John Maeda is now in the RISD Team

Actually, not just in the RISD team, but leading the Rhode Island School of Design. Even though I never was to MIT, all those years of constantly following his work with the Media Arts and Sciences Department leave me now with a feeling of nostalgia… cute! what can digital information do to a very sane person :)

I hope, and I know, his work will continue to be inspirational and I sure hope one day I get to meet the idea generator man in person.

Ars Electronica and a new cultural economy

I’ve got mail! not e-mail, dearest beloved, but regular mail. From whom? Ars Electronica. Continue Reading →

CNN enters virtual world

CNN has decided to open an I-Report hub in Second Life, encouraging residents of Second Life to share their own “SL I-Reports” about events occurring within the virtual world.

This I-Report hub includes a news desk where CNN producers will hold weekly editorial discussions, and an amphitheater for larger in-world events, such as training sessions and appearances by CNN anchors and correspondents.

CNN’s first in-world training session will be held Tuesday, November 13, at 5 p.m. ET at the I-Report Hub , that is, if I’m guessing correctly, on the 14th around 1 o’clock in the afternoon.

Machinima festival 2007

The first European Machinima Festival took place this weekend in Leicester, UK.

Not very sure what you know about this form of animation films, I encountered the term machinima in 2005 at Linz Ars Electronica where there was a full seminar on this subject alone. Machinima, pronounced ma-shin-i-ma means making movies using video games, the word being an amalgamation of machine and cinema and it is a fusion of film-making and gaming. Continue Reading →

Baag me, baby!!

Developed by exalead.com team, baagz.com [currently in its beta form] aims to become a new form of social networking. Sharing multiple forms of content, not just a mere profile of oneself is the target for the baagz team.

Short dictionary – extract from the baagz brochure

baagz is the name of the service
a baag (plural baagz) is a shared interest
baagboyz and baaggirlz is what you expect, and they are all baagerz
to baag an information is to put the information into a baag
let’s bag it! is what a user say when finding a cool site

I am waiting to be accepted as a user (so far registration is only by means of invitation, so I have to wait for now) and dive into this new social networking ubercool site Yahoo emoticon dreaming

Second Life, again

Just seen on Euronews a documentary on Second Life and its legal issues. Apparently, there are some lawsuits regarding the ownership of land and property in Second Life.

In May 2006, Marc Bragg has filed suit against Linden Lab for “a virtual land deal gone sour.” According to the press-release issued by Bragg, “The suit seeks financial damages in the thousands, in part for a breach of a virtual land auction contract and for violation of the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law. This suit is unique because the land doesn’t actually exist.” Technically, the land does exist – both as data, and as a user experience – but not as terra firma and he argues that when you mention the term “own” by no means can it be made to signify “licensed” or “rent”.

Property is an interesting concept if we relate it to virtuality. ownership is by no means related to physicality, that’s something we all agree (copyright on an idea is one very good example) and exchange is what gives value to the owned property.

I’ve tried Second Life just today :) and it seems addictive, but honestly, I would not spend a dollar on things that are a simulacrum of reality. I would most definitely spend money on new inventions, objects, be they as weird as they might be… It’s a brilliant idea for the Linden Lab, I cannot argue, but my take on this is a no.

And then again, in love and science, never say never Yahoo Emoticon

coComment – or how to follow user comments

Take a look at this Swiss tool for keeping track of user comments on different collaborative tools such as blogs, flickr, digg etc. -> www.cocomment.com

“coComment keeps track of all the online conversations you’re following in one convenient place, and informs you Continue Reading →

Muriel Cooper – brilliant mind of the on-screen design

I’ve just read the iht.com article on Muriel Cooper and have discovered a great mind. Never knew where the MIT logo came from and that it was her idea.

She was one of the visionaries that foreseen design as interactive and driven by simplicity. In the 60s when technology was only in its infancy, people tended to see it as a big monster capable of changing social realities but inflexible.

Cooper has reinforced the idea that on-screen design can be better than just linecodes :) …. Almost 40 years after we’ve come to Microsoft surface and Apple’s iPhone. Muriel Cooper sure was right!

“Google Art, or How to Hack Google” online exhibition

Rhizome curates an online exhibition of projects that refer to Google way of life :) .

“The selection of projects in Google Art, or How to Hack Google illuminate and critique the influence of this expanding online institution. The projects include ad hacks that attempt to foil Google’s seemingly unstoppable business machinery, playful re-interpretations of search results and alterations of its geographical worldview. Together, they elevate and critique Google’s logic, while recognizing its own deepening relationship with our culture, behavior and lives.”

Curated by Ana Otero for Rhizome.

I liked the simplicity (Maeda, again) of the concept for the GoogleHouses project. It is a website that searches houses images on google by different keywords (you can build interior image collections – bedrooms, bathrooms etc) and exhibits them in a 3D model of walls and interiors.

Panorama festival Karlsruhe

Panorama festival in Karlsruhe starts on Saturday and is for the next 6 months. A lot of interesting experiments are to be seen there. You might be fooled that it is a simple display of photographic panoramas collections, but you would be soo wrong: The festival gathers interactive artists that make use of panoramas display in their work Continue Reading →

One new graphics environment – E15

Four grad researchers Kyle Buza, Luis Blackaller, Takashi Okamoto, and Kate Hollenbach from MIT have presented at FlashForward conference, a new graphics environment called E15. As Maeda says on his blog, E15 attempts to bring together the best of the power intrinsic to the Web, full-performance graphics processing, and a fully interpreted environment with dynamic class loading.

