Blogs Media Lab

WebWalker 1.2

Christmas has come and gone, but this post is still going to be Christmas related, unlike some blogs that have self-imposed moratoriums on such posts. My Mother always told me Christmas is a season, not a day, so I feel within respectable guidelines posting these things. Pentagram redesigns Christmas. Pretty interesting idea, and the results […]

X.Mas from pentagram Elf Yourself Smart Objects and Smart Filters 15 Minutes of Fame

Christmas has come and gone, but this post is still going to be Christmas related, unlike some blogs that have self-imposed moratoriums on such posts. My Mother always told me Christmas is a season, not a day, so I feel within respectable guidelines posting these things.

  • Pentagram redesigns Christmas. Pretty interesting idea, and the results are a mix of intrigue, ah-ha and ha-ha (but no hint of ho ho ho). See also: The New York Times reports, or listen to Michael Bierut with Kurt Andersen on WYNC’s Studio 360.
  • Everyone in my family elf’d themselves (yes, that is me). It truly seems that user generated content has hit the mainstream when this kind of site is a smash hit.

  • If you’re not reading the Adobe blogs, you should be. John Nack posted about The Secret Life of Smart Filters yesterday, which is an interesting read. I’m always interested in the history and inside workings of Photoshop. Arguably, Photoshop is one of the most indispensable and influential tools used in the process of creating new media work.
  • Time Magazine’s Person of the Year (hint: it’s you) has generated some controversy in the blogosphere. Whether or not you think it was a good choice, you should read the last page of the magazine. Andy Was Right:

    But YouTube is Pop art in a form far closer to Warhol’s original, uncorrupted vision than he could ever have imagined. And 15 minutes has been replaced by a new prophecy: “On the Web, everyone is famous to 15 people.” Appropriately enough, many people share authorship of that one.

We’ll be back in 2007.

WebWalker 1.1

“Design of ordinary things to palaces of art seeks our attention and our dollars.” – Great conversation about the Design Economy on Minnesota Public Radio’s Midmorning show today. Tom Fisher of the UofM’s College of Design is a guest on the program. Beth blogged about a “teachable moment” regarding the creative commons. It is also […]

Minnesota Public Radio CC on ligh dyne screenshot rhizome campaign

CC on light by yamabobobo. Animated gif from Rhizome. p:d screenshot from CDM.

Botanicalls

I just saw Botanicalls at the ITP Winter Show. It is a cell phone information system that connects people and plants. A person can call a plant on their phone and get information about the species of plant and check if the plant needs watering. On the other hand a plant that needs watering or […]

I just saw Botanicalls at the ITP Winter Show. It is a cell phone information system that connects people and plants. A person can call a plant on their phone and get information about the species of plant and check if the plant needs watering. On the other hand a plant that needs watering or more sun can call a person up and ask for help. When the plant gets successfully watered it calls again to say thanks.

Botanicalls

WebWalker 1.0

Like Paul Schmelzer’s Centerpoints, WebWalker is a compilation of interesting stuff–things that catch our attention but don’t necessarily generate a full post. We’ll be publishing this column every couple of weeks so if you’ve got things to share, please send your ideas to any of the WebWalker authors. We’ll be sure to thank you for […]

Like Paul Schmelzer’s Centerpoints, WebWalker is a compilation of interesting stuff–things that catch our attention but don’t necessarily generate a full post. We’ll be publishing this column every couple of weeks so if you’ve got things to share, please send your ideas to any of the WebWalker authors. We’ll be sure to thank you for the link.

What’s in a name? WebWalker was first launched in May 1999 by Steve Dietz, founding director of the Walker’s New Media Initiatives department. WebWalker was a “ newsletter about the Walker Art Center Web sites and digital culture on the net.” The last issue (#28) was published April 23, 2000. An archive of the previous issues–minus #22-27 which appear to be lost in the ether–can be found in WebWalker archive.

