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
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


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


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

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

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.


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

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

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

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
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

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

Blog Posting Number: 1257


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.

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

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

Blog Posting Number: 1276


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

Blog Posting Number: 1275


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

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

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

Blog Posting Number: 1274


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

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

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

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

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

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

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. 179 1
3. 41
4. 28
5. 18
6. 17
7. 16 1,40%
8. 16
9. .../ 12
10. 11

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