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Toys

Physical ASCII Mosaic 175

An anonymous submitter, who might be Eric Harshberger, writes: "Some of my past LEGO whackiness seemed to make a few Slashdot readers chuckle, so I thought I'd pass along this link to my latest creation: A mosaic built of thousands and thousands of tiny little letter bricks. Kind of a weird turn on the ol' ASCII artwork." You may remember this guy from the famous Lego desk.
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Physical ASCII Mosaic

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  • by Jin Wicked ( 317953 ) on Saturday January 26, 2002 @12:11AM (#2905111) Homepage Journal

    I've been working in oil paints and ink, and all I had to do to get recognition was to build something out of Legos? Ppph! :)

    • Really? It's always been the ol' paint by number for me. ;)
    • Good portfolio for a 21 year old you'll more likely get recognition at Rhizome [rhizome.org] than here. They only accept completely digital art though.
    • Yeah, didn't ya know? If you told someone here that Monet was you favorite artist they'd shriek about all that water, and curl up...
      I did look at your site, BTW, not too bad, though your photo work does need practice - best on was the cat in the window above the door (IMHO - feel free to look at mine at http://www.polsci.wvu.edu/Henry/Travels/ )
  • wow (Score:2, Funny)

    by uchi ( 534979 )
    Wow This man...this is a work of art Not a very good work of art, but art none the less.
  • Is this the magic 8-ball guy? [federated.com]

    Just wondering. It's along the same lines.

    Art via Geekiosity.
  • Thats really cool, but did it really have to be of Ally McBeal?

    I hope he gets that into a museum somewhere.
  • Because this was a picture Calista Flockhart and not CowboyNeal or Linus or a Linux Penguin.

    Heh.
  • More Lego Genius (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BradNelson ( 549752 ) on Saturday January 26, 2002 @12:28AM (#2905158) Homepage
    I think it's a different guy, but what about the one who made the workind 9mm Beretta pistol out of Legos? And the (non-functioning) H&K MP5 submachine gun? That guy's good. But probably someone else. His site: http://onyx.malagraphixia.com/Beretta_9mm/Beretta_ 9mm.htm
  • Apart from Lego, an other hobby of yours must be S&M. How else would you explain calling a /. effect on yourself. ;o)
    • Sorry I can't help out with the /. effect completely, but here's a start (it's long):

      Physical Graffiti ASCII

      The adage states that 'a picture is worth a thousand words.' I'm not sure about that, but I can say one's worth about thirty thousand letters...

      Question: What should one do with about a quarter million Modulex bricks?

      This is not a question that most people will face in their lifetime. For that matter, few LEGO collectors will need to consider it. However, last fall I was sent a couple small Modulex bricks in the mail by a fellow, Ted, who had worked for LEGO some time ago. Ironically, my first thought when seeing the tiny bricks was, "these are so small, they're like toys!" -- as if the standard LEGO brick is not meant to be a toy.

      Anyway, my interest was certainly piqued by these 'elfin sized' bricks, and I started doing some investigation. After a couple months of searching and researching, I stumbled into quite a find: for a (fairly reasonable) price I managed to put myself in half-ownership of approximately half a million Modulex bricks. Old, yes, but sealed in boxes and in mint condition.

      So, I then had to ask myself what I would do with my new 'toys.'

      What should one actually do with a quarter million Modulex bricks?

      Some type of mosaic came to mind as the Modulex bricks are smaller than typical LEGO bricks, and the colors are different (more pastel).

      What really intrigued me, though, was the fact that among the many, many bricks were some tiny 1x1 smooth bricks (tiles) that were white with black letters and numbers imprinted upon them.

      What are "Modulex" bricks? Modulex bricks are smaller 'cousins' of LEGO bricks . They were originally developed by the LEGO company (many decades ago) and marketed to professional architecture firms and such (not as a retail toy). Possibly to the surprise of many LEGO collectors, these bricks are still manufactured today (by the now independent, but LEGO-related, company Modulex).

