glide along

September 25, 2008

on equilibrium

Filed under: Design,Thoughts — ricardo @ 8:44 am


At first it seems you can simply pick a spoon…

Of all spoons, though, there is only one that when pulled up will not cause the cup to fall and the other spoons to spread all over the table top – there is always one, and there is always only one.

It took me about one year to challenge myself to think about it and, finally, solve it.

September 29, 2007

Birmann Grooves 02 – Another Mood

Filed under: birmann grooves,Drawing,Music — ricardo @ 4:48 pm

On my last post, I listed a compilation of songs that I’ve been digging a lot lately. The problem is that, unless someone has ALL the mentioned songs and goes through the trouble of putting it together, the whole thing is absolutely pointless.

I am thinking about ways of making the files available for download here, but the songs add up to 130Mb file, and that is simply too much.

I am planning on getting a dedicated server and change my hosting provider soon, this will definitely make things easier (and a lot faster!!) and maybe then I’ll set up a podcast.

In the meantime, I’ve come up with a second compilation, here’s Birmann Grooves 02 – Another Mood:

01 Lesson 6 (reprise) Jurassic 5

02 It’s Alright Now Eddie Harris

03 Everybody Needs a 303 Fatboy Slim

04 Suco de Tangerina Beastie Boy

05 Flying Saucer Dudes Bela Fleck and The Flecktones

06 Sabbatical De-Phazz

07 Guntenmorgenduft Dzihan & Kamien

08 Common Mama Keith Jarrett

09 Forty Days Funk Como Le Gusta

10 Chocolate City The Clinton Administration

11 Lost in the K-hole Chemical Brothers

12 Good Times Bad Times Led Zeppelin

13 Banana Boat Song Harry Belafonte

I also drew covers for both of them:

BG01 Push The Tempo:


BG02 Another Mood:


August 27, 2007

Birmann Grooves 01 – Push the Tempo

Filed under: birmann grooves,Music — ricardo @ 10:25 pm

01 Frontier Psychiatrist The Avalanches

02 Love Rears Its Ugly Head Living Colour

03 Colibri Incognito

04 It’s Too Funky In Here James Brown

05 Meanwhile Back In The City The Presidents Of The United States Of America

06 Ya Mama Fatboy Slim

07 Water No Get Enemy Fela Kuti

08 The Art Of Walking Blockhead

09 Chocolate Covered Nut Liquid Soul

10 The Jim Pedersen Theme Xploding Plastix

11 What’s Your Trip? Tower Of Power

12 Chamaleon Herbie Hancock

13 Mangueira Seu Jorge

June 17, 2007

m3uMaker 1.5

Filed under: Computer Stuff,Music,Programs — ricardo @ 12:58 pm

m3uMaker 1.5 is finally available (see the project’s page for downloads and more information).

m3uMaker is a bash script that allows command line creation of m3u playlists for files within a certain folder. It is very flexible and can create playlists of files with any given set of terminations and immediately enqueue it (and play it, if you want) on any scriptable audio player.

An auxiliary configuration file for Konqueror is provided so playlists can be created/enqueued/played while browsing.

Until today, the only supported player was XMMS, but version 1.5 allows user specified enqueue/play commands to be used. Native support for Amarok has been added (’cause this is currently my player of choice).

Needless to say: m3uMaker is free… enjoy

[edit: a bug related to dereferencing symbolic links has been crushed, so the available version is 1.5.1]

April 22, 2007

Having fun with CSS

Filed under: Design,Internet — ricardo @ 6:04 pm

I recently came across Stylish, a firefox extension that allows you to add custom CSS to any web page. I promptly decided to give it a try.

For now, I have been working on a style-sheet to alter Gmail’s look… I’ve always liked the default style, but it seems a little too crowded with borders and details.

