Friday, October 05, 2007

My is for all of you who use it the very epitomy of Web 2.0 usability. I love it. The primary reason I use it is as a tool for students. It is a great resource and essentially a great means to share information.

aiffhead on Threadless

I've been aware of Threadless for some time now but not really had the time to get involved. Finally - in the guise of my "alter - ego" aiffhead I've submitted a design for scoring.
My Submission

Please drop by to score my design...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Thoughts on COLLABOR8 2.0

Building on Richard Buchanan’s (2004) observation that economic development will inevitably connect China to the rest of the world in new and unexpected ways, I argue that designers and design educators, have both the opportunity, and the responsibility, to foster positive cross-cultural collaboration between east and west. Using simple web based technologies and pedagogy based in expression of identity, experience and understanding through exegetic processes focussing student reflection on local cultural landscapes, the COLLABOR8 Project (2003 – 2004) identified the potential for online cross-cultural collaborative e-learning between Australian and Chinese students within the context of vocational design education. The Omnium Research Group based at The College of Fine Arts (UNSW) has over a six-year period developed a platform for the purpose of facilitation and delivery of online design education, research and practice. Given that design educators globally have moved slowly in addressing the changes needed to equip design graduates for work in a global digital paradigm in which China is increasingly central to design and production processes, the Omnium platform presents significant potential to effect positive change in this scenario.

In the realization of an effective online platform Omnium has been prolific in providing opportunities for designers, students and academics to work together collaboratively. This has been achieved in projects such as the ongoing Omnium Creative Network (OCN) and the recent Visualising Issues in Pharmacy Project (VIP) which bring together individuals from across the world in the pursuit of common design based objectives thereby demonstrating that cross cultural collaboration is increasingly viable in online contexts. The Omnium system is also the foundation for delivery of COFA Online’s highly successful and comprehensive undergraduate and postgraduate programs of online art and design education at The College of Fine Arts which are substantiated by a significant, and growing body of research into online learning and collaboration.

Shifts in the practice of design to more collaborative and cross disciplinary approaches using digital networks and global workflows have significant potential in developing patterns of practice that engage positively with China in it's push for design credibility and it’s increasing awareness of the need to invest in culturally appropriate sustainable systems. I aim to demonstrate that through building on the research already carried out by The Omnium Research Group, occidental and oriental educators and designers can develop mutually beneficial understandings of appropriate, sustainable and adaptive cross cultural design practice through online collaboration. The argument presented will advocate the involvement of Chinese and Western design students, researchers

Monday, August 14, 2006

Trustworthiness and longevity in blogging

CLEARLY I'm a terrrible blogger I know. I know that my posts are permanently irregular but it is not something that bothers me much these days. This was not always the case however. I recall reading in several business blogs how customers/readers will find those who blog consistently more trustworthy. Justified through the assertion that a continual stream of information was more credible than a sporadic one.

This troubled me for some time - a kind of guilt thing I guess where I berated myself for not being more "credible" through prolific output. There was a time not so long ago when I read a lot of blogs and participated as much as I could...admittedly this was largely in a time prior to parenthood (which has undoubtedly had an impact at all levels) but these days there are less pages that I would visit on a daily basis.

The frenetic activity around some blogs is definitely difficult to sustain on a permanent basis. Web audiences are like any consumer a fickle beast and trends and fashion travel very quickly here.

So - where does this leave the blogger who wants to contribute something of value but is less inclined to have to "keep up" and perhaps end up spouting a lot of dubious platitudes in the process. Whatever...

I've come to realise that (for me at least) regardless of talent for expressing ideas, or not :) one should have something contructive and useful to add to the information deluge we face. Is it time to slow down and play more? work stuff out and to contemplate the consequences of actions and impact...even at the level of bashing out words online...

Whatever I say I want to make it count... there I feel better already :)

Hello Sydney :) Hello world :)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

"The joy of beta"

Martin Terre Blanche's post lines up nicely with Hans Henrick H.Heming's final point in the previous post on beta thinking. It's about honesty and what is essentally transparency with customers...
"...What also makes a big difference is that the people behind so many of the new online services now communicate openly with their 'customers' about what is going on behind the scenes. If there's some big stuff-up, they'll tell you about it. And they'll try to keep you informed about where they think things are going..."

I've recently witnessed first hand [and been impressed by] such a scenario with a newly developed service that is experiencing some teething problems and is redefining itself. It's an attitude I think not neccessarily a "process" as such.

Beta thinking

I appreciate the recent thoughts posted elswhere on the topic of "beta thinking". The discussion so far conveniently frames a range of issues and processes that have intrigued and frustrated me for some time now.

I was particularly impressed by Hans Henrick H. Heming's analysis. Hans says, "...beta is very much a state of creation, innovation, creating change, facilitating change with high speed..."

Hans has taken on the task of developing a "Beta Manifesto"...

