uninteresting
but easy to scan for
those 5% with

which can be followed back
to the photographer's stream

(one could almost compile statistics
on the banality of users' lives
by classifying the pix they take)

on the flickr discussion boards they argue
that submitting others' photos
to a pool
invades their privacy
which seems to me
beyond absurd

(the 'blog this' button
can always be turned off)

06 May 2006

We have not yet begun to blog

every day
creative people gather for fun

making music
acting roles
making faces

sharing emotion

and more and more
these are captured

as digital stills
as digital movies
as sound files
as blogtext

and released into the public Web

currently lost among
the digital vasties

but we're still learning
to sift

to tap the raw feeds

highlight and explore
what catches our eyes

passing it along
amplified for shared communities

05 May 2006

Billion-year-old carbon on the Tree of Life

each human branch
on the Tree of Life
entwines countless carbon atoms
ingested as food
excreted as CO2
recycled continually
from branch to branch
participating in
billions of lives

each atom uniquely traceable
(in theory)
across the surface of island Earth
for four billion years, back
past the origin of the solar system

when it was captured by
Earth's new gravity
from the interstellar void
where it had drifted
for unknown billions of years

since the supernova that destroyed
its birth star

each carbon atom
with its own moment of birth
from hydrogen and helium
in one or another
unknown star's
fusion reactor

most likely within a few billion years
of the Big Bang itself
13.7 billion years ago