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Archive for the ‘Design’ Category


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Whaam! is one of the greatest pieces of modern artworks, in my opinion of course.
Here I recreated it in an anti-aliased pixelated version. Unfortunately this doesn’t show up above, as it has been scaled down. The full sized version is 1920 x 830. Maybe I can host it somewhere for wallpaper downloads.

For more info on the real thing…
WHAAM! info at The Tate

Written by rufdog

February 12, 2009 at 11:08 pm

Posted in Design

Innsbruck building

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After checking-in at Innsbruck Airport on my way back from a boarding sess in St. Anton, my friend and I were in search of a coffee shop recommended to us by the barman in our hotel. Situated just around the corner from the main terminal at Innsbruck airport, this regular office building caught my eye. It looked remarkably striking against the mountain backdrop.
It just goes to show that a touch of glass & metal can transform a dreary building into something aesthetically pleasing.
Photo was taken December 2008

Written by rufdog

February 12, 2009 at 4:26 pm

The Next Big Thing

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Every marketing type in a global conglomerate wishes they can be the architect of the next killer app. They won’t. history shows that killer apps are the domain of geeks in sheds with too much knowledge of servers and such shit.

Until then, the marketing folk are happy to sit back in velour covered cheapo plastic chairs, hands clasped behind heads, pretending they are important by applying the number one rule in being important; blue sky thinking. Devising ever more pointless projects to vainly attempt to ‘add value’, or to be blunt, make money out of something that no one wants.

They have some sort of inferior complex, so compensate by talking bollocks about something that already exists and didn’t work in the first place. Big ideas by little men. Talentless men.

Yeah, sure, we all like to have a laugh at the geeky girlfriendless twonks that founded Google, Facebook et al, but, and it’s a big but… they were unpretentious in their will to accomplish their goals. They had raw talent.

Middle aged men with a mid life crisis unfortunately have the (relative) power with many tech companies to come up with barmy ideas that persuades higher powers to ‘run with it’. When any young person with two brain cells to rub together could tell them in short shift, that ‘it ain’t gonna work grandad’. They would be right, but unfortunately this may be seen as negative, anti-constructive, not bouncing the ball, anti free-thinking, and any other load of boardroom shite that would be a good description.

Hundreds of man hours and thousands of pounds later, the powers at be will eventually come to the same conclusion as the oik that would have said ‘nahh mate, won’t work’ in a few seconds.

So, what IS the next big thing? Well, no one knows, that’s the point of them.

Written by rufdog

February 12, 2009 at 4:04 pm

Posted in Design

Catch 22 – Social Interaction Technology

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Mobile technologies restrict real human social interaction. It’s a known fact, rarely studied, the boffins are getting there, but we all know it, no need for $m studies…

Mobile technologies open up human interaction, it’s a fact… The more advancements there are, the more users shun real physical interaction… Catch 22.

Mobile technologies have also opened up new communication channels. In fact ‘opened up’ is an understatement, unprecedented unimaginable worldwide explosion would come close to a description. Young people in the developed world are super-connected, like never known before. They can connect with anyone worldwide, at minimal cost. In fact, cost is not even an issue.

They can Google, Bebo, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter each other. Crime is even YouTubed, everything is digital, information is king… notoriety is king.

Having spent many years in the video gaming industry, one rule remained hard and true – gameplay is king. It doesn’t matter how mathematical your programmers, how artistic your 3D artists, how talented your level designers… a shit game with groundbreaking graphics, 250 individual sound recordings, stunning cut-to-video footage… is still shit. Play Tetris, it’s a good game, the rest doesn’t matter. Gameplay is king.

Does this apply to social networking, or, more pertinently, social technology??

Well, yes and no. Different rules apply. Human interaction isn’t a game, it’s life. There is a big difference.

Companies want eyes on phones. The more squinty pupils that focus on the little QCIF, QVGA or wide open widescreen touch sensitive screens, the more the companies marketing directors eyes open… they see revenue. Eyes + advertising = $. They all want a slice of the cake, but is this wrong; hell, this is wrong.

