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Showing posts from 2006

Setar or Rebab from Uzbekistan

Sound clip of me playing this (Setar (or) Rabab) My brother went to Kazakhstan recently, and bought a Setar (or Rubab, or maybe it's a kashgar rabab) when he crossed through to Uzbekistan for a part of his trip. I think he got it in the city of Samarkand. It's a small rounded mandolin sized instrument , with four strings - which seem to have very different tunings, not mandolin like at all. From looking at Wikipedia, it looks like some of the strings are sympathetic strings , i.e. drone strings. Two drones and two strings that play mostly solos, punctuated by some fast strikes of the drones. In gamelan music it's the only free instrument, that only has to abide by the rule of stopping on the beat. As a rebab it's played with great style in the afghan city of Herat, in slowly reawakening musical traditions . It is played with a bow in general, and is considered to be the precursor of the violin. In the tradition of Uzbek and Kazakh people it's an instrument of

The legend of the tooth mouse

Once upon a time there was a mouse called Lauchito, who was very crafty and worldly and had been in all kinds of kitchens stealing little bits of food from the humans. The humans didn't mind too much because he was a very clean mouse and always tidied up after himself, and because long ago he had befriended a small boy who had given him some food in exchange for some of the little night that he kept in his cave, back when humans didn't have night and had to sleep in the bright sun instead. The mouse was always playing tricks on the fox, who was very greedy and not very nice. Most of all the fox wanted to be like a human. And one day he managed to marry a princess who had a baby daughter and later became king. But he was not a very nice king and made everyone very poor by taking all their money and keeping it himself. The princess became a queen and her daughter became princess. The fox king didn't like the princess and kept her locked up in the castle all the time. She h

Marketing and Publicity in community action and collectively improvised music.

The Comic version of the 911 commission report is really inspiring - both as an art form following from trends in documentary film and as a way to make information accessible to the masses - making a difficult and dense report easy to understand. This is what I feel the Chocolate Box network needs - a way to communicate our issues simply so that we can truly be representative. I'm hoping a good publicity group springs from our midst. We could take Milly's popular exhibition from the Mivart St Open Weekend - a collage of community meeting notes, videos of our meetings and encounters with the head of Elizabeth Shaw, historic and present photos and plans of the factory and what interesting ideas have been put forward for ideas that fit the 5m budget it's got to make (at least!). We are also due to do a fundraiser in December, at the Lego Church - which I plan to take part in. __Sustain My HEAD!__ I attended on Thursday the Sustainable neighbourhoods workshop organise

Bluetooth Mindboggles

Bluetooth FAQ My only thought (one track mind) just now is how to make a bluetooth application that ran a grid over mobile phones? It would grow dynamically across any installed clients it found. You could copy in anything, and it would have metadata for that stuff. If it found a phone capable of point to multipoint, it would send all to everything around it, and it would allow things to be informally shared perhaps in various levels of secrecy, but also with various levels of social comfort: If you were in a public space you could set your phone to something like "contactable" or "surprise me!" and this would get you everything passing by on the other phones. Animations, texts, pictures, videos, ringtones and combinations of these would be the easiest things to transfer. You might choose to keep a record of what you got, and inspect it later or search. This could be good for social purposes. If you were in a conference, you might wish to reveal more, such as w

Candle based small heater

If only people like this could open their business and get a web designer in too!

Weaving grid computing into the Net | Tech News on ZDNet

Weaving grid computing into the Net - article about possible union of business and scientific grids. Mentions what may be a very interesting paper to read... Explaining some of the background to SL's grid based client/server system amongst others. Massive centralisation of object data means when you get into the world all you have is IDs for objects. Your client then has to query the central db for the rendering data to all these objects even if you created them yourself. But how could any other kind of setup allow people to relate to the real world? For example, an online world where objects were only there while their client was connected to the grid, so where client software was responsable for storing data too, a bit like with some more distributed p2p clients. It would perhaps match buddhist thought - that each person is a protagonist and creator of their own environment through past causes they made

Social Networking/Grid App videos/podcast links

I came across all these links looking at Miguel de Icaza's blog Danah Boyd speaking about social networking sites such as Myspace , and funny things that happen when you don't check how your data is coming from properly (although that's always hard to do when your audience is made up of teenagers) Second Life Client: A distributed grid application, now running .mono! Lots of blogs on social networks, and distributed grid game/build environments

Distributed Computing VS Distributed Performance

Networks are by their nature, failure prone. Whether you are talking about a person in your extended network turning up as requested to a place, or a computer not crashing when you need it, you can't really control the remote points. But you can "influence" it - devote more time to any node and give it incentives such as quick replacement arrangements, money, systems administrator time etc. In working on the Locating Grid Technologies workshop series' last practical event, we had to take this into account. I envisioned the connections as being a central set of maybe 2-3 nodes that we really checked up on and ensured would be functioning on the day, and then as many other nodes as needed, but with no checks or involvement from us. In a much larger network we'd have had the chance to test out many more of the fallacies/problems/opportunities of distributed computing, but I'm impressed at how much a social/performance event resembles a generic computer proced

