Prisoner photo safari

For week three of #prisoner106, one of the tasks was to do a photo safari that captures at least five of the following:

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Here is what I found on a walk through the Village today.

Authority and Imprisonment

This sign seems to capture both of these themes well. There is only local traffic in the Village, after all.

Road closed


Village Block Watch





broken wire




This image shows information about the tides…

Tidal information

I particularly like the information in this one.



No blank walls

Here, the plants could care less about the orderly structure the fence is providing.


This one is sort of rebellious but really kinda not.

Get a job

Foiled escape attempt

So after my Village morning announcement, Rover came to help me. I was starting to, um, ask questions.

Questions are a burden to others. Answers are a prison for oneself.

That’s what I learned while I was in hospital. They treated me so nicely! Especially after, I am told, I tried to escape. I don’t remember it at all. But the nice doctors gave me an audio recording to let me know what I had tried to do, and what happened. They told me to keep it as a memento of my nice time in the hospital.

So now I’m back in my bungalow and can visit with you all again after several days away. Talky Tina made us some nice beverages so I’ll have to go visit her and share one. Sure could use a nice cold drink after that hospital food.


The delicious drink my Super True Friend Talky Tina made for me.



Many sounds were from licensed CC0; the sound of me throwing off the wires from the heart monitor was made by me. The Rover sound came from the “Schizoid Man” episode. I recorded it using Soundflower like explained in the previous post.

Village Philosopher morning announcement

For audio week during #prisoner106, one of the assignments we were asked to do was to create a morning announcement for the Village like in The Prisoner.

Since I’m the Village Philosopher, mine had some philosophical content. Do you know the Ship of Theseus?


The process

I wanted this to sound like it was coming over a radio or through a loudspeaker, so I didn’t want a “clean” voice sound like I usually do. Time to use the crappy phone mic and speaker! I recorded the voice parts on some built-in recorder app on my phone (can’t remember what it was), and then I played that through the phone speaker while holding it near my laptop built in mic and recorded it into Audacity. Two crappy mics and one crappy speaker and voilà.

I wanted to do the same thing with the “technical difficulties” clip, but that would be a bit harder. I recorded that from my system audio using Soundflower. So it went straight into Audacity from there. I would have had to then record it on my phone from my laptop, then back into the laptop using the same procedure as above. I decided to just let that go and have it not sound like it was coming through the loudspeaker.

BTW, here are a couple of sites I found useful when I had to try to remember how to use Soundflower (I didn’t remember):

I recorded the Rover sound using Soundflower as well, while watching The Chimes of Big Ben on the Prisoner106 archive. I then uploaded that Rover sound into a #prisoner106 sound collection that Melanie Barker started, that we can all use and contribute to.

The Rover sound from that episode has music in parts of it, though, and I didn’t want the music, so I had to cut and paste parts of the Rover sequence into my audio file. I tried and tried to make the two parts fit together smoothly, but it just wasn’t working. So I gave up and there’s an obvious jump between parts of the Rover sequence. But hey…who said Rover’s noise had to be smooth?



Mostly made by me, except:

Birds sound is licensed CC0 from, but in case anyone wants to find it (or in case I want to find it again), here it is:

Technical difficulties voice sound was made from here:

The Village announcement chime came from the Prisoner106 archive.



At the end of this broadcast Rover got me, and I don’t remember anything until I woke up in the hospital. And I saw this. What could they possibly be doing to my legs?!



How I came to the Village

A belated video introduction to the Village philosopher for #prisoner106.

The process

This was a new one for me–it’s very simple, but I had never done a video that had both still images and moving video footage in it. Video is the one thing in #ds106 that I feel least adept at.

I used iMovie for this video. It was surprisingly difficult to figure out how to create a new “event.” Honestly, the way iMovie organizes things into movies, events and projects…I’m not sure I’ll ever get it all straight. I had to do a web search just to get a new event started. And now I can’t remember how I did it. Sigh.

After that, things were mostly easy:

1. I used the “down arrow ” sign to import media. Importing images, videos and audio all worked in the same way.

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2. Then, when the media was in the top left window of iMovie (honestly, I don’t know what these areas are called), then I moved it down to the bottom, editing area. The music file just slotted right into the right place, and the images worked just like video–they were automatically set at a few seconds long, and with the “Ken Burns” effect.

