Spotted this ad on my supermarket trolley at the weekend. In my English head I immediately read the ü without the umlaut. I don’t think ‘Künz’ is destined to be an international brand name.



(Click to enlarge)

LastGraph has been updated. If you’ve not seen it before, it’s a data visualisation tool for your LastFM profile.

I stopped scrobbling for a while because I found the LastFM client to be a bit of a resource hog. So my graph looks a bit weird and I’m really not sure where that Shakira blip came from. I mean, I do confess to having a Shakira album in my library, but it doesn’t get played that much. I blame it on shuffle.

(Thanks Matt)

Interactive Dangerous Australians

Let’s face it, all Australians are dangerous on the sports field, but the the Australian Museum has a new interactive installation called Dangerous Australians that allows you to interact (safely) with Australia’s deadliest top ten creatures. The saltwater crocodile, funnel web spider, box jelly fish, brown snake are among them. Via the six-metre long interactive table you can explore what happens if you encounter them and what should you do to survive.

The installation was created by Lightwell under the technical direction of ex-COFA and ex-Fabrican Dave Towey. The whole thing is running under OS X and coded in Cocoa/Objective-C++ with a bunch of open source libraries including Ogre3D, OpenFrameworks and OpenCV (computer vision for the tracking).

Thanks to the Objective C++ it looks like it runs extremely fluidly and fast. For me, it’s interesting to see how the interactors act and react. The children use really quick jabs at the ‘buttons’, as if they’re trying to test the interface and its affordances. But the bit I love most of all is how the person with their hand in the ‘water’ snaps it away in reflex to the Great White Shark that suddenly appears (around 0:50 in the video).

More images and details on Lightwell’s page – and take a look at their other work whilst your at it.

For Education The Future Isn’t What it used to Be

A few weeks ago I gave a talk called The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be to the Associate Deans over at Northumbria University. I thought I’d blogged about it with the podcast of the recording I made there, but it seems I forgot.

In the talk I wanted to draw together some emerging and converging trends, which, if they do all happen at once, could really turn higher education on its head. If you mix in some of the other threats such as an aging population and the subsequent fall in student numbers it becomes clear that a radical re-think is necessary.

Rather than double-post, I ll point you to where I posted it over at the Omnium blog where there is a direct download, slides and a embedded player version of it.

Podcasting is Broadcasting


There’s an interesting paper called The Politics of Podcasting by Jonathan Sterne, Jeremy Morris, Michael Brendan Baker and Ariana Moscote Freire over at the new issue of the Fibreculture Journal.

It’s basically a thorough history of podcasting (including the coining of the word) and a look at it in relation to what we normally consider broadcasting. The conclusion sums up what I think many have been thinking for some time:

If we free the term broadcasting from its corporate connotations and remember its longer history, then podcasting is not simply an outgrowth of blogger culture, but rather part of a much longer history of dissemination. Podcasting is not an alternative to broadcasting, but a realisation of broadcasting that ought to exist alongside and compete with other models. If broadcasting were a more generally available term, then perhaps we could begin to speak of our own broadcasts without sounding grandiose or pretentious.

LinkedIn’s Weird UI Shadows


Is it just me or does anyone else find LinkedIn’s new design tweaks weird on the perspective front?

This rounded-corner box has a couple of random shadows at the bottom. The impression is that the bottom corners are lifting up, but the box remains square and the top has no shadows. Logically, that can only mean that the background curves away from the box, except it has no gradient or shadows either.

It really niggles me for some reason and does my eyes in like some crazy M. C. Escher picture. Or am I being too anal?

Flash On the Beach 2008


Flash on the Beach 2008 is coming soon: September 28th – October 1st in Brighton.

I’m not speaking this year, but plan to be there to write about it for Creative Review again. It’ll be nice to relax into being in the audience rather than worrying about my own presentation.

I’ve been to a fair few conferences and some of them can be fairly elitist beauty pageants, but FOTB is by far the best I’ve ever been to thanks to the hard work and personality of its founder, John Davey. The event feels like a family gathering and the quality of the presentations is usually excellent, often showing things you won’t have seen elsewhere.

The line-up is looking impressive and Jonathan Harris’s session should be worth the ticket price alone and no doubt Robert Hodgin will inspire another round of Flashers to get into Processing.

Rolando for iPhone

This trailer for Rolando looks like it might be a great iPhone game and it’s interesting to see the interfaces constraints/possibilities shape the kinds of gameplay, though many have said it’s a clone of LocoRoco on the PSP.

Both remind me of the innovation that was PaRappa the Rapper back in 1991 – it is still one of my favourite games.

(Via Daring Fireball, which probably means you’ve already seen it. Sigh.)