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Week #1

Retro tech, Soviet Cartoons, and Dithering.

Hello and Happy 2022,

I first wanted to share a some personal news. This will be my last month working full time for Envisioning. After ~ 8 years, I thought I could profit from some new challenges. I’m leaving the day-to-day operations, but will continue close to the team. Soon, I will share more details of what I will be doing.

Back with the regular schedule :)


On this week's episode of retrotech: Video presentations or slideshows are things we take for granted. I never actually thought about its development or existence before GUI or computer projectors, yet they existed in a hardcore-tech-fashion since at least the 1980s. All done using slide projectors – yes, you’ve read it correctly Slides.

This article (actually a long-read keynote with pun-full slides) written by, one of the technique’ pioneers, Douglas Mesney documents its evolution from a simple 3-projector-array concotion, to bespoke programming languages with 100 projectors and 21 screen arrays.

This video shows what they could do with a 15 projector array.


On Soviet children cartoons: as Winnieh-the-Pooh, Bambi, and other works from 1926 are joining the public domain, it is a good opportunity to revisit and share some Soviet remakes and other impressive cartoons from the era. They have a different approach to the western classics we know. Not only in style and aesthetics, but the whole delivery and narrative. I wonder how differently I would’ve perceived things growing up with such distinct imagery.

The Hedgehog in the Fog

Elected the “#1 Animated film of all the time”, tells the story of a Hedgehog going to meet his friend Bear. He journeys through the forest and is tormented by an owl. Here is an english version.

The Little Mermaid

Rusalochka – the Little Mermaid – trades her voice for legs after falling in love with a human prince. Here with English subtitles

There is also Vinni Pukh (Winnieh-the-pooh), Nu, Pogodi! (Tom&Jerry), Alice in the Wonderland, The Scarlet Flower (The Sleeping Beauty), and last but not least Krokodil Gena & Cheburashka(whose rights were later bought by Japan).

Disney’s fight to extend Mickey Mouse’s copyright is quite extensive. In two years, the Steamboat Willie will join the public domain too, meanwhile this article sheds a good light into it.


Return of the Obra Dinn relies heavily on Dithering

This ObservableHQ experiment on different Dithering techniques. Dither is a technique that is applied all around us in the digital media we consume: photography, video, and audio processing. The experiment describes and walks you through the different frameworks and results.

Born as technique to deal with limitation (pixel amount, color gamut, etc…) it is been transfered to an aesthetic style. The fantastic Return of The Obra Dinn relies heavily on this to achieve its looks. If you don't know it, it is a wonderful game created by Lucas Pope (he also did "Papers Please") and is available for almost every console / OS.

See you next time.

Week #29

Tell me you've been to Italy without telling me you've been to Italy.

I couldn't put a finger on how I felt looking at these street food menus in Milan's Chinatown (this explains it better). 

Arriving in Italy during the semi & final of the Eurocup was as puzzling as looking at those translated dishes. Both evenings that the Italy team played felt like a breach in the current timeline of events. I had my temperature (!) checked throughout the day with Thermo-guns, but everything was forgotten after 8p. After countless aperitiv during this week, I'm back with my normal schedule. This week we have a lot of A.I. posts.

Aftermath of Italy's classification for the Finals.


Perceptions of Probability: What people mean when they use everyday terms describing probabilities. I wonder what would be the Portuguese & German equivalent.

Sherman Kent, the first director of CIA's Office of National Estimates, was one of the first to recognize problems of communication caused by imprecise statements of uncertainty


GAN Theft Auto is a Generative Adversarial Network that recreates the Grand Theft Auto 5 environment. In other words, the video below shows the result of training a neural network with an enormous amount of data from the GTA 5 game. With this model, they were able to recreate (parts) of the game without writing a single physics line of code or creating any 3d models. Quite impressive and good example of how you can use synthetic data to train models.


I remember reading a couple of articles years ago stating that "no interface was the best interface", making some connection to the advantages of voice assistants (imho, meh). A year after OpenAI has opened the API of its powerful GPT-3 AI model, we will soon be seeing more frequent implementations, is a good example of such practical cases. You can see a video of it in action here.


That is a hippopotamus

One fascinating science theory that I've been bumping into every now and then is that the way we depicture dinosaurs is completely inaccurate. Here are several links with different takes on this topic [1] [2] [3]. I don't think we will ever get to the truth in that topic, but I found this article depicting current animals in the same way we depict dinosaurs.

Sketches reveal what animals would look like if drawn like dinosaurs
Palaeoartist C. M. Kosemen believes there was more to the shapely dinosaurs, including larger layers of fat and areas of soft tissue. He blames Hollywood for dinosaurs’ ‘monster’ image.


A Physalis painted with Quinacridone Gold PO49

We ran out of Quinacridone Gold and I loved reading about it. Apparently the manufacturer of the goldest of golden pigments ceased its production decades ago, and sold all of its leftover stock to another ink manufacturer, Daniel Smith. We won't have any other paintings in our lifetime with this hue of gold.

The way I learned about this was by casually browsing this eshop. It explicitly disclaims on the page:

GOLD is now available to EVERYONE* (except Daniel Smith who have bought up all available Quinacridone Gold pigment and made it extinct so no other paint makers or artists can use it ever again!)
IMPORTANT -  By adding Gold to your cart you confirm that you are not Daniel Smith, you are in no way affiliated to Daniel Smith, you are not purchasing this item on behalf of Daniel Smith or an associate of Daniel Smith. To the best of your knowledge, information and belief this material will not make it's way into the hands of Daniel Smith.