      Modulex bricks are not compatible with typical LEGO bricks. The standard 1x1 Modulex brick (or 'component' as the company refers to them) is 5mm cubed (yes, they are perfect cubes, unlike LEGO unit bricks which are taller than they are wide or deep).

      The colors are also different than LEGO colors... much more in the 'pastel' frame of mind they are.

      Buying new Modulex bricks is not cheap; piece by piece they would end up being more expensive than LEGO bricks on average.

      There are Modulex collectors about, however, and if one searches hard enough, one can sometimes find old ones for sale. The eBay auction site can be quite handy in this instance. I got my idea.

      I'd do a mosaic, but instead of using colors, I'd use the letter and number tiles to create a picture reminiscent of the old 'ASCII art' one can find on the web (and which was certainly around long before the web).

      Physical ASCII. How pseudo-retro-techno.

      Okay then, a physical ASCII mosaic. But a mosaic of what?

      I was sick of building LEGO cartoon/comic characters, so that was out.

      I considered a picture from another fascination of mine: Alice in Wonderland (qq.v. Alice, White Rabbit Mosaic ), but the original Tenniel drawings that I like are all pretty much black and white with little gray shading... not very conducive to ASCII art really.

      So, with cartoon characters and Alice discarded, I turned to the next obvious thing: an actress (this may not be too obvious, but for anyone who knows me, this should not be a big surprise).

      I decided to use a picture of Calista Flockhart.

      Okay, I had my picture. Next I downloaded a freely available software program: ASCII Generator.

      This nifty tool did just about all that I needed. I could specify what letters to use (and which were 'darkest' and which 'lightest'). I could specify how many pixels of width to give each letter (when printed normally, most fonts have letters that are taller than they are wide; my bricks, however, were square, so I needed to be able to adjust accordingly). All in all, the program was invaluable.

      I did run into one snag, however.

      See, in all the little letter tiles I had obtained, the distribution of particular letters and numbers was far from equal. For example, I had over five thousand U's, but only twenty-four C's (not twenty-four thousand, just twenty-four... two dozen).

      The ASCII Generator program did not care what my supply actually was, so it just used as many of each letter as it deemed necessary. As a result, the output (which was 140 letters wide and 240 letters high) did not come close to matching the letter supply I actually had.

      I solved the problem by grouping certain letters together into groups based on their darkness (so, say, the W's and X's and H's were in one group at the dark end while the I's and L's and J's were in the lightest group). With about 6 groups formed using all the tiles I did have, I then wrote a Perl script that analyzed the output from the ASCII program.

      My script would look at the letter in each space as designated by the ASCII Generator and then see to which group it belonged. Next, it would randomly pick a letter from that group. This 'randomness' however was weighted so that the letters within the group of which I had the most would be most likely picked. Letters of which I had very few were proportionally less likely to be picked.

      The picked letter from the group (which might, in fact, be the same as the original letter analyzed) was then substituted in the ASCII picture.

      When the whole text file was thus filtered, I ended up with an ASCII image in which the darkness and lightness was pretty much the same as the original ASCII output, but I was guaranteed to have the necessary letters.

      Whew.

      With all that done, I could then actually start building.

      Oh wait. There was one more problem. I had about 60,000 letter tiles at my disposal, but I had no baseplates to which I could attach them.

      I ended up ordering some from the U.S. importer of Modulex products. This was not particularly cheap or timely, but about five weeks later I managed to get the baseplates I needed.

      And I began the actual building of the mosaic.

      I have constructed plenty of LEGO mosaic in the past (qq.v. New York City, Mona Lisa, San Francisco ), so I was almost prepared for this task. There are notable differences between Modulex mosaic building and LEGO mosaic building, however. Most noticable is the fact that the minute Modulex bricks are *that much harder* to pick up and maneuver. Nimble fingers are required.

