This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
akademic werdsakademic werds
written and published in Tinderbox 1.2.3
from the blurb:
::30 Sep 2002 21:53::
seems to be hard to get really low bit rate video using sorenson 3 out of either cleaner or quicktime pro. i want low bit rate, and if i sent a data rate of something like 1 kbyte a second it always seems to encode over this. i assume on the rather sensible basis that it can't actually produce an image at the rate i'm after. the problem is i don't know how to work out what a viable minimum rate might be, so i put it right down and try to get the coded to respond.
the trick i've got to achieve this, which i'm using for some current vogs, is to capture into imovie, export at desired frame size but only at 12 fps. then in cleaner set the image size i want as half the final size and set the size flag to double, and the frame rate to 24. this gets me the look and data rate that i'm after.
if i export at 24, and compress at the low bit rate with the image at full size the datarate just jumps right on up. this seems to be much easier to achieve using mpeg 4 in quicktime, but i'm not quite ready to move to that yet since the installed user base seems a bit small, particularly since final cut pro and dvd studio pro apparently conflict with qt 6 and a lot of the people interested in the stuff i do have things like final cut and dvd studio installed.
low bit rate
this is doing the net rounds today, it is as narrow minded as australia's recent xenophobia. kairostami is recognised as a contemporary master, and certainly is one of the most significant creative figures in contemporary international cinema.
Richard Pena, director of the New York film festival, informed that Abbas Kiarostami was denied a visa to enter the United States, the consular authorities needing about 90 days to "verify the background" of a citizen before giving him a visa. In spite of Pena's efforts, in spite of the fact that Kiarostami visited the USA several times, in spite of his position and reputation, the US embassy in Paris, from where the Iranian director had made his request, refused to take his application into consideration.
Jack Lang, formerly France's Minister of National Education and Culture, who tried vanely to intervene by writing a letter to the American Ambassador in Paris, Howard Leach, commented that this situation showed "an intellectual isolationism and an ignorance confining to the contempt for other cultures".
Richard Pena comments: "It's a terrible sign of what's happening in my country today that no one seems to realize or care about the kind of negative signal this sends out to the entire Muslim world (not to mention to everyone else)."
International Federation of Film Critics - FIPRESCI Grégory Valens
from a 2 month old email that i rediscovered as i try and become a bit more efficient. of course i don't have time to look at it now, or even to read it, probably, but as i tell my students and as i'm beginning belatedly to put into my own practice - i know it is there, i've catalogued it here if i need it. is it central to my current research or teaching? no. might i want to send students or others there? yes. done.
plan b the blog novel
this is a story from the quality paper in my home city of melbourne. it shows just how bad the present (conservative) government is in terms of its kow towing to us foreign policy interests and its sort of sycophantic xenophobia. i'm sort of pleased, almost proud, that former prime ministers from opposite sides of the political spectrum, and former heads of the military, are able to come together and publish such a letter. but i'm ashamed that the country has declined to the extent that such a letter ought ever to be necessary.
europe right now is facing the problems around ethnic and cultural difference that australia resolved during the 70s and 80s via multiculturalism. so when the current australian government looks to europe for contemporary examples of cultural and ethnic xenophobia parading as national interest or policy, and uses this to rationalise its own position, it doesn't realise that they are in fact turning the nation backwards.
so after eudora auto upgraded itself and plonked an ad on my desktop i had a look at mail. lasted 5 minutes. which surprised me. i mean it's nice, and easy to use and clever but i get and write a lot of email and i increasingly want very simple very fast very curt interfaces. if i could write email on a train using pine, then i'd almost return to pine. yes mail lets me set filters that colour code messages. but will it really help me reply faster and more efficiently? probably not. does the panel thing at the side help me move around my email archive and the numerous mail boxes i've got? nope. do i want rich text email? definitely not.
so now i've downloaded mailsmith, from barebones.com and so far i like what i see. lean mean and lots of text processing tools. ah, that's what i want, text processing tools, not word processing (not bold, italics, pink) but things that quickly let me fix those poorly formatted messages i get, etc. and it uses mbox format for its mailboxes, just like eudora (and mail) so migration in both directions is easy, it has industrial strength mail filters, supports templates, glossaries, and 50% appears to be the same as bbedit. this could be the winner.
email the empire strikes back
to date my three main public wireless networks i've found have been less than successful. heathrow i couldn't find login information which it seemed to need, copenhagen airport wanted to charge me, and oslo central doesn't let me actually do anything useful. i'm pretty sure intermedia oslo has wireless . . .
oh, [cough], i've got the tibook out at breakfast because i'm finishing the notes i need for today's seminar. (of course.)
