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Adobe Media player

( text excerpt ,image source: read/write web )

adobe_video_apr07a.jpg

” Today Adobe announced the launch of the Adobe Media Player, a desktop app that enables consumers to view high quality video whether they are online or offline. It is also designed for content owners to distribute, track and monetize their video. Built on their Apollo framework, the Adobe Media Player is cross-platform and based on open standards. The Adobe Media Player leverages other Adobe tools such as the Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Flash CS3 Professional, Adobe Flash Media Server 2, and the Adobe Media Encoder. For the end user, the video player can be used to create media channels via RSS, as well as for video downloads and streaming. Adobe is previewing the player at the National Association of Broadcasters trade show today and it will be available in the Fall of 2007.”

More news here > and here >

Filed under: applications, new media, technology

Medical Tablet Using E-Ink Display

( via they should do that )

 

medtab.jpg

Just a few weeks ago Motion Computing and Intel announced their C5 medical tablet, which had some great features but the $2999 price tag may render it a non-starter. Now another medical tablet, from Emano Tec has emerged. The MedTab is small (5.5″ x 7.5″), weighs 1lb, has a 12hr battery, and, most notably, uses an E-ink display. E-ink is a black and white display technology that is extremely low power and requires no backlight. Like the C5 it’s washable, offers Bluetooth and WIFI connectivity, and is drop proof (probably even more so than the C5, since it doesn’t have a hard drive). Interestingly enough it does run Windows CE, as I proposed, in my entry on the M5. However, the price is still sky high, $4,995 for orders under 50 units and $1,999 for orders over 50. While the form factory and battery life are are definitely a big step in the right direction for a medical tablet, the price is still way to high. White frankly I don’t understand why it’s so expensive, a Sony E-book reader using a comparable screen costs about $500 and a PDA with comparable specs costs about the same. Given that this is such a new company, I’d imagine the volume they’re producing these things at is so low, that it’s difficult for them to achieve any substantive price reductions due to volume. After all if ordering just 50 units cuts the price by over 50%, imagine what an order of a few thousand units would do.

Filed under: applications, design, new media, technology

Here come virtual worlds intranets…seriously

( via gigaom )

Online worlds on the Internet? That’s so last month ago. Judging by recent initiatives from Sun and IBM, the latest trend is a corporate-controlled, business-centric virtual world architected for internal use only– call it the intranet metaverse. In Sun’s case, it’s MPK20, a “a virtual 3D environment in which employees can accomplish their real work, share documents, and meet with colleagues using natural voice communication.”

The idea is to bring remote workers in Sun’s worldwide offices together into a single embodied space, “where the spacial layout of the 3D world coupled with the immersive audio provides strong cognitive cues that enhance collaboration.” (Via 3pointD, where blogger Mark Wallace has worthwhile commentary.) In IBM’s case, it’s a rough-and-ready 3D environment created by their Innovate Quick team, using the Torque graphics engine from Garage Games.

“The project team is exploring ways to scale, and also applying different models of operation,” Ian Hughes of IBM’s UK branch tells me. “We are building a user base of interested users and developers as part of our CIO office technology adoption program.” Hughes spearheaded IBM’s early explorations of Second Life as a private development lab for the future 3D Internet, where the team creates cool applications like a universal language translator for avatars.

Continue reading >

Filed under: applications, social, space/place, technology

Open Design Club

( link via notcot )


A brief intro. via their website :

“Open Design Club”
We like to think of ourselves as a virtual design studio, which also offers the opportunity to present and share ideas and open source design products. Everybody can become a collaborator of the the Open Design Club by contributing designs and ideas or by producing and selling the products presented by the Open Design Club.

“Join the Club”
We want to inspire you to become active and creative. We offer instructions for design products you can download and produce at home. The products of the Open Design Club are licensed under a creative commons license which means, that you can copy, sample, modify and even sell them if you want. We believe that removing copyrights from our designs will inspire creativity and result in multiple new designs. We share our ideas, our know how and we hope, that you’ll contribute, too.

“Share your Products”

_Some of their products:

.: Delight Lamp :.

