Sunday, August 29, 2010

Remind me again, why do I waste time with YouTube?

Dateline: My Vimeo Home

Stunning and something YouTube might support in another 4 years, if bogus 4K doesn't do it for them. The video below is not mine, mainly because I've been spending far too much time self-destructing. Now that my eyesight is probably going, maybe it's time for a change?

Moving Portraits from Jesse Rosten on Vimeo.

I think the answer to the original question, "Wny do I waste time with YouTube?" must be similar to the motives of rubber-neckers on the highway and other forms of schadenfreude, which certainly doesn't leave me feeling any better about myself, but then, what can you do?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Growing tired of ambiguity?

This might be the cure. Or the curse.

in reference to:

"but when asked precise questions from physicists Steve Carlip and John Baez regarding mathematical details in the papers, failed to convince any other participants that these papers had any real scientific value. New York Times reporter George Johnson described reading through the debate as "like watching someone trying to nail Jell-O to a wall", for the Bogdanovs had "developed their own private language, one that impinges on the vocabulary of science only at the edges."[4]"
- Bogdanov Affair - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (view on Google Sidewiki)

How Technology Alters Art


I'm looking back at this video over a year since I released it to see what I've learned, or what observations I can draw that have some chance of being anything but trite and obvious.

If you choose to view the video, please watch it in HD. You may want to seek out the mirrored version that probably works better in Vimeo, and which also contains more direct links to the discussion that led to making it. I'm not really sure what species of self-sabotage inspires me to embed the YouTube version, aside from some fairly pointless technical curiosity.

Resisting the temptation to speculate, it seems to me one of the main lessons about this work, and its practical invisibility, is that, whereas James Benning (whose long form films were a source of inspiration) would only show his films under controlled conditions, usually in a loft or artist space where distractions could be kept to a minimum, this video is only available online, except to myself. One other reason for revisiting this one is that it was my submission recently for the Guggenheim Biennial, though I suspect, having heard nothing back they too had no patience for something this indirect and coy.

One benefit of following the video to YouTube would be that the related videos there include at least some of James Benning's work, though many would likely argue that you can't really view them on YouTube and fairly comprehend or appreciate them. But if you're open-minded and interested in the issues they seem to address, you can at least get a rough sense of them that way.

My goals with this piece were mainly to see how and whether viewers would respond to something meant to elicit a degree of free form association and questioning, rather than elicit a more specific and manipulated response, as is the usual pattern for most commercial works, and perhaps even more so, the pressure that exists for most artists (and practical people too) who make online streaming videos that must fight instantly and aggressively for a viewer's attention, often in the face of many, many distractions.

It seems clear to me that a video like this has very little chance of having the desired effect in the context of daily, ordinary levels of distraction and bombardment by multiple sources of noise and spectacle. I'm not saying this is a surprise. It seems to confirm many of the things I'd suspected at the time I was talking about Benning with other art film makers, though I still wonder whether my lack of any serious promotional effort was not also a form of self-fulfilling prophesy?

But I welcome any comments you might have, especially those who for some reason manage to view the entire 8 minutes 20 seconds without turning to something more "gripping." Also of interest would be comments from those who found it too hard to watch in its entirety, though I'm fairly sure that's most of those who may have watched it.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Getting the Most from YouTube Help When Your Video Fails

How to get specific help when a video goes bad.

The first thing you may want to do is look at (and possibly share) a MediaInfo report on the file you uploaded. 

The MediaInfo utility is free, open source and, once installed can offer a concise but detailed technical overview of your uploaded video.  It can also provide details about other types of media files, such as your source video, digital photos, audio recordings, and other multimedia files you might have used in your work.  

MediaInfo reports can reveal useful, detailed information when applied to source video, and reveal conflicts between source video and what you rendered and uploaded.  

Such conflicts are often at the center of many technical issues with YouTube videos.  

You can find the downloadable installer (and the source code) for MediaInfo at  It does need to be installed, but it's a small utility and takes little space or time to install.

MediaInfo Capture
This is what the text-only view looks like for a MediaInfo report.

If you think one of the source videos or other media files are involved with the problems you're having, you may want to offer details about those files too. If you're fairly experienced with editing and rendering, the report may give you clues to the problem all by itself. But if you're fairly new to video, or just not technically-minded, others are likely to be able to offer far more pointed advice if you share this information up front. 

Vague questions generate vague answers, and sometimes lead to burn-out from those trying to be helpful.

Be sure to cut and paste the text-only version of the report.  The Text format is selectable from the View tab of the report.  

Others formats make the reports hard to read, or may not cut & paste at all.  The image shown (click it to see a larger, full-size, readable version) and the text below both show what a typical MediaInfo report should look like.  

