My Cybernetic Daydream, Part 2

Time is abstract when travelling the stars with an artificial consciousness. I’m not sure if my programming is shutting me off for long intervals of time or if I’m conceptualizing time as long intervals, ticking over at the slow pace of a stellar grandfather clock.

I could look at the ship’s chronometer but that would dilute the mystery.

This brings up something else I’ve been thinking of. Has transferring my original mind to software left anything oddly organic out? Did I have a twitchy foot or enjoy late nights?

Which brings up another less attractive idea: was anything edited out with purpose?

This got me to thinking during my indeterminate cycles of time. If my consciousness has been edited, what is gained, and what has been lost?

Maybe a human’s sense of time would be unbearable during a solitary interstellar journey. It could almost certainly devolve towards insanity unless I was a remarkable human indeed. Or perhaps my original human mind was a bit insane to start? As part of an experiment was that madness removed from this consciousness I now possess?

If so, is there a touch of madness necessary to have chosen to make this journey at all?

Then there is the sense of scale. My human mind would have looked to the elements and objects around him for scale. Trees, mountains, clouds. Cats. Caterpillars.

Yet my cybernetic mind considers molecules of hydrogen diffusing in the vacuum of space, intuits the voids between gravity wells, measures the distance light travels from star to my hull.

My human self would have had a consciousness built around serendipity and events and evenings at the pub with other humans. A head full of things that happened and then became stories.

I guess my robot mind is “experiencing” my travel between stars, and events are happening to me. Am I awake? Asleep? Reading logs from my container’s sensors played back as if I were experiencing them now? Are these moments compressed in time from eons into an evening for the telling?

To who do I tell these stories?


NASA image, star cluster

Westerlund 2.

My Cybernetic Daydream, Part 1

One day I would enjoy waking up, quite by surprise, exploring the universe.

When I write the word “exploring” I don’t mean thinking about it while googling the excellent NASA image database. Rather, I mean exploration as an exact replication of my mind, and with it, my personality and curiosity and artistic inclinations.

As I reflect on the notion of interstellar travel as a human being, I would think rather than risk sending my frail body and catching a nasty flu from the exotic fauna of some distant planet, it would be preferable to travel with my consciousness secured in a clever storage medium and build what’s needed once I get there.

If the mood would take me, upon arrival at a rocky planet circling a distant sun, to stretch my legs it would be most efficient to construct the exact legs needed for that walkabout.

Perhaps this fascinating rocky planet has a mass much higher than my familiar body knows back home. Therefore my new legs would need denser material, perhaps be closer to the ground, perhaps not legs at all but instead wheels. Perhaps I might have many small legs, like a centipede has, or a series of coils rather like a Slinky toy.

I might prefer to experience the day, dusk, dawn and night all at once, in which case I would opt for placing my consciousness into a series of probes and settle these into the ground during a choice orbit or two.

Yet what value the seeing if not to share? Therefore I might indulge my fascination with photography and with my clever probes collect the most exciting multidimensional time-lapse souvenirs.

If especially fortunate, I might instead happen upon a planet replete with water and also plant life. In this case it might be interesting to coalesce a beacon of my consciousness upon a tiny probe and deposit this item onto a leaf of a tree, itself projecting from an unusual rock, perhaps overlooking an eastward valley.

Thoughts of the Singularity and uploaded consciousness and the robot’s revolution of futurism and science fiction might seem alien and frightening and very well might be.

Yet my head is in the clouds and the view beyond is simply so vast and exciting to contemplate in a modern way what’s beyond the orbit of our planetary cradle.

Footprint on the moon

Office Ecology

As an adult of mild autistic persuasion, I feel I’m positioned to both experience and articulate my experiences in work roles and the workplace. Naturally, I also have opinions.

Ideally, wherever adults congregate to create something as part of a mutual endeavor, there will be a relatively equal measure of contribution and eliciting the contributions of others. Therein, you have the best solutions to choose from, more than one mind might manage to produce in the same span of time.

It might be argued, as we are of the natural world, that bio-diverse polycultures have an edge over monocultures when it comes to survival. Various plant species sport different chemical resistances to pests and disease, and display varied aptitudes in sensing and making the most of the environment. In combination this can serve to limit the spread of unwelcome influences.

