Sunday, April 30, 2006

Sportn' around in Schwaebisch Hall

Schwaebisch Hall 6 or 7 centuries ago, where they chained witches to be abused at by the crowd.
These days its better as a photo prop.



Mine ! mine!

Marcus and Katherin

Farewell Marcus and take care, we will all miss u.

don't forget the super star athlete from Australia

Chrissie in the 1920's

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Nice design portfolios



Flash designer

Graffiti crew

Where can I find some darn boomerangs!!

Is someone looking for a boomerang?

Monday, April 24, 2006

The scent of spring Schwaebisch style

beauty in the shadows

Playn with fire

Schwaebisch Hall flora

Coffee at beer garden

View of river from bridge

View from my apartment at night
!warning - Germany in Spring sometimes smells like manure..something to do with the cows

Saturday, April 22, 2006

De neue Typographie

The aim of the older typography was beauty, clarity is the purpose of modern design.

The more one knows of history, the more difficult it is to reject it

* source

Renner certainly tried to give a certain ‘spirit’ to Futura; he described it as the typeface appropriate for the modern era, for the age of machines and technology. But some of his statements about it are somewhat contradictory. He described how the typeface is not purely geometric, but full of subtle features, yet he also believed that it succeeded due to the purity of the idea behind it. It is obviously a product of its time, reflecting the preoccupations of modernist design in the 1920s, but it also has a timeless quality.

This is, in fact, the definition of a timeless quality – that something always looks modern.

I believe it makes you a better designer if you know about the history of your craft.
In printing and typography, technological changes have not always caused changes in the visual aspect of design, and so it is unjustifiable to say, for instance, that new media demand entirely new visual idioms.

if you are a busy designer, it may well be useful for you to know how something has been done well in the past, or how it was done in a certain way under particular historical circumstances. It could save you valuable time to have some knowledge of conventions.I’m not saying that history books should merely be regarded as visual source material – mimicry doesn’t work, except for pastiche – but picking up ideas and reinventing them for new situations, that’s what most of us do a lot of the time. It is possible to take the view that you should design pragmatically for each new situation without the baggage of the past, but it would be difficult for an individual to invent a whole graphic vocabulary and the idioms of use for themselves. Some knowledge of tradition is essential, if only in order to reject it.

This was Otl Aicher’s view: that design is a game, which can only be played properly if you observe some basic rules.


Friday, April 21, 2006

In search of search engine optimisation

Google's results are ranked in order according to the arcane PageRank algorithm, which essentially judges a website by the quality of other sites that link to it.

But content is just as important. As Google's spiders crawl through cyberspace, they break websites down to keywords that can be matched with a search.

Google claims that no one can buy a higher PageRank but the whole optimisation industry is based on the idea that those spiders can be lured or frustrated by site design.

"The process is not very complex, but rather meticulous," Mr Peczek says. "The whole strategy is to develop a network, kind of like a net, which can catch people from different searches looking in different areas."

Every page of a website can be optimised around three or four keywords.

Website text must be "Google-friendly", Mr Petryshen adds. "You must make sure it matches with the way a consumer searches. For instance, most health insurance sites refer to 'health cover' but most consumers search for 'health insurance'."

"We see them all the time - sites that put up a splash page with a bit of Flash," he says. "It does heaps more damage than having a more open home page with some content. Search engines also have a hard time getting past the query strings on database driven sites, and they can't read headings if they're images rather than text.

"Most of the struggles we have are with design agencies, trying to convince them of the value of search. Every choice has an outcome."

"To a great extent, search-engine optimisation is a repackaging of the basic usability principles," he says. "All the fancy graphics and multimedia mean nothing to search engines, which are basically the world's most influential blind users.

Once webpages are optimised, the next step is getting good quality incoming links. One factor is simply reputation, which is why small start-ups take a lot longer to get noticed, or have to go to greater extremes.

Another factor is the competition. If you're in "porn, casinos or pills", Mr Petryshen says, it's going to take a long time and a lot of work to get noticed online. Similarly, the travel and accommodation industries are now well-established and hotly contested on Google's front page.

"Our recommendation is to talk to your partners, see if you can get links from their websites," he says. "Look to directories such as the Yahoo directory. You build up over time."

"We don't spend any money on directory listings,"
"If you get a lot of exposure in the offline press and media, that's worth way more than any crappy links from dodgy dating sites. Just do good PR."
Advanet's Mr Peczek says the most prized links in Australia are from sites such as the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age or the ABC (all PageRanked eight out of 10).

To be honest, you just need to have a relevant site. Have a good service, build a good site with lots of relevant pages, make sure the content is nice and rich - and somewhat repetitive when it comes to certain keywords - and that's kind of all you really need to do.

"There aren't any quick fixes for getting inbound links."


How to disappear: Have an entirely Flash-based homepage

Make all your headlines jpegs

Use technical, in-house language

Don't exchange links

Keep your online business a stand-alone operation

Use an unrelated domain name

Links to arrive via javascript, cookies and frames

Make all page titles obscure

Don't have a site map

Avoid popular blogs or media sites

Nielsen Norman Group's eye tracking research reveals how web users look at a page of Google search results.