strategic planning at intermedia uib
media rich tools
well, after yet another 3 crashes in eudora i decided to see if i could upgrade and somehow eudora has managed to automatically upgrade me to the current version but of course i'm not entitled to that one so i'm now in sponsored mode which i hate. and i am unimpressed that it did this and apparently wrote over my previous installation without asking (and without needing my admin password). i can downgrade again, but, well, i'm unimpressed.
so i'm getting one step closer to moving. i looked briefly at powermail which looks good but it doesn't seem to have stationery (something i use a lot in eudora) and it uses a single database for storing mail, something i've been burnt by in the past and it's a nuisance for backups and synching between desk and lap tops. so mail is looking better, but i seem to really want to stay with eudora. not sure if it is history or that i've left it before only to return...
tonight i'm catching the night train to oslo. get a bed and all. something i've never done before. i'm presenting a seminar at intermedia oslo in the morning, and the train gets me there in plenty of time without the 0625 flight from bergen and the drama of the trip to the airport at 0530, then getting from gardermoen (oslo's very beautiful airport with the really ugly logo) to the city then to blindern which is the station i need to get to intermedia. of course i might find i can't sleep on the train, but then i'll just sit in the dark enjoying the view.
crossing roads, at pedestrian crossings, in my experience is something worthy of at least a phd for some budding ethnographer. take, for instance, the experience of someone from melbourne (australia, not florida), in bergen, norway. that's me.
in melbourne as a pedestrian approaches a pedestrian crossing you can pretty reasonably expect traffic to slow and to anticipate that you're crossing, and it is the exception that you would be about to cross and you'd have to wait for a car, bus, truck, whatever to get through before you could actually start crossing (and if you did you would feel entitled to complain and gesticulate to said driver). it is, if you like, as if the 'safe' zone around the crossing extends back towards the footpath some indeterminate but socially recognised distance.
so as a driver in melbourne if there are people approaching a crossing (and so within or about to enter this indeterminate but to me perfectly obvious zone) you would slow and be ready to stop if in fact they were wanting to cross. of course this is sometimes ambiguous, as for instance if you were standing talking in this zone (you basically shouldn't and probably wouldn't in melbourne), and though of course you should always make sure traffic is stopping for you it seems pretty straightforward that approaching the crossing, and the crossing itself, is protected territory.
in bergen this is a bit different. there doesn't seem to be a zone prior to the crossing which is sort of part of the crossing, and so as a pedestrian you have no authority in relation to the traffic (ie it must stop for you) until it is very obvious that you are wanting to cross, and this usually requires you to be standing more or less with a toe on the white line. now 9 times out of 10 you can just walk and it is fine, but there is a zone of indetermination here which is the reverse of melbourne's. as far as i can work out it goes something like this. if you are driving and you are approaching a crossing and there are pedestrians approaching, and if you calculate that you'll probably both reach the crossing at the same time if you continue at the same speed, then you do.
the effect of this for the melbourne australian is that as you more or less step into your zone of indetermination which is of course where you start to have authority over the cars, a car goes shooting past at apparently normal speed and clearly with no intention of stopping. this also applies to crossings where there may be a traffic island in the middle, so you can be walking across, and as you enter the traffic island you may as well be on the footpath and the same rules apply. if the driver thinks they will get to your side of the crossing before you're actually physically there (even though you're already on the crossing at the traffic island and clearly walking) they will continue.
now this is not a game of chicken. if you're on the crossing it is yours and everybody and everything will slow for you. but just as drivers calculate if they have to stop by a rule of collision rather than intention to cross, they also calculate this while you're crossing. in other words if you are on a crossing and, well, crossing, and a driver is approaching, they also calculate how much they need to slow down without actually having to stop so that you often have the experience of just stepping off the crossing to have a car zoom past immediately behind you. this can be rather daunting, as for instance the icy morning when i (being a foreigner to iced paths) gingerly picked my way across a crossing with ice on it, and this rather large truck was approaching. now it was obvious to me that he wasn't slowing to stop, rather he was slowing according to the rule of collision so that the driver was assuming i would continue at my current speed and this would mean that if he slowed that much, then when he got to the crossing i'd be out of the way. from my point of view all i thought was "it is ice, if i slip i am going under that truck". i think the difference is simply that in bergen they slow for you, in melbourne they stop. of course other parts of australia do this completely differently.
i think this is why children are taught to hold their arms out in a sort of horizontal salute at crossings to tell drivers they intend to cross. i imagine it is also to make sure the drivers see the kids, and it is a good idea, but the difference i guess is that in melbourne the driver is expected to always assume that you're going to cross, and it is up to the driver to make sure they can stop if that is in fact what is going to happen (which is probably why in bergen you will see people standing and talking by a crossing in that area that in melbourne is the zone of indetermination where you have the authority to stop the traffic).
