Thursday, March 31, 2011
The way Layar can deliver additional location-based information is a real bonus if you're in the right place with the right kind of phone, but all the same some of the more extravagant claims made about augmented reality warrant careful examination. Surely an augmentation would involve a heightened sense of reality whereas most AR apps are just clever annotations. In a way reality is diminished if you stare at it through the window of your phone. That's not to claim its of no use; it's just a matter of definition. Of a different order, of course, is the headset or the reality goggles. The BMW video shows AR goggles in operation. Surely, the ultimate toy for boys! I watched this with interest knowing full well that if I was working on an engine bolts would fly off, tools would malfunction, things would go wrong that no amount of augmentation could fix.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
In the everyday use of tools, their operation becomes routine and normalized. Interfaces work in the same way. When we switch devices there is often a certain amount of disruption and we are thrown back on the stubborn materiality of our instruments of control, those tools that we normally experience as being straightforward - become almost invisible. 'Heidegger's hammer' is a way of explaining how the tool recedes from view in daily use. Its visibility is heightened when 'the tool turns out to be damaged or the material unsuitable.' (1962:102). That was my experience operating the above keyboard. Nothing went well. I had to look a bit closer to see that the familiar looking object was subtley different. The letter arrangement is not the usual QWERTY layout, but the Belgian equivalent. It disrupted my operations, I became hesitant and dependent on an expert to guide me.
Friday, March 18, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Will robots ever become part of everyday life in the way that computers have? Well, I suppose it depends on what counts as a robot. I'm looking for something robotic for our futures event in July and came across these little ISO-bots. They don't look great, but they can be controlled with a nunchuc which is pretty impressive. If your associations with basic robotics are anything like mine then they're about turtles and roamers and they become a sort of conceptual exercise in programming. Skip the alpha-numeric stuff and go straight to movement sensors and gestures and you have a whole new kind of robotic control; something akin to an out-of body experience! I looked for a good clip and found the one above. I'm not sure how these ISO-bots are controlled (I think its the standard controller), but the choreography is interesting. The guys' reactions are at least as good as the dancing robots! If you want more go here.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Studies of the textual landscape seem to be grabbing our attention at the moment, and some of the work seems to reach a bit further than the original geo-semiotic work. But today I was made aware of the strength of popular feeling about the presentational features of alphabetic representation in the environment. Before the advent of word-processing, choice of font (and the very word itself) was the preserve of the publishing industry. Now it's everyone's business. Name your font, search for it in YouTube and you'll quickly see the level of interest and the strength of feeling about different fonts. I enjoyed this particular offering, which happened to lead me to bancomicsans.com. But what lies behind all this isn't just a simple question of design, it is also very much about socially agreed matters of taste. And the videos themselves are part of the process, producing and performing our ideas about what writing looks like.
Saturday, March 05, 2011
Thursday, March 03, 2011
I love Michael Constanza’s video of Hope Sandoval on this YouTube clip. The dreamy quality goes so well with the track. It’s interesting how readily music and image combine in new media. I'd love to write a bit more about music; I had so much fun doing that chapter in the Web 2.0 book. And image has been very much on my mind of late. So for my latest project I’m looking for a reliable way of streaming live video. I’ve been experimenting with U-Stream which does the job quite well. I also learnt today about Screencast-o-matic which seems to do everything I used to do with Jing, but not what I want to do on the project, but I’m looking into that one, too.