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Taking a break….
|| 4/27/2008 || 12:31 pm || Comments Off on Taking a break…. || ||

I will be taking a brief break until Monday, May 5th. I’m working on a bunch of projects right now and I don’t think I’ll have much time to update this website!



Boston Common Quilt, revisited
|| 4/26/2008 || 11:09 pm || Comments Off on Boston Common Quilt, revisited || ||

The other week I published two maps of Boston Common on this website. Since then, I’ve had numerous visits to my website from people searching for the Boston Common quilts.

Since I am not a quilter, I did not know that there was already type of patchwork called Boston Common. The real irony is that last week I tried making almost the exact type of geographic quilt design but gave up because it was taking too long to make.

From a visual standpoint, the layout of the Boston Common patchwork design looks very similar to my square quilt projection. I wonder what other quilt design styles I’ve accidentally copied? I’ll find out in due time.



North End Quilt #2
|| 4/25/2008 || 8:26 am || Comments Off on North End Quilt #2 || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
North End Quilt Quilt #2

Using this portion of North End Quilt, I constructed this derivative Hexagon Quilt Projection map of the area around North End neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts.

After rendering the map, while I was processing it for on-line publication on this website, I noticed that the source tessellation was off by one pixel and subsequently, this map has a slight defect to it. This is not the first time this has happened, but it makes me disappointed because the map is not perfect like the rest.

View the Google Map of North End neighborhood in Boston.

: detail :

View the rest of the details:

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The Athan Drum & Bass Mashup via YouTube Doubler
|| 4/24/2008 || 11:00 pm || Comments Off on The Athan Drum & Bass Mashup via YouTube Doubler || ||

The other day I wrote about Brian Kane’s YouTube Doubler. Continuing on the same style of taking a beat track and adding a new element, today’s mash-up is similar to one that I made before using dub reggae back in December of 2004. Unlike the last version, which was created before YouTube even existed, this mashup features the Muslim call to prayer, known as the Athan, combined with a very techy drum & bass mix.

First and foremost, if you are reading this and are offended by my use of the Athan, I apologize. It is not my intent to debase or make fun of the Athan in any way, rather this mashup was designed to expose others to different ways of hearing the Muslim call to prayer. One of the fundamental tenets of Islam is tolerance and I hope you are able to tolerate this mashup. Drum & bass is very abrasive form of electronic music and the Athan is normally sung without any instrumentation, so I feel it’s an interesting sonic juxtaposition.

What I like most about the Athan video is that it features mosques from around the world. So not only do you get to hear the beauty of the call to prayer, you are shown the beauty of Islamic architecture as well. If you are interested in seeing/hearing a different Athan, check out the call to prayer being sung inside of a al-Masjid al-Haram mosque in Mecca. It’s the holiest site in all of Islam.

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QR Code Tessellation
|| 4/23/2008 || 10:42 pm || Comments Off on QR Code Tessellation || ||

: rendered at 18,000 x 12,000 :

While the QR-Code mistake wasn’t exactly what I was hoping to create earlier today, this design turned out exactly as I originally envisioned. The plan was to take one QR Code and plot the code as a very large tessellation. Like the Geovisual QR Code, I wanted to make the embedded code something self-evident so I chose the text to be “QR Code Tessellation by Nikolas Schiller. Created on Wednesday April 23rd, 2008 in Washington, DC.”

For this design I rotated the code 45 degrees to create a diamond shape and after the rendering was finished I cut out 4 of the squares and added an enlarged QR Code in the lower right-hand corner. In all, it’s a very simple design but at the size of a billboard it would be very interesting to see it displayed.

: QR Code Decoded :

View the rest of the details:

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another QR Code mistake
|| || 12:24 pm || Comments Off on another QR Code mistake || ||

: rendered at 9,000 x 6,000 :

The other week I attempted to hack the QR-Code to see if I could visually embed a censored aerial photograph of the Washington Monument to create “Geovisual QR Code“. While I was unsuccessful, I enjoyed the process of experimenting with this type of visual code.