this probably also relates to what you do in roundabouts as a driver in bergen, but that's another story.
online journal that appears to concentrate on poetry. does support electronic poetry and sound work. edited by doug lawson.
blue moon review
doug is editor of the blue moon review, author, general interesting sort of literary person. great example btw of the contemporary homepage for the digitally multiliterate.
the moo chat i was invited to participate in with mark bernstein and doug lawson (one of the elo - trace events) is now available. moo is a very social and noisy environment, and if participants are not moo literate then it can get laborious. this chat was fine, but as always with these things, when you read the logs the conversation always seems so thin. one part of me thinks this means moo is good for surface. another part wonders what a tutorial of mine might read like if i recorded it and transcribed it? how thin a read would that be and how much of the density of a tutorial is from being there? (i mean in a moo you get all those Adrian says "Hi!" and waves business. which you do in ftf meetings but they don't get minutted or logged...)
a third division norwegian football player has been transferred to another club. the cost? his weight in fresh prawns. what's that old adage about news? dog bits man isn't news. man bites dog is...
digital games research association. international organisation, modelled a bit like aoir, founded to promote and foster research into computer games.
this is the danish games research web site, looked after by charlie breindahl. lists danish researchers working on games, and links to other sites.
this is an italian new media journal, published on paper quarterly, though the link above is to their english pages and their web site (italian and english) claims to be updated daily with stuff about new media, hacktivism, electronic music, etc.
norway has an awesomely impressive notion of social equality. this is evident in all sorts of ways, but the basic point is that norwegians really don't think that anyone is any better than anyone else. it is not australia's tall poppy syndrome, it is more like they don't even see the tall poppies! for instance the impression i have (by way of example) is that it would be very difficult in norway to have a school for gifted kids simply because this would be to acknowledge that some are better than others.
this equality is expressed in the very low rate of difference between the highest and lowest salaries in norway, and just in the way people dress. the manager of a new airline was happy to appear in an extended tv news story, at work, in casual trousers and an open shirt, not because he's richard branson but because he's an honest norwegian businessman.
the equality is also sort of evident in the housing, at least in bergen, as there really aren't any what you would think of as ostentatious displays of wealth in houses, on the outside anyway. there are some grand homes, yes, and location means a lot, but you need local knowledge to read wealth amongst all the little wooden houses.
but, during may 17th the secret hierarchy is displayed. you need local knowledge expertise here, but it goes something like this.
national costume in norway varies depending on which region you are from, so immediately someone knows just which valley, fjord, mountain or backwoods place (since like all cultures, everywhere else from your place is of course backwards or odd) you and your kin come from. but also the authentic national costume, particularly for women, is i gather hand made and very expensive. so, as you're standing there with your friends, those who know how to read the national dress have a conversation along the lines of "hardangerfjord, nice lace, but the dress is factory made". and, on may 17th, this is like serious serious dissing. once you own one of these it is quite appropriate to wear it at most formal events - weddings, funerals and the like, even graduation i believe.
then the other day on a boat trip to lygra i saw where, at least for this part of norway, there really is a display of wealth that no norwegian seems to shy away from (for instance i was told that if you turn up in an expensive car then people are suspicious of you), it is boating. on this sunny day on a historical fjord steamer up through the lower part of the fjords there were just dozens of boats out (and if you had a boat, who wouldn't? it really is beautiful), small boats, middle sized boats, and big boats. and i mean big boats. boats that in melbourne would live in very expensive mariners and would cost, well, if you could afford boats like that then you'd live be living in toorak (melbourne's most expensive suburb) or brighton. and in australia we'd secretely think you were just a showoff (but probably want to know what it was like).
i think this is why on weekends in the harbour in bergen you will find a lot of these same boats and people happily having brunch, lunch, dinner, on their boat in full public view. the first time i saw this i was very surprised, since my experience had always been how much you didn't display wealth or financial success here. but the parade of big boating is awesome and while you will not see many flashy sports cars, rolls, bentleys, or really big mercs, there are dozens of flashy fast boats or just big luxury motor cruisers in the harbour or on the fjord.
maybe it is norway's nautical history (the boast is that norwegians are born with ski's on, but i think a rudder is a pretty damn close second round here) and the bit of viking that just doesn't go away.
as i was considering today's entry in my ethnographic study of being an australian in norway i realised that, of course, these carefully articulated field notes would also be of value for the norwegian intending to travel to australia...
today's note is about may 17th. quite a specific one that. may 17th is the norwegian national day (i'm unfamiliar with the history so am unsure if this is the day the state was inaugurated or a document signed) and it is a public holiday and a day of some significance.
