by software artist Scott Draves. You may also follow me on google+ or twitter, buy art, or join me on facebook.

March 28, 2005

Lausanne and Paris

I am in Lausanne to present a paper at EvoMusArt05. On April 5th I will go to Paris for a week. I am looking for venues to perform as a VJ and also lecture as an artist. I will have with me a special Electric Sheep appliance with 75GB of animation. It's quite a sight. Drop an email to spot at draves dot org if you would like to arrange a public or private event.
Posted by spot at 08:42 AM | Comments (1)

March 26, 2005

sheep 2.6b2 for win32

a binary installer for windows. let me know if it works for you.
Posted by spot at 01:45 AM | Comments (1)

March 25, 2005

sheep 2.6b3 for debian

Thanks to Alexis Sukrieh for making a debian package sheep client v2.6b3. Get it from the download page.
Posted by spot at 02:59 PM | Comments (1)

March 24, 2005

sheep 2.6b3 for linux

tarball that fixes the versioning issues in the last one. be sure to also install this hacked version of xscreensaver.
Posted by spot at 12:50 PM | Comments (0)

March 23, 2005

sheep 2.6b2 for linux

tarball that fixes the performance issues in the last one (back to rendering at 32 bits). be sure to also install this hacked version of xscreensaver.
Posted by spot at 01:13 AM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2005

TV improvement

A plastic barrier to beautify any television. Viva la Groovetube!
Posted by spot at 12:40 PM | Comments (0)

electric sheep on top again

The #1 and #2 Google results for "electric sheep" have traded places once again. Today the top result is my screensaver and Patrick's amazing e-sheep comix are #2. The Amazon page for "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", the P K Dick novel that inspired both of us takes #3. The last time I noticed it changed was November 8th.
Posted by spot at 12:29 PM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2005

sheep 2.6b1 for win32

Danny Daemonic updated the win32 client and sent me a binary installer. It works for me tell me what happens for you...

Update: the beta has been pulled.

Posted by spot at 10:46 PM | Comments (0)

March 20, 2005

sheep 2.6b1

2.6 beta for linux is finally available. Get the source tarball, i386 RPM and src RPM. You should also build & install this hacked version of xscreensaver that makes voting work. The new server is at generation 188.

In particular I am looking for someone who can draw to contribute icons used to acknowledge the votes. Each is a 256x256 grayscale PNG with transparency, one is a "happy sheep" for when you vote positive and the other is displayed for negative votes. If you install and run you can see the current icons are just placeholders...

The client has incremental improvements (more shapes, more colors, higher quality, voting works on linux, etc). The biggest change is actually in the server: dean rewrote how frames are reserved to increase performance.

A windows version will follow shortly.

Posted by spot at 10:03 PM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2005

Licenses Updated

I updated the license under which my prose, web pages, images, and video are distributed from version 1.0 to version 2.0 of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. I still use the Gnu General Public License 2.0 for my software. I look forward to its update to 3.0...
Posted by spot at 12:55 PM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2005

Alien vs Predator

I just rented the DVD of Alien vs Predator. Why would I waste any time with the latest action gorefest? Well rest assured I didn't actually watch the movie, unless you count at 30x fastforward. What was I looking for? Last summer when the movie came out a friend told me he saw fractal flames in it. And indeed a big flame opens the title sequence. There are many more smaller ones in the ending titles. I'll see if I can get a clip or still.
Posted by spot at 05:24 PM | Comments (2)

Flashforward Finalists

Of the Flashforward finalists I recommend Cartoons Amazing Life and Prowlies at the River. LifeSwitch creeped me out. I stopped when it asked my name. Nanoreisen is an amazing remake of the small half of Powers of Ten, raised to the tenth power.
Posted by spot at 04:21 PM | Comments (0)

March 16, 2005

Funding for Startups

Here's an interesting opportunity: Paul Graham's Summer Founders Program. Paul had a successful startup and has written quite a bit about what he learned from the experience. Now he's offering seed money in addition to advice.
Posted by spot at 01:08 PM | Comments (0)

Filter Differences between FLAM3 and Apophysis

A few days ago I got a bug report on FLAM3 from Robert Joy. He had done a render with FLAM3 and with Apophysis, and the FLAM3 render came out noisier.

Today I had a chance to look into it. I rendered 8 images using a genome Heaven 20 from Robert. I ran 4 different filter settings with each of FLAM3 and Apophysis.

