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UNBORED: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun
"The UNBORED team — coauthors Josh Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen, and designer Tony Leone — are friends who got tired of lamenting the fact that we couldn’t find any activity books for families who enjoy getting unbored both indoors and outdoors, online and offline. So we decided to make one.

Our inspiration? Do-it-yourself guides from the 1970s like The Whole Earth Catalog, maker/builder websites like Instructables and Make, parenting blogs, old scouting manuals, and even Neal Stephenson's sci-fi novel The Diamond Age.

In creating our first book we drew on our own memories of childhood — the made-up games we played, the rhymes we used to figure out who was “It,” the handicrafts we enjoyed, you name it. We also drew on our experiences as parents of kids growing up in the 21st century… with the Internet and smartphones and apps. And we roped in a couple dozen scientist, activist, and maker friends to help out, too. Perhaps most importantly, we recruited three very talented artists — Mister Reusch, Heather Kasunick, and Chris Piascik — to contribute hundreds of illustrations."



"UNBORED GAMES
2014
Paperback, 176 pages

In the fall of 2014, Bloomsbury published the paperback UNBORED Games. In its 176 (full-color, richly illustrated) pages, you’ll find the rules to dozens of indoor, outdoor, online and offline games, including: back of the classroom games, bike rodeo games, jump rope games, alternate reality games, clapping games, apps and videogames, secret-rules games, drawing games, rock-paper-scissors games, card and dice games, backyard games, guerrilla kindness games, stress-relieving games, and geo-games.

PLUS
Expert essays by gamers Chris Dahlen, Catherine Newman, Stephen Duncombe, and Richela Fabian Morgan; Best Ever lists; DIY game-building projects; Secret History Comics; Q&As with Apps for Kids podcasters Mark and Jane Frauenfelder, Anomia inventor Andrew Innes, and others; Train Your Grownup features; classic literature excerpts; and brain-teasing Mindgames."



"Our second book received glowing reviews, too. (For example, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune described it as “chock-full of smart, totally not-lame ideas to amuse and give the brain a workout.”) So our team set to work on a third book…"



"UNBORED Adventure
2015
Paperback, 176 pages

In the fall of 2015, Bloomsbury published the paperback UNBORED Adventure. In its 176 (full-color, richly illustrated) pages, you’ll find adventure apps, adventure gear, adventure skills (from building a fire to open-mindedness), adventure-building projects (e.g., bean shooter, box kite, ghillie poncho, paracord bracelet, upcycled raft), indoor adventures (e.g., sewing your own ditty bag, survival origami), instant adventures, and outdoor adventures (from the pervasive game Assassin to fire-pit recipes to shootin’ craps).

PLUS
Expert essays by adventurers Chris Spurgeon, BikeSnobNYC, Catherine Newman, and Liz Lee Heinecke; Best Ever lists; Secret History Comics; Q&As with Joshua Foer and Dylan Thuras of Atlas Obscura, Playborhood author Mike Lanza, and urban biking activist Elly Blue, among others; Train Your Grownup features; and classic lit excerpts."



"Our third book was also well-received. We think it’s our best book yet! But a whole new phase of the UNBORED project was just beginning…"



"UNBORED ACTIVITY KITS [x4, so far]…
Unbored Disguises…
Unbored Treasure Hunt…
UNBORED Carnival kit…
UNBORED Time Capsule…"
books  children  classideas  parenting  fun  creativity  elizabethfoylarsen  joshglenn  nealstephenson  wholeearthcatalog  play  games  gaming  adventure 
february 2019 by robertogreco
Derren Brown on Twitter: "I’ve been a fan of this guy for a while - he makes extraordinary Rube Goldberg machines with a level of wit that elevates them beyond any I’ve seen before: https://t.co/5AY0IlVhOj"
"I’ve been a fan of this guy for a while - he makes extraordinary Rube Goldberg machines with a level of wit that elevates them beyond any I’ve seen before:"
video  classideas  fun  rubegoldberg 
may 2018 by robertogreco
dani on Twitter: "It started with x+4... and I couldn’t unhear it. I was supposed to do my math homework but instead I figured out what the Cantina Theme wou… https://t.co/OkYdzAcuN9"
"It started with x+4... and I couldn’t unhear it.
I was supposed to do my math homework but instead I figured out what the Cantina Theme would sound like if your instrument was a pencil. (Volume all the way up)

