Archive for May, 2009

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Turbo’s are evil things!

26/05/2009

For years and years ive obsessed over modified cars, mostly of the japanese variety, yet I still appreciate the occasional german automobile.

I’m 19 years old and beginning to look at the reality and expenses of owning a turbo charged street machine! insurance will set me back 2000 a year with a 1700 excess, not to mention 22 mpg fuel consumption as well as general maintenance costs.

All that aside the love affair still continues! I’m always entranced when I see a smooth gliding skyline drives past, or a grunting WRX, or a supra spooling up it’s turbo’s then barreling down the street.

Examples of violation so to speak, can be drawn from what we call “Ricers”. a ‘ricer’ car can refer to a car that has been excessively modified, or can refer to a car that’s exterior brags more than what the performance can live up to. Examples include stock Lancers made to look like Evo’s, or subaru impreza’s with hood scoops made to look like WRX’s, or even Nissan skyline GTS-T’s given GTR badges.

Perhaps overdone a tad?

Perhaps overdone a tad?

Oh my god, Fast and Furious came out a few weeks ago. I saw it two days in a row at the movies and have now downloaded the movie on my computer! I can’t get enough of the cars and the racing!

Have a look at this! Nissan newest and fastest model, the new GT-R rivals the mighty Porsche GT2. For those of you that know little about cars, a GT2 will cost approximately 3-4 times what an GTR will cost! Hence why they are so freaking cool!

Have a look at what this blog has to say about it!

GTR Vs Porsche

Going back to insurance, after shopping around for ever, trying to find the cheapest insurance. I found Just Car Insurance. Just car is specifically aimed at making insurance affordable for younger drivers like myself. I also found that their adverts were cleverly aimed at the modified car world

Check it out! Just Car Insurance TV Commercial

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Green Screen Photography

19/05/2009

Forget what you hear on television or from anyone with a ‘can do attitude’, dreams are make believe. Generally we day dream about our thoughts, things that could happen in the future, or things that have happened in the past. I always look over my old travel photo’s and remember meeting the people, soaking up the atmosphere, and most importantly being there! Green screen photography is one method we can artificially place ourselves in locations almost to tell a story; fiction or non fiction!

Here is an excellent green screening tutorial on youtube!

Me gazing through the streets of New Orleans!

Me gazing through the streets of New Orleans!

In order to crop cut my self cleanly from the original photo and paste it onto the new photo I photographed myself infront of a white back ground (didn’t have acess to a green screen unfourtunately). This made the ‘magic wand’ tool in photoshop alot easier to use so I could isolate the image of my body.

Another creative way in which I have used green screen photography is to star myself in films I enjoy. Check out below!

Say hello to my little friend (Scarface) Say hello to my little friend (Scarface)
Where's Brian??? (2 Fast 2 Furious) Where’s Brian??? (2 Fast 2 Furious)

I had a look around and found a blog describing some of the green screen techniques in detail! Digital Photography Green Screen Techniques  – Check it!

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Data Data everywhere so lets all have a look

12/05/2009

Visual data is an amazing and hugley diverse tool. This week’s lecture looked at some basic factors to consider when looking at data. These were scale, shape, movement, color, and position. By using any one or even a combination of these we are able to differenciate between different elements of data.

Heatmap webpage visualisation

Heatmap webpage visualisation

Above is a clever example of how useful data visualisations can really be. This visualisation shows hot spots on the website to indicate where people have clicked the most, obviously with blue being ‘cooler’ less clicked spots on the webpage and the orange sections being the ‘warmer’ more frequently clicked on areas. In terms of it’s use it’s argubly just a pretty way to show data, or a neat way of decorating the page. It uses scale and color to indicate the popular topics in the lists, but also from a design point of view, it could be useful to look at when designing where to put toolbars, links, headings etc when designing a webpage.

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Multiplicity

05/05/2009

Multiplicity in essential terms makes the internet possible. It creates, retains, and draws information together from potentially millions of different sources. This allows the internet and its sites to have more information than any one person or source could make available on its own.

One example is iTunes music store, and the way it allows its members to make online music purchases. Not only this it retains every little piece of information. It creates a purchase history, it makes general recommendations based on a rating system, it even makes personal recommendations based on a tool called “genius”.

Genius works when a selected song is then rated and put into a category, this maybe based on catagory or genre, and also by artist. When using Genius on the iTunes music store it makes song recommendation based on your purchase history and based on your current music library, however it will never recommend a song which you currently have. From a marketing point of it’s helping you to find and discover more music you like, and therefor spend more.

A 'Genius' playlist

A 'Genius' playlist

I had a look around on the web for further information regarding the iTunes tool. I found apple’s description of Genius not to be particularly useful It was based more upon a marketing and selling point of view, and described Genius in very simple terms.

However through a google search I was able to find some blogs.

Here’s a blog I found which raves about the new software

‘iTunes Genius is pure genius’

Here’s another blog I found presenting a negative view on ‘Genius’

‘iTunes Genius is not so smart’

 

Stumble Upon

Stumble upon is another perfect example of multiplicity. Stumble upon is a free website that’s pure objective is to use networking to it’s audiences benefit. When you join stumble upon, it requires you to choose  categories of web content that interest you. These could include just about anything from arts, photo’s, video’s, lifestyle, entertainment, even games. I myself became hooked on a flash game called ‘Too Many Ninjas’ all because Stumble-upon recommended it to me. I also have many youtube ‘favourites’ all recommended to me by Stumble upon. This indicates how accurate stumble upon in finding web content that I enjoy. 

How does stumble upon decide on what I might like? The answer is that stumble upon doesn’t, the makers of Stumble upon wouldn’t have the faintest idea what i’d like. It uses what’s called ‘peer to peer integration’ to create a refferal system. It makes its recommendations based on what other users have liked and indicated that

When stumble upon recomends you a website, it places it’s own toolbar at the top of the page. For example when I choose to ‘Stumble’, it allows me to select a category. I chose ‘Photography’. Below is what it recommended to me. 

Stumble Upon recommending me an online photography collection

Stumble Upon recommending me an online photography collection

 

Stumble Upon Tool Bar

Stumble Upon Tool Bar

As you can see above, every website stumble upon recommends to you has a toolbar at the top of the screen with seperate buttons basically asking you;

  • ‘Did you like this?’
  • ‘Did you not like this?’
  • ‘Would you like to share this’?

This is how the peer to peer integration system works and it can all happens in a single click. If I were to click ‘I like this’ it will not only find me more of what I like, but also recommend the same webpage to anyone else interested in photography. Rather than stumble-upon searching for specific content that will interest it’s users, it uses networking to help it’s users to help each other. Stumble-upon is  a platform for discovery!