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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Live & Clear! check this!: CSA - AuroraMAX Project - Live broadcast of the Northern Lights from Yellowknife

Brushes app is AMAZING on the iPad: Finger Painting on the Apple iPad from the live model David Kassan

Yo! Distributers!: How To Make Money With The New Independent Film Distributors’ Business Model | Truly Free Film

Guest post by Sheri Candler.

Yesterday we ran part one highlighting the problem.  Today, Sheri points to how distributors will benefit financially from the new model.

It may be that while you are in audience building mode, you will be spending more than making to develop a truly exceptional experience for your community. If you start this now before your entire business collapses, you will fare better.

-Create an online experience that makes the lives of your community better, easier, richer and be the number 1 site they visit for news, information, resources and community tailored to what interests them.

-Fill the vacuum of the lack of curation. People are confused by where to find things they like and overwhelmed by the choice. In a sea of content, be their favored destination. In this way, you can take on the likes of Netflix, a company that offers a huge range that makes finding content specific to personal interests nearly impossible because they don’t intimately know who their customers are. You will know this.

-Lock in the community by maintaining a dialog that will turn their initial attention into a revenue stream for your brand. A subscription model is what you should aspire to, but you cannot rush to that without first showing what you have to offer and reeling them in. First offer the ability to sample, share and then buy.

-Innovate in the online experiences you build to keep the community engaged and interested in making the circle bigger for you and for them. Incentivize those who are the most active at enlarging the community. Take the money you would have spent on outside marketers and use it to think of interesting incentives for your tribe.

I fear the problem for all of you will be waiting to see if another business model becomes successful before you decide to reinvent your own. This is extremely detrimental because waiting only results in being that much further behind. The first ones to embrace a new model win. It is why Netflix beat out Blockbuster. By the time Blockbuster conceded the model Netflix forged was legitimate, they could never catch up. Entrenched companies usually misjudge the speed with which change happens. Now is the time.

Sheri Candler is an inbound marketing strategist who helps independent filmmakers build identities for themselves and their films. Through the use of online tools such as social networking, podcasts, blogs, online media publications and radio, she assists filmmakers in building an engaged and robust online community for their work that can be used to monetize effectively.

She can be found online at, on Twitter @shericandler and on Facebook at Sheri Candler Marketing and Publicity.

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The New Independent Film Distributors’ Business Model (Pt. 1 of 2) | Truly Free Film

Guest post by Sheri Candler.

In this second post, I want to focus on how to rehabilitate the film distribution entities so that they may continue to exist. I know what you are thinking “What’s she on about? We’re fine. We survived the latest shake out and are all the stronger for having less competition.” I am here to tell you that is fallacy. The old ways of bringing films to market are fading fast and it is time to reinvent your business. I want to acknowledge my gurus Gerd Leonhard, Seth Godin and Clay Shirky (though he is more my go to guy on all things having to do with immersive storytelling and audience collaboration) for being a constant source of inspiration for me in looking toward the future of media.

When Ted announced on his Facebook page that he would take part in a panel discussion at the upcoming Woodstock Film Festival concerning the new distribution paradigms, I had to look at who would be involved in this discussion. What people and companies would be taking part who are practicing radically changed business models for film distribution? It was as I thought; none. I posted a link on his page ( asking all involved in the discussion to read it and then talk about how they see the new paradigms. I don’t know if anyone did, but I did get a response from Dylan Marchetti from Variance Films explaining to me how his company functions to actively engage audiences for films they’ve booked in the theater. It was a lengthy exchange that resulted in my writing this post. I don’t think he read the article before he spoke because the point of that piece was to inform on how businesses need to form ecosystems around their companies, not continue only to sell copies of the content they distribute. Distribution companies should not be focused on selling copies, either for viewing or for owning. They should be selling access, creating networks of devoted fans around their brand and developing customized experiences instead. In other words, selling things that cannot be copied. This means they must first gather and cultivate a community of engaged followers and then develop, acquire, produce, and source material with only these people in mind.

Read the full post on

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Brilliant AR campaign from Leo Burnett to save the Siberian Tiger: WWF - thanks Mike Schaus!

Today's must watch doc on data viz -Journalism in the Age of Data' on Brain Pickings


By Maria Popova

It’s no secret we have a data visualization fetish, but that’s not just because we like looking at pretty pictures; it’s because we believe the discipline is an important sensemaking mechanism for today’s data deluge, a new kind of journalism that helps frame the world and what matters in it in a visual, compelling, digestible way. Stanford’s Geoff McGhee, an online journalist specializing in multimedia and information design, tends to agree. His excellent Journalism in the Age of Data explores data visualization as a storytelling medium in an hour-long film highlighting some of the most important concepts, artists and projects in data visualization from the past few years.
Journalists are coping with the rising information flood by borrowing data visualization techniques from computer scientists, researchers and artists. Some newsrooms are already beginning to retool their staffs and systems to prepare for a future in which data becomes a medium. But how do we communicate with data, how can traditional narratives be fused with sophisticated, interactive information displays?”

Read more:

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What a great night! Margaret Atwood and Ursula K. Le Guin debate science fiction vs. "realism"


"Ursula K. Le Guin and Margaret Atwood are two of SF's most famous living writers. Claire Evans was lucky enough to join 2,000 other people in listening to them discuss Star Wars, fantasy... and telling the truth in fiction.

