(Rudy Rucker is a guestblogger. His latest novel, Hylozoic, describes a postsingular world in which everything is alive.
I've been interested in cellular automata (CA) for many years, and I helped program two different free, downloadable CA software packages for Windows: Cellab and Capow.
If you just want a peek at these scuttling graphics, try Mirek Wójtowicz's Java-based MJCell program, viewable in your browser.
In the 1980s, my fellow cellular-automatist John Walker and I used to believe that CAs were poised to take over the worlds of video, fabric, and game effects. But the revolution is a little slow in coming...
At least, as I discussed in a "Gnarly CAs" article in Make magazine last year, my former student Alan Borecky indeed managed to make a CA dress for his wife, Donna. And I keep noticing that a lot of the fabrics that I see people wearing these days could easily be designed by CAs.
Nosing around for further evidence for the advance of CAs, I found some mildly heartening signs. The blog Code-Spot has a tutorial on using CAs in games.
The book Core Techniques and Algorithms in Game Programming has a little bit about using CAs to generate fire.
And cellular automata have played a role in both SimCity and Spore.
I've long thought that digital musicians should lean more heavily on chaotic effects so as to avoid roboticity. Audio Damage has released a CA-based device called Automaton:
A glitch plug-in that uses a unique game of life style sequencer...capable of adding subtle, seemingly random fills and humanizing effects, but if you like, you can crank the sequencer up to eleven, and watch as your digital audio workstation becomes a petri dish while Automaton makes complete hay of the track you've inserted it to.
Facebook gets a bad rap, but where I live, it has brought neighbors together, and it started because of the things I didn’t want to share.
When the Congressional Science committee wants to talk about the cold weather, and when NASA has to defend their budget by explaining why NASA is important, it can make people who believe in facts… a bit tense.
Acting is a crappy business, but the world needs actors, and since we live in a time when digital production and distribution has democratized filmmaking, anyone can be a casting director. Exhibit A is a new tumblr, Casting Call Woes, which has netted a foul-smelling collection of ripe ones from the sea of DIY casting […]
Why buy one of those expensive and confusing universal remotes, clogged with enough buttons to launch a space shuttle, when you could accomplish the same electronic control right on your favorite mobile device? The Blumoo Universal Remote, now just $52.99 in the Boing Boing Store, harnesses the audio power of all your household equipment right […]
You may not love Microsoft Word, but you’ve definitely used it. Other than being one of the most ubiquitous programs on the planet, it’s been the go-to word processing system for more than a quarter-century because it’s as basic as it gets. But occasionally, you’ve got assignments that beg for a lot more options than simple […]
Almost everyone has their smartphone in a case of one kind or another. Beyond simple protection, finding a case that can charge your phone on its own, but doesn’t feel like it’s also adding a couple pounds to the phone’s weight is the tricky part. Billed as the world’s thinnest battery case, the ThinCharge iPhone […]