Open Source Soundboard for Live Performance

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Last semester, I needed a bare-bones soundboard to cue up and play sound clips for AARPlane, the midterm performance of my Puppets class at ITP. Not knowing my way around pro audio software (which I’m sure makes this a simple task) and seeing that the current landscape of online soundboards consists of awfully-designed holdovers from the days of Flash, I decided to build my own. It’s far from full-featured – currently it will just play, pause and replay sound clips – but if you need to need a “world’s-dumbest”-style soundboard, I think you should give this a try.

Getting it up and running is straightforward-ish (and definitely needs to be straightforward-er):

  1. Install NodeJS
  2. Download the code from GitHub
  3. Create a sounds folder inside of public and place all of your web-encoded audio files in it (mp3s work fine)
  4. Open the project folder in Terminal and run npm install followed by node app
  5. Point your browser to
  6. Click a sound to play it! Click again to pause!

All of the source code is available on GitHub, along with my list of issues (I’m accepting pull requests!).

How to Make Your Own Video Spokesperson Walkout Party

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There’s a surprising number of actors willing to walk out from the side of the browser window and talk about your website. Don’t they get lonely though? Hanging outside the edge of the frame, silently waiting for their chance, going over their lines, just hoping, praying, that someone will come visit. To the lonely video spokesmen and spokeswomen of the world, I say “wait no more! Your time is now!” I’ve invited a bunch of them to my Video Spokesperson Walkout Party. And man oh man are they a boisterous bunch! Here’s how to throw a Video Spokesperson Party of your own:

  1. Pick a seed page. This will form the backdrop of your party. This time of the year, I like a good old-fashioned Yule Log.
  2. Add the first spokesperson. A few of the walkout sites offer the ability to preview, but as far as I could find, only the one at exposes this functionality in a url-friendly format that will allow us to share it when we’re done. The only catch is that if your seed page contains a URL query string, we need to hide it because the VirtualLiveActors preview tool also relies on a query string to work. This is easily accomplished using or any other URL shortener.
  3. Shorten the URL. If we want to have multiple spokespeople at our party, we’ll need to paste the VirtualLiveActor preview URL back into the preview tool. Again, we’ll need to shorten the URL to remove any query strings.
  4. Add the next spokesperson. Select a new actor and if you like, change his or her position on the screen. Paste your shortened URL into the preview tool to generate a new preview URL.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until your party is happenin’!
  6. Go check out the party! Here’s one I made with the Yule Log background.

Processing Spirograph

I was showing some of my Processing experiments to classmates here at ITP and it was asked – nay, demanded – that I post about them on my blog. So I’ll kick things off with this little Spirograph-inspired play-thing, which creates some pretty beautiful objects with a relatively small amount of code:

Click through for the code and an explanation of what’s going on here.

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As part of our Applications presentation (see also: Dreamachine), I built Atmosfear, an atmospheric audio experience made possible by the laptops of our fellow classmates. Everyone was asked to visit the website and select a fear. Their computers then played a series of sounds, mostly taken from, which all together created a spooky and discomforting environment for about five minutes. You can try it out yourself, though it probably won’t be as effective solo as having a hundred other people with you. For that, check out the sound clip below, which I recorded in the auditorium.

Listen to the beginning of Atmosfear

Building a Dreamachine

A group of classmates and I will be giving a presentation next week to our Applications class. It will be in response to a presentation we saw last week from Kevin Cunningham of 3-Legged Dog, a workspace and accompanying theater group that blends technology with performances and art installations.

As part of our presentation, we built a Dreamachine – a device that creates a strobe-like effect to stimulate the eyes. Using plans modified from 10111, we spent last Friday afternoon planning and assembling the machine. The plan was blown up to a 50″ square piece of heavy paper which was wrapped around a foam base and supported by some narrow aluminum poles. Watch the video of the finished device below, and click below that to see the construction pictures.

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