Earlier this year, when I went to an event to meet NASA astronaut Jim Dutton at my local science museum, I was the only person in attendance over twelve. Last night, when I went to see Ursula K. Le Guin and Margaret Atwood chat on stage as part of the Portland Arts and Lectures 2010 series, I felt like the only person there under forty. Alas, this is my life: the aspirations of a child and the literary interests of a middle-aged woman.

Pairing Margaret Atwood with Ursula K. Le Guin was smart: they come from similar backgrounds, both attended Radcliffe in the pre-Second Wave years, both are very prolific writers of indefinable genre fiction, and they've evidently been friends for years. Seated on little divans in front of over 2,000 people (yes, "only in Portland," I know), they seemed like two old school chums swapping gossip even when they were deconstructing modern realism and debating whether or not the human race is doomed. The effect was intimate, convivial — Le Guin giggling uncontrollably, for example, when Atwood discussed how writing is like building a boudoir for the reader. Atwood making endless Twitter jokes...."

read more!

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Jason Schwartzman Introduces the New Yorker iPad App - 2 of my favorite things

Portal 2...mmmm...Gamasutra Interviews the Game Designers - Synthesizing Portal 2

The value of building agnostic: Mobile apps and why they have no future - Rob Ford/FWA guests on Virgin

The answer is simple, you build a mobile website that will work over all mobile devices and even scale nicely on tablets.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

This is INSANE: iPhone App Uses Camera To Identify Airplane Flight Paths - RT @Jawbonetv

It's all about the smoke machine: Douglas Trumball & the opening of Blade Runner: Hades Landscape | Douglas Trumbull","scaling":"fit","autoPlay":true,"autoBuffering":false},"canvas":{"backgroundColor":"#000","backgroundGradient":"none"},"playlist":[{"url":"br_hades_fix404p750.flv","baseUrl":"","scaling":"fit","autoPlay":true,"autoBuffering":false}],"playerId":"flowplayer_container"}" />

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Fascinating: natural gas find = 20 years of energy- so short term: Haynesville Documentary Film

CSI Creator Teases Dark Prophecy Psychopath | Underwire

Fan creates AWESOME title sequence for new AMC series: THE WALKING DEAD "Opening Titles"

Unauthorized Zuckerberg Comic Book to Follow Social Network | Underwire (I'm Zuck exhausted already)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Great account of CFC Media Lab's Project HoodiePlay: The First Rule of Zombieland: Cardio - ZER01 Blog

20 Sep 2010 • by tiffany

It is no secret that i am rather fond of those flesh-eating once-humans known as ZOMBIES.

Thus, when I received a text to meet in front of South Hall at 10:30pm for the Canadian Film Centre Media Lab’s Project HoodiePlay, I was more than excited to show up. This is a game designed by Rose Bianchini, Kathleen Climie and David McCallum while with CFC and the game is known more affectionately as ZombieTag.

The rules are simple. Each gamer is asked to wear a hoodie: all installed with lights and sensors. One person is ‘it’ and after 10 seconds chases the rest of the frantic gamers in a restricted area. When a person gets tagged by the zombie, one becomes “infected” and the lights on the hoodie will begin to flash. Then they are to join hands with the existing monster to terrorize the rest of the crowd in increasing mass as more and more gamers succumb to the disease.

Honestly, I had my doubts going into the game. Not only was I not the most athletic person, it was getting late into a rather long day, and I had just gotten into a bike accident the day before, with wounds still trying to heal.

Not like any of that was on my mind when the first yell of “GO!” ripped through the crowded air of the AbsoluteZero street festival that was going on at the same time. Bystanders turned to look as a group of hooded runners zipped past them in a desperate attempt to survive. Shouts of “no running!” followed soon after, but the adrenaline made us unstoppable. Laughing hysterically (that’s what I do when I get nervous), I begged attendees to get out of my way or else I was going to “die” and mumbling obscenities, I ran up and down the short block before fate intervened.

The game was an amazing amount of fun. However, nothing beat that instant camaraderie that came with surviving something bigger than all of us put together. All of a sudden, our zombie-selves had something in common, brought together by a seemingly simple game of tag.

Although there are no more games of ZombieTag scheduled for the duration of 01SJ, if you are into public games, Rockwell Group LAB’s Plug-in-Play is something you MUST go see at night at the San Jose City Hall.


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Guardian UK & Bill&Melinda Gates Foundation partner to map GDP vs. hunger, education & infant mortality/ MDG interactive

On our selected countries we show the growth of GDP and use it to contrast with achievements on three of the millennium development goals since the baseline in 1990. Click on the links below to get started.

An extraordinary detailed, interactive mapping of the state of the world's population today

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Raise awareness? play a game? worthwhile or problematic? Depaul charity iHobo iPhone application

iHobo iPhone application

Watch the film

A young homeless person lives on your iPhone for three days.

Take care of him, or his life could spiral out of control.

You’ll need to be there for him, day and night, providing food, money, warmth and support.

He’ll alert you when he gets into trouble or needs your help, and the speed of your response could be the difference between him making it through in one piece, or becoming addicted to drugs.

Can you keep him on the straight and narrow?

Get iHobo for free, click ‘Download App’ or go direct to the iTunes App Store and search ‘iHobo’.

Download Application


DePaul UK

More information

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Great resource site came my way this am: 50 Great Sites To Help You Live Green | Environmental Science Degrees

Here are the first 5 with 45 more to go!

"Living Green is not just something people do, it’s a way people live. Living Green is the understanding that Earth has a limited amount of resources and we only have one Earth, so we have to take care of it, keep it clean and protect the environment we live in. Otherwise there won’t be much of a life for our children and their children. Here are 50 sites that will help you Live Green. If we all do a small part, it will add up very quick."

