Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Good apple, bad apple

Wow! I'm writing from my new mac 2.4GHz 2GB ram 500GB HD... and it's a beauty! The first thing I did was a test opening some of the files that were just too heavy for my iBook, agolden iBooknd it's unbelievable fast! The "out of the box" advertising is absolutely true, just plug and start using the new mac right away. The keyboard looks like a toy, but when you think about it, you don't need a bulky thing and a bunch of useless keys. The only thing we are still not convinced is the glossy screen. Yes. it is very bright, but I prefer having a matte surface, specially since I have a window behind me. All in all, I absolutely love it! It was worth the wait until the release of OSX.5 I don't have it yet, but I'll get the upgrade in a couple of days for just 14 bucks!

golden iPod shuffleIf you are looking for something fancier, well... there's the LaCie golden hard drive or the golden hardtop for macBook pro by Computer Choppers (via) and there's also the golden iPod by xexoo... do not confuse with any Austin Powers archenemy! although, if you actually get one of those... is like actually wearing diamonds on the sole of your shoes.

(I'll update this post later.. it's time to play with my new toy)


new iMacI just installed the new OSX 10.5 ... and it's great. Well... my problem is that some of the applications I had, are now obsolete and don't run on "devil inside macs"... and I don't like using some of the stylish gizmos like spaces, stacks or even the infamous dashboard, but unlike windows similar items, you can actually just turn them off and forget they exist if you don't like them. The finder now works how it should (it actually remembers your preferences!!!) I do not like that the menu bar on top of the desktop is somehow "translucid". Yes, it blends with the colour of your wall paper so it looks great IF you are not actually using the computer! If you have documents or applications open, it's horrible to have the menu bar in an un-matching "whiter shade of pale" So, what I did was to insert a grey rectangle on top of the image. My advise: use photoshop to do that, so you can re-size the rectangle until it fits and leave your wallpaper on psd format... just in case you need that rectangle later. Only when you shut down or relaunch finder you'll see the rectangle, which is better than having the menu bar like a rainbow all the time!

apple evolution posterI tried to install the infamous bootcamp... but I only have a licensed virtual PC 6, not a normal windows installation disc... so at the end, I couldn't try that out. Now it's too late because it only works with a non partitioned Hard Drive... and now mine is divided into OS, music, documents, and work volumes. It was not meant to be to have windows on my mac. I am still amazed how fast is my new toy, some apps open before I even let go of Ratatui (yes, that's the name of my mighty mouse). So, why would I actually want to go back to the evil classic recycle binempire? Yes, apple is getting a Bill Gates attitude, neglecting some thing for others... like postponing the launch of the new operating system to fix problems they had with iPhone! and Yes, they are neglecting the old "hardcore" Power PC users to get more "just fashionable" iPod users, but they are still delivering a product that still (somehow) does what it was all about in the first place: fast, stable, (almost) free of viruses and freezes, plug and play... and visually enjoyable. Even if the new operating is still full of bugs...

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Monday, October 22, 2007

air doodles

sketch furniture by FrontThis may be the best virtual reality innovation since "air guitar": It's the sketch furniture by Front. Using motion capture video, pen strokes in the air become CAD 3D digital lines... and they could be used to generate a "rapid prototype" of your air-doodles. (via) I know it's not the same as the virtual graffiti, but in a way it is, only that at the end, you have solid prototypes of your "air-sketch/doodle". The possibilities for this are amazing... imagine making raw sketches for simulation purposes... or maybe on a smaller scale it could be like a wacom drawing tablet but 3D! You could re-size your sketch on the CAD program and get larger or smaller prototypes of your sketch...
The Swedish design group FRONT have developed a method to materialise free hand sketches. They make it possible by using a unique method where two advanced techniques are combined.

