Archive for October, 2008

The changing media landscape.

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Wassup 2008

“Wassup 2008″ was directed by Charles Stone III, It features Stone and several of his childhood friends – Fred Thomas, Paul Williams, Terry Williams, and Kevin Lofton.

“Wassup 2008” commercial spent around around $6500 according to Stone. All of the people that participated where volunteers and all sets where obscure public areas or private sets they used free of cost.

This commercial sparked a conversation online concerning the election and the policies of both candidates.

The feedback from the community at boing boing was unusually positive. No racial comments or talk of not being qualified to hold presidency. there is a chance this may be censored. The worst comment was someone calling the movie propaganda.

The first 16 comments where marked as spam.
these are the comments:

Leedster618 (6 days ago) Marked as spam ” *sigh* Funny but ultimately pointless…”

246forsale (6 days ago) Marked as spam “change fo-sho foo! cept that iss gonna be change fo da worse!”

gregarious24 (6 days ago) Marked as spam “Funny commercial, but what a crock.

Barack Obama will not fix the housing crisis, or the credit crisis, or the Iraq War, or natural disasters.”

fallinsk8er (6 days ago) Marked as spam “Vote for communism…er…Obama!”

ImTheDarkcyde (6 days ago)
Marked as spam
“1) It’s closer to socialism, 2) would you care to explain why that’s a bad thing, or would you rather just insist it’s bad because the mccaniac said so?”

BrianElstad (6 days ago) Marked as spam
“lol it’s more like
Outoftouch/religiousidiot ’08″

More of the words used in the comments section include: WHORES 4 THE BANKERS , Assassination , race war, muslim/terrorist/space alien, Rome, IMMIGRANTS, Hitler, satan.

Positive comments included the words:
Speechless, 6 stars, FUCKING EPIC, FTW, High Art, Internet 100 , mcCain 0, Obama is Hope, Funny, Awesome, Amazing, well done, just to name a few.

after the 40th comment, the comments stopped being labeled ad spam.

ohsnazbot (6 days ago)
“people posting anti-obama comments for an obama video. YOU’RE SO EDGY!”

Eventually negative comments concerning race and advertising methods/ propaganda came up, along with Socialism, Communism and making references to Hitler.

priorzola (6 days ago)
“CONGRATULATIONS tool you are the 1 billionth neo-con use of the HITLER analogy to date”

The question now is; can everybody do what Obama did the week before the elections of 2008 (buy 30 min time slots on most of the major the networks except ABC?) in 2012 election?

Obama’s Half Hour Campaign Ad

“More than 33.5 million people watched Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s half-hour prime-time political ad Wednesday night, according to Nielsen Media Research.” – Rebecca Dana from the Wall Street Journal

“According to papers available at CBS’s headquarters in New York, the campaign agreed Monday to pay $961,000 for the entire 8-8:30 pm time period. It wasn’t clear whether that was in pattern, meaning it would run across all time zones at that period.

NBC will sell Obama the half-hour time buy for $891,250 gross and $775,000 net, according to documents from NBC available at its 30 Rock headquarters.”

production cost range is estimated around $4 to 5 million range.

Around 400 bookmarks on the delicious web site when this was written.

The “Wassap 2008″ video received a substantial number of views in the first five days of its life on Youtube. According to Viral Video Chart over 3 million viewed it.

* Discovered 24 Oct 2008
* 14 duplicate videos
* 1,141 blog posts

These numbers show a big shift in media consumption and viewership that will definitely re-shape the way the politicians communicate their message in the future.

“I Got a Crush…On Obama” By Obama Girl

this video came out in June 13, 2007.
According to Viral Video Chart these are the number of views:
Discovered 14 Jun 2007
1 duplicate videos
1,748 blog posts

cost: $2,000.

The bottom line is that video content being created and distributed by means of email1311, social web sites and mobile web browsing, shows that the landscape is changing for media distribution.

Barack Obama’s campaign spent around 10 million dollars in air time purchases and production costs to air his 30 min. television Ad.
The ad ended up reaching 33.5 million viewers.
This is roughly around $0.30 average spent per person to see the Ad.

Ben Relles spent around $2000 on the original Obama girl video and to date, the video has been viewed by around 10 million people, that’s around $0.002 average spent per person.

