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Monthly Archives: October 2007

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Lower lights?!?, originally uploaded by blackbeltjones.

Lots of hullabaloo about Hulu today, but the thing that intrigued me about the design – apart from the wonderful lack of feature-creep and the cleanliness that seems to bring it – was a single button, marked “Lower lights”.

I’m imagining it’s not an X10 controller interface, but rather does something marvellous in order to further focus your attention on the video – removing extraneous buttons or UI features, dimming the ‘computer’ to amp up the ‘telly’.

In other words, a wonderful, evocative rebranding of something very simple, standard and known: “full-screen mode”.

Well, what do you think it does?

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xspimetheory1, originally uploaded by brucesflickr.

I love Bruce Sterling’s fantastically lo-tech-halloween-Mayan-frightmask of spime theory.

However, he states:

“Look at the bottom of this theory object. You can see that I’ve killed off two very important ideas: Artificial Intelligence and panpsychism. Why did I get rid of those? Because they smell too science-fictional to me. I don’t think they have any real-world traction. I think they are superstition. I think they’re over and done.”

A few years back I raised the idea of a ‘digital spirit world’ being created by arphid-laden objects not being understood or transparent to end-users in a talk I gave at DesignEngaged.

As a subscriber to Clarke’s 3rd Law, I’m not sure superstition has ever been ‘over and done’ unfortunately.

The Dare to be Digital event that I raved about back in August is going to be showcased at the London Games Festival, with the games available for free download if you take your laptop along to the Truman Brewery on Brick Lane.

My favourites – ClimbActic (Teaser Trailer above) and H20 will be on show, and you can also download them from the Dare to be Digital website, if you register.

I’m not able to make Intersections07 in Newcastle next week, and need to sell my ticket.

I couldn’t find any cancellation policy or waiting-list information on the website – not exactly exemplary service design, Intersections-people…

It’s sold out, so any takers? Mail matt [at] blackbeltjones.com

[UPDATE] Someone from the Design Council got in touch and offered to refund the ticket in order to give it to someone on their waiting list. Sorted!

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DSC_0191, originally uploaded by Chris O’Shea.

Went to the second (my first) This Happened event on Tuesday 2nd October at Rich Mix, in East London.

They filled a much bigger venue than the first one (a room above the Griffin pub) with both London’s interaction/product design crossover-crowd, and some visiting luminaries as a result of the FOWA halo-effect.

Great talks included Karsten ‘Toxi‘ Schmidt on the epic data-guzzling interactive table that Moving Brands built for London College of Fashion, and Crispin Jones on crackling form taking us through the evolution of his ‘Tengu’ toy.

What I walked away from the event from though was the possible connection between the last three talks.

Not sure if this was deliberate on the part of the curators, but Dee Halligan’s talk on developing The Science of Spying exhibition (something I’ve had an insider view of through Foe’s work on that, and probably the best overview of it online is by Regine) connected with Rory Hamilton‘s presentation of the service design interventions Live|Work staged in The Baltic gallery, and Massimo Banzi‘s guided tour of the Arduino sketching-in-hardware revolution dovetailed nicely to me.

Rory Hamilton @ This Happened
That is – centred around Rory’s lovely tales of getting the staff of the Baltic to re-engineer their environment (the ‘service safari’ he took them on was wonderful – especially the way he hacked a special cover full of guidance and prompts for disposable cameras to take with them) and the service they provide through rapid prototyping (I really loved his phrase: “Creating service-envy”), and thinking about Science Of’s need to create many interactive installations in one environment – wouldn’t there be a great application there of ‘sketching in hardware’ in rapidly developing fun and playful things for public spaces, that visitors could perhaps even participate in, for Arduino?

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