Archive for November, 2009

The Kill Switch: Turn Off Sites At Will

Following the footsteps of fine sites such as bacolicious,, and cornify, The Kill Switch loads any website of your choosing (save, which doesn’t play nice) into an iframe using URL rule rewrites in an .htaccess file to funnel whatever follows “/TheKillSwitch/” into a GET variable and superimposes a nice toggle switch with which you can turn the site on and off (toggling the visibility an initially invisible black div).

Try out the The Kill Switch or use the live example below by clicking on the toggle switch.

Ideally, your browser would remember which sites were off so that even if you closed the window or navigated away from them, the next time you tried to open them, you’d be redirected to my page until you toggled them back. Greasemonkey and SQL would do the trick, but that would limit the site to Firefox. As a compromise, I’ll try to have my site remember which sites are on and off, so that if someone else KillSwitches Google while you’re browsing it through my site, it would turn off for you too.

John Dimatos alerted me to a much more elegant solution which is both way beyond my ken and also way too irreversible (and way cool too). Steve Lambert’s Self-Control is a little application that allows you to blacklist websites for a specific time period. It works on a system level (I’m guessing on your hosts file) and is a real bitch to shut off when after three hours, you regret the bravado that led you to believe you could go without checking your fantasy team for a week.

Get meta or

Hours of fun.

It’s been a while since I really dug into the web, and I hadn’t realized just how shitty sound playback is in pre-HTML5 browsers. Eventually, I got the sound working using Scott Schiller’s extremely elegant Soundmanager2, which uses behind-the-scenes Flash to deliver reliable cross-browser and platform sound with Javascript. Not ideal but certainly better than relying on god knows what sound plugin.

Recursive Concepts In Art: Dimensional Hanging Compositions

This second visit to the ideas that inspired AL-Gorithm last spring emphasized the question of authorship/ownership I obliquely raised in its predecessor. At one point do words stop being attributable? Is it at the word level, the sentence level, or perhaps at some sort of grammar-unit-agnostic semantic level? Jeehyun, Joshua, and I agreed that this new iteration should stress recursion—that every part of the project should reflect on itself and extend the idea of lexical recombination.

ITERATION 1: The project’s first focus is the only requirement of the assignment that spawned it—that we turn in a three-page paper describing our intentions and how our piece seeks to accomplish them. We each wrote a paper. We then cut up all the papers and reassembled them into a single paper (below). The title was a leftover scrap we felt captured both the spirit and intention of the piece.


ITERATION 2: Since of each of us has a different native language, we translated the above into Spanish and Korean, passing the text through another level of filtration and reinterpretation.

ITERATION 3: We “performed” the paper, dressed in black and white to mimic text, in front of the class, reading it in a staggered, canon-like manner to get a variety of sonic overlays.

IMG_9761ITERATION 4: During our performance, we asked our classmates to stand in the center of the room and make a new text, providing them with scissors and glue and a blank sheet of paper to work with while we read. Ten minutes later, we had sixteen very different results (pictured below), though all but one used only the words we provided and the majority respected word boundaries. In the discussion that followed our performance, people commented that our dress, our demeanor, and our (physical) positions of power within the room combined with the obvious cues provided by the glue sticks and scissors at each station to make it almost inevitable that people would cut up the text we’d provided unquestioningly.


ITERATION 5: We printed out the Frankenstein text in all three languages and overlaid them to create a visual equivalent to the sonic cacophony of our performance. The various texts come in and out of phase much as they did when we were speaking.


My original paper is here.