this is aaronland

Donde esta la playa???

Once I was lost but now I am still not found

Tim Bray pointed out a mostly incomprehensible wandering thought about Toronto, by William Gibson, the other day. As best I can make out Toronto is just a device to make the larger point that the 20th century was unkind to urban planning — cue the chorus of ninnies whining Jane Jacobs! Jane Jacobs! Jane Jacobs! — and the 21st century doesn't look much better.

And something about how Toronto was better before anyone knew it existed and rent was still cheap. One can only assume that the phrase Montreal I at least had heard of. is really code for : I blame Toronto's freakish obsession with being a world class city on the election of the Parti Québecois in 1976.

Anyway, the one part that stood out for me was the idea of gone worlds :

A friend of mine in New York has been pointing out surviving bits of what he calls his city's gone world to me for the past 20 years or so. When I first started getting to know New York, in the early 1980s, it consisted mostly of that gone world, or so it seemed to me. People who lived there didn't seem to believe it possible that this would change. My friend was the first New Yorker I knew who noticed that things there were changing, becoming gone.

The sewing machine spare-parts quarter, for instance (gone), or the tenement that once housed McGurk's Suicide Hall (gone). Bits and pieces of SoHo and TriBeCa and Chelsea, all gone. Had I not had so observant a guide, I certainly would have missed them, these glimpses of vanishing things, but my friend had treasured them all, and was pained by their going, and took care to show them to me. It was his conviction that they were invariably replaced by much less interesting things (to put it mildly), and I generally agreed.

If I ever do the Papernet talk again I am going to mention gone worlds because they are an interesting point from which to think about things like travel journals and personal publishing and, out at the more dysfunctional end of the scale, Bag of Holding syndrome.

Probably somewhere after the Douglas Coupland was wrong slide since that's a horse never too old to flog.

mmPDF.php 0.0 0.1

Date: Mon, 28 May 2007 16:21:54 -0700
From: Aaron Straup Cope
To: Chris Heathcote
Subject: Proof of concept : mmPDF

I seem to have run afoul of Y! Map's DOS system so there aren't any 
actual *maps*.

But it's still pretty cool considering that the attached
attachment was generated with nothing but the following :

$pdf = new mmPDF($args);
$pdf->add_map("IM IN UR MAPS STEALIN UR PARIZ!!!!);

I will send you a proper sample just as soon as I get to another IP 

Update: The good news is I got it to work. The bad news is that Chris' comprehensive list of Paris eateries results in a 16MB PDF file. Whether or not there are optimizations to be made (converting all those PNG files into JPEGs maybe...) remains to be seen.

The open question is : A 208-page (that's 26 sheets of US letter-sized paper) PocketMod book? But you get the idea. I've uploaded a shorter, smaller 40-page (5 sheets) sample document that includes the first 20 entries in Chris' list. Since this is a 0.1 release, here's a short list of things this package doesn't do yet :

Say hello to mmPDF.php 0.1

re-hello world

I'm back

Let's just leave it at that. When I first wrote this post, yesterday morning, I had successfully managed to forget that people walk around in public wearing those stupid Star Trek phone-things in their ears. Then I took the BART downtown.

Slides from my talk on the “The Papernet”

I've put the slides from my talk at XTech online. There are many, many images most of which have not been squished for the web so be patient. It will look fugly for a bit and then the magic JavaScript will kick in render stuff all nice and pretty.

I don't really feel like diving back in to the code for S5 but lazy loading of images would be a nice thing and, as Neb points out, it's not very good about wrapping text or resizing images on the fly. I understood that the projector would automagically switch in to 1024x768 mode but when I got up to the podium my world quickly shrank to 800x600 pixels. Maybe it's just a switch (in S5) somewhere...

There's also a video of the talk available online. I haven't watched it yet but, apparently, that's what I said. Towards the three-quarter mark, there's a mention of a friend using MyMaps to do almost everything I've been talking to up until that point. That would be Heathcote.

Meanwhile, I am scheduled to be in London in June for Hack Day UK to share with you the magic of machine tag love.

There's more still to write about XTech, which was excellent, but I will save that for later.


You have Matt Webb to thank for motivating me to finally finish bundling up all the various helper libraries I've been using when writing S60 Python applications. From the README :

    These are a series of simple wrapper libraries designed to make
    developing Python applications using Series60 3rd Edition suck less.

    The simplelibs package is just a bundled distribution of other packages
    and should not be invoked directly in your code.

    As of this writing it does not have a proper file and there is
    almost no documentation. There are probably also bugs.

Ladies and gentlemen, s60-simplelibs 0.1

filtr 0.23

These are mostly tweaks to make generating photos using the heathr filtr better.

Specifically, surrounding borders on the final canvas are no longer used and, because the input files are modified, temporary copies are created and used in their place.

And then I said : filtr 0.23




I love you.

The Papernet

In 2007 I did not prepare notes for talks which was always a bit risky. I should have but given how much had, and continues to be, written about the papernet on this weblog maybe it's moot? Anyway, here are the slides and there is also video of the talk.