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Vaughn Hannon

I Build Computer

1 min read

It's been a long time coming but I finally built a machine a little more modern than my aged laptop. You can watch me do it in 18 seconds:

I was as surprised as anybody when it booted up on the first try. It's now happily running Ubuntu and Windows. This is the parts list for the curious among you: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/wFkNcY

 

Vaughn Hannon

Time to delete?

1 min read

All of us, that is, users of Facebook and its properties (Instagram, Whatsapp, etc...) should be carefully watching how Facebook handles the Cambridge Analytica debacle. Me? My finger is hovering over the delete button while we learn the full extent of the situation.

In the mean time here's some info from the EFF on locking down your data sharing to third parties and another from Boing Boing on how to really, truly delete your Facebook account. Thanks to the EU and GDPR they actually have to delete it...and some other resources to help you get caught up.

News about the whole thing:

 

  

 

Vaughn Hannon

Open Studio - Migrations

1 min read

Friends! As some of you know I've been collaborating with Cynthia Minet on her new installation that will soon be opening at the International Museum of Art and Science in McAllen, Texas. If you're in Los Angeles this Sunday, March 4th from 2p - 5p you can get a sneak peak of the work at Cynthia's studio here at the Brewery.

Migrations and Cynthia

I worked with Cynthia on the lighting/audio system design and programming. Each sculpture has about 49 RGB LEDs in it controlled with a Trinket microcontroller. The audio is triggered by motion and powered from a Trinket Pro. If you have questions, you'll have to come to the studio :)

There is more info on the open studio at the Facebook event page. We hope to see you there.

 

Vaughn Hannon

Collaboration

2 min read

It's been quiet in my creative world...but not uneventful. Over the last couple of months I've had the pleasure of working with Cynthia Minet on her upcoming installation, "Migrations." Cynthia is an accomplished artist and her creations are constructed from post-consumer plastics and LED lighting. Migrations depicts six Roseate Spoonbills in varying stages of flight. With this sculpture Cynthia hoped to push the lighting a little further than she had in previous work. There were two goals.

  1. Have greater control over the color and brightness of each LED
  2. Add movement to the sculpture by animating the LEDs

After some initial conversation a third goal popped up. If we're going to be programming these LEDs could we also add some motion activated audio to immerse the viewer in the world of the spoonbill? After some testing we settled on the P9813 LED pixels. The plastic casing around the actual LED helps diffuse the light. The fact that the strands run at 5v was an added bonus.  To program the lights and the motion based audio I knew we were going to use something in the Arduino family. The spoonbills do not have a ton of room inside of them so we opted for a Trinket to run the lighting and a Trinket Pro to run the audio system. Ideally everything would run off of one board but that just wasn't feasible here. This also cut down on the cost for each sculpture.  The next few posts will get into the details of the wiring, programming, testing, and installation of the lighting and audio systems.  If you're around this weekend (Oct 21 and 22) you can see the sculpture in its current state at the Brewery Art Walk. Art Walk runs from 11a-6p both days.

 

Vaughn Hannon

Vaughn Hannon

AR...MR...XR

5 min read

It's been a busy spring for Augmented Reality and the last week really topped it off. The 8th annual Augmented World Expo was 3 days of vendors, developers and enthusiastic end-users coming together to talk about, demo and try on the latest AR gear. If there is to be one thing I came away with from the expo it's that we haven't yet agreed what to call this thing. Augmented, Mixed or eXtended Reality. Each was used almost interchangeably. It won't matter what we call if but it sure would help the messaging if we stuck to a naming convention.

The Promise

Trying on Daqri Glasses

We all want the same thing. We want a device (or set of devices) that we can look through which will overlay information and interactive elements onto the real world. This information will be easy to access and quickly available. Creating objects and information for AR will be simple, requiring little to no programming. The hardware will be priced in the same range as a smart phone and weigh less. It will be personalized to us and allow access to our virtual assistant of choice.

The Near Future

AR Timeline So FarThis coming year is going to feel a bit like 2016 did for VR. We're on the cusp of some interesting hardware hitting the market at attainable prices. The big, big players are making moves...Google, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook are all in varying stages of their AR strategies.

Google announced Google Lens at I/O in May and, assuming it works as well as it demoed, looks to be a key piece of their AR strategy. It plays to their strengths in machine learning and information management. Their continued development of Tango will make AR creation and experiences more accessible. I'd like to see Tango built into the Pixel 2 (hint, hint Google) and any other devices they make from here on out. With a likely hardware announcement in the fall, what more will come this year? Time will tell...

