...a warm cup of coffee, good music on the background...
Now let's have a relaxed, informal conversation about design.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Tell me... v4.3
Why...? why every conference, event, competition, seminar, meeting, etc in recent years is using numerals as if it was a software version? The whole idea of that system is to enumerate intermediate versions or changes... like 2.5 would be the 2nd main version at a 5th sub-variant. If this is a yearly or biyearly event, with no other intermediate "sub-versions", then it should be just plain 2nd design congress etc. It would only make sense to have software-like numerals, when big events have "mini me" events throughout other times of the year, don't you think?
Designers (and many other people using computers) should be using a similar system to put names on their files. Instead of naming a document "report_final-version.doc" and then the next one is called "report_definitive-version.doc" and the next one : "definitely-the-last-ultimate-one.doc" so that the newest and final version is actually called: "ultra-mega-super-duper-file-and-there's-no-way-I-am-changing-this-again.doc" Doesn't it make more sense to just name your files in consecutive order: "sketch1.jpg" then "sketch2.jpg" ... u.s.w. and when you make change on one of those, you can use letters, for example "drawing 5b.jpg" isn't that so much easier?
Anyway, DIME v2.0 will be held in Acapulco, Mexico on May 29-31... if it was not clear enough, it's their second year (and no fractional intermediate versions in between). The event suported by dicojala!ReDiseno and Rhinos, gathers people from all design areas: architecture, jewelery, industrial, graphic, mechanic and digital. There will be 6 conferences : Lauren J. Pipkorn, Martin Broen, Phil Frank, Jorge Valdes, Jorge Moreno and Gabriel Sanchez; and 4 workshops, one by Maurizio Corbi.
New Zealand universities (and other tertiary education providers) had a good shake commotion this week. The Chronicle of Higher Education released a small note about an advertising campaign made by a government education promotion agency: New Zealand Educated, that ignited big reactions when it arrived to the e-mailboxes of people in the sector this week:
The infamous video was hosted on several "internet 2.o" video sites like YouTube and DailyMotion as part of an advertising campaign to promote New Zealand universities particularly in Asia, since the number of exchange students coming from China has dropped drastically in recent years. Although this NZ Educated campaign has been running for several months now, it was until the Chronicle's article arrived to NZ universities' staff e-mailboxes, that they reacted in a matter of just a couple of hours to pull down the 3 videos (at least from the most popular sites). By midday they were all gone. But don't worry, you can still watch the ads (probably not for long) at automaticfilms, the company that made the videos. Just click on the director's video portfolios, and select Adam Gunser, who shot the videos.
I don't know whether to take that with some humor, or to cry in outrage like some people in the tertiary education sector did. As a simple observer, well... the campaign has some sense of humor about reality (let's be honest about that). If the goal of that campaign is simply to get "numbers"... I mean, lots and lots of students, no matter how, or their academic commitment, then I guess it's a good campaign. Nevertheless that's exactly the problem! (Most) Universities nowadays do NOT care about the quality of education, they just care about recruiting "numbers"... their business is not about education, is about... well... business : Making money, numbers, statistics and collecting hefty fees. Just look at the picture... the urban planer or architect who did this, has a Bachelor degree that is worth one square of a toilet paper.
Universities are victims of the "user centered design" approach. Where user satisfaction is measured on student's surveys that serve only to check how "happy" they are, or how much fun they're having. Academic performance is no longer relevant, only student's happiness is. Check out the level meter categories that NZ Educated main page indicate as enjoyable while studying in NZ: snow, surfing, city buzz, country side, hiking and biking, art & culture. Well, at least they put a slider for art and culture! The problem with this approach, is that some traditional studies (schools) are closing down because their numbers are too low to be profitable, while some other studies, the ones we call in Mexico "MMC" ("Until I Get Married") are just like Alfredo Varela used to say: "if they enroll, and don't die, they'll graduate".
Just some few days ago, I was wondering how many students fail their academic terms nowadays, compared to how it was, let's say 10 or 20 years ago. Most statistics only show "graduation rates" or "tertiary attainment" rates. But how many (of those) are actually failing because they don't meet the academic standard? I know that my generation started with 64 students, and only 12 graduated on schedule, and probably 8 or 10 graduated one or two semesters afterwards. The rest of them changed to other programs, or just gave up studying at some point. Times Higher Education concurs:
I had one of such illiterate students when I was teaching at Unitec! You see, that's the problem when you have an education policy of "No Dewd Left Behind"... any "dude" will eventually graduate, that's if they don't die first... or get caught by their parents making out in a bathtub, in which case they'll end up married, homeless or dead.
From april 21st to may 4th, the Modern Art Center of Guadalajara will host the 16th "Salón del Diseño". 12 local and international designers from diverse design subjects will participate on the seminars and presentations. There's a small homage to Guadalupe Posadas, some Electroclash music for the opening and the 5th experimental video showcase during the closing ceremony.
Long time ago, Sandra gave me a puzzle that is a mosaic of small images of the Simpsons forming a big picture of Homer. Since then, I was looking for that filter or trick, until I finally found it at KrazyDad, who did a portrait of Gene Simons using pictures of "kittens" found on Flickr... lucky for him (and us), that he's not a kiwi (or a blondine), otherwise the search results would have been catastrophic! Anyway, first thing I did was my avatar out of small simpsons flickr images... isn't it cool? I discovered later, that you can also use your own pictures or images of projects, renders, etc. to create a mosaic. Imagine having a poster at your office composed of several images of your projects, or presenting your client with a poster made out of several mini renders of the project. How cool is that? KrazyDad's recommendations are Andrea Mosaic for the PC, and MacOSaiX, for the Mac.
