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Archive for February, 2007

Large Archive of Free Downloadable Science Fiction EBooks

Sunday, February 18th, 2007

Baen Books is now making available — for free — a number of its titles in electronic format. We’re calling it the Baen Free Library. Anyone who wishes can read these titles online — no conditions, no strings attached. (Later we may ask for an extremely simple, name & email only, registration. ) Or, if you prefer, you can download the books in one of several formats. Again, with no conditions or strings attached. (URLs to sites which offer the readers for these format are also listed. )

Why are we doing this? Well, for two reasons.

The first is what you might call a “matter of principle.” This all started as a byproduct of an online “virtual brawl” I got into with a number of people, some of them professional SF authors, over the issue of online piracy of copyrighted works and what to do about it.

There was a school of thought, which seemed to be picking up steam, that the way to handle the problem was with handcuffs and brass knucks. Enforcement! Regulation! New regulations! Tighter regulations! All out for the campaign against piracy! No quarter! Build more prisons! Harsher sentences!


YTCracker Nerd LiFe

Saturday, February 17th, 2007

Bryce Case, Jr. (b. August 23, 1982), otherwise known as YTCracker (pronounced “whitey cracker”), is a rapper, former hacker, and Internet entrepreneur. YTCracker began producing rap music in 1998 in the genre that has since become known as nerdcore hip hop. His early work mainly focused on documenting and amusing the participants of the America Online hacking scene. YTCracker is a self-proclaimed “jack of all trades”, also making a name for himself as a professional disc jockey, computer programmer, graphics designer and webmaster.

Buy YT’s new Cd!!!1!

Check his Ridiculously pimp d out MySpace

Large Archive of Free Digital Publications

Friday, February 16th, 2007

The largest peer reviewed journal focusing on art, technology, theory, and culture. From Donna Harraway to Jean Baudrillard.


Digital Library

Fake Science

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

Winner Best Visual Design 2002 Machinima Film Festival.

Nods for: Best Sound, Best Technical Achievement

Selection: ‘02, BitFilm ‘03, OIAF ‘04, and featured in countless articles.


Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

FreeJ is a vision mixer: an instrument for realtime video manipulation used in the fields of dance teather, veejaying, medical visualisation and TV.

With FreeJ multiple layers can be filtered thru effect chains and then mixed together. The supported layer inputs are images, movies, live cameras, particle generators, text scrollers, flash animations and more.
All the resulting video mix can be shown on multiple and remote screens, encoded into a movie and streamed live to the internet.

FreeJ can be controlled locally or remotely, also from multiple places at the same time, using its slick console interface; can be automated via javascript and operated via MIDI and Joystick.


Machinima: Games Act Like Films

Tuesday, February 13th, 2007

By Brad King

Video-game developers have long tried to integrate the sights and sounds of cinema into their games, with mixed results. So an emerging group of directors has instead turned to making stand-alone films.

These directors won’t use cameras and sound studios, nor will they hire actors. Instead, they will use complex software applications designed to power video games, as well as computer-generated characters.

It’s called machinima, and if all goes well for the up-and-coming development studios, it will be coming to television next year.

Machinima happened because game developers could not figure out how to bring Hollywood to the computer. For instance, innovations like live-action scenes, during which a player might watch a two-minute clip that moved the plot of the game forward but didn’t allow the player to participate, brought game play to a screeching halt.

Despite the lukewarm success of the “cut scenes,” developers continued to push the boundaries of gaming technology. However, the advances couldn’t bridge the gap between interactive game play and passive movie viewing. But id Software’s first-person shooter games — Castle Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake — would give machinima filmmakers the tools they needed to create video-game movies.

These games, often graphically violent and highly popular, rely on a special game engine that defines the rules of environments where players will interact with each other. Engines handle everything from the artificial intelligence of computer-controlled characters to player movement and 3-D graphics.

Continue Article here

Janet H. Murray

Monday, February 12th, 2007

Excerpt from PBS Online Forum

PBS:Could you begin by explaining what a nonlinear narrative is? Are there different types of interactive stories?

Janet H. Murray responds:

Stories can be “nonlinear” or “interactive” both on and off the computer. Throughout the twentieth century we seem to be turning toward stories told from multiple intersecting points of view (like Faulkner’s “The Sound and the Fury”), stories that have multiple possible outcomes (like Borges’ “The Garden of Forking Paths” or the “Back to the Future” movies). The trend runs through high and low culture as my examples suggest. It has to do in part with the fact that we see our lives as more open to choice and possibility, less controlled by social convention or by what the Victorians called “Providence” than human beings have in other eras.

The computer offers new formats for such open-ended and multi-threaded stories. Hypertext stories let the reader navigate through segments of the tale, following different characters through the same time period or tracing different thematic connections. Interactive games and simulations allow us to replay the same situation in many different ways,observing and savoring the range of possibilities. Although most of these games are focused on battles or clever puzzle-solving, as they absorb more cinematic techniques they are increasingly plot-oriented and less concerned with winning and losing, and they are beginning to be populated with characters who are not just adversaries or puzzle-posers, but interesting in themselves.

Digital storytellers are learning how to let events unfold dramatically in worlds that have their own rules of behavior. For instance, a recent cd-rom game called “The Last Express” puts the interactor into the role of a passenger on the Orient Express railroad just before World War I, and populates the train with characters who speak different languages and walk around on their own regardless of what the protagonist chooses to do. I am charmed by the way the game lets you eavesdrop on the passengers’ conversations as they talk about books or politics, in multiple languages (with some subtitles). It is a satisfying experience that goes beyond the murder and intrigue of the game-like plot, because it is imaginatively compelling to be in a fictional place and to chose which characters to pay attention to as the story unfolds.

Continue Interview

Free PDF Article by Janet H. Murray

Scary Mary

Sunday, February 11th, 2007

Mary Poppins recut as a horror film.

A re-cut trailer, or retrailer is a parody trailer for a movie created by editing footage from that movie or from its original trailers, and thus are a form of mashup. They generally derive humor from misrepresenting the original film: for instance, a film with a murderous plot is made to look like a comedy, or vice versa. They became popular on the Internet in 2005.

Carnivore by the Radical Software Group

Saturday, February 10th, 2007

Carnivore, by the Radical Software Group, is an artistic parody of the wire tapping application of the same name (Carnivore (FBI)), created by the FBI. The artistic version is an application with server-client architecture; several artists have created client applications for this project.

From their website:

“Carnivore is a surveillance tool for data networks. At the heart of the project is CarnivorePE, a software application that listens to all Internet traffic (email, web surfing, etc.) on a specific local network. Next, CarnivorePE serves this data stream to interfaces called “clients.” These clients are designed to animate, diagnose, or interpret the network traffic in various ways. Use CarnivorePE to run Carnivore clients from your own desktop, or use it to make your own clients.”


Tor: anonymity online

Friday, February 9th, 2007

Tor is a toolset for a wide range of organizations and people that want to improve their safety and security on the Internet. Using Tor can help you anonymize web browsing and publishing, instant messaging, IRC, SSH, and other applications that use the TCP protocol. Tor also provides a platform on which software developers can build new applications with built-in anonymity, safety, and privacy features.

Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves.