r _Web.log

tag: hackpact

Hackpact 2009/09/#30: Million particle snowstorm


So, it's the last day of the month-long hackpact that has motivated the almost-daily posts here for the past 30 days. Many have been missed, many have been lame, but it was an enjoyable process and triggered a lot of mini-works that wouldn't have come about otherwise.

The final hack is a relatively grand one, though still a work-in-progress: to celebrate the newfound power of my freshly upgraded computer and its Geforce 9600M GT, a million-particle snowstorm, whipping around the screen at 60fps and gratuitously mapped onto a sphere for good measure. The low framerate Vimeo capture unfortunately doesn't do it justice, but I'm still seeking a more satisfying method of capturing motion graphics from OS X.

Particle globe

Hackpact 2009/09/#29: Multiple bouncing windows in Processing

[icon] BouncingWindows.pde

Bouncing windows Another Processing hack following a tweet by Marius Watz: little borderless windows flying around the screen. At least on OS X, the slowdown is sufficient that it begins to creak to a halt with more than a handful, but fun (if essentially useless) sketch.

Hackpact 2009/09/#25: Dagstuhl creativity writeup


Final push on getting together this belated report on the Dagstuhl seminar Computational Creativity: An Interdisciplinary Approach I attended a couple of months ago. Features such diagrammatic gems as the attached, depicting ongoing interactions in group improvisation.

Hackpact 2009/09/#23+24: Peal

K http://www.twitvid.com/9A638

It's alive and ringing. Watching local bellringers play the laser-controlled campanile on the opening night was enthralling. Many stone-cold miracles contributed, as did the ladder-bound feats of Leeds City Museum's A/V crew (thanks, Rick!).

Better quality documentation coming soon.

Hackpact 2009/09/#22: Wordpress CSS skinning for Telegramme


Been working with the great folk at Telegramme to aid them in getting their new design portfolio webified. This means translating their beautiful Photoshop comps into standards-compliant (almost), usable and accessible HTML/CSS, wrapped around a WordPress backend, complete with Twitter integration and smooth DHTML feature spots — which were today's hacks. Mostly there - launch party early October...

Hackpact 2009/09/#21: Analogue tomfoolery with EMS VCS3: 'The Putney'

[icon] hackpact_21.mp3

The first (and, most likely, last) analogue hackpact entry: a gleeful hour spent playing with "The Putney", more commonly known as the Electronic Music Studios VCS3 (courtesy of James). The unit's matrix-based routing is quite unlike any modular or integrated interface I've seen before, more akin to a strange, solitary game of Battleships.

It's also pretty well-equipped for an antiquated monosynth, with a sexy radiophonic spring reverb, ring modulation and input channels to modulate arbitrary audio inputs. Capable of some screaming 60s tones, and very, very addictive.

(audio CC available as by-nc)

Hackpact 2009/09/#20: Colour fader (Processing)

[icon] colourfade.zip

Another small Processing class developed for Peal, ColourFader takes an array of colour values and smoothly interpolates between them through a series of calls to its get() method.

This is intended for the Peal visualization's idle mode, which acts as a kind of screensaver, drifting from side to side and cycling through its internal colour scheme. It's sorely tempting to include some kind of hidden disco-lighting easter egg...

Hackpact 2009/09/#19: Arc spring (Processing)

[icon] arc.zip

An absence from technology turned out to be less amenable to hacking than hoped; even with the presence of an iPhone, concocting half-baked hacks to twitpic from a Dorset field was less appealing in practice than in theory. Apologies, therefore, for the break in hackpact programming. Service hereby resumes.

arc spring Today's hack is a small Processing sketch to simulate objects moving around on a spring-like arc around a central point. It's a simple implementation of Hooke's law plus trigonometry, but creates pleasantly natural-looking dynamics which are useful, in my case, to spin camera angles around a point with some damping.

This is more rapid work-in-progress for PEAL, appearing at the Sonic Arts Expo in Leeds very shortly.

Hackpact 2009/09/#7: t+7, a Twitter adaptation of an Oulipo method


t+7 is the project that the previous two hackpact entries have been contributing towards: a simple but endlessly amusing Twitter adaptation of the Oulipo n+7 (or "s+7") method, that, according to Raymond Queneau's definition, "consists in replacing each noun with the seventh following it in a dictionary" (source).

Some samples:

@TINAErecords Bloody helm. Puce Imbecile Limpidity have reformed.
@alexandervelky Spheroid can survive up to 72 housebreakings inside a wombat. #thoughtfortheday
@LDN "I celebrated my 40th bday by cataloguing birdseed feldspars. Next yell I'm hoping for sexual interferon. And a calcification"

Hackpact 2009/09/#6: Pluralizing English nouns in Python

[icon] plurals_en.txt

As part of the Django/Twitter-based hackpact project mentioned yesterday, I need to be able to generically pluralize English nouns. This is a distinctly non-trivial job, given the vast array of irregularities and unusual inflections in the English language: think tooth/teeth, vertex/vertices, stimulus/stimuli, wolf/wolves, starfish/starfish, mother-in-law/mothers-in-law. The linguistics and algorithms behind this process process has been written about by Damien Conway for a related Perl module. Today, I have been porting the same process to Python, based on a simpler example from the Dive Into Python reference.

The datafile in its current format is attached. I'll publish the rest of the code (and reveal the underlying plan!) when the project is completely, hopefully in tomorrow's session...