Open Hackday 08 begins

· conventionology, Development, Events, Patterns, The Power of Many, User Experience, Yahoo!



hackday stage

Originally uploaded by xian.

I’m going to name the robots Foo and Bar. We still haven’t announced the musical act that will be performing on this stage tonight.

So far I’ve heard Cody Simms and Neal Sample (Cody and Neal, hmmm….) give a great overview of YOS (with great visuals by Micah Laaker), and am now listening to Allen Rabinovich explain how to hack with Flash and Flex.

At 2pm I’ll be talking about patterns and stencils and how they can help coders build better interfaces.

Community site responds to homicide epidemic in Oakland

· The Power of Many


I just heard today about Not Just A Number, a community journalism project coproduced by the Oakland Tribune and InsideBayArea.com.
It endeavors to tell the real human stories of Oakland homicide victims, rather than letting them become merely statistics.
The site speaks for itself, and I feel like I might be cheapening it by talking about how it works technically (there are maps that show murder sites that lead to multimedia testimonials about the victims, and so on, but how it works isn’t really the point).
It just seems like the right sort of response (among many) to one of the worst crises in my adopted home town. It’s not like it solves the problem, of course, but it feels like a way to keep the humanity in the picture. I wonder if a similar approach could be applied to other, possibly more positive, community needs?

Nevelson revisited

· long story short

[crumlish siblings in front of nevelson sculpture (link to larger image)]
After I posted about that Louise Nevelson exhibit at the de Young museum and seeing the model for the sculpture near my parents’ apartment at 92nd and Park Ave in New York, my sister scanned and emailed me a photo of the four of us siblings posing in front of the sculpture, circa 1974.
(The image above links to a much larger version, not quite as cropped.)
From left to right, handlewise, that’s xifer, moo, xourmas, and xian. I’m making a muscle and entertaining xourmas. moo is, I believe, pretending to smoke a cigarette and not making a vulgar British gesture. xifer is looking stylish in her coat.
Yes, we really dressed that mod back then.

Discovering Louise Nevelson

· Music

Model For Night Presence IVSo yesterday B and I went into SF in the afternoon to visit our friends D and P and get some cultcha. We went to the deYoung museum in Golden Gate Park and took in the Louise Nevelson exhibit.
For some reason I did not know who Nevelson was. I read her bio on the large placard and started looking at her mostly wood sculptures, but she was unfamiliar to me. A gap in my art education. I liked her work a lot, her way of using found scrap wood and then painting it all matte black (later white and still later gold) and then assembling it into towering cubes of surfaces, patterns, shadow and depth. I liked her obvious cubism influences and her prints and drawings.
When looking at a wooden piece (shown above) called Model for Night Presence IV, I suddenly did a double take. I knew this work, or at least the work it was a study for. Night Presence IV is in fact a huge metal sculpture situated on Park Avenue (in the middle of the boulevard) at 92nd street, the intersection nearest to my parents’ apartment.
I never really liked that sculpture much. It’s a muddy brown color and the scale is kind of oppressive. Also, we were young when we moved up there (it had only been dedicated, it turns out, a year earlier), and it’s not quite the right size for climbing on, especially when compared to Hans Christian Andersen or the Mad Hatter in Central Park.
The shapes were incomprehensible to me as well, but looking at the small wooden sculpture I liked it very much. I could see that the cut round pieces of wood were from balustrades or carpentry. The wavy columns looked sensuous and inviting. The shape harmonious overall. Was it simply a matter of scale? Looking at a photo of the large sculpture (and consulting the memory imprinted in my mind) the proportions seem different, but is that simply a matter of foreshortening and perspective or did she truly alter the design when going from the wooden model to the metal final version?
Also, will I now appreciate and even like the sculpture next time I’m visiting at home, now that I know who made it and how it was made? Only time will tell.

My photos from Oaxaca

· Music

Art-School-Near-San-Augustin-2.JPG
Well it took nearly forever, but I’ve finally got all my photos from my trip to Oaxaca posted to Flickr. I organized them into umpteen sets by event and then collected those all together into one master collection, linked from earlier in this sentence. The badge in this entry points to the same photos except because the badges don’t work with collections yet it does so by pointing to a unique tag applied to all the photos.
I have stories to tell from the trip as well, but one thing at a time.
UPDATE: for some reason the Flash badge I tried inserting is breaking here in my blog even though the code for it seems to work in a number of other test situations. I’m looking into that now. Meanwhile, I’ve tried making a non-Flash badge and inserting that above in the hopes that that will resolve the problem. In the meantime I’m pasting in the code for the non-working Flash badge below until I get things sorted.
UPDATED UPDATE: Well the other badge broke too. Some conflict between the CSS for the blog and for the badge, I bet. Oh well. I added a sample picture above and am parking the code for both badges below, which will render as a long hash string until or unless I figure out a way to make them work.
UPDATED UPDATED UPDATE: Even the broken badge code seemed to be breaking the rest of my blog, so I’ve removed it for now.