Cool links collected from around the web from my Pocket. Click through to the original post for commentary.
Pocket Lint (links for 2020-07-11)
- The Virtual Production of The Mandalorian, Season One - We finally relented on a Disney+ subscription in order to watch Hamilton but got sidetracked by The Mandalorian. This vid explains the use of an enormous LED screen to display virtual sets created in Unreal Engine that actually light the actors.
- Facial mocap comes to Unreal Engine via new iPhone app - Everything that's difficult and expensive to do in movies, coming soon to an App Store Near You.™
- New Stuff, Fresh from Larson's Lab - New comics from The Far Side creator and personal hero, Gary Larson.
- The Obscuratory review of Obsidian - Obsidian was one of several surreal Myst-inspired computer games that my wife and I played obsessively in the early 2000s. This review talks about the history of the game's development, from an era when playing a computer game meant switching between several CD-ROMs.
- Light and Shadows - A lengthy explanation of how light "works," with cool HTML5 canvas widgets to play with.
Posted July 11, 2020
Pocket Lint (links for 2020-06-20)
- JustSketchMe - cool webapp that lets you pose a virtual mannequin to use as drawing reference. Although I dunno, I can Google some photo reference in far less time than it'd take me to pose the model just so.
- CreatureBox on IG - one of my favorite illustration accounts.
- The Hope & Tragedy of TSR West - (podcast) the story of how TSR, the company that created Dungeons & Dragons, tried and failed to break into comic books.
- Why TSR Failed - (podcast) more stories on the downfall of TSR.
- Adventures On A Dime - Cool light-rules RPG system with only three character abilities. I like the idea of a super-low cognitive load ruleset.
- The Return of the 90s Web - server-only rendering, blogrolls, webrings -- I want to believe.
Posted June 20, 2020
Pocket Lint, Personal opsec edition
- Use A Passphrase - instead of a password, generate a passphrase you can actually remember that takes centuries to crack.
- Generate a secure username - generate a gibberish username instead of using the same one everywhere.
- The Best Password Managers - programs that can store all your passwords behind a master password, with browser plugins that can auto-fill online forms.
- The Crash Override Resource Center - tons of guidance on how to secure your accounts and devices, and be safer online.
- Data Is a Toxic Asset, So Why Not Throw It Out? - Why do companies hold on to your data for so long? Because it makes them money. Also: laziness.
- Why OPSEC Is for Everyone, Not Just for People with Something to Hide - 3-part article that outlines the security risks of our increasingly-digital lifestyle. A big part of reducing these risks is simply being aware they exist and taking simple precautions.
Posted May 31, 2020
Pocket Lint (links for 2020-05-23)
- Dungeon Sketcher by probabletrain@: the alpha version of Keir's amazing dungeon-sketching app is available as a Patreon reward; their Twitter account is full of drool-worthy demo videos.
- De Re Atari: A Guide to Effective Programming: I didn't have this book when I owned an Atari 800 in the 1980s, and it probably would have gone over my head then, but I read through most of it this week and I'm surprised at how much I grok now even if I've never written assembly. That site design gives me major nostalgia feels.
- PVP 3.0: Scott Kurtz reboots his long-running webcomic and I am here for it.
- David Bowie on why you should never play to the gallery: "If you feel safe in the area you're working in, you're not working in the right area."
Posted May 23, 2020
Pocket Lint (links for 2020-05-12)
- Dyson Logos' dungeon map Photoshop brush - ughhhh so cool, just a demo for now.
- Can I future-proof my webcomics? - Steve Conley formats his comics five different ways to accomodate different devices and platforms.
- Rebel: A Rogue One Story - cool-looking Star Wars fanfic comic, pay-what-you-like.
- Social Distancing with Richard Marx - yes, that Richard Marx, having candid videochats with his famous friends. Paul Stanley, Duff MacKagan, Jane Lynch, and others.
- Robert Fripp and the League of Crafty Guitarists on VH-1 New Visions (1998) - I had almost forgotten about Robert Fripp's baffling guitar army of the '90s.
