Red Echo

August 28, 2013

I haven’t really been working on any creative projects lately. I bought a house, and work got busy. I haven’t sewed anything in months or started any new projects.

I’m still grinding along on the massive LED chandelier. I made a PCB layout error which means it is going to be somewhat more difficult to connect the driver boards to the controller boards. I will probably just jury-rig adapters for all the boards, but I am thinking about spending the $381 to reprint them. Oof.

I have thought about selling the KZ1000 frame, since I haven’t touched it in a year, but I might still build an electric motorcycle some day, and it doesn’t really cost me anything to let it sit there at ALTSpace.

Kind of a bummer. I really bit off more than I could easily chew with this chandelier project.

I haven’t touched Radian in a while, either. The world went multicore, alright, but the high-performance desktop computing applications I anticipated just haven’t materialized. Our incredibly powerful desktop computers pretty much spend all their time running Javascript, and shared-memory multiprocessing doesn’t get you very far in a giant datacenter. Radian was an interesting experiment that proved a conceptual point, and it kept me sane during a couple of otherwise pretty frustrating years, but it doesn’t seem to have any practical applications.

Right, well, what I really wanted to talk about was the handful of projects I am thinking about working on over the fall & winter.

– strings of colorful walkway lights for forest festivals
– music-sensitive laser projectors that mount on the back of your hand (like a cross between my laser-projector backpack and the laserfingers)
– a new edition of the human-pedal-powered Skybeam, using LEDs instead of halogen bulbs
– walk-through laser dome, hundreds of beams shining down on the ground that you can play in
– organize a corporation to buy a piece of land to use as a big group campground for burner festivals and other events

this one will never happen, but wouldn’t it be fun?
– trampoline art car for next summer’s critical massive


  1. Are you saying Radian is dead? Or on-hold?

    Comment by Wardy — August 29, 2013 @ 12:21 pm

  2. It works just fine, for what it does, but I have yet to see any niche open up for which it is clearly better suited than other tools. I could build libraries, I could write documentation, I could run comparison benchmarks, I could promote the language, I could try to get a community started around it, but why? Which libraries would be most useful? Against which other tools should it be compared? Who would use it, if only they knew about it? I don’t have answers to these questions.

    Comment by mars — August 29, 2013 @ 12:35 pm

  3. I know it works fine – I’ve been testing it ;-)

    There are several other tools out there – but they were already in progress when you started. Some seem great, some… avoidable.

    Marketplace… Look how many coders there are out there. Look how many there are out there who want that “hybrid” language – where the best syntax of many is brought into one, a language which has multicore capabilities. While some of the syntax you’ve used was “foreign” to me, it was quickly understood and the benefits were obvious. You have a good grasp already.

    With an IDE, debugger, documentation and community support, Radian could thrive. Many people would burst to get involved in a project such as this, whether it is from the perspective of writing documentation or assisting with internals. Libraries would follow.

    The key to this… is… You don’t have to do this alone! You “can” do it alone, but can you? Do you have the time? You work on so many projects, the obvious answer to an outsider is “No, you cannot”. Pitched, publicised and supported, Radian could thrive.

    Comment by Wardy — August 30, 2013 @ 1:12 am

  4. I like your vision – I would love to see that happen. I would be happy to throw myself back into work on Radian if I could see a path toward getting other people involved. My hangup is on your first step: to whom do I pitch it? What kind of person would find this tool useful, or close to useful, and where can I find them?

    For that matter – what would it take to get you involved? I’m tickled to know you’ve been following my progress all this time. What would I have to build for you to feel like I’d reached a point where the project was ready for you to get on board?

    Do you know other programmers who might be interested in Radian if only it had X, or Y, or if only I’d do Z to bring it to their attention?

    Comment by Mars Saxman — August 30, 2013 @ 9:06 am

  5. Pitch – without wishing to sound like a copycat of RealStudios / Xojo, I’d recommend several versions…

    1) Hobbyist
    2) Small Business
    3) Pro

    The pro’s and con’s / limitations can be decided at a later date. Through this, you are not limiting your market.

    Parallel processing has without a doubt become a bit of a buzz word. Everyone seems to want their apps to use more than 1 cores, to a point you’d think they were stress testers… The point is, Parallel processing is hugely popular and yet so difficult to achieve. If I were able to write my apps in such a way that they used multi cores, I would. If I could squeeze 5% performance increase easily, I would. With regards to the developers I know, they work in many fields, forensics, graphics, games, db access, all of those fields would benefit with an IDE which produced executables which are parallel and offer much greater performance because of it.

    I’d be very keen to get involved. As to what point, access to OS api’s, that is essential. If I can access an API, I can achieve a great deal more. Graphics… The ability to draw on the screen and therefore draw controls and interact would be the next step. At that point, as you have file access already, it would be possible to create DB libraries, interact with the OS and display the results on screen…

    Comment by Wardy — September 1, 2013 @ 10:50 am

  6. Mars – can you ping me an email please.

    Comment by Wardy — September 3, 2013 @ 11:20 pm