1. Going Green – This site is all about going green. With post from how living green can save you money to what does living green mean, this site has a ton of information.

2. Skippy’s Vegetable Garden – Brought to you by Kathy and her dog Skippy, this site is a journal of a small home garden. Follow along with Kathy and Skippy as they work in and out of their garden each year.

3. The Constant Gardener – This is another site about a small garden by someone who is married with a child, journaling the process of living with a family while maintaining a garden.

4. City Happy – The diary of our struggle to live a green and fair life. Although this site may not have many new post moving forward, it has a wealth of information that is still very good to read through.

5. Eco-Chick – This site it all about fashion and makeup while staying green, thinking about the environment since as they point out “Mother Earth is a Woman”.

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Good discussion & great refs here (thnx Gary Hayes!): PICNIC: Everything We Know About Transmedia Is Wrong | ARGNet: Alternate Reality Gaming Network

PICNIC: Everything We Know About Transmedia Is Wrong

September 26, 2010 · By Daniël van Gool in Events, Features, Press 

This installment returns to our coverage of PICNIC with one of the “PICNIC Specials” sessions, and advanced masterclass entitled Everything We Know About Transmedia Is Wrong! It’s worth noting that some speakers referred to the session as Everything You Know About Transmedia is Wrong!, a subtle distinction. The panel was moderated by Seth Shapiro, two-time Emmy Award winner, principal of New Amsterdam Media, and a leader in the field of digital media, having worked for a number of media initiatives. One of these initiatives that may be familiar to our readers is Tim Kring’s Conspiracy for Good.

All of the panelists were first given the opportunity to introduce themselves along with a short presentation on their ideas on transmedia. First up was Dan Hon, co-founder of Mind Candy and Six to Start, currently a senior creative at the London branch of Wieden + Kennedy. Dan started by showcasing one of W+K’s recent major success stories, the Old Spice viral campaign. He then prefaced his definition of transmedia by discussing The Beast, a game that many consider to be the first alternate reality game. Hon reminded the audience that The Beast played out on the pre-YouTube, pre-Facebook and pre-Twitter “archaic web”, a time when sharing and collaboration online was synonymous with email. The Beast and its launch was based on the principle of “Internet archeology”: if you start digging for something online, you might just discover a story and even get involved in it. So, in the case of The Beast, people intrigued enough by a brief mention of a “sentient machine therapist” working on themovie A.I. to search further would stumble upon a deep narrative.

According to Dan, there’s a major challenge facing the traditional alternate reality game, something we might nowadays call transmedia entertainment: people seem to associate them with massive collaborative problem solving and puzzles. One of Hon’s major complaints with current alternate reality game and transmedia development upon which he as waxed eloquent in the past is that ARGs are not mainstream enough because they “incorporate obscure shit that no one want to see or do” by relying on tactics such as steganography, cryptography and solving stupid puzzles. Hon chastises developers, saying,

Stop doing this! Your audience is not stupid. If you put a work of fiction in front of them, they will understand what it is and we do not have to pretend that ‘it is not a fucking game.’ The number of people who are interested in mathematical cryptography is very very small; instead, let’s make stuff that just entertains people. I don’t want to jump through hoops to enjoy something, I want to view Charlie bit my finger on YouTube.

What if, Hon posits, the first alternate reality game wasn’t based on a scifi movie, catering to a geek audience? What if it was based on the movie Amélie, which also came out in 2001? An interesting question. What would have happened? It begs the question: are we are using the alternate reality gaming genre in the right way?

Before elaborating further on these thoughts, Tommy Pallotta took the stage. Pallotta is a filmmaker with a degree in philosophy and a penchant for applying technology to storytelling in ways that create interesting hybrid art forms, pioneering new applications of the technique of rotoscoping to create animated movies from live action film. Pallotta points out that because of this, his background in transmedia is from a creator’s point of view. I will be delving further into Pallotta’s work later in our PICNIC coverage: for now, I will focus on his discussion of his work on the rotoscoped film A Scanner Darkly.

During A Scanner Darkly’s production, focus groups gave the film horrible scores. They were so bad, in fact, that Warner Bros. started asking Pallotta why he even made the movie, and balked at releasing the film. Taken slightly aback, Pallotta asked if he could take control of the advertising process. Warner Bros. agreed, telling him that they were fine with anything that didn’t cost the studio any money.

In an attempt to save the film, Pallotta took portions of the movie and put them into the public domain. He asked fans to participate in a contest to create a trailer for the movie, and got thousands and thousands of submissions from people who hadn’t even seen the movie yet. He then went on to create a graphic novel about the movie and used the stills from that to introduce a mobile app to get the content out on a mobile platform. The movie was not the commercial success Warner Bros. might have hoped for, but still succeeded in reaching out to a broad fan base and receiving critical acclaim.

Pallotta explained that he’s a believer in getting content now and not later, claiming to be a  ”huge pirate.” Pallotta admitted to downloading True Blood the moment each new episode hit the torrent networks because living in Amsterdam made it impossible for him to see the episodes instantly by any other methods. Pallotta went on to make a movie explicitly intended for release on BitTorrent, wanting to give something back to the piracy community.

His latest project is a true transmedia production., made in collaboration with the Dutch TV network VPRO, is a documentary on the future of energy usage. VPRO wanted to reach a different audience from their regular, older, TV oriented audience. Pallotta succeeded in doing so for the Dutch market with a novel hybrid media experience.  Collapsus will have its worldwide launch in the near future.

