News for March 2008

the beauty of AS3 (part 2)

We are the Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile. Your distinctiveness will be added to our own…

- Star Trek

Ow god, ow god why didn’t I jump on this train earlier? Actionscript 3 rules, not even because it has such a simple and powerful structure. Not because exchange of classes and knowledge has become so simple. Not because it’s so damned fast and supports full control of your sockets and HD video material; but simply because you can write a spectrum analyzer in under 10 lines of code. You don’t want to know how many faul tricks and hacks I’ve used to build a simple analyzer. And now, it’s just there. So simple. So elegant…

//spectrum analyzer codes

var byteArray:ByteArray = new ByteArray();

var byteArray2:ByteArray = new ByteArray();

function maakSpectrum(event:Event) {

SoundMixer.computeSpectrum(byteArray, true, 2); // FFD

SoundMixer.computeSpectrum(byteArray2, false, 1); // WAVE

graphics.clear(); //meterjes weghalen

for (var i:Number = 0; i < 512; i += 4) {//aantal “metertjes”

if (i<256) {

graphics.lineStyle(0, 0xff3333);

graphics.beginFill(0xff3333);

}else{

graphics.lineStyle(0, 0×33ff33);

graphics.beginFill(0×33ff33);

}

graphics.drawRect(i + 20 , 100, 2, byteArray2.readFloat() * 100);

if (i%16 == 0) {

frame = Math.round(    byteArray.readFloat() * 100 )

this["vu"+i].gotoAndStop(frame)

}

}

}

Such beauty (sigh)

Posted: March 24th, 2008
Categories: nerd, web, work
Tags: , , ,
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On immortality.

highlander_1

I am immortal I have inside me blood of kings


It was disturbing to think of the Flatline as a construct, a hardwired ROM cassette replicating a dead man’s skills, obsessions,kneejerk responses….

William Gibson, “Neuromancer”

I am usually met with frowns or muttering smiles when I have smoked too much pot or drank too much alcohol and start ranting about immortality. Only my dear girlfriend silently listens and then nods when I can’t behave and am struck again with the thought that we just may be the first immortal humans in the history of man.

Now let me first start out with what I think this immortality is all about; it doesn’t mean we are going to live forever. Even with a number of enhancements the human body, and especially the human brain will not survive more then a 120 years or so. All transhumanist arguments aside, in the end we will die. However; Kurzweil predicts computers with near-human intelligence within 22 years. Now Kurzweil is usually a bit overoptimistic in these matters, but let’s say that we have computers with near-human intelligence within the next 50 years. This means we can start emulating humans in the course of this generations lifespan.

My personality can be uploaded or at least be simulated within 50 years. After I die my children and grandchildren will be able to talk and converse with me long after my death. I will be able to reflect and think about the times ahead and about the state of the world in 2070 and beyond. This, to most people, is in essence immortality in the sense that I won’t be missed anymore and can be addressed at any given time.

It is very possible that I can only be found in some kind of simulated space, like IRC or some advanced form of second life, still we are just discovering that our perception of ’space’ and nearness are getting more vague by the minute. Our current teenagers don’t differ anymore between msn, telephone and real contact. Social structures and hierarchy are build and maintained through all available media. With that distinction out of the way, virtuality starts losing his meaning bit by bit. (no pun intended)

Now of course my immortal personality is simulated; but the human brain doesn’t make that distinction; if my virtual self has lived for 300 years, the simulation is, arguably, more ‘real’ then my own, fleshy, personality as it has ‘lived’ longer then the original. Simulation is not as bad as most people would think. Baudrillard argues that although we might think different, most of our perception is created upon simulated experiences. And even ‘real’ experiences are nothing more than fragments of real observation added with closure.

So on our shoulders lies a pretty heavy responsibility if you think about it. We will be the first among many ‘voices from the past’. Our digital personae will be invited into classrooms and universities to reflect on the past. Of all the elder personae we will be the eldest. In 4320 AD. there will be millions, maybe even billions of us, immortals, and we will be the eldest, most respected and most experienced beings, still alive. Some of us may go insane. Others will be so obsolete that they will be ignored. Maybe a future fire like the one in Alexandria will destroy many of the elders, but for those that survive some of us living now will be there.

Posted: March 12th, 2008
Categories: philosophy, technology
Tags: , , , , , , ,
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It had to happen…

We are the Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile. Your distinctiveness will be added to our own…

- Star Trek

Ow god, I’m joining the hyve mind. I can’t help it. It feels like learning to snowboard for the first time, after years of skiing. Yes, I finally have the time to learn OOP and actionscript 3.0. I’m just past the steep learning curve and start to mutter my first complete sentences, but truth be told, I’m now just able to throw a few bouncing balls around. But I’m getting the hang of it.

I can now throw important sounding words like inheritence and polymorphism around the office and get an approving nod from other programmers. I like that. The ideas behind it are, as always, quite simpel and sharing code almost becomes mandatory with OOP systems. Still, I have to see it in use to really rant about it. Still, it seems a very interesting and useful tool, maybe that is why the whole programmers community is using it.

And I finally found out what the difference betweek & and && is. Cool

Posted: March 3rd, 2008
Categories: nerd, work
Tags: ,
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