Misc. Movs / Merry Xmas

One of the courses I am taking this term at Chiao Tung University requires the completion of weekly assignments covering various topics. We have written and mixed music, created identities, explored type, different metaphor visualisations, and filmed a short story. Three of us working on a short story of a Hsinchu beetle nut girl. Beetle nut girls are home grown incarnation of the old bar hop girls of eons ago. These clips are certainly not the final product but just some fun bits.

movie clips

Happy Holidays! Though it doesn’t feel like it here, this is my holiday ecard greeting.

Information Theory

“Information Theory regards information as only those symbols that are uncertain to the receiver. For years, people have sent telegraph messages, leaving out non-essential words such as “a” and “the.” In the same vein, predictable symbols can be left out, like in the sentence, “only infrmatn esentil to understandn mst b tranmitd.” Shannon made clear that uncertainty is the very commodity of communication.”

Read:Lucent | Information Theory and Overview of Information Theory

Film Director Metaphor

I was reading the discussions on Elegant Hack and other places about “big IA” and “little IA” when I found this link which I think uses an interesting metaphor to describe the work I do.

From IAwiki: “This idea of a different role particularly resonates with me, as I

Things that annoy me

Every once in a while I feel the need to scream. Chronic fustration rears it’s ugly head.

Things that annoy me

  • The absolute lack of speed in OS 10.2.
  • Font management in OS 10.2.
  • How editing on line of text in Flash has apparently caused the audio and visuals of the whole piece to be totally out of sync which will undoubtedly result in another days work.
  • How politics rule product development to the detriment of quality and everyones sanity.
  • 3 1/2 days at work last week of which 1 /1/2 days were spent in meetings. Most of which were poiltical.
  • The phrase “I must insist you change this text because I am the author”. 200 pages of mediocre writing for a corporate website, 1 line of text set in bold to enhance usability and this is what we will meet for hours to argue over changing. Forget about the multitude of other issues that need to be addressed.
  • The fact that I am sure there is a person responsible for the variations in the amount of hot water we have in our apartment but I don’t know who it is.
  • The fact that I forgot to bring a URL home from work and now I must drive my motorcycle in the rain, on Sunday, in Hsinchu traffic, in order to retrieve it from my workstation.
  • My increasing apathy.

Aspen Magazine

Lifted straight from Coudal Partners: Jen Sharpe writes, “A countercultural multimedia magazine that was around from the 1950s-70s called “Aspen.” It came in a box filled with flexi discs, art prints, super 8 films, etc., and it had a different editor and designer every time.”

Great, great stuff: Aspen Magazine

25 Thesis – Mainfesto for AIfIA

The Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture (AIfIA) is a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to advancing and promoting information architecture. My favourite quote:

“The emergence of Information Architecture (IA) as a formal discipline has gathered key areas of expertise together to provide a framework for the rational design of content-rich sites. IA provides the glue that allows content and services to work in tandem to satisfy user requirements, and the structure necessary to evaluate success in meeting those needs. Without IA, both users and creators of information-intensive applications are likely to suffer from wasted resources, time and effort; even worse, they won’t know where to start to make things better the next time.”

Read: AIFIA | 25 Theses

Auditory Information Design

“Although there is a well developed practice and culture of movie sound, computer applications are a new challenge because of the types of information to be conveyed and the interactivity between the user and the sounds. This thesis develops an approach to the design of sounds to support information processing activities. The design approach is supported by a system of case-based and rule-based methods and tools. This hybrid system addresses key design issues in a flexible manner necessary for real world design practice. The approach, methods and tools are demonstrated in a series of scenarios that show how sounds can provide information that is difficult to obtain visually, and how they can provide extra affordances in the human-computer interface.”

Read: Auditory Information Design

Public Lettering site

If you are as interested in commercial signage and type as I am you might find the following site interesting.

This site is based on a walk by Phil Baines for his graphic design students which was then written up for the 1997 ATypI conference. The text has been updated and expanded to include other examples. This walk concentrates on larger examples of public lettering and doesn’t mention incidentals, cocks, manholes, dates on buildings, builders marks, of which there is much en route.

Visit: Public Lettering

Long break

Long absence. Thailand was wonderful. So wonderful in fact that I am off to Chiang Rai for a week in November. Should be an ideal time for trekking as things will still be green but the rain will be minimal. Judging by my logs I am largely talking to myself here so enough of the banter.

Taking a break

It’s summer, it’s hot and I need a break. For the next couple of weeks I am going to spend my free time running, learning to play basketball, and preparing for my August trip to Thailand. Feeling a little burn out and tired I need time to regroup and hopefully gain new focus.

Faceted classification of information

Given the significant difficulties in categorizing books, papers, and articles using traditional library classification techniques, it would seem next to impossible for humans to classify the small chunks of rapidly changing information that characterize information-intensive business environments. But it

Joint Venture

Brands are delicate. Your customers’ perception of who you are can erode instantly. And cobranding is inherently risky. You’re exposing one of your most valuable assets, your reputation, to the whims of a partner.

