Private and Public

“The photographs shown on this site have all been taken within the confined space of a 30 metres long strip of sidewalk on Edgeware Road, Marble Arch, London.”

“All images are taken over a period of one year

Learning from Sound in the Arts

“Discussions about multimedia design sometimes refer to ‘the added value of sound’. Although it is true that sound can add important new information to a visual presentation, and strengthen the total experience, it should not be inferred that sound is merely confined to the supporting role behind the image. There are
numerous instances of software design incorporating audio in which the sound plays an auxiliary role.
However, it is also possible for sound to have importance equal with imagery, and even to carry the
majority of the experience in a multimedia design, as we shall see further on. An additive model is useful
when it allows us to analyze the independent benefits of sounds and images. But a view of multimedia
design in which auditory and visual modes are separate compartments is incomplete [1]. A more mature and
integrated model is offered in the performing arts, where sounds and images occur in concert with every
other element in the production, and where the whole experience is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Download .pdf: Sound + Image in Computer-Based Design: Learning from Sound in the Arts

Make Your Own Stock Photography

As today is Sunday and a bad headache is preventing any work from being done (yes we work 6-7 days a week in Taiwan), I am finding the time to catch up on some online reading. Though I doubt reading tiny text on a monitor is doing much for my headache, I have managed to find some interesting material in the archives of Digital Web Magazine. One article in particular seems timely as I often discuss the lack of quality stock photography that have Asian themes.

As a designer, making your own stock photography means that you’ll be approaching photography from an idea of a finished concept. This isn’t the way most photographers think. Most commercial photographers shooting for a design firm, need instructions from an art director. Photographers need to know what your client wants. They want to know what you know and share in your vision. This can be an interesting process with you as art director and photographer. Basically there is one goal to creating your own stock photography. Try to conceptualize a finished design and then shoot the image you’ll need for a mockup.

Read: A Designer’s Guide to Making Your Own Stock Photography (for non-photographers)

San Francisco Examiner redesign

“The new look also is designed to reflect reading habits of the 21st century, partly shaped by web-surfing and competition from an increasing number of media, by emphasizing more clear labeling and navigation, direct headline writing, concise summaries, and a bold use of color for navigation. Unlike our firm’s “refreshing” of the look of The Wall Street Journal last month, this project has truly been a “reinvention” of the newspaper. ”

I am not exactly sure as to how this is a reinvention of the newspaper, it’s still has words and photos printed on paper. It’s both interesting and sad to see the effect that web design has had on print. Having experienced the opposite effect and still working with people that consider the web print for the screen. It’s a little sad in that these principles of design that have been and are being developed are a way to deal with the medium itself. While solid principles apply to all media there is no need think that people find it difficult to read anything more than “bits n bites” of text. Or are they just mentioning the web as a means to appear sexy and current, when all they did was imrove the information design.

Read: | San Francisco Examiner redesign

Kinetic Typography

A colleague is doing her Masters thesis on some aspect of Kinetic Typography. It was a rather new term to me but a quick Google search turned up some research done some time ago by Suguru Ishizaki at Carnegie Mellon. Their project summary states, “Text is no longer limited to static forms in digital communication. Typographic form can change in size, color, or position in order to better express its content. ” Hmm… doesn’t necessarily sound like anything new to me. One just has to look at all the hype flash designers to see evidence of that. Now I am sure I am missing something and I’ll keep looking. At the very least the work that Suguru Ishizaki and his (her?) students have completed is interesting and an effective introduction to the field.

View examples of kinetic typography created by students in Kinetic Information Display: Kinetic Typography

Poetic Dialogues 1.0

I have never been good at defining something as art. I think I have always been uncomfortable with the word since it’s use is so greatly exaggerated. The following does catch my interest though but I think if the scope was greater it would be far more engaging.

This project is constituted by 18 different flash movies made with a
high-tech wristwatch camera. Each flash movie has a sequence of images
taken frame by frame of people reciting a verse that I previously wrote.
So, even when I employed a sophisticated machine to do this work, the
process was the same that was used at the begining of cinema. When you
enter the project you will see 3 different faces that establish a dialogue between them. The interaction among the characters generates a poem. Also, the number of different poems/combinations that you can get is 216. This metaphorical process of using a watch to create dynamic poems was taken from a previous work called

Organic Information Design

Benjamin Fry’s Master’s Thesis at MIT Media Lab. The abstract ||
Design techniques for static information are well understood, their descriptions and discourse thorough and well-evolved. But these techniques fail when dynamic information is considered. There is a space of highly complex systems for which we lack deep understanding because few techniques exist for visualization of data whose structure and content are continually changing. To approach these problems, this thesis introduces a visualization process titled Organic Information Design. The resulting systems employ simulated organic properties in an interactive, visually refined environment to glean qualitative facts from large bodies of quantitative data generated by dynamic information sources.

Download pdf or go to his website: benjamin fry

Life in Taiwan 7

The coming of the apocalypse?
When I left for work this morning the sky was gray and gloomy and the air was cool. The wind was whipping up a terrific sandstorm which helped to make the heavy traffic all the more dangerous. Lunch came and the temperature was way up and the sun was incredibly strong. Two hours later we had a torrential rain storm – but only for an hour or so. Then came a 6.2 earthquake. It’s now a little after ten and I am anxiously waiting for the end of the day, hoping that no more natural or man made disasters might contribute to what felt like the beginning of the end. Taiwan loves to overload your senses just when you were falling into a sense of normalcy.

Interactive Narrative

Yet more on narrative, “Marc Canter, father of the computer program now called Macromedia Director, recently presented his CD-ROM Meet the Media Band at the MIT Media Lab. While presenting one component of the CD-ROM, an interactive music video where, with the help of the viewer, the lead singer explores various dating options, Canter quickly apologized for the piece having “only sixteen endings.”

