Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009, free software

The year 2009 I will remember for many personal reasons. For work, it was the year I started a personal experiment with free software. Hypothesis: You don't have to pay exorbitant fees to Cupertino to use something that works really well.

1. While still on the Mac, I went completely to Open Office. No more MS Office, no more Pages.

2. I moved out of EndNote to Zotero and eventually Mendeley. Some people are afraid Mendeley will start charging, but Mendeley is clear that your ref library is yours, and you can walk away with it at any time, in EndNote, RIS or BibTex format.

3. I dropped SAS and SPSS for R.

4. I stopped using my MacBook and moved to Ubuntu on a Lenovo. I don't do a lot of photo or video. Linux had always intimidated me, but Ubuntu is user-friendly and has a good community of support.

More to follow . . .

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Deconstructing Doctorow part i

Below are links for some visualizations of text data in the form of the short story Anda's Game. The story is about much more than data; it is about the real-life practice of video game "gold farming" whereby poor people in less "developed" countries perform menial video game tasks to accrue currency and afford affluent Western gamers the opportunity to buy BFGs (big friendly guns) or other high-value items. I use the term desconstructing somewhat loosely; there isn't much technology available today that can provide a successful reductionist approach to a complex multidimensional cortical process of creativity. Anda's Game was the first short story of his that I read, initially as a comic on my phone.

I picked terms for the trees that were relevant to the themes of the story - gold, for in-game items and Fahrenheit, which is a clan in the story. As with several stories in Overclocked, there are several references to other SF writers, e.g. Anda's Game/ Ender's Game; I, Robot. The Bradbury references, e.g. Fahrenheits, are notable on account of Ray Bradbury's stance against Michael Moore, as Doctorow outlines in the story's introduction. After experimenting with several words from the wordle, I eventually chose terms to create trees that didn't require too much zooming and weren't too densely branched.

Cory's been prolific, so there's much more to investigate here. If I didn't have a day job, I'd be pushing Makers through Many Eyes.



Bradbury BFG

Many Eyes also has data for his other works Little Brother and Printcrime:

Arphid word tree from one of the Little Brother uploads.

Mark Shuttleworth on ubuntu, open source, free knowledge, space

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Swan, water take-off, 09:44, while trailrunning

invisible at first
wingtips slapping the surface
tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap
glides just clear of the water
wings - ssshhww sshhww sshhww

Sunday, September 13, 2009

coolness on my arms
first leaf's fall and crickets chirp
silent midnight spin

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Thursday, March 5, 2009

lake Ontario 01:02

ice indigo deepness darkness


Thursday, February 5, 2009