Archive

Archive for the ‘Internet and Technology’ Category

Aberthau Performance

July 30th, 2014 No comments
The hedge that I will use as a screen for the projection.

The hedge that I will use as a screen for the projection.

 

I will be showing a work in progress called “Share A Tweet” at Aberthau Community Centre in the Point Grey neighbourhood of Vancouver. More information here.

Share a Tweet: A gesture controlled sound and visual installation.

This installation investigates a variety of bird songs accompanied by music and an array of lighting effects. Participants can control bird shapes flying through the branches of the hedge and active birdsong. By controlling the “lights”, bird shaped projections will “tweet”. Victoria has been a stalwart volunteer for LMA during the Queen Elizabeth show last year and has been invited to present work in natural settings.

Share

121212 Festival of Networked Performance

December 9th, 2012 No comments

This is your invitation to the 121212 Festival of Cyber-performance!

The retrospective section of the program “Walking Backwards into the Future” is already underway.

Schedule for these events here.

The portion that I am involved in is the new experimental works, Testing 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2 .

I am working with “Play the Moment – Shakti”, a group of four women located in different cities.

We will be performing a piece called ‘excavating desire/fouilles pour le désire”

Our stage is located on a website in Australia called Waterwheel and will be viewed through either this link or a link through the festival site Scroll down to find our show.

About the Show

Excavating Desire – Fouilles pour le Désire

Play The Moment Shakti (Canada, USA)

11 December 10.30pm EST / 12 December 4.30pm New Zealand (find your local time)
12 December 1pm EST / 13 December 7.30am New Zealand (find your local time)

Excavating Desire is a free improvised audio and visual work in four movements:

  1. On the Surface – exploring constraints imposed on female desire by society and ourselves
  2. Digging Deep – recognizing our wants and needs
  3. Gathering Courage – risking societal censure, economic loss or emotional pain requires resolve and strength
  4. Flowering of Passion – acceptance and expression of our own inner identity

Four women going through the same risk and hardship of “Excavating Desire”.

Desires are often hidden underneath layers so we do not even recognize them ourselves. It is a risk to reveal our true self, particularly in personal and intimate situations, but also when revealing oneself as an artist. “Excavating Desire” provides a structure to peel away the layers of constraint and grant ourselves permission to express what we choose to see and hear as art.

Schedule and time zones

A handy time zone converter to find your viewing time can be found here.

These converter links can be found already programmed with the correct DST time under the title of the show in the spreadsheet.

For example the second  performance of our show is at 7:30am on Thursday, December 13th DST in New Zealand — the location of the 121212 festival, but it is Wednesday, December 12th at 10:30am PST, in Vancouver, Canada, where I live.

More information about the show can be found by clicking the title of the show.

Facebook Event Page Here

 

 

 

 

 

Share

Photo Hosting Sites Comparison

May 23rd, 2012 No comments

My work in video and photography is mainly in post-production as a graphic designer, digital artist and general technology assistant. I was helping a photographer to set up a professional photo site to sell his images, so here is a comparison.

All of these photo sites have the following features:

  • encourage social media sharing and give tools to help users and fans to share photos.
  • gallery and collection options.
  • a certain level of photo security from casual theft and re-use.
  • site customization
  • no infringement on your copyright
  • digital download pricing and print pricing
  • community of photographers and clients

Photoshelter

I have a free account on Photoshelter, vix.photoshelter.com but I think they have stopped providing free long-term accounts. When I signed up, I was able to store a small amount of images without paying, but now, after a short trial period, you must select a hosting plan. This is the largest and most established professional photo hosting and sales site.

The prices for hosting are quite reasonable because they protect your photos with the best anti-theft technology – a transparent layer over each photo. This means that anyone attempting to copy the image will only copy the cover layer. In addition, they provide the option of watermarking the images so a screen capture will be ruined.

One thing I found a bit bothersome, is that a commission is charged on all sales through the site. The commission rate changes depending on the level of hosting and more expensive plans pay less sales fees. This would not be an issue if this was posted on the sign-up page, but I only found out about these charges when I was preparing to price the photos. The photographer I was working for was aware of this practice, but for me it was a surprise.

Adorama, the industry standard in photo printing located in NYC fulfills all print orders directly from the site, or you can arrange to have the prints made yourself.

Smugmug

SmugMug also provides watermarking, and they use Amazon storage, known as one of the most secure clouds in the industry. They offer a “vault” membership option if you only want to use the cloud storage instead of displaying your images.

Three photo printing company options, four paper/print combinations and an expanded selection of merchandise to decorate with photos can be ordered. Once photos are in the shopping cart print quotes from each company can be compared before the order is placed.

