Monday, November 03, 2008

This is how the future gets made

Nectar Hackathon 2.0 from Nectar on Vimeo.

I found this little time-lapse video extremely inspiring for some reason.

I need to look into Nectar a bit more, I think it might be along the lines of where I was going with SWIM...

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Bringing “Massive Multiplayer Trans-Reality” Games To Android

The Joy of JOYity: Bringing “Massive Multiplayer Trans-Reality” Games To Android Phones
When you download the app you can play one of three games (YouCatch, Roads of San Francisco, City Race Munich) or design your own. In Roads of San Francisco, for instance, you have to go around the city picking up clues. When you get to a destination, a text or picture message tells you where to go next. It is a Scavenger Hunt with a story line. You can also design your own Scavenger Hunt games and play them with large groups of people.

Another game that comes with JOYity, YouCatch, is a version of Manhunt. Players in the same city sign up for a game. Everyone acts as both hunter and hunted at the same time. The game assigns you a player that you are hunting, while assigning you to someone else as a victim. Everyone’s location is periodically flashed on the map. When you get within 25 feet of your victim, you press the scrollball on the phone for the kill. But every time you press the button, your location is shown to all the other players as well. The last person standing wins.
Video reviews at the link.

In other news, I can log into Blogger like normal again, which is nice.

Friday, October 10, 2008

ZuiPrezi and Kitchen Budapest

...because it is so freaking cool. And it hits me on many levels: I've always hated most presentations, let alone PowerPoint, that atrocity.
Slides are transparent photos you slide into machines. They are not the ideas.

The ideology of ZuiPrezi is based our natural knowledge on how to coordinate ourselves in space; traditionally all information we have had to process and store used to be linked to physical space. That is where our minds have developed good skills in orienting ourselves. Despite all this digital information today is mostly presented to us as a moniker of printed matter. Of course printing has served us well to store (and shape) information for the the last six centuries, however, with the wide appearance of computing we saw the same old pattern: old forms got translated to new media without exploring its full potential. Most of the computer systems which present us with information today use the old paradigm of prints and slides: arranging information on a framed 2d static space. We could argue that these (at least their forms) are merely the side effect of Gutenberg's galaxy.

This sample presentation give a high-level overview of what it is about.

Here you can find another video and many sample preso's, including a walk through where you can play with the wonderfully intuitive creation interface.

This came out of Kitchen Budapest, a technology incubator very much like what I had dreamed Integration Research would become. Check out a ZuiPrezi presentation about Kitchen Budapest, and/or read more about them on their website (and be sure to check out their awesome "press" icon).

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Living Room

The Living Room is about the coolest thing I've seen all month. From 6 Angry Men:
...we use the sound, light and temperature as input. We use an Arduino – which is an open-source electronics prototyping platform – to measure the light and temperature. Arduino can sense the environment by receiving input from a variety of sensors...

The state of your living room is projected on your wall. The wall gets filled by organisms that live there in an abstract world. The wall is their habitat. So if it’s dark and there is no sound, some creatures will fall asleep.

If your room becomes more noisy, the organisms will wake up irritated because there’s no light and they want to sleep. Each organism has 9 different conditions, which condition you will see depends of the balance between light and sound. It’s a living wallpaper.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Not So Much With The Blogger, So Elsewhere

Blogger hasn't let me log in for weeks. There is a work-around I found in the support forums. Obviously. I'm posting here. But between the clunky interface (apologies to Adaptive Path) and the seeming disregard Google has for the product, it is finally time I think more seriously about moving this blog to a new location. It is the only Blogger blog I have never moved off the platform, and with no denial of the irony, is the only one that has therefore stayed stable and archive-ready for these 7 years.

Still, the trick to distributed content storage is being able to see the end of the tracks and getting off the train before they pack up the servers and turn the power off at the data center (not that that is going to happen's just a metaphor). LiveJournal is now a Russian company. I can't log in to Blogger. It would seem that, yes, "the blog" is dead.

Speaking of, I keep meaning to work on SWIM so that the version available for download isn't a steaming pile of security-less bug-infested referential-integrity-less shit (overstating the problems), but I actually have more interesting content-tools-related plans involving the above-linked product and/or other content tools and a clever algorithm. If I can just get any time to work on it. I'm a bit busy with the day job at the moment.