Airless Sound

So much has been done already around the AG and we're all just doing the same little things with it to get it to the next level. It's quite clear what it needs: *Good quality sound *Streaming Tools - maybe grid enabled annotation devices, or just note pads, but that work across and take full advantage of the medium *Moving cameras *DJ-VJing/advanced editing/processing capabilities. *Tools to deal with latency and compression faults imaginatively. The interesting thing is that a lot of these problems are solved technically in other video/audio transfer software available already around the web, or in people's studios. What is missing is the link between universities and artists to make things happen. What about a series of funded performances in partnership with willing institutions, in return for some publicity for their meeting rooms? It's also a great medium for collaborative performance, of the really deep higher art kind - because it allows for intensity and over

PARIP Explorer

Web applications nowadays do everything you could think of - information-wise at least. You can look up any item of human knowledge and using hypertext trace through all the links to other topics, buy any book, listen to any music or see any films - and see the connections between your tastes and those of others, aggregated into lists and links both to help you and to provide information to others. As well as overlay annotations on geographical maps etc - we're really starting to map all our knowledge, as well as it's links and relationships. It's obvious then that there is a need for an easy to use, accessible and simple looking general purpose application that allows relationships between concepts etc to be built and displayed by the general public. Enter PARIP Explorer . It's software that is only and all about relationships between things. At the moment it describes arts researchers, their friends/aquaintances, interviews they've had. Since last week, you c

2 Needs for UK Sustainable energy infrastructure

A financing company or quango - needs to allow people and businesses to invest in renewable energy - solar panels, wind turbines, etc but pay it back slowly so as to immediately see any rewards in terms of lower monthly prices etc. Home energy management infrastructure: So that lots of small renewable energy solutions can be used together seamlessly - all plug into "inverse" plugs for example, which feed energy into the house (or back to the grid, but mostly people won't have the money to invest in something that generates that much energy - only the Camerons of the high income world). Lots of renewable tech charges batteries for example - perhaps this aspect should be seamless: on a windy day more energy would come from a turbine, on rainy days from the hydro, from sunny days from the sky... This shouldn't matter to people. The equivalent of the IBM PC or of USB plugs - if one thing doesn't work, plug in another one and use that... Problem is, the government m

George, Keith and the Chocolate Factory

Just back from the Chocolate Box Architects meeting. This step in the campaign consisted of getting two well known architects active in the area to come and give their opinions and expertise. We met with Keith Hallet (who has set up many local wonderful places like the scrapstore/better food company and redcliffe futures - all with a running theme of community involvement) and George , were joined by Jackson and Paul , as well as a lot of the core Chocolate Box people and of course local residents. The architects seemed very capable and very open to the very same community participation, sustainability, and self build ideas, although offering their own improvements to our ideas by saying that the self build could happen within the framework of the existing buildings (thus offering many many more self build plots), and seemed to warm to the idea of a reduced traffic build that favoured bike access or connections with the railway. I arrived early and got a chance to speak in person to

Equilibrium Epiphany

So came my epiphany. In the realisation that no-one knows when the end will come, and that we are actually in charge of deciding this. Peak oil is just a tiny part of a much larger point which is our having grown to this size in terms of our consumption of resources for the first time in the history of life. As a Buddhist this is significant because it's a turning point for humankind. If we can survive this issue, we will really be making an incredible cause. There is only one way to do this, and it's to finally realise the connectedness, or even just see the logic in not taking the world to the extremes we've taken it. We have already gone too far and it's not going to be easy to get out of this mess. But there are changes afoot - even Google realise that working with small companies and not seeking to dominate is the business. And one little bit less do we resemble a steaming pile of maggots over a corpse, now lacking the larger millipedes who storm around or the

Save our Chocolate Factory

Today the chocolate factory has been the talk of the neighbourhood. Already a yahoo group has been hijacked and is the subject of much discussion at the local volunteer run free wireless non profit , and maybe soon at the cube or even my work. It's an old ramshackle looking chocolate factory owned by Elizabeth Shaw who used to be called Packer & Co and sell their fancy chocs to marks and sparks. So with the sparks not flying so far anymore, they are closing down. The chocolate factory used to have 2500 employees, workhouses, a school and even the cemetery used to be a part of the ecosystem that was Greenbank in the last century. It was vital for all the people in the area. And this was a very industrial area, with the gasworks and the chocolate factory, the hawks gym - what was that? Mivart St... the big train station (I wish there had been a picture of the mural on that station - it's incredible). They all stand like giants in our wake. Now the tide is turning and

