Archive for November, 2009

Form follows function – lets play

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No it’s the super cool camera designed by Erin Fong. Photography is a playful medium. It lets us all capture so many beautiful memories and create amazing narratives. Of course, a picture speaks a thousand words. As cameras and photography equipment becomes more and more technological and readily available, the design of the equipment is starting to become more and more boring. Do you remember when Polaroid used to come out with funky cameras that produced instant photos? Or the endless opportunities offered by Kodak’s Box Brownie? Or when you realised that funky fish eye lens could produce true art? Do you remember the first time you picked up a borrowed Spotmatic and began to snap pictures?

 

 

Cameras of yesteryear used to allow people to see the world as a place of childlike wonder. Erin Fong’s funky design harkens back to a simple principle – cameras used to be fun once upon a time. A camera was a way to do some serious work while having fun. My favorite photographer Henri Cartier Bresson became famous for his snapshots and gave the world some thing to cherish. He classified the camera as, ‘a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which, in visual terms, questions and decides simultaneously.’

 

Today, all cameras pretty much look alike. They keep on getting bigger and bulkier. In such a market Fong has introduced the Nova DSLR Camera. A Camera that offers the playful joystick function of a game console like Nintendo, Playstation, Xbox etc. The camera has arms that give the photographer the ability to take steady shots. It enables the photographer to focus the image better and does not put strain on the neck and the hands.

 

Fong states, ‘The Nova DSLR Camera takes different forms with the mobility of the camera arms, giving comfort to left-handed and right-handed users. In addition, the buttons are located at the fingertips allowing users to simultaneously take pictures and easily locate the features they need. Whether the Nova is used with one or two handles, the flexibility of the camera’s form gives users a greater versatility in image capturing along with an enjoyable experience while using the Nova camera.’

 

 

Fong’s camera design will give camera designers and manufacturers something to think about. It breaks many norms and allows playful interaction with the product. It also shows that design doesn’t need to look uniform and boring but there is always room for experimentation. This camera design shows promise and it may revolutionize the camera design market and perhaps in the future we will see some more new and interesting designs for cameras.

 

 

Images from Eric Fong’s portfolio and whitemetal.com

 

Article also published on the Amvona blog

 

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The eBay Black Friday

After a whole lot of food and fun, everyone needs to shop. Black Friday – the non-stop shopping madness with deals, ques, sales and freebies is almost like a sport – the deals are passed around, retailers open early, you see roads packed with cars, malls full of people and spectators ready to grab the latest deal. It’s a spectacle and it’s amazing how shopping connects so many people across the nation.

 

Everyone buys and sells. In this shopping frenzy our digital retailers are a step ahead. They benefit from both Black Friday and Cyber Monday and a whole week of online shopping. Shopping online on Black Friday definitely has many advantages – you can benefit from deals at home, there is no hassle, no waiting and no long ques, you can browse many different retailers at the same time and also search for the authenticity of the product. Amazon for instant is offering its customers a whole week of Black Friday deals. eBay on the other hand came up with a cooler idea. The online retailer decided to map the way people shopped at eBay on Black Friday. It came up with an animation on its holiday page that documents Black Friday shoppers in the U.S.

 

 

The animation offers retailers, economists and social networkers an opportunity to see the positive influence of digital media. It records spending and selling habbits of people and can be used to project future sales. It can also be used to monitor various different trends. Ebay states that the animation is ‘a visualization of all U.S.-based buyer and seller transactions on eBay on Black Friday, November 27, 2009 (12:00:00 AM to 11:59:59 PM EST)…The visualization is based on raw data that includes eBay sales and purchases occurring in approximately 33,000 U.S. ZIP codes.’ The application is also available on Facebook and lets you share the stats with your friends. We took a close peek to see the buyer and seller transactions in Massachusetts and discovered that there were about 1173 sellers who benefitted from Black Friday sales on eBay.

 

 

 

eBay has also launched its 12 days of deals for the holiday season and is offering its customers the opportunity to benefit from deals online. Holidays certainly have become digitized, from tweeting about Thanksgiving to shopping on Black Friday it’s all digital now.

 

Did you shop at eBay on Black Friday?

 

Also posted on the Amvona blog

Tweet me turkey :)

Thanksgiving is here and it’s even more special this year – as this year the Thanksgiving magic has spread in the digital world. Bloggers, photographers, digital artists and entrepreneurs are using the Thanksgiving theme to spread more joy and give thanks.

Bloggers Josh Permuda, Gary Petro and Chad Weinman have designed an innovative and fun way of saying thanks. Their site TurkeyTwitter offers users the opportunity of getting in the festive mode and sharing their reasons for being thankful this year. TurkeyTwitter is not only fun but it also brings the spirit of Thanksgiving to the digital world. It has brought together 20,668 people so far who have tweeted about their reasons for being thankful. Now thanks to cool media sites like TurkeyTwitter thanksgiving can be celebrated in both real and digital worlds.

