Category Archives: Lateral Thinking with Withered Technology

I’ve got no strings

Wireless communication is pretty rad. At the end of the day though, it’s all about radios that act as modems. A modem is a device that takes digital information (like serial communication) modulates these signals for transmission, the demodulates them on the other end to feats on the gooey insides of the signal.

We have a number of options for wireless communication, we’ll start easy, and move our down the ladder of difficulty.

  • Bluetooth : a pretty simple protocol that can be used to transmit data like sensor information, but also more complex signals like audio. The modems used with the Arduino are pretty simple and just create a serial connection between the computer and the microcontroller
  • Xbee : slightly more complex. Modems need to be configured to communicate with each other.
    • configure serially
      • easiest with a usb-serial adapter
      • CoolTerm is great for talking with the modems (key emulation to CR)
      • Put into command mode with “+++”
      • ATID (PAN ID number)
      • ATMY (self ID)
      • ATDH (destination high)
      • ATDL (destination low)
      • ATWR (saves)
      • Xbee shield needs to be on USB switch
  • GSM (similar to WiFi & Ethernet, but much cooler)

Computational Media

When I switched into the Interactive Media Arts major last semester, I did so mainly out of a desire to challenge myself to do something that I was scared to do.   I made the change because of the rather limited majors offered at NYU Shanghai, IMA aligned most closely with my personal interests and career goals. I had essentially no experience in IMA, but felt confident that with hard work and perseverance, etc., etc., I could do whatever I put my mind to.  However, as I became better acquainted with the program, I realized that it was vastly different from what I had expected.  To the naive or perhaps simply un-informed me, Interactive Media Arts meant collaboration (interaction), working with different mediums (media), and doing so creatively (art).  To the me who was struggling to construct simply circuits while my classmates made dolls that laughed when you tickled them and fabric flowers that “bloomed”, IMA was reduced to one thing: computers.

Since then I have really come to appreciate the incorporation of technology in art, but I wouldn’t really say that I’m a computational media convert.  That isn’t to say that I’m against it by any means, but rather that I don’t see the need to distinguish it in such painstaking terms from “traditional” media.  Reading Manovich’s essay, I can really appreciate his work from an theoretical and anthropological (maybe not the right word– media-logical?) standpoint, but I don’t know how useful it is in practice.  I think that one of the beautiful things about media is its malleability and the ways in which people adapt it to suit their needs.  Rather than people conforming to the limitations of media, I think the media is generally adapted to the needs of people and as such, I think that the best approach to it is open-ended.

Computational media is, I believe, essential to the modern lifestyle and integral in our society.  From mass media to contemporary art to architecture, computational media allows us to innovate existing disciplines and markets and to expand into ones that didn’t previously exist.  In light of this sort of integration of computational media with other disciplines, I don’t think it makes sense to study or practice computational media in a vacuum or to even try to give it a strict definition.  It seems clear to me that computational media will continue to adapt and re-invent itself, perhaps until it becomes a new field entirely.  To me, rather than distinct camps of “old” and “new” media, computational media falls more into an evolutionary spectrum of media; it is at once its own “species” (so to speak) as well as an intermediate form bridging the media of yesteryear and the media of tomorrow.

“Mixed Signals” Panic Button

For this assignment I tried to make my Arduino communicate with processing to create a panic button.  My idea was that when the FSR was pressed, the program running in processing would change from displaying “Keep Calm and Carry On” to displaying “PANIC”, but I ran into some issues (namely the screen flashes frenetically between the two messages until the FSR is pressed, at which point it reads, “PANIC”).Panic Button

Panic Button


new media

1 page…not that long but would be an obnoxious blog post

my apologies in advances for the slight tirade-ish tone.


What Computing Means to Me.

Throughout this class, my perception of technology has been turned on its head.  I have always felt naturally curious to explore things that were put in front of me, but never really thought to dig any deeper.  It was like… “Oh this is cool. I can do so many cool things with this?” But I never really thought about how it could be improved.  The picture under glass description of current technology and the lack of natural hand motions have really changed my outlook.

As I’ve said multiple times, everything that I learn I immediately try to think about how it is applicable for my students.  While I think that current technology is a wonderful teaching and learning aid, there is so much more room for exploration.  Instead of having a virtual piano on their phones, why not create their own pair of piano gloves.

It also solves some of my big problems with students today.  In order for a student to create something, they have to work together and therefor there picture under glass devices are put away.  They may be using technology to create new technology, but they are not being zombified by it. Technology is a wonderful tool when it is used correctly.  Unfortunately, many people, not just children, are pacified by it instead of inspired by it.

