Keyboards everywhere!

It’s no secret: I do enjoy the keyboard pictures which are used as headers for this blog. On one of them, you can see Vince playing the organ, so of course I notified him I was using his picture against his will…

He took a look at the available headers, and merely told me that lots of keyboards are missing… Continue reading Keyboards everywhere!

Play Me, I’m Yours! [Street Pianos]

I was on the phone with a friend lately. She was in Paris and suddenly said: “You might hear a piano, there’s one in the middle of the train station.”

And then I remembered something I heard the day before: indeed, there are pianos in the streets of Paris so that anybody can play them. This concept is actually an artwork by British artist Luke Jerram.

So here you go, walking through Paris’ streets, and you find a piano, curiously decorated by an artist. Intriguing. And suddenly, someone does not resist any longer, just sits and plays. And people gather, listen. And conversations are born between people who might not even have noticed each other otherwise.

I thought it would be great to share it with you, since the concept seems wonderful to me.

The idea for ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ came from visiting my local launderette. I saw the same people there each weekend and yet no one talked to one another. I suddenly realised that within a city, there must be hundreds of these invisible communities, regularly spending time with one another in silence. Placing a piano into the space was my solution to this problem, acting as a catalyst for conversation and changing the dynamics of a space.

Luke Jerram, creator of ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’

Now, instead of copy-pasting another website or writing a digest from it, I guess it is more useful to send you see the information directly at their source:

Enhancing Tag Cloud Canvas

Tag Cloud Canvas shows a wonderful display of tags. It had one drawback, though: how do you distinguish important tags from irrelevant ones when they all look just the same?

Tag Canvas, no tag highlighting

Yet, TagCanvas (the library noknok used to create the plugin) offers a tag highlighting by size, colors or both.

So, I got my hands into it and modified the noknok’s code to include these possibilities. First, enabling it into the administration widget.

The admin widget for tag cloud canvas

And now, applying the configuration…

Size highlighting
Color highlighting
Combined highlighting

And we are good to go… Is that not what makes tags more interesting than categories?

For information, I submitted my changes to noknok. With some hope, they will be included into the plugin. Otherwise, I will provide my alternate version (if you are unable to do it yourself from my github…).

That’s it. Enjoy!

Darwin’s rules also apply to the music. Do they, though?

DarwinTunes offers a great experiment, trying to prove that music evolves through selection, just as Darwin described about organics. Here is the presentation from their front page:

The organic world – animals, plants, viruses – is the product of Darwinian evolution by natural selection. Natural selection expresses the idea that organisms (more accurately their genes) vary and that variability has consequences. Some variants are bad and go extinct; others are good and do exceptionally well. This process, repeated for two billion years, has given us the splendours of life on earth.

It has also given us the splendours of human culture. This may seem like a bold claim, but it is self-evidently true. People copy cultural artifacts – words, songs, images, ideas – all the time from other people. Copying is imperfect: there is “mutation”. Some cultural mutants do better than others: most die but some are immensely successful; they catch on; they become hits. This process, repeated for fifty thousand years, has given us all that we make, say and do; it is the process of “cultural evolution”.

However, the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. For example, how important is human creative input compared to audience selection? Is progress smooth and continuous or step-like? We set up DarwinTunes as a test-bed for the evolution of music, the oldest and most widespread form of culture; and, thanks to your participation, we’re starting to get answers.

However, I am doubtful as for the validity of the conclusions drawn from this study, or at least from what I heard on radio this morning. Continue reading Darwin’s rules also apply to the music. Do they, though?

GWT and Maven: create a project and run it in hosted mode

Title is explicit: how to create a GWT project with Maven? Nothing fancy here, just taking the sample project the Eclipse GWT plugin generates and turning it into a Maven project.

All sources presented in this post can be obtained from my Github.

As for the steps to follow,  Continue reading GWT and Maven: create a project and run it in hosted mode

Syntax highlighting: LaTeX

When I prepared this blog, the first plugin I looked for was a syntax highlighter. I finally chose the Crayon Syntax Highlighter.

Looked right, efficient, got good comments, … Only problem is: $\TeX$ is not supported, and I might post about $\LaTeX$ (actually, I already have).

But luckily enough, you can define your own languages, via some well-chosen regular expressions. And I did! Continue reading Syntax highlighting: LaTeX

The ultimate keyboard

Ironically enough, since I began thinking of this blog (and I set for the name and main concept months ago), I never thought I would post something on keyboards. Well on computer keyboards, I mean.

And yet, here I am. A single link I was sent today lead to this great – well, you will actually be judge on that part – long post.

Ah, keyboards! Dozens of them! QWERTYs, AZERTYs, QWERTZs are those I am most used to. Sometimes, you’d wish you had only one peripheral, but this seems hardly possible able to adapt to all situations. “One to rule them all.” But this hardly seems possible.

Or is it? Continue reading The ultimate keyboard