Friday, December 31, 2010
Great Look Back by ARG Player: Cloudmaker Days: A Memoir of the A. I. Game - Jay Bushman | ETC-Press
Cloudmaker Days: A Memoir of the A. I. Game 12/14/2010
Vertices and Vortices
On the evening of May 6th, 2001, I dawdled on the corner of 4th Street and Avenue A in New York City, trying to decide if I really would attend a rally for the Anti-
I wouldn’t know anybody there. Sure, I had corresponded with some of them through an online message board. And after chickening out of the first gathering, I’d gone to the second cell meeting the week before – a dozen or so tentative geeks communing in an empty mid-town dining room, gingerly feeling each other out over our shared obsession with a strange series of websites. But this would be different. Even though the rally was taking place at an East Village bar, it was ostensibly going to be in the world of the “game.” Nobody knew what to expect, although speculation was rampant. But this would be more than just kibitzing about an online curiosity. This was the real world.
I thought about going home. It was a Sunday night. I could skip a strange evening with a bunch of weird geeks, turn in early and get ready to face Monday morning. I could read about what happened behind the safety of my monitor. Standing on that corner, I hesitated.
At last, I chose the road with the robots and the weirdoes. And that has made all the difference.
Evan is Dead, Jeanine is the Key
The “game” in question had no name. After the experience was all over, we learned that the designers – we had named them the “Puppetmasters” or “PMs” – had no real name for it either. They called it “The Beast,” at first because an early asset list contained 666 items and later because of the havoc that the ever-expanding experience wreaked on their lives. These days, it’s sometimes described as “The A.I. Game” or “The A.I. Web Experience,” dull monikers that give the bare minimum of information necessary to open conversation with a non-initiate.
In the middle of the scrum we called it “Evan Chan,” after the story’s first victim. Most often it was nameless, too new and multifarious to be contained by any kind of description we could invent. Like religion or art, it couldn’t be explained to anybody who didn’t already get it. Or at least, in the rush of spring 2001, that’s how it felt to the initial converts.
Great Year Review!: A Look Back at the Year in Alternate Reality Games: 2010 Edition | ARGNet: Alternate Reality Gaming Network
The State of the Industry
Alternate reality games aren’t dead, but they have certainly evolved over the past year, as terms like “transmedia storytelling” and “gamification” have insinuated their way further into the developmental lexicon. In April, the Producer’s Guild of America added the “transmedia producer” credit to their Code of Credits, swiftly followed by the formation of the rival Transmedia Artists Guild in July, which aims to provide a support structure for creators. Prominent figures in the entertainment industry including Anthony Zuiker, Tim Kring, and Guillermo del Toro have all publicly committed themselves to transmedia production. Meanwhile, Jane McGonigal’s TED Talk on gamification as a means of leveraging our penchant for play for social good has reignited interest in serious games.
Jay Bushman does an exemplary job of articulating the industry’s formative state in his article about his time as a Cloudmaker, a name affectionately adopted to describe players of the genre-defining alternate reality game for the film A.I.. Bushman notes that the state of the industry can be analogized to the film industry circa 1926, before the release of The Jazz Singer manifested the argument for talkies. As Bushman explains, The Jazz Singer “was not the first film with sound, but it was the first one to make its benefits obvious and to show that sound was the way forward.”
ARGs as a Promotional Tool
Alternate reality games still earn their proverbial bread and butter as a promotional tool, and this year has seen a number of stand-out projects.
ARGs in Film
This year, the film industry relied on tried-and-tested formulas to leverage alternate reality games as film promotion. Following up on the immense popularity of the Cloverfield viral, JJ Abrams has released a series of cryptic clues hinting at the story for his newest low-budget project, Super 8. While Cloverfield‘s game centered around Tagruato Corporation’s Slusho beverage, Super 8 has introduced Captain Coop’s Rocket Poppeteers brand popsicles. Similarly, in order to capitalize on the popularity of Wired’s Hunt for Evan Ratliff, Repo Men staged a month-long manhunt for four volunteer runners charged with protecting artificial organs known as “artiforgs.” Ciji Thorton and Usman Akeju were caught at a roller skating rink in Lanham, Maryland, while Will LaFerriere and Alex Gamble survived the full month.
