7 years ago: Posts from January, 2012
Testing software should not be this much fun.
Here’s a tour of the features I was able to flesh out today, including MULTIPLE LAYERS and PIXEL STICKERS, ZOMG.
Work on the PixelVision interface is coming along at breakneck speed! I just implemented the interface for switching layers. This video shows me importing a photo, pixelizing it, choosing a background color, filling the background layer with that color, and then deleting pixels from the photo layer to expose the background.
Last night, Katie and I went to a breast feeding class. I learned that breast milk is love, cow milk is the devil and even cows hate it, and that babies who are given bottles grow up to be militant Islamists. I also learned that my nipple piercings will not effect my child’s ability to be breastfed, because, this may shock you, male nipples do not produce milk! WTF?
Readers from yesterday will be happy to hear that I made a lot of progress on Make Pixel Art version 1.1. I finished implementing the export feature, which will allow users on iPads and in Chrome to ploop a transparent PNG file out of the app without having to upload it to the internet. I will be play testing it over the next few days, and hope to submit it to the app store by the end of the week.
And last night, I was up late working on the UI for PixelVision. I am pleased with how it is coming together - I was able to design away two or three “pages” of the application, so now almost everything is available on one screen AND it is not a terrifying jumble of buttons.
All of this time I am able to dedicate to my pixel art projects is due in great part to the project my company XOXCO has been working on since OCTOBER: a complete makeover of the official website of THE GRAMMYS using the fantastically exciting responsive design technique. Because we implemented the design using responsive techniques, Lullabot was able to implement ONE Drupal site which looks and acts differently on smart phones, tablets and normal computers. This was a HUGE website with lots of literal moving parts, and I’m really proud of the work that my team — and everyone at Lullabot and the Grammys — did to bring the site to all the connected devices out there.
My first challenge of the day - what, yeah it’s 11:15 and I haven’t started anything yet! - is to figure out if and how to implement layers in PixelVision. The code is done, but I’m questioning whether or not people will need or want to use multiple layers in a drawing that is only 50x50 pixels.
On the one hand, having multiple layers allows the user to have a background layer for patterns or a fill color, a layer just for the photo, and a layer just for the stickers. Keeping these things separate means a user can set a background, then switch to the photo layer and erase pixels to reveal the background. NEAT.
On the other hand, this is an app about quickly making pixelized pictures. Are layers overkill? What if there was some hybrid where background elements always went in the background, stickers always went in the foreground, but nothing but the photo was editable?
People, these are the type of questions that will keep me up at night! Like, all night, grinding my teeth, tossing and turning, thinking about ways to swap layers in a frictionless way! NIGHTMARE SCENARIO, I KNOW!
Captain Kirk making his best Kirk face.
One of the last things Sebastian did before leaving XOXCO was to record a bunch of new robot voices for Make Pixel Art.
I just added this one to indicate a successful export to camera roll.
I am excited by the things ahead of me this week. My company finished up several large client projects last week, and our next round of projects has not yet begun, so I have time to work on my own pixel art projects.
Over the next few weeks, my goal is to release version 1.1 of Make Pixel Art, and to get version 1.0 of PixelVision submitted to the app store.
MPA 1.1 will include several new features - primarily a set of isometric drawing tools, and the ability to save pictures you draw to your iPad’s photo stream. The isometric tools are ALMOST done — I have been struggling to find the best method for drawing isometric cube so that they can easily be stacked and combined into more complex shapes. I also got ahead of myself, and implemented an overly fancy animated menu that I now have to remove because it is super annoying to actually use.
Today is January 30. My first child, Zaphod Beeblebrox Princess Zelda Samus Aran Spence Brown will be born in just 41 days. It is time to be serious! About pixel art!
NES Mona Lisa
“Girl with a pearl earring” meets C64
Cindy Crawford vs Gameboy vs C64 vs NES
Just built myself a Gameboy-ize photo filter.
I love you, Ben Brown!
More Gameboy filter, coming to an avatar near you.
Taken with instagram
Taken with instagram
Testing photo software means making lots of silly faces.
Pixelvision-ed Neal Pollack!
I am really stoked that work has begun in earnest on our next pixel app, tentatively titled “Pixelvision”
I am having a lot of fun testing the new isometric tools I am bulding.