Active Image

This lamp is made out of sandbags which are normaly used for emergency flood control. If you want to make a lamp by yourself just download the instruction pdf.

Download: delight_lamp.pdf

by:

Johannes Heinzmann
joh[dot]hei[at]web[dot]de

http://www.opendesignclub.com

 

.: Neon Floor Lamp :.

image of a floor lamp made out of cheap neon lights

This super bright neon floor lamp is made out of three cheap standard neon lights you can buy in any do-it-yourself store.

To learn how to make this lamp you can download a pdf instruction.

Download: neon_floor_lamp.pdf

by:

Johannes Heinzmann
joh[dot]hei[at]web[dot]de

Find out more at :-
open design club

Filed under: applications, architecture, art, DIY, new media, research, social, space/place, technology

The Web 2.0 Mashup Ecosystem Ramps Up

( via soa webservices )

2.63 new mashups a day. That’s what John Musser’s terrific new Mashup Feed site says is current the creation rate. If that rate flattens out today, which isn’t likely, that’s over 960 new mashups every year. Mashups, composite web applications partially constructed from the services and content from other web sites, are taking off with an amazing speed. Yet they are a relatively new phenomenon in terms of being this widespread and pervasive. All this even though mashups, like blogs and wikis, were actually possible from the creation date of the first forms-capable browser. So why the sudden widespread interest?

Like Web 2.0 itself, mashups are a result of a set of significant new trends that are reinforcing and in turn magnifying each other. Not the least are dynamic, lightweight models for combining content. Growing awareness of the Ajax approach too has helped to create a simple mash-up reuse model. One that allows the creation of rich, interaction browser components that can be reused via a single snippet of Javascript, with Google Maps being a pre-eminent example. But while there are numerous forces combining to make the mashup ecosystem “explode”, the combined effect is resulting in the creation of an online software environment which resembles a full blown operating system in virtually every way, and perhaps even more so.

David Berlind has done an excellent job recently drawing the parallels between the modern Web and an operating system and I agree with him that the result is obvious: the ascendency of the Web as the first superplatform. A thing not dissimilar to the political concept of a superpower in that nothing else can really compete. Yet this is a superplatform that is encompassing and embracing since anything you connect to it becomes a true part of the whole. And using Web 2.0 design patterns and business models, we have a relatively clear guide that shows how to be a good citizen and contribute to the ecosystem for individual benefit. Yet everyone else benefits more overall, via something called a network effect. Some have noted recently that the democratization of content and services was a stated goal of the Web from the beginning. But it wasn’t until now, where aggregated services can become more valuable than the parts, where the effect finally becomes pronounced.

Part of it is that technology tends to get ahead of our uses for it. With Web 2.0 and mashups in particular, there was a multi-year lag between what was possible and when it actually happened. With pervasive and widespread connectivity, lots of bandwidth, growing comfort with creating and consuming user generated content (this being blogs in particular), the maturaton of online communities, rapidly improving Web skills, and awareness of what’s possible on the Web, and you have a complex but potent recipe for the people side of the Web to drive major improvements in the way the its is used, on a massive scale.

The technical side has improved recently too with lightweight service models like RSS making it extremely easy to wire things together, the proliferation of lots and lots of good Web services (partially driven by Ajax and RIAs in general, which demand pure services to function), and even tools and ready information to support creating mash-ups, has led us to a place where everything seems just about perfect for mashups to take off.

And people are certainly noticing. You can find mention of mashups in the mainstream press all the time. And Microsoft is holding the MIX 06 conference next month, one of the hottest tickets in the IT conference circuit this year, and it’s all about the burgening remix culture that mashups are heralding. Microsoft has even been spotted recently connecting the dots in a larger perspective and trying to bridge the closely related techniques of Web 2.0 and service-oriented architecture (SOA), something I’ve also talked about at length in the past. As many of you know, SOA is a popular model for creating an integrated architecture of systems within an organization, and then creating cross-cutting, composite applications out of the result. But the mashup ecosystem is poised doing the exact same thing on a global scale with more verve, speed, efficiency, and the factor that really counts, success.