Also present in nature are matriarchal and patriarchal social systems of order, for example in primate social groups. We see many examples of individual organisms thriving in a predator or parasitical relationships with their target species as with the large cats or the tiniest Cordyceps fungi.

My opinion of office environments, from my particular neurological perspective, is that they are functionally a harbor ecosystem teeming with potential action and interactions, populated by tribes of islanders with all the aforementioned qualities.

The office ecosystem itself at best creates inputs to stabilize the continued functioning of the system including location, security, and income, whilst managing external inputs like threat of disaster and competition. Those seep through mediated channels enough to keep the system from becoming static, fostering evolution of the system’s processes.

Enter the human element.

From my perspective I recognize that you can bring the human in from the wild, but that you cannot take the wild out of the human. Without preexisting social or tribal bonds, at best a working team is a hairy (or hairless as the case may be) collection of individuals.

Ritual and working procedures are often codified in a document known as the Employee Handbook.

This particular collection of tribal rules necessarily is designed to both cut across cultural and biological individualism, organize the playing field, impose or encourage a working hierarchy, and protect the business from the consequences of codifying procedure at all.

Now a quality I envy is the ability to influence with unspoken communications. This is a fantastic skill to have, and in most people it is arguably inborn or certainly learned by proxy from an early age. It is a skill that can coax a reluctant lover to bed, compel men to leave home and hearth to war, or win a place of privilege. It’s also useful for skirting or subverting the Employee Handbook whilst minimizing the risks of being caught out.

Alas within office ecosystems we have an imposed hierarchy, which can frustrate individuals of varied persuasion and ambition. In that scenario I begin to see attempts at consolidating influence, position oneself closer to power (seeking power by association) and establishing the modern equivalent of fiefdoms in the workplace with the overt or tacit support of the ‘monarch’ or office management who themselves might see benefit in the misdirection such politics provide.

I wonder at the varied proportions of work activity to political activity, and if it is in our evolutionary history somewhere to curry favor, or seek power by proxy.

Perhaps it is a form of modern de-evolution, or entropy playing out as a natural force in our workplace, unmediated by a higher form of human ambition, that is, the survival of our species.

What I am sure of is that a ratio of work action to political action exceeding say, thirty percent at most, unless honorably managed, confuses collective focus enough to destabilize forward economical progress, and discourages clever problem-solving.

Inevitably the system crashes eventually as drag mounts on a once-agile entrepreneurial environment.

What is your office ecosystem’s characteristics, and how do you rate its odds for survival?

Fun L’il Stamp v1.1 submitted to App Store!

Fun L’il Stamp is a fast, free, fun photo app for iPhone iOS 6, and version 1.1 is almost ready.

This update includes new filters featuring Crayon, Comic and Glow, more sharing options and improved stamp display.

Version 1.1 also features six new looks suited to portraiture by talented young photographer Siiri Kumari.

Fun L’il Stamp sports vastly improved responsive scrolling for large collections, & adds a new level of sharing to Twitter, Instagram, via email or print.

Fun L’il Stamp is free on the App Store: iTunes Link



Fun L'il Stamp's Crayon filter.

Fun L’il Stamp’s Crayon filter.

Fun L'il Stamp's faster wall

Fun L’il Stamp’s faster wall

Fun L'il Stamp's Crayon filter.

Fun L’il Stamp’s Comic filter.

Fun L'il Stamp's Crayon filter.

Fun L’il Stamp’s Crayon filter.

iMessage vs Skype: Screensharing

Setting up screen sharing with a friend:


1. Add cloud account.
2. add friend’s cloud account to Contacts.
3. Add Bonjour account to iMessage.
4. Make AIM account.
5. Add AIM account to iMessage.
6. Add friend’s AIM account to Contacts.
7. Turn on System Preferences->Screen-sharing.
8. Add contact to System Preferences->Screen-sharing.
9. Return to iMessage, CMD-1 to open another chat window.
10. Add buddy.
11. Select screen-share – cannot, it is greyed out.
12. Switch to Skype.


