Vi Hart

I don't know!

Maybe we'll find out.

A snail on a viola scroll experiences mellow depression.

Google+ YouTube Integration: Kind of Like Twilight, Except In This Version When +Cullen Drinks BellaTube’s Blood They Both Become Mortal, But +Cullen Is Still An Abusive Creep, Also It Is Still Bad

(reposted from my website)

The choice between having to use Google+ and never commenting on YouTube again is laughably easy for me. I invested so much into my YouTube channel, and they’re taking that investment and threatening to throw it away if I don’t also start investing in Google+. No thank you Google, but you’ve already made me regret investing so much into you the first time. Do you really think I’m going to do it again?

Google was so good at being Google! Why did they decide they want to become FacebookTV? I don’t know, but here’s some problems with the G+/YouTube integration, assuming you know the basics already:

+ Google is trying to re-animate a failed platform by leeching off of a successful one, despite that the failed platform failed because it is bad, and more users are not going to make it less bad

+ Google’s publicized selling point was “comments just got better” while in actuality they managed to take what we all thought was the lowest of the low and actually make it worse(this is a significant accomplishment that leaves me in awe)

+ YouTube has long known their comment section is awful, and out of many possible improvements, the easiest solution is NOT integrating an entire social network. Using comments as an excuse for the integration is dishonest, and would still be dishonest even if the new system wasn’t a failure

+ The integration system is designed for the common casual new user, with integration causing horrible problems for people with multiple channels and preexisting personal G+ accounts/pages, who, being people who have already invested in these products, you’d think Google would at least pretend to care about

+ Making huge forced changes to a platform is problematic for people whose livelihood depends on certain things being a certain way. I would not recommend making YouTube or Google+ a large part of your business, and these changes should be scaring away anyone who was considering investing in the platform. Google’s recent untrustworthiness is certainly what got me getting this old website back up and running, and why I decided blogging is better than vlogging right now

+ This is part of an ongoing trend of Google exerting more control over what information their users see, so that they can optimize for having the user see things that make Google money.

Google’s products used to augment humanity with beautiful tools that helped us get the information we wanted to see. That was the superiority of Google search, Google reader, gmail with its excellent spam filter, and YouTube, which allowed you to subscribe to any individual who might want to post videos. Empowering humanity to efficiently search for and find information, and then to choose what information they consume, is not just a noble goal, but turned out to be a wildly successful thing that people want.

Making things people want is good business. Tricking people into using things they don’t want with a bait-and-switch is not good business.

Now a Google search shows me a full page of promoted, local, and social results–I have to scroll down to see actual search results. Google decided to drop Reader altogether. YouTube inflates subscriber numbers during signups while choosing which videos will actually show up, with a malicious algorithm that includes both total time a user spends on the site (promoting videos that suck you into watching things you don’t really like but are easily distracted by) and revenue gained (this means that by not having ads on your videos you miss out on both the ad money and on having your stuff displayed to many of your own subscribers). You can still “subscribe,” but YouTube changed the definition of the word in the same way Facebook changed the definition of “friend.”

YouTube used to be designed to help you find what you were looking for. Now, it’s designed to keep you looking.

Google used to be about being in control of what you see. Now, “you’re in control of how you’re seen

Now even discussion is curated by Google, rewarding those who talk often, and promoting hateful inflammatory comments because they provoke responses. Taking all the collected data and computational power of Google and using it to optimally encourage people to watch advertisements and argue with each other is, in this author’s opinion, brazenly unethical. We can only hope that everything that’s happened in the last year has been unintentional and that Larry Page will have some sort of epiphany, pull out before the transformation is complete, and start putting the company’s energy into doing good things again, as in a heartwarming vampire holiday tale.

As for me, I’ll continue posting on my own RSS-enabled site and making my videos available as torrents, and maybe I’ll follow in the footsteps of the many other prominentYouTubers who are moving discussion of their videos off YouTube.

There’s a lot more to say about how this is part of a bigger picture involving various related companies and industries, but I think I’ll stick to the comments integration thing this time.

Fixed Hexaflexagons Torrent

One of the videos in the last torrent got exported badly and people reported bugs but I have fixed all the problems! Here is the new hexaflexagons torrent, and delete the old one if you still have it.

Hexaflexagons Series Torrent Magnet Link

Hexaflexagons Torrent

Twelve Tones Torrent

Twitter won’t shorten magnet links, so I’ll just leave this here:

Click to download Twelve Tones using your Bittorrent client!