      Modulex bricks also seem to attach more securely to the baseplates (more securely than LEGO bricks do to LEGO baseplates), and this is nice. However, it also means that a bit more force is need to make each little click. Tough fingers are required.

      And finally, since I was creating a mosaic with little letters and numbers, I had to be sure that each brick was positioned with the correct orientation (no upside down P's for me, buddy).

      Anyway... in the end, I got the darn thing done. The final 'Calista mosaic' is currently hanging on a wall in my house, and I hope to transport it to the Brickswest (2002) convention.

      The mosaic used about 30,000 pieces (the 140 by 240 area for the letters, with some of the white spaces filled by larger tiles, and finally a border).

      This, of course, means that I have about 30,000 or so letter tiles remaining. Enough for another mosaic! Heh... not one for myself, but I'd could always do one on commission, by request. Such a commssion would not be cheap of course (for a similarly sized mosaic -- 30 inches by 50 inches -- you could expect a price tag of many, many thousands of dollars).

      But if you're game, let me know... I obviously have a limited supply, so it'd be first come, first serve... requests from actresses would get preferential consideration, of course [grin].

      What I'm going to do with the rest of my Modulex stash (the non-letter bricks)... well, I'm still trying to figure that out.

  • .... and the site is already slashdotted. =(
  • Goddammit! (Score:4, Funny)

    by G-funk ( 22712 ) <josh@gfunk007.com> on Saturday January 26, 2002 @12:30AM (#2905163) Homepage Journal
    I think his server was made of lego too! Only 20 comments and it's on fire! Can somebody post a mirror?
  • Text of article.... (Score:1, Informative)

    by tiwason ( 187819 )
    The adage states that 'a picture is worth a thousand words.' I'm not sure about that, but I can say one's worth about thirty thousand letters...
    Question: What should one do with about a quarter million Modulex bricks?

    This is not a question that most people will face in their lifetime. For that matter, few LEGO collectors will need to consider it. However, last fall I was sent a couple small Modulex bricks in the mail by a fellow, Ted, who had worked for LEGO some time ago. Ironically, my first thought when seeing the tiny bricks was, "these are so small, they're like toys!" -- as if the standard LEGO brick is not meant to be a toy.

    Anyway, my interest was certainly piqued by these 'elfin sized' bricks, and I started doing some investigation. After a couple months of searching and researching, I stumbled into quite a find: for a (fairly reasonable) price I managed to put myself in half-ownership of approximately half a million Modulex bricks. Old, yes, but sealed in boxes and in mint condition.

    So, I then had to ask myself what I would do with my new 'toys.'

    What should one actually do with a quarter million Modulex bricks?

    Some type of mosaic came to mind as the Modulex bricks are smaller than typical LEGO bricks, and the colors are different (more pastel).

    What really intrigued me, though, was the fact that among the many, many bricks were some tiny 1x1 smooth bricks (tiles) that were white with black letters and numbers imprinted upon them.

    What are "Modulex" bricks?
    Modulex bricks are smaller 'cousins' of LEGO bricks. They were originally developed by the LEGO company (many decades ago) and marketed to professional architecture firms and such (not as a retail toy). Possibly to the surprise of many LEGO collectors, these bricks are still manufactured today (by the now independent, but LEGO-related, company Modulex).
    Modulex bricks are not compatible with typical LEGO bricks. The standard 1x1 Modulex brick (or 'component' as the company refers to them) is 5mm cubed (yes, they are perfect cubes, unlike LEGO unit bricks which are taller than they are wide or deep).

    The colors are also different than LEGO colors... much more in the 'pastel' frame of mind they are.

    Buying new Modulex bricks is not cheap; piece by piece they would end up being more expensive than LEGO bricks on average.

    There are Modulex collectors about, however, and if one searches hard enough, one can sometimes find old ones for sale. The eBay auction site can be quite handy in this instance.

