Sunday, December 28, 2008

BPN 1290 Cheap e-reader kindles interest in e-book

In the past week the news was published that laptops are succeeding desktop computers in sales. But more is happening: the sale of electronic book readers is picking up pace and the e-readers are getting cheaper.

There are more than twenty different types of e-readers with digital paper screens now. And there are more of them to come in different seizes. iRex Technologies already launched its 10 inch screen, while Plastic Logic has announced its 10 inch screen unit for early 2009. In the meantime the 6 inch screen reader are expanding and getting cheaper.

The range of 6 inch screen readers was opened by the iLiad of iRex Technologies. Soon a slew of e-readers followed. They were cheaper than the iLiad, partly due to the fact that these readers do not have a wifi facility on board. Sony has made hay of this situation with the PRS 700, which is on sale for 300 euro. But now a major move is coming up in the new year.

From the US a new unit will come which will cost under 200 euro. The e-Slick reader will be available from Foxit. The reader has a6 inch screen, 128 Mb internal memories and a SD card slot for SD cards up to 4Gb memory. It supports PDF and TXT formats and has a built-in mp3 player, which makes it interesting for audio books. It weighs 180 gram and is 9,2 millimetres high. It looks like many of the other readers such as Hanlin. For the time being the eSlick will be available only in the USA from February/beginning of March 2009. But even there it will create a stir with regard to the price. The Kindle (with wifi) costs 359 US dollar; the iLiad with wifi costs 599 euro. The Wifi-less iLiad Book edition ships for 499 euro; the Sony reader PRS 700 has a price tag of 399 US dollar. But the eSlick will cost 229,99 US dollar at launch, but the price will be 259 US dollar after the introduction.

The announcement of the succession of desktops by laptops will give an extra incentive to the sale of the e-book readers. The reader will be seen as a different device to the laptop, but will compete with the sub-notebooks like the Asus EEE. The e-book readers will also get competition from the smart phones like the iPhone.

Blog Post Number: 1290

Tags: ,

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Merry Christmas
and
a Happy New Year

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

BPN 1289 Lunching with an ambitious new marketeer

Yesterday I had lunch with Erwin van Lun. It was the last business obligation of this year and a very pleasant one. Erwin is a consultant on strategic brands; he has written a book about brands in a changing media context and he is a speaker. Erwin (1968) studied artificial intelligence at Delft Technical University and worked for more than 10 years in the ICT company LogicaCMG, first as consultant and later as e-communications manager. After this job he became strategic planner at Ogilvy in Amsterdam. In 2006 he was conferred the degree Master of Brand Management by the Erasmus University in Rotterdam.

We have met only one time, but we have had e-mail contacts several times. Now we were lunching in a retaurant in the historic Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam; the stadium was built for the Olympic Games of 1928 (see photograph). Erwin is active in brand management in The Netherlands, but he will also become active in Australia at the beginning of next year. My Australian WSA friend Louise has helped him in researching the Australian interactive marketing situation.

In his book he presents a vision on brands of 2015 and later. He presupposes a stable society without terrorists’ attack, climate disasters or human epidemics (he does not mention an economic crisis). He limits the scope of the book to the Dutch marketing, media, brand, design and communication world and the Dutch consumers. In the preface he notes that the book will be the first Dutch book with Dutch examples and not with the classic cases of Virgin, Starbucks and The Body Shop.

In the mass communication era brands were needed. The personal bond between the manufacturer and consumer changed due to the remote manufacturing. Mass communication technology through television and radio had a lot of advantages and some teething problems. It was all one way traffic and there was a limited time window in which the message could be delivered to the consumer. Brands consisted of simple, repeating messages. In this media context brands remained almost to simple.

But the media context is now coming of age. The flaws of mass communication disappear. In the future technology brand will not only send out a message, but the senders will have to listen and understand the signs of the time and recipients. Brands should built relationships, should be able to really help (not just pretend) and act like friends should do. Consumers love to communicate with intelligent brands and will make space for them. Brands will grow up beyond puberty and mature.

In the train on the way back I was so engrossed in the book that I missed my stop!

Blog Posting Number: 1289

Tags: ,

Saturday, December 20, 2008

BPN 1288 Dubai revisted (3)

I have arrived home safe and sound after my trip to the Middle-East, specifically to Oman and Dubai. It was the first time that I was in Oman and I hope it is not the last time. I enjoyed the people and their hospitality. I went for the second time to Dubai and enjoyed the company of the people of the Knowledge and Human Development Agency. They are exploring interesting ways for the future. I am astonished at the rate which with Dubai is changing. As a cab driver said: As soon a road has been completed, it will be registered in the GPS system; however do not be surprised that the road has already been replaced by a new one.

Of course the present credit crisis might become a problem for the country. A lot of construction works are still going on like the highest building of the world. But the crisis is beginning to bite for the emerati. Gold sales are down with 80 percent, while petrol sales are down with 30 percent. Even 300 emerati did not meet their deposits for the home or office projects around Dubai. Yet the emirs of Dubai will not have problems for the time being as they have not really invested in the big projects like Palm island and the World island. As soon as these projects were announced investors were encouraged to put money in the projects. The government itself did not invest; so they will not loose money. They still have the revenues of the oil wells. Yet, the Dubai people are not all convinced and even start the rumour that the emir of Abu Dabi will take over Dubai.

Dubai Agencies and ministries will be more depended on the government for their budgets. So far agencies did not know whether they were going to be limited or not. With limitations also normal life (and shopping) in Dubai would be hit. Speaking of limitations, I was surprised to find that the United Arab Emirates block Flick and YouTube. My personal Oman guide Sangeetha explained it to me as follows: Flickr and Youtube have been blocked, as their content is inconsistent with the religious, cultural, political and moral values of the United Arab Emirates.

I flew home through Istanbul. Everything went well till Istanbul. There the plane for Amsterdam left more than an hour late and I was in a hurry as a niece of mine was going to be wedded that day in the middle of The Netherlands. With the help of my partner we walked into the municipal hall just before the marriage ceremony of saying yes. All together it was a very long day, before I was really home (see picture taken from the plane).

Blog Posting Number: 1288

Tags:

Friday, December 19, 2008

BPN 1287 Dubai revisited (2)

Today I was the guest of the Knowledge and Human Development Agency in the International Academic City Dubai. Academic City is a development of universities (private and government) such as the private Zayed University, government agencies and companies. It is one of the thematic newer cities in Dubai. When I was with the Grand Jury of the World Summit Award in Dubai in 2003, Internet City had just started. It was a clean business park nicely laid out, where companies like Microsoft based their offices. In that time also the Knowledge Village was opened. I did dig up an old photograph of that opening ceremony (see photograph). I remember the crown prince was present and there was a buffet for all guests; in my estimation some 600 people.

But now the Knowledge and Human Development Agency has overtaken Knowledge Village and grown in importance. In 2003 it was clear that the United Arab Emirates would not live from the smell of oil into eternity. Internet City and Knowledge Village were the first diversification efforts. But now knowledge has become more prominent. In fact so prominent that Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum has made the statement: I want Dubai to be number one in everything, higher education, health, housing. So strategic plans have to be developed as well as policies, laws and regulations to improve learning and human development. In practice that means setting Dubai’s education standards in collaboration with Federal Ministries and oversee the implementation of learning and human development policies through agencies, corporations and private sector contractors

In this way Dubai wants to create a knowledge-led society where all participate in Dubai’s sustainable economical development making the strategy happen. This is where the KHDA comes in. It will have to deliver these objectives,. KHDA will place emphasis on ownership of knowledge and responsibility. To implement the strategy the following agencies are to be created:
- early learning
- schools (already operating)
- tertiary education (covering higher and further)
- skills and Workforce Planning
Each agency will be supported by an inspection body and will report to KHDA.

