This is contract work I did some months ago but neglected to post about. It’s just a visual effect that my client wanted to implement in the website they were commissioned, but I think it’s a pretty nifty one. The site’s links are distributed in an array of rectangular picture crops of different proportions, which stretch and compress according to mouse input. So of course I did just the programming for this one. That’s all!
Acabo de terminar un asuntillo.
Prueba Aphasia poetica (web)
Esto comenzó como un trabajo en conjunto con Ilan Libedinsky el 2010. Era algo imposible de construir bien: requería mapear palabras con una palabra alternativa, manualmente y una por una. Pero el idioma es claramente demasiado vasto para hacer esto una tarea alcanzable por dos individuos, así que nunca se cumplió. Tres años y medio más tarde, lo llevé a cierre. Esto no pasa de ser un punto medio: usando un bastante nutrido diccionario de sustantivos, diferenciados por género, el intercambio es generado automáticamente, sin el mapeo manual.
The wonderfully enthusiastic Steve Cook put together a compilation of over a hundred free games, and made me a part of it by including my game Runnerby. It’s called the Pirate Bay Bundle.
I recognize only a handful of the included titles. But knowing the kinds of games that he reviews, I’m sure they’re all good stuff. I’m currently in the process of downloading the torrent, so I’ll be sampling them later.
Spambots were having a field day with my neglected piclog Pixelpost installation (old picture blogging CMS, not updated in several years), and it was getting hit so ferociously that it was hogging resources and my host complained. So I took it down. But since I have a few blog posts that link to pictures over there, I fixed it. I basically scrapped Pixelpost, downloaded the database, and implemented a super simple version of it that uses YAML files as a database and PHP. And no commenting, since it wasn’t getting anything other than truckloads of spam anyway. The design and all, I couldn’t be bothered to update. I did, however, change the URLs to make them a tiny bit prettier, taking care to redirect links written in the old format.
By mistake I opened the folder where I keep my music projects, and was struck by the sense of nostalgia. I browsed them, listened to all the tracks and unfinished bits thereof I made many years ago. I decided to string some of them, the more complete and the more listenable, into an EP, this one here I call Fade. It’s only 15 minutes of lo-fi/bleep music, and it’s probably not even worth a listen, but here, I release it nonetheless.
Download Fade (zip, mp3)
(Head into the post to listen without downloading.)
These tracks are all from 2009 at the newest. Since those days I haven’t been making music, except for the occasional track for a game. I now no one’s missing all the crap music I haven’t made these years, but I sometimes think of that parallel me who focused more on music and perhaps became proficient in an instrument, and wonder if I wish I was that me.
I was contracted to finish a work that had been started but never completed, a floor and wall tiles in-context visualizer web app. You have a photo, and you can choose among the client’s catalog of tiles to place them in the photo’s walls and floors to see how they would look in a real setting. Although this work was almost finished, the source code had disappeared. Taking this as an opportunity, I revised the interaction design, ending up with a more focused and approachable app than what was originally conceived. I was originally only going to iron out the remaining programming wrinkles, but ended up doing the interaction design as well as a full code-up.
The biggest design challenge was making the app casually usable, since such a utility would see little action if it is not instantly understood and provides results in seconds. The number of choices is quite large, so I had to make these choices seem fewer. I put the user straight into the action by simply randomly choosing a photo for them to work on, with the ability to swap it. The flow of use goes from just selecting a surface to then one or two tiles for it. The tiles are filtered contextually according to the environment and the surface selected, so, for instance, for a bath wall there will only appear tiles that are appropriate to put on a bath’s wall. These tiles are arranged chromatically in a grid, and are all simultaneously visible in their correct relative dimensions, to make it quick to compare and find the desired one without having the need to specify any filtering criteria; however, if needed, several filters are available. When the user’s happy with what they did, they can take that with them in the form of a PDF with the image and information of the selected tiles, or they can share a link with friends (which takes them to the same utility, with the tiles pre-filled).
Technically challenging was figuring out a way to display the tiles in correct perspective according to the (flat) photos. Turned out that the easiest was using the same geometric technique that visual artists use, involving two vanishing points plus the horizon line for a flat surface, together with algorithms for finding segment intersections. I’ve obviously little idea of 3D coding, so this was all new to me, but I got good results! I also experimented with two interesting programming patterns that were new for me, reactive programming and promises, the combination of which made it easier working with the asynchronous loading of images and other data.
Although I am rather happy with my work on the interaction design end, the result does sadly have many shortcomings… […]
I just came back from Japan, after spending six months improving my Japanese there at a language school and generally enjoying being in such a culturally interesting environment. I made tons of friends, Japanese and from countless other countries; it was extremely stimulating.
The place I lived at was a small city called Ueda, located in a valley in the mountainous Nagano prefecture. If you asked someone from one of the bigger cities in Japan, they’d say where I lived was what they call inaka, the countryside. But would you ask the people who had lived there their whole lives, or in one of the surrounding, smaller cities and towns, they would say no, that’s not inaka. Of course, me coming from a pretty large city, the place was small and cozy; refreshingly so. I started using Vine —the short video recording app— during this trip, so here are some of the best ‘moving photos’ I captured from those places.
So yesterday it was the opening of this year’s Design Biennale here in Santiago, which featured that one project I worked on a year and a half ago with Sebastián Skoknic. He was invited to participate, and he chose that one to display. Despite having to endure an insufferable parade of politicians and academic officials speaking nonsensical, trivial formalisms for what must have been at least an hour and a half, the event itself was super high on polish, and featured a great deal of impressive projects from a variety of forms of design. We had the spot number 78. […]
What happens when you combine sports and words? That’s right, the unholy portmanteau of this post’s title. Conceived as a last minute entry into the TIGSource Sports competition, Spwords is a player-versus-computer match that puts your (English) vocabulary, spelling, and typing speed to the test.
Play Spwords (web)
Maybe you didn’t understand the commentator’s quick explanation of the rules. That’s fine, that’s what this paragraph is for. You and computer take turns typing words during rounds, and each round has an assigned letter. Each word played must start with the round’s letter. Also, a word must contain the last played word’s last letter for it to count. In addition to all this, you have a time limit, and words may never be repeated. Win three rounds to win the match. Have a go!
This game was possible thanks to Keith Vertanen’s word lists.
Here’s an HTML5 drawing toy I’ve been working on for a few weeks. It’s been designed to work on touch devices in addition to the plebian mouse, although I only really have my iPad to try it on, so I’m not sure how it will work everywhere else. You can add it to the home screen on any iOS apparatus, and it’ll work more or less like a regular app, offline and all.
Play Flower pattern (web, touch devices)
For your phone or tablet, and for your convenience, I also set up a shorter URL: http://agj.cl/ip/fp . Caveat: based on one report, it doesn’t seem to work properly on older versions of iOS. […]