September 1, 2022

Bought a Google Pixel 6A after owning a refurbished Google Pixel 2 for a while

I did it. I bought myself the (relatively) new Google Pixel 6A. It's the budget version of their 6 Pro flagship phone. Already owning a refurbished Pixel 2, and thus being quite familiar with the Google smartphone experience myself, I knew that my next mobile device had to be a Google Pixel as well.

Let me tell you, it does not disappoint. If you're looking for the most pure / true Android Software Experience to be found on a smartphone out there, Google Pixel is where you should be looking.

The hardware is not all too bad either! They have a great camera that comes close to competing with those available on iPhones. This is mainly because of the Pixel's A.I. constantly rectifying the images, in real time.

Also, here's my attempt in trying to make my home screen as much productive / anti-distractions-like as possible.

August 27, 2022

Got myself some quite effective Night Glassesᵀᴹ :-)

Actually, they're the Somnilight Amber Sleep Glasses to be correct. And I totally love them.

As an all-nighter VJ / daytime worker, I'm forced into the Dolphin Sleep Chronotype (I'm usually more of a Wolf Chronotype).

Drastically toning down all incoming blue light for a few hours before going to bed helps a whole lot for me personally.

August 6, 2022

About the MidJourney and Dall-E 2 A.I. prompt image generating softwares

I recently received my confirmation/invite from Dall-E 2. I might want to try out a few prompts on their platform, although I've seen some bad opinions rise up around the software.

As for MidJourney, apparently the only way to create an AI generated image from a prompt is to use their Discord server. As mentioned before in my post about not wanting to be present on social media, I'm not planning to join any other such platform any time soon. This indeed includes Discord, so no MidJourney for me.

July 26, 2022

My ‘Empty’ Social Media Feeds

Here's an overview of my social media feeds. Notice anything specific?

That's right! They are all empty. (Except for my own content on Instagram and some poorly targeted advertising on LinkedIn).

Believe it or not, I still have the habit embedded in my brain of opening up each and every single one of those apps on my phone multiple times a day... Good thing that there's nothing to see there anymore! I'm aware it saves me a lot of time.

Now, there is one exception: YouTube.

For multiple reasons I just can't seem to work around this one. One reason might be that I'm genuinely inspired by longer format, high-quality content.

Another very real reason might be that even if you'd choose to unsubscribe from all channels, pause your watch history, and remove all of your likes in order to neutralize the suggestion algorithm; It would still be trained by your Google (search) activity. Since Google owns YouTube, and your recommendations are synced across your Google account.

I'll have to figure that one out properly. But I already see how tackling my Google account can indirectly affect my YouTube feed.

July 23, 2022

Noticed 3 main themes across blog posts

I noticed 3 recurring themes across most of my blog posts:

  • VJing / Video Operating / Stage Building
  • Anti Social Media / Digital Distractions
  • Conceptual Thinking / Artistic Insights

This implies I might be able to use hashtags / labels in order to better group my individual posts together within those predefined main themes.

July 20, 2022

Google Search Console Insights [beta]

This new feature within the Google Analytics services is way more comprehensible and visually pleasing compared to their previous digital interface.

You're now looking at more or less the same data, but for some reason, everything truly makes sense!

This shows the power of a great user interface with a seamless user experience in mind.

Thank you, people of the Google! :-)

July 16, 2022

Got myself a brand new watch ⌚

Because why flip a phone, when you can flick your wrist instead? I also got myself a physical calendar. Again, two steps further from unnecessary digital distractions. :-)

July 4, 2022

Reassuring Analytics

I was wondering the other day, since I decided to no longer post my blog content directly on my Instagram page anymore, does anyone actually still read my blog?

Well, according to my Google Analytics stats, apparently some people do!

So, hi you! And thank you for making the effort to actively surf out to my website, oldschool style.

Highly appreciated. ^_^

June 22, 2022

Digitalising Hi8 cassettes on campus

A classmate told me the other day we have SONY recording hardware on campus. I did not know this! I have plenty of cassettes to digitalise years '92-'03 that I received from my mother (who shoots like a true movie director).

June 18, 2022

Facebook makes it extremely hard to delete all of your data

I've been trying to remove all my traces of existence on Facebook, let me tell you the whole process is truly a pain in the ass.

Just when you think you deleted all items (manually, one by one) through your activity log, that's when you notice this doesn't include tags and posts on walls.