every village, town, city will be festooned in flags, there are parades, marching bands, and then probably a carnival in some nearby public park. the parade is lead through the civic streets by the town burghers, and for the one may 17th i've seen they are dressed more formally than the members enclosure at flemington on melbourne cup day. morning suits, impossibly tall top hats, enormous red white and blue ribbons pinned to their chest reaching almost to the ground. (it was explained to me, half tongue in cheek, that the longer the ribbon the more important you were, or more accurately thought you were.)
after the burghers comes just a collection of, well, schools, veterans groups, graduating high school students, university departments, police, fire, marching bands and any other cultural, sporting and/or civic group that wants to be there.
now, the etiquette. you are (and i mean really are) expected to dress properly for the parade, even if you're just watching. if you have national costume, and happen to have it with you, then it is very appreciated if you wear this. i don't mean norwegian i mean from your own country. so at the parade i watched there was a young man over the road in his norwegian national dress, and his girlfriend resplendent in a glorious silk kimono, bamboo sandals, and silk fan because she was, of course, japanese. it did look impressive.
now as an anglo saxon middle class australian the nearest national costume really are those sad clichés of ozkultcha - perhaps thongs, shorts, and a mambo t shirt (preferably with the farting dog on the back), but this really will not do. i was told, so as not to offend, that i didn't have to wear a suit, but i did need to dress more or less like i was going to an expensive restaurant, what some owners of teen age children would probably think of as smart casual. no open shoes. no shorts. no t-shirts (though a t-shirt with a suit jacket would be fine).
so if you're back packing and the best you've got are grotty levi's, that refashionable miller shirt, and the nikes, sit in a pub and watch out the window. or if you really want to stand in the crowd, so as not to bring shame on your nation sound british.
there will be hundreds of flags, and norwegians are very proud and serious about their flag, so please don't do anything silly with a flag, it really would offend.
now, we don't really have anything like this in australia. australia day (january 25th) is heading this way but in my younger days the parade on this day was heading into obscurity and irrelevance. the revival in nationalism that has happened over the last few years has seen the australia parade in melbourne certainly become much more, well, nationalist - as a child we never had little australian flags on sticks to wave, but it just isn't or doesn't have the cultural importance of may 17. like in australia you simply wouldn't made sure your 5 year old had their best clothes on to go and watch the parade, if you actually did that rather than enjoy the public holiday with a trip to the beach or a b-b-que, though it is probably significant that january 25th is slap bang in australia's summer holidays, and like norwegians we take our holidays very seriously.
after citing roland barthes (from camera lucida) brandon writes
a report into online scientific publishing. the url above is a list of recommendations. handy to keep for some of the electronic journal things i'm interested in developing out of intermedia.
Nederlands Instituut voor Mediakunst (netherlands media art institute), one of those european places that make you squirm with interest and curiosity. there's a map available. from their web site:
::20 Sep 2002 13:33::
todays note for the australian traveller is an obscure bit of bathroom etiquette. if you stay at someone's home, or in some of the cheaper hotels or pensiones, then you'll probably notice in the bathroom a broom like object that has a rubber wiper on the end, like you would use to clean windows with.
this is the floor water sweeper upperra (that's an official title i believe) and it is to wipe all the water down the drain after your shower. you need to do this because otherwise a) people will get wet feet when they enter the bathroom, and b) the bathroom probably won't dry.
i'm not sure why the showers don't have sills like in australia, and the couple of people i asked about it have shrugged and said that's the way showers are (much like australian's would shrug and say that's they way showers are if asked about their showers), but in my continual ethnographic quest i suspect it is because a) this is the room in a small house where you might hang your wet rain jacket, gloves, and over pants to dry, and b) where you might take off said wet things. so it would be very useful to be able to slosh all the water from all the floor down the drain, and a shower sill would be a very bad idea indeed.
so, if you're a house guest, have a shower, and notice no shower sill and a broom like rubber wiper thing, sweep the water away. the appropriate application of force is advised, and a squeaking sort of scraping squeal evidence that you're doing it more or less properly.
i have been a loyal eudora user for many years. well, most of my internet life actually, back when it was still written and available for free from a university. used the late claris emailer for a while, very elegant but it stored all the mail in one big database and that was in the days when i used small pbooks with my desktop and synced between them over very slow ethernet via a PC card. so waiting for the entire database of mail to move from the desktop at the end of the day would add 30 minutes to my day...
and i've used outlook, or was it entourage, or was it both? and yes, they have very spiffy features, but still not quite perfect. and either is eudora but it is still around, it has individual mailboxes, and it generally worked.
but these days it quite regularly crashes and emits a high pitched sound (its the sound letting you know there is new mail) and i have to force quit out of it. and sometimes it then screws up its mail history and then i spend 20 minutes fixing it all.
and they've upgraded it again, which is good, but they want another US$30 out of me for it. so i'm beginning to suffer upgrade cost fatigue. i've used and paid for every commercial version of eudora there has been, and yes US$30 isn't that much, but it would buy me at least two CDs in Australia, or 4 cinema tickets, or half of my groceries, and it is only an upgrade for goodness sake, and i've been paying all along. so i'm beginning to flirt with using os x's mail. i briefly used the first release of it but it was just too lightweight, but they've improved it. my concerns: will it disappear (it isn't called imail for instance, why is that?), do i want to migrate all my mail or just start a new client? will it actually do what i need it to do? and, well, do i have the time and desire to learn another new program just to manage my email?
figaro is a european electronic publishing initiative. it is orientated towards the scientific community but that's because the scientific community probably has quite a different approach to publishing than the humanities. it is a federated project about facilitating access and publication, which is an excellent model. if it works ok would be interested in using something like this to future possible nicn publications.
i've always enjoyed the rather inelegant (from print culture's tower of impenetrable perfection) way in which blogs often contain simple errors. grammar. typos. it's because the informality of the writing, and sometimes the groove you get into as you write, right becomes write or write becomes right and you just don't notice since acoustically or phonetically it is right, write? so i like this slip from jill from sometime in september when things were punished rather than published.
todays cultural lesson for the australian visiting norway is a very simple one. it is to do with numerical conventions. in australia a thousand dollars (or to keep it simple, a thousand kroner) would be NOK1,000. not in norway, it would be NOK1.000 or to take it to the usual two decimal places, NOK1.000,00
now that . and that , are minor, and you quickly get used to them, but when you go and get money out of the hole in the wall and get the receipt the first couple of times (well, actually call me slow but i still need to concentrate reading it) you tend to think you have much more money than you do, or that kroner are more like yen in their relation to the pacific peso, i mean aussie dollar. it is also handy to know just in case you ever have to key in numbers, the , is for the decimal place . . .
i get versiontracker mailouts each day so i can keep track of software updates, etc. this one was included in yesterday's batch (for osx):
i like it.
ah, a good day
well, it seems to have suddenly become a busy blog day. anders, who i had thought had gone quiet while he wrote his thesis, in fact had server indigestion and so a great dollop of ideas appeared like a whopping great mushroom.
then lisbeth went and did some deleuze. . .
to wit. lisbeth's on a good track here, but some words of caution. when deleuze discusses the actual and virtual and their indiscernibility in some images he means, precisely, some images. not all. he does mean that the virtual and real are available in all images (but remember that deleuze uses a bergsonian definition of the image which is not 'picture' but rather a facet of something that is presented/presented to any/all other things so includes touch, smell, taste, even the image that water has of the sugar cube, and vice versa, as it dissolves) but that some images privilege this. for instance the snow dome held by charles kane (aka orson welles) in the opening of citizen kane. he dies, it drops and shatters. the snow now fills the screen outside of the dome itself. it is an indiscernible image - are we inside the dome, outside? is the snow the snow of the child's souvenir or something else? is it memory, is it death? the indiscerinibility of the image is quite literal (a favourite of deleuze's is the hall of mirrors in kane's xanadu where he strides after susan leaves him).
a very smart student of mine last semester wrote an essay about the actual and the virtual and the crystalline image in relation to on the waterfront and its reappearance in raging bull and its further refraction into boogie nights. the vog i made in july is an articulation and intepretation of this.
then (pierre lévy is useful here) it is also important to keep in mind that deleuze's use of the virtual and the actual (and the real) is not as ordinarily used. the virtual is that which is possible, so you can think of your futures, say tomorrow, as virtual. what actually happens is the actual. things can only be actualised if they are virtual, but not all of the virtual will be actualised. both the virtual, and the actual, are real. i do think this provides a much more rigorous terminology for dealing with 'virtual reality' and the like, particularly since in deleuze's terms 'virtual reality' is a tautology, and this is why he can claim that the actual and the virtual are objective.
i love this stuff, and unlike lisbeth (who i know doesn't really mean it) i don't find it particulary obscure at all. deleuze i think of as a meticulous materialist thinker who is 'obscure' only because if you follow the threads you will have to rethink what you think you know. in english (as one of the few major french figures translated on the cinema) he remains perhaps the most courageous theorist simply in terms of what he lets the cinema be. and it is a treasure trove for new media.
there are two sorts of qeues, that i've seen so far, in western norway. both of these are unusual for the naive australian visitor.
in australia queues are generally orderly and there is quite a strict etiquette. if anyone is standing in line, whether it is at a bus stop for the bus that hasn't arrived yet, or even at something as difficult to negotiate as a tram or train stop (where there is no guarantee that where you're standing is where the door will be), there are clearly observed social rules about turn taking.