Did I mention Twelve Tones is Creative Commons NC-SA?

Maybe it’s just people being uncreative, but there’s a lot of comments on this video to the effect of “Vi Hart is sooo high.”

This video, and others of mine that people consider “surreal” or “trippy,” was made purposefully, consciously, and entirely soberly. I appreciate and enjoy the comments made by people who look beyond “Vi Hart is crazy/on drugs,” realize that I wouldn’t be able to produce a video involving careful planning and editing if that were the case, and instead try to find a deeper meaning.

I don’t object to all drugs in all cases, but if you think doing drugs leads to making videos like this, you probably shouldn’t do drugs.

This is a video.

I’ve spent all year on this project, on and off to make other little videos and fulfill other obligations. Condensed, it took about three months of 9-5 M-F work. Two months for script, research, story boarding, and composing. Then one month straight in actual production: recording and producing the words and music, filming, editing it all together.

It’s consumed my mind, these past 6 months. Even when working on other projects, I’d still find myself getting up and grabbing the laptop at 4am to add a sentence here, rephrase something there. I’d still find myself waking up with one or another 12-tone lullaby stuck in my head, every morning.

When I first began work, the script grew quickly from a short fun example of 12-tone lullabies (perhaps for my 2nd secret channel) to a bigger project that included more context and rambling. After a couple weeks of script writing, I was doing some research and found out a couple of the works I wanted to use were still copyrighted. I considered tossing the video altogether, and regretted ever starting it. If I’d realized the Schoenberg I wanted was copyrighted (early Schoenberg isn’t), I would not have begun the project. 

Instead, fueled by the anger of my wasted work, I doubled down. I rewrote the script to include the absurdity of copyright law. I write a lot of draft scripts that don’t become videos, but as soon as I wrote in the Bowl and the Laser Bat, I knew this video was a keeper.

I also knew creating it would require every bit of the non-standard combination of skills I happen to have spent a lot of time practicing, which drove me to prove to myself that I really could pull it off. Good motivation. That and the vocal quartet of Mary Had a Little Lamb. I cared the most about that.

There was a magical moment where I’d just finished it, and it was just as I’d imagined it six months before, and I thought: this is good. I toyed with the idea of keeping it all for myself. I looked at the completed video and thought of how to the rest of the world, it existed no more now than it had six months before. And to myself, the video was also pretty much the same as it was when I saw the final version in my head months before. I could delete it entirely and no one would know or care.

Of course, I might as well share. And sharing positively affects my life, and I like my life. Also Mary Had a Little Lamb.

So, there it is. I hope the six months of my life I spent on it were worthwhile.

Grocery Cart

 The best time to go grocery shopping is around 9pm. The mood is just right: mostly empty, but not eerily so; the employees are relaxed and ready for small talk, whereas earlier they’d be too busy and later too tired.

The cast of characters in the supermarket changes vastly depending on the time of day. People who live on schedules, have families, have their life together, they’re all gone by then. All that’s left are the shoppers who chose to be there or had to be there (like me, hungry with nothing in the fridge), and the employees who are there because they aren’t going anywhere else. The 9pm supermarket is a place devoid of ambition.

So I go at 9pm, grab a cart from just outside the door, and wheel her in. She seems to have a little more trouble turning than usual, but I maneuver. Fill her up with bread. cheese. milk. bacon. beer. that pre-cooked chicken designed exactly to appeal to lazy 9pm shoppers. I feel like such a tool as I toss it into my grungy little cart. Then I go to check out.

That’s where it all goes wrong.

I wheel the little cart up to the only checkout with a human in it. I recognize her of course; she works evenings. I’m still expecting things to go as usual at this point, because I haven’t figured it out yet. I’m the only one who hasn’t figured it out. Why is she just standing there? Staring down with a frown?

We are both still and silent for a moment.

“Oh no,” she says.

I’m still wondering why she isn’t checking out groceries. And then she drops a truth bomb that will reverberate in my brain ‘till the end of my days:

“This is not our cart.”

“Oh,” I say, immediately dismissing that fact as irrelevant to the current situation. Why isn’t she checking out my groceries?

“See,” she continues, “It says:” and I honestly cannot remember what supermarket that cart was branded with, because I considered it completely irrelevant, but she read the label out loud for me.

“Oh, yeah,” I said. “I didn’t notice.”

She stands still another moment, and then emits an “oh dear.”

“Yeah, well, we’ll survive,” I say, and start handing her groceries. The checkout process begins.

