Thursday, December 8, 2011

Screen Test

David Koski just returned from a grueling work assignment in Illinois -- lots of car troubles, hospital for burns (scalding liquid).

Now he's back at his geometry again, contributing his abilities based on years of practice. This is his first screen cast of vZome in action, via the free Screencast-o-matic service.

Here's a longer tutorial.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Playing It Forward

The criticism I get the most is "isn't it heartless and cruel to make a worthy cause dependent on income from games of chance? Why not just give them the money directly?"

Despite the economy of abundance we sketch as a backdrop, with the sun giving enough, in principle, to finance our surf, there's still the matter of triage and opportunity cost. The cost of whatever I'm doing now is whatever I'm not doing -- a tautology, and therefore more properly the business of philosophy than economics, but we can discuss that some other time.

Remember: the games tend to be didactic, in the sense of encouraging thought, though not necessarily about the worthy cause at the receiving end (someone in need of dialysis?), your wins redound to your benefit on your karma profile, nor need this funnel / tube be considered, ever, a sole means of garnering support.

Reach beyond CSN, by all means.

And finally: yes, there's a kind of Darwinian process in that some games won't attract loyal players and/or players with skill, and nor will the causes connected to them. This may be for a host of reasons. It's not my job to predict every corner case that might arise.

Remember: some people are philosophically opposed, on principle, to this or that. A chief benefit of playing it forward is getting to designate, even if only in the sense of a ballpark. If you don't want such-and-such a "charity" to be piggy-backing, taking advantage of your talents and skills, then here's a way to dodge those tentacles, to be free of those shackles. Drop charities. Turn your back. Adopt others. You have a lot of choice in the matter.

CSN puts you in the driver's seat. Manage your own karma profile.

Speaking of tautologies, it's easy to map this model to life itself. You're playing world game 24/7 and your playing has ripple effects that may benefit various projects and initiatives to some degree.

Others may study your profile to figure out what you're up to. Some may learn from your role modeling -- another way to have ripple effects.

Others may work to counter your biases, for example by attending to causes you seem to have no patience for, or which seem to rank low on your totem pole.

You might be a member of a team wherein the players have their individual biases yet, overall, the whole is greater than the some of its parts and lots of bases get covered.

Nirel looked like Mary Poppins tonight.

Friday, November 18, 2011

More Market Research

I don't usually review ISEPP talks in this blog, but Gabe Zichermann's talk was too apropos to CSN work to log elsewhere. Tara and I parked quite a view blocks away in a downpour, plus I'd forgotten my raincoat so showed up wet in my dark suit coat and bright orange T (with a collar -- a reunion relic).

Gabe is quite hip in the pre-hipster sense of "tuned in" (also pre-hippie), and carried his audience pretty effortlessly through his presentation. Folks had no trouble following. He included a long excerpt from Storage Wars, a televised game based on the auctioning and purchase of storage units. In this case, I'd say the game serves a legitimizing function in that people empathize with the back end vulture culture that preys on lapsed units. Reminds me of Six Feet Under in some ways, another deftly edited TV series.

During the dinner, I wanted to run by our business model: vendor profits prime the pump, with contributions to player-selected targets commensurate with performance (heroics rewarded), self profiling ("what type of philanthropist am I?"). He encouraged us to use Twitter for this purpose and I will do so later.

Tara asked about military applications and whether gamification could lead to the breeding of an especially cowardly subspecies of drone nazi, a kind of subhuman (paraphrase). Gabe acknowledged that militaries had been using gamification for dark purposes since forever and yes, he shares her concerns. Tara has grown up around Quakers and is interviewing for Earlham College tomorrow, so you can see where our household might not be especially enamored of keeping a devolved idiocracy in a controlling capacity where outward weapons are concerned.

Gabe cracked an Occupy joke or two, knowing Portland was friendly to this global blowback operation. He also knew we're too elitist about coffee to think of Starbucks as inner circle. Having studied this market, I welcome the influx of coffee drinkers Starbucks provides, plus I'm not against Starbucks adopting a few game kiosks, with our without the CSN imprimatur (just remember, you saw it here first). We could use some of that muscle to get past Oregon Lottery zealots who cannot abide the competition. That would take some of the pressure off the reservations to host all the parking (plus some of our best game studios can only be reached by bicycle, or electric ATV -- approach quietly please, serious studying ahead).