  • The first pair with oversample 3 and filter radius of 0.2 shows the difference reported by Robert: the FLAM3 image is grainier.

  • In the second pair with oversample 3 and filter 1.0 both have low noise level, but the FLAM3 image is a bit sharper.

  • In the third pair with oversample 1 and filter 1.0 have similar noise levels, but again the FLAM3 image is sharper. Comparing them with the 2nd pair you can see the effect of the oversampling in reducing the staircase on the bright white curves.

  • The last pair has oversample 1 and filter 0.2 and they look nearly identical.

So what's happening? The fast answer is yes they differ but Apophysis is wrong. The filter setting of 0.2 is so narrow that with oversample 3 it amounts to using only the center one of the nine subpixels. Ignoring most of your samples makes for more noise. The solution: use a larger filter!

Why doesn't Apophysis have the same result? I see 3 differences in the filter code:

  • When the FLAM3 code was transliterated from C into Pascal to create Apophysis, a change was introduced into how the filter is calculated. Instead of being truncated to an integer it was rounded. Compare the definition of filter_width in Apophysis and an old version of FLAM3. This results in Apophysis sometimes using larger filters and hence producing blurrier images.
  • FILTER_CUTOFF changed from 2.5 to 1.8 in v1.10 on 3/4/2004 and this change wasn't picked up by Apophysis. This should be just a performance optimization (smaller filters with less zeroes).
  • v1.13 on 3/26/2004 fixed the deficiency where the size of the filter was truncated to an integer number of subpixels before the filter weights are calculated. Apophysis didn't pick this one up either.
The bottom line: of all 8 images the one that looks best was rendered with FLAM3. It also completed about 2x faster than Apophysis. Our long-range plan is to ditch the apo renderer and have it call a FLAM3 library. In the meantime it wouldn't be hard to update Apophysis and improve its results. Though I must admit the more I think about it the more I believe the Right Thing is to rewrite Apophysis in python...

I think it would be reasonable for FLAM3 to print a warning when the filter radius is "too small". And perhaps to enforce a minimum so that information is not lost. I'll think about this.

Posted by spot at 12:57 AM | Comments (3)

March 14, 2005


Simnuke Update #1 -
March 14, 2005
123 days until July 16, the 60-year anniversary of Trinity

This is the first periodic update of progress on the Simnuke Project. Expect as many as two per month as we approach July 16.

- Simnuke Project has a fiscal sponsor!
- Donations and items needed
- Upcoming test
- Gallery update
- Full project proposal online, and website updated
- Upcoming schedule
- Get involved!

*Fiscal Sponsor*

We are pleased to announce that Cloud Factory Collective for the Arts is our nonprofit fiscal sponsor for the Simnuke Project. This means that cash and in-kind gifts to support the Simnuke Project are tax deductible. We are now raising money for our upcoming test and buildout for the project. This collaboration with Cloud Factory will go a long way in helping us raise the money and gather the materials we need.

*Donations Needed!*

Please support the Simnuke Project with a tax-deductible donation. Send your contribution via paypal to, earmarked for the Simnuke Project and include your mailing address so we can send you a thank you letter for your records. Please contact us at if you'd like to make a donation by other means.

And if there is anyone you know that would be interested in donating to the project, please pass along the information!

*Items Needed*

We are seeking immediate in-kind donations of the following items:
- Box truck rental for the March 26th weekend
- Heavy-duty metal casters
- Steel (square tubing and sheet)
- Schedule 80 plumbing and high pressure hose
- 2 barrels of biodiesel
- 1 barrel of Ethanol (needs to be denatured with methanol or gasoline)
- 2" and 1/2" (or 3/4") pneumatic actuated ball valves
- 1/4" flare and NPT fittings (assortment)
- Nitrogen tanks, and regulators
- non-contact IR thermometer (at least 1500 C max)

Contact us if you can help with any of these, or for more detailed info on items needed.

*Upcoming test*

Over the March 26th Easter Weekend, we will be performing our second test in the southern California desert. We are working fast and furious in preparation for testing three of the small fans at the same time. You can see pictures from our first test with one small fan here.

Goals for this test include taking temperature and flow rate readings, fan placement, documentation (photo and video) to assist with fundraising, and more. We'll post photos as soon as they are available.

