Ze Final Project Design Document

design1Our final project is based on an unnamed exhibit we saw at the Exploratorium, which is based on an installation called Scrapple. The exhibit was a flat table onto which you would place objects. It would then play music based on the orientation of the objects and where they were placed. Our plan is the rebuild this exhibit virtually.

Our prototype will allow people to draw shapes onto the screen and modify the sounds that the computer is playing. Based on the color of the shapes and how you place them, they will modify frequency, wavelength, timing, and volume. One major difference between our prototype and the Exploratorium’s exhibit is that our program allows you to place objects of any shape and size, as opposed to just the few available options present at the Exploratorium. Our prototype will help to visualize sound, which can help teach people about things like wavelength and frequency.

Advertisements

Bill Gates & The Debate Around the Essence of Software

bill-gates-mugshot

Upon reading a fine piece of prose from none other than the based god Billy G, I have internalized his concerns and definitely see where he’s coming from. I mean, it must suck to be eating ramen and coding nonstop for years, only to be paid a measly $2 an hour. His share on the sexual marketplace has also noticeably taken a plunge.  He looks like Shaggy from Scooby-Doo in confused harmony with a geriatric.

While he doesn’t explicitly mention it, he’s undergoing an internal conflict. Essentially, it boils down to this: should I look like Shaggy and do what I love for $2 an hour or head to the dark side (Goldman Sachs or some other greedy corporation), which has cookies and exponentially better pay? He’s pleading for us to tip the scales to the Shaggy side. And it benefits him, and us, but in a slightly more convoluted way.

As he states, we get more innovative and well thought out products from the swagmeister (Billy G) if we give him the money for a haircut and the occasional steak. And we’ll even get some dark side converts that aren’t as generous or gritty as Billy to return to the software world. The answer seems simple, no?

Yes, but on a couple of contingencies. First, software companies need to respect the privacy of their users more. All of these damn 50 page EULAs are so sketchy and at this point, they’re just preying on the laziness of users that gave them their job. Just look at Facebook, or Google, or Apple. As Barry O would quip, we need a fundamental transformation here.

Lastly, companies need to be affordably price their products. Adobe, pls. $700 for Photoshop Extended?!? Honestly, what’s the point in paying for that? If I get some obscure and deadly virus from torrenting it, I could easily buy another high quality laptop for under $700 dollars and run my luck again.

To end on a slightly serious note, I think people are more willing to cough up money than these companies think. All we need is a baseline dialogue in which both parties attempt to understand each other and compromise.

/rant.

Ze Links:

Earth, A Primer: Interactivity from Another Angle

jksdjklsdklfToday’s class went beyond the normal semantics of coding, as our instructor brought in yet another guest speaker, Chaim Gingold. Gingold, speaking concisely and passionately, mainly stressed the culture and man-hours behind his upcoming interactive rendering dubbed Earth, A Primer. The rendering, slated to be released around late August, neatly packages a nearly full-blown Earth Science curriculum with an interactivity sure to produce a combination that will both facilitate learning and appeal to the inner ADHD of the masses.

Personal thanks to Mr. Gingold for providing an early look at his project. Also, the app will be for iPad and cost around $10.

Final Project Proposals: Such Wow

exploratoriumUpon visiting the Exploratorium, methinks that many great final project ideas can stem from such an interactive amalgamation of awesomeness and stüf, and, as a result, I’ve compiled a shortlist of ideas for the final project:

  1. Something that is interactive involving sound. So specific, I know. The sound exhibits particularly fascinated me, and I think expanding my horizons (I’ve never worked with sound before), if done correctly, would be the most rewarding and help me extract the most from this experience. Elaborating on the interactive part, I loved the bouncing balls/ghetto physics system that I created, so if I’d be allowed to incorporate both user-interactive physics and sound, that’d be the most ideal.
  2. As you can see from my previous post, I loved the bouncing balls assignment. There’s something so primitive, yet so profound embedded within the motion of those pixelated spheres. So I’m back for more. I want to visually patch up the slider and make the code more concise, as well as add collision detection and a gravity-like feel to the environment.
  3. Another exhibit that perfectly encapsulated both a sandbox feeling and pure learning was the circuit board exhibit. While this idea isn’t exactly fully developed, I hope to imbibe these same sandbox feelings with the unique interactivity of the web. I’ll update l8r.

