Monday, October 27, 2008

Obama and Biden's tax calculator: better than 1000 words

Obama and Biden tax calculator discovered on Annoying Design.
Yes I cannot vote because I'm French, BUT I must admit this tax calculator designed by Obama and Biden is pretty straightforward. Very much so for families under the 250,000 bracket ...

A tax calculator is better than 1000 words :)
-> Link


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Friday, October 17, 2008

Pleasure with champaigne and glasses

I am working with my friend Marisa Jahn on a new project. It will be super fun, artistic and hopefully design noir! More soon... but in the meantime I want to share her latest creation with Steve Shada, "Pleasurecraft".

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A kit for any klutz who wishes to woo a potential lover, ‘Pleasurecraft’ is a vehicular kit that choreographs gesture and landscape to produce an outting full of splendor and romance. The potential lover wil find PleasureCraft's luxurious pullows and easy-to-reach champagne cooler irresistable. Suitors will love PleasureCraft for its easy-to-use instructions that make Romance easy - one, two, three!

The suitor begins when he/she steps in the boat and first begins to read the operator's manual. Pictures indicate what to do next--comb the moustache, don the bowtie, bust out the TicTacs -- then uncork the champagne, what tempo to follow, etc.

Often, a clumsy serenade can be attributed to an overwhelming amount of details and a failure to attend to the right ones in the right order. But PleasureCraft solves this problem through its built-in water wheel, perfectly callibrated to the RPM of the River Seine. By listening to the music and glancing at the operator manual, the suiter knows what cues to follow and when.

(‘Pleasurecraft’ questions the human agency in constructing the pictoral imaginary and an ethnographic examination of our species’ mating rituals.)

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Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure
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A toy-cyborg for children!

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“Stelarc Ken” by Zoe Khamsin.
Now children can play with cyborg toys!

Stelarc is a poet and scientist of contemporary times and his body, that he himself defined as 'obsolete', and others has defined as 'posthuman', is the end of the religious principle of body's inviolability. Moreover he made a mutual correspondence between his body and his art, and this led to his iconic definition. The artist creation - 'Stelarc Ken' - builds upon the idea of iconic individuals being replicated in toy form.


Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure
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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Physical display with deformable skin

Another neat technique in the vein of SnOil, a physical display Based on ferrofluid that reacts to magnetism. Shade Pixel is a type of physical display that uses deformable skin to represent information.

It is very pretty, the dots on the white looks like steps in the snow. Notice how the sound from the solenoid works really well with the "clock" idea! A nice trick to deal with noisy technology. You can see a video about Shade Pixel here:




Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure

Sunday, October 05, 2008

DIY, this new black!

DIY is the new black for the gaming industry which has adopted not only the DIY but also the craft culture in its new game for Playstation 3, Little Big Planet. In little big planet, users create their characters (their mascot) with textures, zippers, colors, attitudes and their own levels, events, design their difficulties and can then share their designs with their peers and play online.

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The level creation is the most intriguing, because you got to design triggers and events like switches and buttons. It can be pretty simple if it is just to open a door to the next level but pretty rad ;) when designing a multi-phase boss fight against millions of tech spiders! Also the sharing component is pretty elaborate as other users can rate your game and offer descriptive keywords to your creation, from "brilliant" to "repetitive". So be sure to invite the right friends who can understand your style!!! You can also invite guest mascot stars! Isn't that amazing?!

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You are only allowed to create 3 levels that you share on the server side. If on the server the company deems that you are good at creating levels, you can then create some more. If the company decides that your levels are not good enough, then you are stuck and you need to cancel these levels until you are being granted the right to create some more! So that is interesting because it shows that the company is afraid that users aren't gonna design levels good enough and that this game relies heavily on people's ability to create neat levels. If users are not gonna create brilliant designs, then this will be a failure because it only comes with 3 small levels ... This is like a creation suite for gamers that welcome creative individuals into playing, creating and sharing! I cannot wait to try it. If only they would send a free copy to designers, they would have great levels designed!!

In the meantime, here is a video of the trailer:


Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Graffiti revolution



In the series I love animation, I found this graffiti animation that is really fun to watch.


MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.


Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure
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Get rid of your books online!

I don’t know why nobody thought of that before. You can now get rid of your books on the virtual space! Web sites sell books, second price books, offer people to sell their personal books, but no site aggregates the needs of users in coordination with students who wants to get rid of their past year textbooks or more recent used books.

