inscript -> log
I'm interested in learning more about why the human condition isn't configured to make humans feel like they are doing of good job of existing in it. Taking the negative dispositon as an assumption, and looking for places in which it may be grounded or explicated. Like not so much, "it's broken", but more so, "it wasn't meant to work."
So I've been working in Processing for the last few days, and I've been having a great deal of fun. I love new mediums (not media). While doing some household management today, I thought I would watch some video content on color theory, as I am not at all well-versed in visual or graphic design. I've just learned about the HSB color model, but I'm not sure how it actualized into design. I was surprised to find out that most of the content about color theory on YouTube is in the context of either marketing or web/UI design. Why are particular fields which have nothing to do with capitalism, so vested with a capitalist context soemtimes? A bit odd.
I just got set up with Processing for the umpteenth time. I;s like to start dong a small visual exercise each day, akin to a sort of sketchbook, not only to enact the programmatic thinking processes as a warm-up for the day, but to play with a medium where I have no idea what it is I am doing.
Reading McCarthy's work on AI makes Lisp feel ever more clever, like he started with hypothesis on how to create a machine-representation of the world, and Lisp became the syntax for expressing those models. So neat.
The other day I was having a conversation with my dad (a hippy turned sys admin) and we were discussing the ladder of abstraction and how I've had an interest in retro computing. I was saying how complex the modern experience has become and how current human-computer interaction has become embelmatic of that. I told him how I've had an interest in emulating CP/M on an Altair (this is 2021), and he said something that really struck me: that my desire to get closer to the bare metal in attempts for a simpler computing experience is actually just a spiritual longing for something more meaningful or less abstract about life, and that I probably won't find it by using a computer. This was a really excellent reminder that my dad and I use technology as a means of discussing life (we both love analogies), and that I think as humans, we sort of continually implement analogies when communciating about meaning.
I have no take on cancel culture, and I'm not entirely sure what it is if I had to lay down a definition, but I think I know when it should and shouldn't be used. That said, I think it makes the assumption that humans are infalliable. Yeah, people who do fucked up shit should get a pay cut (or worse in some cases), but why pay any more attention? I think the whole point is to overturn power dynamics and create a new standard of behavior (which is great), but if it is always done in relation to the hegemony, what's going to be accomplished?
The more citations that I pull into my notes, the more I am realizing that I need some sort of quick acronym or something that I can refer to in order to convey to the reader that I don't condone the views of an author despite their work being noted, annotated, or cited. I was thinking something along the lines of K.T.E. for "know thy enemy" but that kind of sounds a bit too adversarial.
I'm now finding out that the ISO has decided(https://twitter.com/isostandards/status/1367138676162105344) to make their "Publications and National Adoptions" private. What?
Members are advised to "contact [their] national ISO member with a view to be informed on how and where you may freely consult ISO standards in your country." Digging a bit deeper, it seems that members of the public have never had access to standards? What is this?
I'm quite surprised by this. I always assumed that ISO was a public document, how odd? This kind of makes me curious about what the political agenda of standards organizations are in general. Are standards oppressive? Interesting writing idea, I guess. I always liked running into to random ISO pdfs and scrolling through the elaborate technicality. Is elaborate technicality just a front for political exclusion? On one hand, yes of course it is, but part of me always felt as if the descriptor has a liberatory value in so far as it communicates the mechanisms of the subject matter. The descriptor as obfuscatory tool is clear, but I think its potentially less intuitive to describe its exact nature. Maybe Simondon would have something to say here?
Further note are here
Feeling motivated, I made a routine page that outlines an ideal morning routine. I then went back to my goals page, and cros-referenced the two and was surprised to find that almost none of things I could imagine doing ona daily basis matched up with the goals that short-term goals I had set for myself 6(ish) months ago. I did end up adjusting some of those goals, viz. I think I'm more interested in learning Scheme than C at the moment. It seems like my desire to learn C is not so much to do systems programming but just to have an straightforward interface to a graphics library, but I'm more excited by the concepts in Scheme, and I'm pretty sure there are SDL bindings (or something else) out there that I can find. One of the things that I noticed was that I wrote something like "one sketch per day for 15 minutes" but I've really never thought about sketching on a regular basis. I think I wrote this because part of my idea with having a more regular routine is that I can enact different parts of the brain (though I don't really view things strictly neurobiologically like that) and have a small collection of a small task that either gets more defined over time or points to something singular that I'm trying to articulate over time. But everything comes at an opportunity cost. The question is a matter of value: breadth or depth? This is probably an instance of overthought, like most of these posts.
