Digital Drama

Hi kids!  It’s been a while since we made a post.  We’ve been doing much of the same since the last post, recording and working on the new album.  It has been mostly boring stuff so we kind of kept it to ourselves.  To boot, I lost my camera charger so we haven’t been able to capture any quality video to share.  I’m gonna have to pick up a new one shortly because we will have a lot to share in the coming weeks.  The new album is done being mixed and will soon be sent off for mastering. 

To the meat of this entry, I have been working on album artwork.  I had a vision for the theme and wanted to dig up the “gear head kid” we used for the Interesting Times art, but couldn’t find the files.  I discovered them on my dinosaur computer I had way back then, and also realized that I didn’t back up a good chunk of the data on that old PC.  Soooo I started up the backup process, and somewhere in the middle of the backup, everything crashed.  My old pc got bricked, and at the very same time my backup drive crashed and became useless.  I panicked.  Somewhat calmly (I had to take a lot of deep breaths), but it was truly a feeling of sheer dread, as all of this was the cumulative data from something like 15-20ish years of my life all lost in one swift blow.  All the pictures, flyers, art, music, files and EVERYTHING.  All gone.  Including the couple few files I needed to do the album art.  What to do?  Call Stoof!

Stoof, or Stephan, as he is less commonly known, is a computer wizard.  He’s a friend of ours and a fan of Ideamen.  I did some looking up on the intertubes and found out that the hard drive I had was not the best, and had a very high failure rate.  It technically shouldn’t have lasted as long as it did, and my last push to drop several gigs of data onto it just pushed it past its capability.  I also learned that recovering the data on these things can be difficult, but not impossible.  So I had some hope.  I brought my PC and the drive to Stoof and he got to work on it.  He was able to recover the PC drives relatively easily, but the backup drive was a chore.  I got a new backup drive, this time I did a bit of research to make sure I got a reliable one, and we copied the files over to it.  A few days later, I heard from Stoof, and somehow he worked some insane computer wizardry magic and got the backup drive functional enough to copy the files over!  I still owe Stoof a good few more six packs to pay for it, as he simply refused to take my money.

So we didn’t lose all of the digital history of Ideamen and its predecessor soulvasq and everything else that was stored on those old pieces of machinery.  My dinosaur computer is now dead and in a scrapyard somewhere (may it rust in peace), and all of the data is now on my new backup drive.  Thanks Stoof!  No seriously, thanks mang, I would have cried tears of blood if I lost all of that stuff. 

Now I’m working on album art.  It’s a tedious project, as I’m using a wild and weird program called Pov-Ray to make it.  It’s the program I used to create the Interesting Times art, a 3D rendering program with no GUI (Graphical User Interface).  It’s all code, all the time.  You have to click the run button to see what you’ve been coding for hours.  I basically learned programming languages between Pov-Ray and Second Life, and boy is it fun.  Grueling, but fun.  I will likely be sharing some of the code from the Pov-Ray artwork in coming days, so for the brave and curious, download it and start tinkering!

Follow-ups: The Interesting Times art was designed from the ground up to be animated and used in videos, but we only did one thing with it.  Please watch this video.  There was one frame in that video (the one at the end where the camera passes in front of the projector) that took 6 days to render on my dinosaur computer.  The entire video took nearly 3 weeks to render.  Also if you’re into virtual worlds, check out Second life.  I’ve done a good deal of work in there, from volunteer work at Dreams to paid work at Virtual Ability Incorporated.  Those links will only work if you have Second Life installed.  In SL I am SamBivalent Spork, a giant ant.  Yep.  I’m a giant ant.

–Ideamen Dave