Another full redesign is in-process *Caution* Man working ….

I’ve decided to strip down the style and design of the site again. I’ve only just now (after a week on & off) felt satisfied with the new albeit temporary…presentation of this particular node on the Web.
I’ve written a heavy amount of PHP and CSS again, though they are not technically “programming languages” per se, they ARE subject to almost as many quirky dependencies, rules unique unto themselves; which are inviolable and require extensive research and testing to deploy. Hopefully you will find the site a bit more pleasing to the eye, faster, more secure, more responsive and easier to navigate.
In the meantime it is only fair to announce that we are officially “under construction,” so if you see something strange over the next few days, that’s my fault…. I’ve tested about half the “use cases” (things you might do, read, watch, listen to, click on or use in some form or another). Earlier today, the music uploaded to the private section of the site and the archived prototype podcasts vanished, they were unplayable due to bad PHP writing on my part.
I’m 90 percent sure you can watch all videos, listen to all music, podcasts, read all posts, view all artwork/snaphots/pix, read my stories, search the site, click on links and find the content you are looking for easily, quickly and regardless of device, OS, browser, ISP and service type (4g, 3g, WiFi, Ethernet, Cable, DSL …..). Before I drift off tonite, You can be certain that all of the “common use cases” are functional and that within a week, the lesser-used functions (commenting, guest-posting, all sidebar tools) work exactly as you’d expect them to.
Still on the to-do list is MORE formatting and design of the 2015 style and theme…. an audit of all media on the site (delete unused pictures, audio, video, dead links and raw text-data) an audit of all advertisers being served via Google AdWords to ensure compliance with our ethics and MY morals plus an audit of page-load speed. This will include a further dress-down and rewrite of JS, CSS, HTML and PHP. *Phew*
Thank you for hanging with me throughout your tenure as a reader! I’m working on some devastatingly interesting podcasts, stories, news, editorials….and maybe even a decent joke. No promises about bringing the funny, but you KNOW I always try!
For those about to waste time on the Web at The SoCal Picayune (or whatever sites you’d rather NOT acknowledge… “WE SA-LOOOOOT YOU!!!!!!!!!” -Ed

In the meantime, for testing and shameless promotion why not check out one of my soon-to-be-audited, yet generous sponsors? If the redesign is going well, an advertisement will display below, if you visit them, you help to support the site and me personally a great deal–no obligation to do so, or even to LOOK at one of my ads. As part of a long-term promise, there is nothing for sale on this site, so when I hint-hint-wink-wink-wink-nudge-nudge ask you to check out a sponsor I am NOT endorsing their product or suggesting that you spend a penny. A few seconds of your time however…I must confess, I do suggest as an easy way to support those who keep the site running, the hardware it runs on and the crazy publisher that does WAY more work on it than he should. *Ahem* wink-wink-nudge-nudge -From the Publisher’s desk with love, C “T” W


From static frames to animation – JavaScript, Java & Processing; coding Art ….

As part of my research, I endeavored to build a frame and tile itevenly…as you would a column in a upscale restaurant, or as Billy-Buster tiled his lesser-known below-ground pool in the hilltop paradise above San Simeon. Drawing squares, keeping track of their quantity, position and spacing proved unweildy. So back to the drawing board I turned. The first task was to completely fill a window with squares, evenly spaced, uniformed – no holes. My first breakthrough was a rectangular grid – from the drawing board I found that instead of looping to keep track of the squares (their origins in CGI coordinates space, their quantity, when to drop down a row, when to stop building them…) oy! I located a KISS-simple solution in the following functions and abstract data types:

Click to see it transform.
Some tweaks to a nested-for loop, appropriate “pops” nee popMatrix(); and the careful application of a “random” number generator to produce cool-colored tiles —but not TOO cool — experiment yielded a random range in Green and Blue to give the tiles a watery sheen, sans magenta, indigo, dark purple and the like. For personal intersest and further research I added a mouse event that slows down the animation, eliminates the thin black borders on each tile and zooms in on the whole operation.
At long last “Random dynamic & cool tiles” is up for public consumption:
I could see a pool in Laguna, LA, Vegas or Laughlin with swanky, swarthy, light-up tiles in a pool or on a wall of it’s club …. Bill R. Hearst would be pleased…I like to think so.
Next – I thought about Neil Degrasse Tyson. He says that the “snow” we see on the “TV channels in-between TV channels,” (something our Millennial friends may never fully appreciate…) is ACTUALLY a visual representation of the background radiation that’s permeated the Universe since the Big Bang. UHF & VHF cathode-ray displays pick up this noise and spit out the “ssshhhhhhhh” and the black, white & gray snow we may’ve found on Channel 1 or 3. Mostly, it was annoying and caused us to quickly dial up to CBS, PBS, NBC, FOX or ABC to see what was cookin’….but in the context of nostalgia, the scientific implication of looking back seven trillion years; this “snow” is worth an emulation. Using similar logic I fashioned version 1. The snow doesn’t dance around the screen, but the small circular “flakes” and the way they appear to move based on random gray-scale shadings is a nice start. It looks like they move – kinda.
^^^^I slowed the frame rate down to avoid headaches.
After random “cool” I had to attempt random “warm” –this graphic reminds me of a HollyWood or Vegas marquee. Bright lights seize attention; underscoring the glitz and glamour purported to be found within. The difference is that I think the bulbs this animation emulates are controlled in strict, looping sequences as opposed to my random flashes of “bright” colors controlled by logic.
This animation reminds me of the “Sushi”scene from “Defending Your Life” — Albert Brooks’ barmate proudly states that his life accomplishment was coining the phrase “All Nude. (You know those strip clubs out by LAX? ….“) You needn’t be a fan of his quirky brand of humor to get huge kick out this classic.
That said, I FINALLY got the computer graphic programs to not only display but animate! The “random- (random number generators are not TRULY random, but they are close)-ness” of the algorithms give the displays a kind of innate ability for the computers to create something of THEIR OWN — MY LOGIC & Design—> the computers’ brushstrokes.
All of the “sketches” (as they call them) on my new OpenProcessing Profile are completely original – designed, built, tested, tweaked and deployed by this writer. If you visit my new page & graphics, the source code is easily visible. Feel free to reproduce it yourself, or make changes/improvements to it. You will find that all of them are optimized –nee “code-golfed.” I designed these algorithms to use the fewest lines of code, fewest commands and simplest logic to add a layer of mathematical elegance to the aesthetic of each sketch. Please feel free to download my source code…just plz note that all of them are intellectual property- if you plan to use them in a public/educational or commercial setting…just ask! chris@tapper7.com
More coming soon….plus a litany of fresh podcasts – “I swear it by the old gods & the new.” -t []

