Category Archives: trends

The Apple Tree

I’ve been trying to figure out how to articulate what I see when I watch this video and it hasn’t been easy. Particularly because there weren’t really words the first few times I watched it, mostly just feelings. Excitement, wonder, appreciation, etc… primarily focused at the person who had taken the time to make it. If nothing else it is an amazing construction of different imagery timed impeccably to music. But there was more for me and I haven’t been able to explain it.

So here’s a shot.

Long ago popular culture reached such a critical mass that it began feeding on itself. I initially noticed it when sitcoms would refer to other sitcoms currently on the air as if to assert their status in reality by saying “See we’re like you, we watch that show too”. Actually, I’m sure pop culture referencing itself has been going on forever. I just don’t have any good references right now and I’m not willing to do the research. Let’s assume it’s true, or you’re welcome to post evidence to the contrary.

Today with advanced tools available for cheap to anyone and the perfection digital copies this has evolved to involve different media. There are tons of examples of music being remixed, sampled, cut and rebuilt into something that stands on its own as something new. From Hip-Hop to Dangermouse’s Grey Album (Jay-Z’s Black Album plus the Beatles White Album) to Girl Talk who takes pieces of upwards of 100 individual songs to make a single new one.

When I saw this video I saw the continuation of that trend into video. This being the best execution of a video mashup I’ve seen, but there was something more. There was a feeling with it. I’ve watched it a few more times trying to put it into words, trying to find a frame of reference to explain it with. I may have tried too hard to find one and just fabricated my own, but whatever, that’s what I like about music without words. I get to take it wherever I want, not where the lyrics tell me to go.

When you watch this you’ll see literally thousands of separate images mostly from action movies, horror movies, sci-fi movies etc… Explosions, natural disasters, zombies, vampires, etc… in rapid succession, timed impeccably to the glitchy, erratic, yet compelling beat. What you won’t see is a narrative. I thought I saw one at first but no. It’s a dance. If you look at this as what it is – a music video – and you expand your definition of dance to include all movement (car, plane, explosion, human, animal, etc…) – it can then be seen as a choreographed dance set to serve the music and not the other way around.

Full screen and LOUD is preferable…

Lastly you have to give credit to the guy who made it (unemployed at the time and not in the business of making videos). He’s made a name for himself in an industry he wanted to get into by creating something and putting it out there. Which led to a request by the band (The Glitch Mob) for him to make a trailer for the new Tron movie set to one of their tracks. Which was picked up by the producers of the movie.

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Filed under Hack, Random, trends, Video

Make

Anyone that’s been around me for any length of time in the past year or so has probably heard me rattle on about “Make“. Either the Blog, that I spend a great deal of time reading, the Magazine,  the long anticipated Make:TV, or the Maker Faire that I had an incredible time at last year.

“Make” is an idea that’s been around forever but has found some new momentum. It used to be that skills were handed down from generation to generation, then learning was institutionalized in the guilds, schools and colleges, now it has been globalized with the Internet. Anything you want to know, or want to know how to do, is within your grasp. Even better, if something you dream of isn’t available to buy, the means of production are available to you so that you can create it yourself. Given that you have enough drive to see it through…

Make is creativity, resourcefulness and the desire to create. Make is DIY with a hacker ethos.

As I have become a part of all this I am inspired daily by how people are rethinking, reimagining, and redesigning the world around them. In an effort to further this idea a few friends and I have been working together to launch a local Chapter of the Make: groups that have been popping up around the country.

And with that effort I give you Make:PDX

Portland, Oregon is a magnet for creative people and has a social scene second to none. There is a group of people getting together somewhere for nearly every interest you might have. Make:PDX has the lofty goal of bringing together groups of focused interest to trade ideas. To act as a community builder, not to replace any of the individual passionate groups of people chasing ideas but hopefully bring more people into their ranks by raising awareness. This extends from rockets to robots, cooking to crochet, electronics, woodworking, writing, roasting coffee, brewing beer, etc…

If there is one thing I have learned in this life, it is that the more skills you have and the more you understand, the more beautiful and full of possibility the world around you is.

If you’re in Portland this weekend, we’ll be having our first get-together. If for no other reason than to watch me squirm as I attempt public speaking after a long hiatus it should be interesting. Oh, and also for the cupcakes and cookies Summer and I have been busily making. :)

makepdx_april_flyer_sm

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Filed under Culture Jamming, Design, Hack, hobby, Make, Personal, trends

Invention, Innovation, Portland.

I’d thought about starting something like this, but now that TechShop is making its Portland debut I will happily use their tools and facilities to learn more about the process of making things. I’m very excited about this development and will be one of the first to support an East Side Annex!