I was not able to discover if they charge a commission on sales. A free trial period can be activated, but then, a hosting account must be purchased. They do prominently post their great return policy and full refund if prints or products are unsatisfactory.

500px

The most generous of the top three hosting sites, 500px offers a permanent free account to photographers. However, the pricing structure of photos sold in the market set by the company. All the photos sold in the 500px market are the same price, unlike the other two sites, which allow photographers to set their own prices and sell independently. Click here for a copy of the 500 px pricing guide. If the pricing structure works for you, then this could be a good thing.

Instagram

This Smart Phone app deserves a mention as it is one of the fastest growing photo sharing sites today. If you have an iPhone and are not interested in prints, the price is right – Free.

All of these sites are a great place to look at really excellent photos.

Share

Flash Video on Mac Power PC Chip

January 14th, 2012 No comments

Adobe Flash player no longer supports computers built with the Power PC chip although there are many of these machines in use, still serving their owners reliably. This morning I received a call from a G4 Power book Mac owner running Leopard OSX 5.8, he called because of an error message that insisted he upgrade his flash player. When he tried to upgrade, he found the new version did not support his chip or operating system.

One of the reasons I started writing this blog is that I act as a help desk for many of my friends, so I searched for a solution and found Elmedia Player, a free download on Cnet. Elmedia Player, from Eltima Software, is more than a player, it also helps you organize media files using an iTunes type of interface.  The Pro version also allows you to download and copy internet hosted media files, but there is a cost for this functionality.

Please note — anything after this content is an ad and I do not endorse the product or even know what it is.

My friend reports the free version is working on his notebook for Flash (flv) playback. The website claims El Media Player supports playback of FLV, SWF, XAP (Silverlight), RM and RV (Real), AVI, MOV, MP4, and many other formats.

These older computers are still functional and the push to constantly upgrade by Adobe and other companies can be resisted. Keep your faithful computer out of the landfill as long as possible. I am keeping older computer hardware functional using a combination of these types of helper programs and/or converting to the Ubuntu operating system.

Share

On-Line Agencies — work from home

January 7th, 2012 No comments

"The
This is a shout out to all of my friends with writing, wordpress or other CMS, administration, programming or technical skills.

Please click on the link below so that I can get affiliate credit for inviting you to join oDesk.

Join the On Demand Global Workforce – oDesk

I am now working on oDesk and it has a lot of advantages. oDesk does take a percentage of each payment, but they do a lot of administration and attract a lot of employers to the site. Unlike all those scams, this really does allow you to work from home and earn USD that you can get paid through PayPal or other web based financial services.

I am only working on hourly contracts because payment is guaranteed. The downside is you have to give up a bit of privacy when you are working. oDesk contractors install an app the takes a screenshot of your screen periodically to verify you were actually working on the project. The screenshot is posted on the site so the employer and the contractor can see and verify the hours worked. There are jobs where a flat rate is offered, but oDesk will not chase the employer for payment if the deal goes bad. With the hourly rate, oDesk shows that employers have a verified payment method and some have spent a lot of money hiring people already.

It is kind of like an eBay for contractors and employers because there is a record of the hours you worked, feedback scores and tests you can take to prove your skills. Employees and contractors give feedback, so you can see the reaction other people have before you accept or give a job. Employers may click on the image to hire me for jobs. Here and at the top are the same link.

Another issue for me is that I am competing in a world market, so graphic designers in India and the Philipines can underbid me every time. However, that is already happening in Vancouver. A lot of web and print design is outsourced and that is part of my problem as a freelancer. Vancouver is a very expensive city and I cannot afford to work for $3. per hour, but a designer in Manila or New Delhi can.

Many of the jobs are for very low rates of pay, even as low as $2. USD per hour because this is a global work force and people in other countries will work for that amount.  The jobs I am getting pay more than Canadian minimum wage because they are for writing in English as a native speaker.

I passed several of the tests and because I know wordpress well and SEO marketing, I have already been hired by two employers.

I am also working on eLance, another freelance service. They seem to keep the rates at a more reasonable level and have attracted higher skilled workers as a result. Both of these companies are legitimate ways to work from home.

Share

Arduino Sensor Control

August 22nd, 2011 No comments

I have a Sharp IR sensor hooked up to my Arduino Duemillanova board in the process of testing the interface for my show, “Bandwidth”. Despite the fact that I had this set-up working one year ago at EMPAC, I am having difficulties now.

Luckily, I live in a city that has a local hackspace with a regular listserv. I put out a call for help and was answered by a robot builder named Dan Royer who has a site called Marginally Clever. I was very impressed by his ability to write and edit sketches and his friendly, helpful attitude in reminding me how to hook up my sensor to the board. His website is a fascinating look into the world of do-it-yourself robotics. You will be able to see him at Burning Man if you are attending.

