March 21, 2007

YouTube for President!

HA...who woulda thunk that politicians will now be getting FREE campaigns put on the website without even knowing it!? There's some real potential here, both good and bad! For example, let's say someone rrrrrreaaaaaaaaallllllllyyyy wanted Obama to win the presidency. He or she could very easily contribute by making some sort of home-made campaign video and calmly putting it on the web. Now it might not be very well done, but it WILL reach a rather wide audience. On the flip-side, what if someone does NOT want Obama to win? He or she makes an anti-Obama video and calmly puts it on the web. Voila, Barack Obama has someone to do his mud-slingin' for him! The question is, can anybody get in trouble for this? I mean they can't take action against Obama if he has nothing to do with it. And if they WERE going to go after the perpetraitor of the video(s), how the heck would they do that?? I guess they could just ask "vidgurl_29" who she is and go arrest her....NOT. It also seems like YouTube has the power to get the "underground" stuff out there...all the skeletons that are hidden in Gore's closet, for example. Like Tony was saying in class, he has a lot of stuff going on environmentally that is just being overshadowed by his emmy-award winning work in "An Inconvenient Truth". The thing about YouTubers is that a lot of them would like being the "rebels" or the "dirt diggers" that get the REAL info out there...apparently some people think internet "fame" is more awesomer that real-life fame, and might relish the opportunity to get their online-alias name out there. And that's my thought on YouTube for President.

March 19, 2007

Kiosk Design

The Best Buy kiosk is being designed with some of the Best Buy ideals in mind. We wanted it to be in store colors (or close to it), have repetition of the Best Buy tag, and use the Best Buy font if possible. Basically we wanted a lot of Best Buy shown to people when they use the kiosk. This will get people into the whole feel of the store before the even step away from the kiosk. It is also being designed with a sense of simplicity in mind. We're not trying to put up every single on sale item in the store. Instead, we are going to display a few items from around the store that will let kiosk users see items from different departments. Since it is also a touch-screen it should be pretty user friendly as well; I think most people who come into the store are probably going to be somewhat technology literate already, so using a touch screen won't be a real challenge for most of them. The alternating of the showcased products will add another dimension to the kiosk as well. Instead of presenting the items all at once, we are presenting them in an alternating fashion. The movement will not only allow us to show other products, but it will also help draw people into the kiosk. The display of the kiosk itself will also be unique, as we are designing it to be built into a Best Buy tag shaped display which would ideally be located at the front of the store. This is another way for us to make something unique and draw people in as well.

Digital Billboards

"F" THAT! I think it's total BS that they want to regulate the digital billboards, I think they're much more practical, more noticeable, and thus more effective! Here's my main beef with the city council though. I've heard they want to shut off the billboard that is up on central entrance, up past the Duluth Central School intersection. Up PAST that intersection. Yet someone was b*tching that it's "too close to the intersection and will distract people which will endanger the kids leaving school." I say buulllllllsh*t! First of all, that billboard was NOT that bright before they dumbed it down. Second, its like half a mile away from the intersection! If they planted the billboard right at the intersection I wouldn't care, take it down. But there is PLENTY of time to become "un-distracted" before the intersection. The brightness is not an issue either, in my eyes. So what if you can see it from a ways away, it's not a dam spotlight shining right into your face! Someone needs to quit b*tching and drive.

What is a good font for web / interactive design?

For web and interactive design it is generally a good idea to stick with fonts that are sans-serif. It was mentioned in class that Meta is a good font and seems to be commonly used in the movies and such. There are websites out there that do still use fonts with serifs but I don't think it is very effective on most of them! For the most part though, people have become wise enough to stick w/ sans-serif fonts. One website that DOES use a serif-font is the NY TIMES website. I'm not sure what font it is exactly but I think it is perhaps the one example that doesnt completely suck. The serifs actually seem like "semi serifs" now that I look at it a little more, but I'm still not sure how I feel about it. I guess in a way it does make sense for a "classy" website like the NY TIMES to use a semi-serif font, but it still affects the readability of the website. I noticed they do use a sans-serif font for the drop downs in the navigation bar on the side. I'm not real fond of the serif font. There, I have spoken.

