Monday, October 5, 2015

Weekly Update: Battles

Music: Battles
I had the pleasure of seeing a New York-based experimental rock band called Battles on Thursday night. What a show! I had been following the since 2007's Mirrored, and always loved the second track, Atlas. Being able to hear it live was nothing short of wonderous. And even though they're the type of band to use gibberish and made-up words as lyrics, everyone was singing along anyway. My only gripe was that I had arrived early to be at the front and was met with a drum kit right in my face. The earplugs I had with me were decidedly not going to save me from a bass drum being smacked just inches from my nose, so I was forced to move back. But still, a great show with lots of energy. Check out the video I snapped of Ice Cream below:

The bike has been ridden (twice!) and Joshua Davis' second Skillshare has begun. I love his crazy personality, it really makes the lesson all the more watchable. And since this lesson uses Processing to make animations as opposed to static sketches, I am loving the hypnotic patterns I've been creating. Here's a gif!

I'll be doing some more of the Skillshare class tonight and tomorrow, since I'm going to New York on Thursday! I'll also be riding my bike tonight since this is the only chance I'm going to get this week.

I've been thinking that I'd like to at least start some experimental visualizations to music with Processing. It may not be the best tool to use, but at least I know the coding language and it is possible. Then, after that, I might try to find software that is more of an industry standard. All this will be highly related to the Skillshare, so it's coming up after that.

Imagine if the gif above was synchronized to a weird drum beat! So cool.

Random Thought: The New TTC Streetcar

I was riding on one of the new streetcars the other day (how fun!) and I was lucky enough to experience an enlightening social phenomenon. While these new streetcars are quite a bit larger than their old dusty counterparts, rush hour cannot be vanquished so easily. And so the streetcar was packed. As you may or may not know, a rider can enter the streetcar at any door (at least on a proof-of-payment route such as this one), and pay at a machine by inserting their token or tapping their presto card and receiving a paper transfer in return. But as I said, this was a sardine-style streetcar. As people got on, they could not hope to manoeuvre their way to the other side of the streetcar where the payment machine lives.

Now, I know what you're thinking. Why is the payment machine on the opposite side of the streetcar from the door? Everyone without a Metropass has to use it to pay! But it actually alleviates a blockage at the entrances of the streetcars, and allows for the wonderful phenomenon to which I referenced one short paragraph ago. A man got onto this packed streetcar with a token in hand (one of my favourite things to witness – he didn't have to dig into his pockets or man-purse while elbowing other riders), and simply asked the man closest to him to pass the token along to a rider near the machine. I believe about four or five riders assisted the man by passing along the token, and subsequently passing back the transfer. It was a wonder to behold. Everyone was smiling as he got his transfer back, and if there had been room to move our arms, we might have broken out into applause.

Isn't it wonderful when design (intentionally or not) allows for the opportunity to make our lives better by forcing us to interact with each other? Team building exercises on transit! Maybe I'm onto something.

Inspiration: Augmented Reality Colouring Books

Disney has created a new experience in our favourite childhood activity. While kids these days seem to be more interested in screens and digital toys, Disney's team in Zurich notes that colouring books are one of the best ways to ignite a child's creativity at an early age. So, how do we get kids interested in what now seems like a boring, drab activity without any screens or digitization? We add screens and digitization!

From FastCo:
As a child fills in a cartoon character on the page, the app—making use of the camera on a smartphone or tablet—scans the colors and patterns they create to fill in a 3-D animated model of that same character within the app. Since a drawing is 2-D, the algorithm can also intelligently extrapolate patterns and color to parts of the 3-D model otherwise unrepresented in the drawing—for example, by coloring an elephant's back the same color as its front.
What a great idea – and something I would want to use, too! I just wonder what happens if you colour outside the lines. Maybe you want to give the elephant a sword or a lollipop! The technology will have to catch up to our imaginations (which might be impossible).

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