[Sa. May 17, 10a -6p] Fractalspin at BlueBazaar on Saturday, May 17 in Pilsen (Chicago)

We’re going to stuff some of our most popular items in the back of a lucky UberX car and head down to Pilsen on Saturday, May 17 and sell them at a discount! It’ll be at BlueBazaar, a fundraiser for Blue1647, a technology + entrepreneurship “innovation center” listed in the City of Chicago’s Technology Plan that brings together change-makers and thing-doers for great ideas.

Here are some of the other artist / vendors who are exhibiting:

Lucky Skye

No Rush Imagery

Tortoise Belly

Knock Down Barns wooden game

WHAT: Free indoor crafty marketplace
WHEN: Saturday May 17, 2014 from 10 am – 6 pm
WHERE: BLUE1647 located at 1647 South Blue Island Ave, PILSEN (ample parking out front
and easy accessibility from CTA bus and train)
We take VISA, MC, DISC, AMEX & PayPal!

PS: Here’s a code to get a $10 credit at Uber

Here are some happy organs from I Heart Guts that will join us!

10% off 10 or more Circuit Board Ornaments & Free Gift Tags

Circuit Board Ornaments / Gift Tags

Get a head start and a discount on your holiday decorating / gifting with these cool circuit board ornaments. Buy ten or more ornaments and you’ll get 10% off the total.

We’ve also discovered they make neat gift tags, so we’ll include free removable white labels that you can use for TOing and FROMing.

But if you’re totally impatient, you can get free gift tags with a circuit board design right now! Just download and print these PDFs and cut them out.


[Download Stars Gift Tags PDF]
[Download Dreidels Gift Tags PDF]

If you want smaller tags for smaller gifts, just print them out at 50% instead.


RIP Benoit Mandelbrot, Fractal Innovator

Benoit Mandelbrot, the creator of fractal geometry died at the age of 85 this week. Fractals are a visual representation of an equation that is self-similar and based on recursion, and just so happen to mimic an incredible array of natural processes and formations, from mountain ranges to coral reefs, and interestingly, as the above video explains, explains not only the way branches of a tree are differentiated but how trees in a forest differentiate themselves. Pretty hot.

Mandelbrot Set featuring the song “Mandelbrot Set” by Jonathan Coulton

Here is a zoomed Mandelbrot fractal set to a song aptly entitled “Mandelbrot Set.”

Mr. Mandelbrot also did a lovely TED talk, which you can watch above.

paper toy madelbot fractalspin

For the geek boutique I run, Fractalspin (namesake obvious), I designed a paper toy called “Mandelbot” named after the man himself. You can download the PDF, print it out and assemble it for free.

RIP Benoit, and thank you for adding to our collective understanding.

New Compilation from subVariant: “Robohustlin”

subVariant Robohustlin I put together a compilation of melodic IDM / deep techno called Robohustlin for my label, subVariant. I put out an open call for submissions in July and got an amazing collection of submissions. I decided to go with minimal techno / melodic IDM since that was submitted the most. Hope you enjoy!

Chaircrusher’s “Crow Beat” and Milipede’s “30,000” take a somewhat dark, harder approach, while tracks like Diarmo’s “Details” and Matt Wolfe’s “4:09am” hover somewhere between hopefulness and melancholy, held together with intricate rhythmic programming.

In keeping with subVariant’s tongue-in-cheek, music-as-consumer-product design aesthetic (see Subvaritrax, Exception AM), Robohustlin‘s digital cover lists the individual artists as separate “cures” in a packaging style based on the popular cough & cold medication, Robitussin.

1. Chaircrusher: “Crowbeat
2. Millipede: “30,000
3. Digital Gnosis: “Ruins
4. Redun: “Splt
5. Tapage & Stan Verberkt: “Modular
6. CitizenGreen: “Ob
7. Matt Wolfe: “4:09am
8. Michael Una: “Aleph
9. Elijah B Torn: “oooEight
10. JahWarrior:The Mad Piano
11. Codebase: “Duel
12. Diarmo: “Details
13. Glen Stefani: “Over it Already v2


BBS: The Documentary

BBSs–“Bulletin Board Systems” were the precursors to today’s internet. Totally low-tech and restricted by hardware and bandwidth limitations, they were text based and you accessed them over a phone line, but by signing into one or hosting your own you became part of an elite nerdy culture of people communicating with each other and sharing software and information.

ASCII art was born to create graphical representations within hardware and display limitations, and considering how our graphics have improved and how easy it is to design things with our modern tools its impressive to see what has been created with such a limited palette.