Carlos Cipa - Retronyms (2019)

Carlos Cipa's was the first concert I've attended since March 2020. A beautiful landscape by this Munich-based composer. His piano performance at Silent Green was delightful. You can find it here.


Week #23

Common reflections, couple of cool tools, and beautiful guitar music.

Common Reflections – False Knees


Not so far away

We can only think about the future from today's perspective. "Closer Than We Think!" created by Arthur Radebaugh was a comic strip from the 50s that imagined what the future would look like. This twitter thread has a good collection of them and there is also a documentary available here.


Brilliant blew my mind away. A great way to teach math and science with interactive exercises.


Flow is an experimental image editor that shift pixels around in horizontal or vertical bands. It was created by Constraint Systems, if you don't know it, check the site and you won't regret.


This NY Times documentary on the daily life of a professional live streamer in China is as present dystopian as we can get.


This is one of those threads that just keeps on giving. I had no idea about any of it, now I can't wait to watch the next performances.


Fabiano do Nascimento – Tempo dos Mestres (2017)

I haven't stopped listening to this record by Fabiano do Nascimento since I it was recommended to me. You have a lot of choro, samba, and jazz. You can see him performing on NPR Tiny Desk with a humongous 10-string guitar here.

Um beijo.

Week #21

Hello Sun, it is nice to see you again, wait… why are you leaving already?

Hello Sun, nice to see you again. - San Francisco, 2015


Animals doing things, exhbit one, two, and three.


On Artificial Intelligence developments,


Just a photo of a building in Guiyang, China by Jord Hammond.

Jord Hammond


This article on the Brazilianization of the world by Alex Hochuli. A great read on the current political landscape intersected with the history of Brazil.

The Brazilianization of the World - American Affairs Journal
The West’s involution finds its mirror image in the original coun­try of the future, the nation doomed forever to remain the country of the future, the one that never reaches its destination: Brazil. The Brazilianization of the world is our encounter with a future denied, and in which this frustrati…


João Bosco - Dá licença meu senhor (1996)

João Bosco! I can only appreciate it, but I cannot comprehend how good his rhythm notion is. This record is packed with pieces of our traditional repertoire with unexpected twists – Caymmi (O Vento), Gil (Expresso 2222), Jobim (Desafinado), Rosa (Um gago apaixonado), and Barroso (No Tabuleiro da Baiana).  You cannot deny that João is definitely having fun. My current happy song is "Se você jurar". – Album on YouTube or Spotify.


Photography prints
Buy art from your friends. It is an excellent way of showing them your support, and you get something beautiful to hang on your wall. Here is a selection of photographs ready for your home.

After the photos from Brazil, some of you asked for prints, and for those interested, I made this page (thank you Flavia, Daniel and Noa).


Week #16

A quick work update, a question that I've been asking, and a couple of recommendations.


Oberuckersee in Uckermark

I discovered on this lovely weekend exploring Brandenburg, that Uckermark has hills caused by glaciers from the last ice age. I also paid tribute to some DDR customs and had my first (fkk) swim of the year – which indeed felt like melted glaciers.

A step forward

The weekend trip was a celebration for closing a chapter of the last year of work. Before we faced news of lockdowns, and what would soon be our new reality, I was in Brazil pitching to GIZ a new product idea we had developed at Envisioning. This would be a big step forward in the techDetector project we started in 2019 and in the process we delivered and shaped our research.

After twelve months of planning, methodology revision, design of new features, completely rewriting our software, and writing hundreds of research pieces, we are launching Envisioning's new platform with its first customer GIZ and a very relevant subject, Sustainable Development. In this new phase, the techDetector will be continuously reporting developments of emerging technologies, and their consequences on different topics, but most importantly it is kept open and free for everyone to access.

I'm really satisfied with how it turned out, and couldn't be happier to have such amazing people next to me developing this (thank you for all the patience and great work).

The project is launching this Tuesday and will be available at

Owning in a Digital era

Not only because of the recent NFT debacle, but I've also been asking myself what it means to own content or media in an age of streaming and online services.

I'm interested in understanding how the preservation of culture and memory will be affected when our access to films, music, books, applications, and other media are being more and more dictated by streaming or licensing platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Spotify or Amazon Books.

I'm investigating this topic, and any insights (books, links, ideas, etc…) would be very valuable. I've also had a couple of nice Zoom chats with friends to bounce some ideas around! If you're interested, I'd love to tell you more.


Keeping the habit of closing these newsletters with some recommendations, here are two

Luiz Bonfá: Solo In Rio

Luiz Bonfá - Solo In Rio (1959)

The sweet sound of the nylon strings of the classical guitar, specially in the hands of players like Luiz Bonfá are superb. This record has beautiful instrumental pieces with different examples of samba and choro rythms (samba teleco-teco, samba canção e choro canção). My highlights are Manhã de Carnaval, Perdido de Amor, and Sambolero.

Agnès Varda: Mur Murs (1980)

A still from the movie

I'm a big fan of Agnès Varda and her documentary/essay films. Together with Chris Marker, they've developed beautiful pieces in this genre such as Sans Soleil (1983) or Les plages d'Agnès (2003). In Mur Murs, Agnès tells the story of how Murals among other things are used in Los Angeles to preserve and communicate the identity of migrant minorities in the city. It reminded me of the PIXO documentary about the movement in São Paulo.

Um beijo,

This is the facial expression you acquire after years of facing brutal dark winters in Berlin, and you suddenly feel the sun touching your face again. Properly captured by Lili :)