Within the KHDA an innovation unit is active. It was established for the commitment to create the environment needed for developing humans in an era and an area marked by constant change, the KHDA Innovation unit was established. To participate in creating a better future for generations to come actions will have to be recommended on the basis of findings in Futures Studies conducted locally and internationally. The purpose of the unit is to utilize various methods and tools to help the KHDA
prepare people/community for unseen yet needs and demands. The unit conducts various projects related to anticipating the future and helping to build desired ones. The unit also aims to cooperate and create partnerships, locally and globally with entities working on similar projects worldwide. It is quite an assignment.

Head of this unit is Hind, who was a WSA judge in Bahrain in 2005. She works with a unit of smart people, who are looking all over the world for Future Studies, but also put together programs for putting computers in schools and organising Innovation festivals. To put it black and white: it is a daunting task to change a society, living of the benefits of oil production into a society, which lives from knowledge products and services as well as innovation and diversification.

Blog Posting Number: 1287

Tags: ,

Thursday, December 18, 2008

BPN 1286 Dubai revisited (1)

The flight to Dubai was late and the chairs in the Oman Airways plane were horrible; a bobble in the neck made sitting very uncomfortable. Besides the plane was fully loaded. But despite the delay we were only 10 minutes late on the ride of an hour and 10 minutes. The airport was like I remembered from 2003 when the first Grand Jury was held in Dubai, sponsored by the UAE. Flying dishes with blue and red light and gas torches along the central corridor. But I suspect that they built more than a kilometre new gates which range now from 101 to 250. In 2003 a visum was taken care off by the organisation. Now it was not clear whether I needed a visum or not. Eventually it turned out that I did not need one for the two days in Dubai.

At the exit of the airport it was unbelievably busy. Taxis drove on and off and I was whisked away to the Crown Plaza Festival City hotel. I got an upgrade from the requested room as they were all taken. Entering the room I could not believe my eyes. I looked at towards the city and all skyscapers and the lights. It is a breathtaking sight. The hotel is at the central river through Dubai. It delivers spectacular sights. I can not wait to see the view tomorrow by daylight.


This was the way the view developed over the day.




Work started early for some people, but at least they could take the helicopter to work.

Blog Posting Number: 1286

Tags: content

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

BPN 1285 Workshop in Oman (3)

For today I had some appointments. The first one was with the National Records and Archives Authority. I met two of the young employees of this office and they told me about their venture, which had recently been started after a decree by the Sultan. Just like in other Arab countries there are not many records in government or in private hands. There is in fact no archival history. Archives in the Western world are a different game: the church kept the records of birth marriage and dying and since Napoleon an archival tradition has been instituted.

Now Oman is starting archiving its national documents. And they really have to start from the beginning. Two years ago they started and agency and pulled employees from various government departments. They also started courses for students and have now the first wave of 75 graduates and a second wave of 50 students in the benches. They will be commissioned in government ministries and agencies and start collecting the archives to be. But having said that a system for the workflow and a database system still have to be selected. And that is more difficult than thought. For not all documents are already digital, so they will have to OCR’ed. But OCR’ing Arab documents is not easy, certainly not when they have been written by hand and even if they have been typed or printed. Instead of promillages of mistakes, they talk in percentages. Yet the start is there.

Oman is probably after Tunisia the second or the third country dealing with archives. The effort is to be applauded. However I think that the archive world in the Western hemisphere should assist these countries with training and methods. So far the Arab world is fixed on Tunisia, which has a special training in this field. However the Western countries should also give them assistance and exchange knowledge. I was impressed by the agency and its set-up and certainly by the young office manager of 32 years and his colleague, who are working on it.

I was taken around by one of them as I had some time at hand. So before my next appointment I was taken to the diplomatic area. I saw the large embassies of the US, UK and India. I saw also some of ministries such as the ministry of religion (no longer the ministry of Islamic religion). I saw also the Opera under construction, not exactly a building that comes to your mind in this context. It was almost coincidental, that the National archives employee played classical music on the auto radio; he had inherited the love for this music from an old friend.

After some talks at ITA, I collected my luggage at the Wifi unfriendly Golden Tulip hotel, but they bought me to the airport. At last I could leave the lounge, the Christmas songs (Hark the herald angels singing.., Jinglebell, Jingelbell etc) and the Christmas tree with Father Christmas and the sheep in the snow. It was 27 degrees outside, green grass and beautiful azalea flowers. Off to Dubai.

Blog Posting Number: 1285

Tags: content

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

BPN 1284 Workshop in Oman (2)

It was early day. Here the people begin to work at 7h0 and leave work at 3h30. I was ready to be picked up by the ITA driver at 7h30. The second day of the workshop was intended for managers of the ITA and of other government agencies. As usual for managers, time was short, but it was possible to present an impression of the quality standards of the Grand Jury and the winning products and services. During the discussions I noticed that I was talking from a very privileged situation with an internet connection of 10Mb at home. In Muscat there is ADSL of the first generation. And only 3 percent of the 3 million people have an internet connection. The WSA national expert Zawan is charged with the task to increase the number o internet users through a program. Students will get an ASUS for school and in the end also primary schools will b linked and get computer labs. It is a very ambitious program from what I heard.

A lunch was offered after the workshop and that ended the second day; see the press release. I got a chance to work on the postings as I got contact through a limited wifi connection. I could get sites, but I could not get mail. Still I got some work done.

After refreshing myself at the hotel, which was really necessary after running the workshop with presentations and questions and answers, I was picked up by Sangeetha, who generously offered me a tour of Muscat in her private time. So far I had only seen the way to the Knowledge Oasis Muscat. But this was about to change. Sitting high in the front of a 4wheel drive I was able to look at all the traffic which moves back and forth along the road through Muscat. It really is one long line at the foot of the mountains.

I got to see the old city with its Corniche and we went to the royal palace of the Sultan of Oman. It is a city of great differences with a beautiful diplomatic area to a crowded area around the souk. Muscat has a port and has a long standing history of seafaring. One of the three yachts of the sultan had docked in the port, while a little bit further two dhows, old sailing boats, were anchored. A little bit further from the port is the harbour of the royal palace, guarded by two forts.

We had a chance to see the royal palace, despite the fact that the light was fading by 6h00. I was able to take some pictures; they are not the best; yet the ones Sangeetha and her son were very good, but we did not have time to exchange them (you can however see them on Flickr). We ended the tour with a visit to the souk. It as a very colourful marketplace with a lot of handcrafted products, silverwork, shawls, daggers; you name it.

Thanks to Sangeetha I have seen at least something of Muscat, but not yet much of Oman. From her I understand that next time I should also go in the interior into the mountains to Nizwa. Oh well, there is always something left to wish. And hopefully there will be a next time, insjallah (if Allah will).

Blog Posting Number:1284

Tags: content

BPN 1283 Workshop in Oman (1)

This a trip with firsts. For the first time I am flying Turkish Airlines. KLM could not serve me and wsa going to put me on the standby list. But Turkish Airlines had the ticket. There was of course an disadvantage and advantage. The disadvantage is that the trip takes longer due to a stop-over in Instanbul, where I have not been before. The good news was that the trip was much cheaper with Turkish Airlines than with KLM. The service was okay and not significantly different from KLM.

Destination of this trip was Oman in the Middle East. I have not been further than Bahrain and Dubai, But just a three quarters of flying further There is Oman. I have never been in Oman before. In May of this year I met a delegation of Oman in Bahrain during the e-Government forum. It was a colourful group of people, especially as the men sport cololourful headgear. But before leaving for Oman, I looked up the country profile. I found out tthat the country is vast, but has only less than 3,3 million inhabitants. That generates quite a different score for the square meters per inhabitant, from the Netherlands with its 16,2 million inhabitants. In Oman you square kilometers per inhabitants.

