Archive for November, 2006

We all are Tiny

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006


Tiny tomorrow @ MIT Museum

Thursday, November 16th, 2006

Tomorrow at 6 pm Brent and I will show the Tiny Icon Factory at the Delight by Design show in the MIT Museum. We will open the site again, show some animations and give away some stickers. It has been a good opportunity to look at them and start figuring out interesting ways to get them organized. I find it very surprising how creative people have been when given just 169 squares of black and white and a total absence of individual authorship. Looking at all this icons has been a very pleasant experience.

A rough sample of a sequence of icons is here.

The following pictures feature some blown-up renders of some sample icons with their names and ids. The names were given to them by their creators, and their ids were given to them by Rails, when written as binary strings into a database table.


Mandelbrot @ MIT

Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

“… science is cumulative and art is not”, B. Mandelbrot.


Eighty two year old legend Benoît Mandelbrot gave a two and a half hour long talk at MIT (location 10-250) yesterday night. A couple of key influences to his ideas I didn’t know about are the work of the japanese print maker Hokusai and north american abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock (if you wanna be Jackson Pollock for a minute without having to ruin everything around you with splatter paint click here). Mandelbrot claims to have found many brilliant examples of self similarity (shape and resolution of detail are scale invariant) in Hokusai’s work (a wave made out of waves). Pollock’s approach towards painting might encompass the fundamental motto behind Mandelbrot’s quest: a simple generation rule leads to a very complex outcome.

For Mandelbrot, his life work has been fueled by the opposite pairs of science and art, simplicity and complexity, smoothness and roughness, leading him towards the eternal opposition of the ideal and the real. Having had the opportunity to witness one of my old time college heroes in action will keep me happy for at least a week.

A quick note on Jackson Pollock: I am always amused when I find out in the news that the biggest price paid for a piece of art in history has reached a new peak. The four last ones I remember were paid for a Picasso, a Van Gogh, a Klimt, and only after last week, a Jackson Pollock. One hundred and forty million dollars, how can that be?

A quick note on Hokusai: Check out Kozyndan’s furry tribute to Hokusai’s wave here.


Sunday, November 5th, 2006

I took this picture a couple of weeks ago. The open window is very close to my desk. One day the police came and told us to close it because the former president of Iran was visiting the Media Lab, and now all windows are always closed because outside is getting really cold.


Tiny Dot Something

Sunday, November 5th, 2006

Brent and I thought of taking the Tiny Icon Factory out from the MIT web domains so we could stop worrying about hosting controversial user created content (as in porn or swastikas) in a university server. We started looking for available domain names only to find out tiny dot everything has already been taken. Tiny dot org features an interesting kind of static website-haiku that prevents you from accessing its hidden content unless you know something nobody I know knows. I wonder what lurks in there. Tiny dot com is owned by a british computer manufacturer and online store called Timeuk. Tiny dot com dot mx is owned by Grupo Tiny, a misterious mexican company that will tell you nothing about itself. We can’t use dot edu or dot gob, and dot tv doesn’t seem to be used but is not available. We have been thinking of other top secret names but we are still not sure what will be the outcome of this adventure. Only time will tell.