With music for those wondering what the heck this is.
(Excuse my reddit tag, I wasn’t about to re-edit the video for Twitter, no sir)

Here’s the Imperial March my friends"
music  math  mathematics  fun  humor  sound  classideas  2018  starwars 
january 2018 by robertogreco
I Love This German Grandma Reading Children's Books On Twitch
"My knowledge of foreign languages amounts to “can read some French okay and could conceivably order a beer and ask where to bathroom is if I really had to.” Despite this, I still can’t get enough of a German grandma reading what I’m pretty sure are children’s books on Twitch.

I do not speak any German at all, so I can’t really tell you much about this woman—I was browsing Twitch Creative and clicked on the profile for MarmeladenOma, because she seemed nice. Upon plugging in my headphones I realized she wasn’t speaking English. I’m not sure what she’s reading, but she seems like she’s about to bring me some milk and cookies. I’m sold!"
twitch  grandparents  reading  fun  streaming  2017  via:tealtan 
january 2017 by robertogreco
A Boom Interview: Mike Davis in conversation with Jennifer Wolch and Dana Cuff – Boom California
"Dana Cuff: You told us that you get asked about City of Quartz too often, so let’s take a different tack. As one of California’s great urban storytellers, what is missing from our understanding of Los Angeles?

Mike Davis: The economic logic of real estate and land development. This has always been the master key to understanding spatial and racial politics in Southern California. As the late-nineteenth century’s most influential radical thinker—I’m thinking of San Francisco’s Henry George not Karl Marx—explained rather magnificently, you cannot reform urban space without controlling land values. Zoning and city planning—the Progressive tools for creating the City Beautiful—either have been totally co-opted to serve the market or died the death of a thousand cuts, that is to say by variances. I was briefly an urban design commissioner in Pasadena in the mid-1990s and saw how easily state-of-the-art design standards and community plans were pushed aside by campaign contributors and big developers.

If you don’t intervene in the operation of land markets, you’ll usually end up producing the opposite result from what you intended. Over time, for instance, improvements in urban public space raise home values and tend to become amenity subsidies for wealthier people. In dynamic land markets and central locations, nonprofits can’t afford to buy land for low-income housing. Struggling artists and hipsters inadvertently become the shock troops of gentrification and soon can’t afford to live in the neighborhoods and warehouse districts they invigorated. Affordable housing and jobs move inexorably further apart and the inner-city crisis ends up in places like San Bernardino.

If you concede that the stabilization of land values is the precondition for long-term democratic planning, there are two major nonrevolutionary solutions. George’s was the most straightforward: execute land monopolists and profiteers with a single tax of 100 percent on increases in unimproved land values. The other alternative is not as radical but has been successfully implemented in other advanced capitalist countries: municipalize strategic parts of the land inventory for affordable housing, parks and form-giving greenbelts.

The use of eminent domain for redevelopment, we should recall, was originally intended to transform privately owned slums into publicly owned housing. At the end of the Second World War, when progressives were a majority in city government, Los Angeles adopted truly visionary plans for both public housing and rational suburban growth. What then happened is well known: a municipal counter-revolution engineered by the LA Times. As a result, local governments continued to use eminent domain but mainly to transfer land from small owners to corporations and banks.

Fast-forward to the 1980s. A new opportunity emerged. Downtown redevelopment was devouring hundreds of millions of dollars of diverted taxes, but its future was bleak. A few years before, Reyner Banham had proclaimed that Downtown was dead or at least irrelevant. If the Bradley administration had had the will, it could have municipalized the Spring-Main Street corridor at rock-bottom market prices. Perhaps ten million square feet would have become available for family apartments, immigrant small businesses, public markets, and the like, at permanently controlled affordable rents.

I once asked Kurt Meyer, a corporate architect who had been chairman of the Community Redevelopment Agency, about this. He lived up Beachwood Canyon below the Hollywood Sign. We used to meet for breakfast because he enjoyed yarning about power and property in LA, and this made him a unique source for my research at the time. He told me that downtown elites were horrified by the unexpected revitalization of the Broadway corridor by Mexican businesses and shoppers, and the last thing they wanted was a populist downtown.

