Watch Repeat, Don’t Repeat


Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

  • George Santayana

I’ve got news for Mr. Santayana: we’re doomed to repeat the past no matter what. That’s what it is to be alive.

― Kurt Vonnegut

I though I was hitting week one in the village running, I’ve already, settled in, done a little prep, started some investigations and visited the office and filled in the forms.
I also had a strange psychological experience which seems to be par for the course.

I got a bit of a shock reading this weeks diversions. Lots too do!

I had started to review the video records of number 6 with a view to developing a plan, the office seems to have a different approach to the reels which I’ll have to follow. After starting watching The Dance of the Dead, I’d agree with:

  • Although aired originally as episode 8, many sources recommend viewing this as episode 2.

from: Dance of the Dead (The Prisoner) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, number 6 says, he is new and it feels like repeated phrases from the series, I’ll be seeing you are emphasized more than other episodes. I can only suppose that the official order was created to confuse rather than illuminate.

My aims and methods are still basically the same, rather that taking an intellectual approach to escaping I am going to concentrate of finding out how the village works, what lies behind the rational. My methods will be to approach the problem via the automated, serendipitous and random I will give a little information (not INFORMATION) about these methods as I go.

The idea being to understand. Number 6 went through some terrible ordeals continually butting his head against Number 2, my approach is to keep my head down, investigate The Village without leaving my room.

As I watch the other occupants of The Village arrive I am somewhat puzzled that they seem to be taking on roles in the village. Have they already become part of number 2’s team, or have I miss understood something basic?



The Postman’s Noir Cat

Not got much time for typing. Just finished working through this week’s demands. Strange things afoot. I am no sure how seriously to take cats in a story. But you have to do some research in this business no matter how strange. I’m not making the right connections but some things are aligning up….



And this is what I am hearing:

The audio was knocked up in a few minutes, Paul has a nice voice. The technique I used will be in a post tomorrow or the day after. I am planning a supercut tutorial too.

Practising Reflection

Fearless Reflection
Fearless Reflection by Sandy Brown Jensen

I thought I’d have a wee go at Mariana’s Art on the Couch process.

Mariana is carrying out the project to learn about critiquing art, and:

Critique is often most instructive for the person offering it. In looking at other people’s work, and formulating your opinion of it, you’re learning a great deal.

Mariana is committing to do one per week, I think I might try one a month, so this is November’s.

Anyway here goes, following Mariana’s questions.

1. What stands out the most when you first see it?
My eye is drawn first to the central figure. The first thing that stands out is is the watercolour effect and overall warm colours.

2. Explain the reason you notice the thing you mention in number 1.
The unexpected blur on a mirror is disconcerting or makes me think. I expect sharpness from a mirror. The gaze of the figure seems to be going past my left shoulder.

3. As you keep looking, what else seems important?
I go next to the brown vertical on the left.

My eye then roams around the other objects on the wall surrounding the mirror finishing on the chair.

4. Why does the thing you mention in number 3 seem important.
This vertical gives the image depth, along with the chair back. They give me the feeling that I am looking across the room diagonally to the mirror.

5. How has contrast been used?
The figure in the mirror and the mirror frame push the figure inside the mirror, this pulls me into the frame and to the figure eyes.

6. What leads your eye around from place to place?
The green, white & red curtains, then the brown right left hand vertical, some sort of hanging brown object on the top left wall give great depth, the mirror frame more giving a feeling of looking in on the figure who is looking out.

The face mask on the right of the mirror seems to be floating off the wall. I wonder if it’s eyes are closed.

7. What tells you about the style used by this artist?
The water colour effect brings a dreamy informality to the picture. A romantic view.

8. What seems to be hiding in this composition and why?
Is the figure being slightly reserved, not meeting the viewer’s eyes?

For all her casualness her gaze is serious.

9. Imagine the feelings and meanings this artwork represents?
Although the figure looks pensive the colours are relaxed, calm and contemplative.

10. What other titles could you give this artwork?
Deep in quiet thought.

11. What other things interest you about this artwork?
I wonder about the note, or sheet of paper at the bottom left of the mirror. What is on it, sheet music? Is it jammed by the chair.