It’s nearly midnight, so that must mean I’m STILL WORKING ON MAKE PIXEL ART.
That’s why we call things like this “passion projects.”
Here’s another progress video, demonstrating all the new isometric drawing modes. It is so much fun causing these to come into existence with your fingers.
Look at all this anti-SOPA pixel art! The pixel art community has spoken, and it does not want large media companies to control what we can put on the internet.
Here is another progress video of the one of the new features I am working on for the next release of Make Pixel Art.
You can now drag isometric boxes in any direction to create 3D boxes with only two gestures. The boxes automagically shade themselves, so all you’ve got to do is fill in the details to create isometric buildings and other objects.
I am adding some really awesome features to Make Pixel Art for the next release.
Have you ever wanted to create isometric pixel cubes with your fingers?
This is a great post by Adam Atomic, the creator of Canabalt and the Flixel game development library, about how a lot of games these days actually force you to pay real cash to avoid wasting time doing something boring and repetitive.
Considering that the whole point of computation and software is to make life easier and give you back time you would otherwise have spent doing something boring and repetitive, this is a pretty awful thing for software to do.
Q: Hey Ben, what are you doing tonight at 11:30pm?
A: Programming a parallax scrolling jQuery plugin!
I am going to have to draw a lot of repeating sky patterns for this project.
This artist has a really unique style. Click through and see some of the really great portraits of ladies.
A little Jim Kirk for kicks.
Next up, camera controls.
I knew these crates would come in handy one day.
For the nerdy in the audience, the markup in my game.html file now consists of:
<img id=”walk” src=”walk_sprite.gif” />
<div class=”map crates”></div>
<div class=”map” id=”floor”></div>
All of a sudden, I can play my drawings.
Progress! Little underwear man’s movements are controlled by my keyboard commands!
Up, up and away.
Working on a new idea.
Holy cow this is awesome!
Dreaming of Hyrule.
Photo by Katie Spence.
Stealth mode engaged.
*The Space Invader was inspired by the Post-It Wars. If you’ve never seen it, go take a look.
01/09/12 11:26 AM
A Terminator Arrives
Inspired by the movie and this image I saw on tumblr. Notably the first drawing from my new iPad 2!
Inspired by this photo on Mlkshk, I drew this tiny repeating tile of North Korean generals. Thank you, Internet.
I’m still working on this battle scene, but I thought people might be interested to see the various components I built and how they end up fitting together.
Also, check out that badass squid god warrior queen.
This is my first attempt at a walk cycle for figures at this size. I think it looks more like he’s dancing than walking.
completely different redo/remix of something i made a while ago
Make Pixel Art was written up in today’s Austin American-Statesman. They said, “Make Pixel Art is like Photoshop for aspiring 8-bit artists.”
To give all the Austin area pixel artists a chance to get in on the action, we are extending our sale til this Friday. Get Make Pixel Art for your iPad, or for your Mac or PC at a deep discount.
8 years ago: Posts from January, 2011
Ben at xoxco (Taken with Instagram at XOXCO)
Taken with instagram
Tumblr’s favorite corgi.
I love you too, computer program.
I added some cool new features to Stay Useful yesterday, as documented below on our new Stay Useful Tumblr. Unfortunately, I made a booboo and accidentally sent people an out-of-date todo list this morning. OMG I AM SO EMBARRASSED.
That’ll teach me for launching code on my birthday.
We just rolled out some new features to make Stay Useful easier to use and more reliable. You’ll see them the next time you login!
Offline Access If you’re using Safari, Chrome, or an iOS device, Stay Useful will now work when you are completely offline! Even without an internet connection,…
Taken with Instagram at Once Over Coffee
One last photo joins Katie’s show at Once Over (Taken with Instagram at Once Over Coffee)
2 Bowies (Taken with instagram)
mandatory innovation week
My brother is experimenting with ear candles (Taken with instagram)
Titles (Taken with Instagram at Once Over Coffee)
Katie is hanging her first photography show tonight!! (Taken with Instagram at Once Over Coffee)
One side of American politics considers the modern welfare state — a private-enterprise economy, but one in which society’s winners are taxed to pay for a social safety net — morally superior to the capitalism red in tooth and claw we had before the New Deal. It’s only right, this side believes, for the affluent to help the less fortunate.