so in norway (and hell, probably all of the social democratic north as far as i know) it is a bit of shock that this seems to be not really the case. it sometimes is, sort of, but generally no one appears that put out if someone queue jumps. it isn't that elbow sharpened free for all that you might find in parts of asia, but it is first in best dressed and if you can wangle or wriggle in front of someone then that's ok.
now this could be because in fact norwegians have very strict etiquette about rules in other places. pretty much any institution which requires orderly queues, for instance buying bus, train, plane tickets, or waiting in line at the pharmacy, bank, post office or wine monopoly (now that's a phrase to strike horror into an australian's heart, more on that another day) will have a ticket machine where you are always expected to get your ticket and wait until your number is called. oh, and these places will always have a largish electronic display above the counters which will list what number they are up to.
so, be prepared, and keep an eye out for the machine. they're always about the size of a carton of cigarettes, usually white, and will have a green and red button. not sure what the red one does, but the green one will spit out a slip of paper with a number on it which is yours.
but wait, there's more. a clever trick of the trade, obvious once you've seen it done of course, is that it is quite ok to check out what number they're up to (the number on the display above the counters) and to click that green button to see what number you'd be in line. if the wait appears to be too long don't take the number, leave it sitting there in the machine for the next person. taking it i guess only contributes to the general wait since your number will be announced and they will wait a short while for your non appearance. so you just use the green button to check the next number and if it is too big, you leave it there. (my experience in australia is that we'd always take the number that the machine spitteth.)
and if for some reason you miss your number, then all bets are off. if it is busy you're probably better off just getting another number. if it isn't then your monolingual english will give you the necessary licence and permissions for the breaches of the moral code you're about to commit (nothing ventured...)
this is the preliminary web site for the nordic interactive cinema network. a research network i am trying to establish and base at intermedia. the aim is to bring industry, art, theory and computer research together so that each can participate in the other and inform each others activities. sure this happens quite a bit and there are lots of bits that won't ever go together but there are also lots of things being done where exchange would be fertile.
for instance just seeing and learing what tv networks think they want to do in the future, and what hardware they actually have now, and for the same people to see the new narrative forms being developed by artists, or what theorists might be able to see or say about all of this that is of value.
i'll be adding the participants names and details shortly. we're having a planning meeting in bergen over two days in october where i'm hoping we'll flesh out most of the key issues to establishing the network. the very good news is that there are people coming from norway, sweden, finland and denmark and it does include researchers, artists, and industry. computer science is a bit light on at the moment but i think that should work itself out in time.
the vision is very simple. to foster and nurture the development of viable and appropriate genres and technologies for interactive cinema. my own variety is personal more or less desktop networked interactive cinema (a revolution on the model of writing or if you prefer blogging, a video ecriture or videcriture). but there will be many.
mark has pointed out that he described blogging contra journals as a social practice. (this happened in a moo discussion on blogs.) this is a significant point to make, and one of those specie of significant points that you look at in retrospect and go, oh yeah, of course. but it wasn't an oh yeah until some one points it out...
anyway. for what seems like a while i've been arguing or pointing out that blogs (particulary in relation to my use of them with students) works well because of their public nature. that by their publicness students (and bloggers in general) have to be more articulate in their writing than those jotting asides to yourself that litter postit notes, diaries, lecture and reading notes (let alone the margins of books). but it is not so much their publicness but the social act of writing that this publicness performs that is the heart of the matter.
writing in public is a social contract. it may be softly negotiated between reader and imagined audience but that there is always an imagined audience and the facticity of this audience (there really is an audience when you write online) guarantees the sociality of the act.
public and social
matt kirschenbaum is a friend of mine currently at the uni. of maryland. he's very active in the association of computing humanities as well as having organised some recent panels on new media and hypertext at the annual mla fest (modern language association). matt is one of the those peers that i measure myself by - exemplary scholarship with a compassion for this subject matter that, well, is sorta sparkling.
in os x 10.2 (and probably earlier) if i have network volumes mounted (for instance via smb) and i put my tibook to sleep to take it home then when it wakes up i have to do a nasty hard shutdown. i assume it is hunting around for the smb volume (via rendezvous perhaps?) but can't find it. i've waited i'm sure for 5 minutes in case it did that 2 minute thing classic does in trying to connect or find network points, but to no avail. so, if your tibook is crashed after waking from sleep check if you had network points mounted on the desktop.
reminder to self
i'm academic chair for the melbourneDAC conference which is being held in may 2003. the call for works has just gone out. closes october 10.