This is a screenshot of my progress so far, it is the first usable version, but there are still lots of things I’d like to change.

gmail with coolergmail style-sheet

If you want to give it a try, the style-sheet is available here. Hope you like it…

April 10, 2007

Get ready for the big payback

Filed under: Drawing,Handmade — ricardo @ 12:20 am
click the image for a high-res version

click the image for a high-res version

March 27, 2007 – new look-and-feel

Filed under: Arts,Computer Stuff,Thoughts — ricardo @ 8:34 pm

It is very hard to explain to someone who knows nothing about software development how much of an artist you have to be to create good programs. People tend to believe that programming it is purely technical and that creativity, aesthetic, individual talent and inspiration are not nearly as important as the syntax needed to produce the running code.

Well, I believe it is actually quite the opposite. Art-ware.

Note: I am NOT just talking about creating pretty websites and neat interfaces, but also about the running code… yes, the code that users don’t even see.

Because of the indefinable nature of “art”, it is usually easy to just say that something “is art” or “is not art” based on prejudice, lack of information or plain ignorance. I know absolutely nothing about painting, for instance, but I do speculate about the artistic value of pictures I see. Nonetheless, I accept that there is a lot art made from painting.

Software languages, as much as paint, clay and stone are not art by themselves, they are the means through which the artist expresses himself. The thing with software is that it is also meant to do something, to work in a certain way, and that gives the wrong impression on how it is created. A code artist would keep in mind that the software should transcend its technical requirements, breaching into a world of imagination, migrating from a state of computer science towards the much less sufocating condition of computer art.

Software can be much more than a technique, and art might have other concerns besides “being artistic”. Music and movies can be entertaining and still be art, architecture can be functional and still be art, programs can be efficient and still be art.

All that being said, I’d like to tell you a little bit about our new look-and-feel at We wanted to create a browsable interface that would give the website an interesting look and also make it practical, self-adapting to new content and CPU-friendly.

Our site is running on Apache and is presented using HTML and CSS. The frameworks provided by both these technologies are rare art in a world of dirty, unreliable, hard-code and thanks to them we (Bob and I) could create exactly what we wanted.

It is a little self-promoting to say so, but I think it really kicks ass! Check it out.

March 10, 2007

Visual dictatorship

Filed under: Arts,Thoughts — ricardo @ 5:36 pm

Let go your mouse, get your hands away from the keyboard, lean back and take a moment for yourself. Contemplate. Look around and truly observe your surroundings with all your senses. Do it now, take your time.

For practical reasons, we learn to think of ourselves as immersed in a greater world, that surrounds us completely. From cradle to grave, we foster a very unique understanding of reality, a personal model to describe the laws and limitations of the world, but it takes some effort to realize that such model is not truly assembled from purely perceived data, but from cognitive interpretation of such sensory input.

The distinction between a perceived and an interpreted reality is very important: although one can argue that the perceived signals (information captured by our senses from reality, such as light and sound) might have aspects that do not depend in any way on the perceiving agent (us) and, thus, may be entirely determined by the nature of the observed entity (the object emitting the light, or the sound or whatever), the same could not be said about the interpretation of such information. That being said, it becomes clear that the world in which we “see” ourselves is NOT external to us, it is personal, it is intimate.

Natural selection made us very dependent on our vision, and the physiological structures related to both perceiving and interpreting light are very powerful in our species. We rely on sight to make a model of the world and when we think of something, we create a mental image of it, and I am not talking only about concrete objects, but about abstract concepts as well.

For instance, think of an angry person (or a happy family or, well, anything you want) and try to decompose the thought in facets created from each one of your senses. As I said before, thoughts transcend the sensitive boundaries by being the result of interpretation and cognition, but still it is easy to associate a certain aspect of the abstract model with the data that was used to create it. From this exercise you might realize that the visual contribution to our personal weltanschauung is greater than that of any other sense.

For an elaborate drawing, rich in details, it is natural to choose a delicate pen, however this visual dictatorship has had deep implications in the development of language, culture and art. In paying more attention to the remaining senses, new opportunities emerge and a richer life with interesting sensations and experiences is made available.

Also, aesthetic values are sustained by visual foundations, leaving sound and its counterparts as yet unexplored technological and artistic vehicles, despite the existence of music.

In which direction can these vehicles take us?

How far can they go?

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