It’s been an odd year, what with the flooding of our house at the beginning. Things are much better at the end. I seem to have taken a lot of shots this year, perhaps because of the flooding, and the need to itemize the damage, or perhaps because of our big trips to Israel and Disney World.
During our recent trip to Israel I ended up taking a whole bunch of panoramas of the locations we visited, stitching them together from multiple photos. Some of these are very wide, while others allowed me to stich together whole buildings that my camera wouldn’t fit in one shot.
I’ve collected them all together in one set of photos on OneDrive:
Analog Algorithms with Stefanie Posavec
Today is workshop day, and I’ve been lucky enough to sit in a half day session with Stefanie Posavec, who ran a class called “Analog Algorithms”, focussed on developing ideas for data visualizations on paper. Stefanie has history with Microsoft Research Cambridge, having worked a number of years ago on a visualization of changes made by Charles Darwin to the Origin of Species. This is work she did with Greg McInerny, which ended up on display at MOMA in New York, as part of the excellent Talk To Me exhibition.
Today’s workshop took place on the 9th floor of the Walker Art Centre. We sat four to a table, with large sheets of paper in front of us, and many pens and pencils also arrayed. Definitely set up for something hands on.
Stefanie started by going over her background and portfolio. She articulated the purpose of data visualizations as giving “meaning and connection”, “subtle insight” and “truth and honesty”, and argued that by drawing on paper you exploited a “tacit knowledge” and a physicality in representation that you don’t get by jumping straight to data and code.
It’s taken me a while to put together my favorite shots on Flickr that I posted in 2013. This is an annual tradition that I’ve had going for a decade now, which I guess makes Flickr one of the longer-running services that I still use.
I’m not sure what I can learn last year’s photos. I only took 4,788 shots, which compared to 2012’s high of 7,472 doesn’t seem that impressive. But 2012 was the year of the Olympics. 2013 did feel a little more sporadic, though, in terms of my photo taking, and in terms of my photo posting. I lost track a little of what I’d posted throughout the year. I’m not sure why. I’ve already taken 1,982 shots this year, so maybe I’m rectifying that, although many of those are of the after-effects of flooding. Those are still about preserving memory, but perhaps not in the same uplifting way that last year’s shots of our family reunion are.
I’m at the SXSW Interactive festival in Austin Texas for a few days. It’s a huge event made up of talks, workshops, films and lots of other stuff to see. I’m going to a number of the talks, and I thought I’d try and post some of my notes online here.
The first of these is the opening keynote, given Bre Pettis, the founder of MakerBot, which produces a cheap 3D printer, and of Thingverse, an online forum for sharing 3D models that can be printed out with these kinds of printers.
Questions for Bre were posted to Twitter under #AskPettis.
To be honest, other than describing 3D printing as “The Next Industrial Revolution” and saying that “Creativity is now accessible in the world of things”, Bre’s talk was a little shallow and vision-free. He didn’t really paint a big picture of the changes that 3D printing will bring to society, commerce etc, but instead showed lots of little examples of things that people had made, mostly with the MakerBot printer.
FWIW, he was wearing a jacket by Sruli Recht, produced using 3D printing and laser cut wood. It reminded me an awful lot of the wooden textile produced by Elise Strozyk at Central St. Martin’s in 2009. I’m not sure which part of this, if any, was 3D printed.
Here are a bunch of the examples Bre gave of things made with Makerbot:
- Customizer by MakerBot allows you to print your own Nokia Lumia 820 phone case.
- A 3D printed adapter for connecting Lego Duplo bricks to wooden train sets.
- He noted that 7 of the top 10 architecture firms use MakerBots. Not sure if this is US only. Or what “top” means in this context.
- NASA:JPL are prototyping parts for Mars Rovers using MakerBots.
- Thomas Lipoma’s prototype for studying Sleep Apnea was created using Makerbot.
- Robohand, a collaboration between Ivan Owen and Richard Van As, is a 3D printed robotic hand for a 5 year old boy born with one missing hand.
- Kacie Hultgren uses a 3D printer for theatre set design
Markerbots are starting to show up in schools (there’s an interesting thread at SXSW about how kids are embracing digital creativity – drawing, coding, electronics etc., despite the feeling that school curricula fail to keep up with the times).
Other examples include someone who created the part to fix an espresso machine, a guy who created shoe inserts to make his daughter tall enough to go on some fairground rides, and another person who replaced expensive piano parts with 3D printed version.
Bre presented a prototype of the “MakerBot Digitizer” for the first time. This is basically a rotating platform that uses two lasers and webcam to scan 3D parts so that they can be reproduced using the printer. Bre described this process as "…like when Flynne gets scanned into Tron", and a way of “building out a "3D ecosystem". He admitted that the technology has been around for 25 years, but requires a lot of post-processing, the implication being that the secret sauce for the Digitizer is the software, which must make it easier to create closed meshes that can actually be printed.
Bre also mentioned the MakerBot partnership with Autocad. In the “Create” tent at SXSW they are teaching people to use Autocads “123D Creature” iPad app to make monsters, then printing them out on the spot using a row of Makerbots.
Here are my shots from our recent, very excellent, trip to Monaco. Highlights included jogging around the F1 loop, watching fireworks through the open ceiling at the Monaco Sporting Club, touring the roads towards Italy in a red Fiat C500 and hiking up to Roquebrune. Amazing. All thanks to Shannon’s bit of award winning.
I’ve added my 2009 Favourite Photos to my collection of Favourites on Flickr. Not a bad year. 42 shots, just like last year, and I’m pretty pleased with the quality and diversity. No night shots, though. I’d like to rectify that this year. I have it down on my list of things to do on 43 Things. I feel quite optimistic about my photography in 2010 now that I’ve bought my GF1.
I’ve done my annual favourite photos Flickr set. Not sure if my standards have dropped, or if I’ve just taken more photos this year than last (a total of 5,454), but the set has 43 shots in it, compared with 28 in 2007. It’s possible now that Maddie is more mobile I’m just taking more shots as we visit interesting places like Egypt.