Now my Arduino is happily blinking, but I still have to develop a sketch that allows me to use two sensors on the same board without an extreme amount of latency. As Dan writes in a post “Robotics is a lot of Trial an Error” — Integrated Art is exactly the same. Build it and see if you can make it work.

Photos coming soon.

 

 

Share

Propane Powered Van Sold

July 23rd, 2011 No comments

DSC_0014_03

SAVE ON FUEL COSTS — Less pollution with propane the original alternative fuel

My beloved propane-powered 1985 Ford Econoline Travel Van is sold.

Note: the price of propane is approximately half of the cost of gasoline and I have been driving this van since 1992 for the same cost as a small compact car.

DSC_0009_03All receipts for work, including motor rebuild of economical, reliable 302 V-8 with special propane motor parts. Parts are easily available for this van.
Brakes are good, starts and runs very well — no known mechanical issues.
A really fun van for travel – can seatbelt 11 including driver.
Four captain’s chairs with removable snack table in front.
Foldable table and bench seat in rear — can be converted to a flat deck for equipment or padded with cushions for a bed.
Secure storage area accessible from back doors — not from van interior — allows safer storage of valuables.
Trailer towing package — original equipment installed in factory — sold with hitch.

Interior photos included in slide show.

FAQ

How many Km on the van?

Odometer reads 263548. Motor rebuild 99/01/16 odometer reading 195988 — receipt available.

The rebuilt motor has only 67560 Km

Where is auto propane available?

CANADA

http://www.cdnauto.org/archive/propane/propane.asp

Map on Google with names and addresses of stations — not all are 24hr, so call ahead

This map does not show Superstore, Co-op, Super Save or other stations that I know about in Vancouver and area.

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=205898274833613305051.0004a3fa4bd451087989f&ll=50.903033,-83.100586&spn=17.403966,46.362305&source=embed

USA

http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/vehicles/propane_availability.html

http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/locator/stations/

Example: http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/progs/ind_state.php/WA/LPG

What is the difference in cost between gasoline and propane?

In Vancouver, gasoline is $1.34 per liter and propane is $0.64

The van travels the same distance on propane as gasoline and it has a 99 liter tank.

What are other advantages of propane?

  • Propane causes less pollution. Note that forklift trucks, ice rink surface machines and other indoor motorized vehicles run on propane because the propane engines emit far less toxic fumes.
  • A propane engine runs cooler than a comparable gas fueled engine, so there is less stress and wear on parts. Oil changes are required less frequently because of the clean nature of the fuel.
  • More information: http://www.autogaspropane.com/why_propane_auto.htm
  • From Australia: http://www.lpgautogas.com.au/index.cfm?Action=MyFleet#3
Share
Categories: How-To, Uncategorized

Boarduino Build

October 22nd, 2010 No comments

Now the new Arduino Uno has come out, I can’t wait to acquire one. Until then, I decided it was time to get to work and build my Boarduino kit.

After unpacking everything I compared the contents of my bag with the list that LadyAda provided.

Oh-oh, some of the components did not look the same and it seems like I had too many of a few things. I decided I wasn’t missing anything, so I went to work.

I soldered on the power supply and started on the other components. It has been a long time since I soldered anything and my iron is old and well used. I don’t have a cool vise, so I used a vise-grip plier tool to hold the board.

The directions were very clear, except I didn’t really know what components I should use because they did not look like the photo.

These three items are the real problem, I used the larger one instead of the blue part in the photo, now I have two identical parts left and I only need one. I will have to contact AdaFruit for help.

Share
Categories: How-To

Arduino Sensor Sucess

September 18th, 2010 No comments

Do-it-yourself culture is moving from the area of home renovations and bike repairs to making your own computer controlled gadget.

Makerspaces and Hackspaces are proliferating around the world as more individuals realize they can create a small machine to do the exact tasks that they want.

One of the most popular small brains that are used to control these gadgets are Arduino Boards, The brain on the board is not as smart as your phone but, there are a lot of things it can do.  A good place to start finding out what other ingenious inventors are up to is the Make Magazine on-line. Yes, some of the projects are awesome and complete instructions can usually be found to duplicate the results.

Inspired by the cool projects other people were making, I decided to use the Arduino board to make a sensor that would control my computer when I am using it for music or video performance.  There are several places that Arduino boards are available on-line, and the SmartProjects company that makes them has a listing of distributors and retail outlets.

I was planning to go to an educational workshop in Troy, New York where I would have an opportunity to work on using this technology. I did not know if anyone else would be trying out Arduino boards, but I was confident that I could get it to work.

