IFTTT

ifttt

When I am just thinking about stuffs and ideas pop up, I need to write them down, because I have a disgustingly bad memory. But paper and computer are not always on hand in these situations, so I need to rely on my phone. Now, the Evernote app for my phone is rather slow, and during that wait time for the app to load, I might lose my thought (this definitely happened in real life). Instead if I just text the thought to Evernote directly, chances of me forgetting decreases. I am impressed that APIs can be used as pipes to pass output of one program as input to another, essentially upgrading the Formula for Computer Art to become a chain.

I am however conflicted. A part of me is excited for the possibilities generated. But when I was giving IFTTT one permission after another to link my many isolated accounts, I grew fearful. One of the primary reasons I have many accounts is modularity; I do not wish to lose everything should any single account be compromised. However, now I am centralizing all my emails in Gmail, my files on Dropbox, and my notes on Evernote by giving all read-write access to IFTTT. What if IFTTT is attacked? What if IFTTT turns out to be not what it seems to be?

I also do not want to relinquish my direct control over my accounts; I refuse to allow something I did in one site to automatically change something else while I am not consciously aware of it, because some API is listening in on everything I do. So after testing out my recipe to make sure it works, I disabled it. I will only actively use IFTTT again when the gain in productivity far outweighs my loss of control.

DAVE-LOOKINGOUTWARDS-1

1.

The “Unnamed Soundsculpture” piece is made by the studio Onformative, which is comprised of Cedric Kiefer and Julia Laub. The piece is a recording of a chorographic dance, represented as a set of data points reminiscent of sands, which freezes some motions of the dancer and then fall down with gravity as the dancer continues on forward. This represents a form of rebellion against modern technology to me, as the dancer is fighting against the ever falling data to express herself in an individualistic and powerful manner. In the end, the constant flow of information drags her down into nothingness, signifying the strength of technology upon our lives. Besides the implications this piece had on me, I was also deeply impressed by the technical details, as I have not thought of data visualization being able to be used in such a manner. My only problem with the piece is that it is a bit long; even 70% of the content would make me feel and think the same way. Similar data visualization technique is used in the music video of Radiohead’s “House of Cards”, but this piece is more active which I feel is superior.

 

2.

Genesis is a short film made by Andreas Wannerstedt. We enter a facility in the snow, where we are presented some advanced technologies, which then proceeds to create a mini big bang, producing a universe, and finally presenting us a mini planet. I initially thought not too hard about the meaning of the piece, for the only aspects which caught my attention were the technical details, but the true message is presented as a newspaper article in the end: “Create a mini world; become a mini God”. I have been struck by a theme I did not predict. The creation of a mini world and becoming a mini god is similar to the short film The Gloaming (Le Crépuscule) by Nobrain. However, The Gloaming is a critique on society while Genesis is a critique on technology.

 

3.

Metamorphosis generates the growth of branches and butterflies based on an algorithm written in Processing. The growth of the tree branches is absolutely gorgeous. It looks more organic than reality. The patterns generated by the algorithm are really well done. The color choices stick out also; the orange flame-like cloud behind the branches make stark and beautiful contrast. However, I feel the existence of the butterflies served no purpose. Because they lack animation (ex: wings flapping), they take away from the organic feeling the growing branches conveyed to me. Their movements are also erratic at times also, making me feel like they are just funky decorations. I feel if they flew out from the trees instead of being attached to them, I would be happier. The vector art style of the branches and their growth reminds me of the indie game Pixiejunk Eden, but the overall feeling is different as Metamorphosis is not a game and not interactive.

Disillusionment

First word art time period is equivalent to the Peak of Inflated Expectations, because technology and art in that area are not well understood and thus could not be judged by existing standards, they become idealized with too much hype, thus causing the Peak of Inflated Expectations. On the other hand, last word art is equivalent to Plateau of Productivity, where rules and understandings are now grounded in reality, so people can start producing them en masse.

I prefer to start on new technologies after the initial wave of hype and idealism has passed, so my interest lay somewhere after the start of the Slope of Enlightenment. This would be equivalent to being somewhere near the start of last word art.

Schulze prefers Trough of Disillusionment because it provides the perfect balance; we understood enough about the technology to not be misled by idealism, so he does not have to spend time personally conduct experimentation, yet at the same time there are plenty of opportunities that can be taken before the bandwagon rolls in.

Addict

“5. The Critical Engineer recognises that each work of engineering engineers its user, proportional to that user’s dependency upon it.”

Some time ago, I went on a trip with my family. We drove for hours, so we had plenty of time to chat, listen to music, and enjoy the sceneries passing by. By end of the day we reached our hotel, and the moment I got into my room, my laptop sprang into my hand, and 3 Google Chrome tabs flew out to open my email, cnn.com, and Facebook. I need to catch up on all the information I had missed in those hours of non-connectivity. But in fact I just cut connection from my family and my immediate surroundings. “Catching up” to all the information is just an excuse; I am just an addict.

The more we rely on technology, the more it controls us. I am already affected by it, and chances are, I will one day be taking part in its evolution. I need to know what I am getting myself into.

Flower

Flower is a game released in 2009 for PS3 developed by Thatgamecompany, an independent game studio with around 12 people. The player controls a gust of wind, blowing flower pedals to bring nature and color to dull landscapes. It was one of my earliest exposures to indie game titles, and it made me realize that games do not need to be exciting, action-packed, story-driven, or in fact have any dialogue at all to be absolutely amazing. It put me onto a rollercoaster of emotions, as I went through calmness, joy, fear, and finally empowerment all within the short span of several hours. By the time I finished the game, chills ran down my spine and my eyes were on the verge of tears. I was not aware a piece of computer software can have such a powerful emotional impact on me until then.

Website of Thatgamecompany: http://thatgamecompany.com/

Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=nJam5Auwj1E