Sunday
Dec292013

O’Brien Describes The Future (from Orwell’s 1984)

 

It’s almost unfortunate that in 2013 due to news involving the NSA that there has been a renewed interest in George Orwell’s 1984. I say unfortunate because the lost in the politics and debates about national security, is the skill of Orwell as an writer.

More than twenty years have elapsed since I first read 1984 and this time it experienced it as an audio book (Link to 1984: New Classic Edition from Audible) fantastically narrated by Simon Prebble.

One section in particular was brilliantly written and performed – a moment when Winston’s torturer delineates the systemic horror of their existence.

O’Brien: How does one man assert his power over another, Winston?

Winston: By making him suffer.

O’Brien: Exactly. By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing. Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but MORE merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress towards more pain. The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. Everything else we shall destroy — everything. Already we are breaking down the habits of thought which have survived from before the Revolution. We have cut the links between child and parent, and between man and man, and between man and woman. No one dares trust a wife or a child or a friend any longer. But in the future there will be no wives and no friends. Children will be taken from their mothers at birth, as one takes eggs from a hen. The sex instinct will be eradicated. Procreation will be an annual formality like the renewal of a ration card. We shall abolish the orgasm. Our neurologists are at work upon it now. There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science. When we are omnipotent we shall have no more need of science. There will be no distinction between beauty and ugliness. There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — for ever.

For those who watched the film 1984 with John Hurt and Richard Burton (Burton’s last role), Prebble’s reading as O’Brien is much more intense and malice-filled than Burton’s. (The quoted section above appears at about 1 hour 30 minutes into the film).

Sunday
Dec222013

MetaWeblogSharp 1.1.2 Released

You can get the NuGet package here: https://www.nuget.org/packages/MetaWeblogSharp/

The source code is available on CodePlex: http://metaweblogsharp.codeplex.com

Changes

While testing it out against my a Squarespace-based blog, I discovered that I needed to disable the use of the 100 Continue header for reliable communications.

This blog MSDN blog post provides a great summary about the issue: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/fiddler/archive/2011/11/05/http-expect-continue-delays-transmitting-post-bodies-by-up-to-350-milliseconds.aspx

In the end the fix was simple:

var request = System.Net.WebRequest.Create( “http://somefakeurl.com” );
var wr = (System.Net.HttpWebRequest) request;
wr.ServicePoint.Expect100Continue = false;

Friday
Dec202013

VisioAutomation.VDX 1.1.0 Released  

This release of VisioAutomation.VDX simplifies the process of initially creating the VDX Drawing object and the process of saving it to VDX format.

To create a new Drawing object using the default (built-in) template

using VA = VisioAutomation;

var template = new VA.VDX.Template();
var doc = new VA.VDX.Elements.Drawing(template);

To create a new Drawing object using your own template:

string xml = System.IO.File.ReadAllText( “somefile.vdx” );
var template = new VA.VDX.Template( xml );
var doc = new VA.VDX.Elements.Drawing(template);

To save as a VDX file

doc.Save( “output.vdx” );

Thursday
Nov282013

The Creation of a Typface: FF Quixo

It's not common that you'll get a sense of the work it takes to create a typeface. We are in luck however, because via this post on Behance you can explore the process Frank Grießhammer used in designing FF Quixo.

So now you can see how much work it is to go from this:

7e72a8716239050ea776fd5812e93546

 

To this:

B27397205bf7ffeb32449532e15326dd

Tuesday
Nov262013

Microsoft Research: Automated video looping with progressive dynamism  

Oh, just watch the video ….

My favorite line from the video “Sometimes the video loop is visually plausible but semantically incorrect”.

 

And then try it yourself: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/people/hoppe/proj/videoloops/README.html

And if you are more curious you can read the paper: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/people/hoppe/proj/videoloops/

 

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