I arrived late at night and did not see anything. I was taken swiftly to the hotel, where the western Christmas songs were playing around the clock with Christmas trees spread around the lobby and the restaurant. It is a estranging experience, a kind of culture clash. But of course I was only interested to catch some sleep as I was supposed to present a workshop. In the morning I was driven to the Oman Knowledge Oasis, a business and science park at the foot of a mountain range.

The workshop is organised by the ITA, the IT Agency of Oman. This agency is to stimulate IT in Oman government and the country. Last the country partook in the World Summit Award competition and was a winner in the e-inclusion category with its cross-media university application system. Last year's Grand Jury saw Zawan as Omani eminent expert in the Grand Jury. The workshop was to present the way the World Summit Awards works and how the Omani can participate more in it, can set up their own national content competition and look into an e-Government competition of their own.

There were some 35 participants in the workshop, mostly of government departments and agencies. The first days was a general presentation. Tomorrow I will be sitting at the table with officials and talk about the participation in the 2009 edition as well as setting up a national e-content competition. I am anxious to hear their plans as it means that the Omani are seriously developing its internet industry, shaping products and services.

After the meetings I will be shown around Muscat by air-conditioned car. It is some 27 degrees celsius, but humid. I am really eager to see part of the country, as I understand that the country has several panoramic faces. I was hoping to upload the posting about my trip to Oman earlier. But the Golden Tulip hotel in Oman has Wi-fi, but is charging an unbelievable amount of money fot the service. A card for 24 hours is supposed to cost 23 euro. This looks like asking for water in the middle of the desert. Its is interesting to see the difference between countries. In Finland Wi-Fi has become a hotel commodity included in the tariff, while here in Oman it still is a hefty add-on.

Blog Posting Number: 1283

Tags:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

BPN 1282 Scienar (2): science and arts

The trip for the kick-off meeting in Italy was quite an enterprise. The situation for flying is hampered by the limbo situation of the airline Alitalia. It was not very reliable in the past with all the strikes, but presently they just drop flights, as partner Nick found out. To be sure I booked flights with Lufthansa and it subsidiary Air One. All connections worked: from Amsterdam to Frankfurt, from Frankfurt to Bologna and from Bologna to Lamenzia Terme. I almost missed the flight to Lamenzia Terme as in Frankfurt there was a lot of fog and planes took to the air slower than normal. With some 30 minutes to go and new check-in with Air One I made it just in time. Up to Lamenzia Terme, which is in Calabria. I have never been further than Rome, but this time I was going even beyond Naples. On the trip back everything worked out okay: planes were in time in Rome and Munich. But all together the trip has taken a lot of time with all the after flight arrangements with taxis and trains.

However it was like coming home, but now in Calabria. I met Marcella again, one of the inspirators of the project SCIENAR. I met her some 5 years ago at a summerschool in Salzburg; I guess the one where the interactive musical Sound of Music was produced. But also George, but Sam for his friends arrived from Romenia through Rome by plane and train. There were also new people to meet such as Nick, an entrepreneur in digital e-learning. And of course Mauro was there, one of the academics in the project. Besides these people there were also people of the University of Calabria, especially Lorella, the project manager, who was instrumental in the process of submitting the proposal SCIENAR to the European Commission. Absent was Monika from the Comenius University in Bratislava, who had to present a paper at an important conference... It looks like an interesting bunch of people who will become a solid team. We talked a lot together in formal meetings but also over dinner sessions.

The work will have to start now. One of the first tasks is to set the scope by making an inventory of examples showing the relationship between science and art. One of the first examples for me is then Escher, the Dutch artist, who produced drawings with mathematical riddles. There is an interactive museum these days near The Hague. It is high time to visit it in January. Sam my Romanian friend pointed to the sculptor Brancusi. Sam and the Institute for Computers in Bucharest produced in the late nineties a CD-ROM, which was nominated for the Europrix, if I remember correctly. Now Sam and his team have produced a new edition. Sam presented the team with copies. This will be good for some hours of joy.

Blog Posting Number: 1282

Tags: , ,

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

BPN 1281 Scienar (1): Science and Arts

I am off to Italy; to the University of Calabria to be more precise. There we will have th kick-off meeting of the new EU project with the acronym SCIENAR. It will be an interesting project about scientific scenarios and arts or to be more precise about maths and arts. Oh my goodness, here I am with my theological and philosophical background!

The main objective of the project is to stimulate the creativity of artists by means of the creation of innovative scientific scenarios, based on mathematic models. In particular, we intend to create an environment, constituted by three scientific scenarios, concerning: the theory of relativity, the symmetries and the geometry. These scenarios will be enriched with functionality and digital technologies for producing art objects. They will bring together researchers and artists currently involved in this field, promoting the interchange of ideas and their implementation.

In this way the project intends:
- To make more visible and accessible to all the use of state-of-the-art technology to make European performing art;
- To improve the access and the participation in culture and in new technologies for citizens of the EU, including young, elderly and people with physical impediments;
- To support cooperation activities between cultural operators, scientific and technological experts, for spreading European culture also through events and spreading activities.

The project activities, having duration of 24 months, are:
- Analysis, formalization and development of scientific scenarios
in this phase scientiifc scenarios will be defined and formalized. Also their functionalities will be individuated.
- Utilization of scientific scenarios for producing objects having artistic and cultural value. Cultural operators, artists, researchers and scientific experts will be involved in order to give artistic and cultural value to the produced artefacts and to evaluate them.
- Spreading of this new approach. Events (intercultural exchanges and exibitions) to spread the produced artistic items will be carry out. Intercultural exchanges will be very stressed. In fact in the second project year (2008 – European year of intercultural dialogue) intercultural exchanges among cultural players (it is not necessary that they play the same typology of activity) will be developed, by organizing interactive dialogues and informative tables.
- Results diffusion. This activity consists in:
- To design and to development of a CD containing the achieved results;
- To publicise the achieved results;
- To create of a web site supporting result diffusion;
- Constitution of an international network concerning Scientific Scenarios and Art. The network will potentiate the synergies and contacts already existing by creating news reference point and contacts.

Blog Posting Number: 1281

Tags: ,

Monday, December 08, 2008

BPN 1280 Europrix Multimedia (11): my favourites

The Europrix 2008/2009 is over. All the nominees have gone home as have the winners. Looking back at the selection of nominations, I have picked a few of my favourites. There are in fact only two favourites for me, as I was not too impressed by the nomination in general and not with the selected projects either.

I missed a real smash project. To me in 2007 that was the light installation which reacts to human movement and the nice mobile application for mountaineers. But this time it was all okay, but a shadow casted forward. No not in my opinion. The overall winners had a nice interactive game ply for kindergarten children with even a file of the game for the parents. So the social aspect was okay. But technically there was not that much invention. The interactive game table was not the invention, but is known as the Barcelona table.

Of the nominees there are two entries which hit me. The RETYPE device for texting and the Treehuggers. The RETYPE It device is a daring experiment. There have been experiments with keyboards so far, but none of them have been able to overrule the good old QWERTY keyboard lay-out. But tradition is certainly not a reason to experiment when a new device comes around. Of course the fingers have been trained. They have in fact digital knowledge, meaning that the pointer finger (digitus in Latin) knows where the keys are located. Yet the experiment with RETYPE is also interesting as the texting device is basically handled with two fingers or perhaps better thumbs. And those fingers do not have the digital knowledge in them. Besides, the order of letters is not a fixed order for them. So the experiment is more than interesting, certainly when you see all those too small keyboards of for example the Research in Motion Storm for those thick fingers. To me this is the type of innovation which might be implemented in some years.

