Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Free Hugs campaign

The web site

From the creator, Juan Mann:

"I'd been living in London when my world turned upside down and I'd had to come home. By the time my plane landed back in Sydney, all I had left was a carry on bag full of clothes and a world of troubles. No one to welcome me back, no place to call home. I was a tourist in my hometown.

Standing there in the arrivals terminal, watching other passengers meeting their waiting friends and family, with open arms and smiling faces, hugging and laughing together, I wanted someone out there to be waiting for me. To be happy to see me. To smile at me. To hug me.

So I got some cardboard and a marker and made a sign. I found the busiest pedestrian intersection in the city and held that sign aloft, with the words "Free Hugs" on both sides.

And for 15 minutes, people just stared right through me. The first person who stopped, tapped me on the shoulder and told me how her dog had just died that morning. How that morning had been the one year anniversary of her only daughter dying in a car accident. How what she needed now, when she felt most alone in the world, was a hug. I got down on one knee, we put our arms around each other and when we parted, she was smiling.

Everyone has problems and for sure mine haven't compared. But to see someone who was once frowning, smile even for a moment, is worth it every time."

And the video (more than 50 million views):

MadV's "One World"

A YouTube collaboration of significance (reportedly generating the most responses in YouTube history, at least up to that point), involving just web cams, Sharpies and personal messages that people wanted to share with strangers:

Technology of the future ...

Some of the technological developments we have identified to watch:

Eduard Nagornyy, Google Wave: intro

Jon Perry, voice recognition: article

Ernie LeDuc, silent "talking": article

Ashley Gonder, health monitoring: article

Aida Koric, "skinput": intro

Audio projects

Here are the final versions:

"A Predicament"
by Nic Wilson, Erik Cummings, Terri Mason and Eduard Nagornyy.

"The Importance of Being Earnest"
by Alyssa Andersen, Andrew Rajigah, Rick Fisher and Geoffrey Wallace.

"A Christmas Carol"
By Ashley Gonder, Cathy Manwell, Rebecca Fraser and Ernie LeDuc.

"The Scarf"
by Henry Ortega, Jon Perry, Aida Koric and Elena Mahrt.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pulitzer Prize-winner Mark Fiore

The first to work in animated video.

Here is a sample, from via YouTube:

And the start of a recent piece about him (his work originally was banned from the iPhone by Apple):

Update: Since this story ran, Apple has reversed its original decision. Mark Fiore’s iPhone app is now for sale. Full post is up here.

This week cartoonist Mark Fiore made Internet and journalism history as the first online-only journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize. Fiore took home the editorial cartooning prize for animations he created for SFGate, the website for the San Francisco Chronicle.

I spoke with Fiore about his big win and plans for his business. Fiore is not on staff at the Chronicle, or anywhere else; since 1999, he’s run a syndication business, selling his Flash animations à la carte to TV, newspaper, and magazine websites for about $300 a piece. (The price varies by size of the outlet.) In a typical month, he might have about eight clients. Before 1999, he ran a similar syndication business for his print cartoons, using a lower-price-per-image, higher-volume model.

When I asked about the next phase of his business, curious if it will include a mobile element, Fiore said he’s definitely hopeful about mobile devices. “I think the iPads and anything iPod to iPhone — to maybe a product not made by Apple — will be good or could be good for distributing this kind of thing,” he said.

But there’s just one problem. In December, Apple rejected his iPhone app, NewsToons, because, as Apple put it, his satire “ridicules public figures,” a violation of the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement, which bars any apps whose content in “Apple’s reasonable judgement may be found objectionable, for example, materials that may be considered obscene, pornographic, or defamatory. ...

Monday, April 19, 2010

More audio resources

Crazy Dog Audio Theater
(Including this helpful piece on the basics of writing for audio theater)


Radio Drama Revival

The largest broadcasting company in the world, The BBC, still invests heavily in audio theater. Some of the best modern pieces are coming from here. There are three channels producing this kind of work:

BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4 generally offer drama and more serious fare.

While BBC Radio 7 offers sci-fi and comedy as well as other miscellaneous programs.

