Yearly Archives: 2005

Chutes and Ladders

Chutes and Ladders (‘Snakes and Ladders’ in England, and ‘Hoses and Pickets’ in Canada) is fun to play for 5-year-olds, but it quickly loses its value once the players realize that the game is entirely deterministic.

Perhaps it is because we enjoy the illusion of choice and freedom of will that we prefer games that allow us to make mistakes in judgement, rather than simply following the directions from the omnipotent, yet random force of a die or spinning wheel.

So, to make the game more enjoyable, here are some variation that older players might enjoy.

Parcheesi Variation

This is the most crucial variation in that it adds the possibility of choice to each turn.

As in parcheesi (or Sorry!), on each turn, a player may … Read the rest

TV Programming Will Become More Intelligent

The theater used to be people’s source of low-brow entertainment. The traveling shows of the 1890s, for example, would have some cornball songs, slapstick comedy, and burlesque.

When film became a popular medium, it initially relied on immitating the successful aspects of theater, and became the principal source of this kind of music, comedic, and otherwise titilating content. (The Three Stooges and others of that era had all been Vaudeville acts)

Theater was more expensive in terms of reaching a wide audience, and responded to this competition by becoming more high-brow and abandoning the corny songs and slapstick in favor of more erudite entertainment.

Film grew in popularity and began adding other kinds of content, such as newsreels and cartoons, which theater had never been able … Read the rest


Chess has some interesting abstractions: the pawns represent the relatively weak infantry who can only advance but are able to attack in a diagonal, quasi-phalanx style; the hooked move of the knight represents cavalry’s ability to flank and get behind the enemy; and I imagine the rook’s long-range motion represents the long attack of archers in the towers.

But all the other aspects of the game do not represent reality, and I’m guessing were adjustments made to improve gameplay. It would make more sense to give the king the movement ability that the queen has, but as it also makes the most sense as the ultimate target, I understand the reason to separate the ‘royal family’ into two units, one with power and one as target. … Read the rest

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ New Robot: Wakamaru

According to Mitsubishi, Wakamaru was designed by Mr. Toshiyuki Kita, who patterned the robot after a growing child. The name “wakamaru” derives from the childhood nickname of Minamoto Yoshitsune, a twelfth-century Japanese Samurai who engineered military victories that enabled his brother Yoritomo to gain control of Japan. The name is associated with “growth” and “development,” the company says.

Wakamaru uses face recognition to identify up to ten people, including two that considers “owners.” It uses speech recognition technology to identify 10,000 Japanese words. Speech synthesis capabilities include voice modulation and using gestures when speaking. It recognizes names given it by users, Mitsubishi says.

A panoramic top-of-head camera enables Wakamaru to identify its position in the house according to the ceiling. This camera also allows the robot … Read the rest

When the Levee Breaks

Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie, 1929

If it keeps on rainin’, levee’s goin’ to break. If it keeps on rainin’, levee’s goin’ to break.

When The Levee Breaks I’ll have no place to stay.

Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan. Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan.

Got what it takes to make a mountain man leave his home,

Oh, well, oh, well, oh, well.

Don’t it make you feel bad when you’re tryin’ to find your way home, you don’t know which way to go?

If you’re goin’ down South they got no work to do, if you don’t know about Chicago.

Cryin’ won’t help you, prayin’ won’t do you no good.

Now, cryin’ won’t help you, prayin’ won’t … Read the rest

Frameworks Week 13

An ‘audio sketchbook’ – a non-book containing non-sketches, more of a ‘samplesite’

Frameworks for Interactive Sound

Spring, 2004

Jeff Feddersen

Obvert box, shake, return, select orientation, make sketch.

Initial Sketch

(Did not include radiating lines of fresnel lens)

Select aural metaphor for each visual detail.

Represent grid with kick drum

Represent walls with high hat

Represent both screws and half-walls (shown in blue) with hand clap

Represent sugar with snare (granular synthesis would have been too obvious)

Represent Marbles with TS404

Drum Machine snapshot

The hand claps are pitched enough that you can hear the difference.

I chose 90bpm so that it approximates a human heartbeat.

Rather than make 19×11 separate phrases, I chose to make 20 phrases,

Read the rest

Frameworks Week 12

Genesis put out an album called ABACAB, named for the standard form of many of their songs

Best Song Ever:

“My Six-Year Old Son Hitting Pots and Pans With a Spatula”

Album: Sounds From the Kitchen

Malleus Maleficarum – ©ï@|í5

Find the script to a play. The meter will affect the final music, so keep in mind that Shakespeare may sound somewhat boring.

Find a scene with a number of actors equal to the number of people participating.

Just you means select a monologue, just you and one friend means find a scene with exactly two characters, etc.

If you want to try playing the parts of two characters you can try but it will be more difficult.

If it’s just you, you may want to … Read the rest

Frameworks Week 11

Ada Babbage: Abba: Aba Cadaba

Heinrich Schenker had some interesting theories of music. One, I believe, was that every euphonious melody begins on the 3rd or 5th and ends on the root.
If you find a melody that does not fit this pattern, by adding or removing notes so that the melody does fit will actually ‘fix’ the melody and make it sound better.

– Made with FruityLoops, Jazz32, and Audition, as well as Blaze Audio Wave Creator and Goldwave

– VanBasco’s Karaoke Player is good for previewing midi files, jetAudio converts just about all formats, including midi. AnvilStudio edits midi files.

1ne – ABA – texture

2wo – ABA – 4/4 : 3/4 : 4/4

3hree – ABA – complexity

4our – ABA (or ABCA?) … Read the rest