frank's blog

The Hyper Island Way

Posted in ideas, inspiration, Media, quality by aldorf on September 19, 2011

5 Days in 5 Minutes – a video showing the inside story of the students’ process
with real briefs from real clients in a 5-day project assignment. This is Hyper Island.

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Digital Rube Goldberg Processor

Posted in Animation, art, film, internet, Media by aldorf on August 4, 2011

 

The Digital Rube Goldberg Processor is the outcome of a workshop The Product collective gave at the HfG Karlsruhe (Design School). The team was invited to give a 4-day Processing workshop for the communication design students there. Since they understand it is impossible to teach programming to beginners just within 4 days, they decided to focus more on the essential topics behind generative and computational design, to provide a grounded starting point for the students.

Jens explains: We first gave a quick introduction to the processing environment, thematically centered around the actual matter of generative design, namely digital data. Given the fact that any stored data is binary code in the end, it is the encoding and decoding algorithms that make digital data meaningful for us. To create an awareness for that, we came up with the idea of the rube-goldberg-processor (wiki). It is an potentially endless line of sub-processors that transform the same dataset from one state into another. Each group of students had a translate-from-to assignment, e.g. from moving image to sound. To make the steps more comprehensible for observers, the transfer was made in an analog way (camera pointing to monitor, microphone in front of speaker…) In the end, this obvoiusly led to an indecipherable outcome, but on the way, the teams had to negotiate basic “protocols” and concerned themselves with several techniques that are used in computational design.

The Product team provided the first step (image to text) as well as the last step, the flickr uploader. The rest was done by the students.

For more teaching by The Product, see the-product.org/category/teaching

The Product a berlin-based spatial and media-related design practice. They conceive design concepts. They create installations. They animate surfaces. They design spaces. They develop objects. And they extensively think about the application and combination of technologies in meaningful ways.

Gaming to re-engage boys in learning – Ali Carr-Chellman

Posted in ideas, internet, Media by aldorf on January 17, 2011

Ali Carr-Chellman spells out three reasons boys are tuning out of school in droves, and lays out her bold plan to re-engage them: bringing their culture into the classroom, with new rules that let boys be boys, and video games that teach as well as entertain.

And a new study found evidence that video gaming turns wicked ‘sick’ and gamers to be pathological players according to standards similar to those established by the American Psychiatric Association for diagnosing gambling addiction.

Interesting to follow these new developments if you think of “play” as one of the top key trends of the decade. And seeing the gaming industry being the fastest growing industry worldwide.

The Internet And How It Effects Our Brain

Posted in ideas, web by aldorf on August 27, 2010
Cover of "The Shallows: What the Internet...

Cover via Amazon

An experiment of UCLA professor Gary Small showed that web surfers brain activity is far more extensive. Particular in areas of the prefrontal cortex associated with problem solving and decision-making.

Small concluded, “the current explosion of digital technology not only is changing the way we live and communicate, but is rapidly and profoundly altering our brains.”

When we go online we enter an environment that promotes cursory reading, distract thinking and superficial learning. The Internet is turning us into shallower thinkers and changing the structure of our brain.

In the 1980’s people thought the introduction of hyperlinks would strenghten critical thinking, enable us to switch easily between different viewpoints – a technology of liberation.

But because it disrupts concentration it weakens comprehension. A study from 1989 showed that readers tended just to click around and could not remember what they had and had not read.

People, who read linear text comprehend more, remember more, and learn more than those who read hyperlinked text. It took the hypertext readers longer to read the document and found it confusing.

Whenever a link appears, your brain has at least make the choice not to click, which is itself distracting.

And more recent research suggests that links surrounded by images, videos, and advertisements could be even worse.

In a study text-only viewers answered significantly more questions correctly. They found the presentation more interesting, more educational, more understandable, and more enjoyable.

It’s single-minded and we can transfer information into our long-term memory that is essential to the creation of knowledge and wisdom.

While reading the information is flowing into our working memory. When the load exceeds, we are unable to retain the information or to draw connections with other memories. We can’t translate the new material into conceptual knowledge.

Numerous studies show that we read faster as we go online.

Problem is that many different kinds of media coming at us simultaneously.

Office workers often glance at their inbox 30 to 40 times an hour. And every time we shift our attention, the brain has to reorient itself. Increasing the likelihood that we’ll overlook or misinterpret important information.

But we want to be interrupted. Each interruption brings us a valuable piece of information. The neverending stream of new information also plays to our natural tendency to overemphasize the immediate. we crave the new even when we know it’s trivial.

We accept the loss of concentration, focus, and fragmentation of our attention. We rarely stop to think that it might actually make more sense just to tune it all out.

Web browsing strengthens brain functions related to fast-paced problem-solving, particular when it requires spotting patterns in a welter of data. But it would be a serious mistake to conclude the Web is making us smarter.

Patricia Greenfield explains “every medium develops some cognitive skills at the expense of others. The development of visual-spatial skills is weakening deep processing.”

“By including the use of a new medium, we end up with a different brain. As we multitask online, we are training our brain to pay attention to the crap” (Michael Merzenich, pioneer of the field of neuroplasticity)

The problem is that skimming is becoming our dominant mode of thought.

In a metaphorical sense, we are evolving from cultivators of personal knowledge into hunters and gatherers in the electronic data forest. We seem fated to sacrifice much of what makes our minds so interesting.

———–

First thoughts after reading:

1) That’s what I like about the iPad. You are focused on one thing. There is no multitasking. That seems to me is a benefit and big advantage. It forces you to stick to one task.

2) Do not stop reading books!

3) Blogs and tweets repeat the same knowledge. Makes sense, so we have more chances to take the information in.

4) What is with people who will grow up just reading online sources and don’t know text without hyperlinks at all?

5) I will continue reading both, offline/ linear and online/ hyperlinked

6) Everyone has the choice, that skimming is not your dominant mode of thought.

———–

(adapted from The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr, discussed in Wired 6/2010.)

Creativity Is The Most Important Leadership Competency For The Successful Enterprise Of The Future. (IBM-Institute for Business Value)

Posted in ideas by aldorf on August 5, 2010

(image by Andreas Golder)

A recent BusinessWeek article reported that, “According to a new survey of 1,500 chief executives conducted by IBM’s Institute for Business Value (IBM), CEOs identify ‘creativity’ as the most important leadership competency for the successful enterprise of the future.” While the study’s results will come as no surprise to hard-working creative professionals, they do raise an important question: How do we identify – and hire for – the qualities that add up to creativity? (via the99percent)

300 Million Tweets Reveal The Afternoon At Work Is The Unhappiest Time Of Day

Posted in Media, web by aldorf on July 23, 2010

A team of five researchers at the two schools (Northwestern and Harvard) studied 300 million U.S. tweets from September 2006 to August 2009 and performed sentiment analysis on them. (read more…)

The project is one of many ongoing studies into status updates and sentiment analysis. Facebook has its own in-house team led by a research scientist named Cameron Marlow. The social network tracks a metric called “Gross National Happiness,” inspired by the idea originally coined by the Bhutanese government in the early 1970s. There are constantly updated graphs on Gross National Happiness here for the U.S. and a number of other Westernized countries where you can see similar troughs and peaks in sentiment around weekends and workdays. (via VentureBeat)

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