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

June 28, 2005

windows sheep client v2.6.4 released

get it here as usual. This fixes the installer so the voting images work on virgin installs.
Posted by spot at 02:06 PM | Comments (1)

June 27, 2005

FLAM3 v2.6 final released

Download source and binaries here. Changes since v2.5:
06/27/05 in flam3_dimension, give up and return NaN if 90% or more of the samples are being clipped. release v2.6.

06/22/05 add envar to control the number of tries.

06/06/05 add new form of mutation that introduces post xforms.

05/20/05 fix memory trashing bug resulting from xform overflow. put regular xforms before symmetry in printed genomes. enforce weights non-negative & at least one xform. remove nan-protection from popcorn variation. truncate xforms with very small weight.

05/13/05 fix bug reported by erik reckase where fan variation could blow up to NaN because the domain of atan2 was not protected. remove protection from all atan2 calls and instead detect NaN results and replace them with noise. count really large values as bad too to prevent blowing up to infinity. enforce 0<=hue<1, release v2.6b1.

05/05/05 report choices made during genome generation in notes attribute. flam3_dimension no longer hangs when most of the attractor is outside the camera. limit number of variations produced by genetic operators to 5. reduce rate of interpolation method of crossover.

03/17/05 put cloning back in (found by James Rantanen).

Posted by spot at 05:09 PM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2005

Logarithmic Mating

Last night I made an subtle change to the genetic algorithm used by Electric Sheep: reproduction is now proportional to the log of the rating, rather than to the rating. Previously each vote for a sheep was essentially a lottery ticket for reproduction. When the server had space for a new sheep, it picked the parents by lottery. This seemed fair to me, but the ratings also control the life-span of the sheep. The result was total number of children had by a sheep was proportional to the square of its rating. Hence reproduction was dominated by the top players. The log factor should correct this.

This makes me wonder what the optimal genetic algorithm is, and what practical experiment could compare two algorithms? How can we not waste any of the information of the votes and the energy of the rendering of the sheep?

Posted by spot at 02:05 PM | Comments (2)

June 21, 2005

Graffiti Archeology in NYTimes

My friend Cassidy has been obsessed with alphabets, writing, and graffiti his whole life. After years of photographing graffiti walls around San Francisco, Cassidy struck upon the brilliant idea of assembling his shots taken at different times and of different parts of a wall and making it browsable. The result is Graffiti Archaeology and last month he won a Webby Award for it. And today the NYTimes has taken up the story.

Go Cassidy!

Posted by spot at 01:27 PM | Comments (3)

June 20, 2005

Evolution of Jellyfish

Nice jellyfish images and interesting article about their evolution in the NYTimes. Apparently they they share more developmental (hox?) genes with us than was known.

An overview of the search for the Tree of Life... in weird scientific funding propganda style...

some jellyfish galleries: a, b, but where are the high res images?

I tweak out when I hear "X is more evolved than Y".

Posted by spot at 07:35 PM | Comments (1)

sheep client v2.6 for Mac OSX released

get it here as usual.

many thanks to developers Jeff Sickel and T.J. Wood and the beta testers!

If you installed a previous version you should make sure the server is now set to "" and the cache size is set to a reasonable value such as 1000 megabytes.

Posted by spot at 06:30 PM | Comments (1)

June 17, 2005

tomorrow night: Convocation at False Profit HQ

this saturday night at the new false profit hq in potrero, deep dub beats and visuals by a team including spotworks.

it's another nostalgic gig. in 2000 and 2001 i was a regular at the dub-beautiful events, and i look forward to being back. the music is going to be great. it's no coincidence that i recently released a video to one of alex's tracks:

i must admit i'm having trouble writing this email because just a few minutes ago i loaded electric sheep generation 191 into a playback computer and am seeing it complete for the first time. this is 13 gigs of the from the new version, complete without breaks. it's hard for me not to just sit and watch. by this weekend i should have it combined with the 30 gigs from gen 188 and 190. this saturday will be its first public exposure...

