Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A few good ideas

I like the Kandle because it looks like the book light I had when I was a kid (which I later strapped to the top of my GameBoy).

Amazon Via Gizmodo

Pictionaire looks like the kind of the product that should be released in 2010. As I understand it, Pictionaire, which is being developed by Microsoft and the University of California Berkeley, is an adaption of Microsoft's Surface technology. The Pictionaire table uses overhead cameras to make digitise physical objects, allowing users to manipulate the digitised copies. Take a look at the video below, it's much easier to understand than any description I could come up with.

New Scientist via Gizmodo

There is not much to Gnop, but that doesn't stop it being cool. It's Pong, but you play as the ball. It's surprising that this hasn't been done before (well, not that I have come across). Give it a whirl.

Bit Battalion via Boing Boing

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cool stuff

Hong Kong Buildings

Hong Kong's older buildings have such a charming, unique appearance, which I think look great hand drawn. I'm going to print some t-shirts with some sort of hand drawn building motif on them, but I haven't got the design sorted yet. In the meantime, I've been looking for inspiration, which led me to Joel Prittie's fantastic urban monster art, in particular the image above. Check out Joel M. Prittie Awesome Blog.

Children's Books

On the subject of imagery that I think is inspiring, Sleepyanimal sent me a link to a wonderful collection of children's book covers. Above is an example, but I recommend checking out the whole set here (via Gawker).


Last, but certainly not least, I recommend that you add Cory Doctorow's Makers to your reading list. Although I haven't quite finished Makers (about 90% there according to my Kindle), I've thoroughly enjoyed the book so far. What I like most, is that Doctorow has imagined a future, not too distant from our own, and has filled it with exciting characters, interesting technological ideas and innovative and believable business models. Download it out here (by the way its free).

(Image via Tor.com)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Math + 3D Printer = Cool

Bathsheba Grossman's math inspired sculptures, which are produced using a 3D printer, are totally cool. I find 3D printing technology really fascinating. I recommend reading through the Bathsheba Sculpture website, as Grossman includes a lot of interesting information about how the sculpture concepts are developed and the 3D printing process used.

Via BoingBoing

Kick arse Nexus One Unboxing

(via Engadget)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Lord of the Logos

This is such a cool book, I love metal inspired typography. My desire to own this book is, no doubt, heightened by the fact I've been playing more Brutal Legend than is healthy.

The blurb for the book is:
This book is a collection of work by Christophe Szpajdel, an artist whose fans in the underground black metal community worship him as the Lord of the Logos. It includes hundreds of powerful logos, each of which captures the force of this musical genre anew. Through his surprising use of aesthetic influences such as art deco and nature, Szpajdel has brought a new dynamic into the gothic visuality of heavy metal. This publication, which is done in the style of a black prayerbook, shows not only how he has succeeded in leaving his own visual mark on this music, but how he has also expanded the canon of forms it uses.

Find out more about the book here.

I can't wait for Future X Cops to be released

Check out the trailer below for Future X Cops (Mei loi ging chaat).

Amazing! This films looks terrible, in a good way. My favourite part is where Andy Lau turns into one of the guys from Tron Legacy.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Adidas and augmented reality and Star Wars and Daft Punk and ... what?

Adidas is doing some totally random, but cool things at the moment.

According to Wired, the shoemaker has embedded augmented reality codes into the tongue of five of its men's sneakers. If you take one of these upcoming sneakers and hold it up to your computer's webcam (with a special site loaded up), a small virtual world will appear, populated with digital people, city buildings, and Adidas logos.

You can control how the world is displayed by tilting the shoe - the on-screen world will change its angle and zoom in/out. Adidas also plans to eventually include three augmented reality game with the virtual neighborhoods. Developed by Dutch studio xForm, the skateboarding, music, and "Star Wars-like" games somehow use the sneakers as controllers.

Speaking of Star Wars, check out the latest commercial for Adidas' upcoming Star Wars-inspired Original Line. The Commercial is so strange and the collection of people so jarring, I don't know what to think about it.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Google versus China

My friend HKHam posed a good questions yesterday (via Twitter): #googlecn sure had business problems in China, but surely being the world's biggest country's second biggest search engine still had value?

I find the Google versus China situation fascinating and things should heat up further once China’s official stance becomes clearer. In the meantime, like HKHam, I’ve been trying to get my head around the economics of Google’s actions. What on earth were the boys in Mountain View thinking when they decided to take on China?

From an ethical perspective, I totally support Google’s decision to cease censorship of its Chinese search engine. However, it’s clear that this decision was not made based on ethical (or political) considerations. Google has been censoring its search engine since Google.cn was launched in 2006.

Back in 2006, Google executives said they had weighed the positives and negatives and concluded Chinese Internet users were better off with the neutered Google than with no Google. For security reasons, they did not bring any other Google products containing users' personal information, such as email and blogging, into China.

At face value, this is a corporation placing an embargo on a Country, in retaliation for politically driven actions (alleged email hacking), to force policy change. You could, at a stretch, argue only a company of Google’s stature has the ability and influence to take such a stance against China - most other countries, at this time, realise it would be economic suicide to take such actions.

As nice as it is to imagine Google’s executives benevolently making decisions for the good of the world, that’s not what happened. First off, this is not how you do business in Asia, particularly China. Putting public pressure (via an English language blog) on the Chinese Government is sure fire way to have the great firewall slammed shut in your face.

Further, it appears that Google.cn executives were not briefed about Google’s decisions until the twelfth hour. This would suggest Google were not working closely with Chinese officials on this matter, rather this is a conscious scorched earth move from HQ and they have tried to keep their local employees clean to minimise the repercussions.

Ok, back to HKHam’s point. Google.cn were doing ok in China right? According to web analytics company StatCounter, at the end of 2009, Baidu held 56% of the Chinese market compared to Google’s 43%. Other agencies put Google’s share at slightly less, but even so, that’s a pretty good place to be, in a country with oodles of growth potential.

Google has argued that it’s operations in China were immaterial to its business. Ok, sure, but the business case for China is always about potential growth.

The difficult to measure nuance on Google’s position in China is the way many people in China perform searches. My ex-work colleagues in China would use Google.cn and Baidu interchangeably for simple searches, but if they were after something complex (we’re talking finance related products here, nothing political), they would access google.com through a proxy, which doesn’t show up in the search analytics results. Maybe Google is hedging its bets that as long as it is the global search leader, the Chinese people will find ways to access its product?

That said, it’s still hard not to be cynical are argue that this is a scorched earth move, aimed at buying Google some good will in the rest of the world. As Google itself has stated, the catalyst for all this is that the gmail accounts of a number of Chinese human rights activists were hacked. This means gmail’s security was compromised and its source code could have been copied and/or hacked. This is mission critical stuff. If Google becomes compromised, it will lose credibility and its global business model will go down the toilet. With that in mind, Google’s actions make pretty good sense from a business perspective, regardless of the growth potential in China.

China’s official reaction is yet to be made. Let’s see how this all pans out.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wonderful Messy Sketches

Check out Nebojsa Cvetkovic's wonderful messbook here.

Via Superpunch

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

That's how she rolls

I just like the t-shirt in the picture, but if you want sex advice from D&D players, read about it here.

Cool t-shirts I've spotted recently

Spock, Paper, Scissors by Raz
teefury via /film

Big Daddy Roth-style DeLorean by Goose
The Hundreds via Super Punch

Brutal Legend t-shirts by Mishka NYC

Mishka NYC via Kotaku