The other nomination which I think was underrated was the submission of the Treehuggers. It is of course touchy as it is a Dutch submission. It was and is to me a real submission in the sector of ambient installations. In fact it is a real monument of immersion and a museum should acquire it and preserve it for the future, not just for curiosity but also for people to experience. Just sitting in the cubicle and undergoing the intensity of the animations and sounds. The basic idea is not new. I still remember that in the Tsjech Republic, I think, a one-person cinema was built. The viewer took place and the movie was projected from the back. The Treehuggers looks like a modern day version, but with a new theme.

Blog Posting Number: 1280

Tags: ,

Sunday, December 07, 2008

BPN 1279 Europrix Multimedia (10): Content Tools and Interface Design

In the category Content Tools and Interface Design is looking for powerful content tools, content management systems and technological innovations concerning new ways in interface design.

Retype. This impressive project aims at providing a new answer to an old problem – that of inputting text. Indeed, the traditional keyboard based methods of text entry employed by pioneers of the latest touch screen devices do not offer an optimal solution. The designers of Retype, however, have thought outside the box and have come up with an innovative alternative, enabling faster input and creating a more user-friendly feel. Let’s hope it soon catches on – it certainly looks set to improve our text-lives!

Producer: Jeremy Stucki/Christoph Schmid
University: Zurich University of the Arts
Country: Switzerland
E-mail: Jeremy.stucki@gmail.com

Flexible open source solution rendering solution. Say goodbye to high rendering times with this real-time high definition rendering solution. Using and modifying various available tools, the plug-in creates a free (in terms of software licensing) environment which offers extreme efficiency rendering for the production of civil engineering construction demonstrations. Rooted in a designer-friendly environment, it makes use of a blender game engine, enabling real-time rendering at a speedy 60 frames per second. Non-complicated and easy to pick up, this handy tool is entirely based on free and open source software.

Producer: Marko Radojcic
University: Faculty of Civil Engineering, Belgrade
Country: Serbia
E-mail: sambucuself@gmail.com

Blog Posting Number: 1279

Tags: ,

Saturday, December 06, 2008

BPN 1278 Europrix Multimedia (9): Digital Video and Animations


The category Digital Video and Animations attracts serial stories and new virtual worlds using digital technologies in innovative ways.

Nominations

Gisela. “Give me the money! Hurry up!” That’s how 30-year-old Gisela Werier, factory-worker-turned-bank robber, introduced herself in a series of banks in the middle of the sixties. This animation tells the unusual story of Germany’s first female bank robber, who, after having stolen the record amount of 500.000 DM went down in history as the ’Banklady’. The exciting case is set in the computer application Photoshop, where action takes place via moving images layers. In true spoof style, the viewer is kept entertained as Gisela’s identity is disguised over and over again by layered Photoshop cut-outs. A dialog box displayed down the right-hand side of the screen keeps track of the enormity of commands required to manipulate the picture. Adobe Photoshop on speed – the story will not fail to amuse and engage.

Producer: Katja Baumann
University: Academy of Art and Design, Offenbach am Main
Country: Germany
E-mail: katja.baumann@gmx.de

Le Grand Content. In search of the philosophical potential of PowerPoint, Le Grand Content sets out on a mission to find the meaning of life. With a wild ’association-chain-massacre’ of pie charts, graphs and tables, some of life’s biggest questions are ironically translated into the unmistakable language of PowerPoint presentations. The result throws new and intriguing light on such profound topics as death, emotions and – hamsters. Likewise, the connection between beer and self-confidence is insightfully explored, as is the directly proportionate relationship between solitary consumption of ice-cream and intense increases in self-disgust. Le Grand Content is a subversive undertaking; it demonstrates ho systematically disorientation can take place, and how logical nonsense can seem. Despite its authoritative appearance, the well-organised presentation does not seek to be taken seriously after all; the persuasive power of the graphic deductions is precisely equal to their absurdity.

Producer: Clemens Kogler
University: Kunstuniversität Linze
Country: Austria
E-mail: bureau@clemenskogler.net

Treehuggers-A Study in Immersive Animation. Welcome to the world of the Treehuggers – a green corner of the universe, where all of creation co-exists in harmony. With the appealing concept mind, the Treehuggers project explores the extent to which high degrees of immersion can be reached in the medium of animation. Stepping inside the Treehuggers Pod, an organically formed projection sphere, the viewer is completely encompassed in an ideal environment in which the immersive animation can take place. The animation itself is designed to envelop the viewers, taking them on a journey through landscapes of rich graphical content. Immersion is further enhanced through peripheral visual elements, sequential design and an engaging narrative. Why not take a break from the stress of earthly life and escape for a while to become a part of the Treehuggers wonderful world!

Producer: Gatze Zonneveld
University: Utrecht School of the Arts
Country: Netherlands
URL: www.don-quixote.nl/pages/treehuggers.htm

Special Jury Award

Position. The DVD Position presents a universal theme in an elegant and engaging form. The simplicity of the narrative is part of its appeal, while the polished delivery challenges the viewer to consider his/her own 'position' in relation to the issue explored. The design of the chracters and the environment is highly resolved with attention to detal that enhances the dramatic delivery. The sound design is exceptional; camera angle and timing are beautiful crafted. Position is seductive and accessible while simultaneously presenting a critique of a human behaviour, provoking a reflective response.

Producer: Ami Gvitser
University: Bezalel University of Art and Design, Jeruzalem
Country: Israel
E-mail: shminco@gmail.com
Blog Posting Number: 1268

Tags: ,

Friday, December 05, 2008

BPN 1277 Europrix Multimedia (8): Interactive TV

The category Interactive TV contains contents for the new broadcasting of the fully digitalised future involving the user.

Kika and Bob. Smart seven years old Kika and brave fireman Bob find themselves blown to the other side of the world by a typhoon during an attempt to rescue Kika’s kitten Tiger, from the top of a church spire. This fast-paced and funny interactive TV series tracks their journey home, in which they must navigate strange territories and overcome terrible obstacles, their fate being decided by the viewer and his remote control. In selecting the right option, the viewer ensures that Tiger is fed, thus saving the cat from starvation. This ‘Tamagotchi’ principle is taken even further on a specially designed Kikka and Bob website, where viewers can compete to become Tiger’s friend and keep him well stocked with cat food. With Tiger well cared for, the only remaining question is this: will Kikka and Bob make it back in one piece?

Producer: Fons Schiedon and others
Company: Submarine
Country: Netherlands
URL: http://www.kikabob.com/trailer.html

Operaatio Hurrikaani. Targeted at 9-12 years old, Operaatio Hurrikaani, an interactive TV mystery series, revolving around secret agents and their high-tech gadgets. Over 20 episodes, viewers are presented with weekly mysteries and are then encouraged to log onto the series’ website to create their own agents and solve the cases. As a reward for their participation, access to a number of online games is granted. The best gamers compete in the hall of fame during the season and the winners are presented with Operaatio Hurrikaani merchandise. A weekly mystery solving competition is also awarded in this way, the winners being announced in the following TV show. The concept has met with raving success in Finland and it’s only a matter of time before it takes off elsewhere.

Producer: Jari Mäkipää
Company: Finnish Broadcasting Company
Country: Finland
URL: http://yle.fi/operaatiohurrikaani/

Blog Posting Number: 1257

Tags:

Thursday, December 04, 2008

BPN 1276 Europrix Multimedia (7): Interactive Installations

The category Interactive Installations solicits contents for new platforms and fully digitized environments with high levels of interactivity.