3. I altered the Ken Burns on the images by clicking on the image in the bottom window, and it shows up on the top right window. Then I click on the little “crop” tool on the top right, and can adjust the Ken Burns effect on the image (or get rid of it).

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4. I recorded the voiceover in Audacity and imported it into iMovie–that way I could do edits in Audacity, which is quite easy. I didn’t know what it would be like doing audio edits in iMovie (and, given what I describe below, I’m glad I did it this way). The timing of the images and video just fit with the voiceover. I made sure the voiceover was the length I wanted, and then just trimmed the images and video to fit.

5. Perhaps the hardest part was reducing the volume of the music after the intro titles so that the voiceover could be heard. Again, I needed to do a web search to figure out how to do this, because it was not simple.

  • Option-click on the music track, and you get a little diamond. Option-click on another place in the video and you get another little diamond. These can then be adjusted up or down to raise or lower the volume. I tried to do a kind of “fade out” to a low volume before the voiceover started, but the adjustments on those diamonds is really, really coarse. I couldn’t even seem to move the diamonds right or left after I placed them, which was a real pain. Probably there is some way to do it that I am not aware of.

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Every time I tried to adjust the diamonds on the right to lower the volume, it jumped from like 60% volume to 20% or 13% or something. There didn’t seem to be much in between.

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 9.54.04 AMI was then able to click on a small piece of the audio line and go to the top right window, under the “volume” icon, and adjust the volume there. But sometimes that adjusted the volume of the whole music clip rather than just that portion.

Somehow, eventually, I managed to get the music to a decent volume level, and though it didn’t fade smoothly like I wanted, it was good enough.


Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 9.58.08 AM5. Fading out the music track at the end was much easier. There is a little circle at the beginning and end of the music track; just drag that and you get a fade out as long as you want. That worked beautifully. But if you wanted to have fine control over the fade as well as the length of it, you might be back to the diamonds of doom.

6. Then it was time to “share” (that’s what “export” is in iMovie). For some unknown reason, every time I tried to save it to a file, one of the end titles was empty (it just said “TITLE”, even though when I previewed it in iMovie it had the right text in there. So I just deleted that title and added a new one with the text and finally it worked.


Other Mac video editing software?

I’m not thrilled with iMovie. Does anyone know of good video editing software for a Mac? I’m willing to pay money, but not a really large amount. Suggestions appreciated!




Prisoner106: Assimilation and introduction

For week 1 of #prisoner106, we were to introduce ourselves to our fellow Villagers via Twitter, Soundcloud, Flickr, and YouTube. Three out of four ain’t bad? I had everything except the video done, but was also working on an audio project for #burgeron106 at the same time. So much storytelling, so little time!

This post will not only serve as my introductions to my fellow Villagers, but also my week 1 review.


I have signed up for #prisoner106 as the Village philosopher (click the link to see my ID card, embedded in an earlier blog post). The video I am working on will explain a bit of the backstory there, and a narrative about why I resigned (apparently I am to provide INFORMATION, so it will be there).

Image introduction

My image introduction is in the form of a postcard I made during my first week at the Village. I wanted to show how wonderfully relaxing it is here, and to let my friends back home know they should resign too!

You can’t tell from the picture, but I really am philosophizing here. I’m thinking about how great it is to resign, and coming up with all manner of good arguments for resigning. Because I’m told I will have to soon provide such INFORMATION. See how happy I am philosophizing? Don’t I look relaxed?


The process

I uploaded the background image into GIMP, then used the text tool and the Village font I had already installed from

But it was a bit hard to see the text over the image, so I added some backgrounds behind the text. I first created a new layer (transparent), then used the rectangular select tool to make a rectangle. Then I used the bucket tool to fill the rectangle with colour, and adjusted the transparency of the layer so you could still see through the background onto the image.

I did all three rectangular backgounds behind the text that way, but I did them all on the same layer. That meant that when I adjusted the transparency of one, it adjusted all the others the same. Lesson learned for next time.