 

Bouncing Balls, Bruh

ballsbruhSo a couple days ago, our instructor, Sherol, found the best way to rekindle the inner 5 year-old in all of us and challenge us at the same time. “Let’s animate a bunch of different colored balls and create our own physics system”, she said, in the most entrancing voice ever. It appealed to both the intellectual me and the 5 year-old me that kept thinking “ERMAGERD BALLS!!!”. So I did it, and ’twas quite stimulating and fun on many different levels.

In fact, my partner and I loved it so much that we kept adding complexity to it. We added a quadrant system to dictate the movement of the user-controlled (pink) ball based on where it was picked up and truly went above the call of duty with the addition of a ghetto slider stubbornly stuck in the 80’s at the bottom that changes the speed of the balls based on how you manipulate it. Be jealous.

Anyway, I encourage you to take time out of your crappy day and rekindle your inner 5 year-old.

Here’s the link:

http://rhuffy.github.io/balls/

 

Turing & the Way We View Machines

ImitGameIn light of the upcoming release of The Imitation Game, I thought it’d be opportune to quickly address Alan Turing and the basis of the film.

The film, set for release in September 2014, chronicles Turing as he decrypts the Nazi code. Loosely based on a true story and the actual “imitation game” devised by Turing (in which a computer attempts to utilize its artificial intelligence to dupe an interrogator into labeling it as another human, more info below), I expect the film to encapsulate the importance of Turing’s work in revolutionizing the role machines could be used and be (hopefully) one of the fall’s best flicks.

Links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imitation_Game#Versions_of_the_Turing_test

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Imitation_Game

http://www.loebner.net/Prizef/TuringArticle.html

 

 

A Visit from Stone Librande

librande

The normal intensity of weekday classes calmed to a halt last Friday with the arrival of Stone Librande in our classroom. Speaking confidently and with vigor, Librande articulated the bare physics behind game design though a presentation concocted with touches of humor, personal flair, and, of course, lots of information.

While I definitely extracted a lot from his talk, mainly pertaining to prototyping, I found one statement to be particularly profound: fail faster. The degree to which one adheres to this maxim, he stated, can vastly affect their careers and the quality of the content they produce. Inherently a perfectionist, I initially found his remarks rather offputting and uncomfortable; however, his real-life examples and insistence on those two words began to transform my viewpoints. As I endeavor further into the maze of life and look to pursue my interests, I will undoubtedly attempt to apply this sage advice to all aspects of my life.

Thanks, Stone Librande, for opening up my mind.

An Overview of Data Structures

In today’s lecture, we discussed 4 main data structures, or varying ways of compartmentalizing data. While some may be counterintuitive or exceedingly complex, I’ll try my best to explain them through the use of diagrams and my lovely exposition.

  1. Array–essentially acts as a container that allows storage of multiple values in a single variable. Also, it allows for direct access to anything within it. Here it is, imagined as a box below:
Array

2. Stacks–Collection of data to which one can merely push (add) or pop (remove) entities within the structure. A great acronym to remember is FILO (first in last out). Real world examples include the undo button in a processor or a stack of plates. Represented below:

Stack

3. Queues–Act similarly to stacks (push & pop), but instead of being governed by FILO, it can be described more accurately using the acronym FIFO (first in first out). A real world example is a line. Represented below:

Queue

4. Binary trees–a structure in which each parent has at most two children. The parent that starts the tree is called the root and the leaves are offspring with no children. Represented below:

BinaryTree