The other side believes that people have a right to keep what they earn, and that taxing them to support others, no matter how needy, amounts to theft. That’s what lies behind the modern right’s fondness for violent rhetoric: many activists on the right really do see taxes and regulation as tyrannical impositions on their liberty.
There’s no middle ground between these views.
When people say we need to tone down the rhetoric, this is what they mean - a clear discussion about the real differences in opinion.
Today, I’m soft-launching a new application: Stay Useful, a to-list for slackers. You, as a TREASURED READER of my blog, get an EXCLUSIVE sneak peak! (That is, if you use Chrome, Safari or an iOS device. Firefox support coming soon!)
I built Stay Useful because I am forgetful, and need to be reminded to do things like take out the trash and email my mother. I tried a bunch of existing to-list list applications, and came away feeling like the vast majority of them tried WAY TOO HARD. I don’t need tags and categories and due dates and feeds and magical processes.
I need the software version of my mom: something to tell me what to do, and remind me later if I haven’t done it.
The central feature of Stay Useful is the TODAY list. Add items to your list that you will do TODAY. If you can’t do it today, you can SNOOZE it til tomorrow, the weekend, or next week. At the appropriate time, the snoozed task will reappear on your today list. It will appear there until you do it, or snooze it again.
Of course, a to-list only works if you can get to it when you need it. Stay Useful works in your browser, on your phone, on your iPad, and as a Chrome extension so it is always available, and always up to date.
If you’re in the market for a simple way of keeping yourself productive, give it a try! It takes about 3 seconds to sign up and get started, and you can do so HERE. Enjoy!
(Since this is the soft launch, I’d appreciate it if you did NOT tweet or blog about this just yet - I need a few more days to make sure all the nuts and bolts are in place. I’ll post here again when we’re ready to HARD launch. Oooh!)
FUCK YOU, TOM!
Enjoy prison, you dick!
Glenn Beck to Sarah Palin, in response to the assasination attempt in Arizona.
Yeah, that’s right, Sarah. This is really about you.
Taken with instagram
Taken with instagram
273 Randomly Generated Usernames
Our New Years trip to Marfa, TX featured this festive disco ball.
9 years ago: Posts from January, 2010
- Random Reruns can now look at your Netflix Instant Queue and pick a movie for you to watch. Since we don’t have “real” tv, I need to build software that emulates the experience of just vegging out in front of the boob tube. Check it out on XOXCO.com.
- In February of 1999, my friend Bryan Boyer and I launched a new webzine called TEETH. The central idea behind TEETH, besides giving us a platform to be snarky buttholes, was a new piece of technology that we called “bubatech.” In short, as each article in the zine was presented, it was automatically analyzed for relationships to other articles in the zine, and cross-referencing links were inserted. As more articles were added, the links adapted. Anyways, Steven Johnson wrote an article about TEETH and bubbatech (which eventually grew into my first startup, Deepleap) and Bryan and I just found it, and I put it online here so I can brag about how smart I was 11 years ago. This is me bragging.
Photo by Jason Permenter
Today is my 32nd birthday! Here’s to 32 years of making art while naked!
I really haven’t changed much at all.
For my birthday, my mom sent a CD full of my childhood photos. Best gift ever. Get ready for 10,000 photos of me lounging in the 80s.
Mr. Lanier, a pioneer in the development of virtual reality and a Silicon Valley veteran, is hardly a Luddite, as some of his critics have suggested. Rather he is a digital-world insider who wants to make the case for “a new digital humanism” before software engineers’ design decisions, which he says fundamentally shape users’ behavior, become “frozen into place by a process known as lock-in.” Just as decisions about the dimensions of railroad tracks determined the size and velocity of trains for decades to come, he argues, so choices made about software design now may yield “defining, unchangeable rules” for generations to come.
Online culture, he goes on, “is a culture of reaction without action” and rationalizations that “we were entering a transitional lull before a creative storm” are just that — rationalizations. “The sad truth,” he concludes, “is that we were not passing through a momentary lull before a storm. We had instead entered a persistent somnolence, and I have come to believe that we will only escape it when we kill the hive.””
