Archive for the 'old style' Category

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.


Obey the Tiny Giant

Saturday, September 16th, 2006

I love street art.


I love the posters and the stickers and the graffitis, and I specially love the black and white. I usually scan the streets looking for the surprising, rebellious kinematic images, and I don’t really care much if some of them actually are dummies of profitable merchandising or disguised alternative advertisement. Even after all this years, I still smile when I find a new manifestation of the OBEY propaganda campaign. I wonder if the internet could allow some of that, if there was a way of sneaking artwork in the space between transitions or somewhere else. If there was a way to scratch on advertisement banners or draw a mustache on the pictures of the celebrities. If there could be a layer of persistent user expression on top of everything else. I guess community generated websites can be understood to play that role a bit. They allow for free space of expression that can eventually lead to surprising mutations of street art. For example, the last time I saw the OBEY trademark was not on a street corner, it was not on a mailbox and it was not on a street sign. In fact, it could never be found anywhere in the street world at all. It was created within the web by some anonymous contributor to the Tiny Icon Factory that miraculously managed to translate the curvy shapes of Andre the Giant’s graphic portrait into a 13 by 13 square black and white little grid. I’m sure it must be hard to find such a virtuoso creator of icons. As Brent already pointed it out, there is a potential for making 2^169 different Tiny Icons, and we humans are only around 7 billion, leaving each one of us with as much as 1.0690e+41 possible icons to create. Finding the right combination of black and white squares that looks like Andre the Giant is an impressive achievement that would have never happened if it was not because of an interesting chain of events that started last thursday and fueled the Tiny Icon Factory with unprecedented mouse clicking human power. Brent told John about our Tiny toy project, John blogged it, a few people bookmarked it in, some other people digged it, and by the next morning the Tiny Icon Factory was producing more than 200 ipr (Icons Per Hour) by the creative few out of around 10000 visitors. 6999 Tiny Icons are sitting in the PLW database right now, although the Icon birth rate has already slowed down to a couple of tens per hour. All kinds of stuff, some of them silly, some of them dull, some of them clever, some of them pretty, some of them obscene, some of them brilliant, and all of them equally Tiny. One particular Icon called my attention out of the multitude, a tiny tribute to a giant man.


The Discrete Line

Monday, September 11th, 2006


This is an applet I made to illustrate Jack E. Bresenham’s line algorithm. And here is the pseudocode, as extracted from Wikipedia:

function line(x0, x1, y0, y1)
  boolean steep := abs(y1 - y0) > abs(x1 - x0)
  if steep then
    swap(x0, y0)
    swap(x1, y1)
  if x0 > x1 then
    swap(x0, x1)
    swap(y0, y1)
  int deltax := x1 - x0
  int deltay := abs(y1 - y0)
  int error := 0
  int ystep
  int y := y0
  if y0 < y1 then ystep := 1 else ystep := -1
  for x from x0 to x1
    if steep then plot(y,x) else plot(x,y)
    error := error + deltay
    if 2*error >= deltax
      y := y + ystep
      error := error - deltax

Bresenham later modified his algorithm to produce circles.

Obstructions 101

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

Is there a better obstruction for drawing than a 13 pixel canvas and a black and white binary/boolean color palette? I guess not. While working on our collection of smaller than life icons, Brent and I realized Photoshop was not giving us what we wanted and both ventured on building our own Tiny drawing application. Brent’s version is written in Ajax and embedded in a Rails application that already lets you load and save icons online. Mine is a functionality rich Applet that will eventually talk to Brent’s Rails repository for saving. It features an invert function, several previews in different scales, and an optional grid, all meant to enhance your understanding of such a meaningful art form. Our custom data format is a 169 character string of 0s and 1s. Longer than my attention span in a very good day, it will not fit my layout (or your browser) unless I shrink it or break it. After breaking it 13 times, the source of a typical Tiny drawing looks like this:

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 0
0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
0 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0
0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0
0 1 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
0 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 1
0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

If you stare at it long enough, you will get a headache, and you will almost see the drawing: