volvo evolution

May 25th, 2010 at 5:39 pm. 0 comments.


via the internet

we used to put automobile test tracks on building roofs

May 21st, 2010 at 12:14 pm. 0 comments.


Image via USC Architecture Dept.

Fiat Automobile’s Lingotto Factory in Turin Italy.

this week in mobile : week 21

May 20th, 2010 at 5:07 pm. 0 comments.

Android at Google I/O

Engadget Coverage NY Times Bits Blog Coverage

At Google I/O, Googles developer conference, Android got lots of announcements and will be going to many new places – like your tv. In the presentations by executives they spent a good amount of time throwing digs at Apple, and prosthetising their openness.

Some of the interesting bits, first Android 2.2 FroYo and then Google TV (what!?)
Built in tethering, assuming your carrier supports it & wi-fi hotspot capability.

It runs apps 5X faster

Flash 10.1 runs on it – hot and at the expense of your battery say Engadget

Application updates are cleaned up – Update all now supported and can be set to automatically download

Purchase on the Web Marketplace and send to device over the air – very cool

Music store in the Marketplace – not much mentioned aside from downloading being demoed – potential very big deal here.

Stream music from your desktop – iTunes library etc – This is Simplify Media tech, a recent Google acquisition

Google Mobile AdSense – which of course make sense. Multiple ad formats from any support Ad Network, openness.

Google TV – Getting TV and the Web married, another vector for Google Ads, on your TV. Set top box UI is, um, Googley. Is that a mouse pointer I see? Yes.

Put Android Apps on your TV – If the app doesn’t require phone specific stuff it should run today.

And now your regularly scheduled mobile updates ie. non Google I/O stuff

View past graffiti after it has been cleaned up

Graffyard uses QR codes to show the visual history after graffiti has been painted over. Its a nice example of encoding the visual of the city onto itself. One can imagine a future where city walls have a secondary digital presence and all advertising, graffiti and signage takes place via a persistent visual augmented reality system. The city becomes a contiguous blank canvas, a physical platform encoded with embed tags for the reality we want to see. Maybe.

African Churches Embrace Mobile

Reminders to come to services, tithings and sharing of bible passages for study all via SMS

Nokia’s New Strategy

Marko Ahtisaari who heads up design and user experience answers some questions about how Nokia is moving to react to the mobile world that is seemingly running away from them. He focuses on a very narrow definition of mobility, which may be right, or not.

“I still think the whole industry is missing a trick,” said Mr Ahtisaari during a meet-the-press session in London yesterday. “All the touchscreen interfaces are very immersive. You have to put your head down. What Nokia is very good at is designing for mobile use: one-handed, in the pocket. Giving people the ability to have their head up again is critical to how we evolve user interfaces.”

Heads up vs. heads down is a very interesting distinction and one that raises many interesting points about mobile device usage in the public sphere. I think if Nokia can move forward with a singular, focused direction they will be positioning themselves strongly for a good segment of the market. Im not sure if that segment will be a big enough percentage to keep them afloat, and it would represent a distinct turn from the all things to all people position they have put themselves in. What about this though – more than 50% of Nokia smartphones use touch interface ?


Speaking of heads down staring into the glowing screen – A series of photos exploring peoples relationship to their mobiles. More focused than the Flickr Lost in Text pool, which is also quite good.

The dconstruct conference website

Stretch the window down to less than 800px wide and you got the mobile version. Very elegant.

More than a third of Android users rolling on 2.1

Data compiled from a 2 week period of users accessing the Android Marketplace. Please take with a grain of salt.

Airports now on the small glowing screen

More evidence of the trend of mobile screens replacing public displays. Not sure I want to try to download an app while I’m racing through a terminal to make a connection just to see what gate my flight got moved too but, hey.

Mobile Tech Up & Comers

A nice roundup of technologies and ideas that are shaping the products of tomorrow. Links to examples for each in the article. Do note that four of the five listed here have a strong locative component.

1. AR browsers for mobile: Layers of data embedded in the real world around you that you can toggle between. Applications for real estate, food & entertainment, retail. This use of augmented reality will become how we live; not just an app. But will we be holding up our phones for long?

2. Augmented Mobile Profile: A social user interface implementation of your public profile. Real time information about the people around you and their entire “clouded” identity–from business card to playlists, Facebook profile to thought capitol on Slideshare. One of the ultimate social/mobile integrations I’ve seen.

3. The Active Idle Screen: Replaces your current homescreen with personal and valuable information (weather, trivia, sports scores, horoscope, etc.) in addition to advertisements for deals/coupons. Will reach the lowest common denominator audience.

4. QR codes without the QR: Recognizing that camera phones are crappy, we can analyze the photos. Take a picture of something and you receive contextual results around it. Mixed with geotargeting, this becomes very powerful. (Reviews, Where to buy, etc.)

