New Site Design

I was holding off on posting until I resolved the visibility issues with Internet Explorer 6. I killed two birds with one stone by doing that and redesigning the website. This new redesign, I anticipate will be more conducive to me publishing new content and new kinds of content.

Don’t know when this site will be back at 100% (my portfolio has yet to be migrated.), but until then I’ll post an article I found for you to enjoy while you wait:
What’s Your Attitude on IP? from

HTML: Good Times Await Us (Maybe)

Looks like an update to HTML will be adopted soon.

Of course, as with any web standard or new internet-related technology, there’s no guarantee that any of this will be implemented. All this stuff is completely voluntary, and no one’s forcing anyone to adopt HTML 5. A group of people simply reccommend that certain things be used by webpage creators (or not used). We’ll have to cross our fingers and hope that the browsers won’t be too slow in implementing this.

It’s weird to think how long ago something as simple as this could have been implemented, but now, in 2009, we’re seeing it. One won’t have to invoke some universal, proprietary platform to view videos embedded in web pages. The era is almost over, in which ninety-something percent of videos play only with the blessing of Adobe. People will be embedding video into a web page without having to use any external systems Embedding video into html just using the html itself. Good stuff.

I’ve always found it contemptible that every time a browser is installed on a new computer, the user has to go to a specific website (Adobe) to download a file in order to have the abiltiy to view video. Video is so common that this should not be necessary. Browsers should just be able to do basic things like open video without any additional work for the user.

Let’s just hope the browsers will adopt the video standard. Looks like the debate about how to do it is still going on. Looks like intellectual property is once again working to screw us, preventing us from getting browsers that play video without plugins. And, big surprise, it’s Apple that’s fighting for the cause of intellectual property and standing in the way of progress.

Some Thoughts About This Website

Recently, I have had an increase in desire to fill this website with more content. I intend to use this site for my graphic design portfolio, but also have other content as well. A few months back, I mentioned that I’ve been coming up with a lifelong to-do list. I’m working on getting a few of them done, particularly I’ve been doing a little bit of game design. Adding lots of content that isn’t artworks I can insert in my portfolio may require a little alteration to this web site’s format (but that’s not something I’m not used to doing).

What the heck is this? A piece of a notebook I wrote on. I came up with an idea for a game in 2000 which I began work on in 2003. I converted the paper to digital format and this is one of the many ideas I am preparing for publication.

We’ll see where this takes me, but regardless of how it gets done, I do intend to start publishing some different content on this site. I mentioned a while back that I’ve been backing up old paper documents into digital formats and polishing them for publication. I’m on the polishing part right now. Perhaps I’ll get around to putting up my music-related content too.

I am going in a different direction with this site? Only time will tell.

11/23/2009 Portfolio Additions

I added some new (and some older) things to my portfolio.

First off, a few unused logos I made for a tax service (whose name and number has been intentionally obscured):

Here’s a fun little thing I did here: I redrew an image to vector format. Vector graphics are graphics whose appearance is determined by mathematical equations. The nature of vector graphics allows them to be enlarged to any size without any loss of quality. I’m not sure what this is a picture of.

A motion photograph of a pot being tipped over:

New Job and Website Layout

I haven’t done anything to the website in a while (I couldn’t tell you how long it’s been, but too long for me to bear). While I’ve been away, I’ve been doing some job searching and settling into my new job. I now have a full-time job working for a great company as a web designer.

Monday is Columbus day, and I’ve got a three-day weekend, so I decided to devote this weekend to working on the website’s new layout. There are some visibility issues with IE6 and early variants of IE8, and this is unacceptable. I recently have changed my opinion on how I want to implement the website’s layout, so I’m going to work on that over the weekend.

I have some new artworks I have been waiting to publish. I’ll get those up after I alter the website’s layout.

Good Linux Video Games

I am proficient in Mac and Windows, but I also use Linux. I like it a lot, especially because of its open-source. One of the jokes about Linux, however, is no one plays video games while using it. Just for fun I did a search for “good linux video games”. Check it out:

Mac-PC Equivalency

I recently crossed paths with a person who looked at some of the artworks in my portfolio and commented on them. He liked them a lot. After telling me this, he said, “Was it made on a Mac?”