Posted May 12, 2020
Pocket Lint, D&D edition
- D&D 5e character sheet for dyslexia: Unique illustrated 5e character sheet designed for children and people with dyslexia (and also people like me who don't like squinting at tiny-font stat blocks).
- The Adventurer's Domestic Handbook: a guide for running domestic activities in D&D, such as homesteading, marriage, raising a family, running a business.
- Simplified RPG miniatures: cool, stylized minis that look like videogame characters.
- Jim Zub on D&D data in 2019: the author of Skullkickers looks at the State of Dungeons and Dragons 2019.
- Miguel Zavala's 3D-printable miniatures: nearly every creature in D&D as a downloadable printer file.
- Open5E: the core "open" 5th edition ruleset, in a very easy-to-use website.
- RPG Cards: software for print-your-own spell cards. Requires a JSON file of spell data, which you can probably find online if you look around.
Posted May 1, 2020
Pocket Lint (links for 2020-04-24)
- Facebook Container extenstion for Firefox: loads Facebook in a separate, sandboxed frame to limit what tracking FB can do while you use it.
- Grokking Algorithms - an illustrated guide!
- Interactive web animation with SVG by Cassie Evans | CSSCAMP 2019 (YouTube): never enough time to learn all the cool stuff.
- Drawing Faces From Any Angle (YouTube)
- Perspective Grid v1.12: generate a perspective grid, snapshot it, drop it into your illustration software.
- Artbreeder: AI-generated human faces and art is amazing, terrifying, and something we'll just have to figure out how to deal with. See also: I Am Very Excited About Artbreeder
- A Conspiracy To Kill IE6: how early YouTube engineers influenced the tech world at large to scare users off of Internet Explorer 6.
- Heimat Der Katastrophe: this is astounding. Cassette-only ambient synth "dungeon drone" music, some of which come with a full D&D adventure printed on the cassette sleeve. Apparently these sell out in minutes.
Posted April 24, 2020
Out-Growing jQuery - Tech.Pro. Neat tutorial re-creating some of jQuery's base functionality.
My teenaged daughter has recently started a webcomic. Could you give her one piece of advice that has helped you and one piece of advice that absolutely has not? Joel Watson's great advice for making (and sticking to making) any kind of art.
Don’t worry about merch. Worry about making good comics. Dont worry about getting more readers. Worry about making good comics. Don’t EVER compare your perceived success to that of your peers. You don’t know their situation, or how they came about what you think they have that you might want for yourself. Just worry about making good comics. Never envy your peers money, readers or success (sounds a lot like the last one right? That’s because it’s super important.) Instead, envy how hard they’ve worked and try to emulate that. Also, just worry about making good comics.
Posted February 22, 2014
Thursday reading: Second Act edition
The Ivory Sofa: Is There Life After Fifty for a Songwriter?. The answer is yes. In fact, you're largely better off once you're out of your 30s.
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal: 11 Lifetimes. "Because HOVERBIKE!"
Doc Searls on Steve Jobs. Searls' amazing predictions on the fate of Apple upon Steve Jobs' return as CEO in 1997.
The simple fact is that Apple always was Steve's company, even when he wasn't there. The force that allowed Apple to survive more than a decade of bad leadership, cluelessness and constant mistakes was the legacy of Steve's original Art. That legacy was not just an OS that was 10 years ahead of the rest of the world, but a Cause that induced a righteousness of purpose centered around a will to innovate -- to perpetuate the original artistic achievements.
Find The Thing You're Most Passionate About, Then Do It On Nights And Weekends For The Rest Of Your Life. Soul-crushing Onion satire that inspired today's Reading.
Posted March 21, 2013
The PA Report - Artists wanted: how Brian Fargo and inXile are revolutionizing asset creation for Wasteland 2. They're crowdsourcing 3D items for their game. In another reality, I'm a 3D asset artist. (Wasteland is the inspiration for the Fallout games.)