    I got my idea.

    I'd do a mosaic, but instead of using colors, I'd use the letter and number tiles to create a picture reminiscent of the old 'ASCII art' one can find on the web (and which was certainly around long before the web).

    Physical ASCII. How pseudo-retro-techno.

    Okay then, a physical ASCII mosaic. But a mosaic of what?

    I was sick of building LEGO cartoon/comic characters, so that was out.

    I considered a picture from another fascination of mine: Alice in Wonderland (qq.v. Alice, White Rabbit Mosaic), but the original Tenniel drawings that I like are all pretty much black and white with little gray shading... not very conducive to ASCII art really.

    So, with cartoon characters and Alice discarded, I turned to the next obvious thing: an actress (this may not be too obvious, but for anyone who knows me, this should not be a big surprise).

    I decided to use a picture of Calista Flockhart.

    Okay, I had my picture. Next I downloaded a freely available software program: ASCII Generator.

    This nifty tool did just about all that I needed. I could specify what letters to use (and which were 'darkest' and which 'lightest'). I could specify how many pixels of width to give each letter (when printed normally, most fonts have letters that are taller than they are wide; my bricks, however, were square, so I needed to be able to adjust accordingly). All in all, the program was invaluable.

    I did run into one snag, however.

    See, in all the little letter tiles I had obtained, the distribution of particular letters and numbers was far from equal. For example, I had over five thousand U's, but only twenty-four C's (not twenty-four thousand, just twenty-four... two dozen).

    The ASCII Generator program did not care what my supply actually was, so it just used as many of each letter as it deemed necessary. As a result, the output (which was 140 letters wide and 240 letters high) did not come close to matching the letter supply I actually had.

    I solved the problem by grouping certain letters together into groups based on their darkness (so, say, the W's and X's and H's were in one group at the dark end while the I's and L's and J's were in the lightest group). With about 6 groups formed using all the tiles I did have, I then wrote a Perl script that analyzed the output from the ASCII program.

    My script would look at the letter in each space as designated by the ASCII Generator and then see to which group it belonged. Next, it would randomly pick a letter from that group. This 'randomness' however was weighted so that the letters within the group of which I had the most would be most likely picked. Letters of which I had very few were proportionally less likely to be picked.

    The picked letter from the group (which might, in fact, be the same as the original letter analyzed) was then substituted in the ASCII picture.

    When the whole text file was thus filtered, I ended up with an ASCII image in which the darkness and lightness was pretty much the same as the original ASCII output, but I was guaranteed to have the necessary letters.

    Whew.

    With all that done, I could then actually start building.

    Oh wait. There was one more problem. I had about 60,000 letter tiles at my disposal, but I had no baseplates to which I could attach them.

    I ended up ordering some from the U.S. importer of Modulex products. This was not particularly cheap or timely, but about five weeks later I managed to get the baseplates I needed.

    And I began the actual building of the mosaic.

    I have constructed plenty of LEGO mosaic in the past (qq.v. New York City, Mona Lisa, San Francisco), so I was almost prepared for this task. There are notable differences between Modulex mosaic building and LEGO mosaic building, however. Most noticable is the fact that the minute Modulex bricks are *that much harder* to pick up and maneuver. Nimble fingers are required.

    Modulex bricks also seem to attach more securely to the baseplates (more securely than LEGO bricks do to LEGO baseplates), and this is nice. However, it also means that a bit more force is need to make each little click. Tough fingers are required.

    And finally, since I was creating a mosaic with little letters and numbers, I had to be sure that each brick was positioned with the correct orientation (no upside down P's for me, buddy).

    Anyway... in the end, I got the darn thing done. The final 'Calista mosaic' is currently hanging on a wall in my house, and I hope to transport it to the Brickswest (2002) convention.

    The mosaic used about 30,000 pieces (the 140 by 240 area for the letters, with some of the white spaces filled by larger tiles, and finally a border).

