Thursday, April 11, 2013

My time machine

I recently subscribed to a wonderful thread about history, photography and historical architecture of Turin (Torino Sparita, disappeared Turin). 
Seeing that it was a subject of high interest around the place, I immediately felt the urge to write some tutorial (and code) to let everybody experience a walk in the city (ANY city) shifting to a different time, with some innovative techniques.

If anyone is interested, I just translated one of my tutorials to English...

( PS - the base forum contains similar threads for almost any place in the world! )

Friday, March 23, 2012

Institutional irony

Maybe it is just me...
but every time I come to a site like this, I cannot help thinking to a map like this one. (feel free to take a closer look at the craters).

It feels like seeing Hitler worried about the Gaza controversy.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Practical science

More work done on the site, since its first publication...
This time I devoted some time also to technical minded people ;-)

Main changes:

  • 1) Updated pages to link to this blog and show mail information (thanks for letting me know about bugs so early!)
  • 2) Created page for the Electronics section (I mainly had to choose the right graphic appearance)
  • 3) Created foreword to the Electronics/HIGHVoltage section (This has been tough... )
  • 4) Project added - my first Nixie Clock prototype (revisited and rethought)
  • 5) Project added - Experiments on OTL amplifiers (It already existed on the Net in some other place... but now it changed shape)
I even succeeded in making Google crunch the sitemap xml, at last... And I am experimenting the fascinating Google Analytics Realtime (BETA) Report!

See you soon!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The dawn of a new mqcvisions site...!

After three year of abandon of my site (and a long period of asociality, for that matter) I am having some days at home due to some annoying circumstances... and decided it was definitely time to completely rewrite it. 

There are whole new sections, a lot of new content... and it is drastically changed in the graphic appearance.

Although there were 'philosophical' reasons behind the interface of the old one, the final result was simply ugly in terms of usability. I hope the new one is better... 

I am eager to receive any kind of feedbacks and comments! So I put it online even if it is not fully completed; I hope to add many other things in the next two weeks.

The address is always the same:

Have a pleasant navigation... and remember to check the 'UPDATES' section :-)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The hidden life of things

I remember sitting outside in the porch of a hut, high in the mountains. No maintenance asked, no maintenance given since the 1700's.

The quiet was pervading. I sat on a log in the snow, smoking my pipe and looking at the crystal clear, black sky.
The simplicity of nothingness, the beautiful feeling of not having anything to say or to do.
That feeling only very young or very special people can afford, of being simply alive.

Inside, an ancient stove, the oldest I ever saw, cracked open by the heat of the flame during centuries, was lightening that small space with its warm red glow. Probably my lust for ancient, gleamy things comes from there.

This is one of my favourite memories, choosing from many loved ones. Its quality is not the one of a dream.

Things usually invisible to everyone often had their moment of glory, maybe only once. But having been so important, even once, they somehow conquered their reality.

Invisible things. Those are the one I want to live with.

Touching something coming from the past you can feel Time unroll through its texture. A rusted screw that someone in some time used to build some unknown else. An imperfection in the carving of a wooden box (is that microscopic stain the human mark from a slipped scalpel?). The slight dent in a lens coming from the USSR. A small handmade cog...

Any object is a silent witness, and is waiting for that touch to unveil emotions and a small tile of the big jigsaw puzzle of History.
Today many things are happening in the world. Dictators are falling, people is dying, as many other times in the past. And nevertheless, or more probably because of this, today I am feeling better looking again at my invisible things, one by one. Because they will bring their stories along, silently including mine.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Vivian Maier, or the unsustainable nothingness of being

Cameras don't take pictures, photographers do.

"The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it."

"Vivian came here from France in the early 1930's and worked in a sweat shop in New York when she was about 11 or 12. She was not Jewish but a Catholic, or as they said, an anti-Catholic. She was a Socialist, a Feminist, a movie critic, and a tell-it-like-it-is type of person. She learned English by going to theaters, which she loved. She wore a men's jacket, men's shoes and a large hat most of the time. She was constantly taking pictures, which she didn't show anyone." John Maloof

I just started to look through the newly discovered works of this exceptional, unknown artist, and I cannot imagine the thrill and sadness of John Maloof when he realized to be the only one to have the responsibility of what remains of Vivian's life, and had to show her treasure to the world.

There is nothing I can say about those wonderful shots except that they are... well, wonderful. For my personal aesthetic sensibility, this is the best street photography I ever saw.
This lifelong work really risked to be destroyed or forgotten forever... and this makes me think about the impermanence of our lives. 

This post is only to add a stone to the grave of a great photographer; like many other great artists, she did not have the satisfaction to have her talent recognized in life. 
Friday, January 29, 2010

The underestimated role of brass in western contemporary world

A minimal history

After the Copper Age came the Bronze Age, followed later by the Iron Age. There was no 'Brass Age' because, for many years, it was not easy to make brass.
Only in the last millennium has brass been appreciated as an engineering alloy. Whilst pre-dynastic Egyptians knew copper very well (in hieroglyphs copper was represented by the ankh symbol 'C' also used to denote eternal life), the use of brass was very uncommon, except where its dark yellowish colour was required. 
Several Roman writers then refer to brass, calling it 'Aurichalum'. It was used for the production of coins and helmets.
In medieval times brass was popular for church monuments, thin plates being let in to stone floors and inscribed to commemorate the dead.
In Shakespearean times, because of its ease of manufacture, machining and corrosion resistance, brass became the standard alloy from which were made all accurate devices such as clocks, watches and navigational instruments. 
With the coming of the industrial revolution, the production of brass became even more important.
Even today, brass is usually the first-choice material for many of the components for equipment made in the precision engineering industries. It is indispensable where a long, cost-effective service life is required. This combination is matched by no other material.

Transitional considerations

Since the appearance of brass on the planet, it always has been associated to beauty, strength, magic and power. Even during the industrial revolution, its use in high precision environments has been deeply intermixed with an artistic view of technology, something we started to lose at the beginning of the 20th century. Technology has gradually become something so unrelated to art to be antagonistic to it. Such a shame.

Modern times

With the advent of new technologies, new materials, new needs in the everyday life, brass objects have been more or less discontinued, or hidden. The transition has been so smooth no one noticed its disappearance.
Look around you, and try to find a brass object, or something brass-coloured.
In a common house or office, you will find none. None at all.

If you eventually find something, probably it will be in one of these categories:

1) Door handles - those devices you use to open the Magical Gates to The World (or to Your Home).

2) Name plates - those Little Gadgets Silently Telling Your Name To Strangers

3) Artsy thingies - those Undefinable Contraptions that Make You Feel Warm And Fuzzy Inside

4) Nautical 'anything' - Everything you can find on a Floating Machine Made To Cross Perilous Waters During Adventurous Voyages

Got the point?

If yes, this will become a viral thought. Suddenly, there will be a gaping hole in your life of which you were hitherto unaware [cfr. 2dGoggles...]. You will start to search brass everywhere, at first simply because it is SO strange that a whole colour and/or material has been (almost) removed from our world, then because you will become addicted to the warm glow it emanates.

[As a side effect of its removal, little reproductions of monuments once cast in brass now are made of synthetic materials, wood, or marble. If you take in your hands a brass object (let's use as a casual example something like a souvenir of Milan) it inspires strength, determination, will. It is solid, sincere. You feel you can do great things with it. On the other side, if the same object is made of a less noble material, it inspires weakness and a feeling of impending failure. <giggle>]


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