A good lesson can be learned from the current Wall Street grab-ever-penny-from-people-who-can’t-afford-it scenario. Advertising was borne out of an opportunity from realising eyes were watching. Now the moneymakers are trying to reverse engineer the time-honoured process. They think ‘What can we provide to consumers that will make them watch ads?’. It’s a doomed plan. Yes, they’ll grab some revenue, but ultimately it will fizzle out, and they’ll move on to the next short-lifespan money-grabbing scheme.

I always try to avoid saying the ‘a’ word, but in this case, I can’t avoid it. Apple is a shining example of the opposite of the above; they think of the consumer first, money will follow later. Please don’t label me as an Apple fanboy, I ain’t. Yes, I use their products, but that’s because they work (most of the time). Yes, their bottom line is cash, but they go about it in the time-honoured tradition, they don’t try to reverse the natural order of things.

A quality product will prevail, cash will follow. The problem is that there are 100 money grabbing schemes to every Apple-like business plan. The ‘100’ have good products, they do their job and pull eyes. The industry should consider the human interaction side of their action. We need products to mentally connect with consumers, we need real interaction, real life enhancing products.

Gameplay is king? In gaming, yes. In the world of social technology, Human Interaction is king.

Written by rufdog

February 12, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Posted in Design

Social Technology Needs to Tread Carefully

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Design is changing within mobile technology. User Interfaces and User Experience are becoming the key; they used to follow technology, now they lead.

A sea change is happening. Yes it’s been talked about for a long time, but it’s starting to happen now. Mobile technology, or rather, social technology is now a part of human nature. Whether you like it or not, it is woven tightly into the fabric of human existence, everyday human existence.

Already we are witnessing the birth of ‘what would we do without technology’ fly-on-the-wall type TV programs. A recent such show relinquished a group of young people, teenagers I believe, from their mobile phones. The producers simply sat back & filmed.

Some woke up in a state of anxiousness in the middle of the night, believing that they heard a text message come through to their now non-existent phone. The dejected teenagers showed similar human reaction to those who have kicked a habit – smoking, drinking etc.

Technology is part of the fabric of our lives. Swimming against the huge surge of social technological furtherment are some, who believe that natural human contact and interaction is dying a slow death. They cite that technology is silently neutering a generation of technophiles only capable of communication through electronic means, devoid of good ol’ fashioned communication.

There is a lot of truth in what they say. Most over the age of 25/30 use technology as an extension to their normal daily lives, they appreciate it, are impressed by it, and can afford to buy into it. For some it’s a lifestyle choice. Today’s teenagers see the same technology as a right. It’s normal, not impressive. It is part of their being, much like driving a car or fresh tap water is to the developed world.

The current generation will grow up in a bubble of technology, wrapped up in a cosy blanket of txt spk, spl chckrs, blogs etc. Acutely aware of what is happening in the outside world, but not feel physically connected to it. There is a danger that the human race will become inward looking, utterly reliant on technology. Sure, they will be highly capable at anything IT related, well educated & worldly aware (in an encylopaedic sense), but they might be unable to cope with life outside of technology. Stand them up for some public speaking and they wouldn’t know what to do. Drop them in a third world country with a map, compass & their brains… they would probably stand their jibbering about the lack of sat-nav or language translation tools.

Just look at any city centre in rush hour. City workers all staring at their phones, trying to get somewhere in a rush. They are like drones, not wanting to have any human interaction. Not looking up from that game of snake, no deviation from tapping away on a Blackberry, simply plugged in to whichever device allows them to not interact. When you sit back and think about it, it’s insane. This isn’t improving our lives, it’s destroying them, very, very slowly.

Social technology has the ability to greatly advance and improve our lives, but it also has the ability to turn humankind into tech-reliable robots, devoid of soul and ol’ skool ingenuity.

Therefore social technology needs to move towards expanding natural human behaviours, not dumbing them down. Technology needs to become more human-like, more socially friendly, and aware of its environment.

Written by rufdog

February 12, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Posted in Design