From Molly Purnell @ Core77:

On the bus I get to know Dave, a self-proclaimed inventor and maker who’s excited about TechShop’s CNC router. Dave builds Fretted Dulcimers which are apparently coming back into fashion in the Japanese hand-made instrument market, and he needs access to the shop in order to build prototypes.

Dave seems to be the typical clientelle of TechShop; a maker with big dreams, little space, and no equipment. TechShop’s goal is to remedy this situation for the 300 or so potential members that came to the opening event. TechShop plans to have milling machines, lathes, welders, a laser cutter, an electronics shop, blacksmithing tools, a finishing room, workstations, a 3D printer, and of course the coveted CNC router. Along with all of this equipment there will be a tool and materials shop, a small library and a communal kitchen.

The greatest benefit of Techshop will be the probable development of community. The owner of TechShop, Jim Newton and the Portland shop manager, Denney Cole, claim that the community is one of the greatest drawing powers for continued membership. Most builders know that another’s experience and knowledge is the best tool available.

In addition to the tools and community, TechShop will offer offices for rent so that businesses may be based out of the shop. This will include access to the machines and tools as well. The monthly cost for a membership is $125 while a yearly membership is $1000. There may be a special rate if you get in now, which I would recommend since there are only 500 available memberships. The anticipated opening date for TechShop Portland is December 15, 2008 and the hours will be 10am-9pm, 7 days a week. Eventually Denney would like to have the shop open 24 hrs a day. Jim and Denney hope to open an annex on the East Side as soon as possible, sparing us more long bus rides.

More about TechShop @ GeekDad, LA Times, Forbes

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Filed under Design, DigiBoom, Education, Fun, Hack, Make, Portland, trends

Thinking about Design Thinking

I never took any art classes and I don’t know how to draw, paint, sculpt, etc… but I have been spending a large amount of time over the past several months getting more and more into my obsession with design. Trying to take apart what I consider “good design” into the process components that might have been involved in bringing those wonderful ideas, or reimaginations, to reality.

During my reading I came across some keywords that have opened my design education. Keywords are the keys to the kingdom when it comes to internet research. You find the right set and they will guide you to all the others. This time it was “Design Thinking”.

I came across the term when reading about Stanford’s d.School and how they were applying the Design Thinking process in a collaborative effort with their business school. One link led to another and I was hooked.

This is good stuff.

This is creative, analytical, visual problem solving.

From Wikipedia:

Design thinking is a process for practical, creative resolution of problems or issues that looks for an improved future result.[1] Unlike analytical thinking, design thinking is a creative process based around the “building up” of ideas. There are no judgments in design thinking. This eliminates the fear of failure and encourages maximum input and participation. Outside the box thinking is encouraged in this process since this can often lead to creative solutions.

Everywhere I’ve looked I have found applications for this type of problem solving. I like “what if” scenarios (to a point) and I like applying them in open problem solving arenas. I always try to see hurdles as opportunities. More often to run around than jump over.

I’d like to say I’ve been using this type of problem solving for a long time but there is a lot I can learn here. Maybe you can too, in your business, in your personal/social life, wherever.

Tim Brown of IDEO (one of the most successful design firms in the world) is largely credited with coining the term and is it’s lead evangelist. Check out his blog at http://designthinking.ideo.com for some thoughtful musings on the process. Also check out http://www.core77.com for some really hot designs.

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Filed under Design, Education, Random, trends

Infoporn

I like information and I’m a very visual person. One of my favorite sections of any Wired magazine is the couple pages dubbed “infoporn” which display some sort of statistical information in a creative and potentially impactful way.

Bar and Pie charts just don’t cut it anymore.

I recently stumbled across a site that will give me my pretty data fix whenever I need it. Enter infosthetics.com, a blog dedicated to data visualization and visual design, that scours the nets for interesting infographics.

See links to things represented like:

Gas price by county


An average american’s spending habits

Or videos visualizing Greenhouse Gas production

Or the romantic aspirations of thousands of online daters.

See things in different ways.

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Filed under Design, Education, trends, Video

Maker Faire: Get your geek on!

Very early this morning I hopped on a plane for San Francisco bound for the San Mateo Fairgrounds to attend Maker Faire. I’ve mentioned Make Magazine before on this blog. It’s a great little zine for the do it yourself tinkerer. Everything from robots made out of junk to kinetic sculpture to well… pretty much everything else.

Maker Faire is the gathering of all these things. Events and Exhibitions include giant flame throwing choreography, steampunk bands, speed soldering contests, inventors groups, and sooo much more I don’t have the time to get into it.