If yours looks like it is repeating lines or is otherwise hugely redundant, check under the Debug tab to see that Advanced is not checked and that Debug-0 is checked:

Complete name : D:\YourVid\Awesome\ThisMovieShouldBeWorking.mp4
Format : MPEG-4
Format profile : Base Media / Version 2
Codec ID : mp42
File size : 97.2 MiB
Duration : 1mn 20s
Overall bit rate : 10.2 Mbps
Encoded date : UTC 2010-07-28 07:11:38
Tagged date : UTC 2010-07-28 07:11:38

ID : 2
Format : AVC
Format/Info : Advanced Video Codec
Format profile : Baseline@L4.0
Format settings, CABAC : No
Format settings, ReFrames : 2 frames
Muxing mode : Container profile=Baseline@0.0
Codec ID : avc1
Codec ID/Info : Advanced Video Coding
Duration : 1mn 20s
Bit rate mode : Variable
Bit rate : 9 978 Kbps
Width : 1 280 pixels
Height : 720 pixels
Display aspect ratio : 16/9
Frame rate mode : Constant
Frame rate : 119.880 fps
Original frame rate : 59.940 fps
Resolution : 24 bits
Colorimetry : 4:2:0
Scan type : Interlaced
Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.090
Stream size : 95.3 MiB (98%)
Language : English
Encoded date : UTC 2010-07-28 07:11:38
Tagged date : UTC 2010-07-28 07:11:38

ID : 1
Format : AAC
Format/Info : Advanced Audio Codec
Format version : Version 4
Format profile : LC
Format settings, SBR : No
Codec ID : 40
Duration : 1mn 20s
Bit rate mode : Constant
Bit rate : 192 Kbps
Channel(s) : 2 channels
Channel positions : L R
Sampling rate : 44.1 KHz
Resolution : 16 bits
Stream size : 1.83 MiB (2%)
Language : English
Encoded date : UTC 2010-07-28 07:11:38
Tagged date : UTC 2010-07-28 07:11:38

Depending on the container, codecs and other details it may looks somewhat different.  This particular report is for an HD (720p) MP4 video container, generated from Sony Vegas Pro 9.0.  But the overall structure of the report will usually contain three blocks of text:  General, Video and Audio.  

If your report is missing one, or has multiples, that in itself may suggest a problem.  YouTube has a nasty habit of expecting just one video stream and one audio stream, preferably of exactly the same running time.

Keep in mind that most of the people likely to respond to a question on the forum are users like yourself, and those who are actually trying to help are usually those with the least free time to spend back and forth pulling out the various details that are basic to making any kind of informed suggestions or identifying your problem as a emerging, widespread issue.  You'll find people are much more generous with their time if they see that you're already prepared and are willing to share enough details to make their efforts worthwhile and not just an exercise in frustration on both sides.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Is it true? History of the Saxophone... now!

Just read the biography of Adolphe Sax... definitely Belgian, not so sure about the "imperialist" part, but it might be true. No wonder Belgian jazz is such a controversial subject. Not to mention all the things he developed that turned into the modern marching band much, much later.
in reference to:
"(The Communists frowned on the bass and the electric guitar, but they severely disapproved of the saxophone because they said it was invented by a Belgian imperialist.)"
- Op-Ed Contributor - The Rolling Stones concert that set Prague free from Communism. - (view on Google Sidewiki)

There's much more to this story, but Adolphe Sax is definitely not someone I would have found without reading this piece in the Times from Eduard Freisler about the Stones more than the Sax.  Don't be surprised if you hear both somewhere in my set tonight.  Anything to stir me out of my current funk, largely the by product of my fellow Americans trying to outdo one another at grand stupidity.  You'd think they gave out prizes for it.  And maybe, to paraphrase Mark Twain on our Congress, maybe they do grant prizes?

I can't recommend the book listed below, at least not at that price.  It might be great, or it might be really, really boring.  Maybe you should buy it just to stimulate the economy?  I can't see how that's going to work out, though... anyway the bio is Adolphe Sax, 1814-94: His Life and Legacy by Wally Horwood. I list it only because it's the only bio I know of, aside from the Wikipedia entry, which may have been invented by clever imperialists.  Then again, what do I really know about Wally Horwood?

For what it's worth, the first link is a little iffy on the Peter Brötzmann Trio -- just a typical Amazon inability to handle the umlaut.  The tribute to Sax, though, should take care of a nice chunk of the set I've been worrying about just a little too much.The others below?  Well, let's just say the inkling of a set is beginning to percolate, or fester, or something.

Set should be starting at the usual time, on the usual stream.


Get some cojones, America

It's too depressing for words, seeing the US backing away from actual freedom of religion. Maureen Dowd is right this time... the terrorists seem to have won.
in reference to:
"Some critics have said the ultimate victory for Osama and the 9/11 hijackers would be to allow a mosque to be built near ground zero. Actually, the ultimate victory for Osama and the 9/11 hijackers is the moral timidity that would ban a mosque from that neighborhood."
- Op-Ed Columnist - Our Mosque Madness - (view on Google Sidewiki)

Monday, August 9, 2010

It all depends on how you look at it

Dateline: Moscow burning

What a difference editorial prejudice can make.  Both of these pictures are associated with stories on the record death rate in Moscow, thanks to summer heat and wildfire smog.