He also answered a question that long vexed me. “Kurt, why this desperate, all-consuming priority to have the middle class live downtown?” “Mike, do you know anything about leasing space in high-rise buildings?” “Not really.” “Well, the hardest part to rent is the ground floor: to extract the highest value, you need a resident population. You can’t just have office workers going for breakfast and lunch; you need night time, twenty-four hour traffic.” I don’t know whether this was really an adequate explanation but it certainly convinced me that planners and activists need a much deeper understanding of the game.

In the event, the middle class has finally come downtown but only to bring suburbia with them. The hipsters think they’re living in the real thing, but this is purely faux urbanism, a residential mall. Downtown is not the heart of the city, it’s a luxury lifestyle pod for the same people who claim Silverlake is the “Eastside” or that Venice is still bohemian.

Cuff: Why do you call it suburbia?

Davis: Because the return to the center expresses the desire for urban space and crowds without allowing democratic variety or equal access. It’s fool’s gold, and gentrification has taken the place of urban renewal in displacing the poor. Take Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris’s pioneering study of the privatization of space on the top of Bunker Hill. Of course, your museum patron or condo resident feels at home, but if you’re a Salvadorian skateboarder, man, you’re probably headed to Juvenile Hall."



"Jennifer Wolch: Absolutely. However it’s an important question particularly for the humanities students, the issue of subjectivity makes them reticent to make proposals.

Davis: But, they have skills. Narrative is an important part of creating communities. People’s stories are key, especially about their routines. It seems to me that there are important social science skills, but the humanities are important particularly because of stories. I also think a choreographer would be a great analyst of space and kind of an imagineer for using space.

I had a long talk with Richard Louv one day about his Last Child in the Woods, one of the most profound books of our time, a meditation on what it means for kids to lose contact with nature, with free nomadic unorganized play and adventure. A generation of mothers consigned to be fulltime chauffeurs, ferrying kids from one commercial distraction or over-organized play date to another. I grew up in eastern San Diego County, on the very edge of the back country, and once you did your chores (a serious business in those days), you could hop on your bike and set off like Huck Finn. There was a nudist colony in Harbison Canyon about twelve miles away, and we’d take our bikes, push them uphill for hours and hours in the hope of peeking through the fence. Like all my friends, I got a .22 (rifle) when I turned twelve. We did bad things to animals, I must confess, but we were free spirits, hated school, didn’t worry about grades, kept our parents off our backs with part-time jobs and yard work, and relished each crazy adventure and misdemeanor. Since I moved back to San Diego in 2002, I have annual reunions with the five or six guys I’ve known since second grade in 1953. Despite huge differences in political beliefs and religion, we’re still the same old gang.

And gangs were what kept you safe and why mothers didn’t have to worry about play dates or child molesters. I remember even in kindergarten—we lived in the City Heights area of San Diego at that time—we had a gang that walked to school together and played every afternoon. Just this wild group of little boys and girls, seven or eight of us, roaming around, begging pennies to buy gum at the corner store. Today the idea of unsupervised gangs of children or teenagers sounds like a law-and-order problem. But it’s how communities used to work and might still work. Aside from Louv, I warmly recommend The Child in the City by the English anarchist Colin Ward. A chief purpose of architecture, he argues, should be to design environments for unprogrammed fun and discovery."



"Wolch: We have one last question, about your young adult novels. Whenever we assign something from City of Quartz or another of your disheartening pieces about LA, it’s hard not to worry that the students will leave the class and jump off of a cliff! But your young adult novels seem to capture some amount of an alternative hopeful future.