I've been meessing around with DOSBox quite a bit recently and I've really been enjoying the user experience for a number of reasons (keep in mind, I'm not an experienced programmer so some of this could be misguided):
- portability => the whole thing is portable across machines which is really nice
- the storage interface => mounting folders in the host as virtual drives is simple
- self-containment => it all feels really compact, and I like the idea of assembling/collecting a computing environment that doesn't have any dependencies
Really though I think I am just fooling myself into thinking that this is in any way a sustainable form of working. Pipes to DOS's pager create non-temp file so editing existing directories isn't easy, oh and tutorials/resources on thirty software is pretty much non-existant. I think the thing that's attractive about emulation is not so much that it's convenient, but that I can learn as much of the stack as I want, provided I spend the time, whereas on linux/windows, it's just impossible. The aformentioned feel like fire-escape ladders, there are rungs of abstraction that just don't exist at a cetain point.
I've also been watching a bunch of lectures on Scheme and I just found out that many universities make their archive of computer science technical reports open to the public(?), so that's another exciting source of information.
I just worked my way through Hamming's famous lecture at the Naval Postgraduate Center, "You and Your Research". He talks at length about the notino that in order to be an important person, you have to do important work, and in order to do important work, you have to be at the frontier of your field. In order to be at the frontier of your field, you have to know what the most important questions are (he uses the analogy of working with your door open -> these questions have come to be known as "Hamming Problems." He goes on to say that you can't be successful on luck or hard work alone, you need both. "You have to work on the right question at the right time", etc.. I think this is a neat idea (besides it's obvious discrimination), but I'm not sure that that "importance", of self or of the work, is the goal. One of the things I really like is his bluntness about how "you have to demonstrate your ability to do something beofre you will be free to do it."
Exploring digital gardens as a "reader" feels different than approaching them as a "website visitor". I don't think I've ever spent more than an hour browsing a garden and felt like I've gotten more than I would have from an hour with a book. I fully support gardens/wikis/graphs etc., but I feel like it's easy to get disoriented on sites that don't provide some option of a chronology or index of some sort.
I've been scrolling though the Merveilles webring and I came across hex22's post on silence⭧ and a quote stuck out to me: "Writing is the activity of the present, a very accurate perspective on the present and writing about the past is always just writing about some past through the perspective of the present... Throughout the last 2 years my focus has shifted from chasing my output on the external world to following my internal clock, the internal flows and currents of focus. And my internal clock is long-term, very long-term. Most of the projects I work on, including albums, poetry, product ideas, are planned out on a long-term scale. I don't hold back any of these projects, just never force working on them. Long-term means 'anytime from the next year to the next 40'. Therefore I stay in silence and plant thoughts, ideas and plans in my internal garden, and as soon as you start doing this, writing about the present becomes much less important. I have the feeling that all my ideas will develop further and I cannot share them until they feel (at least in that certain moment) finalized."
I was really struck by this notion that allowing the external world's timescale to effect or corrupt your internal "project clock" is a disservice to the self. Hunor really puts this concept into such stark relief. their blog post is about the nature of silence - how it is something to be relished, not fought. I mentioned to a friend that I have been accruing a backlog of articles that has reached somewhere around 2000 articles (just in the year 2020!) and I immediately felt a sense of guilt. It's an odd feeling becUse the Instapaper button doesn't make me feel any guilt, but somehow the idea that someone else knows about my feed-hoarding, its way worse. I would like to develop some sort of practice that allows for me to (ahem...) productively tread through this collection of data ins cut a manner that still contextually feeds the graph. As I have been pulling more of the wiki into the publicaite, I've have been increasingly feeling as if the past years notes are a little lack-lister. Some of them feel like they are too productivity/capitalist, others feel too dependent on psychology, a branch of science I have deep reservations against (not because Iama mid century cheap science fiction fan). It's odd b3cause I feel like yet another format switch is not only foracing me to re-evaluate the structure of the system but also it's content. It's as if zk feel like I will be judged based on my reading notes, despite my desitrre to make them public. It does feel at this point as of each small page in the graph requires some sort of index of prefaces and caveats that express my considerations of representation and association with varying types of content, this has also sort of pushed me further towards reading full texts as opposed to shorter pieces. a critical logistical question to the aforementioned practice would be a question of how to properly cite (fell asleep)
I've added a currently unlinked portion of the site where I am just listing general topics that I would like to learn the internals of, specifically for the purpose of critique (i.e. American healthcare). I find that every once in a while, I occupy this frame of mind where I am hellbent on learning the complexity of negatives, and I would like a place to channel that when that time comes aroound next. Since being unemployed, I have kept my disposable income expenditure pretty close to zero, but I have been GASing for a OLKB Planck lately, they are so beautiful!
