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Sunday, April 10th, 2016
3:02 pm - Playground LED Table, Version 1.0

Playground is a monthly event hosted at Lightbox Kulturhaus. They use LED art in their branding, and they reached out to me.  :)

Time spent: 32¾ hours
Bill of materials: $202.91

I'm glad I tracked the hours and expenditures, so I can better estimate future projects. This was a rush job, but it's a hot rush job. I estimate the code took 10-12 hours. The majority of my time was spent on soldering and fabrication.

After coding the "flow field" framework, it took as little as 5 minutes to bang out a new flow field equation. This is good. I feel like I'm freeing myself from the tyranny of particle- and buffer-based animations, each coded individually, 4-8 hours to get right.

Making the color & palette correct was tricky. It's guided randomness. I feel like this took 30-40% of dev time, tho a significant amount of time was spent thinking about the problem away from the keyboard.

There may be a version 2.0 in the future. The code supports flow field updates per-frame, so the flow fields can wiggle & distort in realtime. I haven't taken advantage of this feature, yet.

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Tuesday, March 31st, 2015
10:06 am - status update
Hi! I'm busy for a few days weeks, and will respond to comments & emails when I can.
Sunday, March 22nd, 2015
8:25 pm - I Am Deleting My Facebook Account
If Facebook was "real", it would be a crowded room with hundreds of loose acquaintances talking at you, shoving random, unbidden photos into your face, and loudly peddling their agendas. Communication would be shallow and brief. Typically you would interact by flashing a thumbs-up in someone's direction, then turning away to receive the next verbal bombardment.

As human interaction goes, the above scenario is very strange, even overstimulating and frustrating.

My exit from Facebook began with a rough week. I was juggling two contracts, and clinging to tiny fragments of inner peace. I was not in the mood to entertain anyone.

Sipping morning coffee, I trudged through my Facebook feed: Some unfunny memes. Pictures of grinning families who I'll never meet. Grand works of art reviewed in single, grammatically incomplete sentences.

The post that broke me, and ignited the emotional kindling in my head, was an article about a woman who was a victim of rape and assault. There it was, in vivid color: The woman's bloody, mutilated face, semi-conscious in her hospital bed, with an oxygen tube jammed into her sinus cavity.

Yes, I agree that it is a horrible, abominable crime! No one deserves to suffer like that. However, would you push this picture into your friend's faces? The woman in that picture has been photographed on one of the worst, most soul-crushing days of her life. Do you really think she wants that picture circulating on the internet?

Yes, it is still a terrible crime! Yes, I do have a direct, intimate understanding of this! Ask me about growing up as a young gay boy in America, in the 80's and 90's. Ask me about the time my partner and I were gay-bashed in 2010. Believe me, I have first-hand experience with the horrors that lurk in this world. You don't need to remind me, or provoke me with such a sadistic image.

"Wow, I wish I could quit Facebook," I thought. "Oh! I can quit Facebook!"

This is what happened when I deactivated my Facebook account: I became more social in real life. It was an overnight transformation. Suddenly I craved the company of specific people, who I admire, and get energy from.

I had a computer-aided design ("CAD") class scheduled for Friday night, on the other side of town. Normally, I would have groaned and debated whether to attend. I don't own a car. It was an hour by bicycle. It's Friday, I'm tired.

But a few days after quitting Facebook, there was no hesitation in my mind. I was going. I wanted to be around other inspired hackers. And I'm extremely glad to have attended.

For me, Facebook drained my social battery, and left me feeling too exhausted to participate in real life. It provided the illusion of real human interaction, but was in fact hundreds of micro-assaults on my ability to focus, or hold anything meaningful in my head, or develop a heartfelt connection with anyone. I burned too much mental energy composing status updates for semi-strangers, always pretending that my life was fabulous, and easily summarized in a sentence or two.

I feel like something vital has been lost, now that people will encapsulate their emotional state in an icon (emoji), or reach out to the world in 140 characters or less (Twitter).