February 19, 2007

Kiosks

So I "messed around" with the Kiosks at Target, the club wed and baby whatchamacallit one, and decided they're both somewhat lame. I do realize however, that they are designed strictly for one purpose so that is probably the reason for lack of dynamism in the design. I liked the fact that both of them are touch screen, and thought it was somewhat pointless for them to even have the "track ball" (who even uses them anyway??) and mouse features. I've always hated trackball mouses...mice...whatever....and think that feature isnt really needed since everything is touch screen anyway! The keyboard also sucks, the letters are tiny and spaced out way too far, forcing you to use the widely rebuked "hunt-and-peck" method to type...slow and clumsy!!
The club wed kiosk is set up well in the design though. It's easy to search for a wedding because you search by bride or groom, not the date. all you need is the 1st 2 letters of bride/groom's name and the state where the wedding will take place and it will bring up all possible matches. pretty easy to figure out if you ask me! the data entry fields when creating your own registry are also touch-activated so you don't need to F around with the trackball. Overall, it's very limited (for obvious reasons) as to what you can do with it, but it seems to be fairly easy to navigate once you get into it!

February 5, 2007

Second Life!

So this is interesting, this whole "Second Life" thing!! There are so many possibilities, both good and bad! It seems to be nearly as complex as living a real life, in a certain sense. For example, on the Second Life website it says that over 1 million US dollars have been spent online in the last 24 hours! Are you kidding me?! Absolutely amazing! Anyway, one can buy/sell land online in this virtual world. Does that mean you could be an "online realtor" and make money that way? Enough to live on in the real world? How about other "online" jobs, like an online architect? Store owner? It seems to me that this could potentially be a springboard for aspiring realtors. Maybe it is feasible that real estate prodigies could be put to the test so to speak in an online world. I think the idea of having class inteh online world is awesome...i'm not sure how it would work out but it think it's awesome. As far as the web going 3-D...very real possibility, and obviously with the intro of Second Life we can see that the web IS going 3D...very intriguing!!! The potential use for good things in this virutal environment is terribly interesting...almost enough to make a guy put $15 bucks into an account and see what he can do with it...almost!
Now the bad things on the other hand, wellll...! Let's say a 12 year old kid makes an online profile. Of course he's going to make it as much like himself as he can, right? SO...now some random 54 year old dude also makes an online profile, and let's say he's....welll...similar to US Senator Mark Foley in a certain way...I would say online molestation in a virtual world is 100% a realistic threat. Is it a crime in the REAL world to do such a thing in a virtual world? How about other laws, do they apply too? Now what about stuff like being a con artist in the Second Life world and swindling someone out of their money. I'm not sure how, I just think it's probably possible. Is this punishable in the real world?
So many questions, so many answers that I would love to get!!

January 29, 2007

Videogame Interactivity

I played two games for this assignment, one which I thought was a good example of Interactivity and one which I felt kinda sucked. The good game was on the computer; it is the Hoyle Card Games, from the Hoyle games series. This game, upon opening, immediately enters a full-screen mode on the computer. There are several options for game, player, and sound settings, all of which is navigated with a mouse. The game can be set on different levels of competition based on skill, and there are several different games one can play. The character can be chosen from a set of pre-created characters, OR the player can create their own character (visually) using a feature called "Facemaker". This allows a player to select everything about their character from body types to face shapes, hair styles to eye colors, as well as any fashion accessories. During gameplay, which is mouse-activated, a menu is present at all times on the bottom of the screen which allows users to control the sound and play settings, as well as options which allow users to go to different games from pop-up menus. Overall it's very easy to navigate and control. The only part that I feel could be changed is the character selection; once a player is "created" in Facemaker, it is somewhat troublesome to get back to the character create/edit screen.