Pen strokes made in the air are recorded with Motion Capture and become 3D digital files; these are then materialised through Rapid Prototyping into real pieces of furniture. See the movie of the process of making a sketch into a piece of furniture in just one pen stroke. During Tokyo Design week they showed the process of making Sketch Furniture and the final pieces of furniture at Tokyo Wonder Site. www.tokyo-ws.org Click here to see the movie

sketch furniture by Front- SwedenMotion Capture is a technique that translates motions into 3D-files. Motion capture is mostly used for animations in movies and computer games. Front have used the technique to simply record the tip of a pen when they draw pieces of furniture in the air. Rapid Prototyping is a technique that materialises 3D-files. A laser beam builds the 3D-file layer by layer within a liquid plastic material. Every 0.1mm the liquid harden by a laser beam. After a few hours, the 3D-files come out as materialised pieces.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Bilder einer Ausstellung

Sandra was invited (along with a colleague) to represent Auckland University at the opening of the "Animated films from Germany" showcase exhibition at AUT's St. Paul st. Gallery thanks to Goethe Institut and Institut fuer Auslandbeziehungen. It will be open until next week, then the exhibition will move to Porirua (and be there) until February 2008. We enjoyed a lot the exhibition. They have the actual puppets and miniature models used for stop motion, also the original drawings and story boards for the films. Only two small TVs to see the movies. I expected a projector or something bigger... and maybe copies for sale of the DVD! Anyway, there were many interesting works... like Sandra said, some are "very German". Not so good was the wine! They had Villa Maria's Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2005 and it was horrible! It was like drinking isopropyl methanol with grape juice!

We specially liked "the message" by Raimund Krumme (check here another of his movies called Crossroads). Harara is amazing work of stop motion and the latex and small models are amazing. Another extraordinary work of stop motion is Der moderne Zyklop, the dancing sequence at the start of the film is extraordinary! I didn't expect much from the drawings for Die Flickenkönigin, then I saw the movie and changed my mind. Rubicon: Sandra says that her uncle was always teasing them with that kind of German riddles. Cherchez la Femme is one of my favourites. Neulich 2 is one of those "very German" expressionist films, unlike Der Rabe an interpretation of Edgar Allan Poe's poem with a quite simple (black, white and red) but strong graphic composition (watch it here) Each frame is a work of art! Really amazing to see the artistic technique behind the animation was "the moment" each plate is painted on glass, then scratched over the fresh paint to draw each image.

The good news, is that they announced that New Zealand will be guest of honour at the Hamburg animation awards 2008 which means, there will be a special prize only for New Zealand films of EUR 2,000 and an invitation to attend the ceremony in Hamburg on June 2008. Great opportunity to eat Hamburguers at the Repperbahn.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

cell phone usability

Have you ever wanted to say your opinion about cell phone usability? Does your cell phone do what it wants and not what you want it to do...? Now it's time to have your say:
NovitaTech is conducting a study to evaluate the usability and complexity of current mobile phones. They will be conducting a survey about mobile phone technology from mid September 2007 to mid October 2007. Novita is particularly interested in the opinions of people over the age of 65 and people with a physical disability. As an incentive, there will be $100 AUD prize for one randomly selected survey respondent, and $50 AUD for focus group participants.

For more information and to complete the survey online go to Novita's Mobile Phone Usability Study web page. Alternatively you can call 1300 85 55 85 or email r&d@novita.org.au

The Scene from the Spastic Centre )
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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Worm in the bottle

Today we went to meet Francesca, and gave her 1 bottle of tequila and 1 of Oaxaca mezcal (with a worm inside) for a petanque fund raiser tournament. Here's the media release:

12 October 2007


Individuals and companies from as far away as Hertfordshire, UK and Cockle Bay, Howick, New Zealand are supporting an initiative to raise money for - and increase awareness of - the Auckland Down Syndrome Association (ADSA) and The New Zealand Down Syndrome Association (NZDSA).

Hatfield, Hertfordshire-based Dave Ciano, former international petanque player, former manager of the British Petanque team and current member of Welwyn Club de Petanque in England, as well as a member of the Cockle Bay Petanque Club in NZ, is organising a Petanque competition on Saturday 17 November 2007 at the Cockle Bay club with the full support of the club

Players of all ages and levels, including beginners, will take part in an open doubles tournament, with all teams being guaranteed at least four games. The winning team will receive engraved trophies and 24 bottles of wine; there are engraved trophies and wine for the top four teams in the main event and for the top two teams in the plate event.