Early December marked the end of the Flynn Lives alternate reality game, a multi-year promotional campaign building up to the release of Tron: Legacy. 42 Entertainment handled the campaign’s lengthy run in a manner reminiscent of its award-winning Why So Serious campaign for The Dark Knight by releasing large batches of content every few months. A highlight for the campaign occurred at San Diego’s Comic-Con, where the development team transformed a nearby warehouse into the End of Line club from the film for a special night of festivities. Players were frequently rewarded with collectible coins, posters, pins, t-shirts, stickers, badges, and postcards for interacting with the story: many of these items hid clues that advanced the story. Flynn Lives leveraged its Facebook integration to allow players to showcase the numerous online badges awarded for reaching particular in-game milestones.
ARGs in Television.....
read the full post:
Thursday, December 30, 2010
"When an entire town’s memory is erased, it is dismissed by the rest of the world as an elaborate hoax. But one ambitious journalist is determined to expose the truth. Memoir is a graphic novel written by Ben McCool and illustrated by Nikki Cook who describe their collaboration as a “cross between Twin Peaks and the Twilight Zone.” It is a dark and sinister tale with gritty visuals that is sure to haunt readers long after they’ve put down the book."
Nikki Cook’s Blog
Ben McCool’s Blog
CREATED by Lance Weiler & Alex Johnson
DIRECTOR Josh Cramer
EDITOR Jawad Metni
DP Tim Naylor
SEGMENT PRODUCER Janine Saunders
POST PRODUCTION House of Trim
FEATURED MUSIC by:
City Rain “How We See”
Evenings “Still Young”
I like this so much I'm reposting!: Indie Movies and the Importance of Sharing « Beyond the Iron Sky
May 7th, 2010 by Janos Honkonen
"One of the things that makes Iron Sky special is our direct contact with our fans and our activity all around the net. Especially so since all this is on a full swing even now, over a year before the film will come out! Our community has helped us in several ways, from giving us concrete ideas and materials via Wreckamovie to helping us finance the movie by buying merchandise or investing directly in the movie. This help is not cosmetic or a gimmick, it’s very important for us in a very concrete way, and we are grateful for everybody who has participated like this! The ideas are very valuable and the more financing we get from our fans instead of the business side of the things, the more we can keep our artistic vision in our own hands.
There is a third thing people can do that really helps us, but it’s something they don’t necessarily think of as being useful or important. Moreover this is something that’s very easy to do and also free. This something is SHARING...."
"Apple describes the special display involved as “a projection screen having a predetermined angularly-responsive reflective surface function,” which basically means that the angle of light reflection from different points on the screen would be predicable enough for a computer to bounce light with individual eye accuracy. It’s unclear whether Apple’s system would be able to support more than one simultaneous viewer, or indeed what computational requirements such a setup might demand.
The application was filed back in 2006, and of course there’s no guarantee that Apple ever intends to produce 3D-capable hardware using the technology it covers."
December 29, 2010
The basic building blocks that make a good story are well-known and relevant no matter what medium you use to tell your tale. But your understanding of those tools will change over time, with practice and experience. By way of example, let me natter for a bit about the way my understanding of how to create a character has been refined over time.
A long time ago, when I was a very young and foolish writer, I thought I knew how to make a character. It was a simple business; you needed a name, hair and eye color, maybe an age or profession. Boom! A ready-made puppet poised to act out the things I wanted to happen in my story. This unfortunate idea was supported by the scourge that is the AD&D character sheet.
As I grew older and marginally more skilled, my understanding of character grew a shade more complex. I started thinking in broader terms of character as personality, above and beyond surface attributes. Were they funny? Impulsive? Cowardly?
For the first time, I came to understand that the actions a character can take in a story should necessarily be limited by that collection of traits. Cowardly Caroline wouldn't take it upon herself to bust that ring of horse thieves, and sterling-hearted Chief Halloway wouldn't start taking bribes to let the orphanage ignore fire codes. Before that, I never needed a reason more thought-through than "because it's what I want to happen." But things shouldn't happen if they are out of character, eh?
As my understanding of my tool improved, so, too, did my stories....
Read the full post on Andrea's blog,
Public Intellectual Activity, Douglas Rushkoff is well-known for his insightful books and documentaries about how cultures, people, and institutions shape values in the digital age. Since his 1994 observational book Cyberia, Rushkoff has often been at the forefront of digital counterculture. His latest book, Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age, provides clear, actionable ways to master technology before it masters us.
Recently, Rushkoff collaborated with games production company Smoking Gun Interactive to create an experimental alternate reality game (ARG) and graphic novel “proof of concept,” Exoriare. After chatting very briefly about ARGs at the eBook Summit last week in New York City, I thought our readers would enjoy a more focused e-mail interview with Rushkoff about his experience with Exoriare, ARGs, and play.
