Who Am I?

Toney, Alabama, United States
Software Engineer, Systems Analyst, XML/X3D/VRML97 Designer, Consultant, Musician, Composer, Writer

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Occulus Rift and VR Hype 2.0

VR DESTROYS FILMMAKING! Film at eleven....

As usual, not really.   The problems of what VR-old school called the "free roamer" are pretty well understood.   The hardware challenges of bandwidth over presence are solvable but creating a linear experience in a quasi-non-linear medium does stretch the imagination.   Or does it?

We experimented with and debated this stuff two decades ago and despite the hype being passed about such as this article to restart the buzz, we know how to do this and write for this.   It is very time consuming because the characters of a compelling 3D roamer are expensive to build and the code or AI that makes for an adventure requires considerable depth of character modeling not usually found in a first person shooter or a car race.  Presence is not simply about rendering fidelity but as Tony Parisi pointed out over a decade ago, behavioral fidelity although Tony's context was why it was very hard to write a common standard for real-time 3D that operated across different platforms.

Who knows if it is worth buying yet another device, but it may for a period of time mitigate the blurring effect of infinite choice (as mashable likes to mash the original cybernetics's choice of choices dilemma) by offering a scarce alternative to a diluted supply.  The first forays into a medium are met with ecstasy and awe by the vendors of such and the early experimenters; yet without compelling content, they quickly fade into the realm of failed technology.  When Tony Parisi's company posted that first spinning globe example, we all watched and marveled. A decade later complex second life worlds were ghost towns.

There is a reason for the phrase "compelling content". In a conversation with a friend yesterday I pointed out that the challenge for VR cinema was the inventors of VR systems tend to be Silly Valley techs who are geniuses of math and midgets of story telling; so until Hollywood "gets it", there won't be much to have or enjoy.  The first VR worlds of the 90s tended to be as self-adulating of their creators or the technology as these early Occulus Rift 'firsts'.   They say to write what you know and math majors know math, hardware designers know hardware and money people know money.   It doesn't make for a very entertaining artwork past the gee-whiz.

That said, only money matters and the deep pockets and the deep web will find those who know enough to do the job well and just as the folk scare of the late fifties and early sixties stewed in the village soup, an Albert Grossman will hold auditiions and VR cinema will have Peter Paul and Mary to make hits out of a VR Dylan's stories.

Producers have a role.   Corporate deep pockets have a role but eventually a group of people with a cause and a story to tell have to take up the task of producing content.   My guess is this group will not come out of Silly Valley.   They will be some group who are just adept enough to acquire and learn the technology but know a lot more about how humans behave and why desire is the creator and the destroyer.  And they will know what filmmakers know and adapt it just as the first filmmakers adapted the stage and the first storytellers in VR adapted cinema art 20 years ago.   They will do it with better hardware and more bandwidth.  Wow.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Urge for Going

This song was on my solo play lists for all the early years I was a performer in the local clubs and restaurants. I'd learned it from the cover by George Hamilton IV on a 45 my family owned. I wouldn't know about Joni Mitchell for some years to come. It was the evocative haunting imagery that captured me and remained with me.

A few days ago I decided to cover it with friend, RickVan Nostrand. A song of the season so to speak.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Len Bullard Interviewd on Spice Radio

This was great fun.  I was interviewed about music, the local scene, etc. on a podcast.


Spice Radio!!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tired Of Chasing Rainbows

From the vault, this was our first song to get decent airplay in the local stations. Made on a Fostex quarter inch eight with one good mic and a lot of chutzpah, we were having fascinating times. From Ground Level Sound, The Evolution of Cool, Tired Of Chasing Rainbows.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ne Me Quitte Pas (If You Go Away) (Brel - McKuen)

I arranged and recorded this wonderful song by Jacques Brel and Rod McKuen as a study in Brel's style as applied to small orchestra, guitar and voice.   The choice of actress came out of my wife telling me it has a film noir feel, so it came down to Audrey Hepburn or Barbara Stanwyck.   Audrey wins for the French taste and well... expression.

French is one of two classes I flunked in my first year at college.  Apologies for my lack of skill, but I chalk it up to nothing is ever wasted and one never knows what might come in handy years later. :)


Sunday, October 13, 2013

How To Navigate The River of Life

An old friend commented on the scene on my Facebook page. It is a screen snap from a virtual reality album I created called "The River of Life". It is on the web at the address below.

You will require a plugin or browser that can render VRML97. A suggestion is the Blaxxun browser at BitManagement
 (if others work, please say).

To experience the world:

 1. Copy the URL into your browser address box.
 2. Let the world load completely. You will hear music.
 3. If you have Blaxxun, right click and choose view my avatar.
 4. Put your avatar on the boat or right click and select Viewpoints/The Boat.

The Boat will take you to the entrance to the temple grounds. Go to the woman on the bridge. When she refuses yoo,
 touch her heart and you are bound to her. Whatever she worships, touch. When she has taught you all
 she knows of love, she will release you to roam the world freely.


If the project interests you, there is a tutorial about this project including code examples in the first articles of this blog/

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Softly As I Leave You

This is a style study for me, working out the arrangement of classic jazz ballads by ear and arranging them so I can record them. Thanks Eydie. Vaya con dios.