I wasn’t sure what to say. Not really understanding any of the potential implications in the question, I asked him something like, “What made you think that?”, leaving myself open to the possibility that there were some subtleties/vagaries in regard to the creation of images or the programs commonly associated with the OS that I was unaware of, that would make him think that the image was produced in Mac instead of Windows. His question made no sense to me, but I decided just for fun to to respond with “What made you think that?”, just to hear what he’d say.

He said, “Because it was well-made. You know, they say Macs are good for people who like to create things.”

The fact that the image was well-made causing someone to think it was made by a person using Mac OS is just silly. An image is an image. As my father once said to me, “A bit is a bit is a bit.”

This idea of Macs being good for people who like to make stuff, brings to my mind, the Church-Turing Thesis. To give the short story, there were thought to be two ways to do things involving things that are computable (the Church way (involving recursive functions) and the Turning way (involving Turing machines)). Well, it turned out that, as long as you get the same output, it doesn’t really matter which way you do it. Basically, they were equivalent: anything you could accomplish with one, you could accomplish with another.

Both Mac and Windows are written using programming languages that are Turing complete. Both of them can perform any calculable function. Both of them can generate the output the user wants. If the final file is something you can imagine, it can be done, in either operating system.* That final .JPG file is, ultimately just a bunch of ones and zeroes that one may generate using whatever method one pleases.

When I was in my first year of college, I heard one of my (not art) instructors say that artists should learn how to use Macintosh because it’s good for artists. Now, the value in being able to use an operating system is great, so yes, it is good to learn how to use it. However, looking back, it seems the reason she gave me learning it was a pretty bad one.

So, the superstition is that Macs are better for art folks. It is, in fact, a superstition. A person can make a image file, a movie file, a text file, a web page file, or a sound file in one operating system and then make the same thing in another. I recently read a page about creative software and found the root of this superstition about Macs- all these years I had heard misguided people saying that Macs are for artists, and I finally figured out why. In the late 1980s, when computers started to be seen as a decent tool for artists, a lot of the early software packages targeted toward artists were Mac exclusives or initially released for Mac (somewhat parallel to the fact that Windows is associated with video game players). So it all made sense, to me then, and I was able to put these years of hearing that Mac is a superior OS for art to rest and realize that it was all supersition. It also doesn’t help that there are misleading “I’m a Mac” ads that imply that Windows is bad for making video, Mac is the only OS that can make photo collections, or Windows computers don’t have a USB port that you can plug a camera into (those ads are pretty fun to watch, though).

Remember that a digital image is just a conglomeration of code. You can make an image (or any other kind of file) on one OS and then make the same thing on the other OS. Data is data. How did you make the file? Metadata notwithstanding, it won’t make a difference.

Which operating system is better? Well, that’s beyond the scope of this post. The point I’m making here is that the appearance of the output (that digital image that appeared in my portfolio) is not dependent on the OS the person making it used. The OS had no bearing on whether it was going to look well-made. It doesn’t matter if you make the file with an abacus, a binary punch card, or a roll of paper tape, as long as you get the job done.

Now, is what OS you use completely irrelevant and not important to you? Are there no significant differences between Mac and Windows? Of course there are differences. Which OS you should use, you have to decide for yourself. Which OS is better? Can you get the job done with the OS? Can it do what you want it to do practically? Is it easier to do something in one than the other? These are relevant things to think about. Which of the ways to get from A to B is more comfortable for you? Which one is better is something that’s going to differ from individual to individual.

Which operating system is the best for making artworks? The one that works best for you.

*Yes, this applies to Linux and other OSs too.

Anime Music Mash-Ups

Anime music is great. I’ve been surfing around the internets, getting my hands on whatever I can since around 2002. I really gotta say, I really appreciate all the advancements in internet and computer technology that have occured in the past few years. Faster, cheaper download/uploading, new systems for making web pages, new file sharing methods, and new programs for audio/video and new algorithms for audio/video compression. These advancements in some way, have proven beneficial to people in search of not-mainstream music.

