My Earliest Computing Memories

Posted: November 22nd, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off

[This short narrative was written in cooperation with Earliest Memories blog project. Portions have been adaptedfrom earlier posts and edited for continuity, somewhat.--b]

I’ve always been into computing-machines since my commodore64 and atari2600 days of the early ’80s. Mostly, I alternated between playing games (ah, Donkey Kong) and writing stupid little BASIC programs that either gave birth to distorted meowing noises or pixellated little sprites that bounced across the monitor. I remember spending hours poring over the programs in BYTE magazine, wondering why certain programs weren’t working–did I miss a line of code? Human input error?–only to discover in next month’s issue that there had been a typo. Grrrr…..

When my parents got their first camcorder to capture those banal, forgettable family moments–reunions, birthdays, weddings–my brother and I were thinking of short films we could make. We would actually edit on the camera itself, erasing bad takes, adding effects, and so on. we would add title graphics we created in the GeoPaint program for c64, audio overdub ambient noise, music, and whatnot. Skateboarding culture drove a lot of this, with its quick-cut, hyperactive, punk-rock design aesthetic. One summer, we also started a community newspaper one summer, writing and designing the entire thing from that flickering screen (circulation: 12, give or take).

I remember mostly the very real sense of possibility in those early days: there was no strictly codified paradigm for computing then. It was more like a dirty mudpit that you’d wallow around in, taking chunks of mud and smushing them together into something creative and *sniff* beautiful. No rules, as it should be…

PS: Please refer also to a short personal narrative on my experiences with video gaming, located here.

Pencil 3.0

Posted: November 20th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off

Last month’s issue of Wired had this fascinating article about the tech-toy company Leapfrog and its efforts to launch an innovative new pen-based computer called the Fly Pen. The kicker? There’s no screen–it uses smart paper which recognizes the pen’s input via a grid of several sensors.

I’m intrigued by the Fly on at least 2 levels. For one, the interface is sooooo cool. You can “draw” your programs on the fly, so to speak: need a calculator? just draw a rectangle full of numbers and function symbols, then poke away at it. Also, I’m fascinated that such a potentially paradigm-shifting idea comes from the toy industry, an instance of trickle-up innovation, if you will. Lends a bit of credence to Steven Johnson’s theory of emergence.

Strangest. Signage. Ever.

Posted: November 17th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off

Here’s a moment of Web Zen for you. We snapped this cameraphone pic of the oddest mashup signage I’ve ever seen, which stands outside of a retired poolhall-cum-dentist’s office. Don’t forget to floss, or else suffer the consequences of dragon breath…

don’t mind me

Posted: November 9th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off

i’m testing flock‘s blog-on-the-fly feature–if this works, it’s tres cool…

Remember What Paper Used to Feel Like?

Posted: November 3rd, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off

The Tower of Babel got one brick higher today: Google Print has launched in beta. Lawrence Lessig is keeping an eye on the buzz surrounding this one, to be sure…




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