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Tuesday, December 09, 2003
"Compressed time" is another frame of reference

Funny how looking at familiar things in a different way helps you rediscover the beauty in them.

Boingboing: This is a breathtaking 24h time-lapse film of the Toronto skyline. The sunrise, in particular, is spectacular. 5.07MB Quicktime Link

I seem to remember that the movie Baraka (which I coincidentally just found mentioned alongside other movies in comments to this) starts out with a few great, reflection-triggering time-lapse sequences. Here's a relevant bit of Roger Ebert's review of that movie:

Time-lapse photography can be dismissed as a gimmick, but for me it's something more than that. It's a visual demonstration of how fleeting life is. Of how the decisions that seem momentous on our time scale are flickering instants in the life of the planet, too small to be observed except on the minute scale of human life. Somehow the technique makes the earth and its inhabitants seem touchingly fragile.

What do you think? []  links to this post    4:03:13 PM  
Living in a rut

Ming points to a beautiful post by Andy Borrows that struck a chord with many people.

[...] Life goes on, day follows day and we all get a little older, a little more sure that our reality only extends as far as that wall, but since we do those things together, no-one really notices. And so the wall gets a little higher, a little thicker.

But then along comes blogging and it starts knocking holes in that wall, through which you can glimpse exquisitely tantalising thumbnails of the view on the other side; it creates links, threads that pass through those holes and start to exert a tug thats almost physical. People, places, ideas, challenges suddenly theyre all around in glorious technicolour and by contrast this side of the wall is grey, shabby, lifeless, dull.

What do you think? []  links to this post    3:11:44 PM  
Scale-free heresy

New Scientist reports that 13th century Catholic inquisitors employed Crush the Connectors to fight heretic networks. So that's where the RIAA got its clues from!

[...] It was only towards the end of the 13th century that the inquisitors began to recognise the real problem. A few highly connected, highly influential and highly mobile individuals were spreading heresy faster than indiscriminate killing, imprisonment and "inoculation" could wipe it out. The inquisitors had finally realised the importance of the network's hubs.

Just as the internet has, for example, Yahoo and Napster acting as short cuts to connect many people using very few links, heresy relied on the activities of a few influential people like William of Milan. If the church was to beat heresy, this well-connected heretic - and others like him - had to be stopped.

(via Monkeymagic, an interesting new blog on "creativity, madness, and knowledge".)

What do you think? []  links to this post    8:45:43 AM  
There goes the neighborhood

Geodude Mikel Maron has come up with a visualization service for localfeeds data. Très cool. Example: San Francisco.
(note: you need to give it a while before it loads)

What do you think? []  links to this post    12:37:01 AM  
RSS feeds from Audioscrobbler playlists

I have a colleague who's going to love this. Alf has partnered with RJ at to enable people to automagically obtain R(DF)SS feeds of whatever music goes through their player. Using a RSS-to-HTML device like feedroll, letting others know what you've been listening to recently on your weblog becomes a snap.

The view from 10,000 feet is even more promising. All of Audioscrobbler's data is published under the Creative Commons licence, and so are the user feeds. Which enables clever people to build crawlers ("Musicrati"?) and devise algorithms that exploit the distributed database and add value, for instance by matching participants' listening profiles (à la blogmatcher) or by building new playlists out of the raw materials.

In short, what Alf and RJ are effectively doing is applying the people-as-filters pattern that is inherent in blogging from the domain of text to that of music.

Update (3:30pm): Lucas Gonze complains that I'm "crediting the work of the whole playlisting community to Alf". While I don't believe I'm doing this, I'm sorry if my posts gave that impression. I did become aware of playlist-sharing developments through Alf, and haven't had the time to dig out the complete history of this exciting area. Here's one of the early-ish documents I found; better links welcome.

This post also appears in the open channel syndication

What do you think? []  links to this post    12:28:00 AM  

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