Jane Doh: For Exoriare, even though you have the writer credit for the graphic novel, how involved were you in the writing or the design of the Darknet ARG? Was the development of both elements concurrent, or did one come before the other?
Douglas Rushkoff: The initial concept for the story behind the Darknet ARG was already developed when I came on. I ended up writing a graphic novel for which the characters of that story were more tangential than central; their plight was of concern to my characters, but I had another story going on. That story got adjusted a bit to accommodate my timeline, and my intentions for a story that was to span four to six graphic novels.
Where we did collaborate a lot, though, was on the role of the player/reader. It was important to me that my graphic novel end with the beginning of the game – the last frame is to be the computer screen on which the game is played, with the player as an active member of a resistance group, reaching out to others through the Darknet.
I wanted the reader to be more than an uninvolved third person, but someone with a stake in the story. I also wanted the story itself to give the player an idea of his or her own back story, or to be able to imagine one based on the timeline they experienced over the first book.
So the ARG had to support this notion of people coming together to fight a very new kind of war.
JD: What were your impressions of the collaborative creative process for Exoriare? How did the form of the content, its delivery, its interactivity, affect the course of development and creation?
Read the full post on: ARGNet: Alternate Reality Gaming Network
Back in November we told you about Streetline, a new service that offers drivers and cities a real-time view of available parking spaces. The service just got a lot more driver-friendly yesterday, with the debut of a new iPhone app that points the way to roadways ripe with ample street parking.
Parker, currently only available in areas near Hollywood, California, displays for drivers a real-time Google map with available spaces. Streets with multiple open spots are highlighted, and garages are also listed as an alternative. Anyone whose been lured deep into a parking garage only to find obscenely high hourly rates posted beyond the point of turning around will appreciate that current garage and meter rates — in addition to time limits — are also available with the swipe of a finger.
For Los Angeles, it may be a chance to reduce congestion without drastically changing infrastructure. “By making parking easier, we can help people get where they are going faster, and reduce pollution and traffic congestion caused by drivers circling in hopes of finding an open spot,” said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Streetline requires the installation of sensors into existing parking spaces, then connects parking infrastructure through an infinitely expandable wireless network. With the network in place, drivers can find, reserve and pay for open spaces, and cities can tell where violations are and set dynamic prices for spaces based on demand.
We tried out the app and wish it were already available in every city we’ve ever driven. Though it took a half second to get the hang of the interface, streets with multiple open spots were clear. It was also easy to get directions, albeit to another city, from our current location.
The Parker app might be the best example we’ve seen so far that having access to real-time parking information could be the difference between finding a space and circling the wrong block endlessly, or seeing that parking is at a premium and deciding to leave the car at home.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
From the site:
"The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 17 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. The notables within this group include two iPhone related User Interface designs, another for their Mini DisplayPort and others relating to iTunes and their fantastic LED backlit displays. Yet one of the star patents that were granted to Apple today, is definitely one that involves a futuristic 3D stereoscopic display. Is Apple wetting our appetite for a possible future 3DTV system? Here's to hoping that Apple could actually one day deliver something beyond a little black box called Apple TV.
Granted Patent: 3D Stereoscopic Display System
Apple has been granted a patent for a 3D stereoscopic display system. Apple first applied for this patent in 2006 and we first posted a detailed report on this in March 2008. It's interesting to note that one of the key attributes of Intel's forthcoming Sandy Bridge processor is its native support for 3D stereoscopic video playback. One could only imagine that it'll only gain momentum in their 2012-2013 22nm Ivory Bridge processors that will pack 8 and 16 cores."
Heads Up! Are You Running These Apps?: Two lawsuits target Apple, app makers over privacy concerns - CNN.com
Two separate class-action lawsuits filed last week in federal court allege that Apple and as many as eight makers of popular applications for the iPhone facilitated the sharing of private information about their customers to advertisers.
Though a recent news report claimed that many apps are sharing this personal data, the lawsuits together target just eight: Dictionary.com, the Weather Channel, internet radio service Pandora, the messaging app textPlus 4, as well as the makers of entertainment or game apps Talking Tom Cat, Paper Toss, Pumpkin Maker and Pimple Popper Lite.
read the full post:
Nintendo has issued a warning for parents of children under age 6: If you're planning on giving the kid a Nintendo 3DS when the device is released early next year, keep it in 2D mode.