There’s a video on this site, looks amazing if I am imagining the right things. Anybody knows more about this E15 or has some more documentation on it?

Soft Cinema

A project from 2002 of the same Lev Manovich, with a daring(for its time) approach on browsing video content. Tagging visual information such as: contrast, automated velocity computing, while having means to navigate through a vast database of videos and audio files enables the spectator to choose themes and switch perspectives while enjoying this new type of eclectic cinema movie.

I am not actually convinced by this project, now seeing it at over 4 years distance, even though the idea has seen implementation – google video e.g. has done something relevant in this regard. The idea is truly valuable as the amount of video content exceeds at this point the possibility of indexing it in a normal fashion, but the visuals for the project are not that impressive.

Lev Manovich at Ars Electronica

A couple of days ago at Ars Electronica took place a super interesting conference of Lev Manovich on the theme of “The Infinite Expansion”

An extras from the AEC website: “Lev Manovich will present a brief cultural history of how a computer was gradually turned into a machine for media simulation and new media invention between early 1960s and late 1970s (Sutherland, Nelson, Engelbart, Kay, Negroponte, and others). He will argue that today we are dealing with unforeseen result of this transformation: that is, the constant invention of new media by designers, programmers, computer scientists, and artists has replaced creation of content. Thus, media is finally indeed became the message. More precisely: constantly changing and expanding media possibilities became more culturally important than content.”

I wish I was there…. eeeh :)

Lev Manovich, Negroponte and Meyrowitz were my influences a couple of years ago. Little by little I rediscover the people behind the books and the way they evolve in time. Some people just manage to stay agile and alert.

I want Hieronymus Bosch in my video games

Ned Beauman on TheBlogArt&Architecture raises one very good question: why not use art in computer/console video games and what artists could be placed in this context. Continue Reading →

Nokia launches web music service

I am beginning to love BBC :) they’ve got the most interesting news about this industry… Nokia has launched today the new music and games download service, challenging both rival handset makers and mobile phone network providers Continue Reading →

Visualizar by MedialabMadri+d – 12th November 2007 to 6th January 2008

I’ve found an interesting project developed by those at Medialabmadrid, on the social, artistic and cultural applications of data visualization through a broad program of activities including reflection, research and the production of knowledge. The aim is to bring these interpretive keys to new fields of work where Continue Reading →

Next best thing in technology and computer business

Antonio Altamirano, Internet Marketing Consultant at Accenture posted a key question yesterday on LinkedIn on what will the next three years bring to us technology wise …

Someone talked about changing the country global internet infrastructure, so that services will go to another level, another answer was that innovation on interfaces is probably already signaled by the launching of Nintendo Wii, iPhone and Microsoft Surface. Virtual world technology, like Second Life, was also mentioned, WiMax and Ubiqutous Computing.

What I think will be the necessary move in the next 2 or 3 years is the tag based file organization. The folder style for data storage on computers is so last century. Even my mom needs to associate text files to different folders, or associate different type of files to photos, and searching through one year of normal vacations photos in my computer becomes impossible. I actually feel the need to organize my files tag-based. Microsoft and Mac OS XI I am counting on you on this one :) !

Online collaborative projects

That’s what I’ve discovered in the last 30 minutes: three interesting projects all developed at MIT and a designer that helped build one of the websites.

1. Openstudio is more or less a site about artists that draw online. One setback – using Java is kinda limiting your own possibilities of expression. But the concept “OPENSTUDIO is web + art + community + economics.” goes far beyond drawing as it also includes art transactions and possibility for negotiating jobs for the registered artists. Some of the founders Amber Frid-Jimenez, Annie Ding and Burak Arikan.

2. Along with Open I/O, OpenCode, OpenSpace and OpenTag, Openstudio belongs to PLWire at MIT, namely The Physical Language Workshop

PLW kinda puzzled me with one concept: audio tag … now what is that? Some sort of answering machine over the internet? Why tag? I do have to dig a little more to see precisely.

3. What else? A very funky project, haven’t got the time to see it through but the name is puzzling Emma on relationships :D

And 4. the designer Takashi Okamoto in charge of designing the plw site. Same japanese/academic visual minimalism. Worth browsing as the sites abounds in all sorts of visuals so different from what can be seen on Romanian market. Not thoroughly commercial, rather a breath of unconventional fresh air.

Isn’t browsing fun love?

Book on Processing tbl in September 2007

Casey Reas and Ben Fry will release a book on their renewed program Processing at MIT Press this September. I have worked a little bit with Processing, it is really fascinating, point is Romania has no market for it. Or maybe I just haven’t got the insight so far.

The book will turn interesting to designers and developers, I’d like to have one copy when it’s released.

Work on digital image

Daniel Lee is a guy that inspired me a while ago. I am very interested in color processing on digital images, and even though my work is not related to DTP and print, I almost always correct images I have to use on different multimedia presentations so that they have the proper color ratio. Continue Reading →

Robots at play

An interesting event happening in Danmark, at Odense – Robots at play from 23 to 25 August.

The lawn mower that mows the lawn completely by itself. The therapeutic robotic teddy bear “Huggable”. The toy robot that provokes children to move around Continue Reading →