The third panelist to offer insight at the panel was Anita Ondine, CEO of Seize the Media, a transmedia production company with a lot of experience in the horror, thriller, and scifi genres. Frequent ARGNet readers may be familiar with Seize the Media’s work on the interactive movie Head Trauma and Hammer Films’ Beyond the Rave. The company is on a mission to push the boundaries of entertainment through storytelling.

Ondine focused her talk on the use of transmedia as a tool for social change “in the real world” but first provided her own definition of transmedia. She recounts that Dan Hon has used transmedia as a form of advertising, and that Tommy Pallotta uses it to augment his story world by using multiple platforms to deliver it. In her view, transmedia is telling a story (or many stories) without boundaries or borders, using multiple media platforms and different story forms, but by bolting these platforms together, but by creating a unified story world inside which the multiple stories can exist: a fully integrated experience.

Another element of transmedia, according to Ondine, is that there is audience participation. Ondine describes this as leaving the door open. Seize the Media does not design exactly what will happen in the story, but instead creates a framework and then leaves open opportunities for the audience to influence the story. She paraphrases Henry Jenkins, explaining that storytelling originally was a participatory experience, in times when people still sat around campfires and told each other stories. Mass media made this much more a one way experience though and transmedia is here to take us back to those participatory days.

She also notes that “participatory” is on the progressive end of the spectrum and is quite different from “interactive”: it allows people to stand up and take action and influence the outcome, not just interact without impact. Transmedia should give you something to do. Traditionally, the “something to do” for a transmedia experience is something simple, like cracking a puzzle. But why not go further and try and have people go out into the real world and do something for good?

To try and achieve this, one should think about setting clear goals: what change do you want to create in the world? What does the story mean to me? Why does the story need to be told? What is the best way to tell it? Which are the best characters? What themes or motifs help amplify my journey? What emotional journey will the audience experience? (Do you want to motivate them? Scare them into action?) What call to action do you want to? How will the audience impact the outcome?

At this point, Shapiro opened up the floor to questions from the audience and the panel transformed into a participatory discussion. A representative from Unicef in the audience asks Ondine if she knows of any examples of successful transmedia experiences that created change for good, seeing that the genre still seems to be in an early stage of development.

One of the examples mentioned was An Inconvenient Truth, a transmedia supplement that added to the movie’s message and tried to get people to change their behavior.  Both Pallotta and Hon added that when you get people to go to a website, there needs to be something to do. You need hooks in each platform you use to reign people in. If you want them to use multiple platforms, create questions in the minds of the audience that can be answered by making use of the other platforms. Architect the story in a way that motivates action and gives people something to do. Ondine also referenced the Belgian indie docu-fiction, Miss Homeless. Its creators put the content out in the public domain and then encouraged people to premiere it themselves within their own communities. This proves the point that transmedia does not need to exist in a digital context exclusively rather nicely.

Dan Hon commented on some of the projects Jane McGonigal has developed in the “gaming for good” realm: you need to always keep track of what it is exactly that you are trying to achieve. What are your concrete goals? And, bluntly, what is the return on investment for what you do? Dan might have a point in that “creating awareness” by itself might not always be efficient. Hon claims that “not that many people actually changed their behavior after World Without Oil.” Anecdotally, I personally know of quite a few people who changed their behavior as a result of that game, even if only in small ways.

According to Hon, it works much better if you have to have a nice meaty goal that you can dangle in front of people’s eyes. Anita Ondine added that this is why Barack Obama was so successful utilizing social media: the goal to “get a president elected” was concrete, achievable and impactful enough for people to act. If “trying to create awereness” is your intended goal, Hon argues, you might be better off giving your money to a skilled advertising agency and rely on traditional advertising to create awareness.

Another question from the audience asked how transmedia can create collaboration in the real world, between actual people (not individuals on their computers). Hon responded by telling the audience about his work on Perplex City: the collectible cards were a way to get people to work together, have physical items that they could show to their friends, and sit around a table to solve the puzzles together. As it turned out, people treasured the cards, and some of the rarer cards became objects of desire that sold for huge amounts of money on eBay. Another cute and simple example is the iPad game Marble Mixer. In the game, you and your friend sit around the iPad and play with virtual marbles.

A follow-up question expressed concern about how to get transmedia to work for a good cause. Shapiro discussed his work on Conspiracy for Good, which got people out into the real world to meet others. Hon added that live events for Perplex City got people out there. MindCandy found that you can easily run events in the National Gallery (as long as you don’t tell them beforehand). They had three generations of players coming to these events because the players knew that it was going to be a fun day out with the potential for learning about art and other educational topics. The Smithsonian is developing a reputation for putting on alternate reality games, and locative platforms like SCVNGR enables you to make trails or adventures yourself to get your family and friends to play.

Another example closer to the charity-side of good causes mentioned by Shapiro was Charity: Water, a low-tech non-profit organization working on providing clean water for people in third world countries. They use statistics (such as the impact of building a well in an African village in terms of the number of families affected) in a viral way to try and get attention for their cause.

The next question asked how to incentivize early adopters. Ondine responded that it’s all about creating entry points for people to your story. While Hon agreed, he added that it’s essentially the same dilemma as “what is the incentive for people to watch the first episode of my TV show instead of getting the DVD box or downloading it.” This dilemma is a controlling factor in the delivery of all forms of media, new and old. Entry points are particularly challenging for transmedia projects, Hon noted, with regards to encouraging replayability and encouraging entrance into a transmedia experience halfway.

