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RSS Cleaning #1

August 3, 2010 Leave a comment

I have the bad habit of collecting more than I have use for, the same goes for RSS subscriptions unfortunately. This has resulted in me bookmarking hundreds of articles that I would like to share but never have gotten around to do. All this is a major pain since I also have the habit of organizing when procrastinating, resulting in too much time spent on sifting through bookmarks when I could do something more productive. There are times when I don’t even bookmark the article I find interesting and just keep it open until I find a category of bookmarks that it fits into.

To prevent myself from getting major headaches over this I’m going to start with something I’ve dubbed “RSS Cleaning” in which I will dump a boatload of articles into a post and write a short description of them so that you can sift through them. I’m hoping to do this once each week, in order to get used to posting regularly, but I can’t promise that yet. We’ll see how it’ll go. Since this is the first cleaning, the some articles may be “old”, but the idea is that with all the old articles out-of-the-way, newer and newer material will come up.

So let us start!

TWiST #46 with David Heinemeier Hansson
This Youtube video is almost 2 hours long and about 5 months old but it’s still an awesome episode, and if you don’t have the time then you can skip the first 47 minutes to the “real” interview. The show features David Heinemeier Hansson, the creator of Ruby on Rails and partner of 37signals, talking about start-up strategies and “old-school” capitalism.

DICE 2010: “Design Outside the Box” Presentation
Another old video from February about the boom of social games and the possible future it’s heading towards. A very interesting presentation that is both thought provocative and somewhat scary.

Tab The Power Strip
I seldom find any good concepts from product designers since they tend to get caught up in the aesthetics of the product and fail to see the function and usability that needs to be there. The Multi-Tab Power Strip is different, designer Soon Mo Kang manages to successfully combine all three aspects and really make you hope that some day, it will become more than a concept.

Is it One Chair, or is it More?
As a student, one can often run out of space and furniture to sit on when having too many friends over. Shair is a concept by Jie-Jyun Lyu that could solve that issue by simply adapting to the situation and environment.

CODEORGAN
The people behind CODEORGAN have found a way to make the web a more musical place by analysing the body of a site and making sweet music from it.

EpicWin
A new and fun way to combine the productivity of task-lists with the escapism  of RPG’s. The iPhone app allows users to advance in quests, gain loot and develop skills by completing your tasks in the real world.

Internet Explorer 9: A Fresh Start, With HTML5
It’s been five months and we still haven’t heard anything new on IE9, but for those that still don’t know what IE9 will have to offer, check out the article which sums it up quite nicely.

Shooting Robert King
A documentary spanning over 15 years and through 3 wars. The movie follows war photographer Robert King from the start of his career in Sarajevo until “present” day. Throughout the movie one can see the transformation from a young naive photographer on a mission to a cynic battle-torn father doing his job that is filled with death and destruction. For those with guts strong enough to handle the more graphic pictures of war, one can see the film online on the link above.

Porn broadcast inside Indonesian parliament
The government of Indonesia ordered the country’s ISP’s to block all pornographic material from the web by the 11th of August, a move that didn’t sit well with a hacker that retaliated by broadcasting porn on the parliaments internal TV channel. The official story is that the connection is still unclear but for everybody else it seems quite crystal clear.

Graphic Design Career Tips : How Much Money Do Graphic Designers Make?
Creative director William Fridrich talks about how much a designer earns and what makes a great designer.

That concludes the first segment of RSS Cleaning! We’ll see when the next one comes up. Bye!

//Saligia

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The Future of Televisions?

July 18, 2010 Leave a comment

3D as a medium has been around for quite a while. I remember that there were these dinosaur magazines that i used to collect as a child that sometimes came with those cheap red and blue 3D glasses in order to see the cool 3D dinosaur pictures, but even then the technology was quite old. 3D cinemas have been around since the 50s and the concept of 3D televisions are quite old as well. But for some reason, ever since Avatar, everyone (electronics companies mostly) are trying to sell us on the idea of 3D televisions, just a mere years after they convinced us that HD televisions were a good idea. On top of that, they charge ridiculously high prices for the pair of 3D glasses that every person watching that the TV needs.