Adam wrote a beautiful and very interesting defense of his choice for greatest video game ever made. More like this, please!
Stuff I Posted
I posted a few neat tidbits on other sites today. If you REALLY love me, you’ll click:
My friend Joel, who produces some of the most consistently high quality internet content I’ve ever seen, has just launched 2 new blogs - one for his wacky travel photos, and one to collect songs he records for his song-a-day voicemail project. Do not miss out!
10 years ago: Posts from January, 2009
- Journal post from 01/24: Lists Andre Torrez just launched
- Journal post from 01/13:
- Journal post from 01/13:
11 years ago: Posts from January, 2008
- Journal post from 01/22: DOOMED! Hey everyone! Don't eat tuna in New York City!
- Journal post from 01/11: Whose Tube? In late 2001, when I moved back to Austin from a year spent writing children's television shows in New Zealand - this is a true detail - I discovered that the job market for zany internet guys had dried up, and thus entered into a 4-month sabbatical from employment. During this period, I filled my time with a little video experiment called
- Journal post from 01/10: Follow The Money
- Journal post from 01/02: If all your friends jumped off of a bridge...
- Journal post from /: SMITH Magazine Relaunch
- Journal post from /:
- Journal post from 01/22: I wrote a six-word memoir at Smithmag.net
- Journal post from 01/25: Ben Turns Thirty
- Journal post from /:
- Journal post from 01/17:
- Journal post from 01/30: Full Disclosure After my friend
- Journal post from 01/17: I wish I could own this outfit
12 years ago: Posts from January, 2007
- Journal post from 01/16: Episode Zero: The Macworld Special
13 years ago: Posts from January, 2006
- Journal post from 01/24:
- Journal post from 01/03: Katie @ Bouldin
- Journal post from 01/18: Meta The other night, I dreamed that I had forgotten to buy a plane ticket to SXSW until the last minute, and then, when I did, it arrived too late for me to speak on the panel I am supposed to appear on. In my dream, I knew that I was disappointing everyone and was very upset about my screw up, but I got on the plane and headed to Austin. I fell asleep on the plane in my dream, and started dreaming. The dream inside my dream was about sitting on my panel. And in this dream within a dream, I turned to my co-panelist and said, "This is a dream. There is no way I made it to Austin in time. I am asleep on the plane right now." The strangest thing about this dream to me is that the dream inside the dream was a lucid dream - I knew I was dreaming and could change things - but the outside dream, the original dream, was not - it felt real. Slightly less strange is that I dreampt that I had left buying tickets to the last second. There is no way I would do that. I am way too neurotic. (This dream inspired this week's
- Journal post from 01/30: Better Than You, Daily
- Journal post from 01/18: Corporate Life People keep asking me how things are going at
- Journal post from 01/02: links for 2006-01-02
- Journal post from 01/19: Beards Back in Austin, my little brother and I shared a beard trimmer. It belonged to Alex, though, and so when we left, he was very clear that the beard trimmer stayed behind. I suppose I have something of a reputation for stealing beard trimmers. I'm supposed to be at work every morning at 8:30 AM. This means I get up at 7:30 to bathe and dress and have a cup of coffee and a slice of toast. Sometimes, I play with my dogs a little bit before heading out the door to walk down the street to
- Journal post from 01/25: Happy Birthday! The first person to wish me a happy birthday this morning was my neighbor Pippy. She was carrying a fishing rod, and her whiskers looked pretty amazingly high-res for so early in the morning. She even brought me a present - some cherries that I can either plant or sell to Tom Nook, our local importer/exporter. I responded, "A-BUTTON A-BUTTON A-BUTTON" and went back to my room to crawl back in to bed.
19 years ago: Posts from January, 2000
- Journal post from 01/20:
- Journal post from 01/08:
- Journal post from 01/24:
- Journal post from 01/16:
20 years ago: Posts from January, 1999
- Journal post from 01/18: in which works himself raw.
- Journal post from 01/21: in which he prepares.
- Journal post from 01/05: in which he invents a new soda.
- Journal post from 01/06: in which he makes some observations.
- Journal post from 01/03: in which he writes
- Journal post from 01/12: in which he is undersexed.