So this means, your profile page could be literally blank, but then when you go and look for your own name in the search bar, you still end up finding a bunch of very old (and very embarrassing) content.

You'll have to open all of the posts individually by clicking on the 'publishing date' and then choosing the 'remove my tag from this post' option.

But wait, because when you type your full name + the word 'photos' behind it, you again get to see a bunch of posts retrieved from the darkest corners of Facebook you had long forgot about.

Stay on that 'full name + photos' search results page, and then actually click on the photos tab. Boom! Yet another batch of photos coming to haunt you from your past.

Trust me, whenever you think you deleted every single interaction you ever shared (or was included in by others) on Facebook, there is still more to find. It feels like a never ending task of looking for hidden DELETE-buttons, and stumbling upon unknown errors when clicking on them.

June 13, 2022

Did I just go viral on YouTube?

I posted a YouTube video earlier on my blog to illustrate this unintentional interactive artwork I stumbled upon at my local bank facility. It went viral, I guess.

Now, although this video was originally meant to use on my blog only (labeled as 'unlisted' on YT), I noticed that YouTube labeled the video automatically as a 'YT Shorts' video. That's when things got interesting.

YT Shorts videos are very similar in format to the Instagram Reels and popular TikTok videos: Short and dynamic bits of vertically shot video footage that succeed in captivating an audience by being funny, sensational, or just looking pretty (amongst other things, of course).

When I noticed YouTube automatically converted some of my short-format vertically shot video uploads to YT Shorts, I couldn't help but think what the whole point was behind this (and also, why I didn't seem to have the option to upload as a regular video)?

Without spending too much thought on this anymore, I went on to upload some more videos of that type, until I noticed how my TROWFLOX YouTube channel reserved a blank category spot just for that specific format (all my YT Shorts were still labeled 'unlisted' at that moment).

So I decided I might as well try and see what would happen when putting some of those videos on 'public' instead of 'unlisted'. And sure thing, that previously blank category spot automatically got filled with all those YT Shorts videos I had published earlier. I thought the whole thing looked nice esthetically on my YouTube channel, so I kept it that way.

Not more than 3 days later, this is what I saw coming back to my own channel:

That one video suddenly reached up to a 3k+ view count.

Is this the true (and sole) purpose of the YT Shorts / IG Reel / TikTok format? The potential to go viral, cheaply and quickly, like an ever-mutating virus penetrating the minds of the laziest individuals it can find? Not sure.

June 3, 2022

We need to talk about the role of A.I. for the future of visual artists

It's all over the internet. The new technology that will kill digital art (and soon also computer animation) in the same way the camera device killed photorealistic painting back in the 1800's: Artificial Intelligence.

Or more specifically, DALL-E 2 (running on OpenAI).

Those who thought their job was safe from 'being replaced by robots' merely because of the potential of their human creativity ... well, those people were dead wrong (incl. myself). The same goes for music artists by the way, not only visual artists. Feel free to branch off to this really good blog post written by the people at Emakina.

But, let's not fear of course, because true artists will always find a way around such contemporary challenges.

A.I. (and it's underlying algorithms) will soon have to become nothing more than just 'another color to choose from, on the wide palette of indefinitely various digital tools'.

That will in the end be what distinguishes us, ever innovating, and creative human beings from completely automated systems: We will once again have to 'learn and adapt' to our increasingly complex surroundings, in the same many (audiovisual) artists were forced to do so before us.

June 1, 2022

Dark theme for blog

My blog is now available on a dark background only.

Why? Because it looks cool.

Also, it spares the eyes of my fellow night owls.

April 22, 2022

Physical Presentation Digital Dimensions

The very final step in presenting my randomly generated cover artworks, was to actually video map them upon the empty LP sleeves. Super glad with how the sleeve material turns out to be reflecting the projector's light in a very neat way.

Update on the NFT fx(hash) side of things: Since the original launch at 02:04 last night, I've already made 4 unique sales! Check out the TROWFLOX_COVER project page for more info.

April 21, 2022

Minted my first NFT

Today, I published my first NFT on fx(hash).

My Digital Dimensions teacher borrowed me a few Tezos to do so.

Here's my blog post about the whole process behind the generative album covers.

Tomorrow I'll present the physical aspect of the artwork. I'll be video mapping the (ever-changing) virtual album covers on actual blank LP sleeves.