"Each of the 48 dots is moving in a circle. Each of the dots is on a 3 minute cycle. At the end of 3 minutes, the outermost dot will have moved around the circle once (this dot represents the first harmonic or fundamental). The next dot will have moved around the circle twice (representing the second harmonic). The next dot three times, and so on. The innermost dot moves around the circle 48 times. Now, imagine these dots are raised bumps on a disc which is controlling a music box, with each bump triggering a note when it passes the zero degree line (a line extending from the center to the east). The result would look and sound something like this three minute looping movie."
And finally, some magic tricks on your computer: First, Bondoogle is a card guessing game. By "googling" something like "what is the card?" the card selected by the intended victim will appear as an image search result. "Google Fool" is a mind reading game, that will display search results of the victim's thoughts. However, the game that will get everyone intrigued is iPolygraph. This flash lie detector hosted by the University of Calgary, will tell your victim if he(she)'s telling the truth about the selected card. The online lie detector will tell whether the answers are true or false based on the shape of the circles drawn by the victim, After only 3 questions, it will surprisingly tell the number and shape of the card! (... just don't reveal it's secret)
I should have posted this on my message about the so called "carbon footprint"... but I just found it on my old bookmarks now that I am doing a bit of "winter cleaning". It's not a good way of reducing weight, it's about reducing carbon dioxide:
"TerraPass' Climate Change Chocolate bar is meant to educate while tasting great. It comes in a wrapper with 15 tips for lightening your environmental impact. These helpful hints teach you how to save energy by making small changes to your daily habits. And of course, thanks to Bloomsberry & Co., you can be sure the finest chocolate is attached to these green lifestyle lessons. Climate Change Chocolate comes with a verified TerraPass offset of 133 pounds of carbon dioxide reductions, the average American’s daily carbon impact. We hope this small offset will be the first taste of a lower-carbon lifestyle for Whole Foods shoppers who decide to take responsibility for their climate change impact. In addition, the carbon emissions associated with the production and distribution of the chocolate bar has been balanced out."
So, there you go, eat chocolate and save the planet!
Keep this device in the glove box near the registration for your car. If you are stopped by the police use such phrases as: “I can’t find my car’s registration, I only have this tasty donut”. Or say, “Instead of my driver’ license, wouldn’t you like to have this delicious donut?” The donut works best by itself, but it can be combined with other methods such as crying, whining, and begging. Think of it as a polite way of saying: "Can we settle this here?"
The canned donut is not very environmentally friendly, but then again, the donut itself is not very health-friendly anyway. A good way of caring for the environment tho, is to combine your morning toast bread with a post-it note. I mean, instead of leaving extra post-it notes on your brunch-box like: "don't forget to pick up the laundry"... or typical: "don't forget to make the deposit for the upholsterer". Now you can burn-mark your toast with a drawing and/or leave messages like "don't forget to wash the dishes after your breakfast!". All you need is a toast messenger designed by Sasha Tseng from Japan. If you are into minimalism, and minimalistic modern food... you'll probably like the transparent toaster. I have no idea how safe is that... but it certainly looks very nice. I wouldn't dare to use my fingers to grab the bread loaf and it's not very practical to toast just one slice. This other glass toaster by Andrea Großfuss and Olaf Kießling seems to be easier to grab... but still, looks very dangerous to me. I guess we're getting bored of the old style toasters. Any ornaments on new toasters like this Russell Hobbs Toaster, are like Adolf Loos would say: criminal ornaments! : "The evolution of culture marches with the elimination of ornament from useful objects".
If you think my environmental concerns against the iPhone are complete bollocks, That's nothing compared to a NSW Police's campaign called iDead. They advise that pedestrians should refrain from listening to their iPods or cell phones when crossing the streets, or they may risk either being hit by car or getting a $53.00AUS fine. I'm glad we didn't move to George Orwell's 1984 OZ!
"Members of the public are advised to exercise caution when using mobile phones and portable media players, as they pose a potential safety risk when they distract pedestrians from their surrounding environment. Recent growth in the use of portable media players and mobile phone usage has led to a need for greater awareness amongst both pedestrians and motorists to ensure these new technologies don’t lead to a rise in pedestrian accidents."
In other semi-un-related matters... this month's Adobe Edge Newsletter features some interesting websites using flash. It's quite interesting how they are now using 3D like effects... although, I am still not convinced on how long it takes to load some flash content. Some flash developers really have the Dog's Bollocks Syndrome and put every single actionscript just because they can! Despite having broadband (OK, very slow semi-broadband) I still have time to go to the kitchen and make me a sandwich while some pages are still loading. It took me a (long) while, but I found all 20 bones of the Scruff's dog... I was stuck on the main page until I finally gave up, clicked on the info page... and realized that the rest of of the bones were on those extra pages!!! It's just a pity that the actual game is only for PC's =(
I loved the Kung Fu Panda! I am looking forward for that movie... but I have my concerns about american martial arts pseudo-manga. Usually their stories are too much Hollywood and zero anime... they focus too much on having celebrities making the voices, and adapting the character to that voice, that they forget about actually developing a character or a story. Anyway, another extraordinary flash site is Errol Schwartz' Portfolio. A nice way of presenting his works using a 3D envirnoment... the site has a game mode and a browse mode... and he also included all his projects on a single html page... however, the link to the html version should be on the entry page, not until the flash page is loaded!!! Maybe I'll review designing for accessibility later.