In ancient times, storytelling used to be a live event, happening on a stage or around a campfire, and if you missed it, it was gone. TV shows worked out a solution for this in the form of the thirty-second clips explaining what happened previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer at the start of new episodes. Transmedia should be looking for its own equivalent, and as far as Ondine and Hon are concerned, it’s not going to be timelines. “They don’t want to wrestle themselves through a complete timeline, they just want their thirty seconds!”

Interesting developments with respect to incentivize early adopters include providing opportunities to earn social capital by being the first person to achieve something. Compare it to being the first in your social network to get a Halo: Reach achievement as opposed to going into the office after watching a program and saying you were the first to see something on TV.

One of the most intriguing questions to come from the audience questioned whether transmedia make you cry. In other words, can transmedia entertainment have the same emotional impact as a movie can? Is drama possible in transmedia? Can the same emotional response be evoked if there is so much interactivity? Pallotta’s answer mostly focused on getting better technology to enhance the experience. Hon, however, responsed with a counter-question. Do we already have writers who understand the medium well enough? According to him, there certainly will be writers who understand it enough to get people emotionally involved.  He recalls the 6-word story Hemingway allegedly wrote demonstrating the possibility of eliciting an emotional response with very little material: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” If it’s that easy to evoke emotion, why can’t transmedia do the same?

It’s unfortunate that transmedia writers like Dave Szulborski, Maureen McHugh, Sean Stewart, Krystyn Wells, and Jan Libby did not get the recognition from the panelists that they deserve in this regard. Along with their transmedia writing compatriots, they have demonstrated the ability to reach out to their audiences on an emotional level, tugging at their heartstrings that went sadly ignored in the discussions.

This is where the panel ended. It was an interesting session, giving the audience a glimpse into the minds of some of the people currently working on initiatives that will help shape the future of transmedia. It will be very interesting to keep following them over the coming years to see what directions they will take us.


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Not surprising but still jaw-dropping: Race and ethnicity - data viz of American cities by Eric Fischer

Not surprising but still jaw-dropping: Race and ethnicity - data viz of American cities by Eric Fischer

Clear thinking that applies across media from Method: How Can Brands Survive, if We're Drowning in Media? | Co.Design

This is the first post I've read today & it's nice to wake up to such clear thinking. The points made hear as to how we are accessing & consuming content has clear applications across media. Though with Blockbuster now bankrupt in the US I guess that figure in the graphic now shifts to '0.'

I'm looking forward to reading more in the 10X10 series. Maybe after some more coffee.

From the site:

'How to deliver content for always-on consumers.'

key points covered on 'The New Value Proposition':

Information Retrieval
Smart Bookmarks
Service as a Business Model
The Brand Experience
Information Everywhere

This is the third piece in the 10x10 series by innovation firm Method. Read the previous piece here.

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Clear thinking that applies across media from Method: How Can Brands Survive, if We're Drowning in Media? | Co.Design

This is the first post I've read today & it's nice to wake up to such clear thinking. The points made hear as to how we are accessing & consuming content has clear applications across media. Though with Blockbuster now bankrupt in the US I guess that figure in the graphic now shifts to '0.'

I'm looking forward to reading more in the 10X10 series. Maybe after some more coffee.

From the site:

'How to deliver content for always-on consumers.'

key points covered on 'The New Value Proposition':

Information Retrieval
Smart Bookmarks
Service as a Business Model
The Brand Experience
Information Everywhere

This is the third piece in the 10x10 series by innovation firm Method. Read the previous piece here.

Posted via email from Siobhan O'Flynn's 1001 Tales

Best yet? 'With an Interface Like This, a Smartphone Might Replace Your Laptop' | Co.Design

A new concept phone from Mozilla Labs suggests as much.

Smartphones might one day replace laptops, desktop CPUs, and the like -- except for the fact that the displays remain insufferably small. One designer’s solution, envisioned with community input through Mozilla Labs: project the interface clear off the screen.

Seabird is a concept phone by Billy May (the guy behind Nike’s peripheral-vision shades, not the dude that sold the world OxiClean), and it’s designed to make it way more efficient to input data on a handheld device. So it comes equipped with two pico projectors that throw a sensor-controlled virtual keyboard around your phone like a pair of wings, half on the left side, half on the right -- no more chicken-pecking tiny buttons or having to scroll through menus to find the exclamation point.

You can also set the phone in a docking station to project your keyboard and your screen, practically replicating the look and feel of a laptop.

On the back of the phone, there’s a slot for a Bluetooth dongle, which works as both an earpiece and a sort of gestural control for panning and zooming around 2-D and even 3-D images on your phone.

The design is skinny and clean and almost dainty, which was precisely the point. Says Mays:

The form development took its cues from various aerodynamic, avian and decidedly feminine forms. Its erect posture intends a sense of poise while its supine conformity to the hand reconciles that with the user’s desire for digital control. The curvature of the back also serves a functional role in elevating the projector lens elements when lying flat.

Seabird isn’t meant to go into production -- Mozilla doesn’t plan on entering the smartphone business anytime soon -- but it’s a great provocation that could inspire some radical new thinking. Designers are already experimenting with digital displays that extend into the environment, blurring the divide between real and virtual worlds, as we reported earlier this month. And it speaks volumes that Mays developed the phone through crowdsourcing (lots more on how that worked here) -- suggesting that ambient interfaces aren’t just the fanciful notion of a handful of designers.