if you are an australian (or any) traveller in norway and you're invited to someone's home then make sure you take off your shoes. depending on the home it will either be outside the front door (some apartments), or immediately inside the front door. you take your shoes off because they're often wet, or muddy, or snowy, whatever, but you tend to walk around your home in socks or house slippers as a matter of course, guests included.
in western norway there are a lot of fjords. this means if you ask anyone how far somewhere is they will always answer you in hours. "how far is stavanger?" "three hours". for an australian this would usually translate into anywhere from 220 to 300kms, more or less. but this is not what it means. it actually means that between bergen and stavanger there are numerous fjords where you must wait for the ferry to be able to cross and so it takes around three hours to do the trip. it might only be 100km (i still don't know yet), but it will usually take about 3 hours because of the fjord crossings.
and why the crossings? well the fjords here are anywhere from 120 to 220 kms long, and up to a kilometre deep, so to drive round a little one is about 240kms (and that would assume a pretty straight road, which it most definitely is not). i imagine this is not the case in east norway where they don't have real fjords, regardless of what the locals might tell you.
and the trip to stavanger? if i find out i'll let you know. it's three hours by express boat (high speed catamaran) and seems three hours by car.
melbourne in bergen distance (2)
i'm currently trying to find time to finish two new vog projects. one is a sort of trilogy from material i shot in canberra in april. two of the works just make use of a pile of text overlays with 50% blends so as you mouse over the film the text windows sort of overlay all the video. the final work is big and very very ugly :-) it has a hand sketched tv which you turn the knob on (well, click anyway) and it loads one of three films. one is just a single frame thing to make it look like nothing is on (so i don't have a white screen, ie it looks like the tv screen is transparent), the other two are just things i shot at whim from the national gallery and the national museum. this last one really isn't about much at all, more a space to play around a lot more with collage come embedded video, and the two movies it loads as child movies are definitely broadband, they each come in at around 4mb.
the other one, which i really like, is a skinned movie of an evening sky in bergen. it is also a parent movie with 4 kids, and if you click the - button then the same video loads but each version is progressively poorer in quality. the last one, which is only about 400k or something, is so turneresque i really really like it. if you click the + button then it speeds up the playback (it is just clouds after all), up to 4 times normal speed. just really liked the idea of having some film content that appears just completely not like a movie (because of the skin). i should get them published/shown somewhere but i'll put them up as soon as i find time cos i want to move on to a new one.
i'll post links here when it's done. i need to overhaul the vog site so might do that too.
lichen houses. with tiny rooves in parodying reflection the mountains with their temporary pitched steepness as forever tenure of life in intent to.
laser level road ribbons by the water.
i've decided to try and keep a list of the minor cultural differences i find as a white middle class anglo saxon male from melbourne, australia, in bergen, norway. things every traveller ought to know? unlikely.
measurement. this is complex and will cover at least two entries. the first is volume and length. in melbourne of course we are decimal. we have millilitres and litres. so 600 ml is more or less what an english pint used to be (milk used to come in pint bottles and so for some of us remains a benchmark for how much a litre might be, of course coca cola become the better bench mark with its litre bottles). but here they use decilitres too. which is simple (it is metric after all), but just, well odd.
but note, and this is important, where declitres are used for liquid (so i buy a 5 decilitre container of chocolate milk at lunch time, they would look at you oddly if you asked for a 500ml container, though half a litre would get you by) they are not used for length, though available, so the 30cm stays 30 cm, not 3 decimetres. though if you were an australian carpenter it would, of course, be 300ml and centimetres would never enter into the scheme of things.
finally, the tricky one. if a norwegian mentions miles to you they don't mean australian miles (aka 1600 metres), they mean the norwegian mile, which as everyone knows is in fact 10 kilometres. not sure why it isn't a decikilometre, decakilometre, or whatever. i (only once) nearly got caught by this when someone told me that the distance to x was 10 miles (i was thinking about cycling), so thinking it might only be 16 or so km i was considering the trip only to have someone explain what was meant was norwegian miles, so in fact it was more like 100 km!
melbourne in bergen distance
i thought 20 degrees had gone. instead bergen has an indian summer. days of soft egg shell blue midday sky and yoked sunsets.
handing on tradition by electronic dissemination, yes, it produces the acronym hotbed. sheesh. it uses an archive of traditional scottish music and seeks to use the network to facilitate access, learning, and ethnographic/musicological practices.
i know one of the people involved in this (saw it presented at drh2002) and so might be able to bring some smafe stuff to hotbed. which could produce interesting progeny in the acronym department.
the current development iteration of smafe (check the date of this note for datestamp) is using mpeg 4 as its compression codec. the video is 24 frames a second, 240 x 180 pixels, and was compressed using the improved video codec at 60 Kbytes/s, with an optimised streaming track. the audio uses the variable codec at 32khz 16bit at 4 Kbytes/s. it is being streamed via a quicktime streaming server housed within rmit, melbourne australia. this has been compressed within quicktime 6.0.1 professional.