But it’s not just a supply-side phenomenon or the purview of large software corporations. Not at all. Mashups are being driven in a very populist manner and people are actually using them. I routinely see mash-up lists hitting the del.icio.us popular page, for example. And great lists of Web 2.0 software like Fourio’s Web 2.0 Innovation Map, or Peter Cashmore’s enjoyable Mashable site, or especially TechCrunch routinely highlight what is possible (and indeed, this lists are only falling behind). I’ve said recently that creating software from scratch is going away more and more, and all of this is further proof. So, this brave new world of software is certainly exciting and sometimes terrifying, but in the end, it is indeed a compelling new future for software.

Where do you think mashups are going? Are they a fad or a final shift to a successful model for reusing services and content?

Sidenote: We’re always looking for great content for the brand-new Web 2.0 Journal. If you are a capable author and want to write feature articles, interviews, product reviews on Web 2.0 topics, please drop me a line.

Filed under: applications, architecture, new media, opensource, research, technology

Embodiment in Digital Art

( via artificial.dk )

A little background via their site >>

Welcome to artificial.dk – your news resource for information about net art, software art, and other computer based art forms. Our mission is to promote these art forms to a broad audience because we believe they can develop and nuance our views on advanced technologies and the society they are a part of.

Artificial.dk is now an archive of articles and activities from the period 2001-2007. No new articles will be added, but you are welcome to browse through our previously published articles. Your hosts and editors were Kristine Ploug & Thomas Petersen. Contact us at: artificial at artificial dot dk.

Special: Embodiment in Digital Art

Dan Graham: Body Press, 1970-1972. Photo: Dan Graham, courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery , New York and Paris.


‘[…] the image can no longer be restricted to the level of surface appearance, but must be extended to encompass the entire process by which information is made perceivable through embodied existence. This is what I propose to call the digital image.’ (Mark Hansen: New Philosophy for New Media, p. 10)

In this last special at Artificial we have chosen the theme: ‘Embodiment in digital art’. Inspired by current trends in media art and theory, we take our point of departure in the expanded notion of the digital image in order to have a closer look at the role of the body in contemporary digital art and culture.

Art has always actively involved human beings: whether you read a book, watch a film, visit a museum – or just talk to a good friend. As soon as you engage in the world, a process of interaction and exchange occurs.

In his widely acknowledged book, New Philosophy for New Media, Mark Hansen demonstrates how the embodied spectator is involved directly in the very production of contemporary media art with focus on process, performance and interaction. The ‘image’ can no longer be understood as an external formal thing, e.g. as a canvas hanging on the wall in a gallery. The so-called digital image has to be acknowledged as an open field or terrain of possibilities in-formed or in-framed by physically present human beings in specific situations bound in time and space. The embodied existence is the filter, the nexus and the materiality of the art experience. Following Mark Hansen’s argument means that in order to grasp the new scene for the digital art event, we have to turn our focus from the level of code towards the embodied human experience.


Left: still image from Myron Kruegers Videoplace, 1970. Info and video: www.artmuseum.net/w2vr/timeline/Krueger.html. Right: Nam June Paik: Random Access, 1963. Photo: Manfred Montwé. www.nydigitalsalon.org/10/artwork.php?artwork=13.

This special consists of a number of interviews and articles about international projects – from young talented ideas to prominent research projects – which investigate aspects of embodiment in different art forms supported by state of the art technology. Our focus on this subject is part of a wider theme on ‘body and technology’ which will be launched by the web magazine Turbulens (www.turbulens.net) in March 2007 (the curator group Maskinstorm (www.maskinstorm.org) is also involved in the theme). Keep an eye open this spring for a broad variety of activities within the field.

