Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Drive-by Light Show

Watch out, the University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, sounds like a the kind of place I'd hate, too much Math(s) and hard thought. However, a chap called Katrin Klimat and his pals have come up with something far more funky. The only description i can come up with is 'drive-by light graffiti' which doesn't do it justice at all. For automotive companies and the like, it would be a killer advertising ap, plus it made me feel a little like i was in Tron.... I'm beginning to show my age i think.

Check out the video below, if i can find any more info on it, I'll keep you posted. I also found this fantastic image of Light Graffiti too. More pics over at

Flat Pack Boom Box

This i love. It's a cardboard Boom Box for your iPod, it comes flat packed, and after 5 mins of folding and glueing, you too can stroll down the 'sidewalk' throwing out some heavy beats, 'Why Don't You' would be proud.

Also available for the more religious of us, is a faux leather Bible case, protecting your iPods screen not only from scratches but the devils music too, i'm sure.

Check out for more of the same.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Like an iPhone would you? That'll be £1000 please.

According to Times-online, Apple fans had better start saving up if they fancy an iPhone when it's released on Nov 9th this year. The UK price will be a not so tasty £269, £69 more expensive than it is in the states (hands up who's surprised), this plus the fact that you'll have to sign up for an 18 month contract at a minimum of £35, adding up to a hefty total of £899 (£1,259 if you go for the top tariff).

At first glance that's pricey, I'm already cheesed off at constantly being charged more than the yanks, (more to the point, we moan about it and then we pay it anyway....arrrgh), Apple seem to think we're made of cash, their Apple TV is nearly twice the price per download. However, if you consider that you HAVE to pay a monthly tariff, and that you'd pay £100 for a 8 gig Nano, the combined price isn't quite so crazy, even if it is an expensive outlay.

The phone wont be available in 16 gig mode, just the 8 for us jolly old Brits and it wont have 3G either, plus, after the recent price drop in the states (by nearly $200) will the UK consumer be so keen to jump on the iPhone bandwagon?

Mirror mirror on the wall....

You may or may not have read a recent blog of mine about Aleph's interactive mirror display, made up from car wing mirrors. Well Daniel Rozin has gone one better and made interactive mirrors and displays from anything he can lay his hands on, including rubbish .

'As an interactive artist Rozin creates installations and sculptures that have the unique ability to change and respond to the presence and point of view of the viewer. In many cases the viewer becomes the contents of the piece and in others the viewer is invited to take an active role in the creation of the piece. Even though computers are often used in Rozin's work, they are seldom visible.'

One of Daniels mirrors is made from a collection of discs, each disc has a radial gradient of black and white on it. The display recognises what is in front of it via a digital camera, mapping each pixel of the image onto an individual disc. The discs rotate independently to recreate the dark/light parts of the image, by rotating accordingly. Check out the vid...

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Apple customers non plussed at being ripped off...

Engadget have had a poll running on peoples reactions to Apple reducing the iPhones price by $200 so soon after it's initial release. Bizarrely enough, the ratio of OK vs annoyed is only 48/52, which i find staggering, considering that the most negative comments are coming from people who don't actually own the phone... WEIRD!

I'm not sure how Apple get away with this, what is it that they do, that makes their customers love them so? Maybe i should buy an iPod to find out.

Any thoughts out there...?

How d’ya like them Apples?

Apple Keynote September 2007

With almost 110 million iPods sold to date, September 5th 2007 marked Steve Jobs unveiling of a new/ revamped iPod range said to be the best ever. Well they were always going to better their predecessors but to what degree?

Hold up folks, before we get to that, Jobs wants to talk about ringtones for the iPhone. Oh no, Apple’s gone all Jamster. I can’t stand them at the best of times and certainly don’t want to pay an extra 50p on top of the 79p I just shelled out for a track. Not only that but surely the whole concept of buying ringtones is not only established but perhaps more crucially soon to be redundant as many people have turned to creating their own.

With the shuffle having no more than a lick of paint the first in the new range to be announced is the new iPod video or ‘Classic’ as it is now called. This variation on the established video iPod boasts up to an impressive 160GB capacity but not the widescreen display many were hoping for. Fear not for the unveiling of the ‘Touch’ with 1/10th of the Classics storage. Yes ladies and gents that’s 16 GB enabling you to store, well, I suppose a fair bit of your music collection and maybe a couple of episodes of Family Guy. I think they said something about a Safari web browser, Wi-Fi and a nice widescreen display but all I heard was 16 GBs. Looking to replace my 3 year old player I was logically hoping to better not only its looks, but storage too. In short it could prove to be a revolutionary new product but not in its current state.