I find myself pondering the idea that she doesn’t work checkout at 9pm because she likes working checkout but because she doesn’t have the ability or will to get past the tiniest bumps along her path.

“Where’d you even get this cart?” she says, as she stops again, as if unable to solve the problem of how to check out groceries from an unfamiliar cart.

It’s funny how she tries to put me on the defensive, as if I’d wronged her by bringing in this godforsaken cart. I wonder if she’s looking for an apology or something.

“Yeah, it was just sitting right outside the door,” I say, and help her with the groceries again. “I guess someone left it there after taking it to their car from the other place.” Oh god, am I really explaining myself to her?

“Well, it’s not our cart,” she says.

I try to imagine a world, a perspective, in which this is a problem. I wonder what it’s like to be her, to look at that cart and see it as an obstacle, rather than something so trivial as to go unnoticed. Maybe I’m the crazy one, over-generalizing as mathematicians are wont to do, thinking that the general case of grocery cart can be combined with the general case of grocery checkout lane. Maybe I’m the one in the wrong, treating all grocery stores and grocery carts as equal, when here is a specific case: an individual life to whom her individual place of employment matters.

The last of the groceries go through, and we chat the usual checkout chatter, about non-cart-related things. A bagger arrives and helps put stuff in one bag while I do the other. The checkout lady wanders off.

“You know,” the bagger says, “this isn’t our cart.”

“Yeah, it was just outside the door and I took it without noticing,” I reply, still wondering why the hell anyone cares.

“I know, I saw you,” he says. “Have room for this?” he hands me the half-gallon of milk, a bottom-of-the-bag item, and I glance over to see his bag is almost completely and optimally packed to the brim.

“Yeah, got a spot right here,” I say, slipping the milk down to the bottom of my comparatively sloppy bag.

“You see, this cart has a lower carriage…” he begins, and starts detailing the differences between this cart and their official supermarket-owned carts.

I suddenly have a vision of carts as he sees them. He is an expert. He knows carts in a way I never will. I imagine him efficiently locating and gathering this store’s carts from the parking lot, knowing them instantly even from blurry far-off silhouettes in the dark and the rain, knowing them by the feel of how they roll and turn, knowing which store a shopper is coming from even when he’s facing away because he knows the sound. I imagine him seeing me take this foreign cart and pushing it through the store gathering groceries and all he can see is the glaring wrongness of the cart, so obviously different, wondering: how can I possibly not notice?

How can I go through this little portion of my life ignorantly dismissing what is so plain and clear to everyone around me?

I leave, and they seem glad to be rid of me, and the cart. If you don’t hear from me again, I’ve probably been arrested for accidentally driving my groceries home in some random person’s car.

Typing in Dvorak

One of my favourite things to type in Dvorak is “sentences.” It flows so smooth across the keyboard in gentle little waves, sentences, sentences, se, nte, nce, s.

I also like “authorial intent.” I like anything with “intent.” int, ent, int, ent, ant. unto intent ants.

"change" is good. "thunderous change" swirls around at the tip of my fingers.

It is so nice to type “these things.”

"these sentences."

I delight in sliding down from g to h as in “a sigh.” How delicious it is to say “yum,” “to act,” “to spurn,” “to laugh at ghouls,” to write “journals.” 

I cannot resist “impulse.”

I love how if you curl your finger under in a smooth flick from h to m it wants to stay there, stuck, indecisive.

"hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm."

I drum my fingers for “the nth time.” nth, nth, nth, nth.

By drumming my fingers I make “this oeuvre,” “a deft manoeuvre.”

How daring to say “yikes” with a three-letter swipe that would be impossible on all but the gentlest laptop keyboard! 

How absolutely divine is “ductwork,” or “puja!” Ah puja, a word shaped like an arrow, three keys fall beneath a single stroke of my left index finger, punctuated by that final counterbalancing a. I could write you daily and be happier for it.

Did you ever worry that your socks might be ghosts? In this authoritative video, I share 5 reasons socks CANNOT be ghosts, because you deserve the truth.

Four Reasons I like ViHart’s Five Reasons video

periodicvideos:

1. The Title

2. The Drawings

3. The Sarcasm

Here’s the video.

(I did put an apostrophe in the title but it seems to not show on my periodicvideos Tumblr page!)

