Estimated Time of Arrival


I’ve been thinking about time and technology recently (inspired by the “In A Glass Hour” series of lectures at EMPAC). I’m interested in the phenomenon of ETA–estimated time of arrival–which seems to have become both more widespread and subtly different due to technological developments.

No longer confined to airports and train terminals and Cape Canaveral, we now get ETA information from GPS units in our cars, and something similar is at work in software within every user-interface progress-bar. And the nature of the experience seems to have changed as well, moving from discrete aperiodic estimates to a continuously shifting series of updates. The result is that the estimate is never wrong (we do, in fact, arrive at our destination precisely when the GPS tells us we have arrived) and yet it’s somehow no longer trustworthy because the myriad compensations and recalculations are hidden.

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ASAC given Best of 2008 nod by Times Union

The Albany Sonic Arts Collective is included in the Albany Times Union “’08 Year in Arts” article.

Sonic bright spot

Last fall, a group of experimental musicians formed the Albany Sonic Arts Collective as an outlet for musicians not into strict recitations of the verse-chorus-verse structure. Soon, there were musicians coming from all corners of the Capital Region to contribute to the sonic palette. And twice this year, indie rock godfather Thurston Moore, leader of Sonic Youth, came to unleash his own twang-wangery.”

Read the full article here.

Merry Christmas from The Field Guide

Did you ever ask Santa for a pinball machine? Did you ever hope to find a drum machine under the tree? Now both of your wishes can come true (sort of) with Pinball Drummer, a simple, standalone drum machine that uses lo-fi pinball machine samples.

Pinball Drummer Screenshot

Pinball Drummer Screenshot

Download Pinball Drummer (.zip file: 11.3 MB)

I made Pinball Drummer as a birthday gift for my friend Bruce. I created it using MaxMSP. The sounds originated from Bruce’s Coney Island pinball machine. It should be a cross-platform application. I’ve tested it on Macs; no experience with running it on a PC, yet.

Happy Holidays from The Field Guide!

Stikkit Shuts Down

I just got word that the online service Stikkit from Values of n is closing (along with the related I Want Sandy service). I hadn’t used Stikkit for over a year, so discontinuing the service won’t have any immediate impact on my online life. But I’m sad to see it go because it was such an elegant piece of software. Stikkit was the first browser-based application that really felt like an app to me and not just a kludgy hodgepodge of javascript. The good news is that the developer is now working for Twitter–let’s hope more innovative, usable software is in the works.