Selling books online is a new concept and most people do not think to sell used books online. I am not sure of the competitive advantage with local resellers such as university associated bookstores, but this site that allows you to Sell TextBooks is really neat: you enter the ISBN number of your book and it offers you a price for it. If you don’t have a ISBN number for your book or if you’d like a deal for a specific book, you can just email the bookstore. You ship your books to the bookstore (shipping being reimbursed after 10$ of books are being sold to the company). A very convenient way to get rid of your textbooks and you can also check the price for any books you want.

They usually buy books that are in good or better condition, that have an ISBN and that have a demonstrated demand in the used book market. Books that they typically do not buy are: encyclopedia sets, magazines, music books, comic books, books that are in poor condition, romance series and western novels, outdated text books, outdated computer books and Time-Life books. I tried with a few books, unfortunately not all of them are popular, so it seems it would work best with university textbooks, but it is worth a try. So if you want to clean your desk or need a new series of textbooks, this is a place to try!

For the beauty of the eyes ...



A video on the beach by Keith Loutit that resembles stop motion (effect Tilt Shift) found on this super neat French blog Fubiz. The video animates beach lovers that shape like sharp color points using the fashionable effect called Tilt Shift, effect I used a lot to present my sculpture work, playing with a unusual depth of field, to create optical illusions and to give it a maquette look and feel. This effect is apparently also called smallgantics, popular effect based on a Thom Yorke music video.
For the amateurs of the animations with the beach, don't forget to check “la plage” by Bokanovski.


Beached from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

Another video by Keith Loutit where the effect is even more stunning!


Bathtub III from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

A very satisfying video of human motions within the light. Large format camera and filmed in high definition, the video entertains the viewer with light coordinated with motions. It is pleasing and becomes satisfying to watch the dancer twisting and jumping throughout the streets, playing with water and flowers. The soundtrack is a nice add-on by M83 (You appearing, Lower Your Eyelids to Die With the Sun), Sigur Ros (Staralfur) et Besnard Lakes (Devastation). Enjoy!


Human Movement in Light from Jordan Clarke on Vimeo.


Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure

Online surveys tools for social research

I am currently investigating social research to analyze people’s interaction with reactive systems. I often refer to the book: Qualitative Researching with Text, Image and Sound: A Practical Handbook for Social Research by Martin W Bauer & George D. Gaskell that I recommend to be introduced to the broad range of techniques available for the systematic analysis of social data that is not numeric. It makes the key point that neither quantitative nor qualitative methods are interpretive and at the same time demonstrates once and for all that neither a constructivist perspective nor a qualitative approach needs to imply abandonment of rigor.

I wonder about questionnaires and online surveys. Software to generate online questionnaires could help survey a population with a set of pre-defined questions. One site, Zoomerang, helps with many kinds of surveys from the customer satisfaction survey to education and non-profit surveys. It seems to program your questions or suggest the best way to get the feedback you need. The system hosts your surveys to keep heavy survey traffic away from your main site, and to not influence your results with your personal host. If you have no time for running in organizing a clean survey, the system converts paper-and-pencil questionnaire into a high performance online survey for higher participation, faster response and easy analysis.

Every choice you make regarding materials, question delivery, and, of course, context, directly influence the attention and type of response that you’re going to get from a subject. Rethinking some of my previous survey work, and the availability of tools such as this, I wonder in which areas, if any, old-school pencil and paper would win out. For instance, in one recent study, I was interested in aspects of an individual’s personal music listening life. Questions were purposely open-ended to allow the subjects the flexibility of considering many different contexts of listening to support general self assessments like, “I consider myself expert in popular music.” In the moment, subjects would ask many different unexpected questions to relate their individual experiences under such global questions. “I grew up in the 60s. It’s completely part of my life, but not really popular today. Does that count?” Or, “I am expert in theory, composition, and music form. Does that theoretical knowledge make me expert despite that I don’t like popular music?” Space for these unpredictable questions was critical to getting an accurate picture of diverse forms of “expertise.” In the end, I wonder if an online survey system could leave a space open like many styles of survey need.

However, it seems that such online surveys tool could collect powerful feedback fast as well as provide you with advanced analytics, cross-tab features for in depth study, etc.. so probably the fastest and most reliable way to obtain quick data.