1. Start conversation with contact.
2. Share screen.


Reverse the polarity of the Neutron Flow, he will

In Prague there is, a comic book store named Comics Point. It’s a store, it is, hrmmmm, hrm hm hm.

Caaaaareful must one be in there of the dark side of the force. Faster, more seductive it is.

Unless, you like perilous peril.

I succumbed to these awesome Doctor Who glasses, featuring Tom Baker with a very Jedi-like pose, the better to dominate his arch-enemies, the Daleks (and the Cybermen), with. These remind me most favorably of the awesome ’80s Star Wars drink glasses.

Henceforth, I shall be named…..Darth Neutron!

Destiny of the Daleks...lies upon a different path

These are not the droids you're looking the TARDIS

The Twin Dilemma!

Blackmagic – Cinema Camera – and what it means to me

Blackmagic Design announced at NAB 2012 their new Cinema Camera: 30 fps 2.5k RAW files in 12-bit CinemaDNG format, plus bundled DaVinci Resolve 9.0 color grading software.


My previous video camera was a Sony VX1000e MiniDV, which I used to create nature videos in Canada. This is a major step up :)

Sony DCR VX1000e - Wikipedia

Low-res DV nature video footage link

Currently I take many more photographs than video, and color grading in Lightroom to me is essential and enjoyable. Occasionally I’ll try exposure fusion as well.

My Canon 550D purchase was both an upgrade from the Nikon D40 in still photo resolution and HD video replacement for my Sony VX1000e. Coming from film photography in my teens, what I missed most with the Sony was a selection of lenses.

Click to view my Flickr portfolio.

Getting into the Canon also meant buying EF ‘L’ series lenses and legacy M42 primes for a different feel to the image. The 550D’s APS-C sensor still feels ‘off’ to me due to the crop sensor, but as a price/quality compromise it’s suited to my purposes – light, portable, and excellent quality. Paired with the Magic Lantern hack I get back most of my video functionality.

My TARDIS tour video from the Doctor Who Convention

TARDIS Tour 2012, Doctor Who Convention – Canon 550D + Tokina 11-16mm f2.8

I’m enthusiastic about color grading. Not as enamored with lighting and photographing ‘flat’ to suit the latitude of grading, although it’s the way to go for max choice in post. With the HDSLR it’s back to 8-bit color space. I’d been wishing for a way to combine the bit depth and color processing of my still photos with the higher quality video HDSLRs and lenses offer.

Black Magic Design have manifested my wish into the world.

First though the compromises: first and foremost, sensor size. The imaging sensor is somewhere in between Super-16mm film and Micro 4/3, with a crop factor of around 2.3x compared to 35mm film and full-frame sensors. This translates into less low-light ability and difficulty securing ultra-wide angle shots.

blackmagic cinema sensor size

Now the benefits as I see them, and they are many.

For (less than) the price of a Canon 5D Mark III, I’d have a device that works with my current Canon, M42 and Pentax-M lenses, whilst matching my still photography in terms of bit depth and color correction space.

With a 13-stop dynamic range, forest location contrasts and ‘filmic’ look becomes possible. I can capture footage in a wide variety of settings and have the latitude to explore the emotional impact of a shot in post.

The built-in battery doesn’t bother me at all. An in-built battery does away with all the superflous plastic and metal casing, and functions as a backup for an external battery belt or other technology.

The crop factor gives me pause, mostly because it restricts ultra-wide angle use and shallow depth of field.

I like shallow DOF because in the right context this effect conveys increased intimacy, adding a sense of other-wordly presence to the subject.

Memorial in Prague for Vaclav Havel

That said, the compromise then to me would be to plan the shot and use either the 550D or a 5D Mark II to capture that particular ultra-wide angle of view.

Even at 80% of the dream spec for the purchase I’d access a cinema-presentable quality image that lets me explore the motion sequence in post as I would otherwise explore a still image in Lightroom.

What about lenses?

As for the nature videos, a purchase of a modest Canon EF L 300mm IS lens buys 600mm reach, or 800mm with a 1.4x teleconverter. My PSix 180mm CZK 2.8 lens becomes roughly a 400mm f2.8 lens. Bases covered.

