Having the vending machine throw a momentary ‘obstacle’ is something that makes the story more interesting? The Significance of Plot Without Conflict, by Still Eating Oranges, elaborates on the relevance of Kishōtenketsu, the conflictless Japanese four-act narrative structure, and on how teaching the Western conventional three-act structure as The Sole Narrative Structure shapes people’s worldview.

Back when I was still studying film, no question irked me as much as “where is the conflict?”, as if there was no other choice. And I never really got the hang of having conflicts shape my films.

Humanae by Angelica Dass.

Besides being an interesting photography project, I find this really useful. One of the perils of color correction work is that after a while one starts to question how certain colors (for instance: skin) are supposed to look like. Not only your sight adapts to certain hues (blue-ish, orange-ish, etc.) until they seem neutral, but after a while you find yourself in a position similar to someone who repeats the same familiar word out loud until it seems strange and meaningless. So, no matter how good and calibrated your monitor is, objective electronic assistance is very much needed (if available, the vectorscope function is your best friend), and having a list of skin tones at hand can help — not forgetting one should always ask “what color is this skin under this light?”, a question that some decline to answer(via Designboom)

I can’t help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter.

Tim Kreidler on The ‘Busy’ Trap. If you haven’t read this article yet you should, right now. You really have the time.

Science news this week are all about the almost certain discovery of the Higgs Boson. From what I gather that’s big news, even if my understanding of particle physics is also in an infinitesimal scale, so I go with the explanation that the finding of the Higgs particle closes and vindicates the Standard Model of particle physics in pretty much the same way the discoveries of elements such as Gallium, Ytterbium or the noble gases in the late 19th century vindicated the atomic model and Dmitri Mendeleev’s periodic table.

However, I find myself in utter lack of awe at such discoveries. I think it’s sad all cutting-edge science nowadays seems to deal with the negative Powers of Ten, the infinitesimal, starting at nano and working its way down. It feels as if Mankind is retreating, into Earth, into tinier and tinier spaces. That’s not to say the study of the infinitesimal isn’t interesting and without awesomeness — just look up stuff on quantum levitation or Bose-Einstein condensates — but we also need to look at the stars — at the positive powers — for inspiration.

Hence The Voyagers by Penny Lane. Go watch it in silence. Let’s not retreat into tiny holes in the ground.

This cartoon depicts something I find so annoying it’s sad rather than funny. A rather nasty variation of this creative forgetfulness happens to me a lot whenever I need to write (or design, or code, or edit) something difficult: I’m in the shower and I feel I come up with entire paragraphs of articulate, efficient wonderfulness, but then I sit down and it feels stilted, cumbersome and inadequate. The worst part is I have no idea if my thinking in the shower was rubbish to begin with and couldnt stand the test of being commited to physical existence, or if indeed I did forget it.

Perhaps I need a waterproof voice recorder. (via Inky)

I’m pretty late to the Instagram bandwagon, but after seeing a friend using it I was convinced that anything that makes me want to take pictures can’t be all that bad.

So. I’m @eduardojmorais there. I also set up a Tumblr automatically synchronized to Instagram, as an improvised web interface: Caixote de Fotografias.

Synesthesia by Terry Timley (2009). A wonderfully surreal short film.


This is my thousandth post on Tumblr, entry number 1945 on my stream. If I printed all these posts and entries, averaging one post per page, I’d have a pretty thick book by now — almost two thousand pages of randomness. However, considering I’ve been adding stuff to my blog since April 2001 that doesn’t seem all that impressive. In fact, considering that I have had my Tumblr since March 2007 the fact it took me five years to reach post one thousand actually characterizes me as a Tumblr dilettante: perhaps I should really give away my nice Tumblr username to one of those teens who routinely ask me for it (not that I would — if I bother replying my first answer is still ‘no’ and my second is still ‘fuck off’).

The fact that I’ve been a weblogger / tumblrer / twitterer / data entry hobbyist in modest quantities for such long periods of time without ever closing or restarting my web records from scratch allows me to appreciate change. Not surprisingly, my posting style changed dramatically through the influence of the tools I used to write and post. Whereas before I had a HTML text box as my interface, using Tumblr (with its predefined types of content) and its API as a content management system for my own weblog brought a profound shift (compare January 2007 to March 2007). A new style took years to crystalize, and is still ever crystalizing. The tools’ influence lies in the surface however — the kind of posts I make —, but obviously time is the factor in the greatest shifts in what goes in each post. A graph for my changing attitude could be traced, from naïve idiot to whatever I am now, which I hope is better.

A Web.

Back in 1999 you could learn almost everything you, the young web developer, needed from a book such as Webmaster in a Nutshell. Those simple times (the 1990s — simple!) are now long over. Much as days’ worth of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, now it seems as if college degrees’ worth of web technologies are invented every week. I feel as if the Technological Singularity arrived, and I (we?) lost the grip on History. However, instead of a single machine intelligence, some Cray-like box, simulating and running away with the Future, I feel there’s this distributed Singularity, part made of machine and part made of highly-focused individuals who are able to surf the technological zeitgeist for a brief amount of time until they wipeout — highly-skilled, motivated, caffeinated workers who are like the human cogs in Amazon’s Mechanical Turk: people programming machines that program people that program machines, the Singularity created of this runaway ressonance that also concentrates wealth and employement.

Perhaps the Web needs less builders, just enough architects and more planners.

The above illustration was made with this small Processing sketch.

A friend of mine asked if I could put together a piece of software that would allow him to have a video playlist and live video in the same screen, for use in a performance art piece. I said sure and started to dust off whatever little knowledge I had of Processing.

As usual, once I got over the usual hurdles (ex. the GSVideo library won’t accept DV capture over Firewire, so I had to use the flaky video library bundled with Processing for that, but then GSVideo 1.0 — much, much better for the video playlist part — would crash when used together with it so I had to settle for a prerelease version of GSVideo… and etecetera) I finally proceeded to pimp the code and throw everything I could think of at it: a dialog to choose the folder where the videos are and a routine to check for valid video file extensions, the ability to swap the video/live feed sides, the ability to switch between multiple cameras (ex. webcam, firewire camera, screen capture driver, etc.), the ability to correct the cameras’ aspect ratio, a fullscreen mode, the ability to reposition the images on the screen, a cool ‘swooshy’ effect for the live feed, the ability to pause or advance the playlist at random.

I’ve been using GitHub for version control, finally getting the hang of it thanks to their friendly Windows client (sorry if this makes me uncool — I had previous struggles with Git which made me wait for this sort of desktop client). I think it’s incredibly cool there’s this record of the changes I made to my code as I went along. Here’s my repository of Processing sketches.

P.S.: If you’re looking at the code in picture and wondering, I know perfectly well Java/Processing variables don’t need to start with a dollar sign ($). I just use that as a notation for global variables.