Nave Residency Day 11

Data Representation, Residency, Scientific Exploration

Something of a disjointed day today, various errands and weather-related interruptions had me going back three separate times. However, I did get stuff done. One of which was a  shot of the Pixel Earth-Moon System with my nice Canon camera; I had tried before but the auto-focus didn’t quite figure out what to focus on, so every shot was blurry. Hitherto:


This, of course, is the Earth and the Moon, to scale in pixel form, with the distance between them also to scale.

Swype Alphabet

Data Representation, Linguistic Deconstruction

I just got a new cell phone, a Samsung SCH-I415. It has a physical keyboard, but it also comes loaded with Swype, a virtual keyboard that uses word patterns on the keyboard to interpret input. This annoyed me, because I’d wanted to do sculptures based on these shapes and don’t want to be considered as derivative. I’d done some maquettes in recent years and posted about it here, but hadn’t showed anything, except for a small piece I showed at the Samson Project‘s Chain Letter show in 2011. For the curious, documentation occurs on the far right panel of the 13th image from the show, it’s the little wooden piece to the left of the tangle of wires. My own documentation of the show is here.

Well, I started playing with Swype, and it works pretty well as an input system, much better than pecking at a virtual screen with fingertips and missing every sixth letter. It doesn’t much like usernames and oddities, but it does a decent job of adding things to its dictionary, although I’d rather not trust it with any passwords. It’s funny, but it’s easier to Swype with my left hand because it doesn’t seem to cover up as much of the keyboard while I’m drawing. It then occurred to me: since I’m drawing on the keyboard, I could take a page from my alphabets fixation and see how Swype would interpret my letter shapes.

I did the capital alphabet several times, to get something of a statistical collection of words, and here is a selected list:

A: Cyndi
B: Truth
C: Itch
D: Tactic
E: Rancho
F: Through
G: Using
H: Rerun
I: Truck
J: Until
K: Reign
L: Ten
M: Exton
N: Darby
O: Hecht
P: Trig
Q: Grub
R: Flubbed
S: Utrecht
T: Thai
U: Ruby
V: Rio
W: Echo
X: Eric
Y: Rub
Z: Rick Flynn

I tried to keep with a single word for each letter, with the exception of “Rick Flynn” for “Z”, because it was pretty awesome. Also, honorable mention to the runner up for “Z”, “Gagnon B-)”. I didn’t include it because an emoticon isn’t really a word, but it’s also pretty awesome.

Two More Alphabets

Data Representation, Linguistic Deconstruction

Alphabets again. I was lettering some notes this morning and got interested in the number of strokes it took me to write capital letters, and then I started thinking about strokes of the pen vs. visual line elements, and one thing led to another. Here are two newly-reordered alphabets based on those two concepts.



Note: For “visual line elements” I consider the separation as a hard angle between components of the letter; in other words, “U” has one line element because it has a smooth curve linking the arms, while “V” has two because the join is an angle. Also, this ordering only works for my handwritten capitals (or any typeface that follows this style), because I put crossbars on the I, J and Z. Finally, the ordering within number sets depends on the values from the other set. For example, in the line elements set, W and M both have four elements, but W is listed before M because W uses only one stroke and M uses two. Hopefully that’s not too confusing.