The Wireless Theatre Company

Example 1 from WTC (banter, character development and sound effects, including silence): The Importance of Shoes

Example 2 from WTC (language and communication): Laying Ghosts

Example 3 from WTC (framing): The Fun Tom Menace

L.A. Theatre Works (We heard a clip from its version of "Pygmalion")

The Mercury Theatre (Orson Welles's troupe, which created the infamous "War of the Worlds" broadcast

"Art" by Yasmina Reza, three characters talking about a white painting,

From the Rick Emerson side project, "A.Z.," an action piece about when zombies take over the world,

Episode 6: "No Mercy"

And a big list of all sorts of radio theater on the Web

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

WSU Vancouver Research Showcase

Again, the details:

Thursday, April 15, 2010
9:00 a.m. - 8:45 p.m. in the Firstenburg Student Commons.

Highlighting Faculty and Student Research, Scholarship and Artistic Expression through posters, oral exhibits of research projects, digital artwork, and scholarly publications

This event will provide an opportunity for the campus community to celebrate the achievements of individual advancement of scholarship, research, and the arts. Nearly 100 participants will display their work throughout the day.

The School of Engineering and Computer Science invited speaker will be Terry Oliver, Chief Technology Innovation Officer for the Bonneville Power Administration (CTIO). Mr. Oliver has worked globally to advance sustainable energy and re-engage the electric utility industry in critically important research and development (R&D). He has worked for Bonneville power Administration (BPA) since 1981. Mr. Oliver led the world's largest residential conservation program and ground-breaking research in community-based conservation, designed the first Demand-Side Management programs ever undertaken by a developing country, created linkages between sustainable energy, jobs, and the local and global environment with non-government organizations throughout Asia, South Africa, and the Middle East. As Chief Technology Innovation Officer, Mr. Oliver has tripled BPA's investment in R&D. He has transformed BPA's executive and staff engagement in defining and managing a research portfolio; and he led the creation of BPA's first public and formal research agenda. Terry advises the Electric Power Research Institute, Carnegie Mellon University's Electricity Industry Center, and the Smart Grid Policy Center. Mr. Oliver's speech begins at noon. Click here to view a pdf version of the 2010 Research Showcase schedule.

The Research Showcase is free and open to the public

Contact for additional information: Tammy Bailey at
or 360-546-9159.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sound examples provided by Erik Cummings

Erik brought up these three examples that relate to our readings, edited by Cox / Warner:

Stomp! an exploration in found sounds

Team Fortress II - Gun Symphony

Joshua Bell in the subway

What are your reactions to them?

Sound studies

Hindenburg coverage with/out sound

Without sound:

With sound:

What does music look like?

Some attempts at music visualization:

The Music Animation Machine -- Beethoven's Fifth

DFR - Music Animation

Here are a few great resources to hear high-quality radio theater:

L.A. Theatre Works (We heard a clip from its version of "Pygmalion")

The Mercury Theatre (Orson Welles's troupe, which created the infamous "War of the Worlds" broadcast

"Art" by Yasmina Reza, three characters talking about a white painting,

And a big list of all sorts of radio theater on the Web

Friday, April 9, 2010

History of Location Technology

In a quick graphic form, by Shane Snow, for Mashable:

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Friday, April 2, 2010

Visual communication systems

Continuing our thoughts on visual communication systems that are non-alphabetic, I ran across a couple of interesting examples today in a 2007 article by Lester Olson on visual rhetoric.

Olson, L. (2007). "Intellectual and conceptual resources for visual rhetoric: A re-examination of scholarship since 1950." Review of Communication 7(1): 1-20.

In that, he mentions:

A fresco found in the ancient Mexican city of Teotihuacan (at one time the largest in the Americas) that showed "a rain priest walking or dancing in profile and wearing an elaborate headdress and costume." More importantly, at least for our discussion, "his speech-scroll, adorned with seashells and plants, indicates that he is praying for water and agricultural prosperity, which were highly valued in his society."

Also, Olson mentions wampum belts. Here is a separate reference I found about that:

"Important matters such as treaty agreements were likely to be marked by an exchange of Wampum belts, with designs in two colors, which thereafter served as visual reminders of the event itself, and to call to memory the arrangements agreed on" (Russel 1980: 185).

Here's one that shows an 1863 agreement between the Hurons and Jesuit missionaries.

Those obviously didn't hold up well when dominated by a heavily biased U.S. court system operating with an alphabetic bent, but does that make them inherently inferior, or simply the unfortunate system on the losing side of a major power struggle?

Reflection paper deadline extended to 04-21

Per our discussion in class on 03-31, your Research Showcase project reflection paper now can be turned in as late as 04-21, to give those participating in the WSUV Research Showcase on 04-15 a chance to include material from that experience as well.

- Prof Brett