Tuesday, May 3, 2005

New reviews

New reviews (found at http://www.com.washington.edu/rccs/) include:

Islam in the Digital Age: E-Jihad, Online Fatwas, and Cyber Islamic Environments, by Gary R. Bunt (Pluto Press, 2003)

Reviewed by Alan Sondheim, author of Being on Line: Net Subjectivity (Lusitania, 1996), Disorders of the Real (Station Hill, 1988), .echo (alt-X digital arts, 2001), Vel (Blazevox, 2004-5), Sophia (Writers Forum, 2004) and The Wayward (Salt, 2004).

Reviewed by Robert Tynes, adjunct faculty member at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York.

Windows and Mirrors: Interaction Design, Digital Art, and the Myth of Transparency, by Jay David Bolter and Diane Gromala (MIT Press, 2003)

Reviewed by Richard Holeton, head of Residential Computing at Stanford University, author of Figurski at Findhorn on Acid (Eastgate Systems, 2001) and Composing Cyberspace: Identity, Community, and Knowledge in the Electronic Age (McGraw-Hill, 1998).

E-Commerce and Cultural Values, edited by Theerasak Thanasankit (Idea Group Publishing, 2003)

Reviewed by Kirk St.Amant, assistant professor of technical communication at Texas Tech University.

In the current issue of TEKKA, you'll find reviews of:

Hello World by Sue Thomas (Raw Nerve Books, 2004) - reviewed by Greg Beatty

The Cinema Effect by Sean Cubitt (MIT Press, 2004) - reviewed by Adrian Miles

White graphics: the power of white in graphic design by Gail Deibler Finke

(Rockport Publishers Inc, 2001)- reviewed by Brandon Barr

In TEKKA 5, George Landow reviews Windows and Mirrors: Interaction Design, Digital Art, and the Myth of Transparency, by Jay David Bolter and Diane Gromala (MIT Press, 2003).

Monday, May 2, 2005

JoDi moves

Journal of Digital Information, JoDi, has moved to http://jodi.tamu.edu/

Monday, May 2, 2005

Call for Entries from L.A. Center for Digital Art


Los Angeles Center For Digital Art Juried Show

Los Angeles Center For Digital Art

107 West Fifth Street

Los Angeles, CA 90013


LACDA announces our juried competition for digital art and photography. Entrants submit three JPEG files of original work. All styles of 2D artwork and photography where digital processes of any kind were integral to the creation of the images are acceptable.

The selected winner recieves 10 prints up to 44x60 inches on canvas or museum quality paper (approximately a $1500-$2000 value) to be shown in a solo exhibition in our gallery from June 9-July 2, 2005. The show will be widely promoted and will include a reception for the artist.

Second place prizes: Five second place winners will receive one print of their work up to 24x36 inches ($150-$200 in value) to be included in upcoming group shows. Second place winners will be scheduled into group shows within twelve months of announcement of winners. Consideration is given to placing these works in shows appropriate to their style, genre and/or content. These shows will be widely promoted and will include a reception for the artists.

Special consideration will be given to all entrants for inclusion in future shows at LACDA. Many entrants from past competitions have already been included in our exhibits.

Deadline for entries:

May 22, 2005

Winners will be announced May 29, 2005.

Registration fee is $30US.

Online registration only.

For questions email us at contact@lacda.com.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

interactive tableaux

After a long wait, Nicolas Clauss of Flying Puppet finally introduces us to his two new pieces:

Les marcheurs (the walkers)

Linz Ars 2004

Go and have a look!

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Signal or Noise 2k5: Creative Revolution?

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society to host "Signal or Noise 2k5: Creative Revolution?", a conference on how digital technologies are enabling new artistic genres and forms of creativity

CAMBRIDGE - Friday, April 8, The Berkman Center for Internet & Society will host "Signal or Noise 2k5: Creative Revolution?", a conference on how digital technologies enable new artistic genres, creators, and business models, and challenge existing ones. As digital technologies enable audiences to become artists and publishers, often by building off others' work, some are celebrating the popularization of the creative process -- while others are decrying theft and plagiarism.

"New technologies are making digital creativity possible for many more people than ever before. These new contributions to our culture are exciting -- but they are also challenging, because these creative works don't fit the traditional commercial model and often involve the active reuse of existing art," says John Palfrey, Executive Director of the Berkman Center. "Our traditional copyright doctrine is struggling to adapt to the digital age. How can we balance original artists' rights and interests with the interests of expanding popular creativity?"

The conference will explore the legal, ethical, cultural, and business implications of creative reuse through an exciting mix of performances, demonstrations, and panels. Artists' complex reactions to commercial, artist, and audience reuses of their works; the challenges new derivative genres present to traditional copyright doctrine; and the opportunities and complications presented by noncommercial creation and widespread free republication will all be addressed.

