What I'm Thinking

Last night at Cohabitat, we did some lightning talks. The prompt was “What I’m Thinking”. I decided to take a cross-section of topics I’ve been immersing myself in lately. And of course, every good talk needs a gimmick, so I went with some of the fantastic shows on television right now. Here’s a map of the topic:


And here’s a video of my talk:

It’s a whirlwind tour through software, abstractions, economics, finance, Mad Men, business, the messiness of life, Gossip Girl, indie developers, 30 Rock, sweating the details, product development, LOST, life’s interconnectedness and how awesome it is to try to understand all of this.

I hope you enjoy it. I forgot to take questions after the talk, so please feel free to correct me or inquire in the comments.

I found more awesome on the web

Via Tinker It Now!, I ended up at Live Control of Open Source Animation in Animata. Therein, real-time 2.5D animation is controlled via a likeness of Mickey Mouse laden with Arduinos. Said gizmo sends data to PureData, relaying data to software called Animata. Animata does the animation sweetness.

This led me down a whole rat’s hole of awesome. “Matt Niinimäki”:http://originalhamsters.com/index.php “is up to awesome things”:http://vimeo.com/mattiniinimaki/videos. Animata seems “wicked cool”:http://animata.kibu.hu/tutorials.html — it’s like digital marionettes, except not creepy. PureData, near as I can tell, is like _Little Big Planet_, but for audio/video. The “PureData documentation”:http://puredata.info/docs/manuals/pd/ is _dense_, but there are good examples and docs included in the application (look under Help→Browser). Pd, so far, has the distinction of being more inscrutable, for me, than Haskell. I can run Haskell programs; I cannot, for my life, figure out how to make Pd patches *go*.

Let’s enumerate: “Arduino”:http://arduiono.cc is open source hardware with a dandy little programming environment that makes writing embedded programs vastly less onerous than is typical. PureData is visual-patch-language-thing for creating audio-oriented systems with some graphics smarts on the side. Animata does interactive real-time animation. All of these great toys are open source.

Did I mention “people are making cool stuff”:https://therealadam.com/archive/2008/12/05/people-are-making-cool-stuff/?

People are making cool stuff

This morning I followed a link that _why shared with us, a lo-fi guitar pedal built around an Arduiono. Kyle McDonald made said pedal; he also made I Eat Beats, a drum machine gizmo built with a screen, Processing, and skittles. He also published instructions for how to build a 3-D controller. From there I found a coin-slot detector, again built with an Arduino.

Moral of the story: there is a ton of cool stuff going on with Processing and Arduino. Just let the links light your path.