The 3DS is a portable video game system capable of displaying 3D games without the use of special glasses. However, the warning (originally posted on Nintendo's Japanese site and translated to English here) urges parents to use the 2D feature of the device instead if their kids are less than six years old.
Nintendo isn't the first company to issue a health warning about 3D-related technologies. For example, Sony (NYSE: SNE) and Samsung issued similar warnings related to their own products earlier this year.
All three indicate certain symptoms -- including convulsions, altered visions, eye or muscle twitches, involuntary movements, loss of awareness and disorientation -- might manifest among some users.
Sore Thumbs, Tired Eyes
For some time, Nintendo has maintained a warning page on its website directed at parents. It focuses on several potential product dangers, from battery leakage to repetitive motion injuries.
The page, which is in English, warns that about one in 4,000 people may suffer seizures or blackouts, and it suggests parents monitor their kids when the latter are playing video games.
Anyone who suffers from convulsions, disorientation or other symptoms should stop playing video games and seek medical attention, Nintendo says.
The maker also recommends that video game players reduce the likelihood of a seizure by staying as far from the screen as possible when playing, using the smallest available TV screen for their games, playing in a well-lit room, taking a break hourly, and not playing if they are tired or short on sleep.
In warning its users about potential dangers inherent in viewing 3D content, Nintendo joins other companies that have issued similar warnings.
In July, Sony updated the PlayStation's terms and conditions of use with warnings about potential risks. In April, Samsung issued its own warning on 3D TV viewing.
Both of them issued warnings that are fairly similar to that from Nintendo.
Why People Get Affected
Apparently, a significant percentage of people can't properly see 3D images rendered on a TV or movie screen, and that can lead to headaches and other problems, according to the American Optometric Association.
Such people have vision misalignments or don't have equal vision in both eyes. There are anywhere from 1 million to 9 million such people in the United States, the Association claims.
Symptoms experienced by those unable to comfortably see 3D images vary from person to person. A survey by the Association showed 13 percent of those who can't see 3D images suffer from headaches, 12 percent from blurred vision, and 11 percent from dizziness.
Here's why 3D images cause headaches and other problems in people with vision flaws: Humans have binocular vision, in which we see things from a slightly different perspective with each eye. The resulting images are correlated in the brain to create one view. It helps us to calculate distance, among other things.
This mechanism is thrown askew when we view 3D images rendered on a screen. There are two basic methods of creating 3D images: with glasses and without glasses. In either case, each eye gets fed a different image. That throws off our depth perception, fooling the brain, as it were, into believing what we see is right in front of us.
The eyes of people who have problems with 3D can't cope with or correlate these separate images properly, which leads to their suffering various problems when viewing 3D content.
"Whether with or without glasses, the technology provides separate images to both eyes, and some people aren't wired for this, so they get sick or suffer seizures," Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, told TechNewsWorld.
Still, 3D images aren't wholly a curse -- they can help unmask vision problems such as lazy eye, convergence insufficiency and poor focusing skills, the AOA said.
The American Optometric Association did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
Calls to Nintendo USA weren't answered, as the company's offices are closed for the holidays.
Saw It Coming
Perhaps Nintendo acted after getting user complaints, Laura DiDio, principal at ITIC, speculated.
"3D hasn't been around long enough for us to really assess its impact, so people are just beginning to find out the problems it might cause," DiDio told TechNewsWorld.
Nintendo unveiled the 3DS at the E3 Expo in Los Angeles this past June. It's set to go on sale in early 2011.
However, consumers are also responsible for the health problems they experience, DiDio suggested.
"You get kids playing games for hours without interruption," DiDio said. "That's a scary thing."
Project Members: Jeffrey Lipton
Past Members: Evan Malone. Dan Periard, Dan Cohen, Meredith Cutler, Deborah Coulter
Bellow is an edited excerpt from “Hydrocolloid Printing: A Novel Platform for Customized Food Production”
More examples and Materials can be found on the Fab@Home Website
Impact of Food SFF
Few things are as natively intertwined with humanity as food, which is essential to biological and social life. Not only does food support life and underpin social relations, but it also accounts for a substantial part of our economy. As of 2008, Americans spent $1.02 trillion annually on food, i.e., 9.6% of the nation’s combined disposable personal incomes. Solid Freeform Fabrication (SFF) has the potential to leverage its core strengths (e.g., geometric complexity, automated fabrication) and make its mark on the culinary realm by transforming the way we produce and experience food. Technological innovations are necessary, however, before these visions can be realized. In addition to lowering barriers to SFF, such as cost of the machine, materials must be developed to feasibly enable a wide range of foods to be produced on SFF platforms.
