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Stung Eye

The eye of the bee holder.

Sound + Code = Jam (Vol 1)

This past Saturday (July 23, 2022) marked the first in a series of in-person events focused on experimenting with sound and code. That’s right, we spent the day hacking music at New Media Manitoba in the beautiful Dingwall Building!

We had 18 folks at our peak, which is an amazing turnout for a niche event. The day went by in a flash. Like a good party, I was left feeling energized and inspired, but also with a melancholic sense that there wasn’t nearly enough time to get to know / catch-up with all those in attendance.

The day started with some lightning talks on Sonic Pi, Chuck, a musical instrument built using Scratch, and the wonders of Ableton Link. The rest of the day was full of cool experiments like:

There were also folks with awesome hardware gear and lots of great conversations on the possibilities of combining code with music. Some attendees assembled instrument and drum kit sample packs and surfaced this great CC0 fake acoustic drum kit pack.

Based on the event turnout, I’m already pondering Sound + Code Volume 2. I’d love for the second event to be slightly more structured to ensure that everyone has a chance to work on a collaborative project.

A big thanks to New Media Manitoba for the event space and to Prairie Dev Con for the delicious lunch. (The 2022 Winnipeg Prairie Developer Conference will be this November 7th and 8th!) I’d also like to thank the Winnipeg Game Collective community for being the initial inspiration for the event.

To get a better sense of what’s possible in the space of algorithms and music, I’ve included a few videos below.

The remaining Sound + Code crew at day’s end on Saturday, July 23rd, 2022. Wish I had thought to snap a few shots when everyone was around.

DJ_Dave live-codes her track Easy over the course of 13 minutes.

DJ_Dave is an NYC-based experimental electronic-pop artist, DJ, and producer, who creates & performs her music using code – a style called algorave – and is one of the first to do so in a pop-sensible context.”

Yorkshire vs. Tokyo Live Coding Showdown - 2.5 hours of live coding from various performers.

“Expect improvised beats, melodies, and noise in a variety of genres, all executed through live coding in various systems. It’s all improvised live music, not DJing, so no one will have ever heard any of this music before, not even the performers.”

Reading and Listening in 2021

I read 12 books last year. Three were read on my Kobo e-reader and the rest were deadtree format. Six of them were fiction. Six were non-fiction. Nightly reading with the girls continues. I’m mising my weekday 1.5 hours bus commute reading sessions. It’s just too easy to fall asleep with a book across your face. :)

Fiction in 2021

Non-Fiction in 2021

Top Three Books of 2021

What’s Bred in the Bone - Robertson Davies

“A happy childhood has spoiled many a promising life.”

This was my only re-read of 2021. I think this is my favourite Davies novel, but I tend to think that after reading any of his books. It’s part two of his Cornish Trilogy, and shares some characters and settings from his Deptford Trilogy. Who was Franis Cornish? I’m a sucker for coming-of-age stories, but mix in art, philosophy, religion, spies!, forgery, provincial Canadiana, angles and daimons, and you know I’ll be hooked throughout.

“The art of the quoter is to know when to stop.”

Sapiens - A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

“You could never convince a monkey to give you a banana by promising him limitless bananas after death in monkey heaven.”

Although I disagreed with some of the book’s claims, they are presented with such conviction that I just went along for the ride; it’s a good ride if slightly depressing. Harari’s history of humanity begins with the evolution of imagination and concludes with an exploration of human happiness. A 100,000 year story of how we (homo sapiens) outlived five other human species and (for better or worse) came to dominate the world.

“Biology enables, Culture forbids.”

Math Art: Truth, Beauty, and Equations by Stephen Ornes

A coffee table art book with artist interviews and high-level explorations of aesthetically pleasing mathematical concepts. Goes beyond the usual math art of Escher and Fractals, although both are mentioned. If you’re intrigued, the book is available from the Winnipeg Public Library.

Instead of a quote I’ve included photo from the book at the bottom of this post.

Family Books in 2021

Public libraries were open throughout 2021 so took full advantage.

The best:

Lumberjanes Graphic Novels - Volumes 1 through 13 - The girls absolutely love the adventures at Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types.

One top of those we read 73 story books and books 6 through 11 of Ivy + Bean by Annie Barrows.

Podcasts in 2021

Due to my backed up queue of podcasts I only added two showa to my Pocket Cast list, Eric Normand’s Thoughts on Functional Programming and Conversations with Tyler. I also managed to pare down my show count from 28 to 23.

Podcasts where I continue to listen to every episode:

CBC Spark, CppCast, CppChat, Game Dev Advice, Gameplay, Hanselminutes, Invisibilia, Lex Fridman, Long Now Seminars, Nice Games Club, Overdue, Philosophy Bites, Reply All, Song Exploder, The Bike Shed, The Tim Ferriss Show, This American Life

Occasional listens:

CBC Front Burner, CBC Ideas, Philosophize This!, Syntax

Favourite Podcasts of 2021

Some of my favourite episodes from the past year, listed alphabetically by show:

Number of books read each year from 2011 to 2021. I’ve been averaging 18.5 books per year for the past 11 years.

Past yearly overviews: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011.

Quin by Bathsheba Grossman from the cover of Math Art: Truth, Beauty, and Equations.