All that to say, I will forward all feeds, have some very cool ways to slice the content, and expect all this by the end of 2009. :)

Elsewhere in my newly coined nonlinear category on my Живой Журнал:
...Most products are made the wrong way. The industrial design is done before the interaction designer and visual designers ever see the device, so the device feels slapped together; what’s on the screen has nothing to do with its form. Or maybe the product strategy causes the device to have too many features until it is overburdened with unnecessary functionality and controls. Or maybe the product is lifeless and has little personality aside from a list of options.
...from a post about Kicker. And
"I want to reform technology. All the tools are the same; people make the same things with them. Everyone asks me, 'Are you bringing technology to RISD?' I tell them, no, I'm bringing RISD to technology."
...from a post about "John Maeda taking over the presidency of RISD, 'ambient awareness' being talked about in the NYT, and all the noise about chrome"...all of which I have a lot more to say about, but need a bit more time to put it all together.

The "IR" tag might also be of interest to nonlinear types, which is another "temporary" category for all the stuff I would have blogged at the long-dormant Integration Research. Yeah, I still have plans for that site, too...

The "UX" tag is also stuff that should probably be over here...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Twitterlesung. ...I like when a somewhat disruptive technology that almost revels in its place as a mediation (or, in Twitter marketing speak, a "communications utility"), spills into the real world. We are no longer tribal by geography, so our tools help us be tribal despite geography (and attention constraints). But we still need to gather around the campfire and re-tell. It's again all about narrative.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Real Snail Mail

Our snails are equipped with a miniaturised electronic circuit and antenna that enables them to be assigned messages from hardware located within their enclosure. The moment you click 'send' your message will travel at the speed of light to our snail server where it will await collection by a snail agent.

Once associated with the tiny electronic chip on the snails shell your message will be carried around until the snail chances by the drop off point. Hardware located at this point collects the message from the snail and forwards it to its final destination.
The worlds first webmail service using real snails from boredomresearch. There's even a blog.

via Kester

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Amy Hoy: Technique or skill?

Technique or skill?
Writing headlines that get dugg vs Writing headlines that get remembered

Mastery of video game controllers vs Mastery of video game / problem-solving concepts

Convincing people to pay for your stuff vs Creating stuff people can't live without

Google ability vs Research ability

Being able to survive in a given business vs Being able to survive in any situation

Knowing how to blog vs Knowing how to write

Knowing how to prepare a lesson plan vs Knowing how to educate

Knowing how to speak properly vs Knowing how to weave a compelling 45-minute narrative

Being a CSS ninja vs Being good at learning multifaceted rule sets

Writing good Java code vs Understanding programming theory

Making pretty with Photoshop vs Analyzing the world to come up with impactful new things
While this blog is initially about novel interfaces, primarily for narrative delivery, it is also about how we interface with life and allow novelty to change the way we do so. Much of that ability has to do with an intellectual flexibility that is highlighted in Amy's list of distinctions. Hers is often excellent writing on these very topics, so if you haven't already, head over to slash7 and read...

Monday, June 09, 2008

More Twitter Crossposting

From my decidedly less business-like LJ:
Twitter is unreliable, even as a service to humans. It's been all over the internet for the last month or two, as their site has gone down as much as it's been up recently, due to higher use. In terms of application development using Twitter as a platform, they recently throttled the API limit form 70 to 30 calls an hour, and apparently (I haven't had a chance to get caught up on it, but am hoping to today), changed a bunch of the API calls themselves.

All of this is fine if one understands that Twitter is a young service built by people with no sense on how to make their offering scale. "Send updates through Twitter" already has different expectations attached to it than "Send updates from your cell phone"...

I'm still really interested in Twitter and developing Twitter apps, but I'm in it from a higher level. I'm not worried about business requirements just yet.

Still, if one wants a quick-and-dirty mobile interface to their application, it still can't be beat...
The problem with having an API in the first place is having to support the API from then on. And if Rails is really the reason for performance issues, it is an interesting paradox, because I wonder if there would even be an API if Rails hadn't made it so simple to implement...and then I wonder if the service would be as popular as it is without the many API clients out there.

Update: If you are a real glutton for punishment, or love talk of API's and/or Twitter, this is an interesting discussion.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Beautiful And Original Product Designs

Smashing Magazine: Beautiful And Original Product Designs
Successful product design manages to reveal useful functionality beyond its appealing form. No matter how excellent a design looks like, most customers aren’t likely to spend money on something they won’t be able to use. On the other hand, most people are likely to buy something useful despite the design it has.

Yet the key to a truly successful product design lies in designer’s ability to combine both beautiful design and functionality making it obvious to the customers how the product can be used and which benefits it delivers. However, one can combine the beauty of design with the utility it is supposed to provide.