we have migrated to mpeg 4 because it is an open standard and when combined with smil makes the system potentially more accessible in terms of cross platform accessibility.
smafe and mpeg 4
the first iteration of smafe utilised a sorenson 3 compressed quicktime stream delivered via rtsp. the film content was made up of extracts from the focal text (John Ford's The Searchers).
the use of extracts constrained the engine because it meant that new sections of the film that ought to have been included could not be because they were not digitised. if they were captured and added to the stream then every shot after the new content had to be recoded as its timecode would now be affected, which means existing content could no longer be found.
in the current iteration of smafe the entire film has been encoded which means the system now has stable timecode for shots and sequences so that new elements can be added without breaking existing content. this also facilitates the addition of new metadata categories since we have the entire focal text available. in other words if a new metadata scheme, for instance utilising gender, were to be applied it can be, without the addition of further extracts or footage.
smafe focal text
i have a project (http://www.intermedia.uib.no/projects/smafe/) that uses perl to generate smil scripts which are then placed within the embed tag in html so that a nominated section of a rtsp video stream can be delivered. (got that.)
well, it stopped working on my computer. worked on windows with qt 6, worked on other macs. not mine. so i spent hours troubleshooting. searching. couldn't find anything. then i solved it. now i'm going to describe the problem reasonably clearly so that google indexes this so that someone else can find the note if they have the same problem. here goes.
the quicktime plug in (or the plugin, even plug-in) tries to load smil (or an rtsp stream via the plugin) and you see the blue quicktime logo and then the stream breaks? to fix this go into the quicktime preference settings and make sure that cache movies locally when able is disabled. fixed the problem for me. this problem only turned up under quite specific conditions (smil code dynamically generated into an embed tag for html), hand or hard coding the smil into a html page worked fine.
added a text field to the entry screen for "searching" smafe project. this is text that can be used to further contextualise the images that have metadata attached to them for the engine. This text is just displayed via html from a database, it is not made into a text track in quicktime at all. this text field is not user searchable.
text in smafe
the "searching" smafe engine is being rebuilt. the video stream is now mpeg4, and text annotations have also been added.
smafe to mpeg4
the smafe system uses the quicktime plugin to handle smil. this means that for the system to work you need to make sure that your browser sends the smil mime type to the quicktime plugin.
(realplayer offers much better smil support than quicktime, however quicktime provides much better tools for capturing and delivering video streams.)
on macintosh os x you can set the mime type from within the quicktime preference panel (system preferences - quicktime). select the plug-in tab in the preference pane, then click the mime button at the bottom. under video you will find smil 1.0, tick that and your browser will now use quicktime for smil. on pc and mac classic go into the browser preferences and there will be something called mime, or helper applications, or whatever. find the .smi, .smil mime and make sure it now uses the quicktime plugin for smil.
smil and qt
on os x 10.2 (and possibly earlier iterations of os x) when using quicktime you need to ensure that the 'save movies in disk cache' item is unchecked for the smafe system to work.
the setting for this is located in the quicktime control settings (system preferences - quicktime) under the plug-in tab. if this is checked then the smil script that is sent to the quicktime plugin by the server seems to break the quicktime plug in.
qt and cache movies problem
cory doctorow's article on the broadcast protection discussion group, a u.s. federal committee that basically wants to ensure all hardware for things like digital tv can in no way be used to gather, repurpose, et al content. it is an appalling model.
yesterday jill and i did a long (13 hours) trip around some of the local scenery. the local train to myrdal, then the famous train (the flåmsbana) down to flåm (830 metres to sea level in 50 minutes and about 25 kilometres), then express boat along the aurlandfjord and sognefjord back to bergen. (where i saw the best located hotel come guest house i have ever seen.)
oodles that could be written about. if you're ever in this part of norway, and like natural scenery, do it. the first time i did most of this trip, at the end of 1998 (late octobered cold ice dripped cliffs) was when scandinavian pragmatism (or protestantism) made sense. this is a world where nature feels enormous, indifferent, and inpenetrable. there is nothing that would listen, could listen, or would even bother to listen (how arrogant it would be to think that this water and these mountains bothered with you, and the sky is always so far away)and no matter what you did it just isn't going to make much difference. granite ice water.
huge precipes escarpments and absurd villages poking their proper peaked roofs up in polite assertion towards a sky you just are never going to get to.
flåm and sognefjord
digital resources in the humanities, 2002
conference i've just attended, though i only went for the first of the three days. time and cost pressures. i've got the outline of quite a good paper as a result, which i hope to return to and complete in a couple of months.