Impact on Culinary Professionals: Overview
Food-SFF would benefit the professional culinary domain primarily in two respects: by lending new artistic capabilities to the fine dining domain, and also by extending mass-customization capabilities to the industrial culinary sector.
Impact on Culinary Professionals: Fine Dining
Fine dining chefs are continually developing new, innovative techniques and seeking the enabling technologies that will help them push the boundaries of culinary art. They innovate by harnessing non-traditional ingredients, such as hydrocolloids, and by employing new tools pulled straight from the scientific community; the result is “culinary magic” including flavored gelatin spheres with liquid centers, sauce foams, hot liquid deserts with flash frozen shells, syringe-extrudable meats, and much more. SFF promises to be the next important enabling technology in the fine dining realm. SFF delivers new possibilities by lending this faction of culinary artists one of SFF’s core capabilities: fabrication of multi-material objects with high geometric complexity. As the barriers fall (e.g., SFF machine prices have reduced nearly an order of magnitude in the last decade) and non-traditional ingredients gain credibility in the fine dining world (e.g., hydrocolloids), the question is not whether SFF will play an important role in the future of food, but rather, in what ways will it do so. Examples of potential future applications include cakes with complex, embedded 3D letters, such that upon slicing the cake, a message is revealed. Or, even a prime rib with a hidden message. Perhaps an on-demand, customizable menu in which the dish is prepared in any 3D shape that the diner desires: the diner can co-create with the culinary artist in real-time.
Impact on Culinary Professionals: Industrial Production
The second way in which SFF could benefit the professional culinary community is by enabling mass-customization in the industrial culinary sector. Today, industrial food producers rely heavily on high-throughput processes such as molding, extrusion and die-cutting. These processes, however, are not amenable to mass-customization (i.e., the use of flexible manufacturing techniques to produce custom output in a low-unit-cost fashion). Molding, extrusion and die-cutting each require substantial custom-tooling, and consequently, producing custom output for low-quantity runs is simply unfeasible. This is precisely where SFF’s inherent strengths can be leveraged: producing food with custom, complex geometries while maintaining cost-effectiveness. The cost-effectiveness is enabled by the fact that SFF does not require custom-tooling or extensive manual labor. One potential future application is custom production of edible giveaways, for example, as marketing collateral for small corporate events. Currently, the cost of custom tooling prohibits low-quantity custom production runs, but with a flexible culinary production platform like SFF, such production runs would be feasible.
Impact in the Home: Overview
Culinary professionals are more primed to adopt SFF than are homeowners, however, the implications for laypeople are even more profound. The effect on laypeople is essentially twofold: increasing productivity and injecting knowledge.
Impact in the Home: Productivity
Currently, the average American spends more than 30 minutes per day preparing food, according to USDA economists. If food-SFF were brought to the “set-and-forget” state, requiring minimal human labor, the average person could possibly realize time savings of 150+ hours per year (3.8 workweeks per year).
Impact in the Home: Injecting Knowledge
The second way that food-SFF could impact laypeople is by abstracting culinary knowledge and injecting it directly into the home. The idea of abstracting knowledge is nothing new. When chefs create new dishes and then write recipes, they are effectively abstracting their knowledge and distilling it into a prescription for others to reproduce their work. Nevertheless, just like the skills a musician needs to effectively play a song from sheet music, a recipe follower still needs non-trivial skills to execute a recipe. It is not only in the abstraction of knowledge, but also in the execution of the prescription that SFF could have tremendous impact. Just as MIDI software can offload musical skill by taking in digital sheet music and directly creating sound, the SFF system could directly inject the skills necessary to follow a recipe end-to-end. Laypeople don’t have to know the first thing about musical notation, valve/key/fret fingering, or tonal theory to be able to utilize a stereo system to deliver a distilled version of a live musical performance directly into their home. Likewise, a layperson would not necessarily need to possess even basic culinary skills to employ an SFF system to create geometrically complex, multi-material food items. Culinary knowledge and artistic skill of world renowned chefs can be abstracted to a 3D fabrication file and then used by laypeople to reproduce famous chefs’ work in the home. Also, expert knowledge of the world’s leading nutritionists can be abstracted and encoded in 3D fabrication files to help laypeople eat more healthily, without necessarily having to learn healthy cooking techniques or even understand nutritional principles such as caloric intake and protein balance. SFF systems could even go one step further, and deliver customized solutions (SFF’s core strength) to each user that incorporate the individualized nature of nutritional needs. For example, a layperson may soon be able to upload a report of their daily activity from a pedometer and digital food log, and the SFF system could use expert knowledge to print them a meal that fulfills their particular nutritional needs for the day. While experts can currently offer advice on how to balance a nutritional program, their influence falls short of delivering the end-to-end solution that only SFF system can provide: from personalized design through fabrication.