Chris Welke: a writer’s bio…

The following is a draft of my writer/ed/proofer professional autobiography, in excruciatingly brief detail…it’s like saying JFK’s dad was into politics, so he got into it too, did ok, won some elections, became president, got shot. Then died. Enjoy dear reader I’ve been at it all day, but you all know how much I love to write to you…and besides, what better topic is there than…me? (I would put a winky face, but I agree with Larry David those symbols are “[part of] the destruction of the English language,” so I’m weening off emoticons….IS THAT OK WITH YOU???? huh……w…w…wha??? whut?)

It is standard operating procedure at major metropolitan newspapers to write stories at no more than an eighth-grade level. The same goes for Web sites and the majority of printed material. The majority of readers in North America will find anything written at a HS level or higher difficult to understand. In second grade, I began reading Stephen King novels, I’m a longtime fan of Roland, the Last Gunslinger and his infinite quest for The Dark Tower. My parents are both teachers and nurtured my love of reading by allowing me access to the same books adults were reading. My second grade teacher checked in on our reading progress by opening  books to a random page and saying, “what is going on on this page?” I was reading “Cujo” at the time, she happened upon a page that forced me to describe an especially horrific revenge scene that plumbs the depths of male depravity…My teacher strongly advised that I not be allowed to read adult novels, but my parents knew that by the time I was seven, to have me read any novels NOT for adults would waste my time, not expand my vocabulary and even the Scholastic teen-reader type books were a waste of money because I could read a 200 page book in one sitting. That’s the kind of voracious reader I am. I do not own a television. I prefer the magic and elegance of the written word. 

I finished HS in the 98th percentile statewide (a cross product of SAT scores, AP and college-prep coursework, extra-curricular (all music), volunteer work and GPA). This granted me entrance to the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo College of Engineering, where I stayed until I decided I wanted to be a writer/editor, not a code-writer. I advanced quickly through the College of Liberal Arts, Working at The Mustang Daily as a reporter, KCPR as a reporter, then News Director and interning at KVEC, the local Clear Channel Affiliate. Through dedication and a passion for storytelling, I graduated at the top of my Journalism class in 2004, winning The Ed Zuchelli Award for Outstanding Senior Broadcaster (2003-2004) and The Dept. Chair’s Award for Leadership in Journalism (2003-2004).
I worked as a professional brass musician for a year after graduation in the SF bay area and returned home when the gigs started to slow down. I took a job as a process server. Frequently the lawyers I worked for needed to investigate and occasionally track down the people they wanted to sue, often with little information to go on. Not a safe job, but a fun one for me…I love to research, investigate, solve problems and find people who do not want to be found. Private investigations are the good journalists’ stock-in-trade. Gas prices effectively voided this as a profitable job by early 2006.
Shortly thereafter, I found myself contracted to work at Metagenics, Inc. Makers of professional quality dietary supplements. I worked my way up from temporary assembly-line laborer to a litany of middle-mgmt titles including Purchasing, Scheduling, Assembly line lead, mechanic, technician, QA/QC technician, Private Label Expediter and one promotion later I traded in my lab coat for a suit where I was given the honorable title of Label Routing Coordinator, responsible for over 2000 SKUs, most of which would route for a variety of reasons on a regular basis (formula changes, Marketing redesigns, Sales copy revisions, Legal/Regulatory Affairs changes). I sat in between the Ops director and the Marketing Director.
A major routing, such as that for a new product or reformulation would need to route through every department imaginable, think of it as each department being the spokes on a wheel and ME being the axle on which that wheel turned. Once I’d mediated, negotiated and settled on a finalized label, it was me who signed off on the final draft and could place the PO for x-thousand labels to be printed in my capacity as Sr. Proofreader and Publishing Scheduler and Planner. That was a great honor and made the best use of my talents, exp. and education. To my knowledge I have never approved one label, template, marketing brochure or Web page with a single error on it.
My brain zeroes in on spelling errors, grammar problems, run-on sentences, punctuation errors, poor organization, poor structure of prose and the like. I find mistakes daily in the LA Times and it frustrates me, even my beloved Dark Tower books are littered with egregious errors. Editing and proofing is my strongest professional suit by a wide margin. I’m very left-brained, so editing comes easier than writing. That’s why I chose Journalism…it is hard to create a new story, but easy, fascinating and fun to take stories from real life and report them in a uniquely informative, comprehensive yet concise and clear manner. All the fiction I write in my spare time is based on real events from my life. All the characters are based on real people or a conglomeration of two or three personalities. Much like Robert Crumb or F. Scott Fitzgerald, the male lead in my stories is usually me, or some kind of abstraction of me.
Whether you are writing a screenplay, book, novella, short story, column, news blurb, blog or photo-caption, I can and WILL help you – because that is what I love to do…help other writers realize their full potential. Let’s create something great together. -cw

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