I ran a one-node BBS, but more often I was logging into other systems within my area code that wouldn’t rack up long distance charges on my parent’s phone line. I had a little chart next to my computer to show when the off-peak times were so I could schedule my downloads of Wolfenstein, Doom and related maps, tracker software and .mods, and .tar’d text files of information that might be considered quasi-legal to be in possession of.

Director Jason Scott pent quite a few years on his own and created a 2-DVD 3-DVD talking-heads box set of a documentary on BBSs, including the history, culture, and available technology at the time. It also features music by 8-bit artist Paul Slocum aka Treewave who makes music with a Commodore 64 and a dot-matrix printer. MP3s are here.

If you’re like me and once ran a BBS, you need to show off your nerd cred by snagging an ExSysOpt-shirt. And yes, although I’m certain that the talking heads featured in BBS: The Documentary are likely 99.9% 90% male, the t-shirts are available in ladies’ sizes, too.

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A “breakup” mix, if you will.Liz Revision: “Heartbleeps”

1. Bola: “Eluus” Gnayse [Skam]
2. Apparat: “Schallstrom” Duplex [Shitkatapult]
3. Styrofoam: “Fade Out Your Eyes” Blue Skied An’ Clear [Morr Music]
4. Junior Boys: “So This is Goodbye” So This is Goodbye [Domino]
5. Ellen Allien & Apparat: “Leave Me Alone” Orchestra of Bubbles [BPitch Control]
6. Goldfrapp: “A&E (Gui Boratto Remix)” Switch 12 [La Musique Fait La Force]
7. Trentemoller: “Miss You” Miss You [Audiomatique Recordings]
8. Modeselektor: “The White Flash (Ft. Thom Yorke)” Happy Birthday! [BPitch Control]
9. Mr. Projectile: “Wild Orchids”unreleased
10. Solvent: ” My Radio (Schnieder TM Mustang Remix)” Elevators and Oscillators [Ghostly International]

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Mandelbot: Your new paper robot friend

robot175.jpgHere’s a paper toy robot that I designed for Fractalspin.com, Mandelbot. Just download the PDF (email address required), print it out on cardstock or heavy paper, cut him out with an X-acto knife and then glue or tape him together.

He’s also featured on the back of a 5.5 x 8.5″ postcard featuring items from Fractalspin, although the gloss coating means you’d have to use super glue or a similar adhesive to get him to stick together (printer’s error *shrug*), and it will look nicer if you lightly score the fold lines before putting it together.
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Game Boy Advance Emulation Fun

via liz revision by Liz on Feb 02, 2007


The scene above is a capture of my (messy) desktop with a Game Boy Advance emulator running to play Yuan Su Da Zhan. I’m using Visual Boy Advance–a great little program that lets you play Game Boy Roms on your PC (yeah, it’s Windows only, sorry).

Visual Boy Advance 1.8.0 [Download – Windows]

* Button A – Z
* Button B – X
* Button L – A
* Button R – S
* Movement – Cursor keys
* Start – Enter (Return)
* Select – Backspace
* Toggle menu – ESC

Recommended Gameboy Advance ROMs:
(With Visualboy Advance there’s no need to extract the zips–the program does it for you)

29 NES Games,
61 Great NES games
The first ROM is a collection of games like Ghost and Goblins, The Legend of Zelda and Kung Fu and the second has more, including Super Mario Brothers 1 – 3–although I had to choose “Speed up toggle” under Emulator to get it to run correctly. Also all the games are listed on the side of the screen and choosing one changes the background to the start screen for that game–it looks a bit confusing at first.

Air Hockey
I’m a huge nerd for the real version of this game, and although this one lacks most of the appealing factors a real air hockey game, it’s still mildly entertaining.

Yuan Su Da Zhan
This game, despite the dialogue being in Japanese, is totally engaging and has great graphics. Esentially you’re a middle-ages magical character who can turn into four separate versions of yourself (fire, water, ice, and “coconut”?) in order to most efficiently fight bad guys along the way. It’s quite fun, once you can navigate past all the intro screens filled with katakana.

Another IRL favorite of mine, this is 1-player only

Tetanus on Drugs
Curious what it would be like to play Tetris while on drugs? Here’s a safe way to have the experience.

Asteroids, plain and simple.

Adventure of the Cardboard Box by Arthur Conan Doyle
2001: A Space Odysseyby Arthur C. Clark
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Yep, there are free novels available, and I’m a fan of Sherlock Holmes (deductive logic rulez) and sci-fi, so here’s a few good ones to start with.

These are from this archive. Although almost all of them are demos and not playable, there are a few gems in there.

Leave some comments with your recommendations and I’ll update the post with a “best of” list!