Remember when we all used Blogger and Livejournal? I won't argue that they were inherently better services. But I feel there was incentive to write longer posts, with more introspection, conveying subtleties and depth of thought.

Long posts don't "show well" on a scrolling, infinite list of blurbs and viral videos, like the Facebook format. Jerry Mander wrote about this effect in Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television:

Well, one of the points of the book is that you really can't summarize complex information. And that television is a medium of summary or reductionism - it reduces everything to slogans. And that's one criticism of it, that it requires everything to be packaged and reduced and announced in a slogan-type form.

When I'm on Facebook, I tend to skip long posts, videos over 60 seconds, and bloated photo albums. There you have it, I admit that I'm behaving like someone with one one-thousandth of my normal attention span. I've hardly watched television in years, but lo and behold, the internet has become my new television.

Is this an inherent problem of the medium, of Facebook itself? Who cares?! I can't fix this. It's more incentive to leave.

"What about Instagram?" I would rather not join Instagram. It seems like the same essential formula as Facebook, with even less to read (less depth), and the addition of graphical effects to help portray your life as flawless, beautiful, and completely fucking fake.

"What about Twitter? I notice you've been 'tweeting' more lately!" I still chafe under the 140-character limit. I do not appreciate that one bit. I have a private list of feeds with a high signal-to-noise ratio, I typically glance at that a couple times a day. I never gaze upon the firehose of all 172 accounts I am allegedly "following".

"Come back to Facebook! You can set up filters, and manage permissions, and get ultra-granular with everything! You can invest even more time and energy into your Facebook experience!" Guys, girls, seriously... No. Just no. Nothing could be less fun for me. I am not coming back. Facebook was a destructive force in my life, which interfered with my ability to actually communicate with people who are actually central to my life and well-being.

"I would quit Facebook, but there's this one person who I'm only connected to on Facebook." Pro tip: To communicate with someone in a new way, try communicating with them in a new way.

The plan: I will reactivate my Facebook account for a few days, and post a single quick goodbye message, with a link to this thing you're currently reading, along with contact info for anyone who wants to reach out and connect.

I realize this is an imperfect solution, an anticlimax of sorts. I'm still receiving text messages from confused people who missed the post announcing the deactivation of my account. Did Facebook curate that post into oblivion, since it wasn't worthy of the "News Feed"? Who knows. It's funny, the one time I have something vital to share on Facebook, the post didn't reach a large percentage of my "friends".

For a while, socializing on the internet was the right thing for me. That time has passed. I haven't lost anything by leaving Facebook, I have gained and matured instead.

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Tuesday, September 30th, 2014
9:46 pm - video
I learned how to edit video!! Yeah. Here's the Church of Robotron, in 84 seconds: (I helped make this happen!!! Yayyayay Dorkbot is the greatest gang)

Also, here's the LED installation I worked on last year, 3,810 RGB LEDs. I made the music, too, and I really got into it, for serious. Doot-dootle-a-doot:

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Sunday, August 24th, 2014
8:14 pm - garfielf

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Monday, June 17th, 2013
11:09 pm - tracks brewing
Dan Fox (of Loss) convinced me to share some unfinished tracks. Yes! Good stuff doth percolate.

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Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013
12:04 am - junk jams
Yeah!!! I'm track 16, destroying The Village People's "YMCA" for your "disco" "pleasure":

United State of Americore –Junk Jams Volume 1

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Saturday, February 23rd, 2013
8:44 pm - GenMDM Go!
First composition using Sega Genesis + GenMDM! Yeah:

GenMDM Go! by Too Many Moths

current mood: calm

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Saturday, January 5th, 2013
1:42 am - RayBlaster!
I'm moonlighting as a professional sound designer! Here are some presets that I created for Tone2's fabulous software synth, RayBlaster:

RayBlaster Presets by Too Many Moths

Trippy, warped, N-dimensional filters, mega sickness. I love exploring this thing.

