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Blog: #prints-2.1

Links — Prints 2.1

Budget Bytes. Low-budget recipes.

Hillel Wayne on Donald Knuth and that literate programming competition. Literate programming appeals to me. Haven’t done anything with it yet, though.

Matt Webb on how Apple seems to be mainstreaming Alan Kay’s inventions. Intriguing.

Waylon Walker on how he navigates in tmux. Planning to adopt some of this.

Hsiaoming Yang on styling RSS feeds with XSL. I somehow had no idea you could do this. Definitely planning to do this soon.

Andrew Blum and Carey Baraka on Google and Meta laying down underwater Internet cables for Africa. Not really a fan of big corporations anymore. Everything good that comes out of them seems laced with society-killing poison. (Too harsh?)

Ryan Dahl on JavaScript containers. While the post itself is so-so, the idea of web-specific containers intrigues me. Feels like there’s something useful in that space. (I’m mostly coming at this from the perspective of wanting to simplify running apps on the web.)

Ingvar Stepanyan on using WebAssembly threads with C, C++, and Rust. Good to know.

Tania Rascia on building a web accordion with the WebAudio API. Cool! Makes me want to build something like that. I’ve been avoiding it lately because the web is ephemeral and I’d prefer to spend my time on things that have a chance at lasting longer, but that argument doesn’t always matter.

Will Boyd with a deep dive into text wrapping and word breaking in CSS. Learned some useful things.

Rosemary Scott on the recent discovery of how and why infants die from SIDS. And hopefully in the near future we’ll be able to keep it from happening.

DALL•E 2 from OpenAI. This and Midjourney are getting crazy good. It’s a weird new world we’re entering. I’m intrigued by the idea of using output from these as reference for other art. (Still on the waiting list for both.)

Lincoln Michel on AI-generated literature. Agreed.

Hugo Landau on mildly dynamic websites. This. For the last few years I’ve been craving something server-side like PHP (intertwined, no separate running process needed) but with a better language.

Matthew Claxton on Brandon Sanderson’s Kickstarter and the failure of the long tail. I try to make time for less-known authors periodically so that I’m not only reading well-known books. It’s hit and miss, but the hits make up for the misses in my view.

Brian Lovin on incrementally correct personal websites. Agreed. And an interesting three-pane design on desktop.

Nick Scialli on Solid.js feeling like what he always wanted React to be. Intriguing.

The Church’s virtual tour of the D. C. Temple. We enjoyed showing this to our kids.

Matthew Claxton on Martha Wells pre-Murderbot books.

2022 Nommo Awards shortlist. I’d never heard of this (or the African Speculative Fiction Society) before, but I’m glad I have! Looking forward to reading some of these.

Artle, from the National Gallery of Art. I am no good at this.

Wendy Reid on the EPUB 3.3 standard moving to Candidate Recommendation status. Crazy that EPUB 3 has been out for ten years already.

Bionic Reading. An interesting idea. Not sure how I feel about it. The typesetter in me is struggling with it.

Matty B’s Pro Hatch brushes for Procreate. Got these, looking forward to doing something with them sometime.

Jessica Stillman on reading tips from Stripe co-founder Patrick Collison. While I’m less and less enamored of capitalism and billionaires, I still like hearing about people who read.

Markdoc, Stripe’s Markdown extensions.

Matthias Ott on blogging. Also his second post in the series. If any of you have a blog that I don’t know about, email me the link!

Duotrigordle, a 32-at-a-time Wordle. I initially thought it was completely mental, but once you get to ten or so guesses it’s mostly downhill since you have so many guesses to work off of. (I say this as if I play it regularly. In reality, I tried it once and probably won’t play it again, because I’d rather spend my leisure time reading.)

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Projects — Prints 2.1

Religious art

Before the World Was VI
Before the World Was VI. Another take on the celestial yin & yang version.
Follow Me
Follow Me. I really like the bolder colors here. One of my favorites.
I’ve a Mother There III
I’ve a Mother There III. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to do another negative space piece but decided to go for it.
In Their Own Image
In Their Own Image. Finally branched out to some other scriptures for my Heavenly Parents pieces. Initially this one looked too much like a restroom sign. Also, I don’t know that I’ve found the simplest way to represent this idea yet.
A Beloved Daughter
A Beloved Daughter. I was reading Elder Renlund’s conference talk and realized I hadn’t done this yet.
Prodigal Son II
Prodigal Son II. Fairly close to the first iteration but without the unnecessary ground.

Other art

Lately I’ve been playing around with making meaningless decorative pieces in Blender, using displacement maps with (for the most part) procedural heightfields. For these I’ve generally textured the heightfield in Affinity Photo and sometimes also textured a separate color map. Looking forward to doing more work in this vein.