1. being in beta is a natural state of life. Everything aroundus is either evolving or dying.
2. beta is playing. Experimenting. Trying.
3. beta is constant learning.
4. beta is profiting in the true nature of the word “profit”. Making progress.
5. beta is never perfect. Never completely without fault. Just like any human being. Everything can be made better. Allways. Achieving temporary perfection is better than aspiring for the ultimate perfection that is never reached.
6. beta is release as soon as it is safe. But never sooner. Only daredevils flies planes in beta or takes unfinished medicine.
7. beta is a natural state of things. Your body is in perpetual beta until you die (maybe..)
8. beta is evolution. Many small gradual changes. Suddenly they may seem like giant leaps.
9. beta is revolution. Not completely in control. Just like the real world.
10. beta is open. Ready for dialogue. Open for change. Positive for co-creation.
11. beta stands for things that changes. Change with consistancy.
12. beta creates feedback loops for companies, individuals and products.
13. beta is honest. Not superficial.

From my own experience and perspectives I'd concurr with most of the above. It is undoubtedly true that there is always room for improvements and that ongoing processes of quality management are the mark of what is only sensible business practice. Continuous learning in organisations becomes the basis for ongoing improvements and innovations, this can be formal or informal...

I wonder however where the line between a product or service being by nature and conception "beta" and where this state of apparent "flux" is perceived to be disorganisation, or worse incompetence by the consumer. Han's point about release as soon as it is safe is a key point. Beware the "unfinished medicine". ;)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

UNSW | COFA Online ~enrich public online courses in Art & Design

The College of Fine Arts' (COFA) first public online courses commence on June 12, 2006. These 100% online courses form part of a new venture called COFA Online ~enrich; uniquely linking UNSW to the broader community.

The first ~enrich courses are:

• Creative Thinking Processes
• Experiencing & Contemplating Art
• Textiles: Tradition & Contemporary Technology
• Graphics & Contemporary Society

Find out more at the
COFA Online ~enrich Website

COFA Online ~enrich is a dynamic and innovative initiative designed to address the needs and interests of public, professionals, and corporate bodies nationally and internationally, primarily in the area of visual arts and design.

The ~enrich concept extends beyond the traditional university environment into public, community and industry sectors offering a suite of relevant and contemporary online courses. Designed to provide university level education that is focussed not simply on skills acquisition, ~enrich courses are characterised by their theoretical components that are developed and taught by academics and industry professionals.

Delivered via COFA's Omnium™ software the ~enrich user-experience is of a seamless integration of quality academic content and an easy- to-use digital interface operable from any location. You may also choose to participate in ~enrich programs of higher rigor to achieve accreditation for your online studies. Developed with a global perspective the ~enrich program is a unique concept in contemporary visual art and design education driven by a vision of collaborative learning for all who wish to access it.

For more information about COFA Online’s ~enrich programs for 2006 contact the ~enrich Coordinator Ian McArthur on +61 2 9385 0644 or by email:

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Disappearing Computer

The increasing ubiquity of computers and related devices (e.g., sensors) and their diffusion into our environment requires a rethinking of the complex interplay between technology and humans. The often quoted observation by Mark Weiser, “The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it,” [9] set the stage for the vision of an unobtrusive, calm technology. Since then, the effort to make technologies disappear into the background has been an ongoing endeavour involving a series of international initiatives and innovative program. One prominent example is the proactive initiative “The Disappearing Computer” (DC) launched and funded by the “Future and Emerging Technologies” strand of the IST programme of the European Commission

As computers disappear from the scene, become invisible, and disappear from the perception of the users [5], a new set of issues is created concerning the interaction with computers embedded in everyday objects resulting in smart artefacts: How can people interact with invisible devices? How can we design implicit interaction for sensor-based interfaces? How can we design for transparency and coherent experiences? One way of tackling these problems is described in the following examples. It is characterized by returning to the real world as the starting point for design and trying to exploit the affordances that real-world objects provide.

Thanks to Mike Yue for the link :)


PDP2005 is largely over now given that it was essentially a 2005 project, however the evidence stands that blogs can form a vital aspect of pedagogical practice.

I argue that this medium is clearly able to be employed by teachers and students to their achive their respective learning goals.

Simply put the project was blog based from inception and evolved into a simple exercise in research at certifiate level [tertiary].

The project attracted the interest of young Shanghainese designer Mike Yue and he contributed an intriguing brief for the students to can find it on the bottom of the November archive...sorry no permalink :(

Emotion conscious chair design above by Twahn McMahon

Monday, February 06, 2006

Connected | Qualia 06 Exhibition 20/1/06 - 19/2/06

Despite the irony of me feeling rather "disconnected" about what was achieved with this exhibition - overall it looks good...the design exhibition is brash and colourful and a big improvement on last year's show. And that's an achievement I think :-)

On the move

Mobility, nomadic lifestyles, business travel, perpetually linked, email addiction, 21 C viruses that cannot be treated...these are topics I have been pondering of late...additionally the issue/topic of the "digital divide" is something I am curious about...

Less than 20% the world has a connection, Africa represents less than 1% of connected people which will be decreased. The question of access is a problem,

Different age, sex, language, work, skills, etc are much more of a problem than whether they have a computer or not.

Seriously interesting posts by Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino make for interesting reading at present.

I particularly liked the one featuring the quote from Jean-Luc Raymond above...

More info about Jean-Luc can be found on the LIFT06 site.