I live in Vancouver, Canada and I could buy a lot of Arduino products from Lee’s Electronics on Main St. but, I was worried about taking the boards through US customs. Since the homeland security staff are checking Canadians very closely, I decided to order the boards in New York and have them shipped to the university where the workshop was held. I could imagine trying to explain to a suspicious customs agent that I was using these computer parts for a multi-media project. Why bother to risk missing my plane, when Adafruit is one of the largest dealers of do-it-yourself Arduino goodies in the USA and they have a lot of helpful information on their site. They are located in NYC, so I ordered from them.

I had investigated Arduino boards by attending an evening at the local Vancouver Hackspace. The denizens of the place were mostly drawn from a pool of programmers who wanted to do something more fun with their skills than making sure the heating system in your office building works. They were very used to working with this type of code and they moved very fast. However, I was convinced that I could do this if I had the time to research. Trial and lots of error usually works in the end.

I went off to the workshop and the boards were delivered as planned.

I had done quite a bit of research and I knew there were different types of Arduino boards. I ordered two: the Duemilanove (pictured above) and a Boarduino clone kit. The Duemilanove is the basic Arduino, so I thought the most information would be available and It would be the default for the program to upload the code. I bought the Boardino because I liked the idea of the breadboard being a part of the unit and I thought it would help me understand the system if I actually built one. Unfortunately, the kit did not cme with a breadboard, so I have not tried to make it yet.

Adafruit Boarduino clone

Adafruit Boarduino clone

With the boards, I also purchased two types of power supplies, one that plugs in the wall and one that uses batteries. This was because I didn’t know how I was going to be using the unit and I thought it might be good to have the battery power available. I also bought a selection of sensors: Infra-red distance sensor, motion sensor and some small sensors that measure tilt and heat. I also bought a few LED lights and some connector wires (male and female). The total bill was $150 USD – my budget for this project.

When I go to Lee’s and buy the breadboard I will do a post on making the Boarduino.

It might have been more economical to buy the starter pack, but I did not need another USB cable – the wires did seem important, so I bought male and female connectors. Read more…

Share

Voltaic Software for HD USB Video Cam

January 17th, 2010 No comments

At the end of 2008, I purchased a Blu-Ray Hitachi video camera with a built in mini DVD burner. I thought this was a wonderful technology because, not only did it have the 30 GB hard drive, but if you ran out of space or wanted to create a back-up file, the rewritable DVD was at your service. The image was taken from the Hitachi site and my camera is the shiny silver one on the right.

I immediately ran into problems because the compression system used on the camera creates m2ts files, a file type that could only be opened and edited with the very basic software from Pixela that came with the camera.

This software had few conversion options, no titling and basic edit functions with no transitions. The editing features in the camera were just as as good. Even home movies should look better than this!

When I went to Banff, I used the music dept’s Sony and Pauline and Ione’s Canon HD cameras because they store information in mts format. The mts format is readable by Final Cut Pro and can be converted into useable 1080p HD video with no loss of quality.

Despite the best efforts of the video experts at Banff, my camera was useless because the files could not be converted into an editable format such as AVI or Quicktime mov.

In September of 2009, almost a year later, I decided to try to use my video camera again. I wondered if some kind of conversion software had been developed. There had been some advances in that Windows movie player would now play the uncompressed m2ts files, but it would not convert them to wmv. VLC media player would convert in Ubuntu, but only to SD. There were several other conversion software brands available on the internet, but they all either converted to SD, produced artifacts or other visual problems or had no sound.

Enter Shedworx Voltaic conversion software!

This software works to convert my m2ts files to editable formats with a number of options of output. I just upgraded to version 2 and there are even more conversion options that re-compress for iPhone and other video applications as well as for editing in professional software.  It also includes an editor and will automatically upload edited movies to your You Tube account.

I have not tried all the new features, but the conversion is rock solid and I have been producing Blu-Ray quality films on the Apple Macintosh version. I understand the newest version of Final Cut will convert m2ts files now, but for those of us on a budget, the $39.99 USD price tag for Voltaic is a lot more economical than an upgrade of FCP for $299 USD.

Another problem with upgrading is the new FCP will only run on the intel chip and requires a newer operating system. Voltaic is working great on the Power PC quad core G5 with 10.4.11 Tiger.  It is really expensive to keep up with the latest and greatest Apple offerings, so Shedworx gives the indie film maker a chance to produce in Blu-Ray without having to recycle a wonderful, working computer.

Thank you Shedworx, for providing me with a free upgrade to 2.0 because I bought my copy of the software late in 2009! This is a very generous program for a software company and I am happily using my new update today.

Share