Archives of February 2005

How to Irritate Bandwith Leeching Suckers

Seems that someone is selling rasterbated posters at the German eBay. Selling the posters is fine with me, but I find it a bit irritating that he or she is using the pictures of other users to promote his service and fails to give proper credit. The perpetrator of this deed plainly begs to be punished.

Bandwidth leech as our villain is, simply switching one image residing in this site will provide at least temporary annoyance.

Here are screenshots of the ebay page before and after the image change.

Categories: Web
Posted by Matias at 28.02.2005 21.58 (9 years ago) | 1 comment

If classical music is boring...

I stumbled upon a most interesting musical work, 9 Beet Stretch, by Leif Inge. It is quite simple, yet ingenious: The 9th Symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven slowed down so that it lasts for 24 hours. The music is not simply slowed down so that the pitch lowers and the music sounds like "vööööyyyyyyy", but there is some advanced mathematics involved and the tonality is retained original; only the timing is altered. The work is available for download here.

About half a year ago I wrote about the experience of listening to band called Esoteric. Listening to 9 Beet Stretch feels surprisingly similar, but when you think about it, the similarity makes sense.

All the primary information - the instantly audible melodies - of the original piece has disappeared. The music is composed entirely of long chords one after another. They are way too long to form a memorable melody, but the structure - secondary information - can be percieved. In fact, the details are more audible than in the original version. Data-wise, and according to my understanding, classical music adheres to very strict rules of structure: the art of composing classical music is to create melodies while still retaining the structure and tonality, so I'm quite sure Beethoven meant to include every bit of information.

So, could you achieve the same effect by slowing down anything, like Mikä sulla on by the revered Antti Tuisku? Most certainly not. Pop music is, almost without exceptions, just about melody and rhythm (and sounds): the primary information. When Risto Asikainen composes a fugue for at least five melodies, I might change my opinion. Of course, the division between classical and pop music is not obvious; there are plenty of simple classical music (such as the works of Johann Strauss, if I remember correctly).

Yes, the title of this entry is ironic. There will be concerts of 9 Beet Stretch - how could I arrange 24 hours of free time?

Categories: Art, Information, Music
Posted by Matias at 27.02.2005 22.27 (9 years ago) | 0 comments

Snow, sky and cables

Snow, sky and cables Snow, sky and cables Snow, sky and cables

Today was a rather sunny day!

Categories: Photography
Posted by Matias at 27.02.2005 21.10 (9 years ago) | 0 comments

Dotage

Everything was just fine and normal until late November, when the phenomena started, at least visibly. The first indication of the series of supernatural occurrences was caused by the cheap, kitchy, decorative christmas lights people hang outside their houses, into trees, porches and fences. I was walking at the countryside and there was very little external light. Strings of little luminiscent dots of multiple colors floated under the heavy clouds in the autumnal darkness, caused by lack of snow as well as lack of light. A gusty wind made them flutter around in their electric leashes. I recall perceiving the extraordinary properties of the christmas lights, but did not take any action back then. In retrospect, I'm glad to confess, there indeed was neither need nor reason to do anything.

I noticed the strangeness in a dark remote location with no other light except those of the christmas decorations. It was my shadow. The shadow cast by the lights upon the ground seemed to have a border, which composed of dots. The interior of the shadows was solid as it ever should be, but the border seemed somehow unnatural. It was like someone had applied a cheap Photoshop filter to the real world, to every moment that passed it. I remember thinking something in the lines that because of the multiple, adjacent light sources there was some kind of bizarre diffraction, which, combined to the texture of the wet, ragged ground and the sporadic wind, caused the pattern to appear... the dots were not immobile: they moved following such complex routes than tracing any singular dot was next to impossible. Then again, it seems like denying the obvious now. I just wanted to be ignorant of what was already happening.

A few days or a week after that I realized that all the outdoor advertisements were strangely visible: I noticed them more easily than before. It was as if they were highlighted in their surroundings. I could not recall anything that was in the images, only the existence of the advertisements, which wasn't that exceptional... I think the same happened with most other printed images also, no matter where they were located or placed, but I'm not that sure, since the flood of information often stifles itself.

New Year's Eve: the first thing that actually alarmed me, making me realize that something was wrong, were the fireworks. They exploded into the familiar, regular pattern. Not that usually assigned to fireworks, but the pattern familiar to me from the countryside abnormality. I didn't see the connection instantly: my first impression was that it was quite amazing that the Chinese manufacturers of the products could control the explosion that well... The exploded pattern was visible for only a few seconds and it expanded rapidly, so it really is no wonder that it was nothing but admired..... The realization hit me only later - the spread of the fireworks were quite similar than the pattern I had seen in the borderline of the shadow. No one else, I reckon, took any notice, at least any which I could have observed... Hence, I was quite uncertain whether the strangeness is emerging from inside or outside of my mind...

