Thursday, November 4, 2010

Essays for "We Create Identity" & "Web Technology"

I have completed my essay for We Create Identity, as well as for Web Technology. They both deal with how I experienced the subjects, as well as which decisions I made in the assignments we had to do for these courses. The essays can be found in my online portfolio: here is the "We Create Identity" essay, and here is the "Web Technology" essay.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bad, worse, worst

This Monday, we had to present our worst page, after which we would decide who has created the best worst site. You can find my worst page here. The first thing that you see when you go to my worst page is a loading screen, 'cause what it more annoying than waiting for something to load? As you get to the real deal, you are greeted by a flashing background, the atrocious Comic Sans font, a fake prize contest, and, if you still live in the 90's or adore advertisements, by some pop-ups, that ask for your confirmation when you try to close them.

The philosophy behind making a worst page is that by doing something as bad as possible, you will be able to do it in a very good way because of the lessons you learned from making this awfulness. While this may sound cool I'm not entirely sure about whether this works or not, but this can also be due to the fact that I like to make nice things instead of ugly things. Let's put this discussion aside for now though, because I would like to talk about the results: they were awesome!

Christopher Berg's worst page was the winner by a huge margin, and deservedly so, because his page takes the meaning of the word "annoying" to another level. The second place was for Duuk Baten's page, who used the principle "it is better to copy a good design than to come up with a crappy one yourself" to create a collage of worst pages from all CreaTe students. I do hope the philosophy has some truth to it, since we will end up with a lot of terrible portfolio's otherwise...

Do you wanna B-U-M-P?

Last week we discussed Matrices in Motion & Modelling. To demonstrate how they can be used, our teacher showed us how a simple screensaver, in which a ball flies to a wall, and bounces off of it, can be created using them.

This week we discussed Ordinary Differential Equations, which are one level higher in abstraction than formula's: they basically give you a formula of a formula.

We also have a starting point for the screensaver we will make for the final assignment. In the screensaver, a helicopter fires at people on the ground, and it will hit the person that is closest to the foreground. To spice things up a bit we also want to add an Anti-Air cannon, controlled by the men on the ground, used to demolish the 'copter. The question is of course: who will win, the Anti-Air cannon or the helicopter? For decoration purposes we want to included trees that change depending on which season it is. To us it seems this plan can be realised in Processing within the given time frame in 2D, but in the project meeting this week our teacher actually asked us to try it in 3D as well. We will first think about all the formula's needed to get this to work, and demonstrate that in 2D, and when there is time left, we will make the transition to 3D.

I'll be back

On Monday the 25th, Anton returned after a two week holiday in Portugal. In the morning, we had to present an almost working version of our interactive video. To some groups this wasn't really a problem, but to others, our group included, this posed a challenge, as there was no Ximpel-app ready to show. Our group had just finished editing, so there was no Ximpel code written yet. As Anton pointed out, this is not a smart strategy to follow, since you don't get the most out of Ximpel by starting late. Instead, it would have been wise to do some tests with Ximpel early on in the project, in order to deliver a professional result in the end. This is indeed the danger of perfectionism: when you wait with providing something presentable until the very end, because you think what you currently have is not good enough, you end up with something that hasn't been tested thoroughly, and hasn't had a lot of feedback.

In the afternoon, we discussed the exhibition on the 29th. After some discussion, we agreed on having one table per group, so that every group could present their own interactive video, with a decoration fitted to the theme of the product. As it turned out though, Inéz and Heleen had already proposed this format, but it turned out to be impossible to set up the event in this way. Due to the fact that Anton made us think that we had some choice in how the exhibition was organised, a lot of negative critique was outed to them. The thing I have learned form this is that it is best to either let a couple of people organise an event, without any interference from anybody outside of that group, or you could be transparent about what choices are being made and for what reason from the very start, adjusting things according to feedback. I think that for a study like CreaTe, the last method is preferable, because profiling ourselves is one of the things we have to learn.

The exhibit itself was, in retrospect, a success, since everybody got the chance to show their work, and people didn't loose their attention, since changing groups every half hour kept things fresh. After our demonstration, I was fairly happy with the end result, as the audience seemed to have fun with our product.