Midterm Proposal - Long Time No Talk

I rarely use my actual phone number these days to talk voice to voice with people. There are so many chat applications that have implemented online phone calls, that my actual phone number has been rendered almost obsolete. When the network is bad, there would be a delay sending my voice data from my phone to the other person's phone. I would sometimes say something and then half a second later, hear my own voice on the other side. It's distracting but I've gotten kind of used to it. I want to explore this slightly annoying feature and utilize this feeling in my final project.


My proposal is to create an application that resembles Marina Abramovic's "The Artist is Present" piece. The application would essentially be an online video chat application used by two people. Everything is normal at first. However, as time passes, the delay between the users sending and receiving their video data would grow. The delay would increase gradually, going from a couple millisecond delay to several seconds. I would like to see how this gradual growth of delay would affect the speech and communication between two users. The delay would eventually grow to a suitable amount for the users to be essentially looking at each other in silence, as they realize that their ability to communicate has been rendered almost useless. The application would then gradually, at a slightly faster pace than previously, return back to normal. 


I am interested in exploring areas of discomfort, this case being control and intimacy. Control due to the fact that the users' ability to communicate slowly deteriorates, and Intimacy since the users are forced to look at each other through screens.

Simple Chat App

I've applied my phonetic keyboard portrait from last week's assignment to this week's. Now anyone can control my voice. I ran into an issue involving browser compatibility. It looks like it runs semi-well on FireFox, but there are bugs on Chrome. I'll need to investigate why, but it seems to have to do with how currentTime() is handled on the two browsers.


Here is a version without socket in case you want to see how it looks.


More to come!

Self Portrait: Phonetic Keyboard

When I was a teenager, I always found myself much better at talking to people over online instant messengers like AOL Instant Messenger than in real life. In real life, I was awkward. Online, I was a George Clooney. 

I decided to create a version of me that speaks whatever I typed. I recorded a short video of me saying the phonetic sounds of each letter of the alphabet. I then associated each alphabetic key on the keyboard to the specific timestamp of when I said the corresponding letter. 

It ended up being more of a beatbox soundboard thing, but if you type at the right cadence, it sounds kind of like English.

demo: https://bryanjhsu.github.io/phonetic-keyboard/

code: https://github.com/bryanjhsu/phonetic-keyboard

Synchronous Technologies: Youtube shared and Showgoers

YouTube has recently released a chat app to watch videos with your friends. I've tried to adopt this chat app and tried to force it upon some of my closer friends. Its usage lasted for a whopping two days. The purpose of the application was so that you could watch Youtube videos while chatting about with your friends. However, there were a bunch of disappointing features of the app

You're not really watching the video with them. I expected some sort of live control, where the video would have shared playhead control access among all the users. If we were all watching the same content at the same time, we would feel connected. It would feel like I'm hanging out with my buddies at someones house. Without this feature, this app no longer becomes special because it loses that "live" feature. Also, the keyboard covers up 50% of the screen real estate, covering up all of the chat. This drives the unconnectedness of this application even more.

While I was in a long distance relationship with my girlfriend, we used this app called Showgoers. It was, among many others, a Google Chrome extension that allowed multiple users to sync and watch a Netflix program. If I paused the movie, the movie would pause at the same spot on her screen as well. We were connected by this strange limitation. We used this app along with Skype so that we could see each others faces in the corner of the screen while watching a movie. This was an example of a live technology that actually felt "live". It was like I was watching the movie right next to her.

I feel that "live" technologies require interaction with other users. If something is live, you need to be able to affect others that are using the same technology as you. If I told my long distance girlfriend to watch a movie by pressing the play button on our separate Netflix accounts, I could easily in the middle of the movie pause the movie to go the bathroom and she would never know. There needs to be something that connects the two users so that we can both see and hear each others reactions as they are happening.