    This, of course, means that I have about 30,000 or so letter tiles remaining. Enough for another mosaic! Heh... not one for myself, but I'd could always do one on commission, by request. Such a commssion would not be cheap of course (for a similarly sized mosaic -- 30 inches by 50 inches -- you could expect a price tag of many, many thousands of dollars).

    But if you're game, let me know... I obviously have a limited supply, so it'd be first come, first serve... requests from actresses would get preferential consideration, of course [grin].

    What I'm going to do with the rest of my Modulex stash (the non-letter bricks)... well, I'm still trying to figure that out.

    More pictures
    My initial set-up before actual construction began.
    This was my basic layout of the bags. Each bag contains a separate letter (keeping them separate was vitally important, of course).
    As work progressed, the workspace got messier and messier, but a facade of organization was kept.
    The first baseplate (upper left of mosaic) is completed.
    More progress. The empty areas would later be filled with white tiles (not all 1x1s).
    A closer look.
    The eyes are completed.
    The final mosaic is 150 by 250 bricks (30 inches by 50 inches); these dimensions include a five-brick-wide black border.
    A close-up shot to prove these are actually little letter tiles [grin].
    A close-up of one of the eyes.
    Here's a view of the printout instructions I used. I deliniated every 10 rows and columns to help keep things straight.
    I 'signed' the mosaic in the lower right corner by placing letters at a ninety degree rotation.

    Also, I should give thanks to Ted, Brad, Irving, Arne, and Henry for helping me get this crazy little project conceived and finsihed in about four months time.
    Finally, for the trivia prone people, I'll toss out these little bits:

    While I did not purposely place any messages in the mosaic (other than my signature), some small words did appear by chance. The longest were four letter words. Among the ones I remember: FILL, FULL, NOUN, QUOD (a strange word probably only familiar to Scrabble players). I caught these reading left-to-right as I built the mosaic... others may be hidden vertically.
    The longest string of a single letter was an iteration of eight Y's (it appeared in the second row from the top).
    I seem to recall a number six digits in length embedded within the mosaic, but I can't remember what it was, and now can't locate it in amongst the gibberish. It was the longest continuous string I spotted, though.
    Here is a breakdown of the symbols used (of course, I may have erred a bit in the actual production, but this is what made up the text file; no M's or 9's were used -- they are just W's and 6's upside down; the balance of space was filled with blank white tiles):
    [A] -> 83
    [B] -> 109
    [C] -> 24
    [D] -> 596
    [E] -> 468
    [F] -> 1726
    [G] -> 1851
    [H] -> 985
    [I] -> 562
    [J] -> 2820
    [K] -> 540
    [L] -> 617
    [N] -> 455
    [O] -> 365
    [P] -> 560
    [Q] -> 1816
    [R] -> 284
    [S] -> 820
    [T] -> 234
    [U] -> 4157
    [V] -> 1432
    [W] -> 290
    [X] -> 414
    [Y] -> 2782
    [Z] -> 150
    [0] -> 491
    [1] -> 197
    [2] -> 346
    [3] -> 100
    [4] -> 383
    [5] -> 358
    [6] -> 277
    [7] -> 128
    [8] -> 52
    [=] -> 1103
  • by kenneth_martens ( 320269 ) on Saturday January 26, 2002 @12:36AM (#2905182)
    His server is slashdotted already, but I managed to get a few paragraphs describing his experience with Legos. It doesn't apply directly to the particular Lego creation that prompted this story on Slashdot, but at least it's something. Enjoy.

    I can clearly remember receiving and playing with my first LEGO toy. It was back in the mid-70's, and the set was a simple 'Rescue Unit' white helicopter and ambulance. For the next several years my birthday and Christmas gift lists were dominated by LEGO toys, and throughout the year I would dutifully save my allowance and then trek up to the nearby hobby store (through the woods, over the railroad tracks), and eagerly pick out my next set. This was during the age of the Classic Space sets, the 'Yellow Knight's Castle' (which I never had, but my LEGO-and-longtime-friend Steve did), and such.

