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Topic: U of M

Amy Landesberg workshop concludes

The catalyst workshop was a smashing success with blinkin' lights applied virtually to unassuming curtainwall structures around Minneapolis. My group grafted a double-layer mesh LED screen onto the facade of the Carlson School of Management, here on the U of M campus.

Carlson School of Management Photo by Evan Hall

Tension cables would run vertically a foot and two feet away from the glass curtain wall. LED cables (think rope lights) would then be secured onto the tension cables.

LED Mesh Structure Rendering by Keith Little

The effect would be a two-layer screen that could display any variety of digital raster graphics. We were envisioning multi-step process of automatic image and data collection by computer, follow by a mediation process in which people could "train" the system to show information of value to them. Ideally the graphics displayed would evolve according to the whims, desires, and politics of those mediating.

Carlson LED Screen Rendering by Evan Hall, Full Flash animation

I made a 3D visualization of the double-screen system in the development environment Processing, which I'll post more about soon.

Posted on 8:07 PM by westr015 Architecture Computation Design Grad School U of M

Topic: U of M

Amy Landesberg workshop begins

Today is the start of a workshop called "Between Image and Architecture" taught by Amy Landesberg. We'll be working with curtainwalls... selecting a particular building to perform an intervention on. The scenario is that we will be "collaborating" with a conceptual artist to arrive at a proposal. The artists whose concepts we'll be working with: Ann Hamilton, Thomas Demand, Agnes Martin, Mel Chin, Josiah McElheny, Dan Flavin, and Jenny Holzer. More than just form or method, we will be using the works of these artists as conceptual inspiration. Ideas like "haze-making", interactive graphics, color, glass technologies, and more will come into play.

I'll be working with a few others to mutilate the corporate masterpiece that is the Carlson School of Management here on the U of M campus.

Posted on 3:57 PM by westr015 Architecture Design Grad School U of M

Topic: U of M

Area Student Still Lost in Rapson Hall

Why is it that, after wandering around this building for over 5 years, I can still get lost?


(south, west, north, and east basement corridors in Rapson Hall)

As you can see, the basement of the old part of the building is truly problematic. It's got a perfectly symmetrical plan. The same enameled block on all the walls. There's almost no indication of location here. I've even gone around one full circle before finding the classroom I need. Truly a dumbfounding experience.

Posted on 8:56 AM by westr015 Architecture Design Grad School U of M

Topic: U of M

Architectural History Student Symposium

I'm at the first annual student symposium, sponsored by the Minnesota Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians. It's more interesting than it sounds. There are talks on pattern books, vedic influence on modern Indian architecture, art deco in the Twin Cities, the architecture of White Castle... and a lot more.

Student work is usually rather invisible. People get a grade in a history seminar for a paper they've spent months on, then no one ever sees it again. It's great to be able to see and hear some of the rigorous and innovative work that that students are doing all the time.

Posted on 9:29 AM by westr015 Architecture Grad School U of M

Topic: U of M

Architecture for Humanity Gets a Wish from Sun Microsystems

Every year at the TED Conference someone is granted a world-changing wish. This year it was Cameron Sinclair of Architecture for Humanity. Sinclair is currently teaching here at the University of Minnesota department of architecture. From the article:

As part of his wish, Sinclair requested a means to allow architects, funders, non-governmental organizations and communities to collaborate on generating and implementing innovative housing solutions globally. Sun answered by offering to provide an online platform that will facilitate collaboration and sharing of designs and will use advanced technology to simulate geographic/seismic, political/cultural and financial ramifications of designs. Sun and Sinclair will gather additional support from the technology, entertainment and design industries represented at the TED conference.

Link to Press Release

Posted on 6:38 PM by westr015 Architecture Computation Grad School Social Software U of M Web Technologies

Topic: U of M

The Activist Architect

A new blog, Activist Architect by four U of M architecture graduate students has started up. It was posted on Archinect recently.

Posted on 11:37 AM by westr015 Architecture Grad School U of M

Topic: U of M

Wireless Cities Conference

Why is it that I always find out about these things at the last minute? Anyway, there is going to be what sounds like a great conference this thursday and friday (6th and 7th of October.) Hosted by the Digital Technology Center the conference is entitled "Wireless Cities...Community Context Conference". The conversation will center around municiple wi-fi networks and the potential for people to use them in ways that reenforce community.

Guess where I heard about this? From Intermedia Arts C'mon U of M, let's broadcast that information of your's!

