links for 2008-09-26

links for 2008-09-25

links for 2008-09-24

  • “I knocked togeth­er a Twit­ter bot called Low Fly­ing Rocks, that scrapes data out of the NASA NEO data­base, twit­ter­ing when­ev­er a rock pass­es with­in 0.2 AU of the Earth” A nice com­ple­ment to the Tow­er Bridge Twit­ter bot by the oth­er Tom.
  • “Ins(table) is an inter­ac­tive instal­la­tion that explores the pos­si­bil­i­ties of the visu­al­iza­tion of speech and con­ver­sa­tions.” The best inter­ac­tion design project at this year’s HKU grad­u­a­tion expo. Some nice dataviz here, plus the table itself is an aes­thet­i­cal­ly pleas­ing object (some­thing you don’t see too often in inter­ac­tive furniture).
  • By far the most impres­sive game that was on show at this year’s HKU grad­u­a­tion expo. Offer­ing a very nice bal­ance between struc­tured and open-end­ed play, lush graph­ics and superb tech­ni­cal exe­cu­tion. The research that went into this (on the paidia-ludus con­tin­u­um) is worth check­ing out too.
  • “1. It makes lit­tle sense to talk about »visu­al aes­thet­ics« as an iso­lat­ed modal­i­ty. 2. The genre deter­mines the aes­thet­ic qual­i­ties. 3. Aes­thet­ic is not equal to good, pleas­ant, pret­ty or nice. 4. Aes­thet­ic expe­ri­ence is con­nect­ed with intel­lec­tu­al delib­er­a­tion as much as with imme­di­ate, »vis­cer­al« response. 5. We need holis­tic, inter­pre­ta­tive approach­es to deal­ing with aes­thet­ics in inter­ac­tion design.”

Teaching design for mobile social play

Last week, the group project I am coach­ing at the Utrecht School of the Arts kicked off. The project is part of the school’s mas­ter of arts pro­gram. The group con­sists of ten stu­dents with very dif­fer­ent back­grounds, rang­ing from game design & devel­op­ment to audio design, as well as arts man­age­ment, media stud­ies, and more. Their assign­ment is to come up with a num­ber of con­cepts for games that incor­po­rate mobile phones, social inter­ac­tions, audio and the web. Nokia Research Cen­ter has com­mis­sioned the project, and Jus­si Holopainen, game design researcher and co-author of Pat­terns in Game Design, is the client. In the project brief there is a strong empha­sis on sketch­ing and pro­to­typ­ing, and dis­ci­plined doc­u­men­ta­tion of the design process. The stu­dents are work­ing full time on the project and it will run for around 4 months. 

I am very hap­py with the oppor­tu­ni­ty to coach this group. It’s a new chal­lenge for me as a teacher — mov­ing away from teach­ing the­o­ry and into the area of facil­i­ta­tion. I am also look­ing for­ward to see­ing what the stu­dents will come up with, of course, as the domain they are work­ing in over­laps huge­ly with my inter­ests. So far, work­ing with Jus­si has proven to be very inspi­ra­tional, so I am get­ting some­thing out of it as a design­er too.

links for 2008-09-19

  • “90 Mobiles in 90 days. For the 90 days fol­low­ing today, June 20, 2008, I’m going to think about, sketch, draw, and pro­to­type ideas about mobile design and post them here. Like folks recov­er­ing from any addic­tion, I don’t know what is at the end of these 90 days. I’m just gonna com­mit to think­ing about it every day for 90 days and have faith that some­thing good will be on the oth­er side.” Very Amer­i­can, but an inter­est­ing project nonetheless.

links for 2008-09-18

links for 2008-09-17

links for 2008-09-14

Download my travel-time map

I am a bit ner­vous about doing this, but since sev­er­al peo­ple asked, here goes: You can now down­load the trav­el-time map of the Nether­lands I made in Pro­cess­ing. I have export­ed appli­ca­tions for Lin­ux, Mac OS X and Win­dows. Each down­load includes the source files, but not the data file. For that, you will need to head to Alper’s site (he’s the guy who pulled the data from 9292 and ANWB). I hope you’ll enjoy play­ing around with this, or learn some­thing from the way it was put together.

Some notes, in no par­tic­u­lar order:

  • Please remem­ber I am not a pro­gram­mer. The vast major­i­ty of this sketch was put togeth­er from bits and pieces of code I found in books and online. I have tried to cred­it all the sources in the code. The full write-up I post­ed ear­li­er should point you to all the sources too. In short; all the good bits are by oth­er peo­ple, the bad code is mine. But who cares, it’s the end-result that counts (at least for me).
  • Relat­ed to the pre­vi­ous point is the fact that I can­not fig­ure out under which license (if any) to release this. So the usu­al CC by-nc-sa license applies, as far as I’m concerned.
  • If this breaks your com­put­er, offends you, makes you cry, or eats your kit­tens, do not come knock­ing. This is pro­vid­ed as is, no war­ranties what­so­ev­er, etc.
  • Why am I ner­vous? Prob­a­bly because for me the point of the whole exer­cise was the process, not the outcome.
  • I can’t think of any­thing else. Have fun.

links for 2008-09-12

  • “For me, a piece of A3 paper and a few big pens are all I need — ideas, con­nec­tions, words and sketch­es, empha­sis and deci­sions can flow freely with­out hav­ing to do bat­tle with some­one else’s idea of how my mind should be mapped and organ­ised. I’m all for typ­ing ini­tial thoughts up lat­er, but the ini­tial splat has to come out ana­logue. Even after I’ve typed stuff, I then print it out and scrib­ble all over it again after­wards.” Ben Blench on cre­ative soft­ware, with an unex­pect­ed detour into Nick Cave country.