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Chris McCormick - News

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    "An astronaut stranded on an alien planet, with only a few minutes left to live."

    Orchids to Dusk had a powerful effect on me.

    I dreamed about the game the night after playing it.

    The creative power of code is the microwave background radiation of my subconscious and this game made me notice it again in a visceral way.


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    I am playing algorithmic rave music at Rhetoric in Western Australia.

    • February 5th, 2016
    • Game city { Raine Square / Perth Train Station }
    • Doors open 6pm
    • $10 Entry
    • Free arcade games
    • With: chr15m, cbat, marko maric, atomsmasha, kataplexia, amnesia, polite society & free arcade games.


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    This is the pattern I use for mastering algorithmic electronic music that I write.

    Algorave mastering heuristic block diagram

    First, each audio source or channel Sn is given a random (sometimes hand tuned) delay of 0 to 20 milliseconds on either the left or right channel in RPn. My friend Crispin put me on to this technique, which gives each audio source its own psycho-acoustic space in the mix, probably due to the Haas effect.

    Next the resulting sources are summed together - separately for left and right channel. Here you can also run the combined signal through a high pass filter set at 5Hz to remove any DC offset present in the signal.

    Then the combined signal is passed through a reverb with mostly "dry" signal - maximum 30% wet as a general rule of thumb. Adjust the reverb to taste. I'll usually make it a bit long and airy but subtle.

    Next we win the loudness wars. This is dance music and we want people to dance, so it has to sound powerful. To acheive this we do something horrible: measure the RMS - the power of the sound - and then amplify until the power of the signal is normalised. Here is the "auto compress" Pure Data patch I use for doing this:

    Pure Data auto-compress patch

    The env~ object here is a simple envelope follower and the source code is here. The dbtorms function source code is here. The possible magnitude of the power correction is limited by the clip function which does what it says on the box, and the resulting multiplier is smoothed with a 10ms rise and fall time (line~) to get rid of sudden discontinuities. Only 30% of the resulting power-normalized signal is mixed with the original signal.

    Finally, run the mixed signal through a soft-clipper before sending it to the speakers. Soft clipping is a good idea because the power normalisation step above will push the peaks up above 1.0 and we don't want harsh hard-clipped distortion to be audible.

    The soft clipper I use (probably incorrectly called "sigmoid" in the diagram) is simultaneously a compressor to get that extra punchy sound:

    2 / (1 + pow(27.1828, -$v1)) - 1

    Where $v1 here corresponds to your vector of incoming audio samples.

    Hopefully this method doesn't break any international treaties or anything.


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  • 03/15/16--05:09: Mccormick Family Photo 2016
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  • 03/26/16--18:52: Corn & Zucchini
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    Wrong time of year but we'll see what happens.

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  • 04/07/16--22:58: Some Isometric Sprites
  • Ship



    Tree #1

    Tree #2

    Mandarc side view

    These are some video game style isometric and side view renders of previous 3d work I did:

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  • 05/22/16--04:01: Treehouse Building
  • DSC_0381.png DSC_0386.png DSC_0387.png smssecure-2016-05-07-141043.png DSC_0407.png DSC_0392.png

    Couple of weekends ago Jessee and Chris came over and we made this free-standing tree-house-like platform thing for Scout and Orson out of some wooden palettes I'd collected during the preceding week.

    When I say "we made" of course I mean they made it and wisely only let me touch one or two power tools during the course of construction.

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    My wife and I needed a collaborative shopping list that we could update from our phones. There are proprietary solutions to this but after some research I was surprised to discover that there is no Free Software application that meets the following criteria:

    • Web based.
    • Easy to deploy.
    • Self-hosted & FLOSS.
    • Allows multiple people to update a list.
    • Simple text based format for easy editing.
    • Mobile friendly - "Add to Home Screen" webapp.
    • Satisfies the single use-case of collaborative TODO editing.

    Of course I built one with ClojureScript.

    Screenshot of

    We've been using this "in production" for 3 months and so far it fills our need without issue.

    • Authentication can be accomplished with a .htaccess file or similar.
    • The text-file format is designed so that you can edit lists with a text-editor directly if you want to.
    • If you want to support multiple users you can set up two instances in two different folders and symlink the textfile of the list you want to share between them. Each folder can have its own authentication.
    • You can also do other textfile things like make a symlink into a Syncthing folder which enables you to modify your TODO lists on your laptop or server as well as through the web app.