Ms Dewey She’s not quite the Dolphin Oracle but Ms. Dewey is a search helper that aspires to rule your world (would we expect anything less from Microsoft?). Not very useful and of questionable entertainment value, Ms. Dewey is a better example of viral marketing than an interesting search interface. In the end, Ask.com (formerly Jeeves) is more useful and Google’s under the radar Web 2.0 search, SearchMash, gives better results. (Robin)

Pachyderm The Walters Art Museum recently launched Integrating the Arts: Mummies, Manuscripts and Madonnas, an educational unit built with Pachyderm 2.0. Pachyderm is an open source multimedia authoring tool designed to make it possible for content experts with limited technical knowledge to publish rich-media presentations. Integrating the Arts is a model project meant to demonstrate Pachyderm’s potential. Stay tuned to see how Walter’s museum staff and teachers use the tool. The Walter’s project was directed by Sandbox Studios. (Robin)

Museum of Modern Betas In the rapid-fire Web (Bubble?) 2.0 world, it seems like a new site pops up every hour. How can you possibly keep up with them all? TechCrunch is good and has in-depth writeups, but MoMB is better for pure reach. It’s the Museum of Modern Betas! (ironically, still in alpha.) (Nate)

Christmas Tree Get into the Christmas spirit by decorating someone else’s Christmas tree via the web. Matthew Knight of de-construct has set up a little site where visitors can suggest decorations to be placed on the tree. A new decoration each day. (Justin)

Hacking Keynote for digital signage

In the process of looking for digital signage software this afternoon, I ran across this great hack using a keynote developed by Kendrick Erickson and Eric Perrino at the University of Minnesota. Essentially, they pulled info from the school’s database and used XSL to translate it and insert it into Keynote’s XML-based file format. They […]

Digital Signage at UMN with Keynote

In the process of looking for digital signage software this afternoon, I ran across this great hack using a keynote developed by Kendrick Erickson and Eric Perrino at the University of Minnesota. Essentially, they pulled info from the school’s database and used XSL to translate it and insert it into Keynote’s XML-based file format. They also used a mac mini to do the displaying, since, of course, Keynote runs only on the mac. Even geekier, Kendrick and Eric managed to turn the display on and off from the mini via serial and (presumably) a cron job.

I have often wondered why I haven’t seen more signage developed using OS X, since it’s superior display capabilities make it extremely well suited for this type of application. As Kendrick and Eric note:

Other benefits such as OS X’s BSD foundation made it easier to update slide content from Crimson and develop supporting software. We’ll also be able to expand the capabilities of the display framework later on by developing custom software using the Quartz 2D engine or OpenGL directly.

It is something we’re looking into.

Testing regular expressions

Today I’ve got two good tools for web developers. Lately I’ve had to write a number of regular expressions for the upcoming mnartists.org calendar – most in Java, and a few in Javascript. In theory a regexp is a regexp no matter the language, but in practice that’s rarely the case. Between these subtle differences […]

Today I’ve got two good tools for web developers.

Lately I’ve had to write a number of regular expressions for the upcoming mnartists.org calendar – most in Java, and a few in Javascript. In theory a regexp is a regexp no matter the language, but in practice that’s rarely the case. Between these subtle differences and the maddening wait for compiling or reloading a page, it’s clear some sort of live testing environment is useful:

  • Javascript tester – allows replacement testing as well
  • Java tester – really nice in that it gives accurate feedback on your regexp errors and even helps you format the matching text as a java String

If you’re a developer messing with Java or Javascript regular expressions, IMHO it’s worth bookmarking those two pages.

Here’s a Java one – looks complicated, actually pretty straightforward. Anyone care to take a stab at what it does? :)

line = line.replaceAll(“\[([bi])\]([^\[]*)\[/\1\]“,”<$1>$2</$1>”);

(or can you do it better? I get by, but I know my regexps are sometimes clunky at best…)

Other Photobooths

One of my favorite sites, Photojojo, has a roundup of a few different photobooths (they forgot us). The first is very similar to Party People Photos, in that it uses projection to display the shots immediately and has been installed in another museum. The ability to print photos is a nice touch, since the only […]

Whitney's Photobooth

One of my favorite sites, Photojojo, has a roundup of a few different photobooths (they forgot us). The first is very similar to Party People Photos, in that it uses projection to display the shots immediately and has been installed in another museum.

The ability to print photos is a nice touch, since the only thing people like more than seeing themselves on the screen is getting some free personalized schwag to take with them. Of course, if someone really wanted to, they could visit our Flickr page to download and print a photo on their own. The photo’s from Mark’s setup at the Whitney also have a very nice lighting quality, much like ours, which makes all the difference in the world. Their photos are more true to form of the old style black and white photobooth, whereas ours are a more modern fashion-esque interpretation. It also looks like Mark’s setup was a more self contained, appliance-like box rather than the more ad-hoc approach we used. Perhaps we can use the instructions to make our own for the Kara Walker Preview Party. I hope to have automatic uploading to Flickr part of the installation at that point, too.