Red areas are those seen the most by users.

Yellow areas were seen a medium amount and blue areas were seen the least.

The eye concentrates on the first few organic search results, with a noticeable drop-off by the third result. It also shows that pole position in the sponsored links (at right) attracts strong attention. Blue "spots" in apparently empty space are likely to be the eyes flicking over to navigation tools as the user scrolls down through results.

Numb to my anxieties

Beautiful buildings in East Germany

Apartment block
and below nice rustic wall where I stayed.
Go East!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Colours of spring

Please do not judge me
Like I am judging you now
Same, same but different.

bloom on!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

In search of interactivity continued..

The new urgent challenge for artists and storytellers is to create interactive artifacts that can induce the same emotional reactions and communicate emotional content as traditional non-interactive stories and art have done.

In fact because the computer theoretically can be programmed to tailor the experience to an individual, it could become the most powerful medium of all for creating affective stories and art.

While emotions may be required for intelligence,... the most compelling interactions with virtual characters will not be in the area of functional agents. If a user encounters a virtual character that seems to be truly alive and have emotions, the user may instead want to befriend the character, not control them.

Users and interactive virtual characters have the potential to form emotional relationships with each other – relationships that are more than a reader’s or moviegoer’s affinity for a fictional character in a traditional story, and perhaps as meaningful as a friendship between real people.

By an emotional relationship we mean a set of long-term interactions where the two parties pay attention to the emotional state of the other, communicate their feelings, share a trust, feel empathetic, and establish a connection, a bond.

What is most interesting about the phenomenon of virtual pets are not the toys and software themselves – some of which have minimal interactivity and little or no artificial intelligence driving them – but the fact that some people seem to want to form emotional relationships with them. Some appear quite eager to forget that these characters are artificial and are ready and willing to engage in emotional relationships, even when some of the virtual pets offer little or no reward or “warmth” in return. This offers some promise for the public’s acceptance of the concept of a more advanced virtual friend.

Stories have long been our primary way to observe and understand our emotional relationships. If stories could be made interactive – where users could immerse themselves in virtual worlds with characters they could talk to, form relationships with, touch and be touched by, and together alter the course of events, literally creating a new story in real-time – then we would have a new form of interactive entertainment that eclipses videogames.

Like traditional stories from books, theater, television and movies, an interactive story would be affecting and meaningful, but made all the more personal because the user helped shape it and create it (Stern 1998).

We found that being able to (virtually) touch and hold the characters to be a very effective way of building emotional relationships and creating the illusion of life.

When perceiving a lack of affection, Petz will howl and yowl, sounding lonely; Babyz will cry and say “mama” or “dada” in a sad tone of voice.
We found if a virtual character cannot immediately show an emotional reaction, it will not seem believable. Timing is very important.

At the highest level in the architecture is the “free will” and narrative intelligence layer. This is custom logic that can spontaneously (using constrained randomness) spawn new goals and emotions to convey the illusion that the character has intent of its own.

For the artist, the act of creating a virtual character requires a deep understanding of the processes at work in the character’s mind and body. This has always been true in traditional art forms, from painting and sculpting realistic people to novels to photography and cinema, but it is taken to a new level with interactive virtual characters.

In search of interactivity

For the players, "games are not just entertainment but a vehicle for self-expression..."

For the games design industry, this level of interactivity and individualisation is the new holy grail, according to Will Wright, the designer of one of the world's most successful games, The Sims.

Giving audiences or customers something to create is one of the most valuable possible experiences.

Today’s games remain almost exclusively oriented around physical action.

Most notably, games are unable to convincingly address many of the topics and themes of human relationships, thereby limiting both their mass market appeal and potential cultural value.

In effect, game designs are restricted in their subject matter because players cannot yet speak in natural language to the game. Language would offer players a far greater range of expression than physical action alone; language is of course the primary way we communicate with one another in real life. Language allows us to talk about ideas and express attitudes and emotions – key requirements for interactive experiences focused on human relationships, currently the domain of drama and literature.

At the same time, we know that narrative structures (stories) have historically
been an extremely successful way of representing human relationships.

* source:

Monday, April 17, 2006

TungTung in Bavaria (Saal actually...)

German flora

Marina being one with the environment... do trees smile too?

Pussy willow

Monument to the fall of Napoleaon rule... yaey!!

moss lovely moss... no crack here

run run

Stop! look at my lovely shoes
All Day I Dream About Sneakers

Happy Easter!!

Best roast in years!
that's chicken,beef,and pork

Pond along the river

Somewhere in Bavaria

Marina and her mum

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Original sins


Berlin photo shoot

Me and Lars with designer bears that are all around Germany - photo thx to Marina

Alex paparazzi pose

Passive protest ..They did not stop!

Professionals @ work

Famous Brandernburg Gate..looks more impressive at night

Remanents of the Wall on the east side of Germany