Archive for November 2012

And a Mitochondrion video from Circillumina

The Mitochondrion M4.2.2, as spun by Ben.

Apparently, ironically hip people have noticed that psytrance* is neither ironic or hip – A Big Night Out at… a Psytrance Rave! It is, however, fun way to have a night out dancing. That article describes it as “total aesthetic non-conformity” but that implies that the psytrance community cares enough about normality to decide to reject it. I don’t think that’s the case at all (or at least, not very often). It’s more that self-expression can explore a range of directions. By the simple law of averages, most of those directions lead in a different direction to conformity. It’s not rejection, it’s just possibility.

My direction just happens to involve excessive use of computer-controlled LEDs. That’s not because I’m rejecting fluorescent lighting, it’s because I personally think excessive LEDs are a fun challenge. Also I eventually want to spin LEDs whilst having to wear a welding mask due to those LEDs kicking out all the photons.

* – Yes, I know it’s all psybreaks/tech-funk around these parts, not psytrance, and that the tune in that vid is old-school rave, but such distinctions don’t matter at the level of the ironically hip.

Emergency eclipse viewing, or how to make a pinhole camera in a hurry

After the Transit of Venus in June, it’s a good year for things getting between NZ and the sun. Today we’ve a partial eclipse, with totality north of Te Ika-a-Māui and three-quarter coverage in Wellington.

If you don’t happen to have eclipse-specific equipment on you, then you can image an eclipse with a pinhole camera. If you don’t have a pinhole camera, you can make one: My business cards finally become useful

And a video from Circulation

Quick Circulation post/Mitochondrion progress

I wandered off to Circulation, caught up with lots of people that I don’t see often enough, made new friends, did a small amount of tissu, trapeze, yoga, slack line (hard), slack rope (ridiculously hard), and gave the Mark 4.2.2 it’s first public showing. It looked a bit like this:

For the Mark 4.2.2, I’ve switched all the pattern generators from red, green, blue to hue, saturation, and brightness, with saturation generally whacked all the way up as far as it goes. I got over myself and gave it to various people for a spin. They didn’t break it and I got to see it from the outside for once.

That’s Keir having a spin in the marquee. I’m sure the first thing that comes to mind is the refresh rate. 20 ms per update, 44 frames in the one loop in the photo, from which we can calculate that he’s spinning it at 720 degrees per second and that the camera shutter was open for half a second. What, that’s not the first thing that comes to your mind?

Having had a chance to sit and watch other people spin it, it’s clear to me that the new code generates all sorts of patterns, most of which I thought up while sitting in front of a laptop. Some work visually, some don’t, so the next stage is to work out what patterns and responses actually look good while spinning and winnow down the random spray of colour and light into a better selection. Oh, and tweaking the slower patterns to remove the bottlenecks in the generator code (floating-point divides and calls to the random function, as you’d expect), with the goal of getting the update time down to under 10, maybe under 5 ms, for bonus complexity, more interpolation in the patterns, and smoother visual flow. And more integration of the motion sensors with the patterns. And a few other things. But it’ll do for now.