DINO’s Tips for Making the Most out of Book^2 Unconference

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Originally Posted on DINO Studio’s blog

Aaron and I are on our way to Book^2 Camp in New York. It’s an “unconference,” an event that has a participatory style of generating bottom-up content from the attendees rather than providing top-down, pre-determined content. In the tech industry this is a very common format. After talking with a couple of our clients also attending, I realized that to people used to “normal” conferences, the notion of unconferences can seem really, really strange.

So in advance of the Book^2 unconference, and in the spirit of open participation that defines this format, I thought I’d jot down a few notes and approaches if for no other reason than to prepare myself for the weekend.

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Week 40/41 Increasing Capacity

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Originally Posted on DINO Studio’s blog

(this was meant to go up last Monday. Oops.)
Ugh. Halloween, and by extension, October has come and gone. 2010 is nearing its end.

This has been a hectic couple of weeks for us. Transitory periods have a way of making you feel like time is rushing past and also like you’re not going fast enough.

Some highlights from the past these past couple of weeks:

  • Aaron and I participated in the IBM Place Summit 2010 conference. That deserves its own post.
  • We shipped some initial story scenes for our current book clients… these are going to be really, really amazing pieces — We’re helping these publishers put enormous amounts of thought and care into the experience of storytelling
  • I watched The Social Network, and coincidentally(?) we had a meeting w/ our lawyer to review a few things. 🙂
  • We pitched a Facebook-oriented “personal story of wellness” game for a potential client.
  • I listened to a panel on ebooks at the Why Books? conference at Radcliff/Harvard. Post to follow.
  • We launched a very cute flashcard app for toddlers for our client, Mezmedia.
  • Aaron has put some great effort into sorting through some infrastructure of AMP, our skunkworks project.
  • I bought a bottomless coffee cup from the nearby bagel place — either the smartest investment of the year or the direct contributor to my impending mental breakdown… probably both.
  • Iggy, our green-scaled HR director, has been unusually frisky… making laps around the studio — climbing onto her high perch and through the supplies shelving. Her request for her new heating pad finally went through, so she’s in a good mood overall. Also, we’re thinking she may be gravid.

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DINO Week 39 – What the heck is DINO doing?

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Originally Posted on DINO Studio’s Blog

The last weeknotes post was 38 weeks ago. Writing weeknotes, obviously, is one of those things that is very difficult to maintain as a habit, but it feels like one of those things that is really important, as well.

Before I left for a badly needed holiday last week, Aaron and I sat for coffee to have one of our quasi-regular “what the heck are we doing, here?” sessions. Half business and half therapy, it’s a conversation we have with each other on a micro/tactical and also a global/strategic level. It is a good chance for us to put the sales and production pipelines on hold and take stock of our direction.

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DINO Weeknotes 001

weeknotes

I’m sitting here, alone, on a Sunday afternoon at DINO’s studio. It’s cold and wet outside, a perfect day for reflection.

We’ve been doing projects together, as DINO, for the past couple of months, but Em has only been able to put in part-time hours as she completed her obligations with her prior employer. Her last day of work was the 15th and she started full time at DINO last Monday (although she couldn’t help herself and came in the weekend before her first DINO day to get caught up on project work and set up her space).

Today marks the end of our first week where all 3 of us are doing DINO — so in my mind, this is truly the first week of DINO, regardless of what’s happened before. I feel like something powerful clicked now that we can physically locate ourselves in the same place during the day, finally.

It’s been a busy week, indeed. I haven’t had things this intense in a VERY long time. What’s encouraging is that I’m not feeling burned out (well… yet). If anything, the intensity is giving me an energy I’m feeding off of. Read More

art&code workshop on OF and iPhone

Events

I’m currently in Pittsburgh at the Art&Code Mobile event.

We arrived last night and came straight from the airport to attend the Rossum’s meetup. The group is an Art and Robotics collective that meet regularly to host speakers, collaborate on projects, and promote their work.

This morning, I particpated in the OpenFrameworks and iPhone workshop taught by memo akten and Zach Gage

The project we were working on was, essentially, pong for the iPhone. It was a great starter project for those that needed an intro to OF because it exposed the basic structure of an OF program (memo and zach did a great, patient job of going through the IDE and the file placement idiosyncrasies of OF). The class proved that OF can be quite cross-platform right out of the box. There are some obvious exceptions (ex. multitouch isn’t available on all platforms). These unique features are handled as addons to the basic OF project.

As expected, the most difficult part of getting an iPhone OF project to work is the whole provisioning / signing process. Luckily, I’ve done quite a bit of iPhone work before, so this was somewhat smooth for me (once I made sure that the correct SDK was selected in XCode — that messed me up a bit).