Davis: Gee, you shouldn’t be disheartened by my books on LA. They’re just impassioned polemics on the necessity of the urban left. And my third LA book, Magical Urbanism, literally glows with optimism about the grassroots renaissance going on in our immigrant neighborhoods. But to return to the two adolescent “science adventure” novels I wrote for Viggo Mortensen’s wonderful Perceval Press. Above all they’re expressions of longing for my oldest son after his mother moved him back to her native Ireland. The heroes are three real kids: my son, his step-brother, and the daughter of our best friends when I taught at Stony Brook on Long Island. Her name is Julia Monk, and she’s now a wildlife biologist doing a Ph.D. at Yale on pumas in the Andes. I’m very proud that I made her the warrior-scientist heroine of the novels, because it was an intuition about her character that she’s made real in every way—just a remarkable young person."
mikedavis  2016  interviews  economics  california  sanfrancisco  losangeles  henrygeorge  urbanism  urban  suburbia  suburbs  jenniferolch  danacuff  fauxurbanism  hipsters  downtown  property  ownership  housing  populism  progressive  progressivism  reynerbanham  planning  urbanplanning  citybeautiful  gentrification  cities  homeless  homelessness  michaelrotundi  frankgehry  richardlouv  gangs  sandiego  friendship  colinward  thechildinthecity  architecture  fun  discovery  informal  unprogrammed  freedom  capitalism  china  india  england  ireland  famine  optimism  juliamonk  children  teens  youth  development  realestate  zoning  sanbernardino  sciarc 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Maira Kalman’s Bohemian Bliss Above a Bakery - WSJ
"The illustrator and writer recalls her artist husband, Tibor, and their first Greenwich Village apartment"



"Artist Maira Kalman, 65, is the author and illustrator of 24 books, including “My Favorite Things” (Harper Design) and “Ah-Ha to Zig” (Rizzoli), both based on a December exhibit she is curating for New York’s Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. She spoke with Marc Myers.

The apartment I shared with my late husband, Tibor, between 1976 and 1982, wasn’t pretty but we were happy. We both came of age in that fifth-floor tenement walk-up at 29 Cornelia St. in New York’s Greenwich Village. I was just beginning to illustrate and Tibor was starting M & Co., his graphic-design firm. We didn’t need much.

The railroad apartment had three rooms, one after the next. What we lacked in space and fancy furnishings was more than made up for by fun and love. Back then the neighborhood was still home to three generations of Italian families and poor artists. Our rent was $125 a month, and everything was possible in our lives and careers.

Tibor and I met in 1968 while attending New York University. Throughout the early 1970s we would break up and get back together, so we lived in a series of places before settling down. When you entered our Cornelia Street apartment, you were standing in our living room. Then you passed into the kitchen—the center room with a rough concrete trough of a bathtub that had a wooden cover when it wasn’t in use. The third room was a small bedroom that faced the back of A. Zito & Sons bakery. In the morning, the smell of bread baking filled the room.

Tibor and I were both strangely content. Even climbing five flights with groceries or with the laundry was part of the experience. We just thought, here we are, we’re together and in love, and isn’t that great.

Our decorating style was no style at all. Our furnishings were hand-me-downs or things we had found on the street. One piece was a beautiful armchair that we had reupholstered. I still have it. I don’t know why someone chucked it out, but that’s New York.

In the kitchen, we had a ’50s dining table. My studio wasn’t set up yet, so I drew at the kitchen table. I’d draw everywhere, from the park to cafes.

One day, when Tibor was at work, I decided I hated our horrible brown wall-to-wall carpeting. I ripped it up halfway before I became exhausted. When Tibor came home I told him the carpet had to go. He ripped out the other half without a word of complaint. Then I painted the wood floor in the living room butter yellow—the walls were already white—and I instantly felt lighter. That’s what’s interesting about changing layers of your living space. How you feel changes, too.

Eventually Tibor and I wanted more space, so we built a loft bed in the bedroom. It had lots of heavy, raw wood and looked rather dreadful. It was a hippie time, so you have to forgive us. At one point we also upgraded the kitchen by ripping out the tub and putting in a shower.

We were always putting up and taking down art from the walls. One night we hung an onion ring on a nail high up on the kitchen wall. I don’t remember why. I was from Israel and Tibor was from Hungary, so we were always fascinated by vernacular. Fast food was part of the American scene—diners, coffee shops and hamburger stands. All of that Americana was joyful and optimistic and funny to us. That was the beginning of our onion-ring collection. The onion rings we installed never deteriorated, which was amazing. We had dozens of them, and some we framed and gave to friends.