Continue reading >

Filed under: applications, architecture, art, consciousness, DIY, hack, locative, mobility, new media, research, social, space/place, technology, urban

Future Of Learning Is Informal And Mobile

( via smartmobs )

What does the future of learning look like? Robin Good met Teemu Arina in Rome and made an impressing video interview about the future of learning. The video Robin added to YouTube and integrated the chapers creatively in the transcript.

teemurome.jpg
Photo credit: Lotta Viitaniemi
Video chapters: Informal learning, Informal learning inside organizations. Tools to facilitate informal learning. Mobile learning. Mobile learning in the near future. Learning in normal life. Stay ahead of the wave? What is connectivism. What would you change in the world of learning? What is a teacher? Other types of teachers. World beyond learning,

Personally I met Teemu on November 11 2005 in Tampere Talo in Finland at Open Mind 2005. While talking to Teemu I forgot the time and missed the bus of our group to the airport. Believe me, I rather had missed that flight home for the opportunity to be inspired by meeting Teemu Arina.

I fully agree with Robin, when he introduces Teemu as “a young Finnish educational scholar, with lots of good ideas, a fully working brain and a vision for the future as only a few are able to crystallize”.

Master NewMedia Robin Good: “I found Teemu to be a true thinker, and one that does like to stretch the definitions of what is possible and what’s not. Open-minded and capable of evaluating viewpoints different than his, he is also a pragmatical individual understanding the true limits and restrictions we impose on ourselves via the working and social infrastructures we build around ourselves.

Our interaction focus, in this first part of our video interview, is on the future of learning, and on the relevance that terms like “informal learning” and “mobile learning” will come to have in the near future”.

Teemu Arina: Along with social software, wikis and blogs are very often considered informal learning tools by educational technology experts. When I look inside organizations I see these tools as something that counter taylorist technologies like groupware and intranets, where the control is mainly on the management side (for example the IT department).

Teemu Arina continues: It is kind of connecting the virtual and the physical spaces, and that is where I think informal learning is currently failing in the educational technology field: we are not giving enough importance to the meaning of physical spaces and piazzas for meeting. When we see mobile technologies, social technologies and physical spaces intersecting very well, I think that is when we see what true learning is all about.

For more of Teemu’s ‘reflections on networked learning, knowledge and collaboration in organizations’ go to Tarina presentations and writings.

Full article / interview with videos over here >

Filed under: academic, applications, mobility, new media, research, social, space/place, technology

The Desktop Factory

( via popsci )

  Nathan Ellis Perkel

Roboticist Hod Lipson wants you to stop shopping and use his portable 3-D printer to make your own stuff

By Corey Binns | May 2007

As a child, Hod Lipson lost Lego pieces constantly. Now the 39-year-old director of Cornell University’s Computational Synthesis Lab can build replacement parts on the spot. Completed last year, Lipson’s fabrication machine, called a “fabber,” can print thousands of three-dimensional objects, everything from toy parts to artificial muscles, using dozens of materials, including PlayDoh, peanut butter and silicone, by following simple directions sent to it by a PC. About the size of a microwave, the fabber costs $2,300 to assemble—roughly one tenth the cost of commercial 3-D printers. Lipson and his graduate student Evan Malone recently launched a Web site called Fab@Home (fabathome.org) to teach people how to build their own fabbers and encourage them to share their blueprints online. As a result, amateur inventors worldwide are now manufacturing their creations from the comfort of their own homes. The duo’s next step is to make a desktop machine that prints other machines, such as robots, complete with circuit boards. As soon as a robot walks out of the printer, Lipson says, Malone can walk out of the lab with his Ph.D. Q: What sort of things are people printing with your fabber?
A: Watchbands, squirt bottles, batteries, artificial muscles, even fancy chocolates. What you print is really up to you.

Q: How long does it take to print something like a Lego piece?
A: About two hours. The printer isn’t fast or efficient, but you don’t need to know a thing about manufacturing to use it.

Q: Wouldn’t it be cheaper, faster and easier to just go buy a new piece?
A: The only way to make something cheaply today is to have it mass-produced. For example, you wear the same shoes as everyone else. If you had a fabber, you could custom-make shoes that perfectly fit your feet. Three-dimensional printing will help us move away from the mass consumption that is so deeply ingrained in our culture.

Q: You’ve said you’re taking a lesson from the Altair 8800, a do-it-yourself computer kit that inspired the PC. Why?
A: Similar to computer technology in the ’60s, 3-D printing is a universal technology that has the potential to revolutionize our life by enabling individuals to design and manufacture things. Worrying about how you’re going to make something is a huge constraint—most people can’t make anything at home because it’s too expensive. We want as many people as possible to get their hands on this technology, experiment with it, improve it, and develop new applications for it.