An eclectic group of well-known digital artists, writers, entertainment lawyers, copyright experts, and musicians will share their perspectives and experiences. Scheduled panelists and performance artists include New York Times bestselling author Matthew Pearl, copyright scholar Terry Fisher, fanfiction author Naomi Novik, David Dixon of Beatallica, Paul Marino of machinima.org, and Wendy Seltzer and John Perry Barlow of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Members of the media are invited to cover this event. To obtain a press pass, please contact Amanda Michel, amichel@cyber.law.harvard.edu or (617) 495-7547.

"Signal or Noise 2k5" will be held in Ames Courtroom, Austin Hall on the Harvard Law School campus. The conference is from 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. For more information, including panelists' bios, please visit: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/sn/

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School was founded to explore cyberspace, share in its study, and help pioneer its development.

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Digital Arts and Culture 2005


Digital Arts & Cultures (DAC) Conference 2005: "Digital Experience: Design, Aesthetics, Practice"

December 1st - December 3rd, Copenhagen, Denmark

The 6th DAC conference will be held at the IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark, from December 1st to December 3rd 2005. Researchers and practitioners from all related disciplines are invited to participate in this event and to exchange ideas, theories and experiences regarding the state of the field of digital arts, cultures, aesthetics and design anno 2005.


The DAC 2005 conference invites critical examinations of the field of digital arts and culture, which challenge existing paradigms. We call for papers which examine both theoretical and hands-on approaches to digital experiences and experience design. Since the inaugural DAC in 1998 much has happened, and research has matured from early investigations into the problematic nature of new media towards questions of emergent dynamics, user centered design and various forms of interactivity. At the same time, the realization has grown that users of digital media not only are active participants, but also have to be taken into account at all stages of the design and production of digital experiences How do practitioners (programmers, artists, designers etc.) cater for this kind of active and demanding user? What kinds of experiences can we create? How can these experiences inform us? How do we as academics analyse and evaluate digital experiences? DAC has always been interested in exploring the ways in which digital media do things that traditional media cannot. We believe that the focus on 'experience' in DAC 2005 will illuminate the possibilities of digital media beyond the functional possibilities of 'usability'. What are the aesthetic and cultural implications of digital design as experience?

For suggestions of more specific topics of the papers, see the website.


We call for submission of full papers only. It is possible to submit either a full-length paper (max. 10 pages) or a short paper (max. 4 pages). We also invite invitations for self-organised preconference workshops.

All papers will be reviewed by an independant review committee, which will provide written feedback on each paper. Submission of full paper (long & short) & workshop proposals: August 8th Submission of camera-ready papers: October 28th


Conference organiser, academic officer: Tasha Buch, IT University of Copenhagen (tabu@itu.dk)

Conference chair: Lisbeth Klastrup, IT University of Copenhagen (klastrup@itu.dk)

Conference chair: Susana Tosca, IT University (tosca@itu.dk, currently on maternity leave)

- we look forward to meeting you at DAC 2005!

Tuesday, April 5, 2005


Call for ideas and proposals

Our skin is our vulnerable shell. It protects us and characterizes each one of us as an individual. Besides its physical attributes, our skin conveys differences between people; it takes on ancestral, historical, cultural and political implications. As time flows on, it carves more signs and meanings on our skin.

SyS wants to explore this territory from different points of view. Creative personalities will suggest artistic interpretations of the project message, thus offering their own reading of the human skin. Photography, graphic arts, the written word; a bold, abstract approach or a sober and realistic one - each contribution will be a key component of this multifaceted jigsaw puzzle. The goal is to build a well-structured picture of human skin as a concept/research object. The final work will be published in a book and distributed to selected retailers all over the world.

Artists, writers, designers and cultural producers: we are calling you! Send us your work! (Format: 1 to max. 8 pages; approx. size: 17x24 cm./6.70x9.45 in.). It can be anything from a photo or photo series/sequence, to graphic work, a story, an article or a poem.

As the book will include a DVD, please feel free to send us also multimedia content (sounds, animations, movies, etc.).

(deadline: March 31, 2005). Extended! New deadline: May 31, 2005


Monday, March 28, 2005

Special Issue Call for Papers:

"Minority languages, multimedia and the Web"

For The New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia, 2005 (2)

Guest Editors:

Daniel Cunliffe, University of Glamorgan, UK (djcunlif@glam.ac.uk), Susan Herring, Indiana University, USA (herring@indiana.edu)

Information and communications technology, and in particular the World Wide Web, can be a double-edged sword as regards the maintenance and revitalisation of minority languages. On the one hand, minority language communities can be active shapers of these technologies, creating their own tools, adapting existing tools to local needs, and creating culturally authentic, indigenous electronic media. On the other hand, these technologies can be seen as a force for globalisation and neo-colonisation, reinforcing the existing dominance of majority languages and breaking down geographical boundaries that in the past may have protected minority language groups.

