DNA Lounge: Wherein I think out loud about webcast upgrades.

The other night, one of our lovely customers decided, after leaving the club, to piss on the wall of one of our neighbors. He did this right across the street from a police car. When the cops came over suggested that maybe this was not such a good idea, he responded with:

"It's ok, I'm French."

This is a thing that actually happened.


We got some absolutely horrific news, permits-wise, about the construction of the new space above the pizza place that may actually scuttle the entire project. I'm trying to wait for more details before completely freaking out, but who are we kidding here, I'm completely freaking out.

Anyway, in the increasingly-remote event that our new performance space is ever allowed to open, I need to decide what to do about webcasting from that room, e.g., whether to do it at all.

We've been webcasting 24/7 since 1999, and it's mostly been a giant pain in the ass, but hasn't ever quite gotten to be such a pain to cause me to just pull the plug -- though it's gotten close a few times. The webcast brings us no business, and frankly brings us no press either. A lot of people do watch it, though. Of course, those people are by definition not customers.

So really, my answer to the question of "why do we webcast" is just, "Because it seemed like a good idea in 1999, and I'll get whiny email if I stop."


So do we webcast from the new venue or not? I dunno, if we don't people will ask about it constantly. It's kind of our "thing". So, our options are:

  1. Change nothing, no webcast from the new venue.
  2. Webcast from the new venue only when nothing's going on at DNA.

    We'd need a couple more camcorders, a bunch of cabling, and a bit of automation on audio input switching. Probably around $1,000 for the gear.

  3. Webcast both DNA and the new space, 24/7; two streams.

    For that we'd need the above plus a second Mac Mini, a second Component-to-DV device, and it would reduce our available outbound bandwidth by quite a bit, but I think it'd still be manageable. So this approach is probably around $2,000.

  4. But hey, the video's really kind of crummy right now. Wouldn't it be nice if the new venue was HD?

    The webcast would still need to be lower-than-HD resolution (we don't have the bandwidth) but using HD cameras and cabling would give us much better low light performance, so even a low-rez video stream would presumably look a whole lot better.

    That would require a more complicated and expensive video run (boxes on either end to run HDMI over cat5), more expensive cameras, and a new computer-controllable video switcher. This would leave the new room HD and the old room SD, and would probably be around $4,000 total.

  5. Well what about also upgrading DNA to HD too?

    That means replacing all of the cameras; replacing the panning cameras with multiple fixed-position cameras; replacing the video switcher; and each camera needs its own pair of HDMI-to-cat5 boxes. There's no real opportunity for starting small or doing it incrementally, so I think this ends up costing around $12,000 in hardware alone for both venues (not to mention the labor of running miles of cable).

So that's kind of a drag. I'm not about to spent twelve grand to make the "freeloading from home" experience better. In fact, any time I think about how much money I've spent on that already, I feel like an idiot.

Maybe I'll do a Kickstarter for it, har har har.


Lego Strandbeest!

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Turtles, all the way down. Or gliders. Or glider turtles.

Conway's Game of Life, emulated in Conway's Game of Life:

The life simulator used is Golly which has a built-in script to generate these metapixel grids (select a pattern, and choose "metafier.py" from the scripts list).

Outer Totalistic Cellular Automata Meta-Pixel:

The metacell uses a period 184 tractor beam, which acts as a clock. It pulls a block downwards by eight cells per impact, releasing a glider in the process. Some of the gliders are utilised; the rest are eaten. When the block reaches the base, it is restored at the top to begin the cycle again. Period 46 and 184 technologies (which are compatible) are used extensively throughout the configuration.

The rule is encoded in two columns, each of nine eaters, where one column corresponds to the 'Birth' rule and the other corresponds to 'Survival'. The nine eaters correspond to the nine different quantities of on cells (0 through 8). The presence or absence of the eater indicates whether the cell should be on in the next meta-generation. The state of the eater is read by the collision of two antiparallel LWSSes, which radiates two antiparallel gliders (not unlike an electron-positron reaction in a PET scanner). These gliders then collide into beehives, which are restored by a passing LWSS in Brice's elegant honeybit reaction. If the eater is present, the beehive would remain in its original state, thereby allowing the LWSS to pass unaffected; if the eater is absent, the beehive would be restored, consuming the LWSS in the process. Equivalently, the state of the eater is mapped onto the state of the LWSS.

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