I tried to find out whether anyone else had perceived the emerging patterns, but my entire research was to no avail. I could find no reference to the patterns from newspapers or science magazines. I tried even reading heavy tomes discussing the physical properties of light, but it seemed that such a formation of patterns was unfamiliar to everyone. Unfortunately, these strivings were halted by the amplification of the phenomenon...

...the picture on tv screen and computer monitor is nothing but dots - as it always has been, dots are the picture - but this time it was different. The impression is very hard to describe in any other words than making the notion that the dots are simply just obvious...! No more could I be able to look at the picture, because I just did not see it: no comprehension of the tv programme, no understanding of computer applications, since I saw nothing but dots and dots and dots and dots and dots... ...it was as if they were even flowing out of the image, onto surfaces nearby. Like watching static yet the programme was there. The perforation of the tv speakers was apparently moving, it's pattern twirled, turned and tangled and was like nothing I had ever seen. The eerie effect reached even music: staccato in everything, staccato in everything. The effect was omnious which made it ominous: I could hear the dots in staccato. It was easy to mentally form an image of their symbolic representation in note sheets..... on and on: staccato in everything.....

...presently, it seems that this multisensory, cataclysmic, Seuratian communion of dots is everywhere... they penetrate every material, they undulate in every sound, they fill every strata ... objects dot everything. and vice versa: dots objectify everything... the two-dimensional symbol (or is it three-dimensional? four-dimensional?) ... representing zero dimensions ... split into elementary parts ... the strife! ... fills every surface I see, corrupts every sound I hear......... ....I still do not have any idea whether this ... dot product of dot production ... is mental or ... the strife? ... even worse...: extra-mental....... and I cannot think of any way of how to find that out: whether it's mental, my mind can easily obfuscate the results; or extramental, I that case I dare not even think of what abominable forces could have an effect on the test results in such a world........

... ... ... .... ... ..... the information is blowing up, shattering to ... the ... smallest ... possible ... units, incomprehensible by themselves, without any surrounding structure or context ... the strife! ... providing no comfort, since after all, even the definition of information is information ... ... it's like being in an infinite metaphysical recursion ... plunging into the fragile logical structures, collapse being imminent, imminent ...

... and in no case ......... are these repercussions diminishing ... what is diminishing is their paroxysmality ......... the repercussions and their power do just the opposite ... reaching divinity ................

....... .......... the entire world is ... I descry and cry ... actually deteriorating ... into elementary particles ... a singularity of entropy ... collapsing ..... shattering ... fracturing ....... shivering .... disintegrating ........

into....

oodles of oozing dots ........ ... the very dimensions of the world itself ... waning one by one... into ... a ...

......................... ............. .

Categories: Creations, Stories
Posted by Matias at 21.02.2005 20.07 (9 years ago) | 1 comment

A different approach to ASP.NET master pages

Quite a few people have created their own solutions to the one of the most famous shortcomings of current versions of ASP.NET: the lack of master pages. It's notoriously arduous to enclose content into a designated area of a page that has programmatical functionality elsewhere.

I am not very keen on the ASP.NET 2.0 design, either. That requires the developer to write specific server control definitions and references here and there. What I want to accomplish is to make the master paging as easy as possible (of course, easy when excluding the implementation of the master paging system).

My implementation works like this: I write an user control (.ascx) and save it in the web application directory. It is automatically mapped to a certain url and when that url is loaded, the control is enclosed into the content area. In addition to this, the system has gotten rid of file extensions, a legacy (do I hear sounds of disappointment for the lack of .aspx or .cfm or .whatever?).

Here's how it works. I have written a specific PageHandlerFactory (download), which implements the IHttpHandlerFactory interface. All the requests except for a list of predefined file types are routed to this class. The PageHandlerFactory then uses the following logic to invoke the page (.aspx) to be executed.

  • If the .aspx file corresponding to the requested url exists, the execution is returned to the .NET infrastructure using PageParser.GetCompiledPageInstance(Url, Path, Context);
  • If the .aspx file corresponding to the requested url sans the .aspx file extension exists, the execution is returned to the .NET infrastructure. For example, if the user requests url http://arje.net/rss and file rss.aspx exists, the page object defined by this file will be invoked.
  • If the first segment of the local path of the url has a corresponding .aspx file, this will be executed. For example, requests to http://arje.net/trackback/a_page and http://arje.net/trackback/another_page are both handled by file trackback.aspx.
  • If none of the previous conditions are met, a special file, scaffold.aspx, is invoked.

The scaffold.aspx file contains the menus, headers and everything else that is consistent from one page to another. It loads the content by searching for a control in a specific directory mapped to an url. For example, if the url is http://arje.net/archive, the Scaffold searches for archive.ascx and loads that into a placeholder control. If the file does not exist, Scaffold loads a default page.