What I’m trying to say is: let 2013 be the year you finally do that creative thing that you’ve been putting off. Don’t worry about how you’re going to start, just start. Make something. Connect with people through your art. Just do it. … Art is humanity’s only real opportunity at immortality. People are finite, ideas are infinite.
Seth's Blog: True professionals don't fear amateurs. Remember this the next time someone tells you that technology-enabled newbies are wrecking their profession:
The best professionals love it when a passionate amateur shows up. The clarity and intelligence of a smart customer pushes both client and craftsman to do better work.
Gifted college professors don't fear online courses. Talented web designers don't fear cloud services. Bring them on! When you need something worth paying for, they say, we'll be here. And what we'll sell you will be worth more than we charge you.
If you're upset that the hoi polloi are busy doing what you used to do, get better instead of getting angry.
Study Hacks » Blog Archive » Does Luck Matter More Than Skill?. I love this. We like to talk about the "lucky break" but I really think we should separate "luck" from "break." Luck implies something fluffy and mysterious, beyond your control, while a break is an opportunity that comes along as a result of sustained work (but you still have to "catch" it). Plus: did you know that Arnold won a Golden Globe long BEFORE his Conan role? I did not!
Posted January 8, 2013
Tuesday reading: TV, the Oatmeal redux, Instagram
SketchBook - Calum Alexander Watt. The second half of this video features an amazing digital painting tutorial.
The Revolution Was Televised: The Cops, Crooks, Slingers and Slayers Who Changed TV Drama Forever, by Alan Sepinwall. A retrospective of TV's new golden era, from Oz to Breaking Bad. I read a few excerpts online, bought the Kindle edition and am completely riveted.
I wrote a response to Jack Stuef's BuzzFeed article about me - The Oatmeal. (NSFW) The creator of the beloved webcomic is unmarried, misunderstood, and a Democrat. (Also: way to go, me. Still, rape jokes: just don't.)
Instagram says it now has the right to sell your photos | Politics and Law - CNET News. To riff on a quote Billboard analyst Glenn Peoples, at least Spotify pays creators something.
Posted December 18, 2012
Friday reading: CC, XOXO, the Oatmeal unmasked and a new D&D comic
Creative Commons turns 10 – Jeffrey Zeldman Presents The Daily Report. Happy 10th birthday, CC!
The Secrets Of The Internet's Most Beloved Viral Marketer - BuzzFeed. The creator of the beloved webcomic The Oatmeal is fit, attractive, nerd-pandering and Republican. (And who cares? But hey everyone, stop making rape jokes, seriously.)
Table Titans. Super-excited for this one! Scott Kurtz of PvP and The Trenches teams up with Wizards of the Coast to produce an official long-form D&D comic. Subscribed to this SO HARD.
Posted December 7, 2012
Immutable/Inscrutable: Forget piracy. The music industry’s biggest money-loser is an inability to connect with older people that used to spend money on music, and don’t anymore. Mike Doughty of Soul Coughing, now a solo artist, makes a case for marketing music to adults:
Unfortunately, our business is utterly focused on strategies to get music in front of people in their teens and 20s. Other than pushing what worked on younger people, and complaining that those avenues are ineffective with those same fans as adults, the bulk of our business isn’t TRYING to reach older listeners.
In my view, labels and artists alike simply suck at reaching anyone. Crappy, crippled tools, poor execution, a preoccupation with their own navels, and an unwillingness to stick it out for the long haul. It goes way beyond making people comfy at shows.
There Are Over 200 Bodies on Mount Everest, And They’re Used as Landmarks | Smart News. When you die on Everest, you become a trail marker, forever.
The Reality of Mainstream Creator-Owned Comics | Zub Tales. The creator of Skullkickers tells a sobering tale of just how hard it is to make money in the indie comics biz.
Alpha Colony Kickstarter misses $50K goal by $28. Just awful.
Posted December 3, 2012
Writing Wednesdays: Something Unique To Say. Wise words from Steven Pressfield:
It may help, the next time you hear that voice in your head that says you have nothing original to say, to remember that that voice is not coming from the part of your self that you write from, or paint from, or shoot film from. That voice is coming from the shallow end of the pool. Stay in the deep end.
