Archive for the ‘Web’ Category

zooming into the future

Saturday, February 27th, 2016

I registered in August of 2000, on a black Apple PowerBook G3 named Spider. I was facing northwest, sitting cross-legged on the floor of the carpeted living room of a small apartment on the second floor of a house in Somerville, just over the border from Cambridge.

I chose the name because it was silly. I thought the internet was an inherently silly place, but that many people were beginning to take it very seriously, and I wanted to push it toward whimsy.

I built the site mostly to hold my independent animation work, and also to play with the internet. The first version used “DHTML” to randomize things including the tagline, which persists in the header today.


I was very into candy corn as a concept at the time, in a stylized form with a rounder, more egg-like shape, rather more like a sunfish, or hand axe, or pear-cut gemstone. I’ve been interested in the link between jewels and food for a long time, as well as everything in that vicinity, including wagashi, and Fabergé eggs, and fruit-shaped Christmas ornaments, and the golden apple of dischord, and the floating fruit in Pac-Man. (Spiritually related, and possibly the platonic form of the idea, is the dorodango. See me after class for more on this.)

I redesigned the next year, with an interface I made in Flash, presided over by the candy corn lifting off as a rocketship:


The next year, in accordance with my increasingly entrepreneurial aspirations, a third site design featured the rocket rendered as a flashing neon sign. The rocket also made an appearance in original livery as the landing craft in Bluebaby:


Fourth year, fourth redesign, with animated candy corn returned to prominence in its original form in the header, but more spritely, here caught mid-bounce:


And the current WordPress design was the fifth, and dates from 2007.

A couple of years ago, I left the world of professional animation, and have since been scratching other long-latent itches in and around the field of cartography. Some of the results can be found at – I hope you’ll follow me there.

As of today, is retired. Thanks for reading!



Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Here’s the same thing as the last post, but the least-cloudy pixels over a month of mornings, June 2012.

(Click for giant version.)

(There are reports of it not loading in Chrome on Windows.)
(Here’s a slightly less-giant version.)

The image is made up of 680 tiles, each of which was built from 30 source images. It took about 20 hours to process.


Thursday, February 7th, 2013

The Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) is a camera on board the Terra satellite in sun-synchronous orbit, launched in 1999.

This is what all of the available Terra images marked with today’s date in the MODIS browser look like when stitched together, with pink representing non-values.

I made this using Charlie Loyd’s wheather app, which I’ve been hacking at over the last few days.

[Correction: This image actually depicts June 29, 2012.]

Obama Slitscans

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Obama’s weekly address, December 29, 2012

Obama’s address on the Newtown shootings, December 14, 2012

More Video Slitscans

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

The opening shot from Contact:

The Project Genesis terraforming sequence from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan:

Two Star Wars opening title sequences, from the original Jedi and the remake of A New Hope, respectively, including some nasty video artifacts:

And four from the 2001: A Space Odyssey monolith journey, including a few higher-fps captures of the warp:

And to spoil the SF mood: the famous 9-minute pool shot from Tarkovsky‘s Nostalghia:

These all courtesy of Sha Hwang‘s
slitscanner.js bookmarklet.


Saturday, November 13th, 2010

So my site was hacked a while ago — it took a while to figure out how, because it was sneaky, and I was busy hunting bears in the outback.

Mildly interesting details follow.

Neurosonics Audiomedical Labs Inc.

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

Turntablism, courtesy of the Scratch Perverts and director Chris Cairns of Partisan, with visuals by The Mill.

More at

The guy at the end is Plus One scratching Schlomo.

There’s some 3D in there for flava, but the heads themselves are relatively lo-fi: it’s likely just time-remapped video, synchronized with its own audio track on the vinyl. Clever lads.

[Via Motionographer.]

YouCity’s New York map

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

YouCity‘s New York map is what I always wanted to make in SimCity, but more so. You can browse around the map on their homepage.

Watch in HD at Vimeo.

[Via Digital Urban.]

Thank you Netdiver!

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

The venerable online design magazine Netdiver, which just celebrated it’s tenth anniversary, has included my modest animation Tlingit vs. Haida in its Best of 2008 collection.

For your viewing pleasure, here it is in terrible YouTube quality.

Seven Uncharacteristically Major Revelations

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

I’ve been meme-tagged by an Internet friend of a sort I’ve only cultivated in the last few years: one with whom I’ve never directly communicated. She has a blog at

Here are the rules.

The Rules:

  1. Link to your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post.
  2. Share seven facts about yourself in the post.
  3. Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  4. Let them know they’ve been tagged.

So. The Facts:

4000fps Face Slap

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

(Via Transbuddha.)

YouTube Quality Boost

Sunday, March 16th, 2008
YouTube logo

In a satisfying validation of my Internet heavyweight status, YouTube finally took the hints I’ve been dropping and started the slow, insidious process of upgrading their image quality.

According to this Motionographer post, YouTube has begun offering higher-quality versions of some of their videos, available either via a link underneath the video or via an alternate link, which is the original URL plus “&fmt=18”.

There’s also a Firefox plugin available which will select this option by default when viewing videos.

More info at the Wired how-to wiki..

(via Motionographer.)

Curtains for Stage6

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008
Stage6 logo

DivX is shutting down Stage6, according to this blog post. It’s too bad — they’re by far the best-quality video hosting site online.

The post, in summary: they couldn’t sell it or find a way to spin it off into a separate company, so they’re turning out the lights. Something else will come along to take its place eventually. DivX was rather perfectly placed to support such an enterprise; its codec is more-or-less exactly tuned to streaming high-quality video. Hopefully the loss of Stage6 will bring market pressures to bear on somebody with a better business model.

In the meantime, I guess this means the search is back on for a video host for my animation… aren’t we all tired of youtube’s ultra-low quality yet?

Space Oddities

Saturday, February 9th, 2008
Model Masha Telna
I can see outer space!

Coilhouse recently posted a gallery of some awfully odd-looking models.

The primary distinguishing feature among the group seems to be those wide-set alien eyes, as exemplified by the gelfling to the right, Masha Telna. Lawdy!

I have difficulty believing she isn’t one of Chris Cunningham‘s creations, as seen in the Playstation ad he did in 2000, “Mental Wealth:”

I’m led to believe it was done by keying deformers on the video, by hand. That’s a lot of keys.

Team Sergio

Friday, February 8th, 2008
Sergio from STRUT
“Mad Eye” Sergio

Once upon a time, the STRUT crew held a character design contest; from the winners, they assembled a team of artists to construct a free 3D character, rigged in Maya, for release on the site.

Sergio,” the result, looks great; I’ve downloaded the character and played with it a bit. I had to tweak the texture paths to get everything working, but it seems to be a solid rig with a lot of potential. He’s not as limber as something like Generi, but he’s also closer to what you’d find in a commercial production: high-quality design, with the limitations and restrictions of a character with a unique shape and personality.

As a bonus, there’s a making-of page. It’s long and has a lot of fluff, but the modeling and rigging sections are a good walk-though of the high-to-mid-level processes involved in character construction.

“Sergio” was designed by Joel Smith, modelled by Lisa Griffiths, and rigged by Andy Seredy.