Pattern 001
Pattern 001. This is the one that wasn’t procedural; I made the heightfield in Figma. While I like the way the sun lamp lights things evenly, it still feels maybe a little too harsh to me. I think of this piece as some kind of vintage fabric.
Pattern 002 A
Pattern 002 A. Kind of going for a Central American archaeological feel here. For this I wrote a Python script that generated rectangles on a grid in SVG for the heightfield. Switched to a spotlight lamp, and added some fog. I added the green in post.
Pattern 002 B
Pattern 002 B. Same script as 002 A, this time with different textures and lighting. Going for a Middle Eastern archaeological feel. I also added a slight bit of rippling and rotational blur on top to make it feel a little magical.
Pattern 003 A
Pattern 003 A. New script. Fairly pleased with how this turned out — all the different varieties that come out from random circles. (Since that’s all the heightfield is, really.) I added the lower-level squares on a last-minute impulse and I’m glad I did.
Pattern 003 B
Pattern 003 B. Same script as 003 A. I love love love the way the heightfield texture makes it look like things are growing, in a creepy way. Added depth of field to make things look more underwater. I’m happy with the old-photograph feel, too.
Pattern 004
Pattern 004. It still blows my mind that I can take a black-and-white heightfield and use it to generate art like this. Kind of cool how several of these look like they’re bowls even though the interiors aren’t actually rounded.

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Reading — Prints 2.1

Recent nonfiction reads

  • The Puzzler, by A. J. Jacobs. A fun book. I don’t really do puzzles myself anymore (my brain doesn’t like it), but I enjoyed reading about all the different kinds.

Recent fiction reads

  • The Curse of Chalion, by Lois McMaster Bujold. Loved it. It took me a little while to warm up to it, but once the fantasy elements were introduced, I was there. Glad that there are two more novels and a lot of Penric novellas to come. (Plus the remaining Vorkosigan books I haven’t yet read, and the Sharing Knife series.)
  • Every Heart a Doorway, by Seanan McGuire. Novella. Mixed feelings. It was unexpectedly sad to me, but the world seems interesting enough (portal fantasies are my thing) and I liked Middlegame (looking forward to picking up Seasonal Fears soon), so I think I’ll still try the next in the series.
  • Binti, by Nnedi Okorafor. Novella. Loved it. I really like Afrofuturism. Looking forward to the other Binti novellas and Okorafor’s other work.
  • A Psalm for the Wild-Built, by Becky Chambers. Novella. I almost gave up on this a couple times early on, but it got more interesting once things started happening and I’m glad I stuck with it. Fairly philosophical. The permacomputing was nice to see, too.
  • A Warning to the Curious, by M. R. James. Basically a novella. Published in the 1920s. I don’t know that I felt particularly engaged (or scared) by the stories, but it was good to read something older.
  • A Spindle Splintered, by Alix E. Harrow. Novella. Really liked it, especially the voice. And the intersection of fairy tales and modern people? Also my thing. (Which reminds me that I want to reread OSC’s Enchantment sometime.)

Books acquired since last post

  • The Premonition: A Pandemic Story — Michael Lewis
  • A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitus’s Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich — Christopher B. Krebs
  • Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire — David Remnick
  • Whose Middle Ages?: Teachable Moments for an Ill-Used Past — Andrew Albin et al.
  • Skyward Inn — Aliya Whiteley
  • Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City — Andrea Elliott
  • Built from Scratch: How a Couple of Regular Guys Grew The Home Depot from Nothing to $30 Billion — Bernie Marcus, Arthur Blank, Bob Andelman
  • Betrayal: The Story of Aldrich Ames, an American Spy — Tim Weiner, David Johnston, and Neil A. Lewis
  • The Watchdog That Didn’t Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism — Dean Starkman
  • Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath — Heather L. Clark
  • Black Stone Heart — Michael R. Fletcher
  • The Sisters Brothers — Patrick deWitt
  • The Middle of Everywhere: Helping Refugees Enter the American Community — Mary Pipher
  • Cryoburn — Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance — Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen — Lois McMaster Bujold
  • The Spirit Ring — Lois McMaster Bujold
  • The Baby on the Fire Escape: Creativity, Motherhood, and the Mind-Baby Problem — Julie Phillips
  • Isaac Newton — James Gleick
  • The Wrinkle in Time Quartet — Madeleine L’Engle
  • The Shortest History of China: From the Ancient Dynasties to a Modern Superpower—A Retelling for Our Times — Linda Jaivin
  • The Element of Fire — Martha Wells
  • The Death of the Necromancer — Martha Wells
  • Summer of Blood: England’s First Revolution — Dan Jones
  • First Friends: The Powerful, Unsung (and Unelected) People Who Shaped Our Presidents — Gary Ginsberg
  • Sid Meier’s Memoir!: A Life in Computer Games — Sid Meier
  • Bandwidth — Eliot Peper
  • Wounded Knee: Party Politics and the Road to an American Massacre — Heather Cox Richardson
  • The Umbral Storm — Alec Hutson
  • Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal — Nick Bilton
  • Summer Frost — Blake Crouch

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