    I was careful with my LEGO bricks... I never threw them about, or lost them, or tried to feed them to the cat. In fact, after all those years of feverish play, I think only 5 bricks were misplaced and 2 or 3 broken.

    Unfortunately I was not as meticulous with the original boxes (who thinks of being a collector when one is only 7 or 8 years old?). Most of the instruction booklets I kept, and I even sorted many of the pieces into separate containers (though, back then, I sorted by color first, which I have since realized is not the best way to go).

    They were those containers through which I rummaged before school, waking up my parents ('rattle, rattle, scrunnnnmmmm, rattle') as early as five o'clock in the morning.

    But alas, at some point other diversions came into my life and the LEGO toys were put in a toybox and virtually forgotten (well, not forgotten, but certainly ignored).

    Then, in mid-1999 (I was now 28 years old), I extracted the bricks from my parents' home, and my LEGO renaissance began. I rebuilt all my old sets and started buying bricks in bulk so as to create large sculptures. Such sculptures had bounced around in my head ever since reading an article about the original LEGOLAND (in Denmark) in a National Geographic WORLD magazine as a kid.

    As an adult (AFOL -- Adult Fan of LEGO, as the terminology goes) I was no longer really interested in buying the LEGO sets (the new space sets, the ninja sets, the rock raiders...); they did not seem as cool as my childhood sets (I won't digress into that ongoing debate). No, I just wanted to build sculptures.

    And so I did (and do).

    And, of course, I had to make a webpage to document my renewed LEGO habit...
  • by Leven Valera ( 127099 ) on Saturday January 26, 2002 @12:37AM (#2905185) Homepage Journal
    Very cool, but what does Callista Flockhart think of it? Have you heard back from her?

    And, since you built the whole thing out of the 1x1's, is this indicative of your opinion that she needs to eat more?

    LV
    • Some people chop off their ear for a girl, others make a 30,000 tile ASCII-art mosaic :).

      This would definately qualify as Boston.com's most unusual Valentine's Day gift [boston.com].

      . . .Mosaics of all the most important things in life. . .

      "I have constructed plenty of LEGO mosaic in the past (qq.v. New York City, Mona Lisa, San Francisco)"

      . . .and Christa Flockheart :).

      Sorry for the jibe. . .it was just too tempting. . .
  • Did anyone get the page with PICS of the thing? check your cache... if you did by all means slap them up on tripod [tripod.com]!
  • Well, if THAT is your real name, you may want to consider registering "http://www.ericharshberger.org/".

    Than, next time you don't have to post a link to "http://www.ericharshbarger.org/" which is owned by Eric Harshbarger.
  • by f00zbll ( 526151 ) on Saturday January 26, 2002 @12:51AM (#2905224)
    You'd be hard pressed to get any two people to completely agree on what constitutes art, but this one was creative in that he had to figure out a way to use the blocks he had to create the picture. The picture itself is fairly good for lego art. It's not a monet or dali, but then again neither of them used lego's.

    Some might say art is about taking things that no one thought could be art and make it into art, like how andy warhol took soup cans and turned into pop art. Or distorting reality by creating a representation that make the viewer stop and think about the creative process. Some are questionable like Jackson Pollock, who most people would consider junk. So make of the portrait what you will. Lego and calista art? It's probably more artful than calista :)

    • Hmm. . .photography is considered art and changing such things as color and medium that the picture is presented on is considered artistic.

      In this case he completely changed the medium, the color and thus the representation.

      From the art classes that I've taken this fits into what I was taught art is. Whether it is good art or not is completely subjective. I have seen art that is just a blue triangle on a white sheet of paper. I accept it as art, but reject that it is good art.

