My First REAL Touch of Processing

For several years now (since seeing the presentation at FITC in Toronto), I have had an interest in the capabilities of Processing. I have only ever had time to dabble in it and just get a feel for what other people have done.

Last week I was able to find some time for playing with a couple of the libraries that interest me in order to see what they can do. I grabbed the OpenCV Processing library and a couple others and started playing with my video camera. I don’t know if the issues that I had are related to the fact that I am on a Macbook Pro with Windows Vista on it but for the life of me I couldn’t get my webcam to work with the OpenCV capture methods. But I managed to get it up and running with a different library and then grabbed the incoming image with OpenCV to process it.

Take a look and let me know what you think: www.marcpelland.com/application.windows.zip (you need a webcam). It isn’t much, but it was good to finally get in there and write some code in Processing. I don’t really know if I am going to pursue this much further after discovering that I cannot access the webcam VIA a java applet. If there is anyone out there with more java / processing experience that may have a way to use this type of app online I would be very greatful.

thanks, marc

New Portfolio in the Making

Marc Pelland PortfolioI was working on some stuff for a couple friends last night, and some other stuff for work when I decided that I wanted a little break to work on something for myself. So I got myself a beer and sat down at my laptop. For a long time now I have been planning on doing something interesting to my portfolio. I had thought maybe something with papervision and maybe something with a different approach to dynamic content. So that is where I began.

When I first created my portfolio, I did it quickly in HTML just to have something online. I made sure that the syntax was valid just in case I decided to create something to parse it with. Well that was my first step for the new creation. I used E4X to grab and parse the correct div within my current HTML portfolio. From there I just built out a little data model to grab whatever I might need from the parsed HTML structure.

Now I needed to do something with it. Why not Papervision, I have a couple projects under my belt now and just happened to update my local copy because I am using it on another project right now. So I just started playing around with the interaction and ways of displaying content.

After a couple hours I was pleased and went back to my other work. I picked it up today after work for an hour or so and would like to say I am very happy with the direction that it is taking. Let me know what you think so far.

click here to see the latest built

The God Delusion

The God DelusionYes, yes, I know! I should be posting about things that I am doing in the development industry. I just keep finding these great books to read and can’t put them down long enough to play with any development in my spare time (plus i am usually all coded out after work).

I picked this book up at a bookstore in Calgary a couple months ago and finally decided to dig into it, and I am very happy that I did! While I could see how a lot of people could find that the contents either outraged them or was really breakthrough, I was a little bit different.

I found the God Delusion to be a very well written book with lots of solid arguments against religious belief. What was not groundbreaking for me was that I had formed a lot of these opinions on my own over the past while.

Growing up in Canada must be different than growing up in the United States. When I was a child I was put in a Roman Catholic school system and my family went to church every Sunday. As time went by we all started forming our own lives apart from each other and over time religion played a smaller role in our lives. I saw this as normal amongst my friends and their families despite most being raised Roman Catholic. From the sounds of the book there is a LOT more pressure in other countries to conform to religious beliefs from family, school and friends. I have no doubt that if I told my family I am an atheist they would think no less of me (but who knows).

There were some smaller pieces of this book, little tid-bits of information about different religions, which I had no idea about and was grateful to learn about. A great amount of time was dedicated to the theory of evolution, but what I found really intrigued me were the details regarding the Bible. I have never read the Bible and have only heard select passages from it. I had no idea how violent a book it actually it.

That is all for now! If you get the chance, I suggest reading this book no matter what your beliefs may be. It is always good to have some knowledge of what is going on outside of your personal beliefs. I am starting on Sophie’s World tonight. It is a book that has been recommended to me numerous times and I am finally going to find the time to read it. It is fairly easy to find time to read these days, having just moved to another country and being busy with work. Whenever I need a break I just sit back in a coffee shop and read for a bit, very relaxing.

Sync – Review

About a week ago I picked up a book called Sync (Steven Strogatz) and started slowly reading it (I am not the world’s fastest reader by any means). Over the course of the week I have been trying to get some work done and get a little bit organized in my new country of residence, but increasingly found that I was unable to put the book down.

Here is a little history as to why I decided to read this book. A couple months back I had read a book called Linked (Albert-Laszlo Barabasi) and found it interesting how so many things are interconnected and how I, someone in a different world than the author, was able to relate to and understand the material. After reading Linked I decided that I wanted to continue learning about connectedness in the world, partly as research for social online systems and partly out of personal interest that I have developed in the topic. That is when I decided that my next read would be Sync.

Through the first couple of chapters in Sync, I discovered my brain working in an interesting way. It was coming up with application and visualization ideas to represent what the author was talking about. Thanks to this, I think that I was really able to dive into the book and learn a lot. From extensive discussions of fireflies to explanations of the Circadian rhythm, I learned not only about the overall topic but have a new way to look at these sorts of things.

The latter part of the book was also quite interesting, it was quite parallel to the thoughts brought forth by Barabasi in his book Linked. Linked was actually referenced in a couple sections of Sync. Both books were similar in my mind because they kept most equations and math separate from their writings (Sync more so) and just focused on getting the ideas to the forefront.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone that is interested in learning a little bit about the physical world. I find that I look at things just a little bit differently when I finish a book like this one and I am greatful to the author for this.

Tonight we dine in Boulder!

Well, as some of you may know I recently decided to leave Critical Mass for an opportunity elsewhere.

My time (27 months) at Critical Mass as a Flash Developer was a wonderful rollercoaster of ups and downs. I had a great time there, working with brilliant individuals, under great leadership, working with some of the worlds best clients. I learned a lot during my stay with Critical Mass and the decision to leave was not an easy one. I had to leave behind friends, colleagues, comfort, and an all around fun working environment (not to mention leaving Canada generic cialis)!

Pearl Street Mall

I have now moved to Boulder, Colorado! To work with another monster agency (Crispin Porter + Bogusky) as an Interactive Developer. I look forward to this new role and hope to learn a lot an maybe contribute a little bit more to my blog as I learn to try and share some knowledge and insight that I gain in this new place.

I left Calgary for Boulder on Friday of last week and made the drive in two days. I drove day and night through Montana and Wyoming and finally into Colorado. This was a challenge for me because I have rarely ever travelled to the US (or anywhere for that matter). I drove through rainstorms, crazy fog at night which scared the hell out of me, and lots of gorgeous sunlight.

I arrived here on Saturday evening to a gorgeous night and a cold. I haven’t been able to truly enjoy the area yet because I have been fighting this pesky cold since arriving but I am working on it. Boulder appears to be a beautiful place in a country and seems very proud of its new president and political direction. I look forward to living here and absorbing all the I can in the process; both knowledge and culture alike.