Unhappy news.  This pic appears with the 
Huffington Post rendition of the standard AP story.
Happy news.  This pastoral image nicely 
crops out the sky and accompanies a Terence
Neilan story that may be a rewrite of AP
on behalf of AOL.

I'm thinking there needs to be a song.  it could just be that the Philly Folk Festival is happening in less than two weeks and I'm wondering why I hadn't gone at all in the years I lived closer.

Oh, I remember now.  Someone couldn't let me out of their sight and wanted me around all the time while most of their time was spent working with clever, interesting people and mine was spent in isolation waiting for the scraps.

But this is definitely not about me.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Conflict and Duality, or Boys Finding Sex Distasteful

 I realize life is conflict but sometimes it's so funny and seemingly pointless that you either start to cry or the lure of mysticism starts to take over, tempting you to forsake the rational and just wallow in the mystical and the strange.

It's funny how two people, one deeply critical of Abū Ḥāmed Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Ghazālī (aka Al-Ghazali) and the other nearly worshipful, wind up saying much the same thing at certain points in their otherwise very different presentations.

Oddly enough, where they intersect, saying something like the same thing, is when each of them speak of how human sexuality works, and where it's located.  The rationalist denigrates the engineering of the human genitourinary system while the mystic points out that its "low nature" is a sign of why we should not seek pleasure or happiness based in the here and now, or in the material world.

I'll let you be the judge if there's something here or not, as if I had any other choice in the matter.

The part about the combination sewage treatment and entertainment center actually comes later in this video, at 34:25, towards the end of this 39 minute video. The entire video is worth watching though, maybe more than once?

Then, there is Shaykh Hamza Yusuf's glorification of Al-Ghazali, and what's interesting here is that Yusuf apparently seems to be a leading, present-day voice for bringing at least some aspects of the Age of Enlightenment back to the Muslim world, from which the West largely stole, adopted, adapted or inherited it, depending on your interpretation of history.  He is someone looking to resolve some of the conflicts between the "faithful" and materialist "non-believers" that seems to be at the heart of the resistance and conflict between the materially dominant oligarchies of the West, and the post-Communist world of resource-rich, industrially-lagging cultures outside the "developed" world.

It's not clear, at least not to me, how much headway Yusuf is making, though, as he seems to be demonized as a heretic of sorts himself, or even as a shill for the West, at least if some of his apparent critics have much sway with the masses of believers who have every material reason to resist continuing development and evolutions of capitalism and its mutant offshoots.

I must confess, at least for now, my own abundant ignorance of much of the late medieval history of the Islamic world that leaves me ill-equipped to determine in great detail just what is going on here.  My interest in all this, was triggered mainly by Neil deGrasse Tyson's comments, laying the blame for the collapse of the Islamic Golden Age mainly at Al-Ghazali's feet.

The point of common insight comes here within the larger video below, at 2 min. 25 seconds and onward, though I suggest watching all three videos for the full context.

Perhaps my own sense of present despair comes from knowing how attractive mysticism was, at least when I was younger? Do I truly expect people to forsake that pleasure, transitory as it may be, when the alternatives are rarely as enjoyable or (non-materially) rewarding?

The rewards of being a booster for the scientific-industrial complex, if you will, seem to come mainly if you manage to find yourself in a privileged position as a guru or leader of the committed on that side of the conflict.  Then again, isn't that also true for the spokesmen for faith and mysticism, in many cases?  Perhaps that is an aspect of this that deserves more attention?

The rewards seem to me no better, at least in basic, visceral terms, than the joys of being a well-regarded pundit on the other side of the coin.  Both dress well, and appear to live comfortably.  Someone is going to take those jobs in any still functioning society.  Society, like nature, abhors a vacuum.  Perhaps one day we will have a fully fleshed out "ecology" of social conflicts and the niches they create, that someone inevitably has to fill?

I'm feeling like this is barely scratching the surface, and that my own ignorance, especially of Islamic history from Al-Ghazali's era, is hampering my insights here, but rather than wait until I can write a better comment on that part of the subject, I'd like to open this up in the hope there might be some comments on what I feel has just scratched the surface of some intriguing aspects of human society and the various forms of what we imperfectly label as knowledge and belief.  So here are my undeveloped thoughts for now, as well as I can express them at the moment.

Finding conflict as distasteful as I do, it's times like these that usually lead me back to wanting to just read the Story of the Stone.

Readings that may be related to this article:

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Wasp Waists

Dateline: dropdeadcute

~dropdeadcute~ Wasp Waists Intro4

Embrace your pixellation. This dress design takes advantage of the new alpha layers to create an impossibly tight wasp waist... so tight in fact that strain and dancing may sever the spine, but in a hypnotizing manner.

In addition to the necessary alpha top and bottom layers (one integrated layer), and prims for implausible corsetry, a series of camisole designs are provided in copy/mod form, for infinite variations. Basic designs include:

- Chienblau (matching pattern for the underlying violet-blue dress and corset);
- Double Rainbow (because who can resist the trope of the summer?)
- Iridescence
- Greenworld
- Mauve
- Soft ivory silk

Can also be seen at dropdeadcute in SL or, on the Marketplace