Here’s a summary:

Boiler Bar Stage
Jon Sarriugarte’s Boiler Bar Theater Presents
Craft Demos
Soft Circuit Embroidery • Make Your Own Free Range Mini-Monsters • How to Make Your Own Shoes…the Easy Way! • Making Jewelry • Finger Puppets Who Wish To Not Die • Create Ribbon Straw Flowers on Vintage Flower Looms • Felt Faux Fruit • The DIY Bride: Quick & Easy Wedding Projects for Any Budget • Fashioning Technology: DIY Style • Guerilla Pattern Drafting • Pops! Icy Treats for Everyone • Photojojo DIY Photo Blocks • Create Your Own Photo Flip Book
Festival Stage
The Devil-Ettes • EepyBird • Swap-O-Rama-Rama
Lion Brand Booth
Lion Brand Yarn Unique Activities • Lion Brand Yarn Unique Activities
MAKE Demos
BlinkyBugs and More LED Projects • Making Music with Arduino • LED Camera Light Kit • Make a Vibrobot • Maker Magic • Pong Watch • Home Chemistry Experiments • MAKE Articles by John Edgar Park • SparkleLabs Easy Electronics Kit • Build a Whole LED Clock on Just 6 Wires! • MAKE Projects for Kids • 3 Quick Projects
Maker Made Stage (Expo)
Mystery Phones • Crafty Chica: Squeezing a Dollar from a Dime: How to Make the Most of What You Have • Eccentric Maker • Re-inventing Building Blocks • Alcohol Can Be a Gas • My Brain Machine • Solar Car Share • Self-making • String Theory • DIY Drones • Maker Kits • Chumby • “How to make a Million! (of a thing)” • The Stanford Laptop Orchestra (SLOrk) • Creating Sustainable Spaces Where Anything Goes • Rabbit’s Rum and Chris Warren • Loud Objects • Maker Sessions • Steampunk • DIY Relationships
Maker Main Stage (Fiesta)
Things I Learned from Knitting • String Theory • Five Dangerous Things Your Kids Should Do • Interaction Techniques Using the Wii Remote • MacGyver: The Making of a Cultural Icon • Howtoons • What Happened to the Chemistry Set? • Maker Magic • Contraptor Lounge • The Maltese Falcon • Babbage’s Difference Engine • SETI@home • The Paper Airplane Guy • Backyard Astronomy with Binoculars • Kite Aerial Photography • 21st Century Woodworking Tools • Extreme Craft • The Ultimate Challenge for Makers • Creating Disney-themed Parks Designs • Authentic Innovation • iPhone Hacking Lab • Propane, It’s a Gas! Fun and Fire with the Flaming Lotus Girls • Laser Harp • Judy: My Dinner with Android • Art Lessing and the Flower Vato • The Image of Computers in Popular Music
Maker Shed
Maker Shed Exhibits, Demos, and More
Maker Shed Author Demo Area
Sew Subversive and Subversive Seamster • Pops! Icy Treats for Everyone • What Happened to the Chemistry Set? • The Paper Airplane Guy
Maker Shed Author Signing Area
Things I Learned from Knitting • Alcohol Can Be a Gas • MacGyver: The Making of a Cultural Icon • Howtoons • Making Jewelry • Plush You! • The Maltese Falcon • The DIY Bride: Quick & Easy Wedding Projects for Any Budget • Backyard Astronomy with Binoculars • Pops! Icy Treats for Everyone • EepyBird
Maker Shed Workshop
Herbie the MouseBot Workshop • Brain Machine Workshop • BlinkyBugs Hands-On Workshop (with the Maker) • BlinkyBugs Hands-On Workshop • Needle Felting Kits Workshop (with the Maker) • Build the LED Camera Light Kit (with the Maker) • Needle Felting Kits Workshop • Build the LED Camera Light Kit • Make Your Own Free-Range Mini-Monsters (with the Maker) • Make Your Own Free-Range Mini-Monsters • Finger Puppet Workshop (with the Maker) • MiniPOV Workshop • MintyBoost Workshop • Finger Puppet Workshop • Build an LED Hula Hoop (with the Maker) • Arduino Workshop • Build an LED Hula Hoop • Woolpets Needle Felted Friends Workshop (with the Maker) • Woolpets Needle Felted Friends Workshop • Pick Up Sticks’ Knit-to-Felt Kit workshop • Make an LED Clock (with the Maker) • Make an LED Clock
Maker Square Stage
Cooking with the Sun • Scharffen Berger Chocolate: Meet the Chocolate Maker • Innovation in Beekeeping • Top Chef Season 4 • Molecular Gastronomy • Seasonal Menus and Secret Dinners
Model Warships
Axis vs. Allies: Model Warship Battle
Mousetrap
Life Size Mousetrap

Power Tools/Drag Races
Power Tool Drag Racing
Robo Games
RoboGames Presents: The ComBot Cup
Rocket Launch Pad
LUNAR Society: Rocket Launch Pad
Tesla
Man-made Lightning
Village Blacksmith
The Village Blacksmith

Details and pictures to follow!!!

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Filed under hobby, Random, Travel, trends