Another lesson: when I did the rectangular selection and used the bucket fill tool, I was colouring right on the layer and couldn’t move those rectangular backgrounds without moving the whole layer. I need to think about how I might do this later so that I could move the text background rectangles separately. Maybe make separate layers and crop them.


Audio introduction

In this clip you can hear me move from a focus on Socratic examination of one’s life, to questioning such questioning, to, well, assimilation in the Village. I have assimilated quite well, I think.

Incidentally, the image I uploaded to Soundcloud was of one of the prisoner106 badges. It’s kind of cool all pixelated like this.


the process

This one was pretty easy. I scripted what I was going to say, recorded it into Audacity, and then added the two music tracks. I purposefully wanted the first one to sound creepy, like I was starting to slide away from my usual philosophical views and begin to question them, to see them as possibly strange, possibly sinister. Then, as I began to assimilate I wanted things to sound brighter and happier. Like they do, right?


Twitter introduction

Well, for this I am just embedding some tweets about my audio introduction…

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Week 1 reflections

Watching The Prisoner

Unbelievably, I had never heard of this show before #prisoner106. I am really intrigued by it.

One thing that stands out to me is that each episode starts off as if anew. I honestly thought, when I started the second episode (the second in our list on the archive, which is “free for all”), that I had accidentally clicked on the first one again because it started off exactly the same. Number Six resigns again, he is gassed again, he wakes up in the Village again.

The only thing that changes in this opening sequence is Number 2: there is a new Number 2 each episode. But the first few lines said by Number 2 are always the same, the same conversation with Number 6.

What to make of this choice by the show’s creators? One thing is does is more or less get rid of the idea of a linear story arc. There is no single beginning and progression from there. It all starts again, and again, and again, in the same way, with different people in charge.

Okay, so now I’ve just talked myself into one interpretation: the social structures, the governance structures, stay the same no matter who is in charge. The rules are the same, the procedures are the same, the goals are the same. “Revolution” makes no difference–as “Free For All” showed–no matter who is in power, nothing changes. Even when Number 6 was Number 2, no real changes occurred. It all just started over.

Speaking of Number 6 being in charge in “Free for All”: I was also very intrigued by how when he ends up in Number 2’s office and is pushing buttons and telling everyone they’re free now, the woman who was serving him slaps him and says “tick tick” several times. Tick Tick? Obviously a reference to a clock (right?), but why? That is still puzzling me.

What else I did

I did manage one daily create, from Saturday July 4:

DS106 daily create for July 4, 2015:”Draw a picture on a napkin for somebody you love and give it to them. Take a photo and show us?”

Mine is called “Happy Caturday,” and it’s for my son Sasha, who is the biggest cat lover I know.

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Here is the link to it on Flickr.


That’s it for this week. I will finish my video introduction tomorrow, I hope. I will be learning how to make a video that combines both still images and video footage. It’s a first for me!

Checking into the Village

I’m joining the #prisoner106 version of DS106 this summer. It’s based on “The Prisoner,” a show I didn’t even know about until now.

I’m checking into the Village with my official Village information card.




the process

The office in the Village gave us a layered .psd file to start with. Then we just had to add our picture, change the text, and voilà, right? After I downloaded the “Village” font from I thought it would be easy peasy. Not quite.

On GIMP, which is what I use for image editing, you can’t edit text layers unless they are “text layers” in GIMP. Which is apparently a thing. The layers in the .psd file (is this Photoshop?) are not GIMP “text layers.” I found that out after rather longer trying than I should have tried, and rather a bit of web searching.

But of course, the next best thing is to just delete the text layers on the original and start over. I tried to find a red colour for my name and Village role that at least sort of matched the colour at the top. And then, indeed, voilà!

For the image, I had to cut myself out from some other background, which I did using the “lasso” or “free select” tool, being kind of lazy about going around all that hair. Then I did control-C to copy the selected area, and pasted it to a new layer (I can’t remember now how I manged to do that part, the pasting part; and I just did it a few minutes ago. Sigh.). Then I used the eraser tool to erase around some of the hair so it blended into the background a bit more.

And now I am ready for a couple of months of rest and relaxation, and getting to know the friendly Rover!