Yet adding your brand to another can equal more than the sum of the parts. Well-executed partnerships can make your site’s offerings both more complete and more competitive. Just remember that new content or services will only attract users if they are complementary to your current offerings and are consistent with your existing interface. And without an unrelenting focus on your users fueling your development, you risk having a confusing site and alienating your core audience. There’s one thing that both the online and offline worlds can agree on: It’s nearly impossible to stay viable without an audience.

Read: Joint Venture: A Commitment to Consistent Interface, Complementary Services, and User-Centered Strategy

2 Days in Taipei

I had the pleasure of travelling to Taipei this past week to give a talk
to some students at a design school. It’s always great to discuss design
with people who are really excited about the possibilities of creating
something cool. The presentation was titled “Building a case for
including designers at the beginning of the design process”. So many
companies in Taiwan do not truly understand or fully employ design in
their process when they build product. It is usually only appied as
window dressing at the very end of the development cycle or as a way
later to mask fundamental problems that may not have appeared if they
had actually utilized some design or designer at the outset (this is my
generalised view). An added bonus for me in this class was that they
actually asked questions. So many of the classes and talks I have been
invited to are a one sided affair – me talking and everyone else
listening (or falling asleep!). I certainly enjoyed the interaction that
these designers created as it allowed us to approach far more
interesting topics than I had proposed. It was cool and they were quite
nice. Unfortunately I came away with a bloody bad cold that has had
caused my life to come to almost a complete stand still.

The second day I travelled back to Taipei, sick, and faced the full
force of the Canadian beaurocracy here in Taiwan as I applied for a new
passport. Time has passed. The only highlight to that day was being able
to buy good bread and the sight of so many wonderflly dressed women.
Simple joys which help you through the day.

About charts and graphs

Part of a series in the AIGA design forum this article is another one of those convenient lists of “do’s and don’t’s” for practicioners who don’t want or don’t have the time to dig deeper. Unfortunately I cannot link to the pdf download directly so you must go through the AIGA site.

Reviewing these basic dos and don

Time Management Theories

“Well, this article really has nothing to do with pickles, nor does it have anything to do with eating or wise men at all. In fact this article has nothing to do with anything tangible, unless you choose to follow along. Though you don

Creating More Time

I think almost everyone would answer yes to the opening paragraphs questions, I know I did. It’s pretty difficult to manage some kind of balanced life. When living in Taiwan it’s hard to not get caught in what appears to be the center to most peoples lives, their work. While for the next few years I can see this as still being true for myself, the increased tempo of balancing work, study, and fun is something I need ideas on how to accomplish.

“Do you ever feel there is not enough time to do everything you want? Do you ever end the day with a list of things-to-do? Do you ever finish the week with more you need to get done? You are suffering from the common freelancer

Faucet Facets

Jeffery Veen of Adaptive Path has written a great introduction, with examples, into the benefits of using fauceted classification .

“So often we assume that Web sites should be hierarchically organized. We talk about a “home page” that offers “top-level navigation” so that users can “drill down” to the content. It’s as if we’re programmed to think top down.

But what about information that isn’t as easily structured this way? Sometimes, content has many attributes that have different importance to different users. A hierarchy assumes everyone approaches these attributes the same way, but that’s often not the case.”

Read: Faucet Facets: A few best practices for designing multifaceted navigation systems

Apple’s iPod Design Triumph

An interesting look into the design and development process of Apple’s iPod.

“It turns out that much of the underlying iPod design was performed by outside companies. The Cupertino folk haven’t given up on their heritage of design excellence

Understanding the Web as Media

This article is certainly a good point of departure for a discussion.

“What is the web good for? What can the web do that other media can’t do? What can the web NOT do that other media CAN do?” In other words, what are the unique media characteristics of the web? What are its inherent strengths and weaknesses? How does the web “fit in” with existing media?

Read: Understanding the Web as Media

A Timely Article

What a timely article this is, as my 35th birthday approaches and I exit the “18-34 category–that much marketed-to demographic cohort that’s typically single, selfish, vulgar, and fun” and become a grown up. Yes I too looked upon last Thursday the incoming students to the graduate program at Chao Tung and remarked at how young they are. I am sure they looked at me and said the opposite. How did this happen? How did I get so old so quickly?

This cliche is poinant: Youth indicates health and an abundance of time. Age is the opposite, and requires us to accept a process that ends, if you are lucky enough to last that long, in death. No wonder I have no patience, hurry up my time is running out.

Read: Jugglezine – Life: A Mid-Term Evaluation

Mac OS 10 needs a few things other than iChat

After Mail.app caused great annoyance by asking for access to my keychain for the fourth time today I wrote a very short rant on a few things that I wish Apple would take care of in it’s “Super Modern Operating System”. While I do at times sit in amazement at how anyway could make such complex things such as software work at all, I often get annoyed when a product in which I have invested a great deal of money fails on some fundamental level. It’s Apples dichotomy. Some things they create are like magic while others seems to uterly annoy. Maybe that is the secret that Microsoft exploits, mediocrity that works with no expectations.

But despite my complaints there is something great about some of the products they make, something beyond industrial design. I never thought I would need an iPod until I saw it and now it’s they only gadget I lust after.

Read:Mac OS 10 needs a few things other than iChat