A device that is usually a cylinder shaped tube, that contains an eyehole at one end and multicolored shapes or fragments of glass and/or plastic in a tray that is attached to the other end. The inside contains a mirror that takes up 1/4 to 1/2 of the tube. When looked through while facing a light source, the mirror reflects the shapes and colors, making - symmetrical designs (when the tube is turned in a circular horizontal motion) - eye candy.

If I choose to I can view
life through a surreal kaleidoscope:
transforming fractions of humanity
into Picasso’s sacred dream.

Until you and I are no more
than perfectly formed shards of glass
bouncing light upon the retina
of chosen reality.

The dial turns.

You are only a pattern of flesh
sliced with razors into pretty diamond light
echoing in silent waves
an unrestricted multitude of colour.

The dial turns.

And me?

I am only artificial convergence of transitory hue
manipulating pieces of kaleidoscopic light into voyeur’s play
eroding your skin and bones
into an impossible dream-vision.

The dial turns.

You are my beautiful science experiment.
You are my stenciled exquisite.
You are my selective cut-outs of life.

The dial turns.

I am the filter through which your reality flows
I am your flawless, angular vision
I created you.

The dial turns.

I shut my eyes.
The kaleidoscope drops.

It’s reverberating darkness, not diamond light
in unchosen reality.

Heather Corkhill 2000
Kaleidoscope is (was) a Macintosh Operating System GUI customization extension, which alters the elements and settings the pre X (10.0) MacOS uses to draw the GUI.

The process of 'scheme' creation involves a fairly time consuming process of mucking about with ResEdit and a special set of templates that allow for the editing of the special definition resources the extension uses. These settings define certain relevant areas of multiple image resources, usually abnormal cicns created most frequently by use of a hex hack to the ResEdit code to allow it to manipulate nonstandard cicn sizes. These defined areas are then patched according to and along with the other settings to running MacOS.

Amazingly enough this caused relatively few crashes, normally only taking down the system once every 150 patchings or so, an issue only to the very indecisive, or those already masochistic enough to go through the process of 'scheme' creation.

The patched drawing protocols usually had no noticeable effect on performance, unless they were excessively heavy, complex, or just plain badly made, in which case they could prove very slow (and since inefficient ones were normally fairly bulky were really not practical to work with on a daily basis any way).

Given the completely different system post MacOS X uses for drawing the GUI, Kaleidoscope is completely unportable. Also Apple's present attitude makes it seam very unlikely that any similar product will exist for MacOS X at any time in the near future. One such project was started and the creators of the tool were heavily threatened with legal action over reverse engineering proprietary Apple technologies. An action which has been laughed at, scorned, and supported by those who have had one to many doses of the Jobs Reality Distortion Field.

Ka*lei"do*scope (?), n. [Gr. beautiful + form + -scope.]

An instrument invented by Sir David Brewster, which contains loose fragments of colored glass, etc., and reflecting surfaces so arranged that changes of position exhibit its contents in an endless variety of beautiful colors and symmetrical forms. It has been much employed in arts of design.

Shifting like the fragments of colored glass in the kaleidoscope. G. W. Cable.


© Webster 1913.

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