Index of Articles
NorthWest CyberArtists

Einar's articles from the NWCA Newsletter.

Important Note: These articles are history, dude, and all references to upcoming meetings and contact addresses and phone numbers and other things that change with time should be ignored. I decided to leave them in for readability.

Common Ground - June 1994

It's sad in one way to see Star Trek The Next Generation jumping onto the big screen. I'll miss the strange moments of inspiration that I got from it on a weekly basis. Of course we'll have reruns forever, but I'll miss the fresh stuff. Yes, I know there'll be another series, but the first year is always awkward. It's like moving and getting new friends. It takes a while to get comfortable with everything.

The talk about the show's retirement has started me thinking about how broadcast television has become a universal medium in the U.S.. Almost any member of our society has access to a TV, and with that in mind I think about other people who might be sharing an experience when I'm watching a program.

I'm thinking about universal mediums now because of the poking around that I've been doing on the Multi-Media front. I've been trying to size up the potential audience, and one thing is immediately obvious--anything that is designed for use on a computer will not be available to "everybody". And the relative few who do own computers don't all have the same kind. As I still know people without VCRs or answering machines--or even a desire to get one--how much hope do I have that if I hand someone a CD- rom in one particular format they'll be running the same hardware as I do?

I'm used to distributing music or words on a very standard media like cassette, paper or floppy disk that pretty much everybody can use in their own homes. I'm sort of disgusted with the several formats of CD- roms on the market. CD-I, MAC, PC for example. Maybe it's like VHS/BETA all over again and eventually there will be some sort of common ground, but it doesn't do the small time guy much good to have several formats out there. It costs a lot to support multiple formats if you have to produce several mostly identical products. Interestingly, a friend at work got junk mail from CyberSex and it seems that they understand compatability problems. They market a "virtual reality sex simulator" that requires no computer at all. For like $40.00 or so.

Yeah, sure.

I wish I wasn't so spoiled by high resolution displays, 16 bit stereo sound, animations and so on. It would sure be easier to find common ground on the lower levels of technology. I haven't gotten bored with the straight text information I find on Compuserve or the Internet. I'm stimulated by the act of pulling information out of my telephone line and the fun of doing a bit of digging and experimenting to get the right stuff. I hope straight text will always have a place on CD-rom.

I downloaded a 41 page document on CompuServe in the Multi-Media forum. It covers most aspects of the hardware and software requirements for making the little buggers work. It also lists costs for making your own CD-roms and addresses and phone numbers of duplication houses. I would like to get every interested party together briefly at the next meeting (if you're not completely whacked to silliness by the Electronic Cafe) and set up a separate meeting for the CD-rom project. We need to talk about content. It appears that there are several people who are thinking about what they could submit, and I expect that once we get some of the bugs worked out, there will be more coming in. If we include video and audio from the Synesthetics show, it might be fun to have voice overs and descriptions provided by the people involved. It would give you a chance to explain the details of your setup to the world!

Gee, maybe we should be keeping a video or photographic record of the various projects being built for BFF. Maybe we should be thinking about an interactive presentation that shows the stages of construction from the drawing on the napkin to completion

I know we're not going to be outdoing Peter Gabriel here, but we might as well try.

Regarding the audio CD project, it seems at first glance that we can fill it up in short order. Don't be afraid to submit something for it! If you need help - just let me know. I'm still figuring we can just split the cost of mastering and duplicating, which should amount to relatively little, depending upon how many people are involved. If enough people have material ready, we could master this this month. Let's talk!

If you want to submit something don't hesitate - please call me or see me at the next meeting - or on June 4th at my next show.

This will be the last performance in Seattle for some time for Eric Muhs of the Metal Men. I'm glad to get one more chance to play with him. Also on the bill (at this writing) is Rob Angus, whose style of music transports you to other planes. He is fascinating to watch and hear. Julius Brown will project his computer based visuals which were seen at the Synesthetics show. I will be bringing in a bunch of my older controllers, like the MIDItrees & Speaking Orbs, as well some new projects.

See ya!

Enough! Back to!

Einar Ask /