Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Nicest Place on the Internet

Feeling a little bit under the weather this Friday morn? Go on over to the Nicest Place on the Internet and get yourself a hug.

One Man and a Microwave

Microwhat is a tumblr blog dedicated to putting things in a microwave and documenting the results. 

You can suggest what goes next too.

Friday, November 18, 2011

QR Code Haircuts

The strangest use of QR codes I've ever seen, but a pretty cool idea all the same by Betfair with the lads of Bromley Football Club.

The video was entertaining.

Equally entertaining was this comment on youtube:

My brother (a wacky PR type) recently had his hair shaved to form the words “I AM A PAEDOPHILE” right around his head.
The thing is, he did it in aid of a national charity, & was talked into it by the local co-ordinator employed by them, who said it would be a “cool, edgy & comic” thing to do! He’s now been attacked on the street 3 times & lost a lot of work. He is taking legal advice & says he no longer cares how much money the charity has to cough up to him, the point needs making.

3D Printed Mercedes-Benz Ad

This "ad" by BBDO Toronto, uses 3D printing to simulate photographic motion-blur in the real world.

Very nice.

via PSFK

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mint Flavoured Parking Ticket

 I don't know if I should be impressed or kinda grossed out by this idea by BBDO Germany.

via PSFK

Daft Punk Helmet in 4 Months

Harrison Krix, a freelance props and replica artist from Atlanta, built his own, fully-working Daft Punk helmet in 4 months.

I want one for client meetings.

Christoph Niemann, New York Marathon

Cartoonist for the NY Times, Christoph Niemann managed to both run and live draw the entire NY marathon. He's a pretty awesome guy, and if this is the first time you've heard of him, you should check out more of his work on his site.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Power of Games

I just finished reading Aaron Digman's Game Frame - an excellent book on how we can apply game mechanics to the real world as a strategy for success.  I'd recommend anyone in advertising or any creative business to pick up a copy - it could be a glimpse at the future of our industry.

Some of the topics discussed in the book are already beginning to appear. For example he mentions how the collective power of gamers could be used as a force for good. Just as I finished the book, this article appeared in my twitter feed. As the article describes:

"For more than a decade, an international team of scientists has been trying to figure out the detailed molecular structure of a protein-cutting enzyme from an AIDS-like virus found in rhesus monkeys."

But, when the structure was put online and it's unfolding restructured as a collaborative online game: Foldit - the structure was unravelled within a mere 3 weeks! What an amazing example of the power of games.

Again, I recommend anyone in the ad business to keep a close eye on gaming and pick up a copy of Game Frame. It'll be worth it.

Image via Screwattack
Article via Cosmic Log

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Empathy: Why I Learned to Code

Early last year I came across an excellent post by Aza Raskin of Firefox: So You Want To Be Designer? It describes the essential traits required for designers to work alongside coders:
“2,500 years ago, a Greek writer told us something about creating software: Thucydides wrote, “The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools.” The optimal society is one that mixes scholar-warriors and warrior-scholars. The same is true for companies that schism their designers and engineers. The most important trait a team can have is empathy. Without it, the implementers will not care, and the designers will not be realistic. When companies complain of specs and code being “tossed over the fence”, a lack of empathy is to blame…You don’t need to be a great coder, but you should at least be able to get your idea across in HTML and Javascript.”
I remember reading this passage for the first time, and being struck by its simplicity. Empathy: what a great way of describing how designers and coders should approach their relationship.

Empathy in Practice
A year ago I decided to put Aza’s empathy into practice. I committed to building my first working site within 6 months of picking up a book on HTML and CSS. My method was simple: wake up early – 6am – to allow myself to work in silence without distraction, commit to only 30 minutes coding a day – no more, no less, and to code every day, even when I was completely and utterly lost, tired, or hungover.
One month in I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I was wandering aimlessly through a world of div tags, stylesheets, and pseudo classes. Then, halfway through the third month, I had my Neo moment: I could see the matrix! I can’t describe what changed, but it all began to make sense. I’ve never been so proud of a screen of colour blocks!

After 5 months, a whole month ahead of schedule, I had my first site up and running: This With This. It’s a simple voting site that attempts to answer some very important questions: should chicken go on pizza, or was John Lennon better with or without Yoko Ono. Deep, I know. I decided to use Facebooks “like” button as the voting system, and discovered a new-found respect for anyone who has to deal with Facebook’s social plug-in. (This is not the time or the post, but for anyone who has gone through any type of Facebook development: I feel your pain.)

So What Are The Benefits of Digital Empathy?
I can meet any of the coders I work with halfway: The barriers to communication have been removed by both of us possessing an understanding of the medium. It allows us to skip all of the basic “Can it be done?” questions, and move onto questions about how we can bend the rules, and create something new and groundbreaking.
Instead of feeling removed from the process, I can use every digital job I work on as a learning experience; a chance to develop and expand my own skills. Thankfully most of the coders I’ve worked with have indulged me, and put up with my annoying “noob” questions.
But, above all, the greatest benefit of empathy is independence. I’m no longer as reliant on other people to produce my digital ideas, or to explain the process behind others. When I find an interesting site or digital project online I can view and understand (most) of the code, and then analyze, manipulate, remix, and recycle it for myself. That’s a very satisfying, and powerful feeling.

More Than Code.
Learning to code is probably a bit extreme for most people. It definitely requires a nerdy inclination. But empathy for the digital world could be achieved by simply using every type of social media you can get your hands on, or writing and curating a blog.
Empathy could go beyond digital. Imagine how much you could learn by sitting at an account handlers desk for a week, swapping jobs with your CD for a day or, heaven forbid, swapping jobs with your client!

This post was originally written for The Knot Collective