5. Data Conformity: Location-based content and services are the promise of mobile marketing. But it has to work across all devices, content providers, and mobile carriers–one of today’s greatest challenges. When the great aggregator arrives, it will help to bring data conformity and data consistency.

Worldwide Mobile Browser Share

Displayed very nicely as a world map

Location Based Mobile Cinema

The film unfolds as the viewer visits different parts of the city. The more they travel, the more of the film they see. Whats great is the creators have released the technology behind it as open source, in addition to the first GPS film Nine Lives. This has to be better than the lame 3D that seems to be in fashion at the multiplex.

$12.7 Billion by 2014 in Location Based Services
A number thats as good as any and comes from Juniper Research. Whatever the numbers are predicted to be, location based services, hyper local advertising, geo targeted marketing and anything that has to do with exactly where you are at a given point in time – especially when you are not at your desk at work or in front of the television at home – is going to be a big deal. Period.

Helpful Guide for appropriate technology usage

Covers your basic situations of office, home, in car and the great outdoors. For instance usage of MacBookPro in the Great Outdoors should be avoided – the start up sound is bear for “bring it”.

graffyard is visual embed tags for the city

May 18th, 2010 at 11:57 am. 0 comments.


graffyard makes past graffiti made visible after it has been cleaned up.
It’s a nice example of encoding the visual history of the city onto itself. One can imagine a future where city walls have a secondary digital presence and all advertising, graffiti and signage takes place via a persistent visual augmented reality system. The city becomes a contiguous blank canvas, a physical platform encoded with embed tags for the reality we want to see. Maybe.

jan dibbets

May 18th, 2010 at 10:54 am. 0 comments.


In the vein of recent art exhibitions I did not see one of my favorite artists Jan Dibbets, the conceptual photographer that held a large influence on me during my last two years in architecture school had a recent exhibition at the Gladstone Gallery. His obsession with the horizon is still unwavering, and collision of perspective and flatness still hold strong,

subtle street art

May 14th, 2010 at 1:58 pm. 0 comments.


I couldn’t love something like this more. Clever hidden in plain sight street art that creates a small moment of delight for the few people that catch a glimpse at the right time.

via Wooster Collective

this week in mobile : week 20

May 12th, 2010 at 11:36 am. 0 comments.

Windows Phone 7

These wireframes screenshots come from a recent developer build of Windows Phone 7. I personally love the way it looks, and would be a really bold move for Microsoft to release such a minimalist black and white UI.

Bill Shock

FCC is hoping to get rules passed that require mobile providers to let customers know when they are coming up on their maximum number of minutes or text messages for their plan. If you guess that the mobile companies aren’t too keen on the idea you get a cookie.

Going Mobile Only

Nearly 25% of US adults are without a landline telephone, using their mobile as their primary phone. Are you?

Gifts via SMS

Send a gift via a text message. Go to the site, select a gift, type in the recipients mobile number, pay and send. The recipient receives your text and goes to the store to redeem their flowers, massage, movie tickets etc . Too bad you missed out on this chance on Mothers Day – ya’ know, “When you care enough to send the very best”

Facebook Location product

Facebook looks to be making it’s much talked about move into the locative “check-in” space currently dominated by Foursquare and other players like Gowalla and MyTown. Some big brands are supposedly on board to bring apps that leverage the check-in functionality (McDonalds is said to be building a coupon or loyalty something or other on the not-yet-announced platform) Given Facebook’s recent troubles with privacy it seems like they may be in for a bumpy ride.

Side by side comparison of HTC Incredible and the Nexus One

Critical take on the changes made in the Sense UI found on the HTC Incredible. Lots of screen shots.

Android Flash Demo


John Battale on iAd

The iAd platform sold by Apple is essentially the opportunity to be associated with Apple. There is nothing new here except the level of control the Apple has over the process. I would add that

UX sells mobile apps

The guys behind the app Red Laser talk about how simple UX improvements set their app apart in the marketplace and won them users and acclaim.

iPhone OS4

Nice look at some of the features in the new iPhone OS but you still got to wait until June? Except you devs already running it 😉

More Androids and iPhones

The horse race is heating up in the smartphone market. Android has now surpassed Apple for second position. RIM still in front.

In store digital getting replaced by mobile

There is a trend toward a mobile concierge, a better more personable service than that provided by in store displays.

Death of the File

Mere mortals don’t think of things on their computers as “files.” People think about digital representations of things the same way they think about real physical things: they think about photos, videos, text documents, articles, and people. A “file” on a computer is just a universal container for one of those things.

Square launched to the public.

Download the iPhone or Android app, sign up and get your square reader mailed to you. Whats square? It plugs into the audio jack of your smartphone and lets you accept credit card payments from just about anyone. Need a better explaination? – Watch this fine video

Google and Verizon making a tablet

Also moving away from unlimited data and charging by the bucket of megabytes. ugh.

