Archive for August, 2006

UK Trip: London

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006
london

London rocks!!! I was only there for a few days, but it’s very comparable to NYC besides the fact that much like the rest of the UK, everything closes down early. If you ignore the fact that everything here is twice the price than in the states, it’s an eclectic array of shopping, art, events, food, culture, and people. The vibe is jazzy and people here were very kind, though most of the people were tourists. I keep saying “kind” when I speak about the UK and I’ll admit, it’s their darn proper accents. Even people yelling at each other seemed pleasant. I’ll assume my mid-west american accent sounded harsh.

For my journey, I printed out maps from superfuture.com, which included hotspots for food, art, shops, and more. I also printed out a map from StreetSensation giving me insights to the street shops and markets. Only complaints, beside my Heathrow Experience, would be trains on the Tube broke down too often, phone calls from payphones cost wayyy too much (especially to mobile phones, 1 pound($1.80) bought me about 2 minutes time), London is very expensive to live in, and places close down early.

I’ll admit, I loved it there and am tempted to find a job there now. A few things I’ve learned about the culture over there:
– Everyone goes to pubs after work.
– Food= many drinks, hence people can drink a ton!
– People are very stylish.
– The art scene is vast.
– It rains when the sun is out!
Lots of pics after the jump… (more…)


UK trip: Malmesbury

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006
malmesbury uk

Malmesbury was the mysterious little town I’d been craving to learn more about for many reasons. As my driver had told me, it is a very quaint town with cows, which I later found out meant, I’d probably run into some cows while walking abouts the incredibly picturesque landscape, which did happen (cows are big up close and a bit scary when they mooo at you then). Usually in my tech-centric world I’d rely on Google Earth to get a glimpse of the city, but since Malmesbury is so small, it only had blury images of the place. The hotel I stayed at was a refreshing glimpse back into the past with antique furniture within a stone and wooden built house with tiny little details throughout that is absent in todays modern world. Their staff was incredibly friendly and the room I stayed in was super cute. They also had a marvelous garden area which I lounged at for a bit of time while sketching. Malmesbury is an astonishingly beautiful town with many amazing houses and expensive cars. More pics after the jump… (more…)


UK Trip: Bristol

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006
bristol uk

While visiting Bath in the UK, I made a quick visit to Bristol. My visit was short, 3-4 hours, but it gave me a glimpse of the city and culture. Unlike Bath, Bristol felt like a real city, full of people, a bit more diverse than Bath, and rumbling with industrial noises. It was less relaxing than Bath, but also had the vibe that most city people would crave for. I basically hung out in the central part of Bristol, with a brief visit to the shopping district known as Broadmead. The park was really comfortable and it was a sunny day to chill out near the waterfront, though little kids kept falling down on the slippery hard marble waterfall like staircase pictured above. Much like Bath however, things closed early besides the pubs. More pictures after the jump… (more…)


UK trip: Bath

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006
bath uk

So, my first stop in the UK was in the beautiful and very peaceful town of Bath, located about 2 hours west of London. Bath is best know for their natural thermal hot springs but is also a filled with a rather vibrant crowd of people and a nice set of architectural buildings. The shopping area is very cute and gave me my first taste of food in the UK, primarily pastries, which was very good. Shops and stores close early compared to the USA, but many pubs stay open late. This was also where I first figured out the UK cost a a ton! I generally like to go into super markets in a new place to figure out what life is like. You see the local families, usually not the tourists, the varieties in food, how service is given, a variety in age groups, and a zest in how much things cost, which in Bath, was alot once you converted the price. I’m not saying everything was expensive, but a majority was more than what I’d pay here in the USA. The first example was for POM juice, which in the states cost about $3. Well, it was one of the first brands I recognized on the shelf and the price was 3.50 pounds, which converts to about $6.50. Wow..thats alot. More pictures and stories after the jump… (more…)


Stuck at Heathrow Airport Experience

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006
heathrow check in line

My journey over to the UK was awesome, but the departing experience at Heathrow airport was an ever longing wait of frustration, anticipation, and stress. The news of the foiled attacks prepared me for long waits and many more surprises, but what happened in my particular case was a bit of a surprise.

Let me start off with the rules: No carry on luggage, no food, magazines, liquids, electronics, and the basic harmful objects. The only things you could carry on board was your passport, tickets, wallet, medicine, and some exceptions to baby food all contained in a provided clear plastic bag. Many people ended up with broken laptops and other such fragile good you would generally carry on board, though starting today, small laptop bags are allowed. For the rest of the painful yet interesting experience, read on…
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UK for the week!

Sunday, August 6th, 2006
cup of tea

I’ll be in the UK for the week, but I’ll be back rockin more posts when I return. If your in that area, please let me know. (Bath, Malmesbury, London, perhaps Bristol)

Here are some mini links to make up for the week:
Cute people jewelry!(Jade Gedeon)
Platial: explore and map your world while using the new Sony GPS gadget!
Animated hand drawn lights!
Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design!
Atlas Gloves Demo: DIY minority report interface for $8!
– The classic “Powers of Ten” video on youtube.
– For fun: Treadmill Dancing at it’s best!!!


SquidSoap: Dirty hands for cleaner hands!

Sunday, August 6th, 2006
squidsoap

Do you wash your hands properly? Have you seen people flick their hands in water with a dab of soap, dry themselves off, and consider their hands CLEAN, without ever really scrubbing their hands?

Well, I’ve seen wayyy too many people do this and can’t stop thinking how dirty their hands are while eating. I’ve seen people walk out of restrooms without washing their hands! It’s makes me sick sometimes. YUCK!