What Programming Means to Me – JS

What Programming Means to me?

Coding in and of itself is a very simple idea; manipulation of the binary states that an object can exist in to create something greater than itself. In light of developing new medias in combination with fast processing power, programming is quickly becoming a bottomless pit worth of potential.

With respect to new media such as 3D processes, Virtual Reality, even the simple script of most of the internet (javascript), one can easily see the diversity coding allows for coupled with the depth of design that can exist. Even in this class where a very high level language such as Processing is used, one can easily see that we barely scraped the surface in the realm of possibility of what can be done withint this paradigm.

All in all, programming is not an end in itself for me; I believe programming is a tool to create more tools to enrich our ability to create – and more importantly- recreate media of the past. A simple example that was provided in the Manovich reading alludes to the evolution of the cinema and how over time we have managed to digitize most aspects of the analog realm in respect to movies. This recreation of cinema allows for a greater source level control of the media (ie. more exciting and realistic CGI).

For example, in my code City of Acid I have the flexibility and freedom to completely alter the state of the image all within the computers realm of control. It was a totally hands off process for me because the computer was able to take the instructions and create at my will.

This very simple manipulation of binary states became able to manipulate something very complex. Moving forward, I will continue to code and learn more about it as all media is moving towards the world of digitization just because of the amount of power and control it affords the user to have over their creations. And as programming languages approach an even higher level that arne’t based in text editing; for example something akin to a protools, a photoshop, or even a MAX/MSP; more users will be able to create and manipulate their media without having to learn how to code. On top of this, the amount of control these “higher” level languages have is ever increasing, soon controlling and creating all media will move to a point where learning the text coding will become an artifact of the past.

What programming means to me

It is very easy to romanticize analogue media and to criminalize “new media.”  There are countless movies made where a inventor pours his or her heart and soul into building a beautiful computer or robot only to have it turn on humanity.  New technology is very easily turned into a villain, often being associated with a loss of human contact, the rushed feel of the present time, and an overall distraction from reality.  When people don’t understand something, most of the time the first impulse (if it isn’t curiosity) is fear and after that comes dismissal or anger.

Its a problem that has seeped into many corners of our society in highly unattractive ways.  I grew up in a town that was very conservative and very fearful of things it didn’t understand.  Physics wasn’t really taught in my high school, we had no opportunities to study programming, history classes were taught from one point of view, even basic biology classes were taught in a biased way.  So when I came to NYC I saw it as an opportunity to dive into everything I didn’t understand. I took physics classes, sat in on philosophy classes, and started a minor in computer programming.

Overall, studying programming has helped me become a more curious person.  Instead of taking something at face value, I have begun to ask “why?” more and then I try to expand on it.  Its like a never ending puzzle piece (and I LOVE puzzles). Once you get a new piece in its place, you are given a bunch more pieces to work with and figure out. ITS AWESOME.

I’ve also begun to see how any problem in our society that has been attributed to the rise in technology as not a problem with technology, but as a problem with people. We were given this HUGE opportunity to connect with everyone, and we can’t put our phones down for one second?  It’s taught me to be aware of how my actions affect others around me and how others actions affect me.  In the same way that programming has made me more curious about technology, it has made me more curious about people and how people interact.  It catalyzed this impulse in me to see a problem and to think about creative ways to fix it, within the digital realm and within our society.

So that’s waaay more than a blog post and I could go on all day, so Imma be done, but yeah, its safe to say programming has affected me a lot. <3 computers <3 4eva

Arduino Loves Processing


Hey, so the idea here is that the pot would be replaced with a amplitude sensor so the visuals change with the volume of the music



I’m hoping that I am not the only one who was effected by the savage, brutal murder of hitchBOT.  I have made a small memorial for him for this weeks assignment, although it did not work as I planned and I can’t figure out why.

It gives this error:
** (Processing core video:3239): WARNING **: ColorConverter: size 32000 is not a multiple of unit size 31500

And no video shows up in the corner. I tried moving the instance of the video all around the draw function, but to no avail.

It is nice to recognize him either way.

Here is a screen capture:


Here is the code:


Here is the code:


Trying to get the image to appear with circles rather than triangles – the base of the image is circular. I can’t get the image to appear in the window. Its just blank – and pretty, pretty, pretty…frustrating.

**I took the code from the triangle image post as a start**

PImage img;

void setup(){
img = loadImage(“protrait.jpg”);

void draw(){

for(int y = 0; y< img.height;y=+10){
for(int x=0;x<img.width+5;x+=5){
int loc=x+y*img.width;


if(x%10==0)  elipse (y+ 10,16);
else  elipse (z+16,16);

void mousePressed(){