I need to start working through my backlog of saved articles from last year, but I am not totally sure how to quickly cite sources or organize a whole heap of notes that I take in one fell swoop. Hmm...
I have just created quite a few pages on the site, the most notable of which is the first page where I have published direct highlights from a reading. For a while now, I have had this idea to make my reading notes public, but I haven't actually done so until now. I am under no pretense that these notes will be useful or legible to any one besides myself, but this is a very prilimainary sort of prooof-of-concept for replicable research in the humanities. So often, I find it difficult to track down the source of a particular understanding, and I want to explore the development of a system that reckons with that difficulty. In addition to the first public reading note, I have created several topics-oriented pages that are quite sparse, but with which I intent to build out in due time. I found out about Joost Rekveld who, along with Hans Kulk and Hainbach, is carrying the torch of analog computing within the context of electronic art. Joost has a really great essay⭧ on the history of analog computers which has been a great resource in trying to find out more about the history of analog computing. Through his lecture, I found out that Bob Moog attributes the idea for modular analog synthesizers to Harold Bode and was familiar with analog computing through his work with op-amps, as he studied at Columbia University under John R. Ragazzini, the creator of the an operational amplifier with an explicit non-inverting input.
I am slowly making more of the private wiki suitable for public viewing. A nice side-effect of this process is that it sort of forces me to decide whether or not a given source is something I want to be associated with. I expect that as this particular heuristic horizon shifts further into the future, reading with public note consumption in mind will probably produce a distributed increase in the quality and credibility of source across various domains. That said, there is a sort of itch in the back of my mind about destructuring institutional discourses on "media literacy" that of course historically marginalize minority voices that lacked platforms, etc.. I can still cut out the wiki entry re: dude talking about a "dopamine detox" on YouTube cause that sounds like some redpill bullshit.
I try to be relatively concerned with the size of the pages I deliver on this site. But serving images that are relevant to wiki entries does create some engagement on both the production and consumption side of things. In the past hour, I have added three images to the site on various pages with about 50kb increase in size of the site. One of the things that concerns me though is storage size now. Tricky...
Here's some initial questions I had while thinking about a "critical hypertext theory" that I wanted to pull in from another community:
How does a reader talk about and reflect on their unique experiences? What does it mean as an author "to decorate rooms" no one may ever visit? How does a reader define "success" and how would an author influence them towards it? What changes about user goals when the temporal scope is a few hours, instead of 6 months?
Had a pretty rough day yesterday. I screwed up dinner again and used cucumber in a recipe instead of zucchini (yikes!). It ended up being pretty gross, but it was a casserole, so I will probably end up eating some more of it. My partner said I was in a rush and that I need to slow down. I didn't feel like I was experiencing any sort of cognitive impairment, but my anxiety was a little heightened last night. Who knows. I probably should slow down a bit. The light bulb in the fridge blew out and while I am prefectly confident that the refridgerator still works, every time I open the fridge, something in the back of my mind is skeptical. It's odd the associations of functionality and order that arise only when disorder appears.
I think it would be interesting to develop a synthesis curricula that starts with a concept of motion. Oscillators (at any rate) generate repeating motion. Envelopes generate non-repeating motion. Low pass filter slow motion. Does this put high-pass filters in the same category as waveshapers, viz. those that make motion more complex? What is it that a high pass does in this framing? Interesting.
In education, the most value lies on demonstrating understanding, and very little in embodying understanding. I reckon in the context of application, it's just the opposite.
