Monday, May 21, 2007

IBM SOAlution

RL Random is such a geek, and very proud of it. Read on.

For those of you who aren't aware, IBM has a big conference in Orlando this week called Impact 2007. I've been privileged to have been able to contribute my little bit to the content here in SL.

Sit back and I'll try to explain as best I can what this is all about as far as what I've been working on.

SOA stands for "Service Oriented Architecture". It is a means of setting up software so it doesn't require multi-millions of dollars worth of programming every time you want or need to change something.

My RL background has been pretty diverse, including electronics, programming, and some other stuff that's on my resume you don't get to see. But those two pieces of experience helped me come up with something that describes, in jewelry, the evolution toward SOA, which is a product I believe in.

Part of that background includes some understanding of boolean logic, binary, hexidecimal and miles and miles of flowcharts I've worked with over the years. It all came together in the pieces I'm about to show here.

First, the SOAlution set is a freebee. That is to say you can have it for free, but you have to do something to get it - similar to Mata Hari, but not similar to Ode. It will be standard fare at IBM's Adventure Island when it opens in probably about a week. Your point of contact for that is Anita Cassini.

Now into what this is:

Here is the SOAlutions watch. I wanted to start with this on the blog because I made an exception to my "no scripts" and "no textures" rule. The script is a clock script. The texture is the hands on the clock. These aren't BIG exceptions, but they're exceptions. The only other time I've done this is when I created the Jett Set watch in the past. But I want to be up front about it.

It's a cool watch, and this picture is upside down. hehe. At the top of the face is the number 12 in binary, and at the bottom is the number 6.

You'll see a theme as we go along here.

On the band of this watch next to the shovel-looking things are the letters "IBM" in binary translated from hex, with a twist. I'll let you figure it out. There has to be some mystery.

Those "shovel" looking things are actually boolean logic symbols. Boolean logic was invented back in the 1800's and is a way to say "if this AND that or that BUT NOT this" then.. It's just a means of explaining AND OR BUT NOT, etc. It's used in electronics and computers at their core all the time.

For those of us who are purists there's also an unscripted, untextured bracelet.

The symbols coming out of the boolean "shovels" are binary. Translated to ASCII (text) it says "SOA".

Binary is the basic language of "on" and "off", represented as 1's and 0's. With enough contortion, as computers do, they can express just about anything. It's a base 2 numbering system (there are only 2 numbers in it). Since it takes so many digits to express higher numbers we usually use Hexidecimal, or a 16 character numbering system. The well known symbol for hex is "oX" (yes, a little Hug and a big Kiss!), which is what the binary leads into on these pieces.

Here's the necklace. You can see it follows the same pattern. IBM, boolean logic, binary "SOA" followed by the symbol for hexidecimal. The hexidecimal flows into some flowcharting logic. Basically, if you follow the flowchart from the hex you run into what's known as a "nested if". A nested if is simply a way of saying "if this AND if this, then you do that". Nested ifs are notorious for their potential complexity. In this instance you get caught in a dead end data function (the trapezoid) or an infinite loop until you get to SOA - the honeycomb symbol.

The honeycomb symbol works quite well because with SOA you actually plug reusable modules of software into a whole like fitting into a puzzle, filling in blanks. The stars represent business, so as a whole you can see how IT holds up and shapes business. Yes, I'm still as full of symbolism as you've come to expect.

At the bottom of the SOA solution honeycomb pattern you find the "end process" flowcharting symbol, basically saying "done" or "I've found it" or "that's all she wrote".

Geek jewelry! How rare is that? :)

The bracelet, watch and necklace all come in male and female sizes. I did create two sets of earrings. Some of those professional types don't care for the longer earrings, so I made short ones too. Here are those:

I'm proud to say that one of the keynote speakers at the conference actually mentioned the SOAlution necklace! Thanks, Sandy!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Cozcaapa and an Ode update

Too much time has gone by since I posted what I've been doing. When that happens you can pretty much bet I've been pretty busy. What I have been busy on is a multi-answer question.

#1. When I was working on Ode I had spoken with Nicky Ree, the fabulous clothing designer, and shared the concept with her. She had wanted to do some work with butterflies herself. She hand painted her textures and has now introduced a butterfly inspired collection as part of her Spring Romance line that perfectly suits Ode. You may notice that on her blog in this photo of her Spring Romance line she is wearing Ode:

As you may recall, the only way to acquire Ode is to visit one of the Caledon Civic Society sponsored Butterfly Hunts. The first butterfly hunt for Ode was arranged by them and was an impromptu success. Autopilotpatty Poppy, the hostess of the hunt, had placed Pieces of Ode around her property - including in mini-prim butterflies that were flying around - and the hunters got to try to find them, catch them, and keep the pieces for their collections. Patty did a wonderful job setting it up and making sure it ran smoothly.

As far as I know that is the only hunt yet staged by the Caledon Civic Society for Ode. It is also the only way to get the set. So if you want it, contact the Society and demand more hunts. The Pieces of Ode are free. Caledon appears to be at war at the moment and so protests may be the only way to get their attention on non-war matters.

#2. Aside from the goings on with Ode, an individual I have been working closely with on a professional basis (whom I shall not name unless she permits that I do - if I would but ask) has been presented with one of probably only 3 individual one of a kind pieces I've ever done on merit. It is named "Cozcaapa" and consists of a necklace, earrings, and a bracelet. The only photo I ever took of it before presenting it was this dramatic teaser I took during its creation. As with Tayzia's "The Only Ever", I generally just don't photograph these highly specialized and personal pieces. But I may start because of this blog.

I like the photo so there it is. She (the unnamed in the background) sent her photo intended as a tease. This photo I took, although I never sent it to her, was intended to be as much a tease as she intended hers to be. The necklace changed only in that I completed it and that the princess diamond was moved to the top.

In the sacred texts of Mexican mythology Cozcaapa is the "Water of Precious Stones". It is said that the enchanters of Tezcatlipoca tried to take Quetzalcoatl's secrets of founding silver, of working precious stones, and woods, of painting and of feather working and other matters. Quetzalcoatl refused them and cast all his treasures into the fountain of Cozcaapa. (reference is here)

This piece, Cozcaapa, contains so many of my own techniques, many secret, that it is suitably named. It is also suitably owned.

#3. The WorthWhile surprise mentioned on the top of my blog for the past two months or so is in full swing. I have been working hard on that. Much of it is still design work, which takes longer than building. But I am happy with the results so far. I intend to announce its completion and availability in the 2 weeks-to-one month timeframe.

#4. Another project, which is almost completed and has been taking much of my time, is one I will talk about after the fact on here. It is quite different than my usual work. But I hope every piece is different than the last.