Lipton, J.I., Arnold, D., Nigl, F., Lopez, N., Cohen, D.L., Noren, Nils., Lipson,H., (2010) "Multi-Material Food Printing with Complex Internal Structure Suitable for Conventional Post-Processing", 21st Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium (SFF'10), Austin Tx, USA.
Cohen D.L., Lipton, J., Cutler, M., Coulter, D., Vesco, A., Lipson, H. (2009) “Hydrocolloid Printing: A Novel Platform for Customized Food Production” Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium (SFF’09), Aug 3-5 2009, Austin, TX, USA.
Periard D., Schaal N., Schaal M., Malone E., Lipson H., (2007) “Printing Food”, Proceedings of the 18th Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium, Austin TX, Aug 2007, pp.564-574.
About this project
HELP US PREMIERE PARIAH AT THE 2011 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL!
Dear Friends, Family, and Fans,
I know you have busy lives and tons of things to do especially with the holidays coming up and we want to thank you SO much for taking the time to watch our kickstarter video. We sincerely believe that PARIAH is a film that will touch audiences and open minds in a meaningful way, and we hope you’ll be a part of helping us bring it to the big screen!
Making this film over the past five and half years has been a labor of love and a true testament to independent spirit and it’s only fitting that we finish the film in the same fashion. We’re standing on a lot of shoulders and couldn’t have made it this far without an amazing team of artists, filmmakers, and fans surrounding us and holding us up. We’re almost there and just need to pay for our music clearances, sound mix, and help bring some of our fabulous cast out to the festival to help in the effort to bring the film to a theater near you. You’ve help us make it this far, please help us go a bit further and make our dreams come true.
I know it sounds corny, but the power really is in your hands, and you can make a huge difference in the life and success of this film no matter what your contribution level. Your voice counts and your support of this film matters. Thank you for supporting Pariah and thank you for being a part of bringing this story to life.
"Those images were shot with Sony Cyber Shot TX5, and then I selected some vintage images/elements to add more life into them. Sometimes I use a peephole and a crystal with cuts to get various background effects and I like to merge several photos into one.
I have loved photography since childhood. One of the best things I’ve seen in the city where I live (city of Juárez, Chihuahua, MX) are the sunsets, so I love to take pictures of them because every day it is different, especially in winter the sunsets are so colorful that I don’t need to apply color correction. I like to play with the shots by adding items such as musical notes and birds on electric wires, buildings or images that may become part of those great sceneries."
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
"Kinect hacks are coming thick and fast, but here is one that will set millions of PC gamers' hearts a-flutter: A hack that lets you gesture control a game of World of Warcraft.
The tech is coming from the University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies, where a team has built a toolkit, dubbed the Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit, which lets them quickly harness Kinect's various image processing and motion-sensing powers to whatever bits of code they desire. This middleware, with some tweaks, lets FAAST quickly facilitate "integration of full-body control with games and VR applications," via a clever processing server that streams the user's skeleton pattern, including body position and gestures which can be mapped onto keyboard controls.
The code is free for non-commercial use, because the Institute has big plans for it--including simple, medically inspired games for rehabilitation of motor-skills after a stroke, and even for reducing childhood obesity through "healthy gaming" (though, given the wild flailing Kinect-playing requires, the health of coffee tables and trinkets around the world might be in danger)..."
Monday, December 27, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
From the site:
"Looking forward to looking back...
For all those times we didn't send vibrations through the online world, we're proud to present a kind of advent calendar of our most resilient Fantasies-era memories, good + bad. We're calling it Fantasies Flashbacks.
We're hoping you'll join in on the retrospective by sending us photos of yourself + your friends at one of our concerts, stories describing adventures that happened with Fantasies as the soundtrack to your life, classic video clips and whatever you treasure from the last couple years we all spent together dancing in the dark.
We're looking at December 2008-December 2010.
In early January, we'll post a selection of the best! If you're sending photos, don't forget to include a few words describing the moment, and why it meant something to you.