When I think back to our apartment now, I think of it as empty—just shapes of rooms and light. What I do remember vividly is that the space was filled with friendship and love and a never-ending curiosity about everything.

Tibor and I married in 1981, and the following year we moved to a one-bedroom apartment on 12th Street when I became pregnant with our daughter, Lulu. We soon bought the place. A few years later, Tibor and I had a son named Alex, at which point we also bought the apartment next door. Tibor died in 1999, and I still live here.

I’m about to have my apartment repainted white, as always, but I fear it’s going to be a daunting task. There are too many whites to choose from."
mairakalman  tiborkalman  love  life  living  homes  2014  experience  cv  small  fun  making  white  onionrings  vernacular  nyc 
november 2016 by robertogreco
The Mystery Is Resolved – The Rain That Never Stops
"Everybody loves a good riddle, but when you design one, you never know how it will be perceived until you try it out. The new Smashing Mystery Riddle didn’t emerge over night, and after weeks of fine adjustments and many — many — test runs, we prepared some coffee, pressed that shiny “Publish” button and, you know, started waiting for tweets. And now, exactly two days later, it’s time to reveal the mystery and announce the winners. Oh, you want to figure it out first? Well, then please close this tab since there are (obviously) spoilers in this post."
gifs  puzzles  smashingmag  twitter  via:senongo  2016  fun  riddles  classideas  treasurehunts 
august 2016 by robertogreco
The Importance of Recreational Math - The New York Times
"Baltimore — IN 1975, a San Diego woman named Marjorie Rice read in her son’s Scientific American magazine that there were only eight known pentagonal shapes that could entirely tile, or tessellate, a plane. Despite having had no math beyond high school, she resolved to find another. By 1977, she’d discovered not just one but four new tessellations — a result noteworthy enough to be published the following year in a mathematics journal.

The article that turned Ms. Rice into an amateur researcher was by the legendary polymath Martin Gardner. His “Mathematical Games” series, which ran in Scientific American for more than 25 years, introduced millions worldwide to the joys of recreational mathematics. I read him in Mumbai as an undergraduate, and even dug up his original 1956 column on “hexaflexagons” (folded paper hexagons that can be flexed to reveal different flowerlike faces) to construct some myself.

“Recreational math” might sound like an oxymoron to some, but the term can broadly include such immensely popular puzzles as Sudoku and KenKen, in addition to various games and brain teasers. The qualifying characteristics are that no advanced mathematical knowledge like calculus be required, and the activity engage enough of the same logical and deductive skills used in mathematics.

Unlike Sudoku, which always has the same format and gets easier with practice, the disparate puzzles that Mr. Gardner favored required different, inventive techniques to crack. The solution in such puzzles usually pops up in its entirety, through a flash of insight, rather than emerging steadily via step-by-step deduction as in Sudoku. An example: How can you identify a single counterfeit penny, slightly lighter than the rest, from a group of nine, in only two weighings?

Mr. Gardner’s great genius lay in using such basic puzzles to lure readers into extensions requiring pattern recognition and generalization, where they were doing real math. For instance, once you solve the nine coin puzzle above, you should be able to figure it out for 27 coins, or 81, or any power of three, in fact. This is how math works, how recreational questions can quickly lead to research problems and striking, unexpected discoveries.

A famous illustration of this was a riddle posed by the citizens of Konigsberg, Germany, on whether there was a loop through their town traversing each of its seven bridges only once. In solving the problem, the mathematician Leonhard Euler abstracted the city map by representing each land mass by a node and each bridge by a line segment. Not only did his method generalize to any number of bridges, but it also laid the foundation for graph theory, a subject essential to web searches and other applications.

With the diversity of entertainment choices available nowadays, Mr. Gardner’s name may no longer ring a bell. The few students in my current batch who say they still do mathematical puzzles seem partial to a website called Project Euler, whose computational problems require not just mathematical insight but also programming skill.

This reflects a sea change in mathematics itself, where computationally intense fields have been gaining increasing prominence in the past few decades. Also, Sudoku-type puzzles, so addictive and easily generated by computers, have squeezed out one-of-a-kind “insight” puzzles, which are much harder to design — and solve. Yet Mr. Gardner’s work lives on, through websites that render it in the visual and animated forms favored by today’s audiences, through a constellation of his books that continue to sell, and through biannual “Gathering 4 Gardner” recreational math conferences.