April 13, 2022

Porter Robinson at Vooruit Ghent

gives "the potential of real life" a second chance through digital means.

He portrays the marvelous aesthetics of nature and the beauty of somewhat distant, yet intriguingly solid memories, perhaps from the near future. It's all shown through a 'digital lens', using topnotch VFX techniques and generative content, which makes it super relatable to today's youth, and his (safe to say) slightly 'geeky' fanbase.

It’s funny to see how Porter puts great importance in the visual aspect of the show being on stage himself. He constantly looks back at the LED screen to check if the content matches up with the rest of his performance.

At some point he just took a Macbook with a built-in webcam and pointed it towards the crowd, in order to show them on the LED screen behind him. And then he went on to turn the Macbook's webcam back towards the stage to capture himself, along w/ the LED screen behind him, therefore creating an endless video feedback loop. Very clever, I must admit!

April 12, 2022

Nurture Vinyl Box Set

Got myself Porter Robinson's Nurture Vinyl Box Set.

If you don't know his work yet, I recommend you to:

I'm attending his live performance at Vooruit Ghent tomorrow 13/04.

Extremely excited about that. This is what it's promised to look like.

April 8, 2022

Restored two HDDs today

Going through old files on otherwise inactive HDDs felt exhilarating.

Had two of those just laying around, waiting to be reinvigorated!

Had no idea what to expect inside them, but just the process itself was already something nice to experience.

Seems like something super basic perhaps to some, but it made me feel a bit nerdy today, and that's quite nice.

April 6, 2022

Plenty to read now

Went and picked up a few books at LUCA's library today, as (visual) inspiration for my Bachelor Project. I'll dive into the physical aspect of the work soon, but I'd need to enhance my Bachelor Report itself a bit first. Keep y'all updated!

April 1, 2022

Generative album covers in the making

For the Digital Dimensions courses, I previously experimented with quadTrees in P5.js. Squares got replaced by circles, circles by abstract drawings, and then I ended up throwing in a bunch of other stuff.

I'm working with a random color picker from a defined palette here, also numbers are getting displayed randomly as 'labels'. The horizontal / vertical / bidirectional grid structures are drawn with some spacing in-between, that once again gets defined by elements of chance. Also messing around with push() & pop() transforms, and the P5.js filters such as blur and threshold.

Next steps? Minting these randomly generated artworks as NFT's on fx(hash), with some Tezos the teacher provided me. And of course, using video projection mapping again. The idea would be to project the generative artworks upon several blank record sleeves on a physical shelf, as if they were ever-changing cover art designs, for final presentation purposes.

Below is a video of me presenting the whole concept to my fellow classmates and the teacher, in Dutch.

Also, check out some of the uniquely generated album covers below the screen capture video.

March 30, 2022

Yet another update on social media removal

My very first blogpost proclaimed I would delete all my social media, to replace them with writing this blog. I have since then reactivated Instagram account. More on that in this previous blogpost.

I also had to reactivate my Facebook profile on top of that now. Why? Because of events, really. There are three things with them:

  1. You can be assigned co-host of these events, in order to first of all invite your friends to them, and later on also keep track of any changes made on the page / react to any posted questions.
  2. You get to explore, and be notified on, what's happening around in the music event industry. Which is quite essential really, when you're working in that exact field.
  3. Maybe most importantly: Friends and event organizers can invite you to their gatherings, and you've got all of the info you need bundled right there on a single page (incl. !important timetables)

A problem was that I didn't want to reactivate my Facebook profile at all. I've been satisfied without it for a couple of weeks now. The solution though was a pretty easy one, in that it was almost identical to the solution I had for reactivating my Instagram, without falling in the trap of actively using it again: Purge & Unfollow.

Went through my archives / activity log, and with a lot of patience, managed to delete all things irrelevant to my Facebook account. Unfollowing people here felt less dramatic compared to Instagram, in that I could just select the 'unfollow' button instead of the 'unfriend' one.

So dear Facebook friends, great to have you still, but don't expect me to keep up no more. Although feel free to call or text me, and meet up anytime!

So what's next? Yet another social media update where I try to (poorly) justify why I'm crawling back to all of those cursed platforms? * wink *

Don't think so. I also don't really see the point in joining any new platforms from now on, knowing I'll probably be leaving them some time again in the future.

So, don't expect me on TikTok, Snapchat, Reddit, Discord, Twitch, or BeReal* any time soon.