Monday, October 31, 2011

Letter to Allen (Wanderers List)

Hi Allen ---

"Religion" might be a misnomer, so we could say "ethnicity" and imagine one like the Jungian Society, which actively taps psychological resources through rituals involving symbols, dreams, incantations of various kinds.

I've been to some
of these Society's lectures with Wanderer Nancy. The venue is a church building, but the content is not specifically Xtian in any way.

It's not that you can practice all the rituals within the format of a lecture (any more than in the format of a toast). No, the meeting hall is more for comparing notes and discussing the various dharmas (teachings) one picked up along the way, in whatever vision quest.

At least one speaker had met with Jung personally, had stories to tell.

I would say television successfully spread a world religion of consumerism / shopping that had been hitherto unknown. Many societies tend towards frugality, ship shape, no excess, minimal -- as an aesthetic, not as a sign of "poverty" (the few assets may be of high net worth). This notion [of] filling your garage and basement with cruft as a counter to depression and in reward for "working hard" would impress many a wise ass Cro-Magnon as stupid / psychotic to the bone.

I would not identify this phenomenon exclusively with "capitalism" however as giving individuals more power as routers, when it comes to spreading assets to nooks and crannies, with guidance from shared screens, might be the basis of a systems science with no special allegiance to the capitalist heroes when it comes to demonizing all competing "isms" (a sign of weakness).

For example, I regard the standing military as essentially a socialist institution (shared public property, institutional wealth over individual wealth) and the above description matches various soldiering philosophies regarding increased unit autonomy and self-direction within the ranks.

On the other hand, the shared focus on "capitals" in the sense of cities, state capitals, might merit the use of this word for some other ideology as well, supranational in focus, urbane and metropolitan.

So for the sake of debate let's call the new religion "capitalism" while reminding ourselves it's a rather different "invisible hand" this time, as the investors think more like Jung & Swedenborg than like Smith & Maynard or Marx & Engels.

Adorno and the Frankfurt School remain influential I would suppose, but I gamble more heavily on Vienna Circle influences, know those horses better (gambling is not verboten in this namespace, or call it "church bingo"). Yes, I'll offer myself as an example capitalist in this namespace (aka "designer religion"). In my case, it's another fork within Quakerism (we're dime a dozen on those). In other tellings, the Unitarians played a pretty big role. Depends on the historian, as always.

CSN / Cult of Athena

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I'll have to check with the CFO if there's a financial claim on the English language word "cubby", which works in Scrabble. Will the King of English sue if I revector it slightly? Or maybe he'll join us in this use of the short form of "cubbyhole" (we suppress the "hole" aspect, but don't deny it completely -- "accentuate the positive" as they say).

So what's "cubby"?

A cubby is an alternative to Pod (not iPod, just Pod), which is another place to park your body while working, quite possibly in cyberspace. Mostly it's an alternative to "cubicle", which most cube farmers know well, as their home-away-from-home. You get tricked: buy this expensive home with a mortgage, but then you're gypped out of getting to live there most the time, as you squeeze into (a) a commuter vehicle, perhaps single occupancy and (b) a cubicle, often without window or privacy, where you get "supervised" for much of your adult life, not unlike elementary school, but they pay you.

The "cubby" is more of a complete dwelling unit solution and might be added to a camp situation without default demands. It works will with grid hookups, like an RV, but if these are not available, it works with various more semi-autonomous solutions involving composting, rain water harvesting and solar / wind energy collecting. We're talking about a large catalog of Office Depot supplies (you'd think Home Depot but the plywood industry is dead set against us at this point, plywood domes notwithstanding).

You get an operators manual and getting the thing going feels a lot more like booting a computer than doing upkeep on some ranch style suburban Frank Lloyd Wright wannabe. You've got a lot to learn, and might even need a special school (special ed) before putting "cubby friendly" on your resume. Like if the first day on the job for Verizon they send you to a call center in the Andes, and you've faked knowing the basics, you might not figure out about heat, or how to run the comm center. Best to not fake it. Find a retreat center that offers real experience, perhaps through your local church (try Amigos, maybe Steve Martin will take your call).

