Four Leaf Clovers, Question Paths, & Literal Names

Yesterday, I decided I’d look for four leaf clovers getting in and out of my car. Not hanging out searching, just opening my eyes and paying a bit more attention. Wikipedia tells me there’s one four leaf clover per 10,000 three leaf clovers. What surprises me is despite their relative rarity just how many four leaf clovers seem to be out there. It’s like interesting things. If you just start looking around, you end up amazed at how many interesting things surround you daily that you never noticed. One interesting thing leads to another. It gets to be harder to pay attention to more mundane things like crossing the road because there are so many interesting things to see and think about. Generating Questions I tried to take pictures representing each question I had walking to work the other day. I only decided to do it about halfway in but it was interesting to see it snowball because I made it intentional. The results are embedded below as a set. Additional questions are sometimes in the descriptions and won’t be visible in the embedded view. Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR. Literally Literal Dodge Caravan takes on a very odd feel if you read it literally. I decided to start capturing all the car/bike names I came across that were also actual […]

Two Different Time Lapse Experiments

Time Lapse Trip from Richmond VA to Tampa FL from Tom Woodward on Vimeo. This is my first attempt with the GoPro. I think it’s set to one shot every 30 seconds. You can see me fiddling with the settings a few different times if you’re masochistic enough to watch it through. The battery ran out early in the trip and resulted in me using it without the stand. That helps explain the repeated drifting as the USB cord1 pulls it slowly towards the driver’s side. It is interesting to see a 12.5 hr trip condensed down to 4 minutes or so. I may do it on the way back but pointed mostly towards the sky or maybe at the kids. Knowing where the stops were makes me wonder if something similar would make for a interesting take on Dan Meyer’s original graphing stories. On the other end of the time lapse spectrum is this attempt to condense one my attempts to fix a photo from the reddit pic request group. This one is kind of amusing to me in that you can see me googling some stuff for a sick child in the middle and finishing up with some posts to reddit and flickr. There is no sound but it’d be pretty easy to narrate if you wanted to […]

Markov Seeds

I started to comment on Alan’s recent post but realized I needed to document this a bit better than a comment. Every so often I kick over the #ds106 Markov generator and see what comes out. Sometimes I push it on to Twitter to share with the world. en You know what I understood characters (included. You to in inner pages @IamTalkyTina is Back? Where is YOUR photo? #ds106 #markov — Tom Woodward (@twoodwar) December 4, 2013 This one amused me so I did. @twoodwar en But I don't really understand what you just said. Like what #markov means? #ds106 #contextfelldownthestairs — Talky Tina (@IamTalkyTina) December 4, 2013 Talking Tina replied, justifiably confused. I explain. (There’s some additional side chatter you can see here but the more interesting stuff is below.) @IamTalkyTina random text assembler w #ds106 tweets as source material It's fairly fun (to me) although context free — Tom Woodward (@twoodwar) December 4, 2013 It could have died there but instead it went into a realm I could not have predicted- probabilistic programming in quantitative finance. @twoodwar Am I here ?? Probabilistic Programming in Quantitative Finance | Quantopian Blog – #ds106 — Talky Tina (@IamTalkyTina) December 4, 2013 Bill Smith chimes in with n-dimensional Hilbert space. @IamTalkyTina @twoodwar You R probably not here, but likely to be there. […]


Video Game Equation?

It’s supposed to represent the role of mind/emotion in creating engagement but the very fact that I feel compelled to explain that probably means I’m not doing a great job and I wonder about the degree to which I’m joking. There are elements here I may end up making work though. I can parse a few out for a #ds106 assignment as well . . .


Markov Tweet Generator Code, Path, & Potential

The following is how I adapted the Markov chain generator from Hay Kranen. Thanks to the comments1 I found below Hay’s post2 this Markov + Shakespeare version inspired me to figure out the “post-to-Twitter” option.3 Anyway, the much cleaner version is up and running. It now allows you to push the results to Twitter although I’m still adjusting this a bit. The code for the page I modified is below. It’s still slower than I’d like but it’ll do for now. The fact that I can go from a conversation one day to a fairly finished product the next is the piece that amazes me about computers and the Internet. I cannot stress enough that I don’t know how to write PHP. I feel that’s a statement of empowerment. This project took about three hours of work. 95% of that was searching/research and breaking it and then fixing it.4 Someone who knew what they were doing could probably knock it out in ten minutes. Now how is this more than just random #ds106 amusement? I think the generator works a little like this example about machine imagined artworks5. So there’s a chunk of human constructed meaning from machine assembled pieces. It doesn’t always work but that’s part of why I like having a human layer between generation and Twitter publishing […]