*Gallery exhibition update*

We are still seeking a gallery space to host the Simnuke gallery exhibition. The goal of this show is to create a venue for art that tells the story of the Atomic Age. There will be between 10 and 15 artists and 20 - 30 pieces, space permitting. Around 5 artists will be invited and the rest will be accepted on the basis of submissions. The medium is unspecified: the nuclear age itself is the binding theme for the show.

Ideally, we'd have the show up from about July 27th through August 9th saddling a weekend (so we could do an event). If you have any leads on a gallery space for this event, please email And stay tuned for the call for artist submissions....

*Full project proposal online, and website updated*

The Simnuke website has been updated recently, and if you want to read more details about the project, the full project proposal is available here.

*Upcoming schedule*

March 26 weekend - second test
April 2 weekend - visit to the Trinity Site in New Mexico, one of the two days per year the site is open to the public
April 30 - call for artists deadline for submissions (details soon)
Late April / early May - fundraiser

*Get Involved*

Currently our main need is fundraising. If you have any ideas, contacts, or other prospects for funders, please feel free to send them to us or forward on our project proposal, linked above.

Also, if you'd like to participate in this project in any way, please let us know.

The Simnuke Project team

(If you have been forwarded this email and would like to be added to the list, or to unsubscribe, please send an email to

Posted by spot at 09:28 PM | Comments (0)

March 09, 2005

Love & Bass

March 12th, this Saturday night, good times for a good cause. qak, spaceout, and i on viz.
Jelly's 295 China Basin Way San Francisco, CA

21+ up 9 pm - 3 pm Free before 10 pm $5 before 11 pm $10 after 11 pm

Join us for a very special night of breakbeat madness to provide help and support for the tsunami victims. ALL PROFITS from the party will be donated to the Unicef Tsunami Relief Fund!

We have brought together the leaders of the SF breakbeat scene, and have an exclusive first time San Francisco appearance by Trigger Sound system residents The Lawgiverz and Kosmik Neil to take your mind and booty to the next level!

We are also providing an ambient/downtempo/glitch outdoor area to explore, with sonic landscapes provided by local sound sculpters and performance artists.

All of the local artists and soundsystems have donated their time and energy to make this happen. BIG UP Everyone involved, the vibe is alive! Addictech throws a party only once in a blue moon... come with us, for The Love and Bass!

Posted by spot at 06:30 PM | Comments (0)

March 08, 2005

FLAM3 v2.5 released

FLAM3 tools v2.5 released, download here. Changlog:
change sawtooth variation (incompatible!). add fan variation. rename sawtooth to rings.
100 examples of each of the new variations on each of the images to the right. Compare to the old sawtooth variation. I really want this to be the last release before sheep 2.6 is released so please run it through the wringer! thanks.
Posted by spot at 04:54 PM | Comments (3)

March 04, 2005

Word for the Day: Nacreous

Nacreous: 'nA-krE-&s, -k(&-)r&s

adj 1: consisting of or resembling mother-of-pearl 2: having a play of lustrous rainbow-like colors; "an iridescent oil slick"; "nacreous (or pearlescent) clouds looking like mother-of-pearl"; "a milky opalescent (or opaline) luster" [syn: iridescent, opalescent, opaline, pearlescent]

photo of nacreous clouds over iceland:

Posted by spot at 03:59 PM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2005

Birthday Photos

Photos by Cassidy.
Posted by spot at 12:56 AM | Comments (0)

March 01, 2005

Burning Solstinox

The place to be this weekend. Myself, Okeanos, VJ Science, and more on visuals.
Saturday March 5
SomArts (934 Brannan & 8th, SF)
8pm - 4am (may go later)

Main floor DJ lineup, pulsating from the EL CIRCO sound system:
OOAH (la breakbeat assoc)
SAMIRA (sister sf)
RIPPLE (subscience)
DONNA MATRIX (newsbreakz)
DOV (muti music)
RAYDEUS (pronoia)
plus possible surprise guests....

chill room lineup:
STARDRAGON (Rhythm Society)
DF TRAM (AmbiSonic)
XOETZA w/ live vocals by MissQ
+ more TBA

visuals by SPOTWORKS
$16 presale @ the website
$20 door 
Posted by spot at 11:30 PM | Comments (0)

FLAM3 v2.4 released

bugfix for rotation when nstrips > 1, and add flam3_dimension to calculate the correlation dimension of a genome.
Posted by spot at 03:58 AM | Comments (0)