Category Archives: Digital products & Design

Francis Bacon at Tate Britain

So, now it’s about Francis Bacon。 As I got a strong impression from the poster at the tube, I was so interested in this exhibition, and found this web content. Well, it looked a bit complicated to look into the detail, so I went to the museum anyway… I hadn’t been to Tate Britain. It is located along the Thames, and the building looks so “museum”. The inside is much bigger than you can imagine from the outside, and they have lots of exhibition other than special ones. Many of them are admission free. It’s so kind for poor students…

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Francis Bacon is a painter who was born in Ireland. He uses a big campus, dark tone colors, and every painting looks like “animal” or “meat” rather than “human’s body”, and shouting as if it is torn…I hadn’t seen any other things which describe people’s suffer as much as that. You can’t experience this with poster or website.

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So, I went to the website after coming back. It seems it’s basically arranged in the same manner of the exhibition, which follows the time. But they also have other things such as related works or materials which don’t fit the time category. So these works are displayed in the different rooms separately. When something is apart from something physically, the relationship tends to be unclear, so I thought online content covers these problems very well. If you double-click the background, you can also see the picture of the whole exhibition, and it has video contents as well. If you want to know more about Francis Bacon, just check it out. Tate Britain Website

searchWiki

I tried to use searchWiki by google yesterday! So what you need to do is just logging in to google account, and you will find some unfamiliar links next to the result of search. One is to “pick up” and one it to “delete” the result. Now we had a question. It looks this feature works only for exact the same query. Which means, even if you delete one of the results for a query “noodle”, when you try “noodle Japanese”, the deleted result comes up again. …isn’t it a bit irritating? So our main opinion was “well….I wouldn’t use this.” Now the next question. What is this feature for, then? ….Google, isn’t it? And another question. With this feature, you also can comment on the results. These “pickup”, “delete”, “comment”, it looks all your action is published to all over the world compulsorily. For example, when you delete a result, it also shows “Bob and Jane deleted this result”, and by clicking “All notes for this searchWiki”, you can preview comments by others. Also, I’m not sure if it’s bug or not, but my test comment remains there despite I deleted it. Isn’t it annoying for the website which was used as test? Now the result for query “google” is full of test comments at the moment. To be honest, I don’t like this feature. First of all, which is the concept of this feature, “Personal customisation tool” or “Let’s edit the result together! (=wiki)” ? To me, it looks a bit mixed and confused. At least, I assume everyone wants the option to turn if off… Thinking like that, I tried another query but the feature doesn’t work…??????

Impressions about FLASH

I feel like it’s been ages since I left Japan, but finally the MA course started yesterday. I would like to write about it later, but anyway,I had to do “pre-induction” work so I had been struggling with FLASH recently. Well, when I was working in Japan, I had no time for creation and also I used to use very old version, so this impression may sound a bit stupid… but I’d write honestly. I think the process of optical disc authoring is the same, “What should do what, where” = the first logical design seems very important. I mean, whether I should use script, how I should write it, where I should write it, or whether I should use timeline animation, or how I should plan Movie Clips…all these “basic” things affect the efficiency of the work. If I do it without proper thoughts, I usually regret it and at that time it’s a bit too late… When I first made FLASH movie, I used to use only timelines and used to be happy like “yeah! it worked! great!”. But when I want to make something which has lots more parts and complicated structure as well as interactive, it usually gets messy with that method. Which means I have to shift into scripts, but if I write it on deeper layers or instance randomly, I usually get confused because it’s difficult to know what’s happening. (Am I stupid?) The thing is, each has timeline so they collide all the time if I can’t plan very well. So, as to AS3.0, it looks they are trying to make “control” things tidy by writing the scripts on higher positions. Well, sounds good idea. But also, I feel like they have lost “friendly” aspects such as “I could make animation with just a few clicks!” Am I only the person feeling a bit sad?