"dwelling machine rendering"
(by Andrew Owens)

The Fly's Eye Dome has become somewhat the signature / logo for the Cubby movement. There's a sidebar where we alternately heap scorn on, and collect donations for, the cube farmers, who now seem like they're living on squalor. There's "building sickness" and the shame of being gypped. There's knowing some of your peers are enjoying life in the Cubby club, whereas you're still expected to run around in a cube farm, like some rat in a maze, like Algernon before he took the red pill and got smart.

How does all this relate to CSN, other than we're thinking of staff housing? Well, because of the draconian laws against off shore gambling, we'd had to bring this in house more in terms of a subscriber service, like cable or satellite. Then we don't think of it as gambling, but fundraising, with the games serving a didactic purpose. Rest assured, we don't plan on keeping it this way, so completely out of the public eye. But for now, we have to use the "private party" motif, lest we come across as some unregulated casino trying to escape the Federal jurisdiction. That might work on Native American properties, but this is Portland, Oregon we're talking about.

There is a dome at OPDX by the way, looking something like a Cubby, but that's mostly a secret. There's a skin over it, making it look like a regular tent. Nothing illicit, just under the radar.

Note: you can wear a Cuffka in your Cubby, why not?

Undercover Dome
proto-cubby, OPDX campus

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


"My ideal is a certain coolness. A temple providing a setting for the passions without meddling with them."

-- Ludwig Wittgenstein (Culture and Values)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Some slides from my talk

:: from Pythonic Andragogy ::

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Faraday Rooms

These were suggested to me at a recent conference as a synonym for what I was calling a Dead Zone, with some kind of public icon on the entrance.

You will avail yourself of such spaces when you want to frustrate cell phone and computer use, radio reception. People may still have personal listening devices. The point is to have conversations, meetings, without the interruptions or distractions of telecommunications.

People entering such a room are signalling their mutual willingness to suspend contact with the outside world and just focus on the matter at hand. One might pull out a cell phone to remember a name, but by social convention this might seem gauche.

You might even have a locker system like in a gym, although that adds a layer of inconvenience.

Some people simply do not wish to part with their telecommunications devices, especially if not that familiar with an establishment.

The "check your phone at the door" policy need not not involve physically parting with your device, although you may wish to park it elsewhere, as a convenience, when heading into a Faraday Room for a long day of intimate discussions.

Whether the Faraday Room is actually engineered to block all wifi and TV-radio would depend on the establishment. Given CSN serves a schooling function (without being too much of a testing center) having feats of real engineering exhibited is more encouraged than not.

Having stories to take home, about some of the Hogwarts-like qualities of the place (inexplicable magic, it might seem to some) is what any good casino aims to provide, whether or not it permits gambling.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sounding Off

We have a delegation in Nicaragua looking into development projects. This might be through Friends, though perhaps through FWCC to better protect overseas investors from Americans' xenophobia (have you noticed how guru yogis from India get demonized, whereas the Protestants fan out across the globe "saving souls"?).

The CSN is likely to be accused of offering gambling, given the heroics have variable outcomes (sometimes you wipe out) and there's money involved.

The USA is actively defying the WTO these days, which has pointed out the hypocrisy of harboring casinos in properly zoned zip codes, but then saying similar facilities are disqualified from providing their services over the Internet.

Tight regulations, left over from Prohibition Days (ongoing) have turned many normal human activities into social crimes against the state. The USA is one of the most illiberal nations on the books, thanks to its chief hypocrites.

In any case, to have brick and mortar studios on the ground, we only need prototype in private residences, by invitation, to get around the OLCC and so forth. We have already done this many times, as you will find memorialized in this blog, so no news there.

The "Duke's Equations" (as some of us call them -- a reminder of Duke's Landing days) have already been mastered. The games come over the wire, and the money goes from some place where it's authorized, and not in contravention to any law of the seas. Ships helping other ships in distress, is what it comes down to. We should not be prevented from offering humanitarian aid, even if we don't demand obedience to some Christian hierarchy (or whatever religious old guard).

Anyway, enough fulminating and pounding the podium or I'll sound like I'm just another preacher with a large choir to back me up. That's not my usual style of marketing, I can assure you.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Welcome back to PDX, Nirel. Good to catch up some.

