— THE SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE

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TECHNOLOGY

Image searching with the endless depths of the internet has always been a bit of an effort. While I personally found my own little hacks into Flickr that made the job easier, the mass default; Google Images does not do the job well. Tumblr, while a supremely brilliant repository of everything weird, wonderful and cool, is, alongside Pinterest, dependent on the tagging abilities of it’s users to be able to make image searching easier (and therefore, not great). Piccsy, a new start up with a great name, and an even better pitch doc/website;  are proposing they can solve this problem of abundance vs. ease. Their pitch doc in particular not only identifies a real problem to solve, but also does it with a certain amount of visual and developer panache. One to watch.

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Flutter.iois a smart little app with a lot of potential in it. (Gizmodo covered it here). Simply put, it uses your webcam to help pause and play spotify and/or iTunes. The app works pretty well so far, and the novelty (and connivence) is worth it for price of entry alone. This feels like an area of gesture that hasn’t been explored that much, which leads me to think that the app has a lot more to bring to the party than just putting your palm in front of the camera and playing/pausing apps. So it’ll be interesting to see where this goes. (On a side note Flutter, your website isn’t much to shout about, the getty images vibe is not cool. Please sort accordingly…)

Via Darrell Whitelaw)

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Most of us remember Geocities in some way shape or form. I personally remember there being some great pages dedicated to 60’s psych and other weird delights like that. It turns out that before it was shut down in 2010, and 35 million pages of fandom and weirdness were lost forever, (it was the third most popular website in the 1990’s), The Archive Team downloaded and archived the 650gigabytes of data held on the site. This has now been turned into an interactive installation of digital archeology. The Deleted City  is the result.

Seeing this, it got me thinking if our digital data is as transient as it once was with Geocities. Even though facebook’s implosion (or sale) is almost impossible to imagine now, this is still an evolving and relatively new world, a the lie of the land may look settled today, but that doesn’t mean it will always be so. It would be strange to think of facebook becoming a digital archeology site like geocities does here, but it’s not impossible in a world that’s breaking boundaries and evolutionary cycles as rapidly as the world wide web.

(Via Giles Phelps/Tommy Spirit)

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Jung Von Matt have really been doing some serious great work the last few years, especially in using to tech to bring their ideas to life. This concept for Mercedes is another example of that quality. To promote the new F-CELL Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology that make’s a Mercedes emissions ‘invisible’, they did just that. Made the car invisible. The video above shows how effective this idea was as the car toured Germany, creating genuine WOW moments.

Another superb example of how tech can be used to create gorgeous simple stories that amaze. I hope this gains the acclaim it deserves.

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(Photo – Cabin Overlooking the Pacific by Mark Wickens)

Cabin Porn has spread like wildfire these last few weeks. Surely some of that is down to it’s title, (There’s no better link bait than porn is there?), beyond that, there’s actually something a little bit more interesting going on underneath this staggering collection of beautiful shots of Cabins. All collated, they start to reflect a rising sentiment that has swept over social networks (and therefore the ‘Digerati’) at the beginning of 2012.

“The Joy Of Quiet”

The article in the New York Times popped up towards the end of the 2011. It raised a very pertinent question at the end of a very exhausting year economically, socially, politically and crucially, technologically.  Have we lost the ability to enjoy peace and quiet?. An even handed argument for the profound benefits of technology, and social networks was presented, but also sounded a warning. In the whirlwinds of our technological advancements, we were in danger of losing our ability to switch off, to enjoy those moments of peace and quiet. To just be. That place where actually we can do some of our best, and clearest thinking.

At the end of a transformative ‘social’/internet enabled year for me, it really hit home.

It seemed as though I wasn’t alone in this reflection. ‘Quiet’ was something many of us had been ignoring. See, the idea of doing nothing in the 2010’s, especially in the peer pressure-24/7-content-factory that our social feeds have become are now persona-non-grata. Everyone is now multiple media node. (And as the article points out for teenagers, who have grown up with the web, this is even more true). No-one is off. People now even pay to be removed from their devices. I know that I personally have Freedom installed on the machine and on more often, ready and waiting to shackle the Internet’s Pandora’s Box of delights. But this is great for desktop, but what prevents you picking up the iPad or iPhone?. Nothing, but your own willpower.

Social connectivity is pervasive.