anyway, on with the deets:

Saturday June 18.2005

dub beautiful collective & false profit present...

where no dub fears to tread

featuring live performances from:

Aleph-Zero Records - Tel Aviv, Israel
Native State Records - Vancouver
Alex Theory
     Mystic Vibration & OEM Recordings - San Francisco
Waveform & Native State Records - Portland
Shen (aka Noah Pred)
      Metapath Recordings - Vancouver

just added!  live performances from special guest:
      Celestial Dragon - Phoenix


      San Francisco

Visuals Artwork Deco
Spot &
English Steve
St. Even Saturnia
Aaron Sorber

dub beautiful collective makes a late entrance into 2005 with an amazing lineup comprised of this year's Ambient Alchemy Tour plus our own prodigal child, Alex Theory!  this will mark the first US appearance of Shulman, as well as Alex Theory's record release on dub beautiful's OEM-Recordings label, the local debut of Phutureprimative and Shen, and the next evolution of the Bluetech sound.  this show also celebrates the brand new headquarters of False Profit LLC - the stalwart of SF conscious events.

C O N V O C A T I O N will showcase a wide variety of dub music: psychedelic dub, ethno dub, reggae dub, and dub techno - from some of the top musicians in the world.

food & water will be served.  BYO (whatever else)

original flyer artwork by Amani @

9pm - 5am
$15 advance, $20 door
at the Soap Factory Annex
San Francisco - Potrero Hill District
(address released june.1.05)


Ambient Alchemy Tour -
Aleph-Zero Records - 
Native State Records -
Mystic Vibration -

Global Dragon - 
Spotworks -
Divine Reflections -

Posted by spot at 12:39 PM | Comments (0)

June 13, 2005

sheep client render times

Last night I changed the render quality parameters. I also added logging of how long each frame delivered to the server took to render. Here's a graph of the results since, 26173 frames total. Seems 20 minutes is the mode. Note the distribution is cut off on the right because the timeout is 2200 seconds (36 minutes). There were a few frames rendered in as little as 2-3 minutes. Could there be computers that fast out there??
Posted by spot at 07:40 PM | Comments (0)

June 09, 2005

Mega Mini Thumbs

Another new view of the flock archives: megaminithumbs. The whole thing is a hot-linked index. Here's one archived:

and live from the server:

Like with the smaller one reported here, these two images will diverge over time. This big one is updated once daily, the small one is updated with every new sheep.

Posted by spot at 02:46 PM | Comments (0)

Index of Genetic Designers

The sheep server has a new page that lists all the genetic designers (those who design sheep by hand and post to the queue and hence to everyone's screen). Their most recent 5 sheep are shown next to their name. Clicking on the name take you to a page listing all their sheep in the current flock. The index is updated daily.
Posted by spot at 01:34 AM | Comments (1)

June 07, 2005

Spam Poison

I wonder how this avoids being blacklisted by the spam spiders, but why not?

Posted by spot at 03:51 PM | Comments (2)

Mendocino National Forest

Mango Nick, Jamie, Catweasel, and I spent three nights on Rattlesnake Creek over Memorial Day Weekend. Our mission was to escape the crowds expected closer to the cities, and scout some pimp swimming holes. Photographs here.
Posted by spot at 01:54 PM | Comments (4)

June 06, 2005

new sheep clients

v2.6.3 for Windows and v2.6.2 for Linux available here as usual.

This should fix voting on Widows and the RPM on Linux.

Posted by spot at 03:29 PM | Comments (1)

June 02, 2005

SPOTWORKS broadcast in Hawaii

Two tracks from the SPOTWORKS DVD are going to be broadcast on TV with simul-webcast:
OK, the Spotworks guest show is now submitted and scheduled to premiere Friday 6/3/05 9:30 pm ch52 on Oahu, HI Hawaii time; repeating at the same time weekly 4 more times, and webstreaming at the same real times at

Thanks much! Later

Mike Landau

Thanks Mike!
Posted by spot at 04:47 PM | Comments (1)