Q: With all of the programs and product designs posted on Fab@Home, are you making a profit?
A: We’ve put everything out in a completely free way, no limitations. The Altair people never became rich, but they made history. We’re after that kind of impact. We just want people to use the technology to free their design creativity. Similar to sharing MP3s, people can exchange blueprints of product designs on the site. Maybe someday they’ll earn 99 cents every time their blueprint is printed.

Q: That sounds like an intellectual-property nightmare.
A: Oh yeah. This is going to make MP3 copyrights look like a piece of cake.

Q: Noy Schaal, a high-schooler in Kentucky, won first prize at a science fair for using a fabber to build a chocolate map of the Bluegrass State. Is she the kind of everyday user you have in mind?
A: Noy is an excellent example of how you can explore the fabber without much training. I’m really hoping this will pass the geek barrier. I want the technology to reach people who want to make cool stuff out of exotic materials but have no way of doing it. For example, you can put cheese in the fabber but not in a conventional manufacturing machine because you’ll void its warranty.The fabber is more about allowing designers to experiment with ideas than making anything in particular.

Q: What’s the most extreme use you have in mind for this technology?
A: I want a printer to be all we need to send on long-term space explorations. After landing, it would print a robot that could walk out of the printer, batteries included. If the robot discovers a cave that requires a special tool to explore with, it could head back to the printer to make the right gadget. And if the robot breaks, just print another one.

Filed under: applications, design, new media, physical computing, technology

Mashing / Mapping

( via plugimi )

.: Pdf :.
A little info. on the workshop ( via mediamatic ):

In this new workshop participants will develop prototypes for hybrid world media applications. While the internet is still thought of as a virtual space, it is quickly gaining foot in the physical world.

An Internet-of-Things is under construction, with RFID as a key technology. Unique digital identification and GPS tracking devices link digital media to places and objects. Mobile phones and urban screens allow the media to be everywhere people are.

This workshop explores the role of media makers (content creators) in the context of the increasingly intimate fusion of digital and physical space.

The Day of the Figurines – Locarno – Show by BlastTheory

Reader for Hybrid World Lab >

.: A collection of projects, theory and criticism on Hybrid World developments and RFID :.

Filed under: applications, art, DIY, locative, mobility, new media, research, situationist, space/place, technology

Popfly

( via techcrunch )

Microsoft will announce the private beta launch of Popfly this morning, a new Silverlight application that allows users to create mashups, widgets and other applications using a very cool and easy to use web-based graphical interface. We previously covered the launch of Yahoo Pipes and compared five different applications that let you mix data and build applications online. At the time we mentioned how this space was really heating up – and how Pipes from Yahoo simplified the creation of mashups and mini-applications by providing a drag+drop interface. Microsoft are the latest entrants in this market, and they have completely leapfrogged every other application we have seen so far.

Popfly is a big leap forward from the competitors above because it lets you do so much more, and it is one of the nicest web application interfaces I have ever seen. With Popfly, you can create applications, mashups, web pages and widgets (gadgets) and it is all tied together in a social network (as part of the Live Spaces platform) where you can connect with other users and publishers of applications. Mashups are created by dragging in and connecting ‘blocks’ which produce an output. Blocks are modules that connect to various web services API’s, and even today there are dozens of different blocks that work with a whole variety of different web services.

Filed under: applications, new media, technology

Chaoscope is a strange attraction

via artificial eyes

The Chaoscope website offers a 3D strange attractors rendering software, an ongoing project created and maintained by Nicolas Desprez . The images in the gallery are gorgeous, and you can make your own if you’re clever enough.

Filed under: applications, art, new media, technology

Voice prints

via Coolhunting

Inspired by repeating visual units in Japanese textile design Voiceprints, created by Pierre Proske, uses specially-designed software to translate voice patterns into a design. More specifically, Proske loops and analyzes frequencies to create an algorithm that organizes visual elements into a representation of a person’s voice.