Most products fail to pass this test and never reach the production stage; some products do manage to get to the stores. In the overview below you’ll find an overview of some beautiful and original product designs which will hopefully make the cut and will be available in the next years. Some of them are already available today.
I have to find some time to check these out in more detail myself, but some very interesting interfaces here...

Friday, May 16, 2008



Textism: Oh, look, another web app
So I spent the last few days knocking this together. It works on three principles: first, that anyone who wants to can have their vote counted; second, that things people find interesting are more important than people who find things interesting; and third, that by any means necessary, web-strategy, social-media, online-marketing webcocks – unaware as they are of how toxic their presence is in the arenas they cannot shut up about – must and shall be filtered out of view.

There’s some fancy albeit inchoate weighting logic going on under the surface, and I’ve got a few vaguely neato features in the works, though it is as they say very beta. It will I hope grow, and, as more people are added to the voting ranks, be a reliable source for funny, weird, obnoxious, entertaining, inspiring, webcock-less, tiny little fragments of life.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Twitter as Tribal

Michael Lopp on Twitter:
The act of one human being choosing to follow another is a big deal. As long as nefarious intent is not in play, the connection creates what the social science nerds like to call an affinity map; by drawing a line between you and me, we can infer that we’re somehow connected. How are we connected? Who knows? Maybe you like nerd culture? How about gel pens? We’re not really going to know until we test that link by asking a question.

...I’m eagerly watching Twitter evolve and organize itself. I’m dazzled as third parties are giving Twitter memory and context. But what I care about, and what has value to me, is the tribe of people in my ecosystem. Twitter is the best social network out there;, it’s a great social search engine;, and it’s a short strategic hop from being a terrific next generation address book.

My tribe is not your tribe because you’re not using Twitter how I do. You wrote an Academy Award winning screenplay, only follow a few people, but have thousands following you. You sell shoes and follow each of the thousands of people who follow you. You are a major airline, but sound surprisingly human.

Twitter’s value has nothing to do with the technology.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Breaking news, Twitter style

News of a possible explosion rippled through the popular online service Twitter on Tuesday, in a preview of what’s to come in the realm of breaking news and citizen journalism. Twitter is a so-called microblogging site that allows users to send and receive short messages.

At about 1:37 pm, software developer Dave Winer asked the Twitterverse: "Explosion in Falls Church, VA?"
Breaking news, Twitter style

What is so interesting about Twitter is what it is further exposing about what the web has been showing us for the last 15 years, that is a social experience of hyperconnectedness, attention, and most of all, mediation.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

My Map

My Map from Christopher Baker on Vimeo.
Email became an integral part of my life in 1998. Like many people, I have archived all of my email with the hope of someday revisiting my past. I am interested in revealing the innumerable relationships between me, my schoolmates, work-mates, friends and family. This could not readily be accomplished by reading each of my 60,000 emails one-by-one. Instead, I created My Map, a relational map and alternative self portrait. My Map is a piece of custom designed software capable of rendering the relationships between myself and individuals in my address book by examining the TO:, FROM:, and CC: fields of every email in my email archive. The intensity of the relationship is determined by the intensity of the line. My Map allows me to explore different relational groupings and periods of time, revealing the temporal ebbs and flows in various relationships. In this way, My Map is a veritable self-portrait, a reflection of my associations and a way to locate myself.

Monday, May 05, 2008

The Top 22 Twitter Posts of February 2008

I favorited 373 tweets in February 2008. These are the top 6%, in no particular order:

in the case of the bucket of fetuses last night, a dream is not, in fact, a wish that my heart makes emilybrianna

Macys lady: Didn't you find any nice purses? Me: They're a bit mature for me. Her: What about Coach? Me: *points to robots on current purse* ShuffShuff

In this moment, no one in this mall would judge me if i domestically violenced my boyfriend. EffingBoring

I love it when you're searching for X, Google says "Did you mean Y?", and then gives you zero results. It's very French. scottsimpson

Every time you sniff and say somebody has "too much free time," the part of you that used to love making things for pure joy dies a little. hotdogsladies

Apparently it's not 'money' to cry at a strip club. lonelysandwich

Havent had sex in sooooooo long. Its gotten to the point where i masturbate thinking of other times i masturbated. irc

.5(self-deprecation) + 1.5(nerd terminology) + 2(unspoken shared experience) = twitter success echuckles

Sticking post-it notes on people so I can remember who I would sleep with sober. DieLaughing

