All posts for the month April, 2007


“Voiceprints is an experiment in the translation of audio information to visual imagery. Artist Pierre Proske records a person’s voice into a microphone, analyzes the audio file for frequency content, loops the sample, and then generates a variety of textile patterns arranged according to the individual’s vocal frequency imprint.The basic acoustic unit in human speech is called a phoneme. The visual equivalent is called a “viseme,” a basic speech unit in the visual domain. Interested in the audio to visual translation, Proske developed software that describes sound using basic visual units to represent recorded frequencies.

Proske reminds us that the use of computing in textile design is nothing new. Woven textiles actually form part of computing history, through Joseph Marie Jacquard’s automated patterned textile weaving machine in 1804 which led to the use of punch cards in computing devices.”
via TransStudio

improv everywhere home depot prank

What happens when a few hundred willing volunteers gather to play a big urban prank, such as walking into a Home Depot store to walk in slow motion for 5 minutes, freeze, and then walk like normal again without breaking a smile? Besides absoute confusion and a landscape like mania, I think of one person; Charlie Todd, the prankster and founder of “Improv Everywhere“.

Charlie made a brief appearence during this past years GEL Conference and showed us his hysterical HomeDepot Prank. Check out the video above, then hit up his HomeDept Mission page with several more detailed videos, pictures, and comments.

Check out the rest of their awesome missions here.

txt msgBesides this weeks news of 13 year old Morgan Pozgar winning $25k for being the world text messenging champion, another fun, social, behavioral, and somewhat pop cultural fact I learned this past week was the effects of the T9 predictive typing system found on most phones:

“That’s so Book! In an interesting technical flavor to linguistics, T9 predictive text on mobile phones is now starting to have an effect on language. For example, ‘book’ now means ‘cool’ because when either is entered (2665) into a T9 predictive phone, ‘book’ is offered before ‘cool,’ and is now used in place of the latter.”

I don’t use T9 often since it never outputs my designerly modified crappy lingo but this might also be old news as my phone currently does output “cool” before “book”, as does the GUI on the T9 site.

So, can technology change our language or even definitions….sure! Many cultures shorten or replace words much like our Australian friends down under(lingo list). Even mashups are becoming more common. I learned a bunch of pretty sweet custom terms during word queen Erin MckeansWord Lovers’ Boot Camp during GEL last week. The two words that stuck in my head were:

1.”CrappyJack”: any kind of empty, snacky junk food.
2. “Drunch”: to consume alcoholic beverages with like-minded individuals between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Sunday. 😉

I also learned the the term “Ecosexual: A person who’s into hybrid cars, low energy lightbulbs, and recycling.” via Treehugger

in flight education

Woa… smart! via springwise

“Giving customers the opportunity to learn a few words of Korean or Portuguese while en route to Seoul or São Paulo, Air France introduced in-flight language instruction on selected flights this month. An interactive audiovisual language program developed by Berlitz, the service works on regular in-flight entertainment screens. Passengers can learn and practice the basics of 23 different languages, in four main lesson categories: numbers, dates, words and dialogue.

JAL and Singapore Airlines also offer Berlitz Word Traveller as part of their in-flight entertainment package, and Virgin Atlantic has experimented with Japanese and Spanish lessons. It’s a great example of’s status skills trend. As many consumers are demonstrating a value shift in status from passive consumption to mastering skills, smart companies are offering their customers the opportunity to add to their skill set. Similar initiatives include BMW’s Performance Driving Schools, the Sony Digital University or the Viking Cooking School. Watch and learn!”

idsa shift conference risd

I’m off to this years IDSA conference “Shift” over the weekend which is being held at the wonderful campus of RISD. I have not been to an IDSA conference for some time so I have no clue what to expect though I’m doubting it will as diverse as TED, GEL, or Poptech. Otherwise, I do look forward in seeing the students portfolios and seeing how digitalized, web savvy, and smart they are….hopefully none have fallen into the the “cool rendering” trap as good ideas! I’m seeking more of a real problem solving, storytelling, global changing, methodology type. If your near RISD this weekend, swing by…I think tickets are still available.

Rodrigo y Gabriela  live boston

I finally got to see “Rodrigo y Gabriela ” live in concert last night at the Roxy in Boston and it rocked! (having front seats helped 😉 ) Their vibrant, thrashing, duo acoustic guitar sounds rippled through the jam packed audience with amazing energy and kept everyone stomping for more.  I’d talk about them over and over again, but I’ve posted about them before and can only suggest for you to buy their tickets FAST. The boston show sold out a few days after they were available to 1500 peeps. Run over to their websites tour list, find your nearests city, and buy buy buy! They are seriously one of the most dynamic, inspirational, and lively duos I’ve heard in a long time!

GEL conference videos

If your brain hasn’t overloaded in inspiration and knowledge from the TED TEDtalks or PopTech PopCasts video archives, check out the GEL conference Videos! I attend these 3 incredibly stimulating, overcharging, brain shaking events yearly and now their lectures are avaliable online for everyone to absorb! GEL’s coming up this week, so catch up while you can before the next batch of speakers goes online!

google 411

Googles 411 service has been out for a few days, but I finally gave it a go today. It rocks! Simple to remember, free, fast, and useful. The voice recognition software is really fast and quite accurate from the few calls I made so far.. The best part is that it’ll text message you the info if you want instead of connecting you right away….(no more scrambles for pens) Give it a call: 1-800-goog-411. It’s fun just to test the voice recognition software as well.

Update: Here’s another free sms 411 service, TellMe, which was acquired my pick which big cookie monster to use!

milan glass roof
My journey over to Milan from Florence was delayed by 4-5 hours, hence my well planned shopping safari around Milan never took place, but my late night visit for dinner did included a quick journey which I’ll post about here. In comparison to Florence it’s much more diverse, more of a city, more lively at night, but with the same rustic streetscapes surrounding Florence with finely detailed buildings. It’s more modern while stylish with a larger urban crowd hovering abouts the area. Most of my spare hours in Milan were spent eating at Obika, but I took a few pics here and there….so enjoy them after the jump! (I’ll include a few interesting going away images as well)

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