Researching the effects of multimedia and the Web on minority languages is challenging, and it is not yet clear how best to utilise these technologies to maintain and revitalise minority languages. This special issue invites researchers and practitioners who are actively engaged in addressing these issues from practical or theoretical viewpoints to share their findings and experiences and to contribute to a platform for future research. Relevant topics include, but are not limited to:

Minority language applications:

  • designing, implementing and evaluating applications
  • measuring the impact of applications on language use
  • promoting indigenous production and participatory design

Influence of ICTs on minority languages:

  • adaptation of languages to online environments, e.g., Romanisation
  • behaviour of minority language speakers in online environments

Measuring online minority languages:

  • quantitative and qualitative measurement of online presence and use
  • content related analysis of online presence and use

Strategic issues:

  • understanding barriers to online minority language use
  • integrating multimedia and the Web into language planning

Article submissions should typically be no longer than 7,000 words (excluding references) and should follow the formatting guidelines in the Instructions to Authors on the NRHM web site (www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/13614568.asp). Submissions should be sent by email to the Guest Editors, in Word, rtf or pdf format. If you have any questions concerning the scope of the call or require further information, please contact the Guest Editors. Open topic papers meeting NRHM's scope in general are also welcome (contact the Editor for further information).

Submission deadline: April 30, 2005

Acceptance notification: June 30, 2005

Final manuscripts due: August 31, 2005

NRHM Editor Douglas Tudhope - dstudhope@glam.ac.uk

Associate Editor Daniel Cunliffe - djcunlif@glam.ac.uk

NRHM is published by Taylor & Francis

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Project X Theatre

Project X Theatre + The Planetary Collegium =

digital performances machinima net art artificial life digital music & dance interactive art sound & light show video screening intelligent architecture 3D game environments virtual reality & more

Saturday, April 9, 2005 7 pm-11 pm

Southside on Lamar, 1409 Lamar #003, Dallas, 75215

Tickets, $10 Parking available.



Monday, March 21, 2005

Boston CyberArts Festival

The centerpiece of Ideas in Motion is a two-day conference on April 23 and 24, the first weekend of the Festival. The conference includes a keynote address by Prof. John Mitchell of Arizona State University and two afternoons of presentations, short performances, and Q&A by an exciting, diverse cast of artists and technologists — April 23, 2-6pm, Simmons Hall at MIT, 229 Vassar Street, Cambridge; and April 24, 1-6pm, Boston University New Dance Theater, 915 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston.

Read more at BostonCyberarts.org

Monday, March 21, 2005

Flash for Cash

Deadline is nearing for the Flash for Cash competition!

The Brief:

Using the provided Netkeepers.ca imagery produce a flash based campaign that promotes the Netkeepers.ca brand and product to the community.

The Campaign:

1. The campaign must be built in flash

2. Duration to be no more than 1 minute

3. All content must be original or royalty free

4. No restrictions on file size

5. Dimentions of the campaign to be 419 x 179

How it works?

A panel judges will assess all the entries and then select the top 10. The Finalists will be promoted on the Netkeepers.ca site and open to the public/community to vote on. There will be a first second and third place based on the number of votes for each design.

What you get?

1st Place:

$1,000 CDN cool hard Cash + 1 year free hosting at Netkeepers.ca

2nd Place:

Ipod Mini + 1 year free hosting at Netkeepers.ca

3rd Place:

Ipod Shuffle + 1 year free hosting at Netkeepers.ca


Entries to be submitted by midnight Friday, April 1st, 2005 (EST)

Voting begins 9am Monday, April 4th, 2005 (EST)

Voting closes midnight Friday, April 8th, 2005 (EST)

The winner will be announced at FITC 05

Monday, March 21, 2005

New Spring = New Jeans

Crisis! I've been trailing the stores to track down a pair of hot looking jeans for the spring. Nothing fits - it is such a disaster. After desperately eeling into pair number 14 of my trial stack, I finally gave up. "Look, if I bend or sit down, this pair shows my underwear!" I complained to the shop assistant. "Oh, you aren't wearing a pair of hipster thongs or briefs already?" she politely smiled. I'm confused. Hipster what?

Low cut jeans should be priced down - God knows how much fabric they save on revealing people's bellies and cracks. It is a disgusting fashion. In Virginia, law makers wanted to fine the low cut riders:

The bill, which would have slapped a $50 fine on people who wear their pants so low that their underwear is visible in "a lewd or indecent manner", passed the state House on Tuesday but was killed by a Senate committee two days later in a unanimous vote.

