Off the Top: Simulation Entries

March 22, 2007

Las Vegas is First Life's Attempt at Second Life

I arrived in Las Vegas last night feeling slightly out of sync with the world around me. I realized that Las Vegas is the First Life's version of Second Life. When I mentioned this to a friend in a chat they stated, "but the people are real". This was after I had just come through the Las Vegas Airport, which was filled with people who looked as if they just stepped out of Second Life.

Las Vegas seems to have taken the User Experience and turned it up to eleven. Everything is synthetic, which is horribly disconcerting. When manufacturing user experience we must have a foundation on the real to build upon and shape things from. Las Vegas has no foundation in the real as it uses manufactured experiences as its foundation for building upon, there is no firm ground to use as context as it is all manufactured.

When I go to New York, London, or Amsterdam there is a flood of real experiences to use a frameworks for building a user experience. These places have a firm ground to build augmented or shaped experiences on top of, but Las Vegas has only a foundation in the plastic and manufactured. In Second Life there is the option to close that world and rejoin the grounded experience, but Las Vegas that button is a car, plane, or bus out.

This morning I went in search of the 24 hour breakfast in the massive hotel, only to find it served at a restaurant that did not open until 6am (0600). In this purely synthesized world their is no irony in this as it only a play on reality, which uses the unreal as a foundation. The only options for breakfast at 5:30am were Technicolor gelato and alcohol.

I was sure Las Vegas was based on Second Life (or the converse) when a dear friend stated he was trying to get a tour of Hoover Dam and other local sights by helicopter. He seeming had found the fly button in Las Vegas.

March 22, 2005

Audio Spatial Relationships in Jazz Trio Recordings

This morning on the way into work I was listening to some music from the jazz pianist Benny Green. There was something that seemed quite odd. It took me a few minutes to put my finger on it, but I finally got it. The audio image was backwards, that is to say left was right and vice versa. Having played the piano for years the sound was mapped completely wrong for me. I expect to have the bass notes in the left ear and the treble in the right, just as it would be were I sitting at the piano.

Since I have had my Sure E2C (the best mobile headphones I have ever owned) I have had to re-rip many CDs to get a better sound quality as the music sounded clipped. I am a huge fan of jazz music and particularly big band and trios each for vastly different reasons. I love big band jazz because of the breadth and depth of the sound. A large horn section can really move me with volume and richness, but a really tight big band (one that move swiftly as one) has me in awe. A trio is the opposite for me, the individuals stand out in the purity of each of the player's talents working together to blend as one. In the trio individual textures are readily apparent like grains of wood showing through in a polished piece of fine furniture.

So why did the "incorrect" sound mapping bother me? When listening to jazz on headphones the only place a spatial separation can be heard in the manner represented is sitting at the keyboard. With a grand piano or at an upright the sound emitting from the piano is greatly diffused, even by the short distance, and the sound can only be heard as one voice from coming out of the piano, not the individual strings nor the left and right.

The problem is most likely attributed to the mike placement during recording. Most often piano is recorded from within the body, with the mike(s) facing the player, hence reversing the spatial relationship. The only way to replicate this sound in person is to sit in the body of a grand piano, which is not usual, nor recommended seating.

Is there a program that will reverse the left and right channels? This is going to bug me to no end. I can not put my headphones in the wrong ears as they do not fit and really do not work that way.

April 1, 2003

Programming for Information Architects

Andrew Otwell provides a fantastic article at Boxes and Arrows Programming for Information Architects. This is a great overview for those IAs that are not familiar with programming. Heck it is a good resource for anybody not familiar with programming.

February 12, 2002

Web Page Design for Designers offers a browser size test that lets us choose the pixel size of the browser, Mac or PC, and IE or Netscape to view our pages. This tool is a great one for our tool belt. [hat tip xblog]

January 27, 2002

Studio360 examines emergence with Steven Johnson (having Real Player will help with your enjoyment of the show). Steven Johnson is the author of EMERGENCE: The Connected Lives Of Ants, Brains, Cities, And Software, which has me quite intrigued (and Amazon seems to think the same for me as it is my top recommended book).

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