 _________  ________  _________  ________  ___       ___           ___    ___ 
|\___   ___\\   __  \|\___   ___\\   __  \|\  \     |\  \         |\  \  /  /|
\|___ \  \_\ \  \|\  \|___ \  \_\ \  \|\  \ \  \    \ \  \        \ \  \/  / /
     \ \  \ \ \  \\\  \   \ \  \ \ \   __  \ \  \    \ \  \        \ \    / / 
      \ \  \ \ \  \\\  \   \ \  \ \ \  \ \  \ \  \____\ \  \____    \/  /  /  
       \ \__\ \ \_______\   \ \__\ \ \__\ \__\ \_______\ \_______\__/  / /    
        \|__|  \|_______|    \|__|  \|__|\|__|\|_______|\|_______|\___/ /     
 ________   ___  ___  ________  ___       _______   ________  ________        
|\   ___  \|\  \|\  \|\   ____\|\  \     |\  ___ \ |\   __  \|\   __  \       
\ \  \\ \  \ \  \\\  \ \  \___|\ \  \    \ \   __/|\ \  \|\  \ \  \|\  \      
 \ \  \\ \  \ \  \\\  \ \  \    \ \  \    \ \  \_|/_\ \   __  \ \   _  _\     
  \ \  \\ \  \ \  \\\  \ \  \____\ \  \____\ \  \_|\ \ \  \ \  \ \  \\  \|    
   \ \__\\ \__\ \_______\ \_______\ \_______\ \_______\ \__\ \__\ \__\\ _\    
    \|__| \|__|\|_______|\|_______|\|_______|\|_______|\|__|\|__|\|__|\|__|   
  ________  ___       ___  ___  ________                                      
 |\   ____\|\  \     |\  \|\  \|\   __  \                                     
 \ \  \___|\ \  \    \ \  \\\  \ \  \|\ /_                                    
  \ \  \    \ \  \    \ \  \\\  \ \   __  \                                   
 __\ \  \____\ \  \____\ \  \\\  \ \  \|\  \                                  
|\__\ \_______\ \_______\ \_______\ \_______\                                 

For the last couple of commutes I’ve been hooked by a ~.

(I am cross posting this at my mainly educational blog and my ds106 one because I think this is so interesting.)

It started when I read I had a couple drinks and woke up with 1,000 nerds which touches on some many interesting things, online identity, ownership, internet history and made me think about about community, teaching about the web and some of the posts Jim Groom has be posting recently (/~space for example).

The set up by Paul Ford while drinking is

not a social network it is one tiny totally standard unix computer that people respectfully use together in their shared quest to build awesome web pages

It mirrors what was the standard way to give university folk accounts and allows users to work on a remote computer through the terminal, communication and creating web pages. You will get a much better idea by reading the post and going to and clicking some links.

It looked interesting enough to have a shot, but I had arrived at the party a little late. Fortunately there are other tilde clubs springing up and I got in to as ~troutcolor.

All I’ve done so far is created a webpage, set up a blog and visited other members pages. I had a quick chat on the commandline with ~maze who answered some questions.

Hopefully I’ll use the blog to document what I am learning as I go. I am certainly learning. I’ve use a terminal now and then locally on my mac and even very occasionally to play with my Raspberry Pi, but this is quite different. I find myself strangely drawn to the process. For some of the users on the tilde clubs nostalgia is a reason for being their, I missed that whole section of computer history as I started late. Any webpage creation I’ve done has been by uploading files via FTP or by using blogging software or social media. The ~tilde clubs work in both a older and modern modern way. I’ve noticed similarities in the way the developers for glow blogs work, not ftp for them, they talk of git, and are often logged into some cloud server via a terminal.

There are other interesting features emerging on totallynuclear and other tilde clubs I hope to get the courage up to try the IRC chat soon.

What could it be good for

Apart from fun which is a good enough reason.

Given that I an a teacher I wonder if this could be a good way to teach pupils/students about the web. I don’t think that there is anything Perhaps cover some technology history and web literacy. Although the technology is not very shiny and new it does feel quite exciting. It also, to some extent, remove a veil from the technology and perhaps could loosen the ties to silos.

