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Interface innovations

BBC News Video in RSS!!

Just found this in the BBC News site’s video player… You can now subscribe to the video via RSS.

A quick bit of copying and pasting from the little orange buttons gives this list of A/V feeds:

Just subscribed to the Sci/Tech feed to check it out, and it works nicely in Bloglines: clicking a headline pops you to an individual pagelet for the video – which is another subtle advance, IMHO.

BBC News Video in RSS!!

One thing they could do is add the duration of the clip to the headline or description so it shows up in your RSS viewer.

Very nice stuff – I imagine this will mean a few interesting ‘mashups’ and alternative interfaces might be showing up on http://backstage.bbc.co.uk in the near future. Look forward to that…

Now, if only they were Quicktimes… or PSP formatted…

I like this thought from Martin Geddes of why video conferences have never taken off:

“Without having something to gesticulate at — other participants, a diagram, the window — you’re left limp and lifeless. So perhaps there’s a Superman-style blue backdrop screen type of technology that can re-insert those elements.”

Perhaps this is a job for EyeToy hackers, or those with an iSight, Quartz Composer and a spare afternoon?
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Bonus link: some lovely Quartz Composer work at zugakousaku.com

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Swordplay, revolution-style, originally uploaded by blackbeltjones.

The Nintendo Revolution controller has been revealed, and I am predictably overexcited.

It’s made me more convinced that embodied and tangible interaction has a big, juicy, interesting mainstream future.

The video of it in action [via Russell Beattie] is wonderful, especially the way that a wide-range of genres of gaming and play can be inferred just from watching people’s movements and hearing a bit of soundtrack.

Who needs HiDef?

Or as Gillen puts it:

“Either you want more polygons or you want the Future.

Choose a side.

“Revolution! Revolution! Revolution! Revolution!”

Also, go read Andy Losowsky’s imaginings of where the Revolution could take us:

“if it’s that depth sensitive, if you’ll be able to use it to draw outlines around things in the room? Or people?”

He also has some great ideas about possible other nunchuk-plug-in peripherals.

And I was just calming down again, too.

Sony's magic wand patent

Via Jim Rossignol’s Esoteric Beat (Reg. Reqd) comes this news of a patent registered by Sony for what sounds like an extension to Eyetoy.

“Sony’s new idea is to plug a webcam into the console, and give the gamer a handheld wand similar to a pocket flashlight. The wand has a battery, a few mouse-like buttons and several different coloured LEDs that can be switched on and off in various combinations.

By pressing the buttons and waving the wand towards the webcam, the gamer can click to shoot aliens, drag-and-drop images on screen and navigate menus.”

Moreover – the affordances of a wand give a whole pallette of gestural interface for games developers to work with – adding ‘compositional’ control to rhythm – and possibly a whole other level of emotion to interface.

Sounds perfect for god games or RTS games, and even action games with elements of ‘compositional commands like Okami or even Darwinia if it ever made it to Playstation.

This effort of MMDC’s stood out from the scores of ‘transparent’ screen tromp l’oeil pictures created in the latest Flickr flap.

Why? The transparent terminal window floating in mid-air, mid-screen. Beautifully done.

Made me think of laptops from a possible augmented-reality future, where a vestigal frame of the screen is kept by industrial designers as a social cue, to be flipped up as an interruptions shield… even though the reality you are interacting with is just light scattered directly on your retina.

The faceted, messy world of folk/tag/free/ethnoclassification seems to be a natural fit for zoomable user-interfaces, or ZUIs… or Zooeys*.

The latest in Flash-to-Flickr interfaces for Tag browsing by Felix Turner does a particularly nice job of using mouse-gesture, zooming layers and just good, tasteful visual design.

Here’s a grab for the tag "London" for instance:

Tagbrowse_london_1

* Zeitgeistfully, in the new film of HHG2TG, Trillian is played by a Zooey

One upside of being down for the count over a long weekend is that there’s no guilt in eating an entire boxed set of TV all at once.

I sat down (well, lied down) to take in Joss Whedon’s aborted cowboy space-opera, Firefly; and was pleasantly surprised.

It’s no wonder it was cancelled – it takes ages to get going, it’s got a huge cast each of whom “have a secret” and some of the best lines are in Mandarin it seems.

One thing that did strike me about a couple of episodes was how very few ‘screens’ feature in Firefly’s vision of the future – and in general how tangible and situated digital technology seems in that universe.
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