In this blog implementation the default page does the following:

  • Searches the database for an entry corresponding to the url.
  • Uses regular expressions to determine if the user requested an archive page.
  • Displays a 404 page (with a nifty close-matching using the Levenshtein algorithm, deliberately quite lax). An example.

This implementation requires a bit more setting up to do than ASP.NET 2.0 Master Pages, but once it is set up, I think it offers better embracement for a web site, albeit you have to learn a bit more and take into account thingssuch as that files may block access to directories of the same name. There shouldn't be any additional security implications as only .aspx files will get to be executed. Of course, it is not a general purpose solution, which obviously is the aim of the .NET developers.

The setting up requires the following steps:

  • Wildcard script mapping in IIS web site properties dialog. This is done differently in every IIS version so I'm not explaining it here.
  • Adjustments to web.config, namely, the following segment:<httpHandlers>
    <add verb="*" path="trace.axd" type="System.Web.Handlers.TraceHandler" />
    <add verb="*" path="*.asax,*.ascx,*.config,*.cs,*.vb" type="System.Web.HttpForbiddenHandler" />
    <add verb="*" path="*.png,*.gif,*.jpg,*.css,*.js,*.zip,*.swf" type="System.Web.StaticFileHandler" />
    <add verb="*" path="*" validate="false" type="arje.net.PageHandlerFactory, name-of-dll" />
    </httpHandlers>

    List the static files you wish to provide in the StaticFileHandler entry. Other extensions will be treated as 404 even if the file existed.

Download the PageHandlerFactory class. However, please be advised that the PageHandlerFactory changes the behaviour of ASP.NET page execution logic and there may be some residual effect I haven't thought of! Use at your own risk.

Categories: Programming
Posted by Matias at 17.02.2005 20.42 (9 years ago) | 0 comments

The Rasterbator 1.1 released!

The Rasterbator 1.1 with some cool features is now released. See the Rasterbator page for details and to download.

Oh dear, it seems that according to this blog, my entire life revolves around small dots. Or small dots revolve around my life... HERE THEY ARE AGAIN: EVEN MORE DOTS! LEAVE ME ALONE!

Categories: Art, Creations, Programming
Posted by Matias at 14.02.2005 21.22 (9 years ago) | 0 comments

Help on running The Rasterbator

In the first 24 hours 3400 people downloaded The Rasterbator and a German support site emerged, which is way greater response than I expected. Please upload pictures (photographs) of the rasterbated images (generated by either the web version or the standalone) preferably in their surroundings to the Rasterbation Gallery.

Troubleshooting

Being a computer program, it's bound to beget trouble. Here are few common problems and hopefully their solutions.

When running the program, an error window with code 0xc0000135 or with message "The dynamic link library mscoree.dll could not be found in the specified path..." pops up

The computer does not have .NET Framework 1.1 installed. Run the installer program and try again. Please note that you need to have sufficient rights (depending on your network settings) to install the framework.

I cannot find the output file

If you did not change anything in phase 5, it is in the same directory where the source file. The filename is the same as of the source file, except that the extension is .pdf (the computer may not show the extensions, depending on your configuration).

I still cannot find the output file

If you did not extract the .dll files from the archive and run the program, the rasterbation won't succeed. (There's no error message, which is of course confusing and this will be fixed.)

Things to wait for

I hope to release quite soon version 1.1, which would support external language files. This enables people to translate the program into different languages rather easily.

Categories: Art, Programming
Posted by Matias at 21.02.2005 20.09 (9 years ago) | 82 comments

The Rasterbator 1.2

Invader Zim rasterbated by Bryon T. Smedley

Monochromatic rasterbation detail

Online version update (27 Jan 2013)

Online version of The Rasterbator has renewed - it's located at rasterbator.net!

Download

Click here to download (866 kb)

Solutions for most common problems

Introduction

To see what's new, see the Change Log.

The Rasterbator is an application which creates rasterized versions of images. The rasterized images can be printed and assembled into enormous (or smaller, if you prefer) posters. Enter the online Rasterbation Gallery to see what the images look like.

The Rasterbator originated as a web application at homokaasu.org, but it has gained so much popularity that the web server occassionally cannot handle the load and a standalone version was in place.

The standalone version is the same as the web version, except that downloading images from the web and image cropping are not supported, and you have to set the output size numerically (number of pages wide/high) rather than using a fancy drag handle. The results are exactly the same.

Download

Click here to download The Rasterbator Standalone 1.2! (866 kb)

The zip file includes the application, its source code and SharpDevelop project files. The source code is licensed under the GPL.