The example of the game that I thought could use some work is the Howard Lederer "World Championship Poker" game for the Playstation II. Upon opening, the main menu is simply that...a menu with about 4 options on it for game type, skill level, gameplay settings, ect. Once a game is selected, it merely shows all the players in the game on the left side of the screen. the player who's turn it is to act is shown from a front or side view. When placing a bet, the only option is a single menu with a left/right scroller showing the amount to be bet. No "chips" are ever actually used, which in my opinion makes for some rather boooooooring gameplay! I guess I was disappointed with the overall look and feel of the game...it's not very interactive, it isn't visually stimulating, it isn't even very fun to play because of the lack of interactivity. It's hard to explain but I know I'm not that fond of it!

In other notes, I'm disappointed in the student design competition...school just started, i just started to get into the swing of things, and the deadline for the student design competition is already past!! what gives, where's the fire??

January 22, 2007

Week 2 Journal Terms

INTERNET: an electronic communications network that connects computer networks and organizational computer facilities around the world.

WORLD WIDE WEB: a part of the Internet accessed through a graphical user interface and containing documents often connected by hyperlinks -- called also Web.

WEB SERVER: A computer that delivers (serves up) Web pages.

HOST: A computer system that is accessed by a user working at a remote location. Typically, the term is used when there are two computer systems connected by modems and telephone lines. The system that contains the data is called the host, while the computer at which the user sits is called the remote terminal.

WEBSITE: A site (location) on the World Wide Web. Each Web site contains a home page, which is the first document users see when they enter the site. The site might also contain additional documents and files. Each site is owned and managed by an individual, company or organization.

WEBPAGE: A document on the World Wide Web. Every Web page is identified by a unique URL (Uniform Resource Locator).

WEB BROWSER: a software application used to locate and display Web pages. The two most popular browsers are Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer.

PODCAST: allows subscribers to subscribe to a set of feeds to view syndicated Web site content.

CACHE: Pronounced cash, a special high-speed storage mechanism. It can be either a reserved section of main memory or an independent high-speed storage device. Two types of caching are commonly used in personal computers: memory caching and disk caching.

HTML: Short for HyperText Markup Language, the authoring language used to create documents on the World Wide Web.

XHTML: Short for Extensible Hypertext Markup Language, a hybrid between HTML and XML specifically designed for Net device displays.XHTML is a markup language written in XML; therefore, it is an XML application.

XML: Short for Extensible Markup Language, a specification developed by the W3C. XML is a pared-down version of SGML, designed especially for Web documents. It allows designers to create their own customized tags, enabling the definition, transmission, validation, and interpretation of data between applications and between organizations.

JAVASCRIPT: A scripting language developed by Netscape to enable Web authors to design interactive sites. Although it shares many of the features and structures of the full Java language, it was developed independently. Javascript can interact with HTML source code, enabling Web authors to spice up their sites with dynamic content. JavaScript is endorsed by a number of software companies and is an open language that anyone can use without purchasing a license.

IP ADDRESS: An identifier for a computer or device on a TCP/IP network. Networks using the TCP/IP protocol route messages based on the IP address of the destination. The format of an IP address is a 32-bit numeric address written as four numbers separated by periods. Each number can be zero to 255. For example, 1.160.10.240 could be an IP address.

URL's: Abbreviation of Uniform Resource Locator, the global address of documents and other resources on the World Wide Web.

DOMAIN NAME: A name that identifies one or more IP addresses. For example, the domain name microsoft.com represents about a dozen IP addresses. Domain names are used in URLs to identify particular Web pages.

HTTP: Short for HyperText Transfer Protocol, the underlying protocol used by the World Wide Web. HTTP defines how messages are formatted and transmitted, and what actions Web servers and browsers should take in response to various commands. For example, when you enter a URL in your browser, this actually sends an HTTP command to the Web server directing it to fetch and transmit the requested Web page.

FTP: Short for File Transfer Protocol, the protocol for exchanging files over the Internet.

ISP: hort for Internet Service Provider, a company that provides access to the Internet. For a monthly fee, the service provider gives you a software package, username, password and access phone number. Equipped with a modem, you can then log on to the Internet and browse the World Wide Web and USENET, and send and receive e-mail.

IPP: Short for Internet Printing Protocol, an Internet protocol that allows universal solutions to users trying to print documents from the Internet.