Studio Neat — It Will Be Exhilarating. From the guys who made the Glif, a great little book about jump-starting a business, with tips on manufacturing, prototyping, etc.
Latest from Andrew Norsworthy Shows Off His Badass Guitar Playing and Equally Strong Voice - Seattle - Music - Reverb. My buddy Andrew gets some serious local press lovin'. Go listen to his latest album at his Bandcamp page.
Mastering for iTunes - Tutorials & Training | lynda.com. A free video tutorial by producer Bobby Owinski.
Penny Arcade - World of Warcraft. Big curated list of WOW-themed Penny Arcade comic strips.
Nnewts by Doug TenNapel. Newish adventure web comic from the creator of Earthworm Jim. Lush colors and awesome art. I've been reading since the start and am totally hooked.
Posted November 29, 2012
Weekend reading: music, habits and games
Paris Review – Return Engagement: An Interview with Rebecca Gates, Peter Terzian. Rebecca Gates led the Spinanes in the 90s.
I never stopped playing live shows, and never stopped writing, but I stopped doing the business side of it, and stopped that cycle of finishing a record and having people say, Well, now you have to do something different to maintain our interest. I was relieved to step away from that craziness.
The PA Report - Slender creator Mark Hadley talks Amnesia, H.P. Lovecraft, music, and how to get horror right. The article that led me to mess around with Unity. Also: the game is terrifying. I had to quit because I couldn't stop jumping out of my skin.
Posted August 18, 2012
Weekend reading: 'everything you know is wrong' edition
The Outfield - California Sun - Replay 2011 - YouTube. The return of one of my favorite bands from my youth, sounding exactly the same.
Results from our Audio Poll: Neil Young and High-Definition Sound. Nearly half of the people surveyed for this article could not tell the difference between an uncompressed WAV file and a compressed iTunes AAC file.
Lefsetz Letter » Blog Archive » You’ve Got To Be There For The Accident. Participation is mandatory. The next time some musician is bitching at you about how the internet and piracy is destroying everything, check their website (if they have one) and see how many gigs they're playing, the date of their last release, the number of fans in their fanclub.
HBO Has Only Itself To Blame For Record 'Game Of Thrones' Piracy - Forbes. And this more or less outlines why I'm agreement with The Oatmeal (NSFW) and not Andy Ihnatko. It's bad enough when a popular show like GoT isn't available, but we don't just watch anymore. We tweet, we blog, we share, we make funny Team Lanister! t-shirts and head-on-a-stake cake pops and we can't participate because there's only one way to legally experience the show. Scarcity ain't like it used to be.
Posted May 11, 2012
Weekend reading: random edition
Make Your Parents Proud | You Offend Me You Offend My Family. Nerdcore rapper and Kirby Krackle cohort Adam Warrock on taking the leap:
“What do your parents think?!”
It’s been about two years since I quit my job as a lawyer to be an indie rapper, and I still get that question more than any other.
If your work is filled with the hope and longing for applause, it's no longer your work--the dependence on approval has corrupted it, turned it into a process where you are striving for ever more approval.
Amanda Palmer, Kickstarter, and Everything – Whatever. SF writer John Scalzi, who I tiptoed past at ECCC once because I was too chicken to say hello, has a great analysis of Amanda Palmer's Kickstarter campaign.
Does "Mastered for iTunes" matter to music?. Short answer: OF COURSE IT DOES. I'd wager more people own earbuds than home stereo equipment. Interesting tidbit about how Rick Rubin influenced the sound quality of iTunes files.
Spam-erican Apparel « DIS Magazine. A look at the dark, weird side of print-on-demand. I've used Zazzle lots of times for short-run shirts and mugs and the quality is better than most. That said, yeah, there's no real cost to creating anything on Zazzle so people are free to create a zillion shirts in the hope they'll appeal to a few customers.
Posted May 4, 2012
Weekend reading (long reads edition)
"It’s a weird place to be, feeling like you have succeeded, only to get to the point where you literally have zero idea what to do anymore."