What does it look like?

This is a very short screencast just touching on the basics, which is all I know at the present.

Starters for 10

Some links to interesting totallynuclear things:

Why Gif?

There is an interesting conversation going on over in the DS106 google group. Sandy Brown Jensen makes some great points which finish with

So for me it has nothing to do with the aesthetics of the gif itself and more to do with crafting a context where placing a gif makes sense.

.Sandy has a great riff in her first column which I’ll leave readers to read in context, but here basic question is:

First of all, figure out your objectives in the cognitive realm, i.e. why do you want to make a gif at all?

This is a question that I sort of asked a while back, But is Gif Art? and had a couple of good answers in the comments. I’d like to expand my ideas here with a few examples. I am sticking to gifs I’ve made, there are a ton of better examples on the

Before I started DS106, like many I though of gifs as the under construction images from geocities websites of the last century. It took me a while to come round.

I had been reading and following ds106 mostly through Jim Groom’s blog when
on a rainy afternoon I wrote:

One of the things that the ds106 folk have been doing is creating animated gifs from very short sections of movies. I am still not sure if I see the whole point of this, but it becomes a very addictive process.

The above gif is, I think, the first one I published, I like it because it isolates an emotion from a movie I like a lot, to me it is some sort of visual commentary on the movie. I was also interested in the process of creating gifs, and this involved some creativity (perhaps not artistic) as I designed my own method.
Later that year I Joined DS106 I had by then been inspired by ds106 and this joined up some dots for me. At that point I could rip a gif from a movie and was mostly interested in keeping the file size down!

This gif is a celebration of DS106 and the energy of Jim Groom in particular, it is 8 frames that I returned too again and again and eventually made a small ds106 meme.

Jim’s Excellent Ted Adventure, Jim in the Air(plane) and Dancing Jim Over the World. These are part joke, part riff on various ideas, they do not tell a story in themselves but become part of a community story that both celebrates Jim and pokes some fun.

I hope the next gif did tell a story, it tries to show a different side of Jack Kerouac.

Most of the Kerouac I’ve seen have been chat show footage with a drunk Kerouac. This clip shows his gentler side.

Like many other folk who watch and enjoy old gangster films, I’ve giffed a few gunshots in my time, I usually feel a bit uneasy about this. It is easy in the relative safety of Scotland, with unarmed police and little gun crime to be complacent, this gif plays with that sentiment:

Over the course of a few rounds of DS106 I’ve become a regular giffer, I’ve a Tumblr full, some from ds106 assignments, some just for fun, some created from movies and some in various other ways. Some are saying look at this, is it not interesting or beautiful. Some are jokes, some are experiments with software, some play with the random and serendipitous. Some have made me see in a different way, to think a bit more visually. Some just provide some relaxation, finding a nice clip spotting a giffable moment, digging it out, optimising it is just nice.

This one is from a film I love and have giffed a few times, Il Gattopardo, the film is made at a different speed that most hollywood offerings, I hope the gif tells some of that.

The next one was, to me, interesting for a couple of reasons, one, it explains something, or give a view and two to make it I created a system so that I can knock similar gifs up in a few seconds when needed to help discuss or explain something.

Ds106 gifs are social, gifs often seem to asks to be reused, remixed, pinged and ponged between groups, there is a special joy when your gif is mixed into something else.

I am not a particularly visual person, as I worried in my first ds106 post:

I am a wee bit nervous about jumping into something that requires visual creativity. While I am happy enough editing images, audio and video I am not good at visual thinking or design.

I preferred podcasting to video because it avoids the difficulties of the moving image. Gifs have given me a way to play with visual elements, think about them notice thing I would have missed and keep alert for the possibilities scrolling by.

I hope that someone, Sandy?, looking a  the first page or two of my tumbling would get a sense of some purpose, fun and diversity rather than things that are mindless and crazy-making as any uncontrollable tic, or at least enjoy the madness around:

For me, instinctively & briefly, gifs are at the heart of #ds106  driven by energy originating from Jim Groom and riffed through the participants. They can disrupt patterns of thought and play havoc with our idea of what a ‘story’ is.