Anyway. To avoid the embarrassment of looking horrible while trying out pants in the stores downtown, I went online to search for a better way of finding good jeans. It turns out I'm not the only one having a hard time with this:

"The average woman tries on nine pairs of jeans before finding a pair that fit..."
"For example, one study reported that the average woman in the U.S. tries on 21 pairs of jeans before making a purchase, while men try on an average of two pairs of jeans."
"The average woman tries on 15 pairs of jeans before buying"

I found a great jeans tool at the Interactive Custom Clothes Company. They'll let you design your own jeans, and afterwards, they'll apply your measurements to the model. IC3D guarantee that your pants will fit, or you may return them. Choose your shape, fabric, details.. I love this. No more tiny dressing room or bitchy assistants.

Monday, March 14, 2005


Do you follow the game reviews on "Judgment day"? If you haven't, be prepared for a lot of arm gesticulating as Tommy and Victor, the hosts, wave their hands wildly and talk over each other in excitement! Their language is drenched with "basically, actually, sort of, sort of like, pretty much, definitely, kind of, cool, sucks" and other cliches. Which is why I love it, of course. Tommy and Victor have this special way of making you also want to try out the games they give bad reviews (I guess I should mention that a bad review on this show is 6.5 out of ten. Mostly, they stick with the grading 7.0 to 9.5!). They didn't give EA's FIFA Street the best grades on the show this morning, but I still can't wait to check it out!

G4tv airs some interesting programs for gamers - worth a visit!

Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Flash video

Flash video/film is becoming quite the thing to do!

There is a Flash Film Festival at the FlashForward 2005 (San Francisco, April 6-8). There are 15 categories (!) - Application, Art, Cartoon, Commerce, Educational, Experimental (exciting!), Game (I wish Madison would get her act together and submit some of her stuff), Motion Graphics, Navigation, Original Sound, Story, Technical Merit, 3D, Typography, and Video.

At first, it might seem excessive to have so many categories. But I think it is the right way to go - this way, people with excellent story telling skills have a chance to get through even if their technical skills aren't the best.

Some of my favorite finalists:

The Interactive Church Music Player, which lets you decide tempo and choose the dynamics for the choral voices while you look at the music score.

The pieces by Abnormal Behavior Child - especially Rooms. She could have toned down the flashing, though! Perhaps it was meant as a cool effect, but it does nothing but aggravate you after a while.

Osman Dinc's portfolio is amazing. I love his illustrations - and the way he lets you browse them!

Wednesday, March 9, 2005


linkdup , my new favorite website? A collection of guys collects a collection of links:

We've been in the business for a while, and so hope we can separate the good from the bad.

I wouldn't say that *all* these sites are "good", though... Browsing through the Digital Magazine selection at linkdup, for instance, I found that most sites make use of the flash "page flipper" for their layout.... while others skipped the flash all together but kept the pages. Original? You tell me.

I liked Fused Magazine, though. And I found submarinechannel.com's interactive tale Hotel very engaging. Give it a read!

Sometimes, you might just find some fun stuff behind a link.

Friday, February 4, 2005

Something like a tennis elbow in a thumb

Gamespy interviews Hugh Hefner about Playboy: The Mansion. Hugh thinks of himself as an "old-fashioned cat" who won't play The Mansion in "any obsessive kind of way", was born into a"puritan society" and would love to be Elvis Presley in a game!

GameSpy: You have a game room here at the mansion. How often do you go in there and play?

Hugh Hefner: In the '70s and early-'80s, we were in there almost every night. I am, and have always been, a big game player. There was a time when I played Pac-Man so incessantly that I had to get a glove because I was suffering from something like tennis elbow, but it was in my thumb.

What is interesting is that while Hugh played Pac-Man incessantly - he won't play Playboy The Mansion obsessively... is this just an "old-fashioned" cat's preference, or....

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Beacon Street Girls

Are girls aged 9 -13 too old for toys, and too young for boys? Do they need their own stuff? B*tween Productions, Inc thinks so, and launched this interesting Web site to complement their "Beacon Street Girls" books. The Beacon Street Girls are 4 fictional girls from Brookline, a suburb of Boston: Avery, Isabel, Charlotte and Mauve.

I'm so curious about how these characters were developed. Intended to be role models for young girls, they teach "socially responsible values in a delectable hot fudge sundae of fun and friendship." The Web site design is sugar sweet and upbeat in tone. All the characters have their own sections, with a "this week in my life" section. Avery's is a blog, of some sorts. In one post, she asks:

"Question of the week: Why do people call short people cute? It's really annoying. We don't like to be called cute. It makes us feel like windup toys!"