      I don't have any obsession with Flockheart, but I would hang that on my wall. It's damn cool.
    • Right from the horse's mouth (The FAQ on his LEGO webpage):

      Q: Do you consider what you do art?

      A: I have never called what I do art, and never will. I find this question a little silly.
  • Wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by Carnage4Life ( 106069 ) on Saturday January 26, 2002 @12:54AM (#2905229) Homepage Journal
    I sit here a newly minted graduate about to start my first job after getting my Bachelor's degree in two weeks. Most of my friends suggested that I go on a vacation or get drunk non-stop to celebrate my last real month of freedom. So it's 11:50 PM on a Friday night and I'm sitting here sipping some Bacardi-O while passing up an opportunity to go clubbing to work on an implementation for an XML database query language that I plan to GPL or BSD license upon completing.

    Yet all I can say is this guy is the biggest geek I have ever seen. I am bowled over. The part about writing a Perl script to analyze the output of the image to ASCII art program to match his distribution of Modulux blocks was the straw that broke the camel's back. That is bad ass!!!
    • I have to say that it s definately cooler then the "Beeramid" that we made in the dorm freshman year :).
  • I have a cache and this is all I have to post it to [geocities...]:

    http://www.geocities.com/wirelesstap/lego.html [geocities.com]
  • Calista?! (Score:3, Funny)

    by jawad ( 15611 ) on Saturday January 26, 2002 @12:58AM (#2905240)
    If he really wanted approval of the /. community, he could have used a REAL actress, and done us trolls a favour with Physical ASCII of Natalie Portman. (And if she were to be naked & petrified, I sure as hell wouldn't complain.)

    Just a thought.
  • . . .what a great way to slashdot one's site. If I ever come up with ANYTHING 'news for nerds/stuff that matters'-related that I need to sell to ANYONE, I'm submitting it here first.

    Must be new, as google hasn't crawled it yet. Mirrors?
  • I found a mirror....google actually has a cache of it, but the actual art is hidden deep into it, but i was able to pry it out...you can prolly do the same.. the mirror is ...
  • OK, according to the guy's website [ericharshbarger.org], his ASCII art includes 24,140 letters (that's A-Z, not counting numbers or other characters.) He lists the amount of each letter used, which I added to find the total.

    Now, let's compare the frequency of letters in his mosaic to the frequency of those same letters in the English language, using data from this website [santacruzpl.org].

    Letter----Mosaic-------English
    'A' ----> .3438 % ----> 8.151 %
    'B' ----> .4515 % ----> 1.440 %
    'C' ----> .0994 % ----> 2.758 %
    ...
    'G' ----> 7.668 % ----> 1.994 %
    ...
    'Y' ----> 11.52 % ----> 1.982 %
    'Z' ----> .6214 % ----> .0770 %

    Feel free to calculate and post the rest yourself. Use your favorite non-English language if you like. YMMV.
    • This seems like a good way to sell more bricks. After all, if you use these bricks to make actual text, you'd have to buy more sets to get the letters you need then if they distribute them in the same frequency in wich they're used in English (or Danish, I guess, in LEGO's case). This is ofcourse the same thing WotC do with Magic.

      BTW, I've got real respect for this guy... He builds LEGO for money. As a kid I always said I wanted to be a 'lego-professional' when I grew up... I guess it's time to look at that dream again :-)
      • "This seems like a good way to sell more bricks. After all, if you use these bricks to make actual text, you'd have to buy more sets to get the letters you need then if they distribute them in the same frequency in which they're used..."

        He said he was buying them from other people. He probably wound up with letters that other people hadn't used, and presumably purchased bags of different letters based on availability and price. Given that he was working with leftovers it would have been surprising if the distribution were not way out of line with normal usage.

  • Mirror (Score:2, Informative)

    Of just the finished thing
    http://calista_lego.tripod.com/calistalego
    • underscore is an illegal char in hostnames. lot of things wont resolve it, eg squid proxies for one.
      • I shuddered when I saw that also.