Conference Website

Posted on 4:30 PM by westr015 U of M

Topic: U of M

UMCal + iCal

For those of you using the University's calendaring system (a.k.a. UMCal a.k.a. Oracle Calendar), but also want to use Apple's iCal I figured out a little hack. If you export you UMCal data you can subcribe to it in iCal. To do this, choose "Export Data..." from the "File" menu in UMCal. Choose iCal as the format and have UMCal save the resulting file in your Sites folder. Make sure you have "Personal Web Sharing" enabled by opening "System Preferences..." under the Apple menu and choosing "Sharing". Fire up iCal and choose "Subcribe..." under the "Calendar" menu. Point iCal to the file you exported from UMCal by typing in: "http://localhost/~user/File.ics" (excluding the quotes, where user is your username and File is the name you gave to the exprted calendar data in UMCal.) You can choose how often you want iCal to check for new data. Now, whenever you want iCal updated, just exprt the data to the same spot from UMCal. With the data in iCal its that much easier to export the calendar data to your iPod, phone, or other gadget.

The only problem with this, of course, is that it requires you to re-export the data whenever you want to refresh your schedule in iCal. There is a SyncML service that OIT provides for folks to sync their calendars with their mobile devices. Has anyone explored this? If there is a way to get an XML file, then you could put that address into iCal, then you wouldn't need to export the data all the time from UMCal.

Posted on 9:52 PM by westr015 U of M

Topic: U of M

Secure E-mail with ASP.NET

Since the University is phasing out their open mail relay in July, I've been looking for a way to send e-mail from my web forms through the secure mail server. I finally happened across a solution using a Windows library called CDONTS, which has a lot of this type of functionality.

Here's a function to send mail using VB.NET, but the methods are almost identical in C#. You have to import the System.Web.Mail namespace for this to work (using <%@ Import Namespace="System.Web.Mail" %>)

Function SendMail(strFrom, arrTo, strSubject, strBody)
Dim objMail As New MailMessage()
objMail.From = strFrom
objMail.To = Join(arrTo, ",")
objMail.Subject = strSubject
objMail.Body = strBody
objMail.Fields.Add(" _
cdo/configuration/smtpauthenticate", "1")
objMail.Fields.Add(" _
cdo/configuration/sendusername", "username")
objMail.Fields.Add(" _
cdo/configuration/sendpassword", "password")
objMail.Fields.Add(" _
cdo/configuration/sendusing", "2")
objMail.Fields.Add(" _
cdo/configuration/smtpserverport", "465")
objMail.Fields.Add(" _
cdo/configuration/smtpusessl", true)
objMail.Fields.Add(" _
cdo/configuration/smtpconnectiontimeout", "60")
SmtpMail.SmtpServer = ""
Return True
Catch ex As Exception
Return False
End Try
End Function

You need to pass the function four arguments:

1. strFrom = the reply to address
2. arrTo = an array of addresses to send the message to
3. strSubject = the subject text of the e-mail
4. strBody = the body text of the e-mail

Inside the function, you'll need to set "username" and "password" to a valid x500 username and password.

Posted on 2:16 PM by westr015 U of M

Topic: U of M

Spring (Tech) Cleaning

So I'm writing this entry on a Cassio Cassiopeia A-11 which I actually used as my primary computer during the summer of 1997. I have these fits of nostalgia every so often where I start printing spreadsheets on the Senior Partner or checking my e-mail on the Newton .

I've been struck acutely as of late because it seems to be spring cleaning time in my department. I just can't bare to see a perfectly good Powerbook 180 go to the great computer store in the sky. The U seems to be a conglomeration of nation-states called "budgetary units," each with its own glorious idiosyncratic bureaucracy. In order for me to "export" any U property, it has to transfer through the nation-state called UCS and, being found sufficiently antiquated, on to that great store-house of University detrious, the Como Recycling Facility . Once there I, as a civilian, can peruse the selves to locate my obsolete treasure. This is assuming, of course, that it wasn't simply "recycled".

C'est la vie. I can't save all the junk in the world. (My basement's almost full.) If you're into the digital old school like me, here's a few cool places to browse:

  • The aforementioned Como Recycling Facility
    Mostly office furniture and the like, but once in a while they'll have some treasures.
  • Midwest Surplus & Electronics
    The old school geek super store right along the Mississippi in downtown Minneapolis. 124 12 Ave S, Minneapolis,  MN (612) 339-9533
  • That place on Raymond Ave. just north of University in St. Paul
    Primarily a repair shop, but this guy's got stashes in storage all over the metro area. If you've got something specific in mind, ask and ye shall receive.
  • And it never hurts to e-mail me and see if I've got something you need in the "warehouse." Strictly barter/lending library.

Posted on 2:06 PM by westr015 U of M

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