Amigos. Brochures and flyers may soon become a thing of the past. thanks to the technology behind amigos. Upon entering a convention, such as a trade show, the visitor receives a ticket comprising and integrated RFID-chip. Instead of amassing a pile of bulky brochures on his way round, he can simply scan his intelligent ticket at points of interest, saving useful information on the chip, and saving himself an ever-increasing load. A MultiTouch Terminal at the event enables the visitor to enter this information, by sending it to his mail account or saving it onto a mobile data-store device. Both environmentally and user friendly, this technology will literally lighten your load!

Producer: Daniel Plohnke and others
Company: südwild media gmbh
Country: Germany
URL: www. Sudwild-media.de

Euphörium. Housed in a 1ft dome structure, Euphorium is an interactive audio-visual motion-based experience, in which user, visuals and sound become one. By fusing infrared technology with human gesticulation, Euphorium visually and audibly represents a diverse set of tangible energies – thermal, kinetic, mass and nuclear – in an abstract style. No external remote controls or body-mounted devices are required – emphasis is solely placed on the physical presence of the user, who becomes an integral component of his own unique experience. The dome creates an un-inhibiting environment where images are projected over the interior surface, affording the user a 180 degree field of vision, and immersing them into Euphorium’s realm of abstract reality.

Producer: Sile Brehony
Country: Ireland
E-mail: euphorium.dome@gmail.com

Mü. Based on fairytales, is an interactive multimedia device, targeted at 5-6 year old French kindergarten children. Through individualised or group activities, this multi-touch interface is designed to facilitate the development of social behaviour, autonomy and imagination by sensitising children to music, sound and creativity. Tangible objects representing fairytale characters are place on a square table top screen, where they can be manipulated to interact in creative and game-style activities. A record of the child’s work is subsequently stored in their own personal electronic folder, which can be uploaded into the website via Wi-Fi for parental perusal. Under the watchful and encouraging eye of the teacher, is guaranteed to make learning creative and fun!

Producer: Pierre Thereon
University: Gobelin, l’école de l’image
Country: France
URL: www.mu-project.com

Blog Posting Number: 1276

Tags:

BPN 1275 Europrix Multimedia (6): Interactive Computer Graphics

The category Interactive Computer Graphics is intended for visually explosive contents transforming reality and seducing users into virtual worlds of cyber world narratives.

3D input in a virtual environment. With two Nintendo Wiimotes and a homemade infrared-emitting glove, this project explores the potential of 3D input in interactive interfaces. In three Adobe Flash applications, the finger-tracking set-up enables the user to create exciting virtual results. Use your glove to form light-ribbons in the air with LightWrite, watching your creation appear before your eyes on a web-cam. Or try virtually grabbing and moving 3D files in the futuristic MediaDesktop, or manipulating the vertices of a 3D object in Edit3D. With an air of ‘do-it-yourself, this project gives us a glimpse of what computer graphics have in store.

Producer: Gilles Vermeulen
University: Media and Design Academie, KHLim
Country: Belgium



Tagtool. Designed to explore digital art as a means of live communication, Tagtool is an open source instrument for drawing and animation. Whether it’s on stage, on the street or over the internet, this creative visual instrument, unlike its predecessors, enables the artist to ‘perform’ in real time, just two people are required – an artist and an animator. Amateurs and professionals alike are able to create computer graphics, which, at the click of a button, can be brought to life by the animator on a specially designed game pad. Indoors or out, these images can be projected within minutes of their creation onto just anything. Simple to use and enabling a myriad of artistic expression, Tagtool takes computer graphics into a new dimension.

Producer: Matthias Fritz and friends
Company: O.M.A. International GmbH
Country: Austria
URL: www.tagtool.org

Blog Posting Number: 1275

Tags:

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

BPN 1274 Europrix Multimedia (5): Games

In the category Games the jury is looking for pulsating contents with high speed interactions, highly involving and giving rush to users.

Ace of Mace. Developed to entice potential customers to Austrian spice company WIBERG, Ace of Mace is an online game comprising the latest Flash technology. To the fluid melody of atmospheric background music, the classic game of dexterity loads with an HD image of a progressively ripening chilli pepper. The screen then changes to a grinder filling with peppercorns, resolving to the game itself where an empty glass is revealed. Panning to the left, the user is presented with a small, round mace – to the uninitiated a nutmeg case – and a human hand. A small movement of the mouse orientates the hand and mobilise a finger to flip the mace along the shelf and into the glass. First flip lucky! The hand gives and encountering victory sign and we progress to the next level.

Producer: Max Brandl and others
University: University of Applied Sciences Salzburg
Country: Austria
URL: www.aceofmace.com



Everlast: Prince Alec and the Black Dragon. Set in the fictional kingdom of Everlast, this light-hearted 30 platform action-adventure game is made as a stand-alone application for Apple Mac. The player takes on the role of Prince Alec, protagonist and courageous hero, whose valiant mission it is to rescue his princess bride from a mighty dragon. In order to accomplish his mission, Prince Alec must travel across 5 levels through the fairytale kingdom, overcoming challenges and obstacles, solving puzzles and fending off enemies. The 20 characters plying in a 3D environment lend an air of handmade nostalgia to the game, as does the use of simple keyboard commands. This game will provide hours of fun for the young and the young-at-heart.

Producer: Oliver Card
University: Bournemouth University
Country: UK
URL: www.everlastgame.co.uk



Ratmania. A remote Siberian laboratory. Two mad scientists. Dozen of fellow rats and a labyrinth full of tricky tasks. Will you be able to escape the evil clutches of Dr. Nikolai Krajaczek to return the Rattus Interstellaurus Empire, initiating the final the final stand and destroying the last remaining humans to advance to new rat world order? With a strong emphasis on puzzle solving, Ratmania is an exciting 3D Jump ‘N Run Platform game. Not only does it offer a diversity of game play, but also a highly involved introductory storyboard of comic-strip style films. In solving a roller-coaster ride of logic problems, the player is fully immersed in a world on the brink of human annihilation.

Producer: Michael Heiml and colleagues
University: University of Applied Sciences Salzburg
Country: Austria
URL: www.ratmania.at.tf

Blog Posting Number: 1274

Tags:

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

BPN 1273 Europrix Multimedia (4): Mobile applications

The category mobile applications is intended for innovative contents and applications using potential of compact, mobile and communication-intensive platforms focusing on new multimedia solutions.

RoboVox: Your Voice. Towering over crowded metropolitan squares at a height of 8 metres, RoboVox is an interactive public sound installation, embodied by a humanoid robot. Its purpose is to serve as a communication tool for the anonymous individual, whose voice would otherwise be lost in the crowd. Simply send an SMS to a designed number, and RoboVox will be activated to voice a message out loud by means of a multi-lingual decoding voice synthesizer. From statements of political protest to declarations of love, this public sculpture encourages individual expression and challenges the concept of freedom of speech.

Producer: Martin B. Briceij
Company: KD Codeep
Country: Slovania
E-mail: martin.briceij@gmail.com

ShakerRacer. Struggling to control your toy race car with a series of tiny buttons and a miniature steering wheel could be a thing of the past. Now, thanks to the ShakerRacer team, you can drive around at incredible speeds using only natural movements and a little help from your cell-phone. Connecting to a modified toy car via Bluetooth, this application makes use of an acceleration sensor function of the latest multi-media phones. It works intuitively – just holding your phone as you would a steering-wheel, tilting forwards to accelerate and backwards to reverse – it’s that simple.

