Archive for March, 2012
So via Kottke comes the news of flexible e-ink displays from LG. I think this is just unspeakably super exciting, because e-paper isn’t really e-paper until you can roll it up and stuff it in your back pocket.
I have a serious question: How would a person get their hands on one of these, or a box of them, for hacking and prototyping? Is there anything equivalent to this development kit for pico-projectors from Texas Instruments? (Pico-projectors are another Snarkmarket obsession.)
I don’t even know where to start looking. Any ideas?
You might not think you’re interested in a long technical blog post about scalability at YouTube… and you might be right… but don’t be so sure. You never know where you’re going to find useful ideas—hard-won ways of thinking that can apply in domains well beyond the one where they were born. I think this post has several ideas like that, and the best is jitter.:
- If your system doesn’t jitter then you get thundering herds. Distributed applications are really weather systems. Debugging them is as deterministic as predicting the weather. Jitter introduces more randomness because surprisingly, things tend to stack up.
- For example, cache expirations. For a popular video they cache things as best they can. The most popular video they might cache for 24 hours. If everything expires at one time then every machine will calculate the expiration at the same time. This creates a thundering herd.
- By jittering you are saying randomly expire between 18–30 hours. That prevents things from stacking up. They use this all over the place. Systems have a tendency to self synchronize as operations line up and try to destroy themselves. Fascinating to watch. You get slow disk system on one machine and everybody is waiting on a request so all of a sudden all these other requests on all these other machines are completely synchronized. This happens when you have many machines and you have many events. Each one actually removes entropy from the system so you have to add some back in.
What would it mean to add jitter in other domains? Maybe it would mean publishing things at odd hours. Maybe it would mean shaking up your own habits. (I think there’s evidence that exercise and diet both benefit from jitter.) What else?
This dance video is incredible. It’s ostensibly TRON-themed, but that’s irrelevant to its coolness:
What makes it so great is the way that it puts the techniques of video editing—freeze frames, jump cuts, motion trails—back up on stage, live. (And of course now we’re watching it on video again. I love the flip-flop: from digital to analog to digital to analog to…)
You actually see a lot of this in dance these days. To me, popping and locking and the stuttering, slow-mo dance moves on display (e.g.) here are basically inconceivable without video. We need to see human bodies moving this way on screens before we can imagine moving them that way out on the street.
Via Michael Donohoe.
Update: Wrote a longer note about the flip-flop.
Oh man, I love these so-called propulsion paintings. Super simple but effective and interesting. I like seeing the block-gloved hands reaching down to start the show:
Of course, I like Detroit as a backdrop, too. In these videos it seems poetic and almost playful rather than, like, blunt and message-y:
Check out the student propulsion paintings over at today and tomorrow, too.
… offered without context.