If you are interested in being a part of the festive gathering on Turkeytwitter just visit their site or Tweet #turkeytwitter or #thanksgiving on Twitter. Thanksgiving is one of the most Tweeted topics on Twitter and is on number 2 of their Trending Topics list.  Other social media sites have also found cool ways of celebrating Thanksgiving.

We have gathered some Thanksgiving inspiration from Designinformer – a blog and social platform for designers. Designinformer has listed the top 10 coolest Turkey illustrations for 2009 on its blog. Our favorite has to be the tech turkey by Timothy B. To see more of the illustrations visit their site. You can also vote for your favorite design on Twitter.

Social networks like Facebook have also introduced cool Apps for this festive holiday. Facebook offers its users about 31 applications to celebrate Thanksgiving. One of them Thanksgiving surprise gifts allows you to send Turkey eggs to your friends. The turkey eggs hatch into a fully grown turkey on Thanksgiving day.

These sites show the importance of Social media in our lives today.  It’s fantastic how the digital world brings us all together in celebration. Like everyone else we have a long list of things to be thankful for too. Most importantly we are thankful for the love and support of our readers.

Thank you all for reading our blog and being a part of our community.

 

Happy holidays 🙂

 

Also posted on the Amvona blog at http://www.amvona.com/blog/tweet-me-turkey.html

Photoshop.com Mobile App for Android

After the release of OS 2 for Android and Droid earlier this year, came Adobe’s Photoshop version for Android phones. Photoshop.com released it’s Mobile application for Android this month.  This new App competes with Photoshop’s Mobile App for Iphone. This new App gives  users the ability to batch edit their photos, to color correct them and to enjoy many other photoshop features on the Android phone.

Techchee comments on the new version, stating that “Of course, the mobile version of the Photoshop is different from the full-fledged version. You could only carry out some simple tasks on your Android phones. But it should be more than sufficient for those who’d love to twist some photos before uploading them to Facebook for sharing.”

In order to use the application users are required to open a ‘free Photoshop.com’ account and get the application from the Android market. The best bit about this App is that now you can edit your images online anywhere/anytime through your phone.

The Android 2.0 platform comes with new features, one of them being it’s camera. The features of the camera include:

  • Built-in flash support
  • Digital zoom
  • Scene mode
  • White balance
  • Color effect
  • Macro focus

Check out the Photoshop.com Android video:

http://mobile.photoshop.com/android/howtovideo.html?sdid=FBNUA

images from mobile.photoshop.com/android

Also posted on http://www.amvona.com/blog/photoshop-com-mobile-app-for-android.html

Inkscape’s New version released

Inkscape introduced it’s latest 0.47 version recently. Inkscape is an Open source vector graphics editor and is free to use. The software can be downloaded from the Inkscape website.

This new improved version of the SVG software brings with it a variety of new features including auto-smooth edges,  new Tweak tool, Calligraphy tool etc. It has more than 200 preset filters, new export functions, a spell checker and much more. It is ideal for creating vector graphics, editing photos and making your own digital art. The best part is it’s free to use.  So check out the inkscape tutorial, read the release notes and get started.

 

Capturing culture the Google way

Image from NPR.orgThe desire and need to preserve artifacts has predated our existence. Man has communicated by telling stories, through saving bits and pieces of history, by communicating through pictures or memories. Some call it nostalgia, others call it living in hyper-reality. Museums, arts and culture have always played a vital role in societies. In many ways they define and shape the personality of civilizations and give meaning to our existence. They represent our past and present and point towards our future.

In the current digital age one can access museum collections online, take virtual tours, look at archives and search for almost anything and everything. Now Guggenheim, MoMa, Louvre, MFA etc. are just a click away. Online advertising and publicity has helped many museums attract visitors and generate revenue. Where famous museums get their share of active publicity and advertising both online and in the real world, we rarely hear about museums like “The National Museum of Iraq” in Baghdad.

Such museums lose their identity unless someone steps forward to preserve the past. The Iraqi Museum represents the rich, vibrant culture of Iraq. A place that documents it’s history and showcases artifacts from the various civilizations that lived there. One would imagine that such a place would gather a great many visitors but sadly that is not the case. CNN officials state that the museum “houses some of ancient Mesopotamia’s rarest artifacts, but what is even harder to find at Iraq’s National Museum are visitors. ”

Google and the U.S. government have teamed up with the museum to work towards showing the world the historic collections present at the museum. Google is said to have taken 14,000 photographs of the artifacts to document the various collections. Yahoo News reports that, “The museum holds artifacts from the Stone Age through the Babylonian, Assyrian and Islamic periods.” Google chief Eric Schimdt visited the National Museum of Iraq today.

Google plans to create a ‘virtual museum’ and showcase these images to the world. The Associated Press states that, “The museum was ransacked in the chaotic aftermath of Saddam Hussein’s ouster in April 2003, and only reopened to visitors early this year. Schmidt, who toured the museum with U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill on Tuesday, said it was important for the world to see Iraq’s rich heritage and contribution to world culture.” Schmidt in an address to the Iraqi officials stated that “The history of the beginning of — literally — civilization is made right here and is preserved here in this museum…I can think of no better use of our time and our resources than to make the images and ideas from your civilization, from the very beginnings of time, available to billions of people worldwide,” (- The Associated Press).