Well, I hate to say it, BUT... aren't these character "cute"? They are all slim, wonderfully dressed, some equipped with almost "adult" jewelry. Katani, at this young age, seems way too vain and writes in her "this week in my life" section that before she goes to bed, she'd like to "try new mud masque". Did her parents buy this stuff for her? Katani even has her own design line named K-girl (Wow. That's some pressure right there, if you're 12. Why don't YOU have your own design line?).

After some browsing around the website, these Pollyanna characters all began seeming like the same person to me. They all have the same smiles, eyes, noses, and faces (although they have different colorings). Sigh.

Actually, it was heart breaking. At the Web site's surface level, none of these characters seem to have any of the problems my peers and I experienced when we grew up. Has the world changed this much? Am I already out of touch..?

In my class room when I was 12, fat Anne wanted to be an opera singer. We all laughed, rolling our eyes. I was skinny and tall: they boys once locked me inside the bathroom when the school bell rang... I could escape through the keyhole, couldn't I? There was Celia, with the black, shiny hair and blue eyes, who grew perfect breasts before any of the rest of us. After Phys Ed classes she'd proudly flaunt them in front of the mirror in the girls wardrobe, shaking them from side to side so we'd have the opportunity to see precisely how big & bouncy they were. Wearing socks and toilet paper in our own (otherwise empty) bras, we publicly adored her and silently hated her. Then there was Lina, who claimed she was born a boy! Could girls be born boys?? We didn't think so. Appalled and disgusted, we kept her at a distance, except when she brought us goodies (which we inhaled and then ditched her). We were mean little bastards and proud of it.

Not exactly hot fudge sundae, or what? Do we need fudge and upbeat to teach young girls values?

I got curious about where these characters came from, and found an online interview with Addie Swartz, the CEO of B*tween Productions. Here is what she said:

We interviewed a healthy cross-section of girls from different socio-economic groups. We met them in after-school programs, at Boys and Girls Club centers, and at soccer games.

They provided great ideas and input about what the characters should be like — even how they should look and dress. School emerged as a common theme among the girls we spoke with. From this field research we created composite characters.

So I have to wonder. Did these characters emerge from a blueprint of the average young American girl's fantasies? From the imaginations (or aspirations?) of their parents? Their teachers? Are they the real young American women to be?

Friday, January 28, 2005


The Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies is delighted to announce:


Oxford Brookes University, 11-13 September 2005

The conference will address a range of critically important themes relating to the book - including the past, present and future of publishing, libraries, literacy and learning in the information society. Main speakers will include some of the world's leading thinkers and innovators in the areas of publishing, editing, librarianship, printing, authorship and information technologies, as well as numerous presentations by researchers and practitioners. Publishers, librarians, academics, teachers, authors and associated professionals are all welcome to attend. For further information, please visit the conference website, or reply to the above email address.

For those wishing to submit a proposal to the conference call-for-papers, 30 minute paper, 60 minute workshop and 90 minute colloquium sessions are available. The deadline for the first round call for papers is 17 February 2005. Visit the conference website for the closing dates of subsequent rounds.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Keeping track

I'm always buried in email, and all the replies I'm getting from the dating site listings I made for Madison aren't helping!

I made a mailbox just for my life as Madison's matchmaker. Mark Hurst, the GoodExperience guy, has a great report on living with the email torrent.

Come to think of it, perhaps Tinderbox might be a great help in organizing Madison's potential new dates? I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Women + Video Games = Profit

Women have money to spend. As with the rest of the world, they are seeing games as one of their main sources of entertainment. Tap into their desires for fun, and *poof*, instant profits.

Yesterday, Clarinda Merripen of Cyberlore spoke at the Boston Postmortem. She had a lot to say about women and games - to an audience of almost all male game developers. "Women are the new powerhouse", she said, quoting sales statistics from Fast Company. Apparently, women purchase 66% of all home computer equipment in the U.S!

She accused the game industry of alienating women by their marketing campaigns. As an example, she mentioned the absolutely ridiculous Gameboyd Advance SP ad - the one with the guy and his girlfriend in bed. She is sleeping, while he is playing his gameboy in the dark. It practically spells out "women - this isn't for you" (and worse - guys would rather play with their gameboy than with you!). Clarinda asks the industry to reinvent their image. If Nike could get women to wear sports shoes, why can't the game industry get women to play games?

She also accused the retailers of catering only to guys, and boy, is that true. Every-time I pop into Best Buy in the mall, a bunch of "I know games better than you" clerks hang around the game section, looking at me as if I should rather be shopping at Victoria's Secret.

