Ye Olde Archive Archived Posts: 2004-2009


Trained on movie footage, don’t let it watch 2001.

Device warns you if you’re boring or irritating.

The “emotional social intelligence prosthetic” device, which El Kaliouby is constructing along with MIT colleagues Rosalind Picard and Alea Teeters, consists of a camera small enough to be pinned to the side of a pair of glasses, connected to a hand-held computer running image recognition software plus software that can read the emotions these images show. If the wearer seems to be failing to engage his or her listener, the software makes the hand-held computer vibrate.

I’m curious what you’re supposed to do AFTER the device has told you that you’re boring your listener to death. Start juggling? Make weird noises? Sadistically continue, ignoring the vibrating device, eager to find out just how tolerant some people can be? Obviously this is not a tool that should fall into my hands, but seriously, they should consider programming some social cues into the hardware to offer alternatives to a conversation about “How I organized my sock drawer this morning by color, and how tomorrow I will do it by style”.

Filed under: news, tech No Comments

An alternative search engine is a handy alternative for anyone looking for a new way to search, or anyone tired of search engines with ulterior (commercial) motives. One neat aspect is that you can search straight from your url bar by typing in your search terms seperated by dashes and followed by For instance, entering in will search for posts containing both the words “sexy” and “librarian”. Use dots instead of dashes to perform a phrase search.

Filed under: internet No Comments

The Net’s New Age

The Net’s New Age. Business Week has an interesting if fairly general article on some of the big “Web 2.0″ products in the works from the major companies.

The implications reach far beyond the Net. The new Web is changing the business model for media and communications companies. Traditional players in these markets have built their businesses on a foundation of brand and content, forming a customer base and marketplace. In the Web 2.0 era, they’ll aim to cultivate a community of users on the Web, according to Troy Young, executive vice-president and chief “experience architect” at Organic, an online advertising and consulting firm.

Personally, I’m going to get annoyed if every single website I go to wants me to be part of its “community”, interact with it on a personal basis, and create a profile so it can pander to my tastes. Having the content and tools is great, certainly, so long as function maintains dominance over form, and pages don’t get interactive when they don’t need to be.


I think that everyone should include ‘learn to dance’ as a goal

43 Things is social networking in a self-help sort of way. You create a list of 43 things you’d like to accomplish. Simple enough. The neat part is the tagcloud of goals on the front page, allowing you to see the aspirations of people worldwide. If you’re feeling helpful, you can find someone who has a goal that you’ve successfully accomplished, and offer them advice. If you like the concept, check out some of the other things the folks at The Robot Co-op are up to.


A couple of art links

Catching up on some remaindered art links before I start getting into new stuff, hopefully next week.

Lines and Colors generally mentions some very worthwhile artists. I was particularly taken with their post about Ree Treweek, an artist whose work reminds me a bit of Brian Froud. Ree is a South African artist, though her style shows influences from all over.

Ree (pen name for Cherie) Treweek is a South African artist and illustrator. Her fascinatingly detailed illustrations and drawings usually start as an ink drawing that she brings into Photoshop to be fully developed, occasionally in collaboration with Jannes Hendrikz.

The images look anything but digital and modern, however. They seem to be from another era; or even from another, perhaps mythical, culture.

And here is another Lines and Colors post, this time on Jamie Hewlett.

English comics artist Jamie Hewlett made a name for himself as the co-creator of the early 90’s irreverent, over-the-top, punk-camp comic series Tank Girl, (which was made into an unbearably campy movie in 1995).

In 1998, Hewlett teamed up with former flat-mate Damon Albarn of the british band Blur to create Gorillaz, a virtual “zombie hip-hop” band in which the band members exist only as cartoon characters drawn by Hewlett. Gorillaz has gone on to be by far the most successful virtual band ever, selling millions of records.

Filed under: art, music No Comments