Related chatter on the design science and fashion meme: a focus on utilitarian gear, like the old fashioned Boys Life, but far more diversified and internationalized.

"Survivalist" conjures the wrong image as it's more just about perpetuating DIY skills, developing self reliance as well as a healthy sense of community (they go together).

Learning to grow one's own food or how to fix a farming tool is hardly "radical" unless you've been boxed in by supermarkets your whole life and don't know any different.

Synchronofile has published some data on design science fashion elements. Groups like to differentiate on the basis of costume (or uniform). I see no sign of convergence or conformity to a single standard.

Patrick Barton (Portland Energy Strategies) and I have been yakking about the "smart meter" as related to "smart house" concept for quite awhile, with "urban, semi-urban, rural and wilderness" one of the spectra, when contemplating "dwelling machines" or "sheltering systems".

What do these eco-village (not cube farm) installations have to do with CSN?

They're potentially financially powered by games pulled from stock, with heroics logged (journaled), values reflected, in the profile of the player. CSN games may not be available through other venues or may only be playable as group activities (some games aren't for solo play).

By analogy, you go to a sports bar for more that what's on the LCD.

You and your peers (friends, chronies, co-conspirators) win for these tribes, help sponsor, even as you go and live among them sometimes, as a valued community member (MVP).

My Project Earthala meme is well developed in sister journals. Think of some school for future diplomats in the Oregon high desert, as one of many worthy funding recipients, accredited through CSN circuits.

Part of the equation is STEM and/or STEAM (= STEM + Anthropology): what is a "mathematician" in this day and age, and might she likewise be an "energy strategist" (an optimizer, a doing-more-with-less pioneer).

Speaking of more-with-less, I was sharing with Steve Holden about my friendship with Kenneth Snelson last night, while sitting in the Blue House parking area (where we store the bike trailers, a small part of the fleet).

Kenneth grew up in Pendleton, Oregon, but upon becoming a world class artist with an international following, he settled in Manhattan. In so doing, he picked up a lot of Jewishisms in the form of sayings and memes, some of which he would teach me about in our at times extensive correspondence. We talked about "mitzvah" quite a bit.

Today, I'm attending what I call an "install mitzvah" where we help someone through the initiation process required to get some new process running on their computer (in this case Python on a Mac). Chairman (Rabbi) Steve will be present.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

OSCON 2011

The trend towards gamification of UIs, in cars and elsewhere, is a theme of one of the keynotes this morning. Other talks, on infrastructure, on community building, and on DIY science, have helped focus some of my conversations.

Although I'm carrying a "We're Hiring"badge, I'm not here as CSN CMO.

I'm toting the totem around, PSF snake. Chairman Steve suggested we park her at the Perl Foundation booth and that's where she is right now I'm surmising.

My other OSCON-related posts are in my other blogs.

Does the Nebula concept have relevance to CSN growth plans? I was at their big party last night, but that wasn't a place for business conversations. Why not just a pentagonal dodecahedron for edges, instead of something more complicated? What would we see upon turning it?

On the topic of 3D (spatial) logos, I think it's the responsibility of the designers to define its look from all angles, using CAD or other tool, prior to release. CSN LCDs will feature their share of dancing logos, coats of arms, other heraldry, both 2D and 3D.

Or, as some might say, 5D (tetrahedron4 + time1).

We believe in Diversity around here. Lots of comparing notes with people from Brazil.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Learning from Friends

I participated in the fundraising event at the Multnomah Friends Meeting, not as CSN CMO, though we did use the company laptop and car, but as a proud dad.

My daughter is a member of this delegation, headed for Central America. We were raising funds to sponsor the group.

In a relaxed CSN setting one might dial up reports from the field from a large database of well crafted presentations. Yes, some of these might be on Youtube, such as the CDCA one we showed this evening.

CSN might have its more exclusive stashes as well, some local to a specific shop. Why? Because some causes mean the most to local players, or because the opportunities are restricted to specific friends, an inner circle.

I was mainly gleaning ideas. Serving refreshments, other goodies, from the sponsored locale, is one way to go. While we're talking about coffee, why not show the whole process up the line? CSN is into transparency.

