Monthly Archives: November 2009

Scruzz is a Head-Eating Monster

After a bout of fisticuffs, I beat back the ruffian.

via Christina Xu



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WordPress Critical Shortfall

Uh, to my horror, not only can I not edit my CSS here, I can’t seem to embed vimeo videos either!

So, I’m ditching wordpress here pronto.  Any recomendations?


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Experiments with New Electronic Instruments

Hey!  If there’s been a short delay in blog posts here, it’s because I’ve just returned from being away for Thanksgiving break, to New York City!  Here’s one of the highlights:

While I was there, Josh Gordonson, Billy Gordon, and I paid a visit to a nifty community invention lab called NYCResistor, where Ranjit showed us his nifty hacked player piano.  We proceeded to get up to all sorts of tomfoolery with it:

singing and laughing with the toy piano from ranjit on Vimeo.

Ranjit said:

“Yesterday Star, Billy, and Josh (from MIT & Brooklyn Poly) came by to visit NYC Resistor. They told me of their crazy schemes and brilliant plans, and helped me eat a giant slice of strawberry cheesecake.

When I showed them my toy piano and the new sound-processing code I was messing around with, they immediately asked why I hadn’t plugged in a microphone. I swear I would’ve gotten around to it myself… someday.

Thanks for visiting, guys – you’re welcome any time!

p.s. thanks to Isaac Schankler for help with the piano code; and we were both inspired by Peter Ablinger’s speaking piano.”

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Stolen Bike Alert

Hey folks!

Some rascal made off with my chopper bike last weekend, in Cambridge MA.
Keep your eyes peeled for it, and send me word of any sightings, poste haste! (to

The theory is that they probably just took it for a joyride, with which I heartily concur — a joyride is the only possible ride you can take, on that bike. Note — it is entirely welded by me.

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Big Project Hackery Update!

Josh Gordonson and I downloaded nearly all of the TED talks.  I’d heard about “pitch-preserving time compression algorithms”, and wanted to play around with them.  So we processed all the TED talks, and now they play at DOUBLE SPEED, but still retain normal pitch!

It’s like getting to click a button and make any speaker speak twice as quickly, while still sounding normal.   Awesome!

We both thought this was pretty fantastic!  There are a lot of TED talks out there, and now it’s possible to watch them in half the time.  What’s more, is that once you watch some doublespeed TED talks, it’s really hard to go back to watching them at normal speed.  Your brain craves the information!  So this is pretty awesome, right?

UNFORTUNATELY, we just learned that we can never release them.

TED thinks that it’s awesome to release their talks under a Creative Commons license, but they regretfully chose a “non-derivative works” option, meaning you can’t actually do anything creative with the talks.  So we chose to ask for permission, and were denied.

I think this is incredibly stupid, and I’m really disappointed that we don’t get to share the project.  I told a couple people about what we were doing, and, if you were one of them, I’m sorry that I can’t show you what we did.  (We still have the data privately, which is fair use)


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Unacceptable Behavior by Firefox

I’d like to note that I just discovered a FOURTEEN GIGABYTE file logging firefox errors.  Not only is this completely fucking mindblowing — fourteen gigabytes is a *lot* of errors — but I’m pretty sure firefox only managed to curb its wanton error-barfing because it had filled my entire boot disk.  What’s more, is that these errors were all related to firefox not being able to properly allocate memory (malloc), while it gratuitously chewed through mine.  WTF.

This sort of bad engineering makes me want to go on a Hulk-style rampage.  NOT OKAY, FIREFOX!


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I’m Speaking at DorkBot!

Hey — I’m speaking tomorrow at Dorkbot Boston, on Having Ridiculous Fun Through Engineering.  The illustrious Josh Gordonson (who built a gun that shoots cotton candy, for starters) will also be speaking, and I hear there’s an open hack/playtime with tools and materials, afterwards.  

Come enjoy!

space-time coordinates: 

7PM-11PM, Tuesday, November 17th
at the Sprout/DINO shared space
339R Summer St., Somerville, MA

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