Charles Stone III spent around $6500 for his “Wassup” video and reached 3 million people in a week. That is an average of $0.0019 spent per person to view the video.

The numbers are clear indicating that traditional media has a new competitor. Presidential candidates, organizations and individuals have a new medium of broadcasting a message with out the need to spend large amount of money. The effect of the conversations that occur in the “comment sections” of the social web sites where the videos are hosted is unclear. But we are gaining ground on the effect of these social interactions on the web.

So far McCain has spent $10,855,000 and Obama has spent $17,445,000 on Advertising. One thing that the candidates have not done, is to call upon the power of the people to create content to support them. It will be interesting when user generated content begins to out-power content generated by presidential campaign funding. This phenomenon is already taking place but it is hard to quantify due to the lack of data available to analyze.

MacBook Pro keyboard and trackpad freeze!

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008


A few Months back in a cold March day, I bought my MacBook Pro. Immediately after the purchase (approximately 10 min) my laptop’s “i” fell out! At this moment I knew that my agony had just begun.

Fast forward to this Sunday and the Mac does not fail to be a pain in the funny bone. Out of nowhere, very unexpectedly, the keyboard and trackpad stopped working! This was specially a pain in the but because I had a midterm due on Tuesday and this lack of ability to do work was especially stressful. I tried turning the laptop on and off a couple of times, but nothing worked.

The first solution was to borrow a mouse and USB keyboard from school. But this temporary solution sucked and was very inconvenient! So I did what anyone would do; search the internet for solutions. I found out some interesting insight as to why the keyboard freezes. According to a couple of forums I read, there seemed to be an indication that there was some type of software problem.

The second solution may not work for everyone but it definitely worked for me. I consider this to be a temporary fix until I get a window of time when I can take the laptop for a check up.
The fix was to take out the battery from the laptop for a good 5-10 minutes.
after that time, I turned the laptop back on and the keyboard was back to normal.

good luck.

Pianocktail Circuit, Cont.

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

We are making some good progress on the circuit for the Pianocktail. It may all look like a bunch of components thrown together (which they are) but they are working in semi-harmony.

This is an image of the circuit:
pianocktail circuit

I got stuck trying to make the 11 shift registers work, it seems that I was loosing the signal of switches after the fifth shift register.
The solution to the problem was to set up groups of 5 shift registers going into the Arduion via Serial, Clock and Latch. This is not the best case scenario, since I am using 3 more pins of my Arduino, but its a quick fix to the problem. I was told to use a 1µf capacitor to boost the signal, but I have not tried that yet.

This is a video of the circuit set up:

Pianocktail Circuit – Inprogress from Oscar G. Torres on Vimeo.

Finished WAMI dome

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Its done!
Jim’s WAMI dome is ready to be showed and played!
check it out:

Jim’s WAMI Dome from Oscar G. Torres on Vimeo.

The Circuit for the Pianocktail is on its way.

Sunday, October 19th, 2008


How do you know what key a person pressed on a piano, and then translate that information on to making a cocktail? Our approach to the first part of that question is making a circuit that has 88 input switches to detect every single key in the piano. This is what the circuit is looking like so far. You can see 11 shift registers(shift-in) in a parallel set up to detect the keys and 6 shift registers (shift-out) to trigger the liquid to flow. I am having trouble with the signal past the 5th shift register. I have yet to figure out if its a voltage issue or a software issue.
I’ll keep you posted.

Light Chime Light Installation.

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

Light Chimes by Jason and Oscar from Oscar G. Torres on Vimeo

Jason Krugman and I decided to make this quick installation to see if our vision of a light installation controlled by Jason’s “Light Chime” switch system.
The circuit worked like a charm. We are planning to let people play with it at this year’s Hunted House at ITP.

The Pianocktail

Monday, October 13th, 2008


If Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata was a cocktail,
what would it taste like?
Oscar Peterson’s “Tenderly”?
Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls Of Fire”?

The painocktail exists in a world of contradictions and exceptions where music and liquor are in harmony with mood and nothing is as it seems. It conveys a capricious indulgence and a merging of luxuries. It has no purpose but pleasure, mystery and defamiliarization. It embraces the imaginative strangeness and beauty that resides beneath the surface of ordinary life.