BBC iPlayer, Sky News and London Paper

Because I don’t have my TV in my room, one of my concern was how I can get everyday information. I usually use BBC iPlayerand Sky News. Although I don’t remember how the previous BBC site was, I read an article saying their re-design was really successful. They are broadcasting their programmes of the past one week. But, perhaps because of the speed of the connection, usually it doesn’t connect to the site… Also, it seems some people argue about the traffic problem. On the Sky News, you can watch some 2~3mins news, but what I like about it is that I can set a Playlist to watch. It’s really convenient to check today’s news quickly. By the way, although this is not online media, another thing I always use to gather information is London Paper. ( I think this type of free paper is not so common in Japan) I can find the “purple” people anywhere in London so it’s so useful. Also I’m sure it’s good for tourist. But it looks to be causing a problem of waste…

The fight against PIN

Well, this is not related to London, but… Since I came here, I needed to open new accounts a lot such as bank or mobile. The problem is always password or PIN. I can’t remember which one was for what, and I got locked out from the online banking a few days ago, and from my mobile as well. For online banking, I need ID number and PIN as well as “memorable word”, and have to type them all the time to log in. But they set lots of rules such as “within *** words” or type of characters or no use of the same characters. Once you start thinking like “Oh what should I choose… err…I can’t use this…not this one either…”, it’s already far away from “memorable”. OK, perhaps I was a bit stupid not to have written down even hint, but it was so embarrassing to call to the bank saying “Sorry, I couldn’t memorise the memorable word”. In the case of mobile, I had no idea how to change the PIN, so I left it as it was, but forgot about it and entered some different PIN. The result was locked out again. The start guide says I need to read the handset manual to change the PIN, but the manual only explains what happens if I forget PIN. What can I do??? Anyway, I solved the both case, but still I need to memorise student ID, ID for library, etc etc…feeling dizzy by numbers and alphabets! Please anyone, give me a high spec memory in my brain.

Laws of Simplicity

As this books hasn’t been translated into Japanese, I reluctantly started to read it in English. And finally I finished it!!! John Maeda, a professor at the media labo in MIT, writes about “simplicity”. Althought the volume of the book itself it not so big…. …Difficult! So difficult! He uses a lot of examples of product design such as iPod or B&O, but some of stories are rather phylosophical matters based on his life experiences. Well, my English ability is not good enough, that’s all. He says:
“Simplicity and complexity need each other.” “What lies in the periphery of simplicity is definitely not peripheral.”
and so on. Actually what this book talks about is very comlicated, deep and it could be written in some thick, series of books, but they are simply organized in 10 laws here. But the impression after reading is so much. I think it’s great this book itself is following the laws. Simple design” tends to be so cheap, but the reason why professional designed simplicity looks so cool might be because they are following these kind of laws. I felt like that. He also writes blog about it. Laws of Simplicity Website

Forgot to buy a milk!

Well, you can avoid that by using this tool. Online ToDo management site, “Remember the milk“. As I liked its simple interface, and how it connects to other services such as Google, I started to use it recently. I think ToDo management is always critical factor for our works. But actually my ToDo is always hand-written down in a small note. I don’t know why but my brain works well when I’m hand-writing. However, recently I’ve got so many ToDo about my study that I decided to transfer some of them to online. Although it might be a bit too much for people who prefer simple tool, I like how it has basic properties like “due date” or “priority”, and short-cut keys are very intuitive and easy to use. It shows Lists by “Tab” design, and it’s really easy to look at them. You also can use Google map within the site and can link tasks to maps. The reminder can be used with MSN and Skype. Of course it can be accessed by mobile and even by iPod touch or iPhone. (Should I buy one of them?) One problem is, I feel like it takes long to load the data…but overall impression is it’s quite useful. I wanted to have such a tool when I was a student. The original site was developed in Australia, but it also has Japanese site and other language.

iKnow!

I have joined another SNS again…well, I don’t expect much from its feature as SNS, but it’s a website for English leaners. It may be a bit difficult to become a good English speaker only with this, but at least it looks good enough to learn vocabulary. You can remember some words by “repeating” them. Afterall, that’s the most quick way to remember, isn’t that? Perhaps we need to have time to use them in actual conversations after this site… Oh, is the SNS for that? Anyway, it seems the intermediate and advanced course provide a quite good selection of words, so I’d try using it for a while. It playbacks the sound of sample sentenses, so it might be good to “say” it together. By the way, I’m so impressed how English study style has been changing… iKnow