MODEM: Short for modulator-demodulator. A modem is a device or program that enables a computer to transmit data over, for example, telephone or cable lines. Computer information is stored digitally, whereas information transmitted over telephone lines is transmitted in the form of analog waves. A modem converts between these two forms.

CABLE MODEM: A modem designed to operate over cable TV lines. Because the coaxial cable used by cable TV provides much greater bandwidth than telephone lines, a cable modem can be used to achieve extremely fast access to the World Wide Web.

ETHERNET: A local-area network (LAN) architecture developed by Xerox Corporation in cooperation with DEC and Intel in 1976. Ethernet uses a bus or star topology and supports data transfer rates of 10 Mbps.

WIRELESS: In networking terminology, wireless is the term used to describe any computer network where there is no physical wired connection between sender and receiver, but rather the network is connected by radio waves and/or microwaves to maintain communications. Wireless networking utilizes specific equipment such as NICs, APs and routers in place of wires (copper or optical fiber) for connectivity.

CSS: Short for Cascading Style Sheets, a new feature being added to HTML that gives both Web site developers and users more control over how pages are displayed. With CSS, designers and users can create style sheets that define how different elements, such as headers and links, appear. These style sheets can then be applied to any Web page.

BLOG: Short for Web log, a blog is a Web page that serves as a publicly accessible personal journal for an individual. Typically updated daily, blogs often reflect the personality of the author.

MP3: The name of the file extension and also the name of the type of file for MPEG, audio layer 3. Layer 3 is one of three coding schemes (layer 1, layer 2 and layer 3) for the compression of audio signals. Layer 3 uses perceptual audio coding and psychoacoustic compression to remove all superfluous information (more specifically, the redundant and irrelevant parts of a sound signal.

JPEG: Short for Joint Photographic Experts Group, and pronounced jay-peg. JPEG is a lossy compression technique for color images. Although it can reduce files sizes to about 5% of their normal size, some detail is lost in the compression.

GIF: Pronounced jiff or giff (hard g) stands for graphics interchange format, a bit-mapped graphics file format used by the World Wide Web, CompuServe and many BBSs. GIF supports color and various resolutions. It also includes data compression, but because it is limited to 256 colors, it is more effective for scanned images such as illustrations rather than color photos.

GUI: ronounced GOO-ee. Acronym for graphical user interface. A program interface that takes advantage of the computer's graphics capabilities to make the program easier to use. Well-designed graphical user interfaces can free the user from learning complex command languages.

PHP: Self-referentially short for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor, an open source, server-side, HTML embedded scripting language used to create dynamic Web pages. In an HTML document, PHP script (similar syntax to that of Perl or C ) is enclosed within special PHP tags. Because PHP is embedded within tags, the author can jump between HTML and PHP (similar to ASP and Cold Fusion) instead of having to rely on heavy amounts of code to output HTML. And, because PHP is executed on the server, the client cannot view the PHP code.

January 17, 2007

Journal

Blog Title: Lars A's blog

Location: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/ande3717/interactive1/

Week 1

Blog Title: Lars A's blog

Location: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/ande3717/interactive1/


WEEK 1 ASSIGNMENT:

1.) What is Interactive Design?
-Interactive design is any form of design that requires the user to manipulate the design in order for it to fully function; that is, it requires the user to navigate the design using whatever means necessary...a mouse, stylus, touch screen, ect. "Interactive" means there are two things that are interacting with each other...in this case, it means a person interacting with the design of something else.

2.) What do you want to learn in the course?
-It would be helpful to learn more about what the design of something (a website, for example) can do for the viewer's experience. Up to this point we (okay, I) have been creating websites that are content-based and do not focus as much on the aesthetic values. Also, i would like to learn about some practical applications of Interactive Design, aside from the Web.

3.) What applications / programming languages do you know or want to learn?
-I would like to gain some good knowledge of Flash 8, for one. Also html/CSS languages seem to be a skill that many employers look for. I did some very basic html stuff way back in my freshman year, so a refresher/expander lesson or two would be very helpful! No exposure to CSS or anything else though, this would probably be helpful! I have designed a couple websites already, nothing I'm too happy with though.

/a