Anyhow, Seth Godin points out to SquidSoap that proves that going a few steps backwards can make one huge step forward. SquidSoap is a simple idea that frankly makes tons of sense for kids and probably for us rushing think-we-know-it-all adults. Basically, the soap dispenser has an ink marker that stains your hand once you pump out some soap. The stain marks your hand until you thoroughly scrub and wash your hands clean of all germs including the new stain(which acts as a layer of germs). This somewhat forces your to actually SEE something and scrub it away. Most kids and some adults think getting their hands wet will get rid of most germs.

This reminds me that seeing dirt or even making things dirtier before we clean then can be good. Dyson made us all happy by letting us see what we vacuumed up with a clear collector. Toilet paper is white, letting us see when we are clean. Hands are considered dirty when they have crap on them, but bacteria is transparent, and not many acknowledge this. We need a soap that just stains your whole hand until you scrub for at least 8 seconds.(Yar, I’m looking at my keyboard now…time to clean it)

update: a mouth wash that stains plaque on your teeth so you know where to brush.


Motofone f3

Friday, August 4th, 2006

motophone f3I’m not the type to usually post on a phones, but I just wanted to say wohooo for Motorola and the first phone using e-paper(e-ink, EPD displays). Besides that, I’ve been waiting for the retro none colored screens to kick back into action. It’s simple, I can read it in the sunlight, it’s not insanely bright, doesn’t seem like a screen, easier on the eyes, and personally I think it’s cool! Also, the features on the phone are of little which just rocks, considering most applications on phones go unused.

There’s something about this motofone f3 that I really like. Then again, I lost a my kick butt colors mobie last year and had a short term replacement with a retro green lit lcd, which I have learned to like, though it does not do much. (The sucker has 1-way text messaging, meaning, you can receive, but you can’t reply, nor do you know who it is from unless they txt that in). Anyhow, this awesome phone is due out soon, and for a sweet $50 or less!!! For more pics, head on over to Mobileburn.


clickdensity!

Friday, August 4th, 2006
clickdensity

Did you ever want to figure out where people clicked on your GUI webpage and where people did not? Clickdensity documents a users every click on your webpage allowing you to monitor and understand your audience more in a information visualization format (heat map). What is clicked on the most, what is not, where do users come from, how long are they on, what are usability issues, etc. You can filter the clicks by browsers, screen resolution, dates, time of day, source, and a few other things. It’s the digital finger grease!

This reminds me of my post on Google Eyed and how Googles changed the way we view webpages. It’s also much like those elevator buttons that obviously show major use on certain floors. Same for cellphones, keyboards(the shiny keys..my f1-f10 buttons seem untouched), remote controls, etc. We’ve all seen the heat maps on weather channels, but why not turn your webpage into a weather channel of usage! Be a fun piece to make art out of from your website.


Lulu.com

Thursday, August 3rd, 2006
lulu web publishing

Lulu is the web’s premier independent publishing marketplace for digital do-it-yourselfers. It’s the only place on the web where you can publish, sell and buy any and all things digital — books, music, comics, photographs, movies, and well, you get the idea”Lulu was founded by Bob Young, who was also the co-founder of Red Hat, the world’s leading open source company.

One of the great things about LuLu is that you can get your very own professionally printed and bound books for fairly cheap, considering that is in short print. All Lulu asks in return is 20% commission over your customized royalty rate which you set. This is waived if you decided to make your content free to download. Otherwise, you are getting 80% of the royalties which is considerably better than the 15-20% margins you’d get at most major publishers.

I wish I knew about this in college, when I ink-jeted tons of books then hand binded them which took FOREVER and cost well over $60 for a 50 page book.(Kinkos was an option, but they seriously screwed up many deadlines) On Lulu you can upload a 50 page book, have a hardcover, have it professionally printed(it won’t bleed), and you’ll save tons of time. In a matter of days, you’ll have that great book to your house for a mere 12-20$! Otherwise, you can make it available digitally and make a handsome royalty out of it even if you only get say 100 downloads.

The idea behind is Lulu is to print or buy on demand. Major publishers print thousands of books which sometimes just sit around for years. Lulu creates books when needed. No wasted prints are ever made. The cost is a bit more, but for retailers, there is no dead storage space which costs money. This is a direct connection from creator to buyer, and no one in between to ramp up the prices more. Rock on Lulu!


Siggraph: Day 3

Thursday, August 3rd, 2006
krakow electronic weaving

This was my last exhausting day walking around Siggraph2006.

Pictured above is a textile piece by Joanna Berzowska.

“The KraKow weaving is an electronic, color-changing Jacquard weaving that integrates conductive yarns, thermochromatic inks, and custom control electronics. The weaving illustrates a scene from Joannas childhood in Poland. Over time, the ink overprinted on the figures in the weaving changes color from black to transparent. Like our memories of them, the people in the textile disappear over time. As populations are displaced, the traces of their presence in place and time are similarly erased.

More pics and projects after the jump. (more…)


Siggraph: Day 2

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006
EON touchlight

Day 2 at Siggraph2006 was another round of animations, techy art, some weird music, and a return to the emerging arts gallery. The exhibits hall also opened up, but, it was just a mini version of CES.

Pictured above is EON Realities Touchlight system, which was very much like Jef Hans Multi-Touch screen, but different technologies and some applications. The cool portion was the ability to transfer any image onto the screen simply by pressing the image up against the screen for about 8 seconds. Zooming in, rotating, moving, and other actions were pretty intuitive, though glitchy. The resolution was not the greatest, but the system had a magical air like feeling.
More projects and pics after the jump.

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