Also, massive, user-centered, individualized, free hosting for video has been pretty nice too. This has led to quite a few people coming up with quite a few things to post on the internet. People have an idea, and they implement it, because they know they have a way to get people to see it (low barriers to publication). As evidence of this, the amount of anime music videos has gone up considerably, ever since sites like YouTube came into existence.

I came across a video of music from Naruto Shippuden, mashed up with images from Pokemon. I thought it was incredibly funny, and was somewhat impressed by the idea that someone would like a TV show that much. Here it is:

Naruto Shippuden-Pokemon Mashup– For the context, check out the 2nd Opening Theme from Naruto Shippuden.

I also found some others, which I would like to share. I’m not sure if there are enough of such videos to call it a fad. I guess so. There may already be a a name for this kind of thing that I am unaware of, so I just decided to call them mashups.

John Stossel Does a Barrel Roll

A friend of mine went to a speech by John Stossel held recently at Drexel University.

Those of you who know me, know that I am amused by internet fads, my favorite being “It’s Over NINE THOUSAAAAAAND!”, but only second to that is “Do a barrel roll!”

Well, this guy sat in the front row to hear the speech, and as soon as Stossel was over, he approached him with the nearest sheet of paper he could find and asked for his signature.

The ink was a little bit light, but as you can see, it says “Nicholas, do a barrel roll, John Stossel”.

When he gave this to me and told me about this, I was laughing my head off. I am very amused. It would seem that the nearest piece of paper was a flyer advertising “End the Fed”. I can’t say I know anything about this organization, so you can just ignore that. Hats off to John Stossel for having a sense of humor.

Thanks Billy!
Thanks John!

John Cage’s Water Walk

It sure is great to be around today and have those massive, individual, video-sharing websites. There’s a lot of crap out there on places like YouTube, but there are a lot of lovely things out there I would never have seen otherwise.

I came across a recording of an appearance of experimental composer John Cage. I learned a few things about this guy in my last semester of music theory in college, and I just had to see this guy in action. This was lots of fun to watch. A friend of mine described this video as “a punch to the balls of music theory.” It was both funny (because of the comments from the interviewer) and educational. Test the limits; explore the boundaries.

This was way cooler than 4’33”.

Pokémon Card Auctions

Anybody who knows anything about Pokémon Trading Cards, knows that ebay is full of Pokémon auctions. I’ve got tons of unused Pokémon cards. After a painful struggle reading through ebay’s sale policies, and interpreting them, I am ready to throw my hat in the ring.
I have started out selling just a few, but eventually this online store will get bigger. I’ve got hundreds of cards to sell cards for a long time (and that’s only the rare cards!). Eventually, I intend to use this store to sell unique prints of my artworks.

I have been collecting/playing Pokémon since 1999. I am running out of room to store my cards. Wanna help me get these off my hands?
Great Encounters Hypno
Crystal Guardians Loudred
Legend Maker Absol
Diamond & Pearl Weavile

Kabalevsky Piano Sonatina No. 1 in C Major

Just to give you a taste of some of the arraging/composing work I’ve done, here’s a little something I did a while back.

It’s part of Dmitri Kabalevsky’s Op. 13, Piano Sonatina No. 1 in C Major. Arranged for Flute, Bassoon, Horn in F, and Trumpet in C. This piece has been transposed down a perfect fifth, to accomodate the ranges of the instruments. In school, they taught me that I should avoid giving the flute notes below C5. Well, screw that. I think the flute sounds great between C4 and C5. In fact, it sounds better than when it’s playing above C5.
The score is here.
A recording is here. The work of some highly talented performers from St. Mary’s College.

If you’re interested in hearing the original, I was able to find a decent recording on youtube (the part starts at about 3:40 and lasts a minute).

I’ll put this work, and some other works of mine up on the site, once I have my arranging/composition portfolio up on this site.