“Don’t be afraid to break things.” – Me, after this week
This week saw a lot of progress in the way of content, user testing and tech. Here are the updates.
This week I finished editing the clips for the anecdotal stories to be with the phone interaction. There are 43 stories total. Each one will be added to an address book under the name of the person or icon at the focal point of the particular story.
Global stories are the longer form stories that bring the whole set to life through audio and projection. These are the larger story arcs that tell the big, life changing stories that were catalysts and formative points in her career that connect to the images and awards on the wall. Stories include:
- Getting Started as a Writer
- The New Dick Van Dyke Show
- Brooks & Burns, The Mary Tyler Moore Show
- Women’s Lib & Women Aren’t Funny & Writing For Women
Each story will need to be programmed and mapped out with specific timing. For the time being I have chosen to focus on one of these stories for the thesis process and I will add the rest when there is more time. I will do the full interaction for the story Getting Started as a Writer as this is a pivotal point in her life that is the starting point for the rest of the exhibit.
I began mapping out the content and timing of this interaction.
The interaction is based around the scripts and the typewriter. I am thinking about ways to make this work. At first I had imagined visitors putting scripts into the slot of the typewriter and a color sensor or RFID chip would trigger the story related to the script. Putting a written script into a typewriter is not natural in any sense of the process of writing. So that idea is scratched. I am aiming to project onto a mock script to go along with the audio of the stories. Other ways to accomplish this interaction include:
- motion sensor
- buttons on typewriter
- color sensor
- motion sensor above typewriter
- Accelerometer in a Lightblue bean in the scripts or some way that moving the scripts triggers the audio/scene
- Placing the script in a specific, yet obvious spot and a sensor triggers the audio/scene
TV show clips will be the content for the television interaction. I began to organize the clips of the TV shows written by Sybil. The challenge here was that many of the clips had been removed from the internet since my initial research, so I have been scrambling to find episodes and pieces of programs to work with. Under fair-use laws I am able to use bits and pieces of the shows within the project. I currently have most of what I need, about 10 out of 12 clips – one clip per channel on the rotary dial!
After comparing Max MSP and Isadora, I decided to use Max to for the interaction. It has a much clearer and user friendly interface for this type of action and the documentation is very robust. Without much Max experience, I dove in.
I began with this tutorial that helped set up the basic serial input to max, in order to read the values. I had a basic patch working and getting values. I then worked on using these values to trigger content. I had a semi-working patch going and then spent some time with our resident Matt Romein who walked me through a better, more efficient and clean way to program the data. He opened my eyes up to more tools and options in the Max world and helped me get the content and interaction on its feet for testing.
I played around with the programming and tried to add in some delays with the audio triggers. I need to meet again with the Max wizards to get this sorted out.
The main focus of the last week was to get the TV up and running with the new rotary dial connecting to the computer, acting as a monitor to share content directly, while having the natural look and user flow of its original intended use.
On Tuesday I opened up the TV with Eric Rosenthal, who told me what I should do to remove the original bottom rotary dial (deemed useless for any future use in the TV).
I kept the original rotary caps. And tried to fit my rotary switch into that space, however it did not fit in quite right – so the challenge was…to make it fit! Not only did it need to fit perfectly into the caps, but it also needed to fit perfectly into the original housing space.
My first attempt at fitting the new rotary switch into the knobs involved pushing it in until it was snug, and adding hot glue to keep it in place. I also used the thin washer-like nut on the rotary to lock it into place. In the end I did need to cut the knobs and housing down a bit. As scary as that step was, it was a necessary step. No turning back.
This worked temporarily. After a while the plastic inside the knob cap stretched and loosened and fell off. I scraped out the hot glue and started over.
This time I needed to make a permanent fix. I looked at other rotary caps and saw that they are screwed on. I needed to create this same system for mine, as this would be the only way to ensure a locked and stable cap.
I had to cut down the parts a little more but eventually I got the rotary switch nicely in place.
I attached the micro-controller to the inside of the the television housing, and drilled a hole for the micro usb wire to plug into from the outside. That way the set up is natural and all electronics are housed on the inside of the console.
In case of needed to reset the micro-controller without having to remove the entire back of the television, I later went back and extended the size of this hole in order for me to use a poking device to reset the board.
The next step was to make sure that the rotary worked in that set-up with the code. Values were coming in but they were strange. Multiple positions were getting the same or similar values. There were multiple 1023 values when each position should have been different.
I opened up the TV and tested out the hypothesis that the large metal backing was interfering with the resistors and the resistance of each position.
I went in and bent that fold up so the metals were not touching. The values changed slightly but there was still an issue.
I opened up the tv again, bent the backing up more so it did not touch the knob at all, and for the most part the values are pretty stable and give me the results I had intended.
The next and final step for the interaction was to program the content. I created a max patch that triggers a video based on the value from the rotary. This differed from the phone patch in that I needed to incorporate projection including mad mapper which also meant pulling in syphon. With the help of this MadMapper-syphon tutorial,Gal Nissim I was able to get syphon to work. Gustavo Abbott taught me how to go full screen with a Max window, how to add a key command in Max to go in and out of full screen with the click of a button and he also told me to set up my display as non-mirrored. and with that I was able to get the patch to work and the screen to appear on the television — almost like magic.
As an added treat this week, I was able to see Carol Burnett live in Hartford, where she did an hour and a half question and answer session with the audience at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to ask her a question. In light of thesis I asked her in light of that constant belief that women aren’t funny, how did she navigate through that during her career, how did it effect her, and how has it changed? She responded with the following that I wrote down hastily afterward, hiding my phone under my jacket:
“No. I just did what I did. Lucy just did what she did…There are a lot more of us now so people accept us that way now…Lucy set the bar.”
- Edit TV clips with captions
- Finish story arc for long form global story(ies)
- Decide if I will do more than one global story –> perhaps just focus on one for thesis
- Create global story interaction from possibilities mentioned above
- Make max patch for global story
- Put it all together
- will all of the patches combine to one?
- will there be multiple patches running from one or multiple computers?
- Thesis Website
- Print & Frame images
- Add names to phone book
- Buy board for printer to project on
- Draw images for board on the wall
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