Vimeo killed the radio star

In addition to renderings and models, I have generated a number of videos to present some of my projects. I definitely want to be able to show some of these off because they are often the best way to see self organizing systems really come to life. I uploaded a number of videos to YouTube, and when viewed in HD they look pretty good. However when I tried to embed some of these videos here, I found that you can’t make embedded videos default to HD. This is a problem because YouTube’s video compression is pretty terrible, especially for images with lots of complex detail like most of the videos I want to post. All the artifacting makes the videos look a mess and I really don’t want to rely on the people viewing my blog pressing the HD button on the video to make it not look terrible.

So I decided to give Vimeo a try. I had seen Vimeo used here and there, but never really understood what advantage it offered over YouTube. However most of the artists and designers I follow seem to use it so I figured it was worth a shot. While the integrated social aspects of the site don’t really interest me that much, the video compression is a massive improvement, allowing me to embed videos at lower resolutions without horrible compression artifacts. The only major downside is the file size cap for free accounts which prevents me from uploading HD versions of some of my longer videos. If I continue to use Vimeo I will probably upgrade to a premium account and upload the better versions, but for now here are a couple samples I’ve uploaded so far.

n steps forward n+1 steps back

Slowly but surely I have begun to upload my academic projects and put together portfolio pages for them. I wish I could say that wordpress has made this process simple and easy, but I feel like I spend most of my time fighting against it to do relatively simple things. This is because wordpress is very fond of its default theme formats. While these formats give you a great head start in making your site look nice, they are not very tolerant of deviation. Uploading images and text and inserting them into a page is very easy, but then if I want to change the way they are formatted, wordpress starts to kick and scream.

None the less, I have managed to overcome most of my gripes with wordpress. One major revelation I had was realizing that the html files I had been editing were not in fact the actually html files for the website. To some degree this was obvious in that many of the basic required tags were not present, but I didn’t realize the extent to which the wordpress theme CSS file would “interpret” what I was writing. This meant that many of the formatting changes I attempted to make were simply ignored by the CSS script and replaced with the theme’s default formatting, leaving me in a situation where I would repeatedly rework the html only to find that once again that it had no effect to the page.

With some googleing I have found ways to alter the CSS style file to make some general changes, such as allowing much wider content on pages. The default 540 pixels is dreadfully small for a portfolio, especially when the theme leaves so much space unused. The main problem that remains is adding captions for my images. The wordpress theme I’m using likes to make sure everything has lots and lots of space. So putting text right next to an image is not something it wants to do. And even when I found a way to do that, it adds a large chunk of space after the caption making the whole page look awkward.

Hopefully I can get my online portfolio to an acceptable state soon so I can focus more on using this blog for its intended purpose rather than as an outlet for my frustrations with wordpress. I think I have decided to separate in depth project descriptions from the portfolio pages in the form of blog posts on certain concepts or tools I used for the projects. I also want to get more familiar with processing.js so I can start posting working applets and sketches here, which I think will be a lot of fun. Lastly I have been doing my best to keep up with the latest work in architecture and computational design as well as catching up on some reading I have been meaning to do. I would definitely like to take the time to write my thoughts on these things here as well.