Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘software’

21 SEPTEMBER, 2010

PICKED: IDEO Imagines The Future of Books


PICKED is a new series of short-form interestingness we’re adding to our usual one-item-daily menu — every day, in addition to the main Brain Pickings article, we’ll also curate a couple of quick, often self-explanatory tidbits of noteworthiness from around the web. Think of it as the takeout to Brain Pickings’ full-service fine dining — same curatorial yardstick and quality of content, served to go.

We’ve previously looked at the evolution of magazines. Now, design and innovation powerhouse IDEO is reimaging the book as an interactive, non-linear storytelling experience.

We’ve got a weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays, offers the week’s articles, and features five more tasty bites of web-wide interestingness. Here’s an example. Like? Sign up.

02 SEPTEMBER, 2010

SwiftRiver: Intelligence for the Information Age


What humanitarian crisis management has to do with brand monitoring and natural language.

Information management is easily the greatest challenge of the digital age, only intensifying as we go forth. While most of us make do with a careful selection of tools and a handful of trusted content curators, a holistic solution to information overload has been largely missing. Until now. Enter SwiftRiver, a brand new open-source intelligence gathering platform for managing real-time streams of data.

Developed by our friends at Ushahidi, whose platform of crowdsourced crisis information was the single most effective data management platform during the Haiti earthquake, SwiftRiver offers five different web services for validating and filtering real-time information:

  • SiLCC is a natural-language processing tool that extracts semantic value from text — essentially, figuring out the human meaning of digital bits
  • SULSa adds location context to content, which can be a life-or-death factor when responding to crisis information
  • SiCDS reduces the number of duplicates, such as RT’s on Twitter that relay identical information without adding semantic value
  • Reverberations measures the influence of content by weighing its popularity as it propagates across the social graph
  • River ID scans the other four services to determine what and who is of value to different communities

Swift isn’t about replacing humans — it’s about maximizing their time.” ~ Jon Gosier

What makes SwiftRiver particularly noteworthy is its incredible range applications — from humanitarian crisis management to brand monitoring to political intelligence and beyond. What’s even more valuable is the multi-dimensional, relational way in which it approaches content — because the value of information is rarely absolute but, rather, relative to the context of who we are, what we do, where we live, and what else we know.

We have high hopes for SwiftRiver as the first tangible ray of hope for “curaggregation” — the holy-grail intersection of curation and aggregation. Give it a try.

via White African

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20 JULY, 2010

Facadeprinter: Graffiti Meets Paintball


Automating anti-establishment, or what street art has to do with disaster relief.

Much of street art revolves around the cult of the individual creator, creeping through the night to meticulously paint, stencil or tag a wall by hand. But can technology subvert this ethos? Facadeprinter is an inkjet printer in architectonical scale — a simple, software-controlled robot that shoots artwork from a distance of up to 12 meters, dot by dot, onto the target surface area. Think Banksy meets paintball meets ChalkBot — in other words, graffiti for geeks.

Designed by German duo Martin Fussenegger and Michael Sebastian, Facadeprinter can render artwork as large as 8 by 10 meters and, depending on the paint used, can produce permanent or temporary images. Besides the obvious uses in large-scale street art and advertising installations, the technology could have some interesting and rather useful applications in disaster relief, where the rapid printing process can enable quick and effective visual communication signaling shelter, food and water, danger zones, or medical aid.

Design is research. Driven by the desire to discover and understand. Above all a new design comes from a foreshadowing, which is looked into. Step by step this turns into an insight. If someone finally senses the result as being ‘beautiful’ or ‘new’, these are the many steps required of understanding, which produce a coherent whole. New aesthetics through new technology. Thus the Facadeprinter and the resulting rough printed appearance inseparably belong together.”

Here’s how it works: An integrated laser displays a bounding box of the artwork onto the wall, affixing its position. A paintball system converted into a printhead then shoots the color balls onto the wall, conveying the gelatine-encapsulated color balls to the marker where they are accelerated to a speed of 200km per hour. Upon contact with the wall, the balls burst, leaving dots 5 to 10 cm in diameter. The emptied out gelatine shells fall down to the ground where they can decompose naturally after rain without residue.

What makes Facadeprinter particularly interesting is that it’s an odd intersection of art and algorithm, raising questions of whether we can automate street art and preserve its message, and whether urban visual communication can serve as a design-driven humanitarian solution.


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