And, just to make a friendly jab at the Whitney, our installation was three days before theirs. Neener Neener. Sadly, I didn’t see any photos of Ivanka Trump at our party. In Minnesota, we’ve got Al Franken or Prince, neither of which showed up.

Goodbye Groveland, Hello Hennepin

A little over a week ago Walker staff moved from the temporary offices at One Groveland. We’re now mostly settled into our new spaces above the galleries. I took a few quick, unofficial shots of the new space and created a new office photoset on the Walker’s Flickr page. You may note that just a […]

Design, Film & Video, New Media Initiatives

A little over a week ago Walker staff moved from the temporary offices at One Groveland. We’re now mostly settled into our new spaces above the galleries. I took a few quick, unofficial shots of the new space and created a new office photoset on the Walker’s Flickr page. You may note that just a few month’s ago this was Robin’s office, but it has been transformed.

My general read on the new offices are that people are very glad to work in the museum again, because we take great pride in working for a cultural institution. It is much easier to feel that pride if you’re actually in the building.

We in New Media are very happy to be in closer proximity to the Dialog Table and Hennepin Signage servers. The trip has been reduced from a walk down the block to a walk around the corner. The break room is also popular due to increased fridge size, large windows, and abundance of coffee.

Twin Cities Max/MSP User Group

A user group for Max/MSP has been formed in the Twin Cities. The first meeting was last month at Acadia Cafe and from what I hear, it was a resounding success. Topics included getting Max/MSP to talk to Quartz Composer, motion tracking with jitter, and how to safely generate and save files from within max. […]

Twin Cities Max/MSP User Group

A user group for Max/MSP has been formed in the Twin Cities. The first meeting was last month at Acadia Cafe and from what I hear, it was a resounding success. Topics included getting Max/MSP to talk to Quartz Composer, motion tracking with jitter, and how to safely generate and save files from within max. There are some demo files on the group’s wiki to corroborate.

The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday the 12th of December, once again at Acadia Cafe. I’ll be demoing how to use Max/MSP to talk to the command line using the shell external. I’ll show some of the techniques I used for the capturing component of Party People Photos, and give a brief intro to the command line (on OS X) and some possible areas of expansion. If you plan on attending, visit the group’s wiki and edit the page with your name to let us know you’ll be there.

The meeting is followed by the Tuesday Night Music Series for Improvisers and Experimentation, which is always an interesting experience. I’m very pleased to be a small part of the group and hope that it can contribute to new media art in the Twin Cities. If you know of any other user groups or gatherings like this, please post them in the comments.

More changes to the blogs

We have made some small, though useful, changes to the blogs in the past few weeks and we think they’re worth a small note. Brent added the blog title to the blog aggregator page. Now it is much easier to tell what content goes to what blog. Additionally, post titles link to the blog post […]

We have made some small, though useful, changes to the blogs in the past few weeks and we think they’re worth a small note.

  • Brent added the blog title to the blog aggregator page. Now it is much easier to tell what content goes to what blog. Additionally, post titles link to the blog post and the blog name to the front page for that blog.

  • We’ve added the ability to display info about our blog authors. Authors are now listed in the sidebar in each blog. When you click our name you’ll be able to see our email address, personal or departmental URL, and a bio, if the author has elected to post one. Not all of our authors have updated their profile yet, but eventually you should be able to learn more about just who we are. Some of our authors have also elected to post photos.

    Eric posted about some of Jakob Nielsen’s weblog usabilty tips discussing author bios and photos. I agree with Eric that author photos are certainly not necessary, and we’re not requiring them for our authors. Those of us that are brave enough are breaking the ice and have posted photos. Please be kind. It just happened to work out that Party People Photos gives us some recent, high quality photography.

  • Last week Paul posted the first in what we hope will be a more frequent audio blog series. We’re using the wordpress plugin WP-SingleMP3 to embed a nifty flash audio preview in the blog post, but also linking the mp3 audio so the category RSS feed can function as a working podcast.

We’re always looking for ways to improve the experience and information on the blog. If you have any ideas or constructive criticism you’d like to share, we’re listening.

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