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Monday, December 3rd, 2012
11:42 pm - RayBlaster!
RayBlaster has been released! I designed preset patches for this monster, yes MONSTER, of a synth. (Look for patches with "ZA" in the name.) I love this thing so much.

Also I composed audio demos. The video on this page kicks off with one of my funky creations :)

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Saturday, October 27th, 2012
1:47 am - GAMBY: epic 3D shooter
Well, the beginnings of one!

The LCD screen doesn't like rapid animation, the images don't persist. What is this effect called? I remember the Gameboy had the same problem. Not sure how to work around this, yet...

EDIT: Temporal/timing performance, or "refresh rate".

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Thursday, October 25th, 2012
11:23 pm - gamby
I finished soldering this, and it works! ZOMG

The "Gamby". I am seriously playing Tetris on this thing, and I can write games & stuff for it. This is the cutest, most adorable Arduino shield ever.

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Saturday, October 20th, 2012
1:33 am - oontz oontz + ratta tat ==
SooooOOOooo... This happened:

Minotaur Mailbomb (live at Plan B - Oct 18 2012) by Too Many Moths

Sorry about your ears!! Lollilolol

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Tuesday, September 25th, 2012
11:30 pm - it's a lamp

Coming along nicely. I'm in Seattle tonight, I picked up some missing parts at Metrix. Good times!

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Wednesday, September 19th, 2012
11:04 pm - more arduino fun
Analog input + LED strip == Turn the knob to change the hue

Not too difficult :) I have a specific project in mind. COMING SOON.

current mood: shocked LOL GET IT

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Tuesday, September 11th, 2012
10:52 am
RGB LED strips: I could make a smaller version of this [y/n]?

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Tuesday, September 4th, 2012
1:16 pm
If you have a chance to see Amon Tobin's current tour, do it! Great visuals:

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Monday, August 27th, 2012
11:51 am - zorch
Electricity is dangerous!

I'm now the proud owner of a Maple Bacon. (It's akin to an Arduino, but contains a 72MHz ARM processor, if that means anything to ya.)

I plugged wires into it, and engineered an 8-bit synthesizer! (Using an R2R ladder DAC.) It played gritty sine waves, and syncing sawtooths! Fun!

Then I expanded the design, adding 4 more pins, creating a 12-bit synthesizer. Little did I realize that two of the pins are special, and provide direct access to the USB connection. I had no idea! Also, I learned that you can inadvertently short out your laptop motherboard with these pins.

So, the laptop froze, then behaved strangely, even after several power cycles. (Couldn't log in; mouse froze in the finder; Bluetooth couldn't be disabled; etc.) The internal fuses may have needed time to reset. Fortunately, the laptop seems OK now. (Dear gawd, I hope so.)

After some digging, I found this in the specs:

Pin D23 is the USB D+ line, and D24 is the USB D- line. To use them as GPIOs, your program will need to disable SerialUSB first. Be aware, however, that disabling SerialUSB means that the bootloader won’t work properly, and you’ll need to use Perpetual Bootloader Mode to make your next upload.

More like: "Be aware that you can f*@k your sh$t up if you use pins #23 and #24. These are the demon pins, whispering unholy voltages back through the wires, steering the motherboard towards madness."

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Thursday, August 16th, 2012
3:13 pm - LED shirt?
The LED strips can be split into segments, and potentially sewn into clothing. Perhaps a grid of lights on a shirt? A rectangular grid is fine, but I want to create a more distinct shape, I dunno:

O     O
 O O O
 O O O

O     O


And with a slight curvature, so the horizontal rows have slight downward arcs (like smiles)?

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12:41 am - YES
Just wired up one of these, with a button:

I wrote a little program that shows 2 colored waves, which overlap to form a brighter color. When you press the button, a new palette is randomly selected :)

I AM SO FORKING HAPPY RIGHT NOW. So many crazy ideas argurgguuhhughhh.

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