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Stung Eye

The eye of the bee holder.

Art and Code - Overview Part II

My Art and Code overview continues… (See: Part I)

Sunday - Toolkit Overviews and Dorkbot @ Brillobox

Sunday was a day of presentations. From 8:45 to 17:45 we were treated to 45 minute demos of various arty programming toolkits. In the evening there was a Dorkbot Pecha Kucha-ish gathering at a pub called the Brillobox.

Some notes I jotted down during the presentations:

Alice - Presented by CMU’s Don Slater.

Alice is a 3D programming environment for creating animations, games and videos. 3d models of objects and characters are programmed visually by dragging/dropping/connecting various Instruction-Tiles together.

Jotted Down:

Five Fundamentals of Programming

  • Sequence
  • Decision
  • Repetition
  • Data Persistence (Variables)
  • Methods (Modular Abstractions)

Pd - Presented by Hans-Christoph Steiner

Pd or Pure Data is a graphical programming language for audio and video programming. Data (most often audio signals) flows through various specialized transformation or generation nodes/objects which are visually connected together by the programmer using “wires”.

1000 words == Picture

Jotted Down:

Closed tools split creators from consumers.

We need to think about programming as something every does / will do.

Scratch - Presented by John Maloney and Evelyn Eastmond

Scratch is a graphical programming environment for children ages 8 and up. Like Alice, the programs are created by snapping graphical blocks together.

Jotted Down:

Remixing of Scratch programs is encourage via their website.

There appears to be a nice learning path from Scratch through Processing to Java. Perhaps we could use Scratch as an introductory programming language at the college. David Malan has been using it for a intro comp sci course at Harvard.

Scratch is implemented in Squeak Smalltalk.

May 16th is Scratch Day.

Scratch anime!

Hackety Hack - Presented by _why

Hackety Hack is a Ruby-based environment designed to make programming accessible for kids, (especially teenagers). Its motivation: The Little Coder’s Predicament

Jotted Down:

Why claims to be a freelance professor, in other words, half-way between a scarecrow and a seeing eye dog.

A logic/programming card game called kaxXxt is also in the works.

The ASCII sword-fighting program stirs-up long dormant memories of Monkey Island.

And then we ate lunch. To be continued…

Art and Code - Overview Part I

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:

  • Acquire
  • Parse
  • Filter
  • Mine
  • Represent
  • Refine
  • Interact


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 "
    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

Upcoming Features:

  • 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.

Inca Yupana (“counting tool”) based on the Fibonacci sequence.

Output from a Processing sketch I’ve been playing with. This is a visualization of hero collaborations in the Marvel Comics universe. Each circle represents a super-hero. The larger the circle, the more heroes they have worked with. (Captain America, Spiderman, and Ironman are the large circles in the top right corner.) The lines represent collaborations between heroes. This sketch was produced using a subset of the Social characteristics of the Marvel Universe data, along with Ben Fry’s Node/Edge classes.

This form (seen in the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts) was constructed using a 3d printer. The piracy of physical objects is around the bend.

The rest of my Pittsburgh pix.

Art and Code - Day 1 - Morning

I arrived in Pittsburgh last night. The Cathedral of Learning is just outside my hotel. (Check out the commons room.)

Last week I read Michael Chabon’s The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (thanks Jeff!). I walked by the Cloud Factory on the way to registration this morning.

Next up is Information Visualization with Processing presented with Ben Fry.

This afternoon I’ll attend Make Games with Hackety Hack on Your Laptop Right There on Your Lap with mr. why the lucky stiff.

Right now I’m enjoying a coffee inside Carnegie Mellon’s Baker Hall.

Tomorrow I fly to Pittsburgh to attend the fundamental little hackers’ summit, Art and Code.