Suzanne LaBarre

Suzanne is a senior editor at Co.Design. ... Read more


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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Jeff Gomez' 3 part Case Study on Starlight Runner's Transmedia Strategy for Hot Wheels up on KidScreen


Arriving at Evergreen Case Study: Hot Wheels, Part 3
By Jeff Gomez on September 22nd, 2010

"It was the summer of 2002, and Mattel had just signed off on our Hot Wheels Universe Mythology. We were working with their in-house producers to develop a story that would serve as a CG-animated mini-series, around which we would have to build a meta-narrative of sorts to account for what happens to each of thirty-five cars in a race through an alternate dimension. It all had to be done with blinding speed, including the production of thirty-five comic books, which would house the aforementioned meta-narrative—all in time to ship to retailers for Thanksgiving!

Organization and clarity were key: My team created a system where the cars were broken into teams of seven (reflecting the theme of teamwork that I wanted to weave into the brand). Each of the teams specialized in a specific environment (mountains, deserts, oceans, etc.), and each of the episodes would take place in a realm that expanded said environ on an epic scale. The series would focus on the five team leaders with an emphasis on young spiky-haired Vert Wheeler, whose look and persona would reflect the aspirations of most young boys."

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Posted via email from Siobhan O'Flynn's 1001 Tales

Thanks Simon Pulman! for a really clear post on: Transmedia: The Scarcity-Lazy Paradox | & thanks Jawbone for the find!


"One of the principle questions that any multi-platform project must ask is how easily the audience should be able to access the entire story experience. It’s a pivotal issue, and one that must be contemplated and addressed by any aspiring Transmedia experience, such as:

Multi-Platform Marketing Campaigns
Feature Films and Television Series
Grassroots Transmedia Artists and Storytellers
Billion Dollar Entertainment Brands and Franchises
There are two schools of thought when it comes to designing a Transmedia experience. One proposes that audiences value story experiences more when they have to work for them – story threads should be hidden to allow enterprising consumers to discover them. The other suggests that, in a world with many distractions and alternate entertainment options, Transmedia elements should be as accessible as possible to allow audiences to jump between platforms without any effort. I should note at this juncture that I think most projects will probably try to find a middle ground between the two."

Points covered in the full post:

1. The Effort-Reward Philosophy

2. The Ease-of-Use Philosophy

The Middle Ground

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Posted via email from Siobhan O'Flynn's 1001 Tales

OMG. SO WANT! MINI Scooter E Concept - Electric scooter with bay for iPhone

New Zealand Army recruits through Youtube 1st person shooter game- fascinating: OfficialNZarmy's Channel

"Get what it takes - Medic: Fiapaipai Casserley finds how close training is to the real thing

From: OfficialNZarmy | September 03, 2010 | 6,106 views

When the bullets start flying how will you react? Fiapaipai was thrown into action and had to come to the aid of a fallen comrade and administer treatment in the field. See how she faced the challenge with the NZ Army."

Posted via email from Siobhan O'Flynn's 1001 Tales

'Crowdsourced crime solving' Dexter ARG winding down: Serial Huntress: Justice By All

Friday, September 24, 2010

Just found this blog & liking it: Oliver Reichenstein on 'Information Architects – Can Experience be Designed?'

Do experience designers shape how users feel or do they shape with respect to how users feel? A small but important nuance. Did you catch it? No? Then let me ask you this way: Do architects design houses or do they design “inhabitant experiences?” The bullshit answer is “They design inhabitant experiences.” The pragmatic answer is: “They design houses.” The cautious answer is: Architects design houses that lead to a spectrum of experiences, some foreseen, some not. But they do not design all possible experiences one can have in a house.

Can Experience be designed?

People’s perceptions of user interfaces are too different to be pre-cogitated by a single person. Yes, I designed this site. But no, I don’t know exactly how you experience it right now (but I do have sort of an idea).

Look at the Agenda

Con men: As in every other field there are con men that fool naive clients using experience design as a slogan. Some just make empty promises, some sell empty white papers, some use the slogan to pump up meaningless speeches, some just upsell naive clients with hot air.

Bullshitters: Bullshitting is not lying, it’s fooling people into assuming whatever suits your purpose. Bullshit in UX often comes in pretty funny colors: Unconventional meetings, esoteric brain storming and irrelevant chats at preposterous prices with arm thick bullshit documentations (documentation is important, but just because it’s printed and time consuming doesn’t mean that it’s worth thousands of dollars), some invite programmers and secretaries to design user interfaces, others push management executives to engage in childish games, and some make you do really really crazy stuff like eating soap in a handstand.

Wishy washy managers: Insecure managers like everything that can be tested because it allows them to avoid responsibility. The more insecure a manager is, the more he wants to ask other people. There is nothing wrong with serious user testing, but asking husband, wife, kids, secretary, cousin or yourself is not serious user testing testing. Usability tests and user research need to be done professionals. Not everybody can be as badass as Steve Jobs, but an exceptional product needs a clear vision, solid user research, an experienced designer and a management willing to take some risks.

The Rhetoric

Salesy Emptiness: User Experience Design as a tautology: The design of a product—voluntarily or involuntarily—defines the interaction between human and artefact. Interaction leads to experience. From this point of view, all design is experience design. Used like this, the term “user experience design” doesn’t mean anything.

Amateurish Exaggeration: User Experience Design as hyperbole: User experience design somehow suggests that a designer has direct control over how each and every user experiences his product. A massive exaggeration. The more experience you have in our field the more you are aware of how much the perception of a product varies from person to person. Design defines experience, it doesn’t control it. Used like this, “experience design” is a big promise that cannot be kept.

