August 19, 2008
This morning Brian Eno and David Byrne released their first collaboration in over 25 years “Everything That Happens Will Happen Today”. I’ve been listening to it for hours and am working on a review (that is quickly expanding into an essay on musical motifs and intention). For now.. feel free to listen to it here:
You can buy the album in a variety of formats here:
November 10, 2006
November 9, 2006
So I couldn’t help myself. After listening to the Boingboing podcast discussion of the Los Angeles BSA councils ‘respecting copyright’ propaganda, I opened up Photoshop and tinkered for a while.. Lots of room for improvement..
I give you my first two ‘perfect world’ merit badges.. The “Critical Thinking Badge” (this might need a little re-working), and of course, the “iPod hacking Badge”- to be earned during the same summer camp. Might add (later) a plan for the first “WikiPatrol”.
There are clearly complexities regarding the copyright issue, but as others have already said, ‘at least teach them to think for themselves’ with more than slanted information from corporate sources.
As a former Eagle Scout, I find myself wondering about the current BSA’s cultural relevance – which is sad, because there are many rewarding lessons that could be gained from participation in the organization – if only it stuck to it’s roots a little bit more. I certainly had my differences with the BSA when I went through it all (they almost didn’t let me get my Eagle because I had a ponytail). Unfortunately the BSA seems to be slowly slipping (further) as an organization that was once ‘morally straight’ and genuinely educational, to ‘morally outdated’ and more and more out of touch..
August 26, 2006
Anyway, Jeff Han, of New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, has developed what he calls an ‘interface free’..err.. interface, which can be manipulated as if it were a three-dimensional interaction with synthetic* media. In other words, a revolution in how we might interact with machines.<br>
Hans’ wonderful demonstration at TED (Technology Entertainment Design) showcases his ability to intuitively navigate several different processes with his fingertips, zooming in, out, up & down almost effortlessly, without the usual constraints of what we have come to know as a standard interface, with a mouse, keyboard etc.
This technology is mind-blowing and couldn’t be on the market soon enough (as long as it was within reach economically mind you).
Han also makes brief mention of how it is ‘a shame’ that with the ‘$100 Laptop initiative’, we will be familiarizing large populations of previously un-networked people to each other with a system that is much less intuitive than it could be. Food for thought. My challenge to Jeff would be to make this very visceral ‘un-interface’ available on those $100 Dollar Laptops. That would take some truly creative thinking… But of course, my hat is way off to these guys.. They’re on to something truly remarkable.
++ I should also mention that TED is a truly fascinating gathering.. In their own words, a ‘pre-release’ of Heaven…Or.. “An opportunity to engage in conversation and dialogue with some of the most interesting and innovative thinkers of our time”. That’s pretty damn close to my definition of Heaven as well. What I wouldn’t give to participate. What I wouldn’t give to be qualified. For now I’m content to be a fly on the digital wall.
*I think the dividing line between ‘synthetic’ and ‘organic’ is becoming more and more blurred by the way.. Maybe more to come on this in the future.. Your thoughts?
August 25, 2006
In 2007, look for this new documentary by director Gary Hustwit. The films release is expected to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the existence of Helvetica – the font we all know and love (and all too often take for granted). Personally, I am thrilled that the conversation about the effects, uses, and emotional resonance of a (agan, taken for granted) tool for communication, will be out in the public forum, at least a little. How do we relate to information, and how much significance does a font carry with it?
This subject is unendingly interesting to me. And while it may not be much more than touched upon by Hustwit, it begs many questions. What is it that helps something communicate effectively? Shape? Color? Context? Mood? And what are the constraints of this kind of thinking? Do different shapes and colors evoke different ‘instinctive’ responses, depending upon evolutionary contexts? I remember somewhere reading that certain ethnic groups have built a tolerance for cows milk after generations of milk being a part of their culture, while people descended from cultures without this sort of relationship with cattle, are more predisposed to being lactose intolerant. Does visual salience relate in some way to chemical and evolutionary contexts? Or is it a matter of individual context? It is likely a combination of variables, and surely, there are certain statistics that can point to ‘what works’ & ‘what excels’ etc.. But which variables do we point to as the sources of our intuitive feelings?
Obviously, no new questions from me, but I have faith that Hustwit will have something unique and thought provoking to say about Helvetica.
Hustwit, has directed many feature length documentaries, including I am Trying to Break Your Heart (the Moog (Robert Moog), and Drive Well, Sleep Carefully (Death Cab for Cutie). I am very much looking forward to seeing his skills focused on expanding this conversation.