Some people come to our shops just to browse those popular infrastructure videos, watch the web cams. Remember penny alley? We're not embarrassed to offer peeps.

Does you city have cams on the landfill, at the treatment plants, cleanup sites? One response to more surveillance of the public is to make the feed more available to said public.

Rather than some "us" spying on some "them", it's just ourselves, watching ourselves. Watch those webcams at the Oregon Zoo.

Followup: I was on projector crew for the Friends again today, this time for Tara and Luci presenting on their trip Jamaica (not as tourists). The circumstances were ad hoc and Tara jerked out the projector chord without using the cooling fan. Being a startup is difficult. Larry took me to StarBucks and showed me his "iBad". The flying app is especially impressive, takes some of the fear out of it (less likely to get lost maybe?). He left me here, working for CSN.

Instead of "delegation" I might say "away team", aware of the Star Trek associations. The Friends Meeting is like the mother ship, and these people slip off, to distant lands and climes, and return, reporting. Tara and Luci did a wonderful job, were top notch reporters. We salute Jamaica and its avid application to sports and health care. The world could use more principled athletes and physicians of many casts and sheens.

I had a quick meeting with the CHR on Hawthorne Bridge, staying friendly. CSN is no tiny tune when you're up close to the trumpets. I was on my way to see Stallman.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Screen Testing...

by Jennifer Reeves with music by Raymond Scott and Tommy Dorset

by John Driscoll starring Amber Muir

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Q & A

Q: If the goal is to raise funds for worthy causes, what's to stop a shop from making a game be super easy, such that you'd have to work at it to lose. Wouldn't this maximize funding?

A: Remember the model: you're in competition for company profits, and if your heroics are insufficient to save the day, then wish your peers better luck. The company cannot afford to just funnel any amount to worthy causes so "game difficulty" is how to apply the brakes and really make the games instructive.

On the other hand, there may be times when just taking a survey, answering a questionnaire, is sufficient to have the proceeds go to such and such an agency, perhaps with matching funds. It's possible to have a game time out when various goals are reached. No one said they needed to be open ended.

Q: I don't get why I'd want to play in a coffee shop, especially one that serves adult drinks, when I could play the same games at home, and spend less on beverages.

A: you're free to stay home. Some find the conviviality of a shop appealing and are looking to others for tips. What's the hot new charity to be connected with? Remember that people compete with their profiles, with "cooler than you" a motivation (friendly rivalries, looking good on the runway of life... showing off).

Also, depending on your zip code, your CSN affiliate may have access to ingredients you can't easily get as an individual (ayahuasca for example). Again, you might want to seek guidance, check LCDs for workshops and meetups.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

More QM in Portlandia

I met with the CFO today, starting from an old geocaching site, the "man pointing", top of Mt. Tabor. She's been bouncing around, will continue to do so. I appreciate the Alaska connection, which our CHR shares, in a different way. I'm glad she's found family.

I hope I get to AK at some point. That Hubble guy had gone there, to some edge of the Universe kind of place (it's all "an edge" when you're a cosmographer like that).

Some bristle when I, a founder of DENSA (by my own accounts), start yakking about IQ. Am I being sarcastic? With regard to CSN, there's a kind of IQ test going on, with some getting in on the ground floor as we speak. Or call it the Doppler Effect.

Or are things heating up in 97214, birthplace of the Silicon Forest? I told her about our live in exchange student ("torture taxi" refugee) and the new work / study program I've embarked on.

Wanderers was interesting tonight. Steve, for some time a ward of the state, is back to his quantum mechanics (QM) teaching, trying to make it accessible to high schoolers.

Just using bra ket notation gets him some kudos with our Silicon Forest crowd, though we had our registered skeptics, as usual.

I gave him Rhett's number to follow up on some of those Bell Theorem interpretations. Maybe it could be a comic book? We'd need characters, and not just the usual suspects.

Earlier, I'd checked into Wired (Conde-Naste) to read up on that anthrax scare, which claimed some real lives (not "just a cartoon"). Advances in bioinformatics resulted, as people learned more about sequencing that lethal bacterium.

The Russians get blamed for stockpiling in Siberia, though they could always take the "just making vaccine" defense like the Americans do. Nasty toxins like that have a Matrix feel about them, their handlers a lot like those men in black.