Markov Chains, Horse e-Books and Margins

In discussing trajectories, elements of engineered serendipity, “thought vectors in concept space” with Gardner and Jon yesterday the following occurred. Gardner shared this video (which is well worth watching and I rarely have the patience for videos). That led to a discussion about creating and using a MOOC/hashtag specific Twitterbot (like horse e-books but real1) using Markov Chains2 to create algorithmically driven conversations/connections that occur in the margins of intention and result.3 So I began messing with the idea last night. Given I have a completely illusionary knowledge of programming I looked for people to tell me how to do this. I found the metaphor a minute tutorial which will help me out with the Twitterbot end of things in the near future. I also found this PHP based Markov generator which does very nearly what I want absent the Twitter-ing part. I did want to automate the connection to a particular Twitter hashtag rather than adding the content manually so I started wandering around looking for ways to do that. Step one was trying to use curl. I eventually semi-melded some curl examples with the Markov generator. I was using the Twitter search for #ds106 as the source initially. With curl you are pulling the html so I got some interesting pieces but a fair amount of code fragments […]

Calendar as Unifier

I touched on this with a previous zombie pictures post. Essentially, metadata is awesome because it lets people find your stuff and it helps your stuff find its audience. Metadata is also absent more often than not because people don’t like to type in lots of tags and they especially don’t like to do it on phones. You see elements of this metadata addition becoming automatic- simple things like Instagram (or maybe IFTT) auto-tagging my images with instagram and (in my case) iPhone (like the image above). I’ve also seen auto-tagging of image filters and with exif data you get all sorts of interesting automated metadata details but they tend to be mechanical rather than social. IFTT, FeedWordPress, and others allow you to do some low level of automatic metadata association. What keeps coming back to me is that it would be relatively simple to enable people to associate calendars and specific calendar events with online media publishing workflows. This would add the socially relevant automated metadata so the audience could find the media. The end goal being audience rather than metadata.). This would work particularly well at institutions which have centralized calendars or in the case of Udell’s Elm City aggregated calendars. Take VCU’s calendar of events as an example. It has time, location, and categorical elements already. You […]

Snowballs and Networks

I’m trying to do a better job documenting how the Internet1 does things that make me happy. It’s fun to watch different flows and people come together to take things to another level. These interactions make up my personal Internet and I hope seeing them might help someone else build their Internet, this amalgam of humans and technology, to make them happy as well. The Input Somewhere in one of my feeds I came across Selfies at Funerals. I had a really hard time figuring out who would do something like that. The amount of ego really amazed me. Open Reflection So I put this out on Twitter2. and the #ds106 assignment response to #funeralselfies is to create the most inappropriate selfie (historical or otherwise) possible — Tom Woodward (@twoodwar) October 30, 2013 I made the following bad example after a few of my original thoughts turned out far too gruesome even for me. Feedback/Amplification William Berry then sent me an email that was something like this later blog post. Essentially, William had done a much better example using Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth. With this as inspiration, I put in some after trick or treating time and made four historical examples. It’s also now made its way to a #ds106 assignment which four people have completed at this point- […]

Historical Selfies

These were all focused on historical “selfies” right before disasters but you could do the opposite. I was inspired by the horrible and fascinating Selfies at Funerals Tumblr. You might also be appalled/inspired by Rich Kids of Instagram. I really don’t know quite enough about the selfie/hashtag culture to do this really well. The details with hashtags are what make it interesting and you need to do some research to make it work properly. There is work in humor. Get the Photoshop template here.

A Non-Definition of OER

THe following two photographs of slides are from David Wiley’s presentation on open education (which was awesome). I am playing against his definition for a variety of reasons which may become clear as I progress. (1) Any kind of teaching materials- textbooks, syllabi, lesson plans, videos, readings, exams “Teaching materials” are in the eye of the beholder but leading with this phrase puts people in a certain mindset around content and one that is actually harmful. People make fun of “educational” resources for good reason. A large part of what needs to be opened is our ideas around what content might be educational and how we might use that content. (2) Free and unfettered access, and (3) Free permission to engage in the “4R activities“ I won’t argue much with #2, although I do realize I “pay” for access to some of this content when a 3rd party tracks me. While I recognize the importance and goodness of #3, I hate to exclude all the content that falls outside that definition. I’d rather have a larger “house” of content and a few rooms that help people decide what they can do with it. I think it’s actually good that content might be ephemeral and might eventually go away. I am ok that I can’t remix certain things. I still find […]