Mobiles only Internet and the problems there in

Technological gaps exist that make it difficult for mobile only users of the web to have a satisfactory experience. Signup flows and many interactions are still aimed at the desktop web user. nb. Its a short article that links to an academic paper. Nevertheless it underscores the need to design and build for all types of users especially for users that might very likely come to you on a mobile device.

The Box

May 12th, 2010 at 10:38 am. 0 comments.


Photo by Alastair Blackwood

The Box is back in the UK. For a period of over a year the BBC monitored their very own 40 foot shipping container as it travelled around the world carrying goods across oceans via intermodal transport. It was all to try and tell the story of globalization through the one defining symbol of the interconnected system of global trade – the intermodal shipping container.

It started it’s journey loaded with Scotch Whiskey headed for Shanghai China, and visited ports in Singapore, Bangkok, New York and Los Angeles and long stay at idle in Yokohama. Along the way it provided the context for discussions about piracy, the decline of the global economy and it’s effect on global trade and highlighted to the kinds of goods being made for cheap overseas and shipped to the west.


Mobile Interestingness : week 19

May 6th, 2010 at 6:33 pm. 0 comments.

US in the Mobile Stone Age
According to a study commisioned by Sybase 365 the United States ranks last in the use of simple mobile technologies such as text and instant messaging. Only 1 in 3 US respondents take advantage of these services, while 9 out of 10 do in China. The results were culled from a study of 4,100 mobile phone users across 16 countries, including the United States, China and Germany.

While this is certainly true, mobile technologies have allowed leapfrogging of technology in developing society. Since it is easier to deploy a mobile network than install a landline network so the use of mobile technology in these areas is higher on average. From a service point of view it works the same way, mobile banking which is causing sea change in many parts of the world doesn’t have the same impact here in the US as we have an easily available network of banks, ATMS and the support systems in place. And as for the rates of use of SMS by the mobile population at large, Howard Reingold has posited in Smart Mobs that in the US mobile technology has traditionally been positioned as a business tool for business people and voice was more important than text, and price was no object. In other parts of the world mobile tech was seen as a wider consumer product and services had more price consideration built in – making it cheaper to send a text than to make a call. Anyway…

Touch Target Sizes
With all the different screen sizes and pixel densities on the touch devices we find ourselves designing for today, we find the need to speak in the “physical” dimensions of the interface. So how big should touch interface elements be ? Touch targets should be roughly 7 to 9 millimeters and the visual object being touched shouldn’t be less than 60% of the touch target size. You just need to convert backwards from there to pixels per inch and factor for device independent pixels and resolution independence and … ? Fun.

Be your own GPS voice guided navigation

Yo dawg, I herd you like to hear yourself talk. So we put your voice in the GPS so you can give yourself driving directions while you are listening to yourself give driving directions.

Nokia Ovi Maps is offering the ability to record your own voice, aptly named Own Voice, to be used in the turn by turn navigation on your Nokia smartphone. How will you compare to Darth Vader or Snoop Dogg at giving awesome directions?

How Teens Use Mobile Phones
Mostly for texting, but some other interesting insights here in this infographic

Location based Ads are a Goldmine
25% of US adults use location based services like google maps, foursquare etc. 50% of them click on these ads. Thats a crazy number and it is from The Mobile Marketing association but it illustrates that relevancy, in this case your location, has a huge impact for engagement. When I look at google maps and I see resturants listed, some of those are paid ads, but to me its just content. It blends in contextually and thats something that advertising usually has a hard time doing.

Microsoft Kin One and Kin Two Reviewed
Somewhere like a high-end feature phone but not quite a smartphone, no app store or apps for that matter. It does one thing – social networking oh, and takes pictures and video. The nicest feature isn’t on the phone itself but in the cloud, the Kin Studio, creates a online backup log of all the activity on your phone, uploaded in the background, and its presented in a Silverlight powered timeline interface. This phone would have been a hit a few years ago, which is when Microsoft bought Danger but it seems out of place in the current market, especially when you consider that on Verizon, you need a full on smartphone plan, like you would get for a Droid, incredible, or Nexus One. As the Engadget review notes. there are some good ideas in the phone but leaves one with a sense of want.

Restlessness in the House of Android
HTC and Motorola are big success stories as of late with Android hardware but both are making noise about their own OS. Motorola recently acquired Azingo Mobile, which is a Linux base mobile OS with a webkit browser, flash runtime and dev tools

Clear getting into the Mobile Hardware Game
Clear, a Schematic client, announced that they would be releasing 2 Clear branded 4G phones before years end. One would be a high end Android powered device the other was not specified. Manufacturers HTC and Samsung would be building the devices. Or maybe they will dump WiMax and go forward with LTE.


May 6th, 2010 at 3:48 pm. 0 comments.

Florian Maier-Aichen, Untitled (Freeway Crash), 2002

Gagosian London is having had an exhibition of art inspired by J.G. Ballard, titled Crash.
Sadly I missed it.

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