The article clearly hit home. Some of the people that I respect the most in my twitter stream posted it, many of the people that I know had made significant life choices in 2011 (looking at you UberBlond) wrote about the moment of pause that the article reflected. This unassuming article  stuck in the middle of the NYT, seemed to stop alot of people in their tracks. It resonated in other ways, in the way that many people had renounced their previous careers, to pursue something more, something that they loved and in that way, created their own level of quiet. Their own freedom. The article suddenly took on more multi-faceted elements.

At Christmas, the pace of media (naturally) slowed. A quirk of the British holidays (gawd bless ’em), meant that the time off was actually rather lengthy. I for one spent lovely languid days in a deserted London, catching up with friends, loafing about in the Cow in Notting Hill, escaping the East London fug, and generally taking shit out of fourth gear. It was great.

I also took a long hard look at how much I was sharing, (which in truth, had moved towards more talking as opposed to sharing as my interactions with multiple Twitter people, who I would now call friends, had evolved). I reflected on how much time I would refresh my feed, even if only for that extra new tweet on my phone. It was getting a bit nuts.

I vowed to try and create a space in 2012 for the Joy Of Quiet myself. Naturally in January, this can look like a hollow ambition, more akin to Protestant guilt than actual change. I’m skeptical of cold turkey. However, I do believe in moderation. That moderation through January has helped slowly subside that killer FOMO moment. I haven’t opened up Twitter on my iPhone since January 1. I have a renewed focus, more time to write, (and I mean write) things, like this. Long things, thoughtful things. (I know Mr Tait & Mr Kinsella are sharing the same sentiment with their blogging habits). More time to sit, read, listen to music, drift away, and wander. Things that I’ve loved doing from the moment I first moved to London. More focus on what I want to do and achieve in 2012. (Big moves, big things).

While I adore things like Twitter, and Instagram, and have been life-changing platforms for me, they also aren’t going anywhere, it’s OK to miss out, to keep quiet sometimes.

Which brings me back to Cabin Porn. If the Joy of Quiet was the written manifesto of evolved internet interactions is 2012. Then Cabin Porn is it’s visual doppelganger. Take a close look at these photos. The most interesting images here are not the beautifully stylised homes on Lake Tahoe or in an exclusive upstate enclave. They are the ones of little shacks, seemingly period pieces from gritty Westerns or rural Apalachian nowheresvilles.

Their remoteness, and therefore disconnectedness, is the true appeal. They are places to write, to create, to contemplate, to escape. They are the 21st Century communes. They remind me of a hippy utopia, or films like Vanishing Point. They are silence. Incredible, magical silence. Even with all the technological, social, economic and cultural upheavals around us, sometimes we just like to “Get Back to the Garden” (as Joni Mitchell put it). We would do well to keep these images in our mind, lest, go and explore them ourselves. Cabin Porn is the The Joy Of Quiet.

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One of the most consistently inspiring companies out there is the guys from Northern Sweden, North Kingdom. There year has been punctuated by many excellent projects. From Volvo Cross Country Travels (Which I blogged about last month), to the extensively chronicled ‘Three Dreams Of Black’ project with Google Creative Labs.

That last project provides one the examples in this presentation from Alfredo Aponte. Entitled ‘Enhancing Experiences with Animation’), it shows how animation (not in it’s Pixar/Dreamworks configuration) is one of the most essential elements to any genuinely successful product, project or campaign. The metaphors he draws upon to describe great UX are smart and help demystify and clarify in equal measure. So this presentation works well as both an introduction to the subject and and clear opinion piece for those with a keen interest  in the discipline. Well worth a read.

 

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The blog HUDS AND GUIS, has proved to be a fascinating education, and opened up a vast hub of inspiring design work. This truly is one of the most essential bookmarks of the year.

The blog itself is a list of interesting work from both films and adverts that incorporates digital interaction. Minority Report is widely regarded as one the first (and best films) to bring to life the near future of technology in a realistic and authentic way. From those (very successful beginnings), the list of films that has applied excellent examples of HUDS has grown. Culminating this year with the stunning work created for TRON Legacy. (Which was every single design geeks wet dream…)

There’s lots and lots to explore here that frankly, isn’t going to be done justice by my brief introduction. What is fascinating is how close the future of film, has come to reflect our own contemporary UI trends. Which is really is a credit to the designers who worked on these films, (especially the work of Jake Sargeant over at MN8) as well as (dare as I say it) The holloywood filmmakers who sought out this expertise in the first place. A fascinating journey, and one that is highly recommended.

The Jumpman 23 HUDS & GUIS in action:

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