Producer: Andreas Jakl and others
University: University of Applied Sciences Hagenberg
Country: Austria
E-mail: andreas.jakl@fh-hagenberg.at

Blog Posting Number: 1273

Tags: mobile, robot ,

Monday, December 01, 2008

BPN 1272 Europrix Multimedia (3): Offline/Interactive DVD

The category Offline/Interactive DVD contains classic and future multimedia projects with a strong emphasis on telling a story in an emotional, expressive and media rich way.

Auschwitz on Stage. When Peter Weiss staged his scenic documentation of the Frankfurt Auschwitz trial in theatres across East and West Germany in 1965, controversy concerning how best to deal with the legacy of National Socialism raged between the two states of a country divided. With historical video, audio, facsimile and text material, the DVD-ROM presents the giant media debate which ensued. Examining details of photographic or facsimile documents by means of an enlarging function enables the user to dig deeper and deeper into the debate, affording the feeling of exploring an archive. The DVBD-Video shows the dramatic readings of the war-crime trials, and includes biographical film material of the actors and the defendants they portray. Offering a diversity of media and pedagogic resources, this DVD duo is designed to be used in schools, universities and adult education.

Original title: Auschwitz auf der Bühne – Peter Weiss: Die Ermittelung in Ost und West
Producer: Ellen Stein and others
Company: Buchstabenschubser
Country: Germany
URL: http://www.buchstabenschubster.de/

Images of the Street. In a world in which we are constantly bombarded with graphics, this interactive DVD teaching kit aims at providing 10-12 year olds with the skills to deal with signs, symbols, fonts and image syntax. Using the ‘street’ as a theme Images of the Street is organised into four sub-topics, each consisting of comic-strip style film and pedagogical info-graphics, creating a clear distinction between ‘introduction’ and ‘learning’. With the additional aid of a manual and worksheets, children are involved in a process that invites them to explore the world of graphic design by engaging in viewing, discussion, and ‘hands-on’ assignments.

Original title: Straatbeeld
Producer: Sandra Karis and others
University: Utrecht Graduate School of Art, Media, Music and Technology
Country: The Netherlands
E-mail: sandrakaris@hotmail.com

Vilnius – The Capital of Lithuania. Commissioned by the Vilnius Tourist Information Centre, this animated CD-ROM takes the user on an informative flight simulation through the historic Lithuanian capital. With 3D graphics and authentic visualisations, the tourist is presented with the city’s highlights at the click of a mouse button. Interesting facts and figures, historical timelines and local legend combine with practical information on sights, transport and cultural events. ensuing visitor a busy and diverse schedule. A comprehensive video and image gallery and constantly updated events calendar offer a preview of the many gems this exiting eastern city has to offer.

Producer: Andrius Jakumas
Company: MultimediaMark
Country: Lithuania
E-mail: andrius@multimediamark.lt

Blog Posting Number: 1272

Tags: , ,

Monthly stats of November 2008

Blog: Buziaulane is an occassional blog in English
Period: 1-11-2008 till 31-11-2008

Stats
Pageviews: 1145 (October 1514)
Visits: 914 (1145 October)
Unique Visitors: 833 (1124 October)
Countries: 67 (78 October)



Pageviews from the following countries
Rank/country/number of pages
1. Netherlands 295
2. USA 256
3. UK 133
4. Rest 38
5. France 36
6. Belgium 34
7. Canada 31
8. Finland 30
9. Germany 27
10. India 23
11. Italy 20
12. Australia 17
13. Austria 15
14. Poland 13
15. Ireland 11

Most visited pages
1. other 599
2. http://buziaulane.blogspot.com/ 179 1
3. ...buziaulane.blogspot.com/2006/07/serious-games-for-seniors.html 41
4. http://buziaulane.blogspot.com/2007/04/dutch-game-industry.html 28
5. ...logspot.com/2006/01/at-last-portable-electronic-newspaper.html 18
6. ...uziaulane.blogspot.com/2005/10/memorial-day-for-mata-hari.html 17
7. http://www.buziaulane.blogspot.com/ 16 1,40%
8. ...pot.com/2005/08/25-years-online-in-netherlands-compact_20.html 16
9. .../buziaulane.blogspot.com/2006/02/games-for-seniors-needed.html 12
10. ....blogspot.com/2006/05/netherlands-towards-one-big-hotspot.html 11

Links
Pagerank: 4
Indexed: 2850 (October 3370)
Yahoo links: 3632 (3919 October)

Host and IP addresses Backlink Checker
We have found 95 different IP address out of those 120 hosts.
We have analyzed 900 links out of 1870 backlinks in overall.
We have found 93 different C class IP addresses out of 95 different IP addresses.

Stats generated by Onestat , ClustrMaps, Directshop and Host and IP addresses Backlink Checker

Sunday, November 30, 2008

BPN 1271 Europrix Multimedia (2): Broadband/Online

In the category web and internet projects are entered with contents and applications, especially those showing the potential of broadband experience, demonstrating high interactivity, global connection, real-time and streaming media, and up-to-date communication. In this category three entries were selected.



Interactive Anthology of Children Poems in Hebrew. The project is designed with kids aged 6-10 in mind. This website takes the user on an illustrated voyage through 16 Hebrew poems. Ethereal, fairy-tale-esque animation combines with text to introduce the young user to an interactive world of Israeli verse. Click on an animated icon to journey through the poems, which are accompanied by background music and the option of oral narration. Simple, clear navigation facilitates the reading or listening experience and allows unsupervised enjoyment.

Producer: Ruth Gommershtadt
University: Bezalel Academy of Art and Design
Country: Israel
URL: http://ruttieg.carbonmade.com/about/

Take This Dance and Forget My Name. ‘Video killed the Radio Star’ was a prophesy set to be fulfilled when it aired as MTV’s prototype in August 1981. A quarter of a century later, however, we find ourselves in the broadband era of ‘Internet killed the Video Star’, consumer expectations regarding the media of music video having changed. The key word now is ‘individualisation’. “Take This Dance and Forget My Name” exploits the internet’s propensity for ‘user-generated content’, and innovatively combines high-quality music video with the Web 2.0. With the integration of information from various external data sources, the user is passively involved in a personalised music video experience.

Producer: Thorsten Konrad and others
University: University of Applied Science Salzburg
Country: Germany
URL: http://www.takethisdance.com/

They shoot Music – Don’t They. This video/geoblog tags urban Vienna with unplugged indie soundscapes. Counter-acting the heavily manufactured nature of MTV-style music videos, the people behind this site tear indie artists away from the conventions of the stage. They then film them, in a single take, performing unrehearsed in various public spaces around the city. A simple mouse-click on the tagged map of the city centre offers unadulterated videos of artists performing at the selected location and gives detailed information and images of the location itself. The site presents an international audience of bloggers with a vibrant and arty image of Vienna, and an authentic, unique and intimate representation of the metropolis’ lesser known urban sub-culture.

Producer: Matthias Leish and others
Country: Austria
URL: http://www.theyshootmusic.at/

Blog Posting Number: 1271

Tags: ,

Saturday, November 29, 2008

BPN 1270 EUROPRIX MULTIMEDIA 2009 AWARDS KNOWN

Today is the last day of the Europrix 2009 festival in Graz. The 350 entries from 30 countries have yielded 20 nominated teams from 15 countries. Most of the nominated teams were present in Graz. This Saturday they all had to present their projects in the Kunsthaus. Tonight was the gala in the Seifen Fabrik (Soap Factory; talking about symbolism) in Graz.

