I have to plug this guy. Philip Wheeler has been sitting outside nearly every day for a year now as a living, breathing, art piece (He took off a few days to help in Hurricane Katrina’s wake). I took a photo of him last summer and posted it on Beyond Second here.
I guess this is what happens when you get tired of your job and need a change.
He’s actually a really nice guy, and last I heard my friend Cam had been getting into intense games of Go and Chess with him.
Iâ€™m just impressed at the fact that he chose to make such an avant-garde statement in Harrisburg. His Web site really needs to allow comments, but you can check out his project at HumanBeingOnline.net.
So, I’m done with school, and since I work from home I’m fortunate enough to not have to travel through the city amidst this transit strike.
But I go anyway.
I blame Christmas and my need to do some last-minute shopping. I also figured I should get a taste of the city’s current state to empathize with my wife and every other commuter. While I don’t know where I was during the Great Blackout (probably in Mechanicsburg), I can say where I was for this moment in history. Furthermore, I can say that the car traffic was ridiculous and the volume of pedestrians made it seem like the Times Square crowd had consumed the whole island.
It was a nice walk, though. I covered a good 80+ blocks. I stopped in at the first Barnes and Noble on 18th and 5th Ave. (I’ve been wondering why this book chain has such a monopoly on the Big Apple–the fact that it started here answers my question). The place is pretty old; unlike any Barnes and Noble you’d find in the burbs. Fluorescent lights straight out of Joe Versus the Volcano, Filthy ceiling tiles stained with age, trancelike floor patterns that creak of use, and USED BOOKS–that’s right, used books that an employee told me is not unique to this flagship store.
It still didnâ€™t really set in until Sunday, when I actually got more than three hours of sleep. Of course, now comes the housecleaning. CodeTree is only getting bigger and bigger–much larger than Beyond Second in the same amount of time. Iâ€™m getting a good amount of feedback, and plan on adding a bunch of features. Plus Iâ€™m hoping that Dave and I can reuse some of the code for Beyond Second when we redesign it next year.
I just put up a video recording of my thesis presentation here along with all of the documentation. Thanks to Mo for catching it on an iSight on such short notice.
Speaking of which, has anyone else ever watched them self give a presentation on video? I sure do fidget a lot. I seem to fumble over the words at first, but then find some flow. Critiques at the end came from Doug Rushkoff, Dan Shiffman, Clay Shirky, and Alex Reinart.
I promised my mother Iâ€™d attend my first college graduation for her (skipped HACC and was jetlagged from Rome during Penn Stateâ€™s). Too bad I didnâ€™t know it would end up being at Shea Stadium since Washington Square Park is being renovated. Why not Yankee Stadium? Why not Central Park, like I voted?
My sister-in-law had me sit through her graduating class of roughly 1,000 students…I’m looking forward to inviting her to mine, only I believe NYU’s has roughly 29,000 more names to be called.
Do architects program the members of a social network, or does the network program the architect? Is the author the true creator of social software, or does that title belong to the user base? These are questions I ask myself as I have just launched CodeTree, my latest endeavor into the social networking world. Whichever the case, I realize that I will be continuing this dance with this new social software from a unique perspectiveâ€”that of the architect, and that, regardless of my original inspiration, the project will find a theme to call its own…Read More.
Anonymous flyers, mysterious posters, and secret campaigns–maybe itâ€™s because weâ€™re in a think tank, or perhaps itâ€™s the tactics weâ€™ve studied in this class on persuasion, but I was a little surprised that our groupâ€™s best efforts at disseminating the practice of origami came from outright announcement and not through some back-door marketing campaign. Read More…
Okay, so I think I could have done a better site (what’s with the mad loading time?!), but the movie’s a pretty cool addition. They definitely serve the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had (although wireless would be nice), and once I’m done with school it looks like I’m going to have to specifically make trips down to the Village for this place.
Last Friday, Clay had a guest speaker, Scott Heiferman, the creator of meetup.com, come in and speak to us. As someone interested in creating social networks myself, I found it intriguing that Heiferman admited that most of the features he tried to implement into the site had failed–for instance, he was originally against the idea of having group organizers, but eventually caved when it proved essential for the group’s structure.
I don’t really use Meetup, but I have defended Meetup.com’s decision to charge groups. In a world where social networking sites are being gobbled up by Yahoo! and Google, these guys have braved it on their own and found a viable way to support the service. What’s interesting is that the fees are really a side-effect of creating more cohesion, and prior to the fee members were trying to create groups based on every and any type of subject matter, yet few were really, well…meeting. Also surprising is that much of the hate mail following the fee announcement originated from members that hadn’t really even been using the service. Fast forward to today, and Meetup is now close to the critical mass it had prior to the fees.
Oh, and wondering why there’s a minimum limit to the number of members needed to start a meetup? Statistics proved that with only five people a group had a 50 percent chance of surviving after a few months. With 10 people, that chance jumps to 90 percent.
Well, in Mo‘s own words, he has succeeded, and a bunch of people I know are probably wondering why I am setting them as Flickr contacts at five in the morning. The truth is that I am preparing slides for my ITP thesis presentation on CodeTree and thought a screen capture of my Flickr account would be a good example of context. Once I signed in, though, I realized just how abysmal my account was. I then preceded to go on an uploading frenzy. What can I say? I’ve been staring at code for months and have barely picked up my camera. Signing into Flickr reminded me of just how many photographs I have on this hard drive.
I didn’t even know about Flickr when we launched Beyond Second (who knows if we’d have launched it then!), but I will admit that I have been continually referencing it as I built CodeTree to see how they managed tagging.
And how has Mo succeeded, you wonder? He [supposedly] predicted this blog and that I’d be all over del.icio.us and Flickr within six months (I won’t tell him I’ve had a Flickr account for awhile, though).
So, I took CodeTree live on Saturday (or maybe it was Friday, I don’t really recall since I was up all night working on it) and am now in the process of writing up my thesis paper and finalizing slides for my presentation for Tuesday. Apparently, Clay Shirky and Alex Rainert of Dodgeball.com fame will be some of the guest critics, so it should be pretty cool.
*Okay, now my bug rant*
So, the site isn’t perfect, hence the BETA (Ah, beta, a.k.a. not having to say sorry. Wouldn’t it be nice to have such a label in real life?!). There was a technical bug that was exposed during testing which involved the file upload of the JAR file (Flash files work flawlessly), or the compiled, finished Processing artwork. When a user submits a Processing piece, sometimes the JAR file did not successfully upload. In other cases, the file would upload, but the server-side function chmod(), which set permission for the JAR applet to run, would not fire. What made matters worse was that the validation set in place to display an error wasnâ€™t being triggered, meaning that the submitter didnâ€™t receive any error feedback but instead was left to see non-functioning artwork. My greatest challenge was recreating this issue; I could see whether or not the file would upload through FTP software, but I could not recreate the issue that so many testers had experienced. I was eventually able to limit the issue to users of Appleâ€™s Safari browser, yet through additional testing I have found varying levels of success. In two cases, the files uploaded but the timestamp that recorded the submissionâ€™s date did not pass into the database. I have no explanation for this and have been unable to find other developers experiencing similar issues. While I will definitely have to monitor this situation, my conclusion is that itâ€™s a browser bug since the code appears to work successfully in most other browsers.
I'm a creative technologist at Hauck Interactive, Inc. and an adjunct instructor at HACC. I live in Harrisburg, Pa. with my wife and three boys. I enjoy good coffee, Trappist beers, Orioles baseball, and good design.