Like a synaesthetic version of DNA11 prints made using genetic material, each spiraling abstract voiceprint is uniquely characteristic of an individual speaker according to their intonation. Proske aims to bring the project full circle by turning the designs into textiles in the near future.

Click here for more info.

Filed under: applications, art, fashion, new media, technology

16 Awesome Data Visualization Tools

originally by Mashable

— 01:18 AM PDT — by Adam Ostrow

From navigating the Web in entirely new ways to seeing where in the world twitters are coming from, data visualization tools are changing the way we view content. We found the following 16 apps both visually stunning and delightfully useful.

Visualize Your Network with Fidg’t
Fidg’t is a desktop application that aims to let you visualize your network and its predisposition for different types of things like music and photos. Currently, the service has integrated with Flickr and last.fm, so for example, Fidg’t might show you if your network is attracted or repelled by Coldplay, or if it has a predisposition to taking photos of their weekend partying. As the service expands to support other networks (they suggest integrations with Facebook, digg, del.icio.us, and several others are in the works), this one could become very interesting.

See Where Flickr Photos are Coming From
Flickrvision combines Google Maps and Flickr to provide a real-time view of where in the world Flickr photos are being uploaded from. You can then enlarge the photo or go directly to the user’s Flickr page.

See Where Twitters are Coming From
From the maker of Flickrvision (David Troy) comes Twittervision, which, you guessed it, shows where in the world the most recent Twitters are coming from. Troy has taken things one step further with Twitter vision and has given each user a page where you can see all of their location updates.

New Ways to Visualize Real-Time Activity on Digg
Digg Labs offers three different ways to visualize activity in real-time on the site, building on the original Digg Spy feature.

BigSpy places stories at the top of the screen as they are dugg. Stories with more diggs show up in a bigger font, and next to each one you can see the number of diggs in red:

Swarm visualizes stories with circles that grow and become brighter in color as they receive more diggs:

Stack shows Digg users “stacking” up on top of stories, so as more diggs come in, the higher the respective stack grows.

Visualize Words and their Synonyms
As the name implies, Visual Thesaurus allows you to navigate the dictionary visually. By typing in a word, you can see its synonyms, and then navigate to one of them to see its’ synonymous and so on and so forth.

Visualize Flickr Tags Over Time
Taglines from Yahoo! Research allows you to visualize Flickr tags over time. For each day, dating back to June 4, 2004, the eight most popular tags are shown with a photo selected for each. You can view Taglines in waterfall mode, which displays eight tags and respective photos in eight rows, or in river mode, where tags and their photos “flow” from right to left.

Search the Web Visually
Quintura allows you to enter in a search topic and then presents a split screen with a tag cloud on one half and search results in the other. In this example, a search for “The Sopranos” brings up a cloud with links like “hbo” and “television” on the left, with direct links to web sites on the right.

KartOO is a visual search engine that employs several different visualization methods. In the following search for “The Sopranos,” the left side reveals folders with additional related topics, while the right presents a cloud of potential links to follow. Upon mousing over one of these links, the left side is replaced with a Snap.com-style preview, while the right side shows how the link relates to other topics.

walk2web lets you start by entering a URL, and then allows you visually browse web sites that are linked from it. On the right, a large screen capture of the selected web site is shown to give you a preview of site content.

Visualize Click Data with CrazyEgg
For webmasters looking for a visual output of where users click on their site, CrazyEgg’s heat maps are an option. The recent upgrade of Google Analytics includes a Site Overlay with click data, so it may be just a matter of time until it also adds a heat map feature.

Search Real Estate Visually
Trulia and Zillow allow you to search real estate listing with satellite imagery and maps. In the following example from Trulia, you are allowed to switch between street maps and satellite view. Once you have found a property in a desirable location, you can click on the push pin icon to see a thumbnail image and details about the home. Using the search tools on the left, you can refine your search to only show properties meeting certain criteria.

Visualize Digg Data like a Nuclear Submarine Commander
Two applications from Brian Shaler allow you to use a radar map to visualize Digg data. The radar map is organized by placing users with the oldest Digg accounts in the center.