I didn’t realize that iPhone OF creates ‘legitimate’ iPhone apps that are acceptable for app store submission (and sale). What’s especially exciting about working with something like OF for iPhone is that the platform encourages building art / toy / pretty apps… so the scope of interestingly designed applications that can be offered is small enough that you could iterate through many experiments with ease. That being said, in my experience, since OF can also be essentially use any library that compiles (c++ or objective-c on OS X), you can use it as a framework for more complex applications.

Tonight, I’m spending evening at HackPGH – very cool do-oriented space. somebody’s soldering near me, somebody’s crocheting. I’ll be trying to build an iPhone toy using OF.

Special thanks to Matt Mets for letting me couch surf at his apartment this weekend.

Good times.

art&code workshop on OF and iPhone

Uncategorized

I’m currently in Pittsburgh at the Art&Code Mobile event.

We arrived last night and came straight from the airport to attend the Rossum’s meetup. The group is an Art and Robotics collective that meet regularly to host speakers, collaborate on projects, and promote their work.

This morning, I particpated in the OpenFrameworks and iPhone workshop taught by memo akten and Zach Gage

The project we were working on was, essentially, pong for the iPhone. It was a great starter project for those that needed an intro to OF because it exposed the basic structure of an OF program (memo and zach did a great, patient job of going through the IDE and the file placement idiosyncrasies of OF). The class proved that OF can be quite cross-platform right out of the box. There are some obvious exceptions (ex. multitouch isn’t available on all platforms). These unique features are handled as addons to the basic OF project.

As expected, the most difficult part of getting an iPhone OF project to work is the whole provisioning / signing process. Luckily, I’ve done quite a bit of iPhone work before, so this was somewhat smooth for me (once I made sure that the correct SDK was selected in XCode — that messed me up a bit).

I didn’t realize that iPhone OF creates ‘legitimate’ iPhone apps that are acceptable for app store submission (and sale). What’s especially exciting about working with something like OF for iPhone is that the platform encourages building art / toy / pretty apps… so the scope of interestingly designed applications that can be offered is small enough that you could iterate through many experiments with ease. That being said, in my experience, since OF can also be essentially use any library that compiles (c++ or objective-c on OS X), you can use it as a framework for more complex applications.

Tonight, I’m spending evening at HackPGH – very cool do-oriented space. somebody’s soldering near me, somebody’s crocheting. I’ll be trying to build an iPhone toy using OF.

Special thanks to Matt Mets for letting me couch surf at his apartment this weekend.

Good times.

dorkbot diyCHI

Essays

Tonight there is a dorkbot-boston as part of the CHI2009 conference.

“What do glitter and glue, needles and thread, batteries and wires have to do with Human Computer Interaction? What can makers and crafters teach technology researchers and designers about the world and technology? How can CHI researchers engage with Do-It-Yourself communities? This session will be a dialogue about the relationships between academia and DIY communities. It will include presentations from the workshop organizers and participants who will demo and discuss their own DIY projects and then use them as springboards for open discussions with the audience. Come to see some interesting projects and to share your own insights and experiences.”

I have the pleasure of making some opening remarks; it’s a little bit of “what is dorkbot,” but I’ll be mixing in some of the call-to-arms rhetoric I’ve used before with a DIYist slant: Read More

Speculative Producing – Building Artifacts as Practical Futurism

Essays

I just listened to Eurydice Aroney’s radio piece, “The Dribble Down Effect” – (listen at http://www.thirdcoastfestival.com – Re:Sound #44)

The story is a “mockumentary” done in the style of a radio documentary you might hear as a 30-minute special on NPR. While parts were definitely funny, it didn’t seem to be presented as a slapstick humorous production (a la Chris Guest’s movies).

Instead, this was speculative fiction reported on in a very serious manner, peppered with the sound collages you come to expect from well-engineered radio stories. This particular story was about childcare in the near future. Robots watch kids (cheaper than university-educated babysitters), children have implants that provide biodata like “I’m hungry,” and society faces all sorts of questions about class differences, feminism, and the ever-present abundance of overbearing parents. Read More

Large Letters for greater creativity

Productivity

I’ve recently upped the font sizes in Textmate and the terminal.

It makes me feel like my code is more beautiful, somehow.

Maybe it’s because whenever I watch a brilliant hacker give a technical talk, they put their screens up on the projector and live-code with super-large type.

Perhaps it reduces the amount of stuff that fits on my screen to a more elegant “that which matters.” Too much text via smaller font makes it difficult to focus.

It’s a cognitive hack for creativity.

Terminal bash 80x24 1

Demorb smart lab

Monoco 18pt – Vibrant Ink color scheme for Textmate