Prototyping the Future American City

Our cities and towns have long since fell behind the technologies citizens use daily. At some point, this gap will hold back advancement. How can we envision the future public space while actually making it a reality?

San Francisco is the center of the center of American innovation. The future of software, medicine and transportation is being created within a 60 mile square radius of the city. Based on that, it’s striking to notice at how old the city feels. Everything from its mass transit systems to its architecture seems dichotomous to the “everything-new” energy of the city.

San Francisco is an example of where society is outpacing its habitat. While San Francisco and other urban dwellings are experiencing this phenomenon now, it’s only a matter of time until every town and suburb goes through the same phenomenon. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out how we got here. Making any significant infrastructural modification takes considerable time, money and will. The amount of disruption of daily life for its residents would be considerable. On the occasions where projects like these fail, it becomes harder for future projects. Continue reading “Prototyping the Future American City”

My Week With the Leica M9

I finally had the chance to shoot with a camera I had wanted to use for the last four years. It was well worth the wait. I took the time to write about my experiences.

My first camera was the Nikkormat FT2. As far as features go, it was slim. The only luxury it had was a built-it light meter. There was no aperture priority, a maximum shutter speed of 1/1000 sec and, obviously, no auto-focus. This camera which I received 11 years ago set the tone for the way that I take photography to this very day. Even though I primarily shoot in digital, I only use prime lenses, most of which are manual focus. I bought the Nikon D700 entirely on the basis that it had a full-frame sensor and would accept all my old manual Nikkor lenses. I prefer the manual/prime lens combination for a few important reasons. The manual experience puts the shooter in much more control over composition. When I nail a shot with a manual lens, I feel a much greater sense of accomplishment than I get with an auto-focus lens. I prefer prime lenses due to their smaller/lighter profile, and general superior image quality (at least without breaking the bank). Continue reading “My Week With the Leica M9”

Our Ideas Are Cheap Because We Treat Them Cheaply

I have 30 minutes to write this post. I normally do not write posts in 30 minutes. It usually takes me a long time to write on my blog because I want to make it as polished as possible out of the chute. I feel this way because I know once the content is posted, it will get a decent amount of readership the day I publish with an exponential drop-off from that point forward. No one (figuratively) will read an update on my post, so the incentive to improve or build upon past blog posts is non-existent.
Continue reading “Our Ideas Are Cheap Because We Treat Them Cheaply”

Designing Civic Engagement in the Classroom – Our Experiences

How can we get young adults interested in the civic space while better preparing them for life after graduation? I helped facilitate a project at USF which attempted to address these issues. Here’s our results.

This past January, Analisa Lono and myself facilitated a semester-long program at the University of San Francisco. We helped a student team design and build a mobile app aimed to help their local community. This experiment was one of the most challenging and gratifying experiences of my life. With the program now completed, we think this idea has real potential. I wanted to share the idea behind this project, how it worked and what we learned through the process.

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Bridging the Gap—Making Games Conduits to Real Accomplishment

There has been a lot of talk on the gamification of reality, but the more interesting idea is to make the games we play extend to the real world.

MMOs are a big deal. According to MMOData, there are roughly 20 million players globally. The MMO genre is unique due to its deep social hooks, its never-ending story and its often addictive nature. The addictiveness of MMOs have given the genre (and its players) a bad rap. Many consider MMOs a colosal waste of time. However, I see opportunity… Continue reading “Bridging the Gap—Making Games Conduits to Real Accomplishment”

Finished. Time To Start Over.

For the past year on this blog, I have spent an inordinate amount of time on the design and development of this blog. In many ways, the new direction of the blog was an amazing success. The blog has been updated literally thousands of times with all different kinds of content. The decentralized manner of publishing turned my everyday routines into a form of blogging. However, during same year, I have written a grand total of 18 actual long-form articles. Of those 18, perhaps 10 were no related to the theme development or why I was not actually writing. I knew quickly after the redesign that I missed the mark in a few ways – in one way or another, I have been working on fixing those issues. I believe that those are behind me now with this current revision. This theme has been released in a more generic form which fulfills the promise I made just about one year ago to this day. Which leads me to my next “project”. I want to turn this blog around in a big way. I am aiming to get some serious readership and some serious conversations back on this site. I want to go about doing this in a fairly naive/idealogical manner and I am planning to write extensively about it.
Continue reading “Finished. Time To Start Over.”

NPR's "The Art of Eric Carle"

I recently came across a segment on NPR where they interviewed Eric Carle, the famous children’s book designer. Carle became well known for his style of using colored paper to piece together colorful and elaborate illustrations. Various techniques are used to create vastly different looks – the work is quite amazing.

In a time where many of us (including myself) use computers as the sole device for creative production, I find it very grounding to see how much can be done off a computer that would be unbelievably time-consuming to produce on a computer. Perhaps now is the time to ditch your desktop/laptop for just a few minutes (I know, it’s scary) to play with some pencils and/or crayons. Who knows, it might even be more fun than the carpal-tunnel-producing, eye-strain-creating fun box known as your computer.