Deadline for submissions is December 31st, 2010.
We're ready to remember!"
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
About this project
Two weeks to go! City Love Song has been booked for two weeks of previews in NYC on the eve of the global tour (May 2011). ALL KICKSTARTER BACKERS, AT ANY LEVEL, WILL RECEIVE DISCOUNTED TICKETS TO THESE SHOWS! I hope to see you there!
With all the strength of my racing heart,
First things first: you may have noted that this project is "fully funded." In fact, I sought half of my necessary budget here on Kickstarter and was shocked--shocked!--to raise more than $7000 in 18 days. But I still need your support. Please read on to learn more, and thanks for joining me!
For the full kit and kaboodle, visit www.citylovesong.com. For the basics:
Who? My name is Jack Finnegan. I am a published writer, I have studied philosophy and worked for years in professional theatre. I am an unabashed, unrelenting, unashamed dreamer. This project is my most ambitious to date.
What? City Love Song is a performed story, in three cycles.
1. In its first cycle, City Love Song was a story about New York City. I sold almost everything I owned, cashed in unused vacation pay, collected the security deposit on my apartment and self-produced a national tour. I traveled to 24 cities around the United States, mostly by train, giving free performances all over the country.
2. In its second cycle, City Love Song is a story about those 24 American cities. In July I performed this story in New York, to terrific reviews (here and here) and in August performed for ten days at the Edinburgh Fringe, also for free. (The 3 New York shows were ticketed, to cover theater costs.)
Now I aim to take this portrait of America to 13 cities on 6 continents. That's what we're Kickstarting!
3. In its third cycle, City Love Song will be a story about those 13 international cities. That story will be performed for American audiences in 2012.
Where? For the American tour, City Love Song traveled through New York, Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Madison, Appleton, St. Paul, Minneapolis, Fargo, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Austin, New Orleans, Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Raleigh, Durham, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia.
For the global tour, Kickstarter backers will vote on the candidate cities listed here.
When? Cycle One was performed between 18 September and 16 December 2009. Cycle Two was performed in New York and Edinburgh, Scotland in July & August of 2010. The global tour launches in May 2011, with a two week-preview in New York in early May.
Why? Philippe Petit describes this as a uniquely American question. I’ll tell you this: I love telling stories. I am fascinated by cities. I love my country. And I love being alive in this glorious, imperfect world. Help me see your city, and join me in this song.
Naturally, City Love Song is on Facebook.
Don't miss all the goodies on www.citylovesong.com.
And here's a brief look at the budget:
$7000 -- Round-the-world airfare to six continents
$5000-$7500 -- Theater rentals
$3000 -- Modest accommodations (avg. $33/night for 13 weeks)
$1500 -- Food (averaging $15/day)
$1500 -- Promotional materials and expenses
$1000 -- Visas, postage, intracity travel expenses, emergency cash, insurance if I can afford it
Project location: Brooklyn, NY
Welcome to Loop. A music-making app that allows you to sample sounds and make music with anything, anywhere, anyhow you like. Pre-programmed with nine baselines to get you started, recording your own music couldn’t be easier. Make a track. Set it as your ringtone. Share it on Facebook. Available free and exclusively
on Ovi Store, for Nokia C7 and Nokia N8 handsets. Hear what other people have looped below.Share |
Kennish released Facebook Disconnect in October and the extension quickly gained popularity, hitting the top 10 list of Google Chrome extensions. He told us that he quit his job at Google three weeks later so that he could "develop tools that make it trivial for the average user to understand and control the data they share whenever they browse or search the Web." He said that he thinks Google is "collecting more personal data than any other company" and "to fight for user privacy while working there would've been impossible."
Disconnect, similar to his earlier project, blocks a number of third-party widgets from sites like Digg, Facebook, Google, Twitter and Yahoo, as well as de-personalizes search at the cookie level, allowing you to remain logged-in to services like iGoogle or Gmail without having your search queries attached to your Google profile.
Kennish said that, while the tool is in a primitive state, he hopes it will have a larger effect on the debate over privacy on the Web.
"Realistically, Disconnect won't have a significant direct impact on the average user's privacy -- Adblock (and I mean the whole suite) is the most successful browser extension and used by less than 1% of the Web population," said Kennish. "So government policy and what browser vendors ship natively is more important to me. I'm hoping to show a better way through software and have a butterfly effect on policy and browser implementation."