I felt exactly like this in 2008, although my definition of "success" was getting SYFY out the door.
Stargate and Ester Dean, Making Music Hits : The New Yorker. Oh na-na, what's my name? I knew that most pop hits were constructed like this these days, but it's fascinating to read a play-by-play like this article. Also, never heard of a "top-liner" until now.
How one man escaped from a North Korean prison camp | World news | The Guardian. Far, far, worse than any dystopian fiction I've read, and it's real. Grim and riveting.
Watch: Bruce Springsteen's 2012 SXSW Keynote Speech : NPR. An hour long and worth every second if you're a musician and looking for reasons to stay in the game.
When you hear somebody go "well of course he could do it, he's Kevin Smith"—those same assholes, before I did it, were like "it's never gonna work, it's dumb, he crazy". And then when it worked, they didn't go like "you know what? we were wrong"—instead they say "well only he could do it because he's Kevin Smith" and I say horseshit.
It's always tempting to attribute someone's success to where they are right now, as if the previous 10-20 years of taking risks and doing the scary hard work didn't count for anything.
Posted March 31, 2012
Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture Production Blog: The 6 Steps To Set Up Your Monitor Speakers. This helped me immensely with my home studio. DIY'ers like me don't have the benefit of a treated room.
Ethan Hein's Blog › Jay-Z and Alan Lomax. The chain of copyright can be damn crazy.
Windows Metro IE will ship plug-in free. The mobile version of Windows 8, Metro, will not have any plug-in preinstalled, including Flash. More evidence that we can't rely on Flash music players in the near future.
Posted September 16, 2011
Springsteen and Others Soon Eligible to Recover Song Rights - NYTimes.com. The major labels stand to lose a massive income stream as heritage artists like Springsteen start reclaiming the rights to their back catalogs.
How the Legal Fight Over 'Y.M.C.A.' Could Change the Music Industry (Analysis) - Hollywood Reporter. Related article about the same issue at the previous link.
Aside: I was feeling nostalgic last week and looked up "One Thing Leads To Another" by the Fixx on Spotify. The top result was actually a "re-recorded/remastered" version, not the original radio version. But it wasn't a cover -- it was a re-recording done by the Fixx. As it turns out, some artists re-record their songs to claim master rights that are typically held by the labels.
This was further confirmed later that same week, when a friend who works in music licensing tweeted that she had once taken a call from Jani Lane, who was hoping to convince her client to use his re-recorded version of a Warrant song instead of the label's original version (and earn a bit of money that he probably wasn't going to get from the label).
Video explains the world's most important 6-sec drum loop - YouTube The history of the "Amen Break," which you have definitely heard.
First Listen: 'Muppets: The Green Album' : NPR. Muppet Show tunes performed by Weezer, The Fray, My Morning Jacket and others.
Posted August 19, 2011
Still Alive Undead: My Life as a Slayer Discography, by Kelly O. "This first night, I get too close and I'm immediately rewarded with an elbow to the face. The experience doesn't stop me from seeing Slayer 19 more times, though, 'cause like Mom always said: Nobody ever died from a bloody nose."
Kicking and Streaming: Why Indies Tolerate Spotify’s Minuscule Royalties - Washington City Paper. Count me among those who aren't worried about the low payouts from Spotify-style streaming.
Klosterman Remembers Warrant's Jani Lane - Hollywood Prospectus Blog. "[Lane] supposedly wrote 'Cherry Pie' in less than 15 minutes, made several million dollars, and regretted it for 15 years."
Posted August 14, 2011
Portal Space Core Cake closeup | Flickr - Photo Sharing!. He's a cake, and he wants to go to space. Spaaaace!
Felicia Day: Mogul In The Making. Forbes feature on how the creator of The Guild built her mini-empire on the web after most studios turned down her script.
Books Without Borders by Paul Constant - The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper. Amazing article by a former employee-turned-writer on the collapse of the giant bookstore chain.