Today I tried to make a second QR Code design based off a QR Code tessellation. I was able to make the tessellation without a problem and when I was finished I saved the new QR Code as a GIF. When I imported the GIF into my rendering program I noticed that something was awry. Instead of being shown in black & white I was seeing bits of color. I assume that this happened because the program does not take GIF files well. This might have happened because I saved the GIF as an interlaced file and when the program was deconstructing the GIF it created some type of visual static. Instead of casting the mistake aside, I decided to see what the final result would be, and frankly sometimes even mistakes can look quite cool.

Up next will be the intended QR Code design.

: zoom to center :

View the rest of the details:

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NBC Universal is co-opting the Green Party of the United States this Earth Day
|| 4/22/2008 || 1:41 pm || Comments Off on NBC Universal is co-opting the Green Party of the United States this Earth Day || ||

This Earth Day I am calling out corporate greenwashing being employed by NBC Universal . The calculated lie (below) is that they are not forming a new “Green Party,” rather they are subverting the existence of one of the few 3rd parties in American politics.

When this week is over, I sincerely wonder how many times will NBC Universal feature the Green Party’s presidential candidate on any of it’s stations? That is less of a question and more of a challenge. My null hypothesis is that there will be no mention of the Green Party of the United States, rather lots of tips on living green instead of empowering people that they have the option to vote Green in November.

NBC Universal is 80% owned by General Electric and this type of greenwashing is designed to help distance people’s concerns about General Electric’s nuclear reactor business operations. It’s ironic that it was protests against nuclear energy that helped propel the German Green Party into the political spotlight.

View the modified screen grab:

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North End Quilt
|| || 12:28 pm || Comments Off on North End Quilt || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
North End Quilt

Continuing my series of maps of downtown Boston, Massachusetts, today’s map features the North End neighborhood. Settled in the 1630’s, it’s the oldest continuously inhabited portion of the city of Boston.

View the Google Map of North End neighborhood in Boston.

: detail :

View the rest of the details:

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Visual Trace Route – I’m 42 hops from Google
|| 4/21/2008 || 6:00 pm || Comments Off on Visual Trace Route – I’m 42 hops from Google || ||

Visual Trace Route Tool Screen Grab

For nearly four years (May 2004 to March 2008) this website was a digital experiment how people find content on the internet. By withholding the contents of this website from search engines I was able to create my own digital island that could be found only by those who knew me or when I would selectively release specific content. Last month, exactly one year after an internationally syndicated article was published about me and my website, I concluded the experiment by lifting the electronic Berlin Wall that prevented search engines from accessing the content on this website. For the last month or so, I’ve begun to watch how people are able to find my content through search engines, and frankly its been nothing short of amazing. In the not-so-distant future I will have a more detailed pre & post search engine analysis posted here.

While this website was unlisted and before the article was published, I used to look at my website IP logs every morning. I would manually trace the IP addresses of every visitor to this website and obtain a decent guesstimate of how the person found my website. This IP analysis would give the location and hosting provider of the visitor, but what it did not give is the digital path that my content traveled.

Data does not travel through the internet in a geographic path of least resistance (like as the crow flies), rather data bounces around the world from server to router to user in a path that can go in multiple directions and routed through multiple servers before finally reaching your computer. A trace route is a means to see what servers the content passes through before reaching you. By clicking on the image above you can explore how content travels to your computer using the Google Maps interface to see exactly where the content travels. For example, data from www.Google.com makes 42 unique hops before finally reaching my computer. A fun experiment would be to trace how content from this website arrives on your computer screen.

Watching the route trace itself looks much like a sped up version of “The 21 Steps by Charles Cumming,” which is a cartographically interactive story told through the Google Maps interface. Each stop becomes a new chapter in the information’s delivery. How many stops did this blog entry take to get to you?

Related GIS:

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Boston Financial District Quilt
|| 4/20/2008 || 8:11 pm || Comments Off on Boston Financial District Quilt || ||

: rendered at 12,000 X 8,000 :
Boston Commons Quilt #2

Continuing my series of maps of Boston, Massachusetts, today’s map features Boston’s Financial District. Using the same Quilt / Lenz hybrid that I first employed in Rochester Quilt #2, I placed a magnifying sphere over the center of the map. This magnified geography in the center of the map features Boston’s Government Center, Faneiul Hall, and the nearby Faneuil Hall Marketplace. As your eye moves away from the center the rest of Boston’s Financial District is revealed.

View the Google Map of Boston’s Financial District.

: detail :

View the rest of the details:

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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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