aLife 2.0 Beta

A video for aLife 2.0 Beta which is about finding and trying out a new life for yourself. The video uses clips from  “Charley in New Town”, a 1948 film from the Central Office of Information promoting the new planned towns being built. They must have seemed wonderful at the time, and some of them have held up pretty well since.

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Political Compass

Inspired by Ruth Dudley Edwards here I have just taken the Political Compass Test here with the result that I find that although the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela might find me a bit authoritarian, no other among the current world leaders would. I also found that although a bit centre right compared to them, Ed Miliband would find me a sopping wet lefty. Oh the shame of it!

For reference my scores were :-

Economic Left/Right: 1.88
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -1.69

I shall follow Ruth’s habit and check back from time to time to see how my instinctive responses are moulded by current affairs. It’s an interesting way of looking at where your opinions lie in something more in-depth than the usual left-right scale.

Infinite Music

The mighty and brilliant Brian Eno (Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno to his teacher when she was cross with him) is probably the best known pioneer of mainstream ambient and generative music. He is of the opinion that our grandchildren will find recorded music unlistenable – “You mean you used to listen to the same thing over and over again?”.

I’m not so sure, I mean obviously he’s right … he’s Brian Eno and I’m not, but maybe we’re not ready yet. I like familiar books and music, the anticipation of a favourite bit is every bit as satisfying as an anticipated favourite meal or punchline.

Anyway, until generative music comes into its own we have the Infinite Jukebox. This natty bit of software takes a song and analyses it for beats, and matches those surrounded by similar tempo, volume and timbre. It then plays the song randomly branching whenever it comes to a point with a matched point or points elsewhere. It can therefore run, potentially infinitely. I fed it a new track I have just about finished which has quite a lot of rhythmic repetition (Its about running) and it works quite well although there seems to be a stomping / ticking when it plays which is not in the original. Anyway it’s a bit of fun and there’s a lot more music to try out as well. My track “Running stitch” can be found here .

It may be advisable to tell a friend or leave a note when visiting the site as you may end up in a hypnotic trance if you inadvertently choose something like Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”.

More popcorn

I “Improved” the Popcorn Maker video linked in the last post, deleted the original, updated the link in the post to point to the new one, only to find out that the improved version didn’t work. It took a mere matter of hours to establish that if you cut and paste text with matching “smart” quotes, (The 66 99) ones rather than the rabbit ears (“), and the quoted text contains other quotation marks, it just hangs on the opening screen. If you choose to have a play or re-mix it, bear this in mind when you enter text. I think it is working OK now.

If you are wondering why you might bother to have a go at what looks like a web based PowerPoint, there’s a lot more to it. Of course what I have done is just like a PP presentation, but I didn’t have to download or upload any pictures or media, they’re all just links filled in at run-time. Since they are all links, and the links can be viewed by anyone re-mixing, there are no apparent copyright issues with using links to flickr or similar, providing flickr provides you with the link. Cleverer people without things to promote are doing all sorts with Popcorn Maker and interactive controls, embedded maps and such. Good luck to them I say and worth a look.