About the only time I see source code is on a screen, and if I’m lucky, it’s not too more than a thousand lines in length. Very rare is the occasion I see source code in printed format, if at all, and in this case, I suspect there’s somewhat more than one thousand lines of code.
August 1999. I was working somewhere for someone, while looking for web design work. I’d often spend lunch breaks working on my own web projects, until the day an administrator in the division I was part of, told me that I spent too much time on the internet.
“Do you realise you spend more time on the internet than the rest of us (about ten other people I think it was) put together?” I remember my response went something along the lines of, “well you better get used to it, one day we’ll be living on this internet thing.”
Because the Internet is so new we still don’t really understand what it is. We mistake it for a type of publishing or broadcasting, because that’s what we’re used to. So people complain that there’s a lot of rubbish online, or that it’s dominated by Americans, or that you can’t necessarily trust what you read on the web. Imagine trying to apply any of those criticisms to what you hear on the telephone. Of course you can’t “trust” what people tell you on the web anymore than you can “trust” what people tell you on megaphones, postcards or in restaurants.
Looking at a floor plan, that may or may not be to scale, of a cinema while choosing seats for a movie when booking tickets online, can be a distinctly two dimensional process. Unless you’re familiar with the cinema in question, you’re usually left trying to guess what the view of the screen may be like from any given seat.
Wouldn’t it be useful then if we had a three dimensional perspective of the auditorium we were choosing seats in, so we could gauge how near, or how far back, from the screen we wanted to be? It is possible that the day we can do this may not be too far away, thanks to an experimental seat preview technology that is in development.
While the demo may not work in all browsers, it was (mostly) ok in the latest versions of Opera and Firefox, press the play button, then start selecting seats from different parts of the cinema to see how it works.
Can you guess what the above object is? A cafe chocolate sprinkler, wrapped in a knitted cover? No idea? That’s ok, I’ll clue you in. What we have here is a wireless router, covered with a shell knitted by Philadelphia based yarnbombing craftivist ishknits.
It’s one of numerous similar such covers created by artists and designers who were invited to participate in Google’s Shells for OnHub project, which has the simple goal of making routers, especially those used in the home, a little easier on the eye.
As a result, people will be more inclined to better place them around their houses, thus allowing for better connectivity between their various devices.
There were few websites around in the late 1990s, including this one, that didn’t feature a hit counter. They may not have been the most elegant of elements sitting upon a webpage, but in the days before the analytics tools that we take for granted today came along, they were one of the few ways that website owners could gauge visitor numbers.
But how cool might an actual hit counter, rather than something virtual, that would emit an audible click, each time someone looked up your website, have been? Using a mechanical impulse counter, Dutch software engineer Jeroen Domburg, aka Sprite, recently created such a device, and by following his instructions, you could as well.
This counter would have an additional advantage, though: every time a person requests a page from my site, the counter would give a satisfying ‘Click!’. The more clicks you hear, the more people reading your pages.
The way our children are going to work will differ markedly from the way we are now working, which is something that varies again from the way our parents probably worked:
Robin Chase was the co-founder of Zipcar, the vehicle-hire platform, in the millennium year. Her book Peers Inc, which reflects on that innovation, and the multiple sharing models that have followed, argues that we are already in the midst of a revolution. She says: “My father had one job in his lifetime, I will have six jobs in my lifetime, and my children will have six jobs at the same time.”
If nothing else, future generations stand to become experts in time management… juggling multiple jobs, now that will take some organising.
Unseen Art is an initiative that plans to make artworks more accessible to blind and visually impaired people, by producing three-dimensional print-outs of well known paintings such as the Mona Lisa, thus allowing these works to be appreciated through touch and feel.
A great idea, and I think many people, whether visually impaired or not, will stand to gain from being able to appreciate 3-D representations of familiar artworks.