Read:Interactive Narrative

Interaction and Narrative Masterclass

Some good ideas and resources from Timo Arnalls archived interaction and narrative masterclass at He states the purpose of the discussion as:

To start a conversation about interaction and narrative.

To expose and discuss the underlying structure of successful: community systems, games,web based visual narratives, hypertext narratives,multi-channel interactions.

To give an overview of the current debate about ‘interactive narrative’.

Read: interaction and narrative

Unifying the Online Presence of Decentralized Organizations

Adaptive Path has redesigned their corporate site and started to posted consultant essays online. This particular article by Peter Merholz deals with an issue, decentralised web development, which is readily aparent in the organization I work for. While naturally it can’t speak to the total complexity of our situation it does bring up some valid points.

A number of smart businesses are realizing that the organizational characteristics that lead to their successes – such as agility, decentralized decision making, and fast growth – have made their Web sites unworkable through poor development processes and inconsistent user experiences. This frustrates any attempt by visitors to find meaningful information.

One recommendation which he makes is a particularly hard sell: To develop that single face, follow the steps outlined in this equation: User Goals and Tasks + Company Mission + Business Goals = Branded Design Solution.Most senior directors insist on putting the organizations needs first. Though you could argue that by addressing your customers needs first your organizaton will in turn be looked after, it seems more prudent to include the users later in the equation. Company Mission + Business Goals + User Goals and Tasks = Branded Design. It may seem the same but as each step in the equation influences the other the outcome will be different, a difference more suitable to our organization, with a process more likely to be approved by management.

Read: The Pendulum Returns: Unifying the Online Presence of Decentralized Organizations

Being a “Yes (Wo)Man” Is No Good

Meg Hourihan’s article comes at a time that I have been given a project to create a GUI standard for web application development for a internal knowledge management site. Their current problems can be partially attributed to what Meg has to say in her article. By continuing to agree to implement requests without proper analysis and usability testing, we can become part of, rather than a solution to, the unusable UI problem. By using elements in non-standard ways, the sanctity of the elements is disrupted.

Read: The Sanctity of Elements, or Why You Shouldn’t be Double-clicking in a textarea

Representing and Interpreting Literature by Computer

It is clear that the advent of computers has so far had almost no impact on the mainstream activities of producing, reading, or studying literary texts. This may be about to change. The prophecy that computing will transform the nature of literary studies is certainly one that we have heard before, but the widespread use of powerful personal computers in the last few years and the increasing role played by the internet, now makes such a forecast seem to carry more weight. Advocates of these technologies have recently begun to put a new and powerful argument: computer technology for modelling, representing, or creating texts is emerging that will allow us to bring these processes a major step nearer to the activities of actual readers; this in turn will revolutionize understanding of the nature of textuality itself. If this is true, the forthcoming shift in the domain of the literary will be on a tectonic scale, analogous to that brought about in the visual arts by the invention of photography and film.

Read: Literature and Computing — David Miall

The Social Life of Paper

Courtesy of Metafilter:
“This is one of the great puzzles of the modern workplace. Computer technology was supposed to replace paper. But that hasn’t happened. Every country in the Western world uses more paper today, on a per-capita basis, than it did ten years ago. The consumption of uncoated free-sheet paper, for instancethe most common kind of office paperrose almost fifteen per cent in the United States between 1995 and 2000. This is generally taken as evidence of how hard it is to eradicate old, wasteful habits and of how stubbornly resistant we are to the efficiencies offered by computerization. A number of cognitive psychologists and ergonomics experts, however, don’t agree. Paper has persisted, they argue, for very good reasons: when it comes to performing certain kinds of cognitive tasks, paper has many advantages over computers. The dismay people feel at the sight of a messy deskor the spectacle of air-traffic controllers tracking flights through notes scribbled on paper stripsarises from a fundamental confusion about the role that paper plays in our lives.”

Read: The Social Life of Paper

Shear Idiocy

The shear idiocy of some online advertisers escapes me. How can they be so f****** stupid. I clicked on a url this afternoon to check out a persons site and was taken to a indescript “portal” page whereby I was bombarded by pop-up ads. Now I am quite accustomed to this form of rude invasion but what happened next is something new to me (outside the realm of those other idiots – porn ads). Once I did the obligatory click to close the ad pop-up another pop-up spawns, closes all my other open browser windows, and then centers itself in the middle of my screen. As well it kept an “invisible” browser window open which is probably performing some kind of tracking or was readying another ad barrage.

Now what person in their right mind is going to postively respond to this kind of ad. And can’t these no mind losers who create these pop-ups get it through their thick skull that it doesn’t work? If I had the time and skill I’d track down the creator of this particlular rudeness and make her/his online life miserable. <\anger>

Men’s Fashion

The Morning News has a three part series on mens fashion for perhaps the fashion challenged
like myself (I still after all these years shop at the Gap).

An excerpt:
“When they get back from the cleaners, call that special someone, make drinks, lay a fire.
Escort your lover to the closet and ? slowly! ? take down each shirt, unbuttoning every cuff
(you can use your teeth), then throw them up so the air is a cloud of stripes,
an ecstasy of cotton.”

And words of wisdom that I hope all follow:
Oh yeah, another thing: Don?t roll up the jacket sleeves Miami-Vice style.
We say this now, but then again, considering the fickle nature of fashion, don?t hold us to it.

Men?s Fashion: Part 1, Suits

Men?s Fashion: Part 2, Dress Shirts

Men?s Fashion: Part 3, Pants