Anyway, she got the crowd excited about the new Playboy, The Mansion game - it just went gold and will be out on the 25th of January. I'm curious though - will women buy this game?

Friday, January 7, 2005

Congratulations, Dr. Leishman!

We wish to congratulate Dr. Donna Leishman on her doctoral thesis: Creating Screen-Based Multiple State Environments: Investigating Systems of Confutation:

The culmination of the research and an example of the fragital at work -- is located in the project Deviant: The Possession of Christian Shaw. The artwork is elucidated using critical insights from a group of twelve invited expert participants and an in-depth self-analysis. This group was invited on the basis of their interdisciplinary abilities, personal voice and commitment to my research area. The objective viewpoints of these participants was used not only to aid further understanding of the perception of the project but also to help me as the artist to extract extra arguments, complement my subjective understanding and gain additional contextual insights about my work..

The possession of Christian Shaw was published in TEKKA, Volume 1, Issue 3.

From Diane Greco's foreword:

In Leishman's reinterpretation of 17th-century Paisley, crummy grey high-rises shoot up, in defiance of all known laws of perspective, from a deep green landscape of popsicle contours. The formerly-reliable cursor hops around and changes shape alarmingly. You click on a bush; a pair of reptilian eyes opens and does not close. And although you find, after a few tries, that it is possible to remove the heads from trees, this opportunity to violate the landscape does not advance your progress. There are, in fact, no buttons or other obvious way finding devices in Leishman's vision of Paisley-- that would be too easy.

Thursday, January 6, 2005

Playboy: The Mansion

- or, The Sims, on Viagra?

I can't say from the previews if this game is going to be any good or not. I know for SURE that there will be some real discussion around Playboy, The Mansion when it is released (January 15th, I think). Just have a look at this. Ironlore, the developers, are putting real people into the game:

Have you ever dreamt of living at the Playboy Mansion, roaming freely in the world's most stylish pad, meeting with celebrities and enjoying the Playboy lifestyle in the place where it all started?

This could be you. If you're willing to look sexy on the web, enter a contest, and you could be the one they'll invite into the game. Their website is full of hopeful, sexy young people. Are they competing with porn sites? You've got to wonder when you come across pictures like this one:

The rules: You've got to be 18. Could they perhaps add another, small rule? Like... keep your panties on, at least?

Are you feeling turned off, or is this just me...

Thursday, January 6, 2005

The Stone Wall

The Stone Wall... this small literary piece resonates with me, somehow. Move your mouse over the little arrow and the sentences wash in like waves over the sand.

"And how his eyes always saw strands of his daughter's hair when he glanced at the yellow sun."

These words.... what would my own daughter's hair remind me of?

Tuesday, January 4, 2005

O'Reilly Emerging Technology

Another conference I'd love to be at... The O'Reilly Emerging Technology conference, March 14-17, 2005, San Diego, CA

The slogan is Remix: your hardware, your software, your media, your world.

Many interesting sessions here. Like Reinventing Radio: Enriching Broadcast with Social Software:

How could you enhance a one-to-many national radio station by building in the many-to-many-style interactions of Flickr or the weblog community? How might lessons from social software further blur the distinction between listeners and broadcasters by pushing interactivity beyond the phone-in or the online poll?

Some of the session doesn't have descriptions yet, but sound fascinating, like this one titled Folksonomy. A quick google search gave me a broad introduction to the term, and I found some weblogs to watch as well:

Thomas Wander Val (who coined the term folksonomy)

Gene Smith (very interesting weblog)

Monday, January 3, 2005

ALIVE@9th Street

ALIVE@9th Street Presents

Storytelling and the Internet Age:

New Media, Nonlinear Expanded Cinema, Flash Animation and Interactivity

What do Java Script, Stock Market Ticker Tape Machines, Web Services and User driven interactive digital experiences have to do with storytelling? Find out the answer to this and more as storytellers and technoids who get your heart thumping and have you hanging onto the edge of your seat come together for the second program in the Ninth Street Independent Film Center's inaugural Forum Series ALIVE@9th Street. Storytelling and the Internet Age takes a look into possibilities for the future of techno-storytelling. Join moderator Peter L. Stein (Executive Director, San Francisco Jewish Film Festival) for a evening with documentary filmmaker, writer and teacher, Carroll Parrott Blue (recipient of the 2004 Sundance Film Festival Online Award); Flash technology pioneer Louis Fox (founding partner Free Range Graphics); animation whiz, entrepreneur and activist Brad deGraf (credits include Jetsons: The Movie, Robocop 2); and acclaimed video and digital artist, and pioneer in digital innovation, Lynn Hershman-Leeson (Technolust, Conceiving Ada), Wednesday, January 12, 2005, 7:00pm, 145 Ninth Street, 1st Floor Screening Room, SF (between Mission & Howard). $10 advance, $5 students, call (415) 552-5950.

