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August 2006 Archives

August 12, 2006


My latest project has been working with Ta-Da Inc. to develop, among other things, jumpWORD.com which has just reached alpha. jumpWORD is a platform for distribution and exchange of content targeted at mobile phones. There are easy tools to get your content to users' phones as well as from your phone to the web.

Here's one of my photographs formatted as a mobile phone wallpaper in a jDeliver module and published to the web. This can be updated from my email or phone at will and accessed from your phone, by sending a text message or email to relevante.asdf@jumpword.com. Try it out and create your own jumpwords free at jumpWORD.com.

August 20, 2006

Ubuntu Dual-display with an Apple Cinema Display

A few days ago I switched my PC to Ubuntu Linux. It's a slick distro - very easy to install and pretty out of the box. After a little poking around in the xorg.conf file, I was able to get a Cinema Display and an old Dell CRT working together in a nice dual monitor setup with a dual-head ATI Radeon 8500 graphics card. Here's the xorg.conf.

I also found a nice page about theming Ubuntu to look like Mac OSX. Pretty.

Finally, I wanted to set the box up as an AFP server so I could easily access fileshares from my MacBook. There's an open source project called Netatalk that does just that. However the binary version that installs using Ubuntu's apt-get lacks the authentication mechanism required to allow logins (it worked but only with guest access). Here's a thread from the Ubuntu forums that details how to download and compile the correct version from source code.

lastFM Artist Cloud

I just finished a perl script, based on a script by Adriaan Tijsseling, that grabs from the Recently Played feed (mine was empty) to create a cloud of artists from last.FM's XML feed of most played artists. You can see the script in action at the bottom of the right hand sidebar of this page.

You can get the script here. You will have to rename the file with a .pl extension, change 'relevante' (my username) to your lastFM username, change the user agent on line 3, set your domain on line 4, and set the file path on line 5 to point to an appropriate directory on your server. Then run the script on a cronjob and include the output file in your blog or webpage (if you are using PHP, you can use <?php include("/path/to/thefile.txt"); ?>). Then everyone can see all the crappy music you REALLY listen to.

August 21, 2006

The Area Under the Curve

In the neverending journey towards mastery of any endeavor, there are the inevitable peaks and valleys and the much maligned plateau, where progress seems to halt regardless of effort expended. I saw this phenomenon expressed in words first in the book Mastery by George Leonard (a much recommended and very quick read).

Reviewing a plot of my bankroll over the last few weeks, I saw this effect in sharp relief. It's been a bumpy ride and I've not been losing, but not winning either, the perfect plateau. Upon seeing this (and watching my hourly win rate decline in the process as I spend time breaking even), I was at first discouraged, until I saw something I hadn't noticed before — the growing area under the curve of my bankroll.

Now granted, this doesn't pay the rent, or even buy a beer, but what it does account for is arguably something even more valuable: experience. Sometimes just not losing is winning, and this is what the integral of success with respect to time appreciates.

Interestingly enough, calculus teaches us that if in that plot, bankroll is equated to velocity or simply speed, then what really matters, the distance travelled, is precisely that of which I am speaking — the area under the curve.

So while from the first-person perspective sometimes all you can see is zero growth, what a step back can often show you is that you are building a tremendous mass in motion, travelling great distances, simply by maintaining and standing by waiting for the next golden opportunity. So when times are tough, remember the slow and steady, keep working to improve, and keep building that area under the curve — the growth will soon follow.

jumpWORD devBlog

Today marks the beginning of the jumpWORD developer blog, a site for updates and discussion about all the services we are building at jumpWORD.com. Bookmark it or subscribe to the Atom feed to keep up to date with the rapid development of the newest platform for distributing content targeted at and coming from mobile devices.

August 26, 2006

City Streets, Northern Lights

We just launched a new website for my father and his artwork at ArtMagnitude.com. Our work was very well received during exhibition at ITP's Spring Show and Summer Gallery and we are now seeking opportunities for sale or further exhibition of the piece. For more information, contact ron@artmagnitude.com.


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