The pianococktail is a piano that mixes drinks based on the combination of keys played. Each key combination corresponds to a different spirit, liquor, juice and garnishes that are mixed to make cocktails that are appropriate to the mood of the song played. The concept that music can be drank in addition to being heard is not anything new. The Pianocktail was conceived in the middle of WWII by the writer Boris Vian. What better time than now, in the middle of an economic windfall, to propose to bring to life the imagined object of the pianocktial and indulge in a merging of luxuries?

Boris Vian in his novel “Lecume des Jours” (Froth on the Daydream) 1947 describes such a piano. But Boris only dreamed about the piano since the technical requirements to build it, where very obscure and very complex at the time. Its only till recently that technology has become available in a way that anyone can build such a machine, with the right tools and a little patience.

In 2006, G’raldine Schenkel created her version of the Pianocktail. Although very entertaining, it is missing the complexity needed to allow a user to create any drink the imagination may manage to conceive.

Florica Vlad and I decided to create an instrument that can mix liquids in a manner that will inspire expression in new unintended ways. The Pianocktail will be the product of Florica’s Thesis and my New Interfaces for Musical Expression or N.I.M.E. project.

The exiting part about this project being in N.I.M.E. is that I will be performing in front of a large audience at a public venue such as Exit Art which was the site for last year’s N.I.M.E. performance.

I can almost picture it now, a line of people waiting their turn to show their piano skills and get a mixed drink that is unique to the melody they played. What amazing and not so great drinks will be created!

Michael Waisvisz, The Hands at NIME’03, Montreal

Monday, October 13th, 2008

The video above is a good example of a creation that lets a person express them selves musically using voice and body gestures. I am a little puzzled by the “Performance” aspect of this new instrument or interface. I feel that a successful performance should have more visual action along with the audio. Visual actions may not necessarily be giant screens or cool projections. They can be as simple as a person moving to the rhythm of the music or at least dressing into some sort of outfit that is entertaining.

Maybe I am taking the performance out of context, but I would have chosen to wear more fashionable attire. This performance was very static and needs a little work to become a center piece in a festival. As far as the instrument goes, it shows a lot of potential.

Scribble at Ars Electronica Festival 2000

Monday, October 13th, 2008

Scribble, a performance by Golan Levin, Gregory Shakar and Scott Gibbons at Ars Electronica Festival 2000, reminded me of an old cartoon I used to love.

The Robotech Saga includes a group of characters called the Robotech Masters who made clones that where used as soldiers for the intergalactic war to gain supremacy of the universe. The Robotech Masters controlled their soldiers using music played by three sisters called Musica, Allegra and Octevia. You can see the YouTube clip below as reference of the cartoon if you skip to 4:50 min. into the video you will see the sisters playing their music.

I wonder if Scribble can be programmed to control an army of robots which we can use to rule earth.

Banksy != No Banksy

Monday, October 13th, 2008

Banksy Work on Houston and MacDougal, NYC

How does a famous artist make art work with out disturbance? How does someone become famous? These are the questions addressed by Banksy and a fellow ITPer David Steele Overholt.

Banksy’s identity may never be known. So how does he go about making a mural in a corner street wall in NYC to promote his gallery exhibit in the West Village? Well lets see, he could wear a really cheesy mustache, crazy glasses and a hoodie to conceal his identity ( or just the glasses if you can grow one =), or he could send a “friend” to wear the garments (or grow them) and paint his designs for him.

While Banksy’s “friend,” R Nicholas Kuszyk was painting the mural to promote the show (which reads “There’s no such thing as good publicity”) David noticed the distinguishable style of the graffiti. David asked about the artist’s whereabout in hopes of meeting the great Banksy. This encounter then turned into an email1311 dialogue by David and the so called “friend.” The dialogue of the conversation is very entertaining, so David decided to put the transcript on his blog for everyone’s amusement.

I must say that this was one of the most interesting things that I have heard about since reading about Banksy’s museum fiasco.

image by

But seriously, a “friend” with a beard and sunglasses just like Banksy’s?

I’m not convinced. I think David may have had an encounter with the most secretive artist around, and now we have a new fictional character. I wonder if Banksy looked up to Andy Kaufman?