I'd also picked Mental Floss from the rack, but a meeting with the CSO kept me moving.

Now, I need to attend to my queue. This may be one of those up-all-night working times. It happens. The service industry. Red Eye flights.

Good hearing from Sam, Dawn's bro, while I was walking by Portland Energy Strategies (Patrick was joining us for the QM talk).

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Movie Making

Playing Nirel...

The movie Nirel has been working on, to be shot in Europe, would likely feature this starlette.

The script is only loosely based on Nirel's adventures. What's more important, they've hit it off. "She is a single mom, dancer, martial artist and skates" writes our CTO.

I'll save names for later.

I proposed myself as a cameo (maybe many), always wanting to be an extra somehow.

Documenting the Trip

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Storyboarding LCDs

Nested Polyhedra

The above figure, by David Koski, developed in a Java application called vZome by Scott Vorthmann, shows several polyhedrons (polyhedra) sharing vertexes (vertices).

They are color coded for discernability.

The yellow lines, for example, form the diamond faceted rhombic dodecahedron of special interest to Kepler.

The green lines form an octahedron, the red lines a rhombic triancontahedron (30 rhombic faces).

Rhombic Triacontahedron

Their volume ratios are as follows:
  • Red rhombic triancontahedron : solid cyan cube :: 7.5 : 3.
  • Yellow rhombic dodecahedron : same cube :: 6 : 3.
  • Green Octahedron: 4.
These ratios are not in lowest terms and the last "ratio" implies 4 : 1, with 1 being our unit of volume, a tetrahedron of edges 1 CCP ball diameter (the tetrahedron is defined by four inter-tangent balls of equal radius).

Mind the Gap

These computations relate the above shapes and ratios to an additional set of polyhedrons, three having the same shape as the red one above, but with different relative volumes: 5, 5.00+, and 21.21+.

To have a rhombic triacontahedron (RT) of volume 5, you need to shrink the 7.5 RT's volume by 2/3 and therefore all its linear measures by the 3rd root of 2/3.

The resulting RT's radius is very close to 1 (0.999+), assuming the diameter of any CCP sphere to be 2.

The shaded blue line labeled "mind the gap" is about the tiny difference between the T-modules RT and the E-modules RT, each "module" being 1/120th of its respective rhombic triacontahedron.

:: click for larger view ::

Jitterbug Perfume is an allusion to the book by that title, by Tom Robbins, but also to Fuller's operational adaptation of that word, a dance style, to the twisting-contracting motion whereby a skeletal cuboctahedron might be formed into an icosahedron using six additional equi-lengthed edges.

That icosahedron, combined with its intersecting dual, the pentagonal dodecahedron, its "wife", "give birth" to yet another rhombic triacontahedron, phi bigger than the E-moduled rhombic triacontahedron, or phi to the 3rd power bigger by volume (phi being the golden mean or golden ratio, pronounced "fee" by some, "fie" by me).

Again in terms of our unit tetrahedron of 4 CCP spheres, this larger (or "super") rhombic triacontahedron has a volume of 15 times the second root of 2.

The E-mod rhombic triancontahedron "phi down" from the super one, has a radius (body center to face center) identical to that of the CCP spheres.

Geometry Research

To summarize:

Four rhombic triacontahedrons have been discussed, with volumes 5, 5+, 7.5, and "over 21".

The 5 and 5+ are very close to the same volume ("mind the gap") and are each exploded into 120 tetrahedral modules, the Ts and the Es respectively (E for Einstein or maybe "explodes", T for triacontahedron).

The T-module RT has a close relationship with the red one up top, the 7.5. The T-modules have volume 1/24, identical to that of the A & B modules, which build the other shapes (besides the red one) in the top picture.

The E-module RT has a close affinity for the "jitterbug" RT, the one that embeds the 18.51+ volumed icosahedron, with edges equal to the diameter of the unit-tetrahedron-defining CCP spheres.

CCP = closest cubic packing, the same as the IVM or "isotropic vector matrix" when comparing scaffolding or skeletons. Architects may say "octet truss" for the same space frame, studied intensively by Alexander Graham Bell before Fuller got a patent for it.

Rhombic Dodecahedra (2)