*Don't be fooled folks, this is yet just another social media platform. \("°w°)/

March 22, 2022

Memento Mori

Remember(ing) Death. That's what this skull represents on my desk. It reminds me that one day we cease to exist. So we better make life count while it lasts.

I bought this particular skull from the Dutch EDM duo DROELOE. Their music is all about enjoying those precious little moments of 'being here', together.

March 18, 2022

Digital Dimensions *Update*

Experimented a bit with Quadtrees in p5.js today!

Next Up: Experimenting with dithering, pixel replacement, and random google maps places!

Can you see where I'm going with this ;-)

March 16, 2022

TV ads can not touch me

Automobile ads? I've got my Cowboy Bike.

Fashion ads? I wear nearly the same outfit everyday.

Cosmetics? Got no hair, easy skin, strong teeth.

Tech Devices? Happy with my Pixel & Hackintosh.

Just don't show me food ads while I'm trying to relax, it won't make me buy your particular product, it will just make me instantly hungry, which is not fair.

Try me consumerism, try me.

March 1, 2022

Timeline of your life

I have this poster from Kurzgesagt at home, showing me an overview of the entirety of a lifespan. It hangs in front of my bed, reminding me every morning that our time on this planet is indeed very finite in a way. And the only way to extend our lives (just a tiny bit) beyond the borders of our defined time, is to create good work (and good memories) that last, despite of us not being around anymore.

It reminds us to pursue and to contribute with what we feel like is important (to us) in this day and age, and not to be too much of an asshole in the whole process.

Notice how I also chose to 'mark-out' the ages from 76 till 100? Well, the poster claims that age 76 is the 'Average life expectancy for men in the US'. And although I believe as Europeans our life expectations are slightly higher compared to those of the US, you never know! Especially in a world of mutating viruses, frequent natural disasters, and angry politicians with nuclear weapons at their disposal.

February 26, 2022

Raves. Don’t ever take them away from us no more.

Went out at C12 Brussels with classmates yesterday, and Madame Moustache the week before. Boy, did we miss this. You can not even imagine!

Like I'll discuss in my bachelor paper (more info on that later this semester), in a world of many uncertainties and crises, this phenomenon of actively replacing frustration with salvation, is not only a logical but also a crucial development. Those social gatherings are meant to help us in escaping our current reality, in order to (re)connect with a higher self for a brief moment. As a kind of communal dance ritual, they have always played a huge part in our societies, effectively bringing peace of mind across many cultures in human history. And especially today, raves being a modern form of such transcendental practices, they are very appealing to individuals seeking out that feeling of conscious liberation from a heavy, mostly unpredictable life.

This rave culture, a culture that in the end is all about love and unity, is not ready to disappear any time soon. You can choose to lean into it, or you can surely choose to ignore it, if that's what you want to do. But you can never shut it down. Many tried before, none of them succeeded. For now, all I have to say is: Thank god they are back! And hope to see you soon at one of them :-)

February 23, 2022

Don’t Look Up! Review

Yesterday I saw Netflix' Don't Look Up! at my local cultural centre. These two things stuck with me:

I'm glad I actually quit social media.

Although the representation of mobile and social media usage for entertainment purposes is a bit exaggerated in the movie, I still see how our society could easily evolve towards such a reality. When we look at TikTok for example, and how younger generations consume on the platform, it's not really reassuring if you ask me.

The satisfaction that comes with making your own choices, regardless of popular opinion, feels surprisingly liberating.

When everyone seems to be strongly against your opinion or actively try to ignore you and decide to look the other way, you can do one of to things. You can choose to get frustrated and act on it, or to ignore it and go on. Although it seems like the second option won't bring you that far at first, and it could make you feel almost insignificant in a way, I do believe it's a healthier way to approach bigger issues and live in general.

I'm not saying you shouldn't express your opinion, I'm actually saying the exact opposite. I'm saying if you do so, do it in an authentic way, without paying to much attention to the noise surrounding it. If you have something to say, just say it, and those who want to hear you will listen. But from the moment you start shouting, that's when you lose everyone's attention, including your own.

February 21, 2022

A trip back to childhood

With the Windows Pipes Screensaver

I remember this like it was yesterday, gazing for hours at my uncle's computer screen: Mesmerized by the computer graphics pipes, endlessly being generated into three dimensional space!