In his final article for Scientific American, in 1998, Mr. Gardner lamented the “glacial” progress resulting from his efforts to have recreational math introduced into school curriculums “as a way to interest young students in the wonders of mathematics.” Indeed, a paper this year in the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics points out that recreational math can be used to awaken mathematics-related “joy,” “satisfaction,” “excitement” and “curiosity” in students, which the educational policies of several countries (including China, India, Finland, Sweden, England, Singapore and Japan) call for in writing. In contrast, the Common Core in the United States does not explicitly mention this emotional side of the subject, regarding mathematics only as a tool.

Of course, the Common Core lists only academic standards, and leaves the curriculum to individual districts — some of which are indeed incorporating recreational mathematics. For instance, math lesson plans in Baltimore County public schools now usually begin with computer-accessible game and puzzle suggestions that teachers can choose to adopt, to motivate their classes.

The body of recreational mathematics that Mr. Gardner tended to and augmented is a valuable resource for mankind. He would have wanted no greater tribute, surely, than to have it keep nourishing future generations."
math  mathematics  fun  recreationalmathematics  2016  1975  marjorierice  problemsolving  puzzles  martin  gardner  games  play 
august 2016 by robertogreco
I Am Fun
"I am fun.

I enjoy fun. I both have fun and can be fun. Fun is a word that accurately describes me and a large quantity of things of which I am fond. I appreciate fun when I encounter it, and I have even been known to partake in activities that produce fun for myself and others. Fun is something I often have when amongst a group of people. In such situations, I am capable of amusing others and, in turn, of being amused by them.

Thus, I am a fun person.

Perhaps it would be helpful for me to provide an example of a fun thing I do. I take part in levity. I enjoy jokes, which are fun. When the occasion presents itself, I have been known to make jokes of my own, thereby creating fun for those around me. This is because, like many other people I encounter, I have a sense of humor. A sense of humor is crucial to having fun and to being fun. When situations are humorous, I signal my recognition of the fun by laughing, just as you do. Just as most people do."
via:caseygollan  fun  hillaryclinton  humor  explainers  2015 
march 2016 by robertogreco
UnBoxed: online [ Current Issue ]
"In his keynote address at Deeper Learning 2015, Luis Del Rosario offers a case illustration of deeper learning—self-directed, driven by interests and passions, facilitated by expert mentors, and transformative. His learning proceeds stitch by stitch, mentor by mentor, venue by venue. His course of study turns traditional structures and subject matter inside out, calling into question conventional notions of rigor.

School as “a place where you were just forced to go,” and where the curriculum consisted of “numbers, facts, and memorizing answers,” didn’t work for Luis. What did work for him was a place where educators asked, “What is your passion?” and, as a matter of course, helped him pursue that passion in the world beyond school. What did work were the training in innovation and entrepreneurship, the internship with a costume designer, the long hours he spent perfecting his craft, the talks with his advisor, the college courses, the 3 a.m. bus rides to New York, and the conversations with experts in the field.

This is where rigor resides—not in complexity of prescribed content, or persistence in meaningless tasks, but rather in the moment-to-moment decisions students and teachers make, and the dispositions and relationships they develop, as they pursue their interests and passions in the world. Luis and others like him challenge us to develop a new set of rules for rigor:

No rigor without engagement
No rigor without ownership
No rigor without exemplars
No rigor without audiences
No rigor without purpose
No rigor without dreams
No rigor without courage
AND
No rigor without fun

When we learn—really learn—we transform the content, the self, and the social relations of teaching and learning. We develop internal standards and align these with the world in the interplay of passion, mentoring, inquiry, and creation. A rigorous enterprise, yes, but also a joyous one, and venerable—happiness in the pursuit of excellence, as Aristotle might say. Or, as Luis would say, “think big and always keep going—that’s the purpose of an education.”"

[via: http://willrichardson.com/post/126543142740/on-rigor ]
luisdelrosario  2015  robriordin  education  rigor  engagement  ownership  audience  