Threading Bullets


A the end (or endless end) of the headless ds106 course, Mariana published a wonderful reflection on her tumblr DS106 in 106 posts and 106 bullets published at 1:06.

Mariana and I have been musing on a collaborative project based on the list. As she commented on her own post:

* An exclusive Radio Show planned to unpack the ideas ‘Golden DS106 bullets’ with guests in the hot seat and in conversation with the hosts (surprise for #DS106Radio next year)

Being connected to DS106 the first thing to do is to make some art, Paul has already started 106 Bullets, and I started playing this weekend. I had commented on the post:

This is just brilliant. 106 prayer beads. You have brought depth to headless ds106. These bullets would be great as a initial reading for ds106 or as a series of meditations during a round.

So I am riffing on beads & bullets, mantras & koans. The image at the top came is a wee photoshop experiment, I spent some time googling on how to wrap an image round a cylinder, after a tour of some that used the 3D menu I settled on warping a layer following: Warp Tool Effect – Photoshop Tutorials –
I am afraid I still find Fireworks easier to use so imported this image it Fireworks for the duplication. I am now managing to use photoshop for selection as the tools are a lot better than Fireworks. (I am of course barely scratching the surface of photoshop’s power).

Next I started thinking of bumpers, still on bullets and messed about with Garageband a wee bit:

Using – “Gunshot2.wav” by alukahn.

I was still wondering about the 3D tools in photoshop so started playing. I found I could make a bead from the DS106 Skull and Crossbones:
This was really easy, I make a 2×2 grid of the image grouped and then from the 3D menu choose New Shape from Layer -> Sphere I had one bead. I then duplicated it and rotated it with the tools from the 3D palette so I had half a dozen beads. This opened in Fireworks for some duplication.

I posted these images to the DS106 google plus group and got some interesting feedback: John Johnston – Google+ – pile of ds106 beads. Almost enjoying a little photoshop,…
Some of this was a distaste for bullets and skulls. I understand this, especially the bullets, I’ve giffed a few gunshots out of movies but it can feel a bit odd. (I do like thrillers and movies with guns though). I am happy to live somewhere where guns are mostly contained in fiction. With the Skull and crossbones I am a lot more relaxed, thinking of romantic piracy. Interesting to keep these thoughs need the surface and not get carried away. Hopefully the flowers, if not the skulls, will indicate that my bullets are peaceful and metaphorical puns.

Finally I though it might be nice to animate the beads:


This was the first pass. I am using my old friend SuperCard, a mac scripting application. I made 6 graphics, one for each of the different beads, these were duplicated until I had 106 beads on the ‘card’.
SuperCard makes it easy to manipulate object. I wrote a script to put each graphic on a random space on the card. Another change the size of the beads at random. Finally one to move each bead a small random amount and dump an image of the card to the disk. Looping through that a few times gave me a set of jpegs. There were taken into fireworks to be distributed to frames and exported as an animated gif.
As an example of how simple SuperCard is, here is the script to randomly move a graphic:

on randomMove n
get the loc of bg grc n
add random(60)-30 to item 1 of it
add random(60)-30 to item 2 of it
set the loc of bg grc n to it
end randomMove

Almost english!
I am thinking of changing this a bit, to roll the beads around and change their postion front to back, I might get some interesting gifs from this.

Can We live Outside Google?

It is only those who do nothing who makes no mistake.

― Pyotr Kropotkin, Anarchism: A Collection of Revolutionary Writings

This daily create started out with the memory of the common Anarchy graffiti, with the A is a circle.

Anarchy by Jonas B

I presume that I must have had the definition in the back of my mind.

I thought I’d plant a giant A over the Wikipedia screenshot.
On my iPad I took a screenshot and opened in in brushes. At that point I though it might be nicer to use a relevant quotation and of course though of:

If I can’t dance it is not my revolution.

I decoded to do it as a gif and started writing exporting to my photo library as I went.

When I got to ‘dance’ I changed it to gif.
I imported these images into 5seconds, which I find the best ios gif app and made a gif.
Unfortunately the speed slider did not work this time (too many frames?) to I needed to export to Dropbox and open on a mac in fireworks.
Once in fireworks I set the frame rate and did a very quick edit on the colour of gif.


I decided not to post the image to flickr as I really do not like putting gifs there. Given this was throwaway I just posted it to Google+
I’ve been really enjoying the ease of using google plus for ds106 as well as being dissatisfied with it’s locked in nature. I had even been musing about blogging about it and thinking about possible systems that could replace it. Given the amount of conversation in g+ in this round of ds106 compared to blog comments it is pretty obvious that a lot of folk love it.

And my gif got comments, and I got called out:


Quite rightly so. Hopefully the short notes above are enough to cover the daily create. Google plus is another matter.

