Monthly Archives: June 2007

Family video conference

Father’s Day was quite a day. In utilizing all the technologies available, Maggie and I were able to introduce Max to his cousins in Michigan and extended family in Ohio all via internet video. We have been so busy with his first three weeks of life that our trip to Ohio has not been booked at this point. Many family emailed and were eager to see him in person. Plopped my Powerbook on the couch and fired up iChat and spoke with family.

webconference

The built-in video camera provided the source and we had a wireless video conference from Milwaukee to Toledo Ohio — where my 96 year old Grandmother was able to see Maxwell for the first time.

Tags: iChat, Video Conference, wireless video, Father’s Day, trends

Designers: Core Animation

Lets face it: Today many graphic designers are programmers. They have been moving into the coding world for a number of years. Most cut their teeth on Web 1.0’s plain old HTML. With one foot in Flash‘s ActionScript and JavaScript were clearly the sign to jump in with both feet. This acquired knowledge and new creative energies have paid off handsomely for many designers.

CSS was the next logical choice that continues today as designers create smarter webpages and blogs with strong visual impacts. Even WordPress‘ own website correctly states: Code is Poetry. These skills have proved to be required tools for today’s successful graphic designer.

falling pinsThe next step may well be Apple’s Core Animation. Look closely at the new iPhone commercials – you will notice a bit of Core Animation: Google push pins drop from the sky onto a map. Good bye static pins!

This small example should really open up the interactive space for designers. Core Animation clearly shows just the tip of the graphical/animation iceberg that will become more robust moving forward.

Designers will jump on this new technology and adapt the necessary code to implement designs on phone and webpages. Apple needs to empower more than their die-hard programmers. Give designers the right tool for the job and we will see amazing interactive graphic elements on the web and our iPhones.

Tags: Core Animation, graphic design, code, iPhone, information design, trends

My latest read: Death to PowerPoint

At WiscNet’s 2007 Future Technology Conference I presented an Internet2 end-of-year review as Co-Chair of their Internet2 K20 Workgroup. My presentation was modeled after Edward Tufte’s approach to PowerPoint called The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint. The New York Times calls Tufte “The Leonardo da Vinci of data” and even NASA has asked for his assistance with visual analysis of space shuttle data from both Columbia and Challenger.

cognitive style of powerpointHis research is really amazing. While re-reading his excellent 2005 brief The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint I wanted to make sure my presentation was right on the mark and tuned for the best possible visual reception.

As we are all aware, PowerPoint emerged (okay it was bundled with Word and Excel in the Office suite back in the day) as the most used slideware program regardless of location: conference room, classroom, gallery or boardroom. We all use this tool yet many presenters do not realize how PowerPoint actually kills your messages.

Can you imagine The Gettysburg Address as a PowerPoint presentation? Click here for an example of how a powerful message gets lost in a bad slideware program. So how is PowerPoint killing your messages?

If you care how you communicate, this is simply a must read. Tufte’s lessons are so important to learn and implement. He challenges you to communicate as effectively as possible while living in a dull, boring slideware world. For the most part our messages miss the mark and our audiences are bored … could there be anything worse?

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Internet2: Now running 100Gigabits

Internet2

From coast to coast Internet2 is now connecting educational and research institutions across a new nationwide network at 100 Gigabits per second. For the Midwest is a perfect compliment to the new Boreas network announced this past spring. Public networks like WiscNet are automatically wired into this new upgrade. What a great jump for our national education and research communities.

Other views: ComputerWorld, PCWorld (Australia), The Register, PC Pro, Network World.

The network upgrade provides power and opportunity for K12 and Higher Educational institutions to continue to engage a global world for shared knowledge opportunities. At the regional level this brings city governments, libraries, hospitals, museums and technical colleges onto the network and into the conversation of participation. With a backbone of 100 GB/s HD video conferencing and remote instrumentation become accessible for the first time to a growing number of educators and students.

Tags: Internet2, 100Gbs, network, Boreas, WiscNet, trends

The future of company logos?

In reading Guy Kawasaki’s blogpost By the Numbers: How I built a Web 2.0, User-Generated Content, Citizen Journalism, Long-Tail, Social Media Site for $12,107.09 I was a little surprised to see listed at #6 the method to obtain his new company logo:

$399. I paid LogoWorks $399 to design the logo. Of course, this was before HP bought the company. Not sure what it would charge now. :-)

Wake up call for graphic designers? Sure. HP is positioning LogoWorks in a WalMart model. Its all about the numbers and in the Web2.0 world it would appear LogoWorks will continue to be successful. Business2.0 magazine also listed LogoWorks as one of the hot 25 companies to follow…before the HP acquisition. And its interesting to note Business 2.0 picked YouTube as one of their hot picks just two years ago…so those companies are getting some traction.

How will graphic designers react? HP is going after the fifty trillion digital pages to be produced by 2010. Will LogoWorks create a Paul Rand? Hmmmm…probably not. However Logoworks is part of HP’s new solution for business called Print2.o and its one of many tools HP is extending to customers. Take a look at Tabblo and Snapfish as additional resources for their customers.

Quite simply I have been reading tech-oriented blogs that simply choose Logoworks. Its a no brainer…and then Guy moved onto the next business task. Today on the internet this means LogoWorks will be the choice of many companies who will forgo the opportunity to engage a graphic designer to create a unique visual identity. Time for a conversation.

Tags: Guy Kawasaki, LogoWorks, Logo, identity, brand, Business2.0, trends

My latest read – Wikinomics

Want to learn where a faster, wireless internet and robust web technology is moving all of us? Read Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything to get a real-world understanding of the impact of YouTube, Wikipedia, Flickr, MySpace, Linux, SecondLife and InnoCentive.

This is a true paradigm shift. Changes have occurred in business and society regarding mass collaboration and the internet. I know many people do not like change but we live in exciting new times.

How has technology transformed our world? Consider ABC Television has been around for almost 60 years. The first television broadcast was in 1948. If you total all the video (24/7) shown on ABC since 1948 — just over 500,000 hours. YouTube has produced more hours of content in just the past 6 months.

The colonial era approach to education will never should not be continued. When will our educational systems catch up with the world? The longer we stand on the sidelines and watch countries including India and China establish educational models around the internet-enabled world, the longer our students will not be able to compete when they enter the global marketplace.

Some states are making that change. Michigan’s virtual schools permit students to study the Chinese language via the internet. Their instructor lives in China. It started when choices for foreign language were no longer acceptable. What economic impact does French or German have in contrast to Chinese and Hindi for a student’s future? Its safe to say French economic power has been on the decline since World War I. Lets give our students the best opportunities to succeed in our country’s future.

In higher education there are examples of how ideas fall short. Teacher are often unaware of how to get their students to connect their idea/project with a engineer, on-demand book publisher or patent attorney in today’s global marketplace. Yes patent attorney. But it may be due to the colonial era approach to educational reform. Too often educators look inward (or to peer groups) and believe if they change internal measurements, students will benefit. Wikinomics proves this to be another colonial era step in the wrong direction. Continue reading