Slashdot | IBM to Oracle - You Can't Buy Open Source

Slashdot | IBM to Oracle - You Can't Buy Open Source IBM? Oracle? Pffft! You're standing on the sky scrapers and only see the giant peaks that come out over the clouds. What happens when the mountain falls? So here I am stuck in Peak oil world - that devastating feeling you get after eating too much and realising you just popped your stomach. Oh shit. But it's just a world, and it'll pass, and be replaced soon enough by my peak oil epiphany. I've known for long and have had glimpses in my dreams. "Daddy - the chickens are sick" - and me, "Stay away from them!". The world where every resource had been taken and was being used to the full amount it could, renewably. So the only way to win over the others would be to destroy a large amount of the land through war or something equally hellish and then run in and invade it. "We have to go on our annual pilgrimage to feed the Chinese soldiers. We will not have to donate a child this year.

Reactions to peak oil

Is this the answer to peak oil? I've spent the easter weekend enjoying children and festivity and friends in Bristol, sometimes coming out of my little happy hole to look out and see really upsetting headlines - another oil price hike, unrest and mad violence at oil sites etc, and a very good documentary on more4 last week which pushed me to finally unite my family's dreams of moving on somewhere permanent, with the peak oil idea that the current society really risks very turbulent economic times within the next 5 years or so, and that after that most resources will dwindle in similar ways - such as natural gas and coal, and we'll be left with whatever we can take to the next level. Just like you shouldn't move to San Francisco if you don't like earthquakes, you shouldn't live in oil dependent areas if you fear recession. The next step has to somehow keep some of what we've learnt during this time. Like the Roman times hugely influenced the middle ages,

Creative Commons: A safe house for intellectual property

Creative Commons: A safe house for intellectual property Interesting chat on the #cc channel on freenode - some guy who wouldn't disclose the type of software he was making, but looking for a CC rather than GPL/BSD license for it - specifically so it was non-commercial. A bit of a lost cause really because if you don't understand the mentality of openness and are trying to stop other people making money from your ideas then maybe you shouldn't be looking for these licenses. Or maybe you should and there should just be more levels to let everyone release as much as they want of things... This guy kept repeating that he wants to make a living from writing code. Same with me with music/art using the creative commons idea - but with me I don't care if from today to tomorrow I make money from a song, so I'm just glad if someone wants to sample or reuse something. It's the skill argument - paid for what you do not what you've done. Will cc licensed creative m

Freedom and Responsibility - a song for A lot of talk around the internet about the censorship problem. A few thoughts: It just occurred to me that from a buddhist point of view, no-one can rightly say "We are not evil" - like a lot of these new copyleftish companies are doing. No one is intrinsically good and unable to do something bad. We all have all those things. But saying "do no evil" is a bit of a christian or at least western block in morality - as if evil was something you were always conscious of. We are living under a lot of different prejudices at any one time: a colleague of mine who grew up under apartheid in south africa never knew that it was wrong until she visited the UK and found people mixing between races. Our weapon against this is taking responsibility and confronting these prejudices when they become apparent, but crucially making sure they can be apparent. Als

Bluetooth art

Wireless Application Programming with J2ME and Bluetooth Ok so it's possible to make bluetooth stuff I think with java, that you then load on your phone and can use to go around doing damage to other people's phones - But this is sooo unimaginative. Here is a braindump of ideas - the end idea being of being able to use this stuff for arts: For ages I imagined a way of talking that was like extended quick bluejacking. I thought I'd use it to find things out without talking to anyone - it would be about quickly noting metadata to do with a place or time or day, and sharing only that, automatically. It would be all about the social side of it - how much do you feel comfortable sharing with strangers, and how do you create social contact in spaces where that never happens? The interface should be simple and people should want to do it. Here's a similar thing Another network idea

Death of Derek and Vocals thru the post

this is not the file I am looking for...I know its around the studio somewhere...but the Last Rose of Summer is a great song.... Jaff! Message from Jaff, from ccMixter - Here are some thoughts as I listen to the files as they come through. This is a collaboration with some singer I've never met, whose brother posted samples of her voice which I used in a track . Planning to do some mixing of "Last Rose" - hoping it's their own composition! I imagine a crazed improv noise madness session playing behind it... I love soprano voices... Sorry to see Derek Bailey go. He was in Barcelona, where I once thought I'd return to start loads of impro stuff. We have to be a new generation with this stuff. Mr Bailey had already improvised with and anything and anyone that took his fancy, we have to take this stuff now and use it in our work, taking it to a whole new level. We can mix his and his contemporaries' theories on chance meetings and unpreparedness, his appr