Sometimes my heart suddenly catches fire for the beauty of life. (Classified in the DSM IV as a "hypomanic" state of Bipolar II disorder.) serafaery

Today's lunch special: "Jamaican me crazy! jerk chicken (or tofu)" Which I suppose is better than "miso solly! soup" jimray

Announcing that all major research projects from now on will now be referred to as "Bubblegum Wrappers" so as to lessen the terror involved. ShuffShuff

John: "The Shining is about a Daddy who likes to drink who pretends to write all day." Jonas: "That movie is about us!" I hope he's wrong. AmyJane

"Are you making fun of me?" "No." "That's your yes voice." cleversimon

whats a @scobleizer? He just added me. Thats a silly name Makenna

Drove past a bus today whose destination was, according to its display, "Walmart's". Say, when does the bus for literate people come by? EffingBoring

Why is there a pinata in the den that looks like me? And why was it filled with printouts from my poetry blog and then beaten with a rake? fireland

I just recently got into Star Trek. It's relaxing to watch and listen to people who are polite to each other and enjoy their jobs. eliohouse

Etc., etc...

When I first read this post I thought it was fav'd tweets across all users, but even just as one (slightly obsessed) user's fav's, it is an entertaining proof that Twitter is the ultimate gym for our collective fast-twitch wit muscles.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Photoshop Guys Revealed

The Photoshop Guys Revealed
Troy Hitch, 37, and Matt Bledsoe, 39 — the guys responsible for YSAP and its sequel — met a few years ago while producing a radio ad in Cincinnati, which is 10 minutes from Covington. Bledsoe was the ad's creative director and Hitch, a polymath, was doing the voice-over (he's also the voice of Donnie and a real Photoshop expert). They quickly became buddies, started writing funny bits together, and partnered up at a creative agency Hitch later started, Big Fat Institute.
Great article, and a model for the kind of work I'm really interested in. Would like to find the time to explore it some more and make some more observations...for now just the link to the article--more links can be found within.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I Want You To Want Me by Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar

The interactive installation "I Want You To Want Me", by Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar, commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art, for their "Design and the Elastic Mind" exhibition.

I Want You To Want Me explores the search for love and self in the world of online dating. It chronicles the world's long-term relationship with romance, across all ages, genders, and sexualities, using real data collected from Internet dating sites every few hours.

The piece is presented on a 56" high-resolution touch-screen, hanging vertically on the wall, and was installed at MoMA on February 14, 2008, Valentine's Day.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Twitter Account on Ebay

Twitter Account and Followers For Sale:
I really love my Twitter account but I feel like I haven't been using it the way I want to. Quite honestly, I feel sorry for all of my followers because they wind up with my tweets in their timelines and I haven't been able to utilize the medium the way I want to. I also participate in another Twitter account over on Rocketboom so I'm thinking I'll post more over there and start up a new account to do what I want to do next.

It would be silly to just delete this account I have here, especially if there is someone out there that had like interests and had something to say or wanted to get involved in some relevant conversations. In terms of monetary value, I have no expectations or needs at all so I decided not to put a minimum bid on this. Whatever will be, will be.

The winner of this auction gets my account with all of my followers. The account is in my name now, but the winner of the auction can pick any other name that's available on Twitter for the transfer. For example, you could have where x=any name thats not already taken. You can change it yourself at anytime too, one of the cool features about Twitter settings.

So basically it's like getting a new account with your own name, but having a pre-installed audience.
I have a bunch of other interesting Twitter links to post as well, but this one was time-sensitive. I always like when commerce is used as a social experiment...

...A bit more on the Starbucks "ideas" thing

...I mentioned a little while ago...

Well, it turns out the entire thing is run on a product--i.e. "My Starbucks Idea" is a branded, hosted solution via the Ideas product.

Brilliant. I also like the classic four-word tag-line. glad I went to five...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Very little offered, nothing expected in return. I can get behind that...

Textism: Did you really
...there was just something so, ugh, web whatever point whosit class-conscious about it. I mean, I like Maggie Mason and the stuff she does a lot, and even she might agree that that ‘just landed in LA’ on the front page has got to be up there among the most unctuously precious things ever. Hey you, mister startup: please don’t try to sell me your fancy new gizmo with the same sort of air-quoted, I-didn’t-say-it-you-did fabulousity with which the dolts at Vanity Fair service the celebrity trade.