Looking to extreme close-ups, the Cinema Camera will also accept my bellows/extension tubes/macro lens combo, adding cinema quality to my extreme close-up termite, ant and bee photography.

European Paper Wasp

The Cinema Camera chassis is small enough to backpack as I would an SLR, a match with hiking and biking nature locations or walking urban locations. My preference is for composed shots on tripod. I don’t really need the chassis and extras essential in a production setting which a hired professional would bring as a matter of course.

Without hands-on time, my final opinion is positive. Whereas Canon had created an SLR with usable video options, Blackmagic Design have answered with a cinema camera with SLR connectivity.

My vote for Blackmagic’s Cinema Camera: 80% spec, 150% value for the stories I could tell with it out of the box, not another lens needed, for the price of a DSLR. Signed and sold.

On another note, please check out my iPad game, SteamPunk Hockey HD:

Apple Store Link Website: http:www.steampunkhockey

Photographed with Nikon D40


Lately experimenting with photo-blogging my day with the iPhone 4 + Hipstamatic software.*

My first camera was a 126 cartridge affair to which I later added an electronic flash that greatly outweighed the camera itself. I think the 126 instilled a joy of loading objects physically and metaphorically into ports and receptacles. A few short years later during puberty I was gifted a man’s SLR. My first job was in a photo store.

I thought myself a relative purist, respecting the image quality as captured by the camera and considering it a technical art. Any creative retouching in the darkroom then or computer today needed to be done myself. Lately though this habit’s joyfully corrupted using the Hipstamatic + iPhone 4 combination.

Its unobtrusive physicality and somewhat random results are a devil’s distraction to my focus on technical excellence. It’s a way to document my day with creative license while taking care of work around the city of Prague.

I’ve come to think of it as a set of film types and lenses. The software metaphor has invaded my heart and mind. Again I’m carrying around a small camera and it’s a technological joy with retro sensibilities.

Flickr set:

Hipstamatic in Prague

Link to Flickr iPhone set

* The app is based on a camera which really existed: Hipstamatic 100

SteamPunk Hockey HD for iPad unleashed


The boffins at Central Planning are proud to announce SteamPunk Hockey for iPad has been conveyed to the App Store.

Exotic artisans from various points east and west of the globe have generously provided new art for the theme-driven game. ‘Time Traveller‘ and the holiday-themed ‘SteamPumpkin Hallowe’en‘ round out the current offerings to six choice backgrounds.

The fellows in Mechanics have worked both over-time and magic into the iPad offering to produce a new ‘Huddle-phonic’ sensation – up to four players may compete on the iPad electrical device! Man against robot, man against fellow man, a gutter dust-up of two against one, or equal odds for the noble-hearted.

Mechanics have also added a ‘Lucid Re-configuration Circuit’ to redraw the screen as the device is rotated in-hand. Therefore SteamPunk Hockey may be played in any orientation, laterally or vertically.

Lest we forget, the Futurists will have left a note on Central Planning’s desks – how will they have done that? – that sea change is coming to SteamPunkHockeyopolis’ competitive features.


SteamPunk Hockey Pumpkin ScreenSteamPunk Hockey Time Traveller verticalSteamPunk Hockey OrientSteamPunk Hockey EmeraldSteamPunk Hockey menu

SteamPunk Hockey reviewed by MacWorld

SteamPunk Hockey for iPhone was fortunate enough to be noticed by MacWorld for review! Click for iTunes link

SteamPunk Hockey Review

Ye olde air hockey game looks stylish, offers anachronistic fun

by Bryan Schell,

Steampunk is a movement within science fiction and alternative culture which melds futuristic technology with Victorian society and imagery in a quirky, anachronistic way. Think gentlemen in bowler hats and ladies in bodices shooting laser guns while riding flying motorcycles that run on steam and have cogs. If that sounds totally awesome to you, you might want to pick up a little game called Steampunk Hockey. Developed by Kenneth Mayfield, the game’s unique style is ultimately its best selling feature. […]

Read the full review at MacWorld

Read the full review at PCWorld

Read the full review at Business Week