        Not that it makes it right, but squid can handle them (at lest the version I run). The killer is white spaces in a URL for which you have to use the "uri_whitespace" option in squid.conf for it to work.
  • i could not get to the link for this one.. but apparently the desk involved glue and paint.. isn't that cheating? here's the last thing i ever made out of lego [yahoo.com] many years ago .)
  • by discogravy ( 455376 ) on Saturday January 26, 2002 @01:53AM (#2905364) Homepage
    when i first saw the desk, through a website board, my first thought was "Dammit, LEGO isn't ready for the desktop yet!"
  • Here's a link [geocities.com] to a mirror of the original image that he used to make his ASCII mosaic.
  • ...as soon as we get $500 in donations. Thanks for browsing pbs.org!
  • This man... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Lethyos ( 408045 ) on Saturday January 26, 2002 @02:42AM (#2905457) Journal
    ...will never, ever have sex.

    "Hey baby, come up to my bed room and see my, uh, Lego set."
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Maybe if he switched to erector kits...
  • I thought that someone had created a program that drove mindstorms robots to create mosaics of websites... Since the first graphical browser was called Mosiac. THAT would be cool. It'd take a while to display 'em though.
  • Another Mirror (Score:4, Informative)

    by Rain ( 5189 ) <slashdot@@@t...themuffin...net> on Saturday January 26, 2002 @03:59AM (#2905574) Homepage
    I've thrown up another mirror at http://ericharshbarger.bluecherry.net/ [bluecherry.net]. I'm mirroring the entire site (I say in the present progressive because the mirror is still running--the posted site is quite saturated), and the portion that's linked to in the article (effectively here [bluecherry.net])

    As I don't have loads of bandwidth, I'd like to ask that other people mirror it and post their mirrors as well.

    Please refrain from killing the server :)
  • I'm allways thinking about writing a really cool ascii art script that would convert a picture into ascii characters. I don't know how this is usually done, but I was thinking it would sample down an area of the picture and then find the closest match within the ascii characters. Anyone wrote such a script before, can say if I'm on the right way?
    • I have contemplated doing this, just never actally got around to it. I think the easiest thing to do would be to convert the pic to grayscale, then set up a table of ASCII characters corresponding to certain darknesses, for in stance, a white pixel would be replaced by ' ', and a slightly darker pixel would be replaced by '.', etc. To make the table, it would probably be best to do a print screen and check percentage of black vs. white pixels, and rank them in the table. This would look quite large in any sort of viewer unless you use a pretty small font or something. You could look for a character match, it might actually look better that way. My way takes a bit of energy and looks best when you unfocus your eyes. Anyway, thats my $.02.

      I think this would actually be a nifty file format if the ASCII/RGB-Grayscale table got to be semi-standard, it would end up being about 1/3 the size of a grayscale BMP, aside from it beinghard to view. Theres probably better ways, but thats what I've come up with.
  • Of the Best All Around Pic of the thing.
    Here [askadick.com]
  • The video to The White Stripes' "Fell In Love With A Girl" is done entirely as animated Lego - it's fantastic.

    See it here [boardsmag.com].
  • Cute Actress but.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Zapdos ( 70654 )
    I really do not know a lot of people willing to spend $1000X dollars on a ascii art of her. If he had used the picture of the three firemen in NYC It would most likely have been sold for $100000.

    Yes I know he made it for himself.

  • From the website:

    The ASCII Generator program did not care what my supply actually was, so it just used as many of each letter as it deemed necessary. As a result, the output (which was 140 letters wide and 240 letters high) did not come close to matching the letter supply I actually had.

    Maybe it's just me, but I think you could have saved some time and just resized the tiny jpeg [bluecherry.net] you used for input.

    How do you spell "DUH!" in ASCII art?

!07/11 PDP a ni deppart m'I !pleH

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