ICM Week 8: Midterm! My fortune telling, Magic 8 Ball calculator

Fortune Calculator

Last week we discussed ideas for our midterm and I presented something I’d been thinking about since Week 4. My idea was to create a calculator that doesn’t work…or works more like a Magic 8 Ball than a calculator. It actually does add and subtract but what you get are strings, not numbers.

When I started working on it, I was going crazy trying to figure out how to create a class for every property that a button would have – rollover detection, button press detection, the value of each button, and how to store the value of each button so that you could actually do a calculation. Then, it was suggested that I use a library to create the buttons. (Duh.) I chose ControlP5. Admittedly, using the library was a revelation and it helped me progress my work forward by at least a week. I think I would have lost it if I had to create an entire button class in a week, and figure out how to make the rest of the calculator work.

So after all that, I again got help adding the buttons and creating the first of 2 switch statements to determine button press. The second, I made on my own. But, eventually I was able to do a lot of work alone, creating the array of strings, calling the functions to print the strings, creating outlines for the buttons, and adding the ability to subtract. I also added buttons to the calculator that have nothing to do with math at all. Like a ‘Q’ button, an ‘&’ button, and a ‘?’ button. I may create put in other mathematical operators, ‘*’ and ‘/’ so that it seems more like a true calculator…we’ll see.

I am disappointed that the ControlP5 library doesn’t have much in the way of customization of the buttons. The text is really tiny and I’d prefer to make it look more calculator-like. Eventually, maybe I will end up creating a button class and then be able to modify the look a little bit better. For now, I’m happy that I have a calculator that (mostly) works.

If you use it, remember that it can only add or subtract two numbers. If you do a compound calculation, like ‘N + Y – R & S’, you’ll get results from the last operator used, in this example ‘&’. It also works best if you ‘Clear’ your results after each calculation.

Fortune telling, Magic 8 Ball Calculator

Comm Lab: Audio/Sound Editing

Last week or the week before, I recorded some random sounds. I live in a basement, which helped me get sound clips free of unwanted noise.

Some sounds I collected were:

  • A tape measure.
  • A jar of peanuts.
  • A pill bottle.
  • A water bottle.
  • A discussion between my roommates and I.
  • A hallway with an echo.
  • A street near Tisch.
  • An elevator.
  • A bowl of Raisin Bran with milk.

Then I imported them into Soundtrack Pro and messed around a bit. I did use a few tracks in the program to augment my sounds, such as the electricity surge, rain and drops of water from a cave. It took a while to create, but that’s mostly because I got really into it. And, it was fun.

Here’s my soundscape. To get the full effect, turn up your sound at least halfway. It’s only super loud a few times, which I did on purpose.
extended4.wav (full)

Samples from the full clip:


M5 Bus assignment

For our Applications of Interactive Technology course, we were assigned to ride the M5 bus from Houston and LaGuardia Place to the end of the ride, around 185th St in Washington Heights, then write a 5-page essay about our experience. Well, I went on the ride, I took pictures, I took notes, and I thought about what interesting things to say.

In the end, I felt that I didn’t really have enough of any one thing to write about. So, I wrote three things: a descriptive essay on the trip, a reflective piece about my former living experience in Washington Heights, and a fictional essay about a highly phobic man on the bus.

At the same time I thought about how could I make the essay more engaging. Well, we could create any type of media we wanted. Another student turned in a book of photographs for her picture essay. Anything with film, sound or images would have required yet another bus trip, and 185th St is far away from Houston. But, I did like the idea of doing something unique with my essay.

I’m not exactly sure of where the idea came from, but the idea of putting my essay on cubes just seemed right. And, so I took about 2 days to create a set of 9 paper cubes. On three sides of each cube I pasted my essay, which I prepared first in Illustrator. On the reverse side for each cube I pasted clues, like colored pieces of paper or drawings of a flower growing petals. When you put it all together, there’s only one arrangement of the cubes that allows you to read the essay and also see the clues in the correct order. It turned out to be a lot more difficult for people to put together than I intended, but it seems like they really enjoyed trying to figure it out.

I also built a box to hold the cubes. Seemed appropriate since I needed a way to turn the cubes in without them getting crushed. Sadly, I think I deleted the photos of the box when I was in a mad fit of hard drive frugality. Well, it still exists (I hope), so photos will appear eventually.

The essay is here.(PDF)