Thursday, May 22, 2008

My Other First Conference

russell davies: an incomplete list of interesting speakers

As Russell points out, I'm not giving my Art / Robots / HCI /Porn and stuff talk at Interesting. Instead, at the moment (and it may change if I have a little panic about the subject) I am going to be delivering the following little chat:

"This Talk May Suck: The Cultural History of the Vacuum Cleaner"

It is more interesting than it appears.

Statistically Comparative Fight Club

How Many Five Year Olds Could You Take in a Fight?

In my case, 28. The same number as Alice.

Tom can only take 18. Cherie managed 26.

Now, taking children as a baseline, theoretically, what we thus have is a measure of likelihood of each of us beating the other in a fight. Alice and I are an even match, obviously - her high kicks would be countered by my naturally low centre of gravity, I presume.

Tom and I would be closer to a foregone conclusion. What would the maths be? If we fought 28+18 rounds, would I win 28 and he 18? That would mean I'd have a 28/(28+18)*100 percent chance of winning - or 60.869%. 3:2 odds, isn't that? My ability to use small children as a weapon would be an advantage here, I think.

I'd have a very slim advantage over Cherie - 51.852% - fairly even odds, I think. I'm not sure about that, actually, as I think she'd kick my 'ass' - permissable due to her being American. Only an Englishman would kick my arse, of course.

Back to the drawing board on the calculations, then.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Thing I've Kind of Made

Rujirushi Greeting Cards

Greeting Cards £12.99
Buy this on

We launched a new bit of work on MOO last week: a huge expansion of the 'Ready Made' pack area of the site. Ready Made lets you buy a pack of MOO Products without having to upload your own images. You get a really lovely variety of designs by our MOO designers - there's some amazing stuff in there. The Rujirushi cards above are by a Japanese animator, and are the most lovely green imaginable.

The cool thing - and I can't really take credit for it as my idea - is that if you buy a pack of cards, and photograph them, when you upload them to flickr you can grab a special MOO tag that will make your photo automagically appear on the right page on MOO.

It's cute. Try it.

Props to memespring, c0ntax and symphonicknot who actually did all the work. And to my awesome designers. (UPDATE: Shit! Forgot pixellent, because she sits behind me! Bad! Sorry!)

BBC profanity lists - WhatDoTheyKnow

BBC profanity lists - WhatDoTheyKnow

Sadly, my friend Richard's FOI attempt to get the BBC to release a canonical list of naughty words has hit a glitch 'because the BBC and the other public service
broadcasters are covered by the Act only in respect of information held for purposes “other than
those of journalism, art or literature” '.


Also, it's really rather rude to add (sic) after the mis-spellings of the original correspondant, don't you think?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Speaking in Tongues

Free English Esperanto web translation

M'estimable chum Anno pointed me at this. M'other estimable chum Roo pointed out that Lojban was surely meant to be the internet equivalent.

But no, of course: the internet equivalent is LOLCat, having taken over from Klingon sometime last year.

Which makes me wonder...

Has anyone written a Klingon to LOLCat translator yet?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

My First Conference

Open Tech 2008 - 5th July in London.

I'm giving a talk at this year's OpenTech 2008, on July 5th, in London's sunny London. It's the first time I've ever stuck my head over the parapet of the conference circuit, and I'm both excited and utterly terrifying. (Edit: uh, I mean terrified. Although, uh, yes, both.)

I'll be talking about art history - the starting point for the talk is a painting by Rembrandt, and going on to talk about technology and embodiment: how our physical bodies relate to our machines, tools and the internet. I'm going to look particularly silly, as I'm on at 10.30am, a time of the morning when my brain doesn't work, and also sharing a bill with UBER BRAIN and offical world's cleverest person, Matt Webb.

The synopsis of my talk is roughly this:

* Who was Dr Von Tulp, and what can Rembrandt’s painting of him tell us about human-computer interaction?
* How is a week without the internet like loosing a leg?
* Why are the heady rushes of computer games and pornography the most compelling things on the internet?

We’re beginning to use machines as bodily prostheses almost without noticing. Touch interfaces, motion control, virtual worlds, mobile connectivity – all give us a delicious illusion of power over the physical.

We all know the man-machine stereotypes from countless Hollywood movies, but what should we geeks, tinkerers and creative technologists remember about the way our real-world bodies intersect with the imaginary spaces of computing and the internet as we shape the future of embodied interaction?

All these questions – and more! - glossed over as I attempt to draw lessons from art history, robotics and interface design in to one quick presentation – and all without sounding like a mad early 90s technohippy.

Register to hear me make a tit of myself at

If you're interested in the subject matter, my research links are appearing at

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Behance Explained

enough_words.gif (GIF Image, 967x1535 pixels)

I thought this worth linking to.

The Behance network explains their service first in words, and then as a diagram. It's a really elegant way of explaining a site's value proposition to a potential user - especially when that potential user is a designer or artist.

Mind you, not very googlable, but there you go.