And funny how it's only later you're aware of not being the only one who lived this exact same experience, but rather you share it with many many kids around the world.

It makes you wonder what other visceral memories you share with total strangers ... Perhaps a love for drum & bass, and dubstep culture, developed during those same teen years? You'd be surprised ;-)

My (reconstructed) Windows Pipes Screensaver

February 18, 2022

Update on social media removal

Did I really delete all my social media?

My very first blogpost proclaimed I would delete all my social media, to replace them with writing a blog. So, did I? Well yes, and no.

After collecting my online data, I did actually completely delete all my social profiles. At first, I was very okay with it, I felt great even! But then some practical problems showed up. What about my VJ clients who had only contacted me through those platforms before? They don't have my phone number, and who I'm I to force them into a different way of communicating with me?

I also didn't like the idea that a random person could just claim the 'trowflox' alias on those platforms, all because of me leaving them available after I left.

So what was my solution? Since I really wanted to delete those profiles, but without having to disappear out of nowhere (which could feel a bit rude), I chose for a hybrid option. With Instagram for example, I chose to reactivate my profile so people could still 1. contact me through their favourite platform 2. find me online, if that's where there looking for me, in the hope to redirect them to my website instead. That's why I changed my bio to just a portfolio link and archived all of my posts. If you want to see what I made in the past? My website is where you can find all my work. And if you want to know what I'm currently working on? You can read my blog.

I also chose to unfollow almost everyone. Why almost? Just because I didn't want to seem like a dick following 0 people, really it was just that at first. But then it's also a nice way of positioning myself in the field I noticed. The less people you follow, the more they become part of the story you want to tell about yourself.

Same goes for Facebook, where there's this interesting option to deactivate your profile, but keep using Messenger as if you never left. Friends can even choose to invite you at events and ask you to join groups, they wouldn't even notice that were gone in the first place (read image below).

February 14, 2022

Digital Dimensions Introduction

Last week we attended an introduction to the Digital Dimensions by Alexandra Crouwers, together with the students at LUCA School of Arts.

We got loads of inspiration from online references (mainly YouTube). At some point we dived into the NFT sphere. That's where I realized it must be a huge commitment to be present in that virtual-trading world! Much like building a name on Twitter, or jumping on the Metaverse bandwagon, once you start, I feel like you must go all the way, right?

That's also when I noticed I was doing the exact same thing with Instagram. Following trends, trying to keep up with posting for the sake of posting, almost like screaming into some kind of void at times.

Now, where the Digital Dimensions lectures really contributed, is in confirming that physical/tactile memories tend to stick the most for me! From all the visual references and crazy tools that where almost aggressively thrown towards us students (which was appreciated in a way), for me it was really the books and human interactions that stuck the most in hindsight.

Allow me to share some examples to demonstrate this visceral connection in a few bullet points.

  • How cool do these books look?! (and this is just their cover)
  • Try this trippy experience together with some friends. The important part is to actually do it with others, together! To share the same animation simultaneously (but also individually) so to speak.
  • One of my classmates, Jana, had the brilliant idea to turn learning the blender software into some kind of contest! With the four of us who agreed to participate, we tried to recreate the best Pikachu model possible, in only 15 minutes. After, we let the teacher decide which one she liked the best, and she chose Jana's! But then another classmate, Vic, had the equally brilliant idea to import her model into the Mixamo character animation tool. Here's the somewhat final result ... I totally dig it!

February 9, 2022

My first blog post

So, why start a blog? Because of social media.

Today this blog sees the light, while 3 social media pages die simultaneously.

Why, you ask? Several reasons.

  1. Social media tends to be toxic (and sometimes useless).
    1. I don't want to waste too much time on them anymore, reducing phone time.
    2. I'd prefer my visual inspiration to come from things that feel actually closer to me.
    3. With the idea of practicing what I preach, I invite you to join me in this venture.
  2. Social media platforms change a lot over time!
    1. I'm done trying to keep up with what's new and trendy.
    2. Even if that means I'll have to deal with FOMO.
    3. I'd rather deal with FOMO than online anxiety :-)
  3. This blog is an opportunity to explore new ideas, and to grow through them.
    1. Following the advice of many productive people, this works apparently.
    2. I'd like to, hopefully, produce more thoughtful content. And less bits of quick hype.
    3. Combining the idea of (public) morning pages, every-days and making a promise here.