Requirements

The application requires .NET Framework 1.1.To print the posters, you need a pdf reader such as Adobe Reader. The application might also work with .NET Framework 1.0 (comes with Windows XP) and Mono (available for many platforms, such as Linux or Mac), but the compatibility has not been tested. If you manage to run it on Linux or Mac, please tell me!

The Rasterbator uses iTextSharp and SharpZipLib libraries. These are included in the file.

Instructions

Installation

No installation is needed. Just unzip the file contents and run the included Rasterbator.exe application. The application is wizard-like, which means it asks you questions and you click Continue button (or Back if you want to change what you previously answered). There are five screens with different options.

1. Select source image

In this phase you need to select the image you wish to rasterbate from your hard disk. Either enter the file name (with path, such as c:\images\snowman.jpg) in the box, or click Browse... to open the standard file dialog, which you can use to select the file. Note that the Continue button will be disabled if the file does not exist.

2. Select paper size

The rasterbated image will automatically be split onto several pages and in this screen you select the size of the paper you wish to use. Either use one of the predefined paper sizes (such as A4 or US Letter) and choose either portait or landscape printing (horizontal or vertical alignment of the paper), or use custom paper size. In the latter case, you need to input the paper width and height in millimeters.

3. Define output size

Using the paper size you selected, choose the size of the rasterbated poster you wish to use. You can define a specific amount of papers to both dimensions: width and height. The other dimension will be calculated automatically from the dimensions of the source image. The image size and paper consumption will be displayed on the page. Also, the preview image will show how the image will be distributed to different pages.

4. Set rasterbation options

In this screen you set up the preferred output options. The options are the following:

  • Draw cutout line around rasterbated area (default value: on)
    This option wil draw a dim rectangle around the rasterbation graphic of each page. The border will make it considerably easier to cut away the empty margins. If you plan not to cut out the margins, you should uncheck this.
  • Dot size (default value: 10 mm)
    Dot size defines the maximum size of the dots of the rasterbation. As a general rule, select small dot size for small output images and larger dot size for bigger output images. For a typical rasterbation job, good values are between 5 and 25 mm. Please note that dot size is the distance between centers of adjacent dots, as the dots may overlap.
  • Color mode (default value: black)
    The color mode affects the color of the dots in the poster. Black and custom color mean one-colored dots: the brightness is conveyed by using smaller or bigger dots. Multi-color includes the original color from the source image to the rasterbated poster.

5. Save rasterbation as

This should be pretty easy. The default value for the output file is the file name and directory of the source file, except that the file suffix (such as .jpg) is replaced with .pdf. If a file of the similar name exists, the suggested output file name will be suffixed with such a number that there exists no file the name.

Rasterbate!

Then, click the Rasterbate! button. The program will produce the output image. If you want to use other programs while rasterbating, check the "Rasterbate on low priority" option. This will slow down the rasterbating, but it makes other programs more responsive.

When the rasterbation is completed, you have the option to automatically open the produced image file (requires that you have a pdf reader in your computer system).

If you like it...

The Rasterbator is free, but surprisingly many users of the web version would have liked to make a contribution. Please consider making a donation to, for example, the following organisations instead of me:

Change Log

28.7.2005 - version 1.21 released

  • New languages: Croatian, Czech, Danish, Norwegian, Romanian
  • Minor bug fixes, especially in handling of nonexistent directories

6.3.2005 - version 1.2 released

  • The installation package includes now the following translations: Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian and Spanish. Thanks for everyone who sent language files!
  • A little better error handling: on failed rasterbation an error message will be shown instead of silent failure
  • Optimized bitmap reading speeds up the rasterbation of jpeg, png and tiff images.
  • Optimized rasterbation algorithm.

14.2.2005 - version 1.2 released

  • Support for multiple languages
  • Finnish and German translations. Special thanks to Dominik Zirkelbach for the German translation. Visit his German Rasterbator support site at http://www.rasterbator.de.vu/.
  • Output dot size was smaller than selected (bug in the conversion from mm to pdf units)
  • If the required dll files aren't available an a error dialog box was shown instead of a silent failure
  • Symbols depicting portrait and landscape paper alignment
  • Resizable window (enables bigger preview output image)

6.2.2005 - version 1.0 released

  • Initial version
Categories: Art, Creations, Programming
Posted by Matias at 28.07.2005 12.11 (8 years ago) | 239 comments

Public Opinion

I'll be participating in a panel discussion titled Julkinen mielipide (Public Opinion), which will be held in Kiasma on Sunday 6th of February at 13.00. The discussion is a part of the Plan*B for Arkadianmäki project masterminded by Juha Huuskonen.

More thoughts about the very interesting project impend.

Categories: Art, Events
Posted by Matias at 01.02.2005 18.40 (9 years ago) | 0 comments

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