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Preview: Jon Schull's Weblog

Jon Schull's Weblog

Last Build Date: Sun, 09 May 2004 16:26:05 GMT

Copyright: Copyright 2004 Jon Schull


Sun, 09 May 2004 16:24:02 GMT

YinYang: an amusement. I would like a Phillip Glass effect on the sound, with non-dissonant layers of music adding to one another...but the Director sound tools are weak, and my musical understanding is weaker.

Still I find it sort of fascinating. Click to see and hear.
(This makes use of an undocumented sound manipulation feature in Director: rateShift.)

Tue, 27 Apr 2004 02:53:42 GMT

In December 2002 I created a book about numbers for little children (and grownups).
I'm no mathematician, but I tried to introduce some non-trivial mathematical
concepts in a way that might be interesting and entertaining and silly! 
I've now put it online at



Thu, 15 Apr 2004 03:54:22 GMT

Bob Ippolito and Robert Patterson crave an email2iCal script too so I persist.

I've discovered that the apple command pbpaste provides access to OSX clipboard contents.

So my python script could get access to email text that way, process the text, create an iCal file and open the file (causing iCal to enter the event subject to my approval). I can make that happen.

But I wonder if a python script can somehow take responsibility for copying selected text to the clipboard (simulating Cmd-C perhaps?). I'm sure I'll forget that step. Does anyone know?

Spring and Curio, and calendars

Wed, 14 Apr 2004 05:15:38 GMT

It's the (lack of) simple things that kill you. Why can't I drag information into a calendar program, have the calendar scan the information for date and time(s) and automatically schedule the event subject to my approval. Or forward an emailed invitation to a similarly competent calendar-bot with the prepended subject heading "Next Tuesday"?

Anyway, this led me somehow to two very interesting new programs for the mac-- Spring and Curio. Not sure what I think yet, but they are certainly impressive creations by interesting programmers. (And no, neither does calendaring.)

Sun, 21 Mar 2004 13:45:36 GMT

In December Scott Raymond wrote a  lucid and important description of the synergies between BitTorrent and RSS:

BitTorrent operates on similar principles to Kazaa, but it[base ']s tuned differently: it excels at downloading files that are new or currently in high demand. It breaks large files into many small chunks, and coordinates their assemblage, so that users can tap into a swarm and distribute the load evenly. At the same time that you[base ']re downloading a chunk, another user is downloading an earlier chunk from you [~] no one server is overwhelmed, and the more popular a file, the higher its availability is.

With the addition of RSS, BitTorrent could really be taken to the next level, and I[base ']d be able to forget about the plumbing of TV altogether. I want RSS feeds of BitTorrent files. A script would periodically check the feed for new items, and use them to start the download. Then, I could find a trusted publisher of an Alias RSS feed, and [base "]subscribe[per thou] to all new episodes of the show, which would then start downloading automatically [~] like the [base "]season pass[per thou] feature of the TiVo.

to which a note is now appended...
Well, its been done. I present to you
along with its nice backend feed

[~]Stian [w]   15 Mar 8:55am

as Scott Raymond foretold...
The result: the TV distribution networks are completely end-run by an ad-hoc, decentralized, loosely-coupled network. And in the process, significant opportunities are afforded to independent content producers of audio and video to reach a mass audience with insignificant distribution costs.

He also pointed out that the networks should just start posting frest programs with commercials embedded...and get on with the show!  For the cable companies the question is whether pirated shows will stimulate or inhibit subscriptions.  I predict stimulate. 

Sun, 21 Mar 2004 13:33:56 GMT

Marcin Wichary has created a comprehensive compendium of user interface elements over the years: GUIdebook. It's cool to see the different pieces of UI from different systems, but on the other hand, there aren't many unusual ways of making a calculator. The component icons pages is particularly compelling.

Sun, 21 Mar 2004 12:47:01 GMT

This one's for Elouise

Television Tropes, Idioms, and Devices catalogues all of the commonly-used devices in TV shows. An example:
Door Focus
When a character leaves a room and the focus stays on the door. Within seconds, the character comes charging back in for some unfinished business; usually to collect a much-needed object left behind, or to deliver a funny line. Used at least five times per Friends episode.

memepool visualized

Fri, 20 Feb 2004 18:31:17 GMT

I gave a presentation on information visualization of networks and trees today and in the course of doing so, came across a visualization of memepool's progeny (as per blogtree; see ). I met memepool's creator Joshua Schachter just last week and we discussed visualization...but I'd forgotten I'd done some.

So here's one. There's more to do. Click through this image for a bigger PDF version.


Outline to graphviz

Wed, 18 Feb 2004 13:00:30 GMT

Here's a script that converts a tab-delimited outline into a high quality graphviz diagram (generating dotscript and runningthe Graphviz tools under the hood).
Thus, this...
...becomes this:


This lets me easily create and view outlines and diagrams from within my python development environment. Now, if I had lightweight code-folding python editor with a one-keystroke run function for the mac I'd be totally satisfied ;->

This doesn't replace the entire dotscript language yet. In particular, I'd like to have records (nested boxes) follow the same implicit tab-delimited syntax. But I keep getting befuddled. I'd welcome help.