This seems to be the first of many more positive developments yet to happen in Iraq. By early next year we will be able to witness the rich Iraqi culture online. This step taken by Google holds strategic importance and will help create a positive footprint for Iraq in the future. It’s amazing to see how digital media transforms the world around us and helps us all stay in tune with the Global economy.

View more news in the following video on Yahoo:

http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/player/popup/?rn=3906861&cl=16807215&ch=4226714&src=news

Image 1 from http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120739539

Image 2 from http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/11/24/iraq.virtual.museum/

 

This article is also published on the Amvona blog at http://www.amvona.com/blog/capturing-culture-the-google-way.html?blogger=sun

Image from NPR.orgThe desire and need to preserve artifacts has predated our existence. Man has communicated by telling stories, through saving bits and pieces of history, by communicating through pictures or memories. Some call it nostalgia, others call it living in hyper-reality. Museums, arts and culture have always played a vital role in societies. In many ways they define and shape the personality of civilizations and give meaning to our existence. They represent our past and present and point towards our future.

In the current digital age one can access museum collections online, take virtual tours, look at archives and search for almost anything and everything. Now Guggenheim, MoMa, Louvre, MFA etc. are just a click away. Online advertising and publicity has helped many museums attract visitors and generate revenue. Where famous museums get their share of active publicity and advertising both online and in the real world, we rarely hear about museums like “The National Museum of Iraq” in Baghdad.

Such museums lose their identity unless someone steps forward to preserve the past. The Iraqi Museum represents the rich, vibrant culture of Iraq. A place that documents it’s history and showcases artifacts from the various civilizations that lived there. One would imagine that such a place would gather a great many visitors but sadly that is not the case. CNN officials state that the museum “houses some of ancient Mesopotamia’s rarest artifacts, but what is even harder to find at Iraq’s National Museum are visitors. ”

Google and the U.S. government have teamed up with the museum to work towards showing the world the historic collections present at the museum. Google is said to have taken 14,000 photographs of the artifacts to document the various collections. Yahoo News reports that, “The museum holds artifacts from the Stone Age through the Babylonian, Assyrian and Islamic periods.” Google chief Eric Schimdt visited the National Museum of Iraq today.

Google plans to create a ‘virtual museum’ and showcase these images to the world. The Associated Press states that, “The museum was ransacked in the chaotic aftermath of Saddam Hussein’s ouster in April 2003, and only reopened to visitors early this year. Schmidt, who toured the museum with U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill on Tuesday, said it was important for the world to see Iraq’s rich heritage and contribution to world culture.” Schmidt in an address to the Iraqi officials stated that “The history of the beginning of — literally — civilization is made right here and is preserved here in this museum…I can think of no better use of our time and our resources than to make the images and ideas from your civilization, from the very beginnings of time, available to billions of people worldwide,” (- The Associated Press).

This seems to be the first of many more positive developments yet to happen in Iraq. By early next year we will be able to witness the rich Iraqi culture online. This step taken by Google holds strategic importance and will help create a positive footprint for Iraq in the future. It’s amazing to see how digital media transforms the world around us and helps us all stay in tune with the Global economy.

View more news in the following video on Yahoo:

http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/player/popup/?rn=3906861&cl=16807215&ch=4226714&src=news

Image 1 from http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120739539

Image 2 from http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/11/24/iraq.virtual.museum/

A ‘wave’ of new social conversations

Social media plays an important role in our tech savvy lives. Social media sites like FacebookTwitter, Digg etc. dominate many social conversations. In the midst of all these conversations, Google introduced Google Wave in September 2009.

A ‘wave’ that combines all social conversations and gives it’s users the opportunity to ‘communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps and more’. The cool bit is that this past weekend the developers of Google Wave brought it to Massachusetts. Massachusetts GTUG (Google Technology User Groups) hosted the Google Wave Hackathon event on Saturday, November 21, 2009 at the Google offices in Cambridge, MA. The event was open to the public and free to attend. However, prior registration was required and users/developers could register by going to the GTUG website. Also, GTUG was giving free Google Wave invitations at the event. Yes, Google Wave is an invite only social platform. The invite only process is quite similar to how users interacted with Facebook about 4 years ago.

What is Google Wave?

Google Wave is a revolutionary tool –  a platform that combines many different social conversations. It can be classified as a real-time chat room that enables users to perform multiple tasks simultaneously like  edit documents, upload and share photos, search on twitter, etc. In some ways Google Wave will replace the need for opening multiple websites and logging onto 3-4 social networking sites. Now all you need is Google Wave to manage friend lists, tweet, update your blog, manage your photos, etc. Google Wave is a futuristic tool that will revoluntionize online communication.

The Google Wave team explains Google Wave in their video on youtube:

Image from Google Wave website

Article also posted on http://www.amvona.com/blog/a-wave-of-new-social-conversations.html