Archive for August, 2006

Ubuntu 6.06 on a Dual G5

So, I just acquired an older Dual G5 system running OS X Tiger. It is a much-needed upgrade to my 3+ year-old G4 powerbook. That laptop has treated me really really well, but it just can’t keep up anymore.

So need a linux install. I considered a dual-boot system, but I am not going to be any serious processor-heavy linux work. It is primarily for working with the Gumstix. Anyway, I ran into some installation problems. I found some good solutions here.

SMS Java, Processing, etc (Part 2)

screen.png[Part 1] For the last several days, I have struggled to get SMSLib for Java up and running. I finally realized that my copy of RxTx was out of date, which explained my inability to establish a bluetooth serial connection with my phone. I grabbed the new universal RxTx library and now it is working. Unfortunately, the SMSServer example that comes with SMSLib did not play nicely with MySql out of the box. The documentation was a bit outdated and I had to do some serious database interface hacking/redsign to get it running.

But, I finally got the whole system running. My phone is communicating with SMSLib, which communocates with a MySql database, which is easily accessible in Processing (or Max/MSP/Jitter or any other software for that matter). The system allows addresable message routing and is sophisticated enough to flash message instructions back to participants in need of help. Now that all the hardware and basic framework is coded and running smoothly, I have to finish coding the “pretty” side of things, which has been in the works for quite some time. Hopefully this will all be working nicely for the Freshworks Show coming up in a couple weeks.

As a side note, we are planning to use this technology, along with others as the primary interface for our ArtsMosis 2006 project.

Socio-technological imagination?

Thought Bubbles
After developing much of my SMS-to-thought-bubbles-eminating-from-windows-on-public-facades-project, I did a little research to see what other artists were doing with SMSes.

As has happened before, I found an artist who has a well-developed, lovely version of my idea. In fact, the similarity was uncanny. Apparently, I’m about 10 months behind on this one. The project is called TXTual healing. Beautiful work Paul Notzold. I’ll toast you by linking to you!

So, is there something about contemporary technologies that lead people to similar artistic expressions? Is the expressive potential of technology simply limited by “features”, resulting in similar ideas — or is our socio-technological imagination “in-sync” in some way? We certainly have no problem adopting tech-speak to describe out thoughts, patterns, interactions and bodily processes.

I’ve encountered this coincidence of ideas many times during my first year studying art. My science and engineering background left me with the impression that novelty is the greatest of all expressive achievements. Is novelty the highest achievement in art? I hope not.

Artists using SMS

As preparation for some upcoming projects that employ SMS as a mode of interaction, I looked around for other artists who have used SMS technology. Here is a short list. Know of any others? These categories are very loose.

Read the rest of this entry »

SMS Java, Processing, etc

For a current project, I would like to be able to receive SMS messages, email messages, and voice messages in Processing (or other Java applications). So here’s the solution I’ve got. First of all, it is very easy to send an SMS message from one’s computer to a cell phone for free (e.g. Google’s Free SMS Service). Unfortunately, it is cheaper to give than to receive. So, since I use T-Mobile, I have decided to sign up for an unlimited SMS package, which will cost $14.99/month. They offer several other plans, such as 400 messages for $4.99 or 1000 messages for $9.99. But, since there is a bit of grant money available, a couple months of unlimited SMS doesn’t seem so bad.

So, in order to get the messages in and out of Processing, I will use the SMSLib for Java. It looks like a simple solution [edit: It’s not!]. One can connect to the phone via Bluetooth and send and receieve SMSes as needed. Luckily I have access to an old Sony T610 and a new Nokia 6103. One of the two should work. Ideally, I would like to parse and route the messages straight into a MySQL database for archival and use in multiple applications.


Bongo Sketch
Here’s a sketch I’m working on for the thought bubble project.

Thought Bubbles

A tiny image for your delight.
I have been working on some thought bubbles for use in real-time projections. I’ve written my initial sketches with Processing. You can find an example here.

Assistant Rapporteur

Throughout the ISEA Symposium, Thomas Asmuth (a researcher in the CADRE Laboratory for New Media) and I will be assisting Edward Shanken carry out his duties as ISEA Symposium Rapporteur. We will be moderating online conversations and adminstrating a wiki, which can be found here: The real activity will begin on Wednesday when the Symposium kicks off. Stop by and have a look.