Three reasons I like Brady’s “Four Reasons I like ViHart’s Five Reasons video”:

1. His complete lack of sarcasm because I am truly the best

2. <3s all around

fishingboatproceeds:

lostsplendor:

“To 1st Lt. F. Scott Fitzgerald65th InfantryCamp Sheridan Forget-me-notZelda9-13-18Montgomery, Ala”
“While stationed at Camp Sheridan, near Montgomery, Alabama, Fitzgerald met his future wife, Zelda Sayre, the daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court judge.” (via University of South Carolina)

World War I ended before Fitzgerald deployed. Had it gone on, there might have been no Gatsby.
It’s worth remembering that wars do not cost only lives, but also all the things those lives would make.
Whenever I hear someone in the Bush administration refuse to acknowledge that the Iraq War was a mistake (an honest mistake, I trust, but still a tragic one), I think of the would-be Fitzgeralds—American and Iraqi—whose flasks we will never see on tumblr, because we will never have the good and beautiful things they would’ve brought into the world.

Having your flask seen on tumblr is proof of a life well lived? I&#8217;m in!

(if you are underage, assume this flask is filled with sriracha)

fishingboatproceeds:

lostsplendor:

“To 1st Lt. F. Scott Fitzgerald
65th Infantry
Camp Sheridan 

Forget-me-not
Zelda
9-13-18
Montgomery, Ala”

“While stationed at Camp Sheridan, near Montgomery, Alabama, Fitzgerald met his future wife, Zelda Sayre, the daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court judge.” (via University of South Carolina)

World War I ended before Fitzgerald deployed. Had it gone on, there might have been no Gatsby.

It’s worth remembering that wars do not cost only lives, but also all the things those lives would make.

Whenever I hear someone in the Bush administration refuse to acknowledge that the Iraq War was a mistake (an honest mistake, I trust, but still a tragic one), I think of the would-be Fitzgeralds—American and Iraqi—whose flasks we will never see on tumblr, because we will never have the good and beautiful things they would’ve brought into the world.

Having your flask seen on tumblr is proof of a life well lived? I’m in!

(if you are underage, assume this flask is filled with sriracha)

How to Make Sriracha Mac and Cheese

It turns out toilet paper rolls have three ends: the end you pick at to get started, the end that makes you panic and hope there&#8217;s more under the sink, and this, the true end of the roll, where the cardboard tube shuts itself down.

Seen from the other side, this roll appears to be all paper with no cardboard tube. Bought this roll last month and have kept it sitting on my toilet as a found art piece portraying the topological impossibilities created by untrustworthy quality control.

It turns out toilet paper rolls have three ends: the end you pick at to get started, the end that makes you panic and hope there’s more under the sink, and this, the true end of the roll, where the cardboard tube shuts itself down.

Seen from the other side, this roll appears to be all paper with no cardboard tube. Bought this roll last month and have kept it sitting on my toilet as a found art piece portraying the topological impossibilities created by untrustworthy quality control.

usefulness of tumblr

I didn’t come in to tumblr knowing very much about it. In the recent tautological discussions about whether it’s a place capable of hosting discussions, it’s been interesting to see what “discussion” means to different people.

A social network? No, that’s exactly what I don’t want. I’m not interested in making friends on tumblr, I’m interested in ideas. No social interactions, just real immortal content. Maybe Facebook could have been a platform for hosting must-see content, but they went in a different direction— making it so people who subscribe to a page don’t necessarily get the page’s posts (unless the creator of the page pays per post). This means that by nature, everything posted on Facebook must be non-essential to its subscribing audience. (I worry YouTube is going this way as well, what with the new subscription page.)

A bunch of people responded with things like “why bother adding original responses when the only people who will see them are my followers, and maybe the person I’m responding to, and maybe people searching for it?”

Wait, really? What else could you possibly want? Your updates going out to half of tumblr? Sounds boring. One great, engaged, thoughtful follower is worth more than a million “likes.” 

My question, for now, is whether tumblr is a better place for me than a regular ol’ blog. It seems like it has all the functionality of a blog plus more, even if the bonus sharing/discussing functionality is severely crippled. Tumblr does seem to be designed for spreading photography (of people), photography (of animals), photography (of architecture), and photography (of sculpture), but like most successful internet tools it finds its success in the fact that people can repurpose it to serve their needs. No one cares what twitter or youtube are “for,” anymore, and as long as the creators don’t mess too much with what people do with their tool, it will keep being useful. 

Will tumblr serve my desire to ramble on these topics? I’m not afraid to try it, and if it fails I will move on to other things and that’s ok too.