I've just got back from ETech in San Diego and before I go on holiday to Iceland I better put something up here. I've got pretty comprehensive notes but I'm not going to post them up as there are lots up around the place already. My top sessions, for which I recommend you search for transcripts or see if the slides are on the speaker's website, were:
Amy Jo Kim's tutorial on "Putting the Fun in Functional: Applying Game Mechanics to Social Software" - how to use game mechanics to improve social software.
Jane McGonigal on "Creating Alternate Realities" - suggesting products should aim at increasing peoples' happiness and how alternate reality games can affect people's attitudes to life.
Adam Greenfield on "Toward a New Animism: Old Interaction Paradigms for an Everyware World" - what kind of interfaces should be used for ubiquitous computing devices. Suggested we don't need to use too many metaphors.
"Digital Disney: the Mainstreaming of Web 2.0" - how Disney is approaching web 2.0. They have to think a lot about moderation and appropriate content (just as the BBC does) and have several approaches to creating safe communities; the default chat option only lets you select from a limited set of options - e.g. "your [selection of nouns] is [selection of adjectives]".
Mike Kuniavsky on "The Coming Age of Magic" - how we could use magic as an interface metaphor for ubiquitous computing. Compare with Adam Greenfield's talk above.
danah boyd on "Incantations for Muggles: The Role of Ubiquitous Web 2.0 Technologies in Everyday Life" - summarises 4 life stages and how these affect peoples' desires and priorities. We need to think about how technology affects people and also look at the unintended or unexpected uses that people find for technologies?
Raph Koster on "The Core Of Fun" - this was my favourite overall. He started off with the fractal structure of games and music (as I've previously written about here) and even put up a slide showing the changes to Miles Davis' Solar - never seen that at a conference before! Then proceeded to fly through the essential features of good games and how we could use these in other interactive products.
Chad Dickerson on "Big Company Hacks at Yahoo!" - how they put on the Yahoo hack day. I think it should be noted that Yahoo is a tech company which started off in quite a hacky way, it might be harder to hack other kinds of companies.
David Brunton on "Deus Ex Automata" - pretty hardcore computer science on using cellular automata for compression and curve fitting. Good speaker, almost understood it.
Matt Webb on "From Pixels to Plastic" - alternative approaches to product design plus some completely leftfield product ideas. Funny as well.
I also popped along to the Maker Faire on Wednesday evening. It was a bit smaller than I expected but two projects caught my eye:
The Squirrel and The Acorn by Shannon Sp..... (sorry can't read the text on my photo) and Kael Greco was a device to monitor your personal exposure to carbon monoxide and they were aiming to make it cheap enough to distribute to many people around a city. The sensor connects to a phone via bluetooth and then the phone posts the results in real time to a website.
(the canister of carbon monoxide and the lunchbox aren't part of the device, just a way of showing it working)
Drop Drop by Byeong Sun consisted of a framework carrying a projector and a camera above a sheet of paper with a small remote control toy van. As you drove the van around a series of coloured drops would appear on the paper. Using processing [link] the camera would recognise the van's location and then draw multicoloured drops which are projected onto the paper. And when you parked the van back where it started it hits a switch that triggers a printer to print the image you just created.
More photos of San Diego here.
Friday, March 30, 2007
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Now Dan has left (and Matt, Matt and Tom before him) no-one seems to be promoting all the interesting and exciting work that we're doing in BBC Audio & Music Interactive. So in a possibly futile attempt to remedy this I bring you the relaunched BBC Radio homepage.
This may not be most enormously exciting development to you, but bear with me. It's a big improvement on the previous page and is now much cleaner and simpler. It gives a nice overview of all of our radio stations (rollover to see them all), includes space for promos, easy access to all our live streaming and audio-on-demand and has a well designed site infrastructure ready to incorporate new material. Excellent work from Antony, Pete, Antony, Ruediger and Jim. But most importantly it is the start of things to come. We are planning a number of site relaunches this coming year, which will include many features that will be a big step forward for us. Maybe even Annotatable Audio if you're lucky.
* Obviously there are bloggers in the department and I hope I'm not offending any of them here - Duncan, Matt, Chris and Dan for example. And I'm sure there are others hiding out there, apologies if I've missed you off.