Kennish calls the "Do Not Track" method of opting-out "a bad model for defending online privacy because phones ring and get your attention, where Web bugs are invisible and go unnoticed."
Indeed, last summer one online advocacy group released a browser extension that alerts you "whenever your personal information is being sent to Google servers." The result was a near constant barrage of alarm bells - if your phone rang this often, you would go insane. Disconnect takes a less obnoxious method, showing a running tally of how many calls have been blocked in the extension's toolbar icon. Clicking on the icon also allows you to quickly allow for unblocking because, no matter our privacy talk, these tools are also useful in our online lives and not always unwanted. Kennish's point is more that the user should be allowed to opt-in, rather than needing to opt-out - an oft-heard refrain in online privacy discussions.
Kennish said that he started with blocking standard third-party social widgets "because I consider them the most dangerous third-party resources and there didn't seem to be another tool that blocks them out of the box. The prevalence of these widgets means they can report on almost all your browsing activity, which can then be linked to databases full of the social data you intentionally share."
While Disconnect may be in early stages and not have a "significant direct impact" for the average user, the tool could be useful for those concerned about how different social tools are keeping track of your browsing habits. The extension is available for both Google Chrome and RockMelt.
"Microsoft has publicly offered a "thanks but no thanks" to adult entertainment company ThriXXX, stating that the Australian firm's Kinect-powered sex game will never end up for sale on Xbox 360.
A video (NSFW link) cropped up earlier this month that showed a wily Kinect hacker using hand gestures, voice commands and objects to interact with a 3D-rendered, scantily clad lady. It offered up a working prototype, thanks to efforts in the hacking community, to show off how Microsoft's new peripheral could work in adult games.
The company specialises in interactive sex simulation software on PC, with titles like "3D Sexvilla" and "3DLesbian". It said: "the Kinect interface provides another exciting option for users of the sex simulation software to control the experience in extraordinary new ways"...
"Seamlessly blending the use of social media with augmented reality (AR), Ogilvy & Mather and K11 have teamed up for something special this Christmas for shoppers in Hong Kong.
K11 is a concept ‘art’ mall in the city.
OgilvyOne Worldwide Hong Kong has launched a Christmas campaign based on the famous architect Antoni Gaudi and his unfinished masterpiece, Sagrada Familia, in Barcelona.
K11 wants shoppers who are fans and friends to help ‘complete’ his masterpiece—an installation at the Mall in Hong Kong. To start, shoppers can submit their designs through Facebook; and then, with the help of a free iPhone AR app called ‘Layar’, they can view their virtual decorations along with hundreds of other designs.
“Through social networking sites we are teasing over 11,000 K11 Facebook fans and friends to create their own virtual Gaudi-styled Christmas decoration. The intent is to drive a branded viral experience, which takes you from your computer to the mall and into your smartphone within the mall,” said Kitty Wong, managing director of OgilvyOne Worldwide Hong Kong."
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
JH: "...I thought of you recently as I was giving a talk on remix culture. We ended up discussing the Situationist concept of detournement, and it occurred to me that this is a good baseline description of the kind of work Nonchalance does. Is that what you've been doing all these years, detourning the Bay Area (and sundry other places)?
JW: I never thought of it in that way, but the answer is yes, absolutely. I've always been a cut & paste, drag & drop kind of artist, and shamelessly so. I have no qualms about it because I know that what I've produced from these other sources is completely original.
JH: One of the things I like the most about Situationist art is how it's geared toward inspiring the viewer/participant to discover the untapped possibilities of the world around them -- "to expose the appalling contrast between the potential constructions of life and the present poverty of life." What are the potentials you're exposing, and what kinds of poverty -- intellectual, emotional, or even economic -- do your projects work against?
JW: "Potential constructions of life" is a great description for what we've attempted. We're presenting this parallel universe in which we're actively at war with banality and routine. It's a guerrilla street war, too, not some hypothetical plane. The potential is for collective behavior that promotes warmth and trust, communicating something very meaningful through mass media, and generally allowing for variation, color and fun in the civic realm. The poverty exposed is that of spontaneity and creativity in every day life. We don't always recognize how confined or restricted or repressed we are, and I'm speaking generally about "us" as a group or society, rather than us as individuals. Re-imagining and then reconstructing how we operate and function as a culture is our greatest aspiration. We can only do it in these microscopic slivers, though. The slivers exist in tandem with the rest of the world, often overshadowed by it, but they do exist, awaiting discovery by the curious dilettante...."
read the full interview: