It’s about time I wrote an overview of my Art and Code experience.
Saturday - Workshops and Church Brews
The day began with a walk by the Cloud Factory followed by two programming workshops with lunch between them. There were 9 simultaneous morning and afternoon workshops. Choosing just two was frustrating. Another day of workshops would have been delightful.
I attended Information Visualization and Play Games with Hackety Hack.
Information Visualization - Ben Fry
Ben Fry along with Casey Reas created the Processing language “for people who want to program images, animation, and interactions.” I first discovered Processing (aka p5) in January of 2004. One of my first sketches stitched together MRI brain-scan images into an interactive animation. (See: my early p5 sketches and a more recent sketch.)
Ben’s lecture focused on using visuals to effectively communicate complex information. Shout outs to Edward Tufte and Mark Lombardi (See: Lombardi 1 & Lombardi 2)
Info Viz Workflow:
- An Important Visualization
- It’s easy to lie with statistics and maps [pdf].
- Using Cartoon Faces to Represent Multi-dimensional Datasets (More: Chernoff Faces and Face Saver)
During the experimentation part of this workshop I began working on the Marvel “Social Network” visualization.
Lunch was tabbouleh salad, hummus, pitas and an apple.
Hackety Hack - _why
Why began the afternoon workshop with a song accompanied by autoharp. Then we played with a pre-release of Hackety Hack, a Ruby-based toolkit for learning to code.
Some Notable Features:
Bloopsaphone songs and sounds:
b = Bloops.new b.tempo = 320 # Where s1 is a bloopsaphone sound that can be # generated for you or created by you. b.tune s1, "f#5 c6 e4 b6 g5 d6 4 f#5 e5 c5 b6 c6 d6 4 " b.play sleep 1 while !b.stopped?
- A vim-style (aka modal) drawing tool.
- Integrated mail client for sharing code.
- A Dingbat sprite library for game creation.
- IRC-like chat channels for human or programmatic communication. (For example, we wrote “chat” apps that allowed us to communicate by colour. Each rectangle in this image represents someone in the room.).
- Embedded Try Ruby
- Built in Tutorials / Lessons (Similar to the original Hackety Hack)
- Database (sqlite?) tables for data persistency.
The kid sitting to my left (maybe 12 or 13 years old) was new to programming. He was enthralled by the Hackety experience. I could almost hear his brain rewiring as he started to grok Ruby. Okay, I could literally hear it too, as he asked me a number of great programming questions.
After the workshop I spent some time chatting with Why and a group of fun and friendly Ottawarians. (Is that the right term for someone from Ottawa?) We eventually found our way to Church Brew Works (a restaurant and micro-brewery inside an old church) for a lovely dinner with some lovely beers. It took a while to obtain a table for 13, but good times were had by all.