g+ explosion and its resultant effects

Sometime last week, one of my g+ peers shared a New Orleans circle that had 350+ people in it. Before g+ introduced the “valve” for circle streams (meaning that I can control how much of an individual circle gets posted to my main stream with the grain of “never, few, often, all”), i would have never considered adding such a massive circle to my stream, but the circle valve is a big game changer for g+ (which will become evident as the entry progresses), so i decided to add that circle to my, um, circles and put the stream valve on “few”. I told myself that this would ensure that my stream wouldn’t explode too much and if i found something or someone that caught my eye, i could “promote” them to my “everything” stream, and if someone didn’t interest me, i could remove them.

In the time since i’ve done this, this has had two significant effects. First, it’s given me some clarity as to how Circles drives content with a different flavor than facebook (and consequently twitter) now that my g+ stream is getting a more comparable steady flow of content like my fb feed. Second, it’s given me a stronger idea of how to create my own circles in a way that takes the most advantage of Circle’s power of flexibility – both as reading circles and as content filter circles.

Starting with how Circles drives content…

Shifting Signals I – more ideas

I’ve decided to name my google hangout piece Shifting Signals I. More of what the piece is going to do both creatively and logistically is forming in my head. Here’s a more formal thought document about it.

The piece was originally going to be about five minutes long, but now i think it’s more likely to be eight to twelve minutes long because it’s going to be in three sections (but one movement). I haven’t quite decided what the piece is going to be stylistically exactly, but it’s going to be more improv/cell based than standard music notation based. Part of it depends on what happens with the Transmitting Station described below, mainly how that station is being used to manipulate audio.

More Specs.

Google Hangout Performance Piece – Testing Round One

So i created three g+ accounts and had each join the same hangout with three computers in the same room all with webcams and a microphone, and yeah, the concept worked like a charm. All i had to do was snap my fingers a bunch and all of the cams would be switching back and forth pretty randomly.

(This is a follow up to the piece of music i want to write based on this blog post. This is also more of a workbench entry as opposed to a real entry because i’m still sorting out a bunch of stuff in my head.)

In order for the piece to really be effective, there needs to be a minimum of four accounts logged into the hangout – three that are picking up the video and audio signal and one that’s being used as a broadcaster. The reason for this is because one station never chooses to display its own video as the primary video pickup, so in my three station setup, station A only ever swapped back and forth between B and C, station B only ever swapped back and forth between A and C, &c. Having three receiving setups makes for a more interesting video presentation, and really it would be better if there were five or six, but i don’t want to spend that much money on this project – yet.

An important thing that i discovered was that the actual computer volume had to be down almost all the way or muted or else the feedback loop even from a single snap would build to clipping levels. But if those hangout sessions have muted audio, then the video never swaps, so the hangout machines need to be picking up audio signal even if they don’t need to broadcast it.

What that means practically is that i can’t really have any audio coming from the hangout session getting fed through a system that also outputs that signal which means that if there’s going to be any audio manipulation then it needs to happen outside of the hangout session context or any of the computers that are being used for it. Again, maybe for this particular performance, i don’t try to make it that complicated – maybe just have a CD playing in the background with sound effects that will hopefully *not* trigger the google hangout video swapping and have the live performer be completely dry.

Or, maybe i can have the background track sometimes put forth stuff that’s meant to jar the google hangout as checkpoints.

hmm…