Posts tagged “visual”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from julienorvaisas] An App for Sharing Photos With Friends [NYTimes.com] – [Instagram is betting on word overload, predicting that people will want to share and see their friends' mobile visual feeds rather than text-based snippets.] Instead of following people’s 140-character thoughts, Instagram users can follow their photo stream and get a glimpse of what they ate for lunch and the view from their office. Instagram also plans to introduce a Web site soon. Building a mobile app before a Web site would have been a foreign concept just a few years ago, but Instagram’s founders say that communicating in quick snippets with a phone, on the go, is a new form of communication. The app is free now but Instagram plans to eventually charge a dollar or so for extra filters. “Filters are not the billion-dollar business,” Mr. Systrom said. “It’s photography. The next network is people interested in sharing life visually.”
  • [from julienorvaisas] Check Out Tagxedo, A Ridiculously Cool Word Cloud Generator [Tech Crunch] – [Yet another great visualization tool, this one highly customizable, combining word-clouds with images. The impulse to make sense of the word-avalanche on the web by morphing it into infographics is fun and beautiful, for sure, but I wonder whether conveying pretty word-frequency charts is actually providing useful information.] You can use the app to create visually stunning word clouds by inserting words (e.g. speeches, news articles, letters, slogans, themes, and so on). You can do so by uploading a document, entering a URL or simply by pasting text into the appropriate field. Tagxedo will size words appropriately to highlight the frequencies of occurrence within the body of text, leaving out small words like “is”, “are”, “do”, etc. With just one click, you can rotate the cloud, modify its colors and font, and also alternate between themes and shapes as you please. You can even upload your own images and have the word cloud assume the shape of the image.
  • [from steve_portigal] A Spray of DNA to Keep the Robbers Away [NYTimes.com] – [Technology offers new detection methods but the social performance of the tech serves best as prevention] The new system involved a device that sprays a fine, barely visible mist laced with synthetic DNA to cover anyone in its path, including criminals, and simultaneously alerts the police to a crime in progress. The mist — visible only under ultraviolet light — carries DNA markers particular to the location, enabling the police to match the burglar with the place burgled. Now, a sign on the front door of the McDonald’s prominently warns potential thieves of the spray’s presence: “You Steal, You’re Marked.” The police acknowledge that they have yet to make an arrest based on the DNA mist, which was developed in Britain by two brothers, one a policeman and the other a chemist. But they credit its presence — and signs posted prominently warning of its use — for what they call a precipitous decline in crime rates (though they could not provide actual figures to back that up).

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • LA Times runs front-page ad that resembles a news item – [Nice unpacking of a concern I explored in my recent interactions column, Interacting With Advertising (ask us for a copy)]
    There was no intent to fool readers, Mr. Stotsky said. He said the ad used fonts that differed from the standard Los Angeles Times fonts, and it included the NBC logo. NBC staff wrote the ad, and The Times’s business staff approved it; the editorial side was not involved, he said. “I think most consumers will recognize that this is an ad,” Mr. Stotsky said.

    Whether readers knew this was advertising or not was beside the point, said Geneva Overholser, director of the school of journalism at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication.

    “Some people say readers are smart and they can tell the difference, but the fundamental concept here is deeply offensive,” she said. “Readers don’t want to be fooled, they don’t like the notion that someone is attempting to deceive them.”

  • Another Los Angeles Times Promotion Draws Fire – (again, an issue I explored in my recent interactions column, Interacting with Advertising)

    “You dress an ad up to look like editorial content precisely because you think it will make it more valuable,” said Geneva Overholser, director of the school of journalism at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication. “Fundamentally, that’s an act of deception.”

    The supplement is clearly marked as an advertising supplement, said Nancy Sullivan, a Los Angeles Times spokeswoman. The bylines have “special advertising section writer,” and the font is different from the one the newspaper uses, she said.

“Very Loud Please Cover Ears!”

Here’s the Nine O’Clock Gun in Vancouver’s Stanley Park
cannon

The cannon, safe inside a cage, fires every night at 9:00. And there are warning signs, of course. One is fairly straightforward
warning

And the other looks like a parody example of Bad Visual Design.
zanywarning

Although the entire sign is hideous, confusing, hilarious yet disturbing, the bad copy, perhaps to cross cultures, is my (for lack of a better word) favorite. I love the phrase “Very Loud Please Cover Ears!” — note that the unnecessary quotes are actually included in the copy. It trumps the bad colors, the confusing icons, and the abysmal visual flow. I picture some bureaucrat, for whom English is not a first language, shouting out the copy to the sign designer, who took it down verbatim. Although just a comma would help a lot, but it still just reads embarrassingly wrong.

See more of my Vancouver 2009 pictures here.

Two films




Two films to consider:
2046 is a fascinatingly visual film (nice collage of stills here.) with an unconventional narrative flow that is unique and yet almost soothingly familiar. Topic? Uhh, storytelling, memory, love, relationships.

Me You and Everyone We Know deals with (among many other things) the beauty (or the art) in the ordinary and the everyday – finding what is beautiful and fascinating in what is ordinary, and taking simple steps to make the ordinary beautiful and fascinating.

Both are complex and rich films which I am not trying to review or summarize here. Merely recommend. Reviews of 2046 and Reviews of MYaEWK

Series

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