Microsoft released its Windows Creators Update for Windows 10. This update includes tools for the creation of Mixed Reality content. Microsoft is trying to make it as easy as possible to build content for AR (and VR) with tools provided in the OS. An interesting side note, Lorraine Bardeen (General Manager, Windows and HoloLens Experiences) used the term mixed reality exclusively in her talk at AWE. Microsoft has since announced hardware from partners Dell and Asus. We'll see what else turns up this year...time will tell...

Facebook made it clear that AR is a priority at F8. They promise to provide a platform to create AR experiences with relative ease. It's still unclear what exactly Facebook's AR Studio will mean for all of us. Time will tell...

Apple announced, just yesterday, their ARKit at WWDC as a platform for bringing solid AR content to iOS. We'll see what's truly possible and hopefully see some hints for what's to come as developers get their hands on it. Time will tell...

Magic Leap...(this space intentionally left blank)

The Reality

Daqri HelmetThe hardware is clunky, uncomfortable, and heavy. The experiences are neat but less than amazing. It's ok, it's early days. There are definite use cases for AR as it exists right now. Head mounted displays are great for industrial design, construction and manufacturing. Environments where having information available while keeping your hands free. The hardware is rugged and includes safety features necessary for those sectors.

Entertainment companies can start thinking about AR for project planning and previz. AR and VR are great ways to show a client what your project is really going to look like. ODG (Osterhaut Design Group) has a pair of glasses coming this fall for under the $1000 mark. This will make head mounted AR hardware accessible to small and medium design studios.

For everyone else, my hope is that we can break through the "3D graphics in our world" demos and applications and really start exploring what AR is and what it can be. Let's settle on Extended Reality as the common term. Our reality should be extended in all possible ways. Not just looking through our phones at cute animations. We posses a ton of data about the world around us and this data should be accessible to everyone in a variety of forms. Whether we hold the phone up to look through the camera, use a head mounted display or wear smart clothing that tug at us when we're near areas of interest. Existing displays in public spaces should detect our presence and provide information that's important to us (and yes, there will probably be ads too).

We're at the beginning of whatever this becomes. With the right mix of vision, open standards and acceptance we can enhance our everyday lives, be more productive and spend less time looking down at a glowing rectangle. We must be patient and work through the hype cycles and the low points to get to the good stuff. I'm looking forward to it...

Vaughn Hannon

Thanks for Artwalking

1 min read

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Friends, family and total strangers. Thanks so much for coming to the spring Brewery Artwalk. Hopefully you experienced some art that spoke to you...or at the very least whispered in your general direction. I appreciate everyone that comes by to support all of us here at the Brewery. Hopefully we'll see you again in the fall. Dates will be announced shortly. If you didn't get a chance to visit I'll have my newer stuff up on art.vaughnhannon.com soon. Thanks again. 

Vaughn Hannon

Get yourself a VPN

2 min read

VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) provide a "tunnel" for your internet traffic from one place to another. So instead of taking the freeway with everyone else you bore your own tunnel, like Elon Musk, and take that. No one sees what goes through your tunnel except you and your VPN provider. Traditionally these are used to let remote emplyees securely connect to a corporate network. 

Now that the Republicans have decided all of your data is up for grabs you may want to have your own VPN. I'm currently trying Private Internet Access. It's not a snappy modern internetty name (I mean, look at all of the vowels it has) but it's pretty descriptive of what you're getting. In the simplest setup you install an app on your desktop, laptop or mobile thingy and start it. This will connect to a remote VPN server and now all of your traffic is obscurred. Signing up for this (or another VPN if you like) is easy and relatively inexpensive. PIA allows 5 simultaneous devices so you can probably share an account with your other...if you trust them! Oh, by defautlt PIA blocks local network traffic. This is meant to protect you when you're on a public network like the one at the hipster coffee shop you keep going to. You'll want to turn that off at home if you need to access your own network to do something like, say, turn off the lights from your phone.

The EFF explains VPNs nicely

Ars Technica explains why it's hard to make a list of the best VPN services

Vaughn Hannon

Vaughn Hannon

What a mess...

1 min read

We've watched our country show the world who we are. America willfully, some gleefully, elected a racist, sexist, xenophobic blowhard. His win is disappointing but the reality that so many listened to him and then actively chose him is disgusting. I thought we had made such progress. I was wrong. America is an obnoxious teenager acting out against all reason. Facts and intellectual discussion were pushed aside for outrage and hyperbole. We don't know what's coming but I know I'm going to be supporting the ACLU and the EFF in the immediate future. It's a start.

@ACLU - https://aclu.org

@EFF - https://eff.org

Other things to start paying attention to:

Tor Project - https://www.torproject.org

Encrypted messaging apps like Signal

VPNs