Digg RADAR shows you where on the map diggs are coming from:

The Map of Digg Friendship displays a user’s location on the map along with the number of friends and fans they have:

Filed under: applications, art, graphics, new media, research, social, technology

Creating from Scratch: New software from the MIT Media Lab unleashes kids’ creativity online

via MIT news

Stephanie Schorow, News Office Correspondent

May 14, 2007

A new programming language developed at the MIT Media Lab turns kids from media consumers into media producers, enabling them to create their own interactive stories, games, music, and animation for the Web.

With this new software, called Scratch, kids can program interactive creations by simply snapping together graphical blocks, much like LEGO® bricks, without any of the obscure punctuation and syntax of traditional programming languages. Children can then share their interactive stories and games on the Web, the same way they share videos on YouTube, engaging with other kids in an online community that provides inspiration and feedback.

“Until now, only expert programmers could make interactive creations for the Web. Scratch opens the gates for everyone,” said Mitchel Resnick, Professor of Learning Research at the MIT Media Lab and head of the Scratch development team.

Resnick’s Lifelong Kindergarten research group previously developed the “programmable bricks” that inspired the award-winning LEGO® MINDSTORMS® robotics kits. Just as MINDSTORMS allows kids to control LEGO creations in the physical world, Scratch allows them to control media-rich creations on the Web.

“As kids work on Scratch projects, they learn to think creatively and solve problems systematically — skills that are critical to success in the 21st century,” said Resnick.

Designed for ages 8 and up, Scratch is available by free download from the Scratch website (http://scratch.mit.edu). The software runs on both PCs and Macs. The MIT Media Lab is now collaborating with other organizations — including Intel, Microsoft, Samsung, BT, the LEGO Group, Motorola, and One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) – to create other versions and applications of Scratch, including versions for mobile phones.

The name Scratch comes from the technique used by hip-hop disc jockeys, who spin vinyl records to mix music clips together in creative ways. Similarly, Scratch lets kids mix together a wide variety of media: graphics, photos, music, and sounds.

A glance at the Scratch website (http://scratch.mit.edu) reveals a kaleidoscope of projects created by kids: a story about a polar bear school, space attack games, and a break-dancing performance. Some creations are goofy and fun; some reveal serious social themes. Children are constantly modifying and extending one another’s projects on the website – and learning from one another in the process. “It’s exciting to wake up each morning and see what’s new on the site,” said Resnick.

Scratch was developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten research group in collaboration with UCLA educational researchers, with financial support from the National Science Foundation and the Intel Foundation. Throughout the development process, the design team received feedback from children and teens at Intel Computer Clubhouses and school classrooms.

“There is a buzz in the room when the kids get going on Scratch projects,” said Karen Randall, a teacher at the Expo Elementary School in St. Paul, Minnesota. “Students set design goals for their projects and problem-solve to fix program bugs. They collaborate, cooperate, co-teach. They appreciate the power that Scratch gives them to create their own versions of games and animations.”

For more information about Scratch, see http://scratch.mit.edu/about.

LEGO and MINDSTORMS are trademarks of the LEGO Group.
Used here with special permission. ©2007 The LEGO Group.

Filed under: academic, applications, technology

Jaiku | Home

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Jaiku | Home

Today we’re releasing an early beta of Jaiku! Jaiku is a phone book that lets you share your real-time rich presence from the phone.

We invented the term ‘rich presence’ to describe the many relevant things a phone knows about you. Rich presence on Jaiku includes an IM-style away line, your phone profile (ring volume, vibrate), location (country, city/region, neigborhood), Bluetooth devices around, upcoming calendar events, and the duration how long your phone has been idle.

You can view your contacts’ rich presence on jaiku.com, and once you have signed up, you can download a free client application for Nokia Series 60 Second Edition phones. We’ve also created some badges that let you display your rich presence on your blog. There are still some rough edges – please help us improve it by sending feedback to bugs [at] jaiku.com.

Feel free to sign up, take it for a spin, and let us know what you think!
– The Jaiku Team

Filed under: applications, locative, mobility, research