I had a chance to get out and see Ji Lee's talk for AIGANY last night. Lee is the Creative Director at Google's Creative Lab. He ran through a number of his personal and professional projects, and showed some pictures of his cats. I hope AIGA will keep hosting web/new media talks like this. Here are a few of the inspiring bits that stuck with me.
I was and am still blown away by this series of video interviews asking people in Times Square "what is a browser". Apparently 8% of people know what a browser is. Which of course makes marketing a browser kind of challenging. Lee showed these videos promos for the Chrome browser.
Goolery: A gallery of projects made with Google's tools or mashups of Google products.
WTC Logo Preservation: Preserving the WTC's design memory via the Flickr community
Bubble Project: Viral community project almost a prototype for later viral work for the New Museum
Favorite Places: Promoting Google maps by having celebrities map their favorite places in their favorite cites.
All right, this is not exactly news, but I was going through our bookshelf the other day when I remembered how much I like this book. It's a reprint of Alexander Dewdney's 1980's era columns for Scientific American called Computer Recreations. It's a great introduction to programming, one that I've referred to often over the years I've been doing interactive design. Dewdney really shows how programming can be a creative exercise and well just plain fun.
Although some of the examples could be considered "dated" the mathematics are still interesting and charming writing never goes out of style. All the source code is written in BASIC so it's extremely approachable for even dabblers in computer recreation.
The Magic Machine isn't available new (the last printing was 1990) but you can still find it on Amazon
Thanks to everyone who came out for night one of our Kurt Russell film festival. This week we revealed a light-hearted happy go lucky Russell in our screening of Captain Ron and Overboard. Next week has a darker tone with the double feature we are calling "Kurt Russell: The Invincible"
Sony showed off it's prototype motion controller at E3 the other day. I think it looks fun but it also reminded me of this ping pong ball + LED wand from the Atlas project that I saw a couple years ago. Images below show Sony's controller on the left and a DIY Atlas on the right.
The controllers will probably look different after Sony's product designers get done with it but I for one hope they keep the ping pong ball top. For more details check out how to make an Atlas controller or see more of Sony's press conference. (Atlas photo by Bryan Kennedy)
I'll try to keep this behind the scenes post interesting, but if your not the kind of person that cares about how websites are made then avert your eyes, because we are about to get our geek on.
Stay tuned after the break. We have tricks for ignoring PYC files, woodgrain, info about the Python modules used in this site, deploying sites with Subversion plus just a little about fonts.
Here is an interesting thought experiment for web designers. Try reading Getting Real by 37 Signals and Guidelines for Online Success by Rob Ford at the same time. If it's true that "the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." via Then assuming you retain the ability to function this reading list should prove your first-rate intelligence.
37 Signals are the creators of popular online tools known for their sparse elegance, while Rob Ford is the founder of FWA a showcase for extravagant Flash design. Very different viewpoints on where work online should go. Getting Real tends to focus on creating a successful business through efficient process and honest interactions, while Guidelines for Online Success explains strategies to get attention online (i.e marketing). If your working in an online space it's smart to know your way around both of these concepts, no matter which way you personally lean.
Way back in May 2007 I was checking out Twitter, just to see what the buzz was about. I signed up for an account, made a few tweets, it seemed fun. We had recently moved to New York, life was pretty exciting and the Twitter matched my mood. After a few weeks of happily twittering I did pause to ask why I bother. The entire enterprise seems a tad narcissistic and at that point few of my friends online were connected with me.
About that time my wife came home from a trip to Hiroshima with a little notebook her great grandfather had filled out during his stay in the northwestern United States. It wasn’t much of a journal, mostly an accounting of expenses, or important numbers and dates. You probably see where I’m going with this analogy. She had a micro-journal from her uncle similar in form to the micro-journalling Twiiter affords. Terse handwritten lines told us which ship he took across the Pacific, the hotel he stayed at his first night here, where he lived, the lumber company he worked for, the money he contributed to the Buddhist Temple and the amount he payed to the midwife who delivered his daughter. In short it covered his entire life here, most of which was totally unknown to his family in Japan.
It’s not an exact parallel, but tools like Twitter do make it easy to collect, search and archive notes in various formats. To me making something easier is kind of important. I’m not so egotistical as to think my 140 character riffs will have any historical importance, but some people who will go on to change the world in interesting and important ways are “wasting” their time on Twitter right now. It will fascinating material for historians in the future.
I spend a fair amount of time during the week looking at design, illustration and photography online. Sometimes I lean on aggregation sites like FFFound and Monoscope other days its more fun to cruise Flickr groups, blogs & Google Image searches. In the first post under this heading I’m highlighting some of my favorites from this week. Each image links to the place I found it.
• Barcinski and JeanJean on how to make a working anaglyph with Papervision
• Andy Zupko breaks down using Quadtrees in Papervision, a feature recently introduced to improve triangle z-sorting (for a price)
I’ve been compiling this reference since I started with the Django Framework in hopes that it would prove helpful to other developer/designers. It's an exciting, but potentially confusing time to learn Django. The recent launch of Django 1.0 has produced an abundance of excitement about the project but it has also out dated a lot of reference material written for version .96. So here is what I used to get up to speed.