Here are the winners in the categories:
1.Broadband/Online: Take this dance and forget my name (Germany)
2.Offline/Interactive TV: Auschwitz on stage (Germany)
3.Mobile Applications: Robovox (Slovania)
4.Games: Ace of Mace (Austria)
5.Interactive Computer Graphics: Tagtool (Austria)
6.Interactive installations: Mu (France)
7.Interactive TV: Kika and Bob (Netherlands)
8.Digital video and animation: Gisela (Germany)
9.Content tools and interface design: Retype (Switzerland)



Out of the category winners, the overall winners was selected. This year it is Mu from the Ecole de Gobelin in Paris (France). They win the prestigious Europrix Multimedia Award with an interactive game for children, which can be played on an interactive table, while parents can follow the game online. It is not the first time that de Ecole de Gobelin wins the Europrix Multimedia. In 2003 the students of the school won with a Non-violence project and in 2004 students of the school took the overall price with DVD-MAXI Edelweiss Muller Juicy Panic, a crazy DVD promoting the band with the same name.

In the coming days I will present short descriptions of the projects per category from the beautiful catalog, which can be ordered from ICNM.

Blog Posting Number: 1270

Tags:

Friday, November 28, 2008

BPN 1269 History of the Europrix Award

I am in Graz (Austria) for the Academic Network Conference and the Europrix Gala. Two days of exchange between digital media instructors on a range of subjects; this year the IPv6 is one of the subjects. On Saturday some 40 projects will be presented that are nominated for the prestigious Europrix award. The chairman of the Europrix, Dr Peter Bruck wrote a short history of the Europrix.

EUROPRIX was started by the Austrian presidency in 1998 as an EU member states initiative with the support of the European Commission DG Enterprise and Information Society, other member EU governments and private industries.

EUROPRIX has a clear mission: to honour excellence in multimedia. The contest and its related activities are organised by the EUROPRIX office in Salzburg and its partner organisations in major regions across Europe in co-operation with leading professional multimedia associations, universities, colleges and other institutions of training in digital, interactive media.

Over more than 10 years of yearly contests and festivals, EUROPRIX has established a unique platform for the development of new media in Europe and created a professional network connecting producers and designers, teachers and students, industry leaders and technology enablers.

EUROPRIX is not a single event. It is an invitation project to all who share in the interest in quality contents and innovative applications that drive and develop the fast-moving multimedia markets in Europe.

The EUROPRIX Multimedia Awards has focussed since 2002 on those content producers and application designers who are about or just have finished their studies and trainings and enter the business world and market. The “EUROPRIX Students’ Award” and “Top Talent Awards” were step by step transformed and given new direction. Today, EUROPRIX can rightfully claim to be Europe’s premier competition for young multimedia producers and application developers. The awards are dedicated to promoting young talent and finding those producers who could become leading innovators in the future.

EUROPRIX’s activities include a yearly contest in 34 European countries, an annual festival and exhibition, a permanent show of best projects in the Vienna Technical Museum, the organisation of the Academic Network Conference, the administrative support for the European Academy for Digital Media-EADiM, the organisation EUROPRIX Summer Schools, EUROPRIX Road Show events and various networking and promotion projects.

Blog Posting Number: 1269

Tags:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

BPN 1268 Finland in search of social media (4)

I noticed already in the first posting about Finland, that the Fins are very busy with social media. My friend Jarmo Viteli, director of the Hypermedia Lab, one of the first laboratories in digital media, gave me the book Social Media: Introduction to the tools and case studies d processes of participatory economy. The book is the result of a two year study by Katri Lietsala and Esa Sirkkunen. In this book the authors describe the great variety of practices within the social media. They suggest some general principles how the traditional media could deal with the new situation. The authors show with the help of their case studies what motivates people to participate. The book includes also a short introduction to the Finnish social media history.

The authors describe the great variety of practices within social media. They suggest some general principles how traditional media could deal with the new situation and show with the help of their case studies what motives people to participate.

They list a table of genres and practices:

Content creation and publishing tools:
Production, publishing, dissemination

Content sharing:
Sharing all kinds of content with peers

Social networks:
Keeping up the old and building new social networks, self promotion etc.

Collaborative productions:
Participation in collective build productions

Virtual world:
Play, experience and live in virtual environments

Add-ons:
Adoption of practices from one site to another, transforms a service into a feature of another site or adds new use-value to the existing communities and social media sites through third party applications.

The last observation is a sharp one. It basically observes that for example Flickr and YouTube are not social media in the proper sense, but are add-ons ready for use by the communities.

The book offers a brief history of social media in Finland and treats chains of potential media uses and new revenue streams. It goes deep into motivations and creativity of content communities with two case studies of which Star Wreck is a great case. In the background of all this plays open innovation, idea management and crowd sourcing. It specifically treats new forms of content production and journalistic practices.

I did not finish the book yet, but it keeps fascinating. While we in The Netherlands see cross overs in media as the big hype, I guess that we forget about the two-way social aspect involved.

The authors see social media as problematic concept with problematic genres, as is clear from the question mark on the cover of the book. But they recognise use value and exchange value as new values, despite different dynamics of participation. Management and hierarchies are inevitable in these dynamics, but trust and approval are vital in social media.

The book should be downloadable as pdf on the Participatory Economy wiki, but is also to be ordered from Hypermedia Lab, Kanslerinrinne 1, University of Tampere, 33014 Tampere (Finland), see www.uta.fi/hyper.

Blog Posting Number: 1268

Tags: ,

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

BPN 1267 Finland in search of social media (3)

This trip we were also the guests of Nokia Research Lab, more particular with the Innovation Centre. This centre looks at ways in order to innovate. These days it looks also outside. Words like open innovation, crowd sourcing collaboration, social media are not just part of slogans, but are essential to the research centres. In the region of Tampere these words have been made concrete in the Demola institute. Partners herein are universities, universities and students. The institute is stimulated by the municipality of Tampere.

Demola draws on Tampere’s potential, which has world class know-how in the domains of media and ICT, but it has also strong international companies and science-driven R&D. There are many students with different backgrounds, a mix of technical, art, media and business persons working together. Open innovation is seen as a new operational mode “combining internal and external ideas as well as internal and external paths to the market to advance the development of new technologies” (http://www.openinnovation.eu/).

Demola is a new service provided by the TUT, UTA, TAMK and PIRAMK, ICT and media companies in the Tampere region as well as the Technology Centre Hermia Ltd. Students get the opportunity to develop digital products and services based on project ideas from companies. It is projected as new open innovation environment, Tampere-wide, open to every student and every company in the area. Concepts and demos created are public.

Demola provides to students access to interdisciplinary teams, collaboration with companies. There is training and continuous guidance from top professionals, while there is learning by doing. Demola is looking for interesting and rewarding demo projects created at Demola premises. There is the possibility to start own’s business based on IPR created in demo project. And a real discerning feature is that the IPR created in the Demola project will belong to the students. Students can exploit their demo, but they can also sell the user’s right to a company. The institute will negotiate the terms on behalf of the students. I have seen may project bureaus, so called learning factories, but they do no stimulate the ownership of the IPR.

Demola for universities and polytechnics is a practical teaching and learning environment with real and interesting project topics for project courses. There is collaboration between degree programmes, universities and polytechnics, but also companies and education. Proposals for future research areas are generated at Demola. For companies Demola provides experience of innovative product and service concepts and experience of open innovation as a new operational mode. They can get licenses to usable demos and establish collaboration with universities and polytechnics, thus linking to the best talents in Tampere. In fact they can get the opportunity to experiment and test new ideas in an agile and effective open innovation environment.

Demola as institute provides the follow up channels company license payment, start-up, venture capital and new projects.

Blog Posting Number: 1267

Tags:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

BPN 1266 Finland in search of social media (2)

Finland is always a country of innovation to me. This time Cai had tipped me about printed electronics, which is under development in Tampere. Cai even thinks that it is another Nokia company in the method works as follows: Ink is fed from ink reservoir to printhead; a piezotransducer gives a pressure pulse; the pulse travels to nozzle orifice and ink droplet is ejected; the transducer is controlled with binary (on-off) signal according to printed image.