Technical language: User Experience Design as a synecdoche: The user experience of a product doesn’t start with the first hands on contact and it doesn’t end there either. It includes all contact points: business, technology and design. Skilled designers use the term user experience design instead of web design to express that the visual design is a representative part of a much more complex construct. Used like this, user experience design is a valid term.

The Substance

So yes, some, but not all that use the term “user experience design” are charlatans. So what do serious people try to say, when they use “user experience design” instead of just “web design”?

User Experience Design is not as easy as Dreamweaver: Everybody that publishes a website can call himself a web designer. Calling yourself a user experience designer suggests that you measure your designs with a substantial audience and deal with a wide scale of user opinions on a daily basis. If not, you are not a user experience designer.

User Experience Design proficiency makes you feel small, not big: Traditionally, design is a hierarchical notion where the designer is King and the consumer pays designer taxes to get a spark of his genius. In the field of user experience design, that notion of a glorified omniscient designer has been turned upside down. The experience designer tries to get in touch with as many different users as possible.

User Experience Design doesn’t win ADC prices, it wins percentages: User experience design is the part of a design that can be measured in clicks, time on site, return on investment, return visits and in verbal feedback. User experience design is design where every opinion counts. User experience design is engineering, it doesn’t try to find the perfect solution but the best compromise.

Everybody is a user, so is everybody a user experience designer?

Since everybody is a user, everybody has an opinion on how his experience should be. And many are very eager to utter their opinions really strongly. But that doesn’t mean that every user is a designer. Asking for salt doesn’t make you a cook. The user has his own opinion, the user experience designer deals with different opinions and tries to find the best compromise. Good compromises are not in the middle, they are higher than the initial options: good compromises are synthetic (If your options are cowardly or foolhardy, the synthesis is courageous).

You don’t need to be an engineer to find out that your car doesn’t start. But you need to be an engineer to fix it. As a user experience designer you need to know how things work. When it comes to use, all opinions are equal, but when it comes to engineering, they are not. The engineer collects the feedback and finds ways to deal with it. His opinions are not just based on personal experience. Like a scientist, he tests and validate his assumptions, he develops both theory and practice—not merely relying on his own perception, but by actually testing his products with his audience. And yes, designing interactive products for over ten years makes you more experienced about what works and what doesn’t. But it should never stop you from testing it in the field. By dealing with feedback you get proficient in “experience design.”

The more response you get the more you learn and the better you can do your job in the future. It is not so hard to find feedback. What’s hard is how you deal with it: Feedback always makes complicated things more complicated. And beware! If you do everything the user wants you end up with a mad carrousel.

Theory and Practice

You cannot claim to be an expert in interaction design without practical experience. Building things and dealing with user opinions is what makes a user experience designer. Being an active facebook or Twitter user, a talented speaker, a winning sales man or a collector of UXD articles doesn’t make you an expert on user experience design. What makes you an expert in designing interfaces is building interfaces and dealing with the (often very angry) feedback. Full blooded user experience designers find pleasure in weird things like:

  • Studying user behavior on a daily basis just for fun (Analytics, SE-logs)
  • Usability tests and interviews
  • Prototype testing and optimization
  • Fixing mistakes after the launch by closely watching and evaluating angry user reactions
  • Learning about new business processes
  • Studying new technology on a daily basis

The bigger the audience the more Stoicism is needed. Relaunching T-Online ten years ago, was a baptism of fire, the new design was ripped apart by the whole German tech community. Over time you get used to relaunch protest. Looking at the numbers, iA’s designs seem to improve (and for some reason the reactions are not all that angry anymore). But in every project, there are a lot of surprising feedback to digest and learn from.


Yes, a lot of agencies will abuse technical language to upsell, some more bluntly, some in a more entertaining way. But you can’t slam the bullshit hammer on an entire industry that employs some of the smartest and honest men and women in tech without looking like an amateur.

Amateurs don’t want to talk to and understand clients, they don’t want to discuss things with stupid users, they want to go right in and do it live, change it and improve it in the way they deem necessary. Their strategy is: “Let’s work until it works.” Amateurs are cheap at first but they often fail to complete the job. Because, simply put: without proper preparation and user research and user opinion you can’t make things work—for the user.

  1. User experience design is not a magic method that allows you to foresee how people will feel about your design, but a design approach that is based on user feedback in different phases of the project.
  2. The more experience you have with user testing, the better you know how to deal with the usually hard to handle feedback (feedback alone won’t make a good design), and only few are born Stoics.
  3. The more experience you have handling user feedback, the more likely it is that you are going to find a higher synthetic (and not a foul) compromise in your design development.

Okay, but… how can I discern the bullshitter from the user experience designer? Look at what they say and look at what they did. Then compare. Well that’s just… like… your opinion man… Sure. Tell us what you think on

In case you haven’t heard: iA’s Writer for iPad just came out.


A September 17, 2010 post.

Posted via email from Siobhan O'Flynn's 1001 Tales

WHERE GOOD IDEAS COME FROM by Steven Johnson - crucial patterns...

'PlayStation Move videogames will know how to fake players out'| GameLife |

PlayStation Move videogames will know how to fake players out


"TOKYO — The best PlayStation Move videogames will know how to fake players out, says Sony’s top game man.

The firm’s new Move motion controller pairs a handheld wand with a camera for unparalleled accuracy, but a hyperaccurate game isn’t really what players want, says Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios.