As for the collaboration between Starbucks and Apple; I’ve already got access to iTunes music store as part of my Wi-Fi enabled iPod Touch, so why then do I need a Starbucks logo to point me in the direction of that McCartney number they have on a loop each and every time I pop in for a chai tea latte? It’s for that very reason I’m listening to my iPod in the first place.

Arguably most tempting of the range is the revised nano which now incorporates video on its dazzling 2 inch screen, an intuitive cover flow interface and according to the Keynote more storage? Long story short, it doesn't, which is a shame.

The presentation concluded with a $200 decrease in the price of the iPhone. Surely this is all good for the consumer, no? Well you try telling that to the million odd people who already shelled out for one in the first two months of sale. Well, funnily enough this is exactly what Steve Jobs has tried to address on the apple website by offering a $100 credit voucher to existing iPhone customers. Albeit a nice gesture it’s one they shouldn't have had to make. Still, did I mention you can get ringtones for these things now?!

M Fowler

Multi Finger Touch Screen

I like touch screens and not just because they make me feel like I'm in Minority Report. I think that by bypassing a keyboard or remote, the user is far more involved and for technophobes such as my mum, it lets them get to grips with entertainment and services that they may have previously stayed away from.

This new one made by a company called NEXTRAX is multi-finger touch communication tool, meaning it recognises more than one place of contact, allowing for more advanced options and menus etc. As you can see in the film, it's fairly intuitive and allows for a great amount of info to be accessed with ease. The version being used below is a history programme, allowing users to explore an interactive Inuyama Castle. The most interesting part is being able to explore a particular area and overlay current satellite maps over the top to see how it has altered.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Shrink My Tunes - Lets make things small!

So the new iPod Touch is amazing and touchy and oooh look it's got a big screen, so i can view all my media.... oh wait, i can't cos it's already full.

Apples new POD on the block may look the business and if smearing your grubby fingers all over the same screen that you actually want to watch, floats your boat, I'm sure you'll be joining numerous Apple fans in spending hundreds of your hard earned pounds on another beautifully designed, but essentially flawed piece of kit (read our review of Steve Jobs latest Keynote here).

However, thanks to 'Shrink My Tunes' you can now fit twice as much music (doesn't work on video yet) on to your MP3 player, without apparently any drastic loss in quality. They claim to use 'content sensitive heuristic algorithms' developed by NASA apparently to reduce the file size of your favourite track. The software is small at 2MB and is currently PC only, and offers little in the realms of options with regards to your file encoding, but it seems like a good place to start.

The offer of halving the space taken up on your MP3 player is too good to pass up, unless of course your music ends up sounding like it was recorded in you mums bathroom. According to Wired, it has varying results, and the claim to reduce 5MB songs to 1.5MB only really applies to people willing to listen to 'internet radio quality' music. However, when reduced by 50% the quality was fairly acceptable. Hear for yourself over at Wired, where they've uploaded a couple of trial clips.

Will this make the new iPod Touch a bigger success? I doubt it, i think it'll have more impact on the new improved iPod Nano, which i liked the look off a lot and am much more inclined to purchase.....

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Rubbish companies beware, Plebble is here...

It's our first news breaker here at Fishtank, thanks to a tip off from one of our new readers, Plebble has been set up by Will and James Patterson, as a true 'e-mocracy' allowing anyone to log on and rate any company that they've had the displeasure (or joy) of using. It's ideal for both parties, as companies now have a source by which they see what average people really think of their customer service (watch out Barclays/Metronet...).

Will Paterson, Plebble’s co-founder, said:

“Consumer dissatisfaction is a big problem in the UK today – not just for consumers but for businesses too. By enabling consumers to share information, helps them find the best service out there while at the same time helping businesses give consumers what they want".

It's a great idea, a little like Metacritic, which reviews anything under the sun and takes an average, you too can see the top (and bottom) 10 companies and see their score. It's super new, so get over to Plebble and get rating, the more people who get involved the better and more accurate their figures will be.

Download their press release here: PDF

Monday, 3 September 2007

What the hell is Pecha Kucha?

Glad you asked actually. Pecha Kucha is the brainchild of Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham and was designed as a way getting more young designers together to share their ideas, as well as getting a few more visitors to their multimedia event in Japan called SuperDeluxe.

The concept is simple, to prevent people from wittering on in their presentations, Pecha Kucha states that the persons Power Point, must only last for 6min's and 40secs and consist of 20 images only. It means people have to be a lot more imaginative, concise and it keeps interest levels up too. Pecha Kucha (which is Japanese for the sound of chatter aparently) has become globally popular, with special events regularly hosted in over 80 different cities.

Some fans are claiming it as a new art form or poetry, with a beat-the-clock competitive edge thrown in for good measure. Personally, i like the idea of forcing people to be more creative, and treating the presentation as part of their work as opposed to a necessary evil.