By using the method for printing electronics a range of applications is opened (see illustration). And having listened to the young and ambitious Matti Mäntysalo of the Department of Electronics of Tampere University of Technology, I tend to believe him. The focus of his group Vicinics is on the area of microelectronic solutions by printing.

Way out is the application of the mono-logger in the boots of a skier. The mono-logger receives measurement data from sensor attached to the bottom of ski-jump boot and stores the covered data to the memory card to which it is attached. The mono-logger is installed inside the boot as the picture on right shows. Measurement data can be retrieved from the memory card after the jump. The memory card is installed so that it is easy to release and replace. Thanks to flexibility provided by the polyimide film the mono-logger done with printable electronics is easier to install inside the boot than the old version. Flexible installation of the mono-logger also makes it possible to thinner the epoxymold (blue-coloured part on the picture) furthermore making the boot lighter.

Another demonstration of printable Electronics with a functional application is in the area of displays such as e-ink. Target is that the demo application serves as a technology platform for further development with a modular design and it is customizable. Manufacturing of this demo application provides design guidelines and experience for system design of printable electronics. Environmental issues between traditional electronics manufacturing and printable electronics are compared based on the demo application.

Blog Posting Number 1266

Tags: ,

Saturday, November 22, 2008

BPN 1265 Finland in search of social media (1)

In the past week I have been in Finland. I was asked by a delegation of board members of vocational schools, dealing with print and media, and representatives of a knowledge centre as well as representatives of the employers association and a trade union to set up a program and accompany them on the trip. We left on Sunday for Helsinki, moved to Tampere on Tuesday and returned on Thursday night. It was a trip without a hitch, with a nice band of people and a hectic program (even in transit, the group had a mobile lecture on e-readers and e-books).

I was able to create a program for the group with the assistance of two very good friends, Irina of Culminatum in Helsinki and Cai of the School of Arts and Media in Tampere. I had some wishes, but they fleshed out the total program and made the contacts with representatives of the companies and the institutes. Also the details of hotels and restaurants were covered. There were only two small misunderstandings in the field of transport, but they did not affect the schedule.

It was interesting to see the difference between the program in Helsinki and the one in Tampere. In Helsinki we were bussed backed and forth. We had lunch at the former cable factory (Kaapelitehdas). This factory has been remodelled and now houses many young media companies. However it was closed on Monday, the only day we were in Helsinki. Sunday night dinner was at a mundane place Kappeli, a glass palace at the Esplanade and favourite hang-out of the composer Sibelius.

A highlight on Monday, was the reception at the residence of Dutch ambassador to Finland, Mr Beets and Mrs Heide Ehlert-Jürgensen. For some years my business partner and I have been in contact with the Technology and Science Attaché of the Dutch embassy, Mr Johan Hendriks, but we never could meet. But this time it was possible. For the reception also some Finnish people were invited, such as the chairman of the Finnish print employers association.

Tampere is a different city all together. It is a compact city, sandwiched between two lakes. We have done most transfers on foot from one school to another. The city has an industrial history, but is now moving to the service industry and education. It is less mundane than Helsinki. It was the first Finnish city on electricity and is now one of the spearheads in leading social media.

This was a remarkable feature. In The Netherlands everything is now cross-media. In Finland social media the hype word. However they fill it in. From my friend Jarmo I received the book Social Media: introduction to the tools and processes of participatory economy by Katri Lietsala and Esa Sirkkunen. I will come back to the book in a later posting.

By Thursday night the group had attended 18 lectures. It was time to relax and we took the touristic route (N130) from Tampere to Hämeenlinnen and on to the airport. We were lucky as on Wednesday night it had snowed. Tampere looked completely different. In fact the entire city lightened up. And of course the road through the woods and along the lakes was beautiful. But after Hämeenlinnen it was over with the fairy tale. The group grew restless as the final journey by plane to Amsterdam was nearing.

Cai has written a posting on the Tamepere leg of the visit in his blog. The posting has also a picture of the delegation.

Blog Posting Number 1265

Tag: ,

Monday, November 17, 2008

BPN 1264 The Netherlands 20 years connected to internet

On 17 November it is exactly twenty years ago that The Netherlands as first European country was connected to internet. On that day in 1988 at 2:30 pm Mr Piet Beertema, system controller of CWI in Amsterdam, rceived the historic e-mail message (see illustration), saying that CWI as the first institute outside the USA got access to the NSFnet, the academic computer network, which would become the worldwide internet. In a movie on You Tube, Mr Beertema recalls the event (sadly enough in Dutch).
The Netherlands had received already the domain name .nl on 25 April in 1986, but at that time it was difficult to get access to the mainly military network ARPAnet. Two years later the status of the the CWI was changed from waiting to operational connected to the American internet network, thanks to the pioneer Rick Adams. The access to the NSFnet by CWI was the start of access for many an academic and research institute in The Netherlands. The Dutch academic network SURFnet was instrumental in this. Commercial companies followed later and private people had to wait till 1993. CWI grew into the internet exchange between Europe and the USA, which later became the Amsterdam Internet Exchange.

This all happened against the backdrop of a battle between the protocols OSI networking of the official telecom standards bodies and the academic protocols like TCP/IP. The OSI standards such as X25 and X400 were supported by European Commission and the battle for TCP/IP lasted in The Netherlands beyond 1990. The Dutch PTT, shareholder in the academic network SURFnet, stuck to OSI as long as it could, but in the end the academics won and eventually the Dutch PTT bowed out as SURFnet shareholder.

Blog Posting Number: 1264

Tags: ,

Friday, November 14, 2008

BPN 1263 800 Newspapers on iRex DR 1000 SW

NewspaperDirect Inc., a newspaper aggregator, is introducing its PressDisplay.com online news portal on the iRex digital reader. PressDisplay.com's PressReader software will run on the iRex Digital Reader 1000 series, allowing readers to download their favourite daily newspapers. With official release in December 2008, the iRex DR1000 will join a growing list of handheld devices on which PressDisplay.com is available, offering 800+ newspapers and magazines from 80+ countries. These include Apple iPhone, Apple iPod Touch, BlackBerry and numerous smartphones.

As with all its content distribution solutions, PressDisplay.com for iRex is available at no additional cost to publishers. NewspaperDirect's technology taps into the pre-press workflow of any publishing system, making it possible for NewspaperDirect to extract rich digital content that can be repurposed for use in a variety of distribution channels. NewspaperDirect provides full hosting, payment acceptance, customer service management and technical support.

The DR 1000 SW is intended for the information professionals. In the DR 1000 launch press release it read: “Tax specialists, accountants and lawyers that previously had thick piles of documents can carry them in their digital reader; students and academics can easily save their textbooks in the device…Government and public sector organisations can make minutes and reports available electronically whilst medical specialists can have all their patient information and key texts at their fingertips. Plus, in addition to their professional documents they can also have their e‐books and newspapers available.”

(The DR 1000 press release contained also the statement: "With a recent study demonstrating that the average US office worker prints more than 10,000 pages of paper a year, of which three quarters is thrown away within one week and more than half the same day, the 1000 series finally offers a way for companies and individuals to cut out the billions of pages of printed paper they produce each year, making a powerful contribution to the environment”. I think that a company should only make this statement if it can prove that the CO2 emission is reduced by the new device in comparison to the cutting of -controlled areas of - trees. The production and use of new device have not been researched and calculated yet as far as CO2 emission. Until proven it will be a fallacy.)

Blog Posting Number: 1263

Tags: ,