“You have to be very good at pingpong in real life if we make a simulator,” said Yoshida, who oversees all game development that happens under Sony’s wide umbrella. “Our teams have devised a way to make you feel that everything you do is accurately tracked. However, the game does a lot of assisting so that you won’t miserably fail.”

During the Tokyo Game Show last week, Yoshida answered questions about creating games for PlayStation Move. Another notion Yoshida floated: Because Move games can be built purely around unique 3-D gameplay experiences instead of characters and storylines, they might more easily overcome the cultural barriers that have long existed between Japan’s game industry and the West."

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My daughter says 'Cooool.' I agree: Google’s Vision of the Future? Bicycle Meets Monorail | Epicenter 

Pity the future.

Two years ago Google launched the 10^100 project to give millions to fund ideas that will change the world. After being overwhelmed by 150,000 ideas, Google finally announced five winners on Friday.

One of the top five is a company appropriately called Shweeb that proposes building a monorail made of little clear capsules powered by people pedaling recumbent bicycles. Google is giving the company $1 million to fund R&D to “test Shweeb’s technology for an urban setting.”

Quite simply, Google must have gotten 149,996 stupid suggestions for this to have gotten funding. Monorails are kind-of cool in that Disney-theme-park way, and recumbents are efficient bicycles — if entirely unsuitable for daily, urban cycling. But combining the two is something not even the worst sci-fi writer would conjure up.

Can you imagine how sweaty and stinky these things would become? If I’m going to pedal something to get somewhere, it’s going to be using a bike that can actually turn and take me to my destination. Moreover, these things are bound to be slow, and will probably need a large staff of attendants, like a theme-park ride, to ensure that people get on and off safely.

That’s about the best one could hope for.

Shweeb is about to announce where its first public-transit system will be installed. We’re thinking it might work well in Miami Beach, where the well-tanned can shuttle from hotel to beach in a bathing suit, showing off their liposuctioned and collagen-injected derrieres through the plexiglass capsule to onlookers below.

It might also work well in Portland, Oregon, where it could convey bearded computer programmers (the core market for recumbent bikes) from one brewpub to another.

Or maybe it will eventually replace the miniature and embarrassing multicolored bikes that Google engineers ride around the Mountain View campus.

The other recipients sound much more deserving.

The net’s best fighter for government transparency and openness, Carl Malamud, landed $2 million for his Law.Gov project to make the nation’s legal materials online and free for anyone who wants to see them.

The Khan Academy, a nonprofit educational organization that “provides high-quality, free education to anyone, anywhere via an online library of more than 1,600 teaching videos” is getting $2 million. That will help he organization make more courses and translate them into multiple languages.

FIRST, a nonprofit that runs team competitions to promote science and math, is getting $3 million to promote student-driven robotics teams.

The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) runs a one-year program to help recent university graduates prepare for Ph.D. and master’s programs. Google is giving it $2 million to promote math and science graduate study in Africa.

Those all sound like great initiatives.

But the Schweeb plan? That’s just an embarrassing choice. And that’s coming from someone who lives in a city, rides a bike as his main form of transportation, takes public transit, and doesn’t own a car.

Maybe Google was just wanting to show off that it’s quirky, but man, oh, man, if that’s the future, I want out of this theme park now.

Follow us for disruptive tech news: Ryan Singel and Epicenter on Twitter.

Posted via email from Siobhan O'Flynn's 1001 Tales

CSI Creator Anthony Zuiker to intro Dark Prophecy Psychopath on CSI Premiere (Was that Justine Bateman?)

Source: Underwire UK

"CSI creator Anthony Zuiker is playing the synergy card big time with his latest effort.

Dark Prophecy, second in a series of “digi-novels,” goes on sale in traditional book form Oct. 14. To plug the Level 26 product, CBS’s long-running CSI: Crime Scene Investigation series will introduce TV audiences to Dark Prophecy’s resident psychotic, Sqweegel, in its Oct. 14 episode.

For a sneak peek at the twisted killer, check the video, embedded above.

Dark Prophecy retails for $27 in hardback. The iTunes version, which supplements text with video “cyber-bridges,” will follow at a later date to be announced."

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Posted via email from Siobhan O'Flynn's 1001 Tales

OMG. NO. NO: 'I, Robot Director Alex Proyas Signs On To Helm 3D Action Film Paradise Lost'

Alex Proyas, the director responsible for I, Robot, Dark City and Knowing, has been chosen as the right man for the job of adapting John Milton's classic poem Paradise Lost into an epic 3D action movie.

For those who weren't paying attention in English class or, y'know, have just forgotten, Milton's extended poem deals with several religious stories, the most famous of which is the telling of Adam and Eve's expulsion from the Garden of Eden. The film however is going to deal with a different story, that of "the epic war in heaven between archangels Michael and Lucifer, and will be crafted as an action vehicle that will include aerial warfare, possibly shot in 3D," says Variety, who broke the story.

The screenplay has been written by Stuart Hazeldine (Exam), based on an original draft by Byron Willinger and Philip de Blasi, with touches added by Lawrence Kasdan and Ryan Condal.

Posted via email from Siobhan O'Flynn's 1001 Tales

I still love this Parallel Lines competition submission: Iris

Parallel Lines People's Choice goes to BABY TIME by Cédric Petitcollin

Ridley Scott announces Porcelain Unicorn is winner of Philips RSA/Parallel Lines competition (loved this film)

Rich reading (delve later!) » Proximity Wormholes: How the Social Web Enables Intimacy at Scale Johnny Holland – It's all about interaction » Blog Archive