The game of petanque was reputedly devised in 1910, in a fishing town in Southern France and is an adaptation of Jeu Provencal, now a much less popular game than petanque. The rules of Jeu Provencal stipulate that a player has to take a run-up of one or two paces, gaining momentum before letting go of the boule. However, when one of the games most passionate players was confined to a wheel chair following an accident, his fellow villagers voted to change the rules whereby all players had to place both feet in a rough circle scratched in the dirt of about 2 feet in diameter, and take no run-up at all before throwing the boule. So they began to play ‘pieds tanques’ (in the regional dialect ‘feet together’), and thus the new game was created whereby able or disabled players could play on an equal basis.

Dave Ciano’s youngest grandchild has Down Syndrome. “My daughter Francesca Voykovich lives in Howick with her four children. The ADSA have been a great help to her, and to other families across Auckland. This competition is a way of offering people a fun day out, as well as raising awareness of DS and a few dollars for a fantastic cause.”

Companies so far supporting the day with gifts for the competition and a raffle include Sealink, Obsidian Winery, Twilight Winery, Sky Tower, Atomic Coffee, Non Solo Pizza, Basalt (Howick),The Coffee Club, Kloser Photography, Continental Express, NZ Screen Printers, Down’s Syndrome Association (UK), Special Kiwis, Peninsula Estate Wine, Howick Office Supplies, Ian Baker, Boules to You, Malone’s Irish Bar and Miro Vineyard. In addition, many individuals have donated gifts for the competition and raffle.

So what is Down Syndrome? It is a lifelong condition that delays learning and development. It is caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21 inside each of the body’s cells. It is a genetic accident and not caused by anything the parents may or may not have done before or during pregnancy. It cannot be cured, but the problems caused by Down syndrome can be reduced with the right help and a positive accepting attitude from others. In New Zealand one baby in 700-1000 is born with Down syndrome; that is one or more babies born each week. Down syndrome is a condition that shows no prejudice, any family can have a child with the condition.

The Auckland Down Syndrome association (ADSA) is a not-for-profit organisation. They support over 300 families within the greater Auckland region. They aim to inform and support families/whanau of people with Down syndrome; promote and advocate attitudes in the wider community; promote the rights and inclusion of people with Down syndrome; review policies and lobby government and other institutions and to promote positive public awareness through educational and media initiatives.

ADSA provide support to new and existing families. They provide ‘new parent’ packs and have trained volunteers who undertake home and hospital visits. They issue a newsletter four times a year and aim to inform people with regard to all aspects of Down syndrome, particularly education and health related issues.

Until 6th November, to interview Dave Ciano or for more information contact david.ciano@ntlworld.com or telephone 01707 884398 or 07954173268. After 8th November Dave will be in Auckland on voyk@orcon.net.nz or telephone 092724148 or 07954173268

Editor’s Notes

Start: 10.00am

More about Petanque

More about DS
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Friday, October 12, 2007

Job opportunities

business hoursSometimes I think that if things don't go well as a designer, I could make a career change. For example: On one of today's news about the multisensory room opening, they say that the room looks like "un antro para discapacitados". So, maybe I could open my own bistro, bar, disco or restaurant. Actually that could be a second career choice, everyone tells me that I should open a mexican restaurant with pozole, birria, tortas ahogadas, etc. Worse case scenario, it could be an italian restaurant... but I would only make pasta dishes.

Now that I lost some weight, I could also work as a chippendale... however, since the Prime Minister attended two chippendale services last week, I'm just affraid I could get a call from her!

I also used to say that I would like to become a Tibetan priest and live somewhere in the Himalayas... but I need internet access so I could post on my blog... and it's quite a long walk to the next Kwik-E-Mart where they have wireless access (I hope) So, I don't know, maybe I should wait before a career change. Maybe because my dream job is being a designer after all.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Big day out

Well, tomorrow at 12:30 will be the opening ceremony of the multisensory/snoezelen room. It's sad that I won't be there... I'll have to rely on pictures or newspaper scratches. Who comes out with these names ? (Social Engineering Projects) and don't let me get started on the revamp of that wheelchair.... na ja! It's over.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Finally home

Well, I'm finally back home. For now just a short post to invite you to the 4th international design congress "Design for Humanity, Basic" at Universidad Anáhuac in Mexico City next week from 8th to 12 October 2007. More information and programe can be found at their website.

Yet, another industrial design student's congress next week... this time at ITESM Campus Querétaro, from October 11 to 13th. This one is called "Factor clave" and is focused on Design Business: how to create a design firm, branding, patents, business incubators, etc.

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