You’ll agree that everything deserves a second chance. A few months ago Twitter started slowly making sense. I’m not sure I concur that, as some have said, the constraints of 140 characters will force anyone to think or write in a meaningfully new way, but there’s something attractive about this throwaway stream of rants, thoughts, links, asides. Fragments of the lives of others just drift in, make you smile, or wince, or roll your eyes for a second, and then disappear. Very little offered, nothing expected in return. I can get behind that...

Muji Non-linear Day Planner

Muji Chronotebook Non-linear Day Planner
The new Chronotebook day planner takes a different approach to laying out your tasks and events—instead of representing your day in a boring sequence of lines or on a grid, it displays time on an axis, like an analog clock. Each page represents either the AM or PM, and you write your plans like spokes on a bicycle wheel.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Oh Dear Lord of Buzzes both Chemical and Medial

From Ad Age:
Starbucks is also dipping its toe into the world of social networking. Mr. Schultz acknowledged that the chain has "never had any online presence to speak of," but hopes that will change with the launch of

Chief Technical Officer Chris Bruzzo said the new site will present a variety of ideas for Starbucks, allow visitors to vote on those ideas, post comments and make their own suggestions. Votes will be tallied online, and ideas will be assigned a value in points.
From Brian Oberkirch:
I keep hearing horror stories of brands insisting on launching their own social networks. The short version of this post: don't do it. We really don't care. Really. We. Don't. Care.
And, um, Starbucks? It's called Get Satisfaction.

Seriously people.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Announcing: Sugarfilled

I have a new project, sugarfilled, a brand umbrella and consultancy that is essentially the combined forces of Carissa Byers and myself. Between the two of us, we have all the creative and technical skills any small business or team might need to create their image, online and off. Brand ideation, logo design, photography, copywriting, web design, and web development. Lots more can be found out at the site, which I must add is still a work in progress...there are lots of goodies yet to come.

This blog will become more active and a place for me to jot down thoughts regarding the social and psychological aspects of the web and branding in an always-connected, always-consuming world. The name and description have been updated accordingly. (As for how long it will stay on blogger I can't say. I do have my own CMS dog food to eat. This blog has just happened to live on Blogger since forever.)

To those who might be reading this post on Sugarfilled, hello! This is one of the blogs that the sugar feed is drawing from.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Why Are Brands in Decay?

Just very well articulated is all. This blog may have a lot more of this kind of stuff on it henceforth, as the threads of hypernarrative, storytelling as a cultural practice, and the "cultural" bits of commerce and business all begin to intersect, both in my own experience and within the general trend of online idea exchange. e.g. the fact that most ARGs are really just marketing campaigns.

Also, this is one of the sources pulled for the Sugarfilled feed.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

More Twitter stuff!

A fairly comprehensive list of what Twitter is from "A MSc research on the one thing Twitter asks; what are you doing?"
Twitter is more a network than an application. If you ask around you will notice that most people are using different interfaces on different platforms and clients. Because of the API connecting to the network adapts to your preferred way of working.

  • Is easy accessible
  • Is live
  • Forces you to focus
  • Is broken conversation
  • Is open conversation
  • Is spam free, like RSS (subscription based)
  • Is a network
  • Is synchronous / asynchronous
  • Is a black hole
  • Is a time capsule
  • Is a centralized network
  • Changes public / privacy
  • Is a knowledge base
  • Is very unstable
  • Is making it very difficult for search engines
  • Is platform independent
...And some recent Twitter apps and news I've bookmarked:
  • Qwitter helps track how much you smoke in order to help you quit
  • Commuter Feed puts traffic reporting in the hands of the people
  • Twitter Karma lets you know which of your Twitter connections are mutual
  • Thumbs Race as Japan's Best Sellers Go Cellular (New York Times): "Of last year’s 10 best-selling novels, five were originally cellphone novels, mostly love stories written in the short sentences characteristic of text messaging but containing little of the plotting or character development found in traditional novels." This is a Twitter app waiting to happen, there are already sites in .jp that help capture cellphone novels.
  • Tweetgift lets you send virtual gifts to friends over Twitter
  • plusplus bot lets you rate things quickly over Twitter
I have exactly three Twitter apps on my todo list, but one I would love to have now and not have to figure out the vagaries of: Stayawayfromme allows you to be alerted whenever someone you do not want to run into reports that they are at a particular location. There are more social problems with this app, however--primarily, it requires mutual agreement on the exclusion and could be subverted with no effort (i.e. it could also be "Stalkme"). For now, I'm "tracking" a couple key location names, but I'm not sure if I'll receive the updates if I have the person blocked as well. Ah, the complications of technologically-enhanced social graphs!