 Google Plus’ minuses

When I first joined g+ I did not like the experience. To much, to confusing. It was only when I started using it for community activity, first with etmooc, then Mozilla webmakers and now the headless round of ds106 I begin to see how it could be used. The way it can pul different sources together quickly and easily and the simplicity of adding comments makes it an addictive experience.
The first flaw appeared quite quickly, in etmooc I was happily clicking plus one to keep a track of posts I was interested in. In a browser to eg a link to the post you need to pop a menu, choose link to post and then copy the link that shows up. You then need to click ‘done’. Not quick. There is no feed or api for getting information out of G+.
Earlier in the round of ds106 I complained about this, I tried to avoid commenting in google for a week and following the blog flow, but after a while I found that it was the easiest place to follow the action. I still don’t like the fact comments on my posts don’t stick with the post, I am afraid I like comments, conversations and ideas from others. So I end up in g plus, living for the moment, losing my history.

I think one of the reasons that g plus has worked so well for the headless ds106 is that we have a pretty small class size. I do not think it would work so well if more people were posting, but I could be wrong.

The differences between g+ and twitter include a couple of things that are relevant here, the #ds106 tweets are lost in my timeline, I follow too many folk to see much of what passes. I could just run a search or keep one alive in tweet deck but I don’t use tweet deck any more. The other difference is that twitter, despite killing the RSS feeds does have an api, this means something could be built on top of it or it could have been built in.

I really hate the way g+ is designed to keep you locked in, to have such useful facility and not have any easy way to share on another system might be good business for google but it grates against my idea of a fee, open and loosely joined web. Unfortunately for me the people involved in ds106, their activities and generosity keep pulling me back.

What would be great would be something that functioned like g+ but was open and sharable with RSS/APIs etc. If it both posted comments to and displayed comments from the original sources. Of course this would be a can of worms. Some blogs have comment feeds that would work out ok. Then there is youtube, where my comments now seem to be linked to google plus, more problematic, flickr and twitter would need different methods.

A start along these lines might be something like my DS106 Activity Dashboard (very much the beginning of an idea)

After all this thinking I need a couple of quick triple trolls to clear my head:



Headless Week 4 – on a break

I was on holiday this week. I did have broadband in the cottage I was staying in, but was out and about most days away from a connection. This meant that I didn’t do much any of the listening required for Headless ds106 Week 4: Introduction to Audio- Listening First. I normally listen to audio when commuting. I did manage to here most of the first Scottlo archive and have the others queued up in instacast (my podcatcher) for listening next week.

Daily Creates

I did pretty well with these:

Please specify a Flickr ID for this gallery

I was taken to task by Tina, for not reading the instructions, so I’ve put that right (not sure if right is the appropriate word).

I also completed the What is Philosophy to you? Record an audio definition in 30 seconds or less create:

and yesterday’s video:

I had a lucky accident in the video, I was trying to keep to the one take rule and making a ‘cut’ I swiped across the lens with my thumb to make the cut. On opening the shutter (my thumb) again I gor an interesting fade in from headless by an accident of light, here is the gif:
ghostin 1
Quite strange.
I also made a bumper, messed around with NiceCast and figure out a useful mobile broadcast workflow for ds106 radio (and other icecast servers).
I made a shot 10-10-10 chicken podcast, where I did talk a wee bit about listening to audio, so that might do for the reflective bit this week;-)

Chicken Nice

A few notions around the use of audio and some notes on nicecast.

advancednicecastusage – sirdarkstar
ds106 – Community – Google+

After all the nicecast changing and testing of effects I’ve been doing the audio on this one is pretty rough.
I also got some, quite a few, sections of silence.
Screen Shot 2013-09-21 at 20.31.59
Not sure where they came from, I am putting it down to nicecast flakyness, perhaps due to the fact I’ve been hammering it (had a crash just before broadcast).
download chicken-nice.mp3

Mel Blank and sound effects Man – Chicken farm song Creative Commons license: Public Domain.
Gif from NYPL Labs : Stereogranimator.

Week Three: comments and code

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I think I have started to find my level with the headless course.

I am not trying to do it all. Each week I aim to do a few daily creates, one thinking post and one assignment and a chicken cast.
I also hope to post several comments on other blogs.

This week I’ve been thinking of comments quite a lot. The podcast Chickens Clucking discussed this and gained some interesting comments, mostly on G+.

I’ve been mixing in a bit of html, css and javascript this week. Starting with the image on the What’s the story? post. I then added a we bit of css to the blog via the WordPress Google Fonts Plugin this let me avoid thinking to much by adding notes in ‘handwriting’ rather than writing a real post.
There was no real assignment this week, but we were encouraged to tackle a five card flickr story. Again I diverted myself with some css and javascript to make a slide show from the story.
I wonder if an html/css/javascript section would be good in ds106, I’d be interested in what others think.

I meant to do a bit more reading, thinking and commenting today, but I started playing with my new raspberry pi. That took a lot more than I expected.

The best thing this week has been reading other folks posts and comments, too many to mention given the late hour here. As usually it is amazing to see folk come together online. I’ve been trying to read a few about pages too, fascinating to find out the back story of some fellow learners.

Next week is the intro to audio I am not sure if I’ll be doing much. I am off for a few days holiday and don’t know if I’ll have an internet connection. I am also aiming to spend as much time outside and disconnected as the weather allows.