Friday, October 15, 2010

Wood!

So, after many years of holding out, I'm going to get a Warr Guitar
(http://warrguitars.com). There sure are a lot of strings on there,
but that versatility is going to be great. I'm going with the Treg
Gunn Signature model with 12 strings, 12 piezo pickups and 6 MIDI
pickups (which are on the guitar/melody side). The ability to blend
between piezo pickups (which pick up acoustic, physical vibrations as
opposed to magnetic pickups which pick up the string's disturbance of
their magnetic field) and control a MIDI instrument, play melody or
bass with two hands or melody and bass at the same time is going to
give me so much capability. I won't be proficient for a long time, but
I'll be able to do small thing soon. I can't wait.

Not only are there lots of options on the Trey Gunn (and Warr's in
general), the construction is top notch. Warr Guitars are heirlooms.
Mark Warr really gives personalized service helping to figure out
which woods, construction, tuning, and options make the instrument the
customer wants. It's been great to talk with him over email and on the
phone so quickly after my first contact. He works hard to make sure
that he educates the customer on the process such that they can get
the best savings by helping him be as efficient as possible.

When I starting thinking about the construction and materials I
wanted, I really liked this picture:

The top wood on that Phalanx model is really interesting and a break
away from the standard Quilted Maple high end look. Mark let me know
that the wood would cost extra, but as long as everything else works
out, I think it's worth it. It looks awesome.

Have a look at the picture of the Buckeye burl below. That's the wood
Mark found for the top of my and a few other guitars. He thinks he may
be able to get three tops out of it, so that gives you an idea of how
big it is. I'll put more progress updates on here as things get going.
The construction is going to take 4-5 months, so I have plenty of time
to get psyched up to finally play this thing.

Posted via email from Tony Hillerson's Posterous

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cranky Old Men Cranking Away

I'm sure you've all seen this:
http://jnd.org/dn.mss/gestural_interfaces_a_step_backwards_in_usability_1.html.
Of course there are good points, but someone has to help split the
difference in the UI problems they want to fix, because just like
every time Nielson has problems, I have no problems.

Of course they pick on real issues, such as the discoverability of
long-presses and swipes, but they don't mention that there is usually
more than one way to do the things that those gestures are meant to do
(in a well designed app). There should be. That's a real solution, but
Nielson usually brings up problems, not solutions.

There are useful comments in the document. The comments on the
Android/Blackberry back button and menu buttons are useful. All in
all, it's a useful document to read, but as usual, not a lot of the
objections resonate with me, a power user. That's really the problem,
as I see it - helping the user grow into more powerful interactions
with the interface, not solving these problems in a way that
hamstrings more fluid, although less discoverable, interactions.

Posted via email from Tony Hillerson's Posterous

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Avatar - saved by the World

Lori and I just saw Avatar, despite our five month old's apparent
wishes. Even though I had to watch standing on the ramp out of the
theater trying to get our crying kid to sleep, I enjoyed the whole
thing.

Granted, there was a lot that I expected not to like and didn't.
Worn-out tropes and ham-handed, overplayed stereotypes (The
Tank-Brained Soldier, Soulless Big Business, The Noble Savage, Saving
the Earth-Mother, and so on...) are all there at the forefront of most
of the show. And oh my gosh the terrible lines from the soldiers,
especially Michelle Rodriguez. "You're not the only one with guns,
bitch!". What is that?

And sure, 3D, and awesome models and all that. No one will argue that
it didn't look amazing. It's not enough to carry a movie though, and
doesn't have any stamina the better technology gets.

I think Avatar had something more than that: Pandora. Here's why - I
like world building (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worldbuilding). I
like an extremely well crafted world like Pandora with a people like
the Na'vi as much as a good story, and considering the short amount of
time a movie has to tell a story sometimes I prefer the world over the
story.

Of course the Na'vi are there to help someone preach about being in
tune with the environment and all that. But the details that went into
making the Na'vi seem real, *especially* the language
(http://www.learnnavi.org/), were extremely satisfying to me and I
loved exploring the world that we were able to see before the Space
Marines started shooting it up.

I think World Building is an important element to good story telling,
not central perhaps, but often overlooked or poorly done just to get
to the story. I believe a well crafted otherworld holds up a mirror to
our own, and is the part of a story that has the most power to engage
our imagination.

Anyhow, that's why I liked Avatar.

Posted via email from Tony Hillerson's Posterous

Monday, January 25, 2010

Want to learn how to make an Android app?

I'll be hosting a series of online workshops through CreativeTechs and O'Reilly Training from February 9th through March 16th. More information here:http://training.oreilly.com/androidapps-java/

It'll be a real good time, and you'll get a solid understanding a of a lot of useful features of the Android SDK.

Posted via email from Tony Hillerson's Posterous

Friday, January 22, 2010