ALIVE website

Monday, January 3, 2005

DAC 2005

Digital Arts and Cultures is back! This time in Copenhagen, Denmark, December 2005. We'll be there... will you?

Browse previous DAC conferences:

DAC 2003
DAC 2001
DAC 2000
DAC 1999
DAC 1998

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Making Music

In the new TEKKA, Ed Ward writes about the confrontation between the music industry, the downloaders, and the people who make the music.

This whole file-sharing fracas has been in the news, ever since I got back, and it's good to see someone who doesn't just assume that music is something they make and you buy. It's good, too, that someone understands the world is bigger than the nearest shopping mall.

I especially like his point distinction between kids and connoisseurs. People act as if the everything turns on what Japanese preteens think is kawaii, because all those preteens shop the same way. But it's a big world: even in the village, we used to get CDs and videos. We'd all gather in Kestrel's house and watch Tom Cruise together. And yes, there are a lot of Japanese preteens, but there are a lot of villages in this big old world.

And, however far I went, I never got beyond video night.

That's one big difference, though: we'd watch and listen together. Not many iPods and personal videos in the village.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Good Experiences

Oh! This looks incredibly interesting! A conference on what makes a good experience. About time - how come I didn't know about this before?

The participants are divided into tracks. Some visit a school, others the market, some the street, and some lucky attendees will go to the museum, all on the look-out for good experiences.

I really want to go - think about all the ideas you'll bring home and implement in your designs. Most of our clients at work hire us to design their web catalogs - studying how people buy and salesmen sell at markets might give valuable insights in how interactions on a website could be designed. Perhaps I could get this trip sponsored...

Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Lionel Kearns

Recommended: On Lionel Kerns - by Jim Andrews

The "Birth of God/uniVerse" visual poem from 1965 is extrordinary in its relevance to digital culture, having been written prior to there really being any. But, as Kearns points out, when he wrote the piece, he was not thinking so much of computers as the dynamic of binary generation present in creation myths, Leibnitz's philosophy, the principles of yin and yang, etc. He was thinking less about technology than philosophy, language, and poetry. This would tend to produce work that is less disposable than a given technology. Computers could as well operate in something other than base two (binary) and, in fact, did so in the earliest days of computers. In this sense, that "Birth of God/uniVerse" is iconic of the birth of the digital age is coincidental. However, the poem is generative of all things, including coincidence. It is close to the source of things. It is thoughtful about the primal. Additionally, there is a concern with design and simplicity here I admire. It is not psychadelic.

Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Giant in the Playground's "Order of the Stick"

I found this great site this morning. It's a comic strip called "Order of the Stick" from the Web site www.giantitp.com. The comic artist, Rich Burlow, is a game writer and designer, and he is absolutely hilarious. It had me in hysterics! The characters are all straight from a role-playing game — the heroes include a rogue, a halfling ranger, and their battle-hardened leader Roy Greenhilt.

My favorite of strip was a spoof on those inane automated voicemail answering systems — you know, the ones with menu after menu of options that confuse and frustrate you every time your phone bill is wrong or you want to change your billing information with your insurance company. The minstrel, Elan the Bard, has been injured in the field of battle, so Durkon Thundershield the dwarven cleric decides to make an appeal to the Mighty Thor in an attempt to save him. But instead of the great and powerful Thor, he instead ends up with a recorded menu of choices at ThorPrayer®. He is trying to get a "Healing Miracle," but when the automated system asks him to enter the first three letters of the name of the miracle, H-E-A gets him the options of "Heathen Smiting" and "Heat Blisters." For each, he is asked to chant "one" if it is correct and chant "two" if it is not correct. The results are funny and twisted, but I won't give them away. Poor Elan … he was better off with the swords stuck in his spleen!

The page says that it is updated every Monday and Thursday. This one is definitely going into my bookmarks.

Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Online dating

I'm having so much fun trying out different dating sites!

It would have been so much more fun to do this together with someone - but Madison isn't game. I've tried hard to convince her -- these sites are getting better and better all the time. Obviously there are some flaws here and there, and outrageous claims, too. At Match.com you can take an attraction test to see who you'd be attracted to, and who'd be attracted to you. So far, I'm not seeing exactly how that can be assessed in pure data, but ... it is interesting.

I spent some time creating some profiles on different sites this morning. When I got back from lunch, I had to spend nearly an hour sifting through my inbox! So what if some of them aren't quite what one is looking for...? There are bound to be one or two you'd want to meet up with.

