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Blog archive for July 2010

ProGit on mobile platforms

July 13, 2010

ProGit, the eminent book by Scott Chacon providing an introduction to and reference on GIT, is now available for iPad and Kindle.




July 13, 2010

Apple has launched a new section of its Website dedicated to showcasing the capabilities of the next generation of Web standards that fall under the HTML5 umbrella. The demos illustrates video and audio playback, typography, image manipulation, “VR” panoramas, and 360º-view presentations.

Accompanied by Steve Jobs thoughts on Flash has to be read as an argument for the decision to drop Flash on mobile devices, calming unhappy owners of iPads, iPods an iPhones. However the emphasis on “open, reliable, highly secure, and efficient” web standards leaves a bit of a bad taste when trying to access the web site from other browsers than Safari:


Most likely a javascript is used to detect the browser. On a slightly different URL the same demos reside without the Safari limitation, and a quick test indicated that most of it worked in Firefox apart from video (h.264 issue?) and 3D stuff.

Some (browser) independent HMTL5 tests and demos can be found here:

Generally the demos indicate HTML5 to be a promising format, vastly improving support for multimedia in browsers. A decade or so after the heydays of, browsers are more capable than ever as a media for artistic content production and dissemination.

The Pragmatic Bookshelf currently have a book in beta (access in pdf format as it is being written) on HTML5 and CSS3 that seems quite interesting.

Restoring old Max list archives

July 15, 2010

Max, the interactive visual programming environment for music, audio, and media has been in use since the early 1990s. Over that period several mailing lists and forums have been used for exchange between users. Large parts of the archives of abandoned lists have been offline and possibly lost for a long while.

Following a discussion on the Max mailing list, hosted by BEK, and with the help of Jon Witte, I have restored the archives for 1997-1999, the three years when MSP was first released, and also a period of turbulence related to Netochka Nezvanova, including the “should she stay or should she go” voting process.

From a media archeology perspective, I believe that the archive is worth preserving. Check it out here:

Radio Memory

July 25, 2010


Cataloguing the memories, Radio Memory is an artist project by Brandon LaBelle. Initiated in 2005 and continuing today, the book from 2008 documents the artist’s related installations, along with a CD of new work, making a small testament to the power of transmission.

Accompanying the book is a post card, inviting the reader to share his or her radio memory with the author. Here is my radio memory:


Having finished “videregående skole” (high school) I started studying natural science at the University of Bergen; Maths, computer science, physics and geophysics. Half a year later I got a job teaching maths in the evening once a week. I was still staying at my parents place in Ytre Sandviken, but every Monday I would remain in town, visiting my grandpa and have dinner with him before going on for the teaching of the week.

My grandpa has a wall clock, as grandparents are supposed to. The ticking filled the living room, for strange reasons leaving an impression of timelessness; as if time had ceased to exist at his place.

After dinner we would have coffee and listen to the radio.

One week Brian Eno was the “artist of the week”, with half an hour a day dedicated to his music. After a brief introduction "1/1” from “Music for Airports” started playing, unabridged, all sixteen and a half minutes of it.

My grandpa was not impressed by this kind of “pling-plong” music (“pling-plong” was a term used in Norway at the time for any kind of contempoary music that might vaguely remind one of Arne Nordheim.)

I however, was increasingly preoccupied by Brian Eno and in particular his ideas about ambient music, also through him discovering the music of Erik Satie.

I was totally captivated by listening to “1/1” in the quiet room with the clock ticking in the background. I didn’t have any need for arguing with my grandpa, but probably asked him if he could just keep the radio on, even though he did not like it much.

This is the one time that radio has made totally sense to me.

Web development using Hobo

July 25, 2010


I have occasionally been dabbling with web site development for many years, but only got serious about it two years ago when me and Espen Sommer Eide started work on a new site for BEK.

Initially I considered using WordPress, Joomla or Drupal as publishing solutions, but in hindsight I am really happy that we settled on Ruby On Rails. Both me and Espen have since used RoR for several other sites as well, including this one and Espen’s blog.

However, one of the things that have annoyed me, is that there’s so much work that has to be done again and again whenever I start work on a new site. In particular development of user authentication and authorization is a boring and time-consuming task.

Enter Hobo, a Rails plugin for rapid development. More learning to do, but Hobo is exceptionally well documented.

This spring I have started work on yet another site. I am doing the programming, and Marieke Verbiesen is in charge of the graphical design. It’s the first full-fledged attempt at using Hobo, and I am deeply impressed with what it is able to do, and all the stuff I get for free. Development is probably not that much faster this time around, as there’s stuff to figure out and learn all along the way, but it feels like an investment for the future. The screenshot at the top of the post illustrates the yesterday’s achievement; implementation of CKeditor, a WYSIWYG text and html editor improving user friendliness for content providers.

The web site is not publicly available yet, but I’ll announce it in due time.