    The realtime updating is accomplished via long-polling. Primarily I used this instead of websockets because when it comes to browsers, older tech is more robust to different operating environments than newer tech.

    I resorted to using PHP for a very lightweight server backend because it has the property that basically anybody with web hosting is able to upload a PHP script and I think it's good to give software as egalitarian a deployment surface as possible. Luckily it is only 150 lines of not-too-painful PHP.

    Click here to get the source and download/install it.

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  • 07/24/16--01:13: You Are Here
  • you are here

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  • 08/20/16--19:05: Namibia 2027
  • TS.2850-Anthony-Scime-style-copy.png

    I am trying to teach myself sci-fi style vector painting and this a piece that I think meets the post-on-blog standard.

    I tried to copy the basic palette/mood/style of this image.

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  • 09/11/16--00:13: Sci Fi UIs in ClojureScript
  • I built these sci fi user interfaces using ClojureScript, React, and SVG:

    Tap or click to interact with them.






    More here.

    Source code here.

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  • 10/19/16--23:57: Delhi 2016
  • DSC_0232.JPG DSC_0242.JPG DSC_0251.JPG DSC_0304.JPG DSC_0326.JPG DSC_0350.JPG DSC_0358.JPG DSC_0217.JPG DSC_0411.JPG DSC_0212.JPG DSC_0432.JPG DSC_0453.JPG IMG_20160930_105853.JPG

    Couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough to visit Delhi and spend a week with my colleagues Umang, Gaurav and Tom. We had an excellent and productive week and in between development discussion Umang was kind enough to drive us to many fascinating and beautiful places - not least of all to enjoy a wonderful meal at his sister's house.

    We worked out of Awfis co-working, which I recommend.

    I feel lucky to have seen Delhi this way.

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  • 11/11/16--00:12: Tentacle Being
  • Drawing of a tentacle being

    Drawing practice in the style of Ben Hatke.

    Scout and I finished Zita the Spacegirl recently which was a wonderful adventure.

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    Although it is an exadgeration to say that app stores are dead it is true that web apps (applications that run in a web browser) and the mobile-device browser platforms have become powerful to the point that it is often not neccessary to build a native app.

    There is a gap in the web app paradigm as users don't always realise they can install a web app they use by going to "Add to homescreen".

    An interesting way to fill that gap would be to build an "app store" for web apps. That is, a native app that curates and carries out the "add to homescreen" process for the user for a wide variety of quality web applications. So basically like Firefox OS but without the OS - just the installer, and for the native browser of each platform.

    Ideas are cheap and execution is everything - you don't need my permission to take this idea and run with it if you're convinced.

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  • 11/18/16--22:12: Algorave Set in Williamsburg
  • Lately I've been working on new algorave music in the style of drill&bass and I'm playing a set here in New York for the PdCon16 party. It's at a space called Vital Joint in Williamsburg, tonight (Saturday) at midnight.

    spinning globe

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  • 11/24/16--17:51: Open Skies
  • Hand drawn image of a country scene with a rocket flying above the clouds and the moon with a habitation ring around it.

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  • 11/25/16--22:32: Geodesic Scale Test
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  • 01/05/17--23:07: Gameboy Nature Beats
  • gameboynaturebeats-poster-1.png gameboynaturebeats-poster-4.png

    Tonight my friend Fenris and I will play some music in a park here in Perth, Western Australia, on Gameboy and Commodore 64 powered by batteries and broadcast over FM radio to local speakers hanging from the trees. We'll start playing at 9:30pm and after us our friends Atomsmasha and Kataplexia will also play some music on Gameboys.

    Might see you there!

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  • 01/09/17--01:49: New York PdCon 2016
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    In November I was in New York for PdCon 2016 and to visit my brother, thanks in large part to my friend Joe Deken and his not-for-profit, New Blankets.

    The conference was fantastic. Many fascinating performances, a chance to catch up in person with people from the Pure Data community, and the opportunity to present and perform some of my own work. A highlight for me was hearing Miller Puckette, creator of Pure Data, talk about his approach and philosophy.

    On top of that I got to catch up with some awesome people outside of the conference, especially my brother. We went hiking together one day - a rare opportunity to hang out together in nature.

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  • 01/15/17--02:52: Sounds Incredible
  • After 14 years of playing music together on Gameboy Advance and Commodore 64 my buddy Fenris and I finally recorded an album while he was visiting during Xmas.

    You can listen to the album for free or purchase a download for however much you like.

    All of the software we use to play music is Free and Open Source:

    I hope you enjoy the music.

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