I'm emailing with at least 7 guys right now - it is nice to have some choice! Come to think of it, Madison's problem is that she is too picky... When she was over at my place last week and talked about this, we did a few searches on Match.com. She didn't like anybody! I bet if she just met some of them face to face, she'd think different...

Sunday, December 5, 2004


TEKKA 7 is nearly out! Ed Ward writes about the music record industry:

Cliché Number Three states that the record companies have now suffered so much financial damage at the hands of file-sharing that their future is imperiled. Plummeting sales, caused by Internet piracy, have made the major record labels trim their rosters, putting artists out of work, causing tours to be abandoned, and making it necessary for them to lay off huge quantities of staff.

Friday, December 3, 2004

Claudia Cortes' Colors

My friend Antonia just sent me a link to Claudia Cortes'Colors because she liked it and thought that I might too. She really goes for all of that artsy stuff. All I can say is that it is so riddled with gender stereotypes that I am considering sending an email to the artist to complain and adding Antonia's email address to my spam list so that her emails get blocked.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the site, it includes movies for each of six colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet). In each movie, animated people that look like the people on public bathroom doors (the guys wear pants and the women and girls wear skirts) walk around and act out words that are represented by the color.

But listen to this … which gender is shown to represent the words educated, technical, authoritative, commanding, and rebellious? Men of course! The few women in the movie (wearing skirts of course) represent words like vain and fantastic (a delicate fairy!), or are nursing someone back to health, walking children to the school bus, or reading a book to children at bedtime. Not that I have a problem with showing women as being nurturing or anything, but there certainly are plenty of intelligent, commanding, and authoritative women out there as well (have you ever tried getting a kid to go to bed at their bed time? I rest my case!). There are plenty of nurturing male nurses and house-husbands out there as well (and they probably don't like it that their professions are always being represented by women).

The same thing happens in video gaming as well. The games are just the same old sexist fairy tales rewritten, over and over. The men are there "to save the day" and be some kind of big testosterone-driven hero, while the women are there just to have big boobs—so that the game companies can successfully market their products to all of those horny adolescent boys out there that have nothing else to masturbate to because they are too young to buy pornos. It makes me so angry!

Monday, November 22, 2004

Professional Blogging

Professional Blogging: a strange concept. But let's be real: work is money. Blogging is work. Why not? I'm new to this but I don't find this idea strange.

One hole in the system is obvious: if you can make a little money with your blog while you're living in Kalamazoo, you can probably make a LOT if you live in, say, Bantaeng or Kitale. As I understand it, the advertisers will pay you as much for blog ads, wherever you happen to live.

(The statistics on this particular site are fanciful -- 20% monthly readership growth, 5% CTR, it's not going to happen.)

But think: $10 of ad income per month is nothing in Kalamazoo, but there are plenty of places where $10 per month would be useful.

Monday, November 8, 2004

Where to start?

I have been doing searches online on how to track down a person. I am completely at loss at how to best do this.

Some of the sites I've found give good advice on how to start. Some say that you can find a person with as little as their first name. How can that be! Just a name... I don't even know my daughter's name. At one site, they listed reasons a person can't be found. I guess I never considered the possibility I might not find her... the reasons were criminal activity, or, the person could be indigent, homeless... what if she is? What if something terrible has happened to her?

I found a great site at PBS, History Detectives, listing the first necessary steps:

Read about genealogy at your library, and search birth records. There is a register you can search online.

Saturday, November 6, 2004

MSN Spaces

With MSN spaces, Microsoft have caught onto blogging for real. I have been following their employee bloggers (Hi Scobelizer! ) with interest - they seem to have been granted a license to do pretty much to do and say what they want on their blogs. Last week, I discovered that even some of their recruiters keep blogs - Heather has a very interesting post about why recruiters don't blog - and Gretchen and Zoe 's blog Technical Careers @ Microsoft contributes to giving Microsoft a fun, warm image. Looks like they love their jobs!

You've got to wonder though... how much time of their work days do they spend on blogging?! Heather mentions that "A blogger that is committed to not only post regularly, but also to read other blogs, write comments, track links and respond to people that contact you (for me, I estimated this as 30 min to 2 hours a day)."

Wow. Wish I'd get paid to blog my job, too..

Anyway - I was interested in seeing how their spaces for people like you and me was designed. MSN Spaces offer a lot - except control over your templates! Power to the user here translates to publishing power - not design power... Check out the screen shoot - their templates are pretty cheesy. Microsoft isn't known for pretty, but they didn't need to compensate for this with what seems to be aimed for color hungry teenagers... I took a test drive and here is what my MSN blog ended up looking like.

... .perhaps I should keep this blog, and post anonymously so I can set Madison up for a joke? Come to think of it, she'd love these happy looking templates - just her style.