Posted August 6, 2011
John Mayer 2011 Clinic – “Manage the Temptation to Publish Yourself” – Berklee Blogs. - John Mayer's presentation at Berklee is pretty great. The first half focuses on how social media has become an addictive replacement for actual work -- Mayer tells the audience how he eventually had to swear off Twitter when his obsession with writing clever tweets started to eclipse his songwriting. I recently wrote that social media seema to fill mental gaps and Mayer's story sounds similar, except he's all famous and stuff.
How to Hook Up Heads and Cabinets - simple primer on understanding Ohms and how they relate to wattage pumped from amps to speaker cabs. Took me awhile to wrap my head around why more cabs results in less impedance.
Seth's Blog: "It will be good exposure". - Good thoughts on the balancing act of working for payment and working for free in exchange for credibility, goodwill and other intangibles.
Posted July 30, 2011
Weekend reading IV
Holcombe Waller interview. Really great interview with the Portland OR artist with a lot of chewy ideas that really resonate with me:
"Releasing tracks iteratively feels in line with a modern, Facebook/Twitter-shaped multi-threaded experience of reality.
"Digital rights management tried to forge an economy of scarcity in the digital realm. These schemes all failed. I think in our guts we know that if there is no scarcity, imposing false scarcity is simply wicked.
"People understand the realities of working artists and value being directly involved, and knowing where their money is going. All of these factors contribute to a 'more satisfying' monetary offering than shelving out $15 for some plastic."
Lefsetz Letter » Blog Archive » The Long Haul. This. Start here. Do this.
The End of an Era in Publishing - NYTimes.com. Garrison Keillor's totally-not-cranky swan song to the book publishing industry as we know it.
not martha — anniversary cake. Megan recounts our California experience on the 10th anniversary of us leaving Ohio. I didn't much care for California livin' either.
Posted July 5, 2010
Weekend reading III
How Lady Gaga Became the World's Biggest Pop Star — New York Magazine. Don't hate the Gaga, hate the game.
YouTube - Diego Stocco - Experibass. WOW WOW WOW WOW
YouTube - Player, "Baby Come Back". I loved this song when I was 10. I still love this song.
"It's time to let you hear the song which earned me a juvenile restraining order". A 17-year-old Andrew WK channels Peter Murphy and freaks out his high-school crush.
How Much Do Music Artists Earn Online? | Information Is Beautiful. To earn US minimum wage, I'd have to have 4.5 million Spotify plays. Whoo!
Posted April 17, 2010
Weekend reading II
Music-related links and other stuff that caught my eye this week:
The trouble with easy listening - latimes.com. "There' no question that technology has made music cheaper and more accessible. But I wonder if it hasn't been made less sacred." I can relate. Almost all of my listening is done with earbuds while staring at a glowing LCD rectangle, and I miss being able to pour over liner notes.
Kirby Krackleâ€™s E For Everyone is Geek Rock Perfection | GeekDad | Wired.com. Thumbs-up review of the new Kirby Krackle album in Wired. (I sub on bass with this band).
Mixr | iPad DJ App. The iPad is gonna change a lot of things. I can't wait to stream a concert from my bedroom studio to your iPad. Somehow!
The Collapse of Complex Business Models - Clay Shirky. The article is mostly about television, but the big-time music business suffers from the same problem: revenues from digital music may be trending up, but it's not enough to support their complex/expensive business systems. (My overhead is a website, Paypal fees and a few stamps.)
Posted April 5, 2010
Some music-related links and other stuff that caught my eye this week:
The hell of being prolific: Are musicians making too much music? | Music | The Big Questions | The A.V. Club. Isn't complaining about too much music a bit like complaining about too much steak?
YouTube - iamamiwhoami's Channel. I too am fascinated by these crazyweird videos.
Peter Malick | My Production Manifesto, Part 2" "Your access to music will never be controlled by big record labels again."
The Rush Experiment: Conclusions. Amusing, but this was doomed from the start. The real way to become a die-hard Rush fan is to be 15 years old in 1986, be taking guitar lessons, and have your older brother's friend give you a dubbed cassette copy of 2112.
Posted March 27, 2010