I feel that this trend has arrived a couple of years too early for the general public. Sure, the early adopters will eat it up, but they also buy phones that are incapable of having a signal long enough to make a phone call. I will be keeping my television for some time. For me, 3D isn’t all that much of a thing, and I saw Avatar in 3D and 2D. 😛

But today I saw something that intrigued me and opened up possibilities for more uses of the 3D glasses than just simulating depth perception. Today I read an article about some of Sony newly filed patents, US20100177172 and US20100177174, and after reading the patents I got more optimistic about the development of televisions.

The patent describes a system in which one can use one display to successfully show several feeds at the same time to different individuals using the provided “shutter glasses”. The system sends out the video feed in sequences that are matched with the shutter glasses in a way that one individual sees one feed while the other sees the other feed. The patents illustrate this far better than I can describe it, so I urge you to at least have a quick look at them.

With this system split-screen multiplayer modes on games are a thing of the past, since every player gets a full-screen experience.But the system still has one problem, the fact that spectators will need to have their own pair of glasses in order to probably not get a headache from watching the screen. But since the glasses fill more function than just being able to see the screen in 3D then maybe people might feel that it’s worth it. The system also gives the user the option to see in 3D or in regular 2D so that someone may be playing a 3D game while the others are watching TV.

My guess would be that there will be a limit to how many feeds can be shown at the same time. That number would then be halved if they are all 3D feeds, since the 3D feeds take up two “slots” in the sequence, one for the right eye and one for the left.

I saw another article a while back that was about another 3D television system, by Microsoft, that was completely free of glasses. The idea was based around a special screen and a camera. The camera detected how many people were in front of the television and where they were aligned. The screen then steers light to the viewer’s eyes by switching light-emitting diodes along its bottom edge on and off. The system can then send two different images to the viewer’s left and right eye, creating a autostereoscopic 3D effect. This system could, just as the Sony patent, send different video feeds to different viewers, but the problem then would be how to transfer the sound to each person. At this moment the prototype is able to send 3D feeds to one or two individuals or send 2D feeds to up to four individuals, but who knows what that can be expanded to.

It’s fun to see the new technology that is being developed, especially the above mentioned technologies. The idea of 3D televisions and holograms have been around forever in our culture, most common in sci-fi, but these new systems seem to break off from the mold and come up from seemingly nowhere. Who could have pictured that by looking at the same screen, different people could see different things. One may wonder what will come after these steps.

Well that’s it for now, I’ve already written more than I should. Bye! //Saligia

TAT Home

February 16, 2010 Leave a comment

On Valentines day the Swedish developer The Astonishing Tribe (or TAT) released their new concept video for an Android user interface, called TAT Home, which relied heavily on 3D graphics. TAT is most known for creating the original Android user interface.

While there were a lot of good ideas, there were also bad ideas. Lets start by reviewing the good ideas.

The first thing they show is the Widget Fan, as they call it, it’s basically an easy way to overview and choose your home screens. The thing I like about it, is that one can easily use it using the same hand that’s holding the phone making it easier to handle.
The thing that I liked the most was possibly the Alarm. It uses a new way of setting the time for the alarm clock that I can see being really fast to use when one gets used to it. At first you might be more careful with how many times you spin(?) the alarm, but once you’ve used it for a while you probably don’t even think about it.

What I didn’t like was the Messages Widget, maybe I’ve grown accustomed to the easy way of organizing SMS and MMS with the conversion metaphor, but only being able to see three messages at the time doesn’t seem optimal to me. There’s way too much scrolling with their implementation.
The same critique goes for the Music Remote. If you have several artists and several albums on your phone then it quickly becomes a hassle to scroll between artists and album. It may be a fun and new way to show the music player but it lacks the usability that I need. It would have been fun to see how they would have tackled user-created playlists since I seldom listen to only one album at the time.

When it comes to the Contact Widget, the Weather Widget and TAT Cascades, I’m fairly neutral.
The Contact Widget isn’t something new, the Weather Widget is functions as well as other weather widgets and TAT Cascades can cause a minor problem with the depth perception of the widgets but nothing to worry about.

TAT usually have a lot of great concepts and material so it’s always fun to see something new from them. Maybe their next release might come from two of my seniors from my education that are doing their master thesis work with them., who knows?

//Saligia