I've been trying to find an approximation of an analog computing setup using VCV Rack. The Stalys and Submarine modules seem to be invaluable for this kind of approach. I also recently discovered that the Stoermelder modules are pretty incredible for usability of VCV Rack in general (features like labeling, clickable macro learning, etc.). I would like a bit more of a precise oscilloscope but I'm sure that either one exists and I haven'y come across it, or one will come out shortly enough. Something that has been on my mind recently is what "low-level" actually means in the context of this tyoe of programming, and also, what exactly this paradigm is? If it's using an analog approach but a digital implementation, is is analog/hybrid or just digital with analog as an interface (more likely the case but that's no fun to theorize, is it?)? I could be talking out of my ass or in a don't know what I don't know type situation. It's really hard to find curricula on analog computing, mostly because its a dead technology. I can see the modular synth community taking a liking to the test equipment vibe, but I can only hope that that translates into a more computational approach to modular synthesis. It would be cool to see some content being made in this space.
I've been wanting to go back to school really bad lately. I just found out about this institution called the Institute of Sonology in Utrecht and it seems really neat. I found it charmingly out of touch when one of the faculty (in a video) were raving about their custom "voltage controllable function generators". It seems like a really interesting program. think to a partial extent, however, a masters degree in yak cosmetology may not help anything. You can't get paid to shave a yak, but you can get paid to talk about how to properly shave a yak. Been doing a lot of instant pot cooking lately which has been fun. I fucked up tonight's quinoa though, so I made burgers instead. I'm putting together track feedback on a couple of cuts for a friend and I find myself having have to restrain from going into too much detail. I don't want to overwhelm the artist, but I also want to make sure they actually get something constructibe out of the feedback. Talking to people about their own art is one of the skills I failed to develop in college because all of my musical/engineering curriculum was all done through independent study. It would have been nice to have been in some more conversational contexts while I was still around lots of people. Now that I'm in a fairly isolated spot, I don't know anyone in meatspace besides my partner who makes art. Go figure.
Need to find a servicable CDN solution for the site. Would be nice for audio examples like on Attack Mag articles.
I've been watching a video series called La Synthèse Humaine from Guy Hobsbawm (formerly Gunnar Haslam) about Serge patching, Marxism, cybernetics, and feedback system and it is a treasure trove not only of patching techniques but also in treating the modular synthesizer not just as musical instrument but a more generalized tool for conveying notions of system and structure. I really like this blending of modular synth as programmable analog computer where music is not so much a side-effect, but one of many types of output. Need to unpack this more. On patching techniques alone, they are rife with valuable moments, but they have an element of multidisciplinarity which attempts to relate the Serge model to ideas from the discourses of Cybernetics and Marxism. It serves as a great reminder that many of the successful cross-disciplinary investigations don't apply one concept to another, but instead seek to explore a serviceable abstraction between concepts that exists in some more generalized space. For instance, where it wouldn't make a whole lot of sense to say that there are a dialectics between each side of the dual slope generator, Guy employs a concept like /feedback/ to explore the way in which cybernetics may contain a "kernel" of meaning within the complex feedback systems explored through the Serge system. Really cool stuff.
I've also just come across Denis Chevalier's Stalys Pack of VCV Modules which implement a lot of the Serge-style sub-module functionality. Pretty good timing.
Took quite a break from both the public logging and the wiki development, but I've been doing a bit of private journaling and a lot of production/engineering related work. The lack of full-time employment has destablized the emotional landscape. Not dire, but has certainly had a perceivable effect to myself and those around me. I've begun mapping out a bunch of different synthesis and production techniques which has been fun. I'm not trying to develop some grand theory, but instead to provide myself and others with a bit of a survey of topics for consideration when assembling educational materials. At this point, I don't currently intend for a simple diagram to be expanded very much.
One of the things I'm kind of bummed about is that for the past month, I have almost entirely stopped logging blocks with very little recourse to working through my work over the past month. This is due in part to the fact that I do not record time spent applying for work which has been my massive preoccupation for the past few months, but I've certainly dabbled in a few areas. I had a brief stint researching the CP/M operating system, the MSX system standard, and the potential of practicing some commercial sound design. I also spent quite a while implementing a little Hewlett-Packard word generator clone in JSFX, which has been a great deal of fun, but I hit a roadblock when it began to make more sense to separate the sequencing from the actial filtering/synth voice elements using midi as a communication protocol between the two instances of JSFX. Unfortunately, I haven't quite wrapped my head around how to handle midi in JSFX. I am now looking into the VCV Prototype platform (likely using Lua), but I don't want to dig too far in as it has a amuch lower ceiling for creating polished applications than does JSFX, albeit in a likely much more usable environment than JSFX currently allows for.
Additionally, my reading and listening has totally gone down the tube in the month of January. Time to get back to it.