Nov 18, 2010

OPP, my favorite technical creation

(click ^that^ link to see it)

Technical Information: The application backend is Active Server Pages (something of a precursor to .Net) on a Windows server. Images were originally captured with a Bell + Howell BH10 mini digital camera. They were then processed by accessing a Photoshop DLL via ASP and applying filters 'charcoal' or 'cutout' -- the original goal was just to see if I could apply Photoshop actions to images dynamically via ASP. Turns out, I could! In the end it was pretty precarious and wouldn't be very efficient in a production environment, but for post-processing via an administration page, it worked quite well. You would import the latest images and the interface would present you with the the same image filtered in each of the filters. Click on the image that seems "right" and it gets added to the mix. The other filtered image is tossed. Think Rorschach Photo Editing.

Personal Information: Two months after 9/11 I was working in a job I didn't feel comfortable in -- at a company I couldn't stand. Because it was the only job available. I had just spent part of a summer job hunting having been laid off in a bad economy before 9/11 happened. I would take the bus to and from work, go through the motions and act like a grownup. There was no challenge, no technical peers, an petty corporate culture. I hated it.

Our son was almost two at this point and had been slowly focusing from "screaming toddler" to "communicating child" but that was new. I felt like I didn't know what I was doing and got mixed feedback from the boy. Endless hours spent at toddler playgrounds just sitting there waiting and watching. Don't get me wrong, I loved him (and still do) more than life itself. And my lovely wife is wonderful and supportive, but this was not the best time of my life. Lots of days mix together, some pretty good, some horribly bad. Almost a decade later and these pictures in this application are an exact image of my memories of the time. Some vague and colorful, some gray and dirty. But few very clear, many confusing and uncomfortable.

It's not one of my most advanced technical projects, but it's one that I come back to from time to time to revisit and feel some feelings and realize how things change, how things are good, how things are bad, and how things just .. are. So this is my most successful project on a personal level. Just thought I'd share it.

Classic: ASCII Flaming Plural Logo

This commercial came out when I was working at a "B2B Web Architecture and Content blah blah blah" consulting company. To it's credit, it was actually a pretty good one until the bottom fell out of the market.

It was also about the time I was really getting my ASP on. (Active Server Pages, web stuff.) We would joke about various things here and there and every once in a while a mini-project would spin off. This was one of them. The joke was that someone would want more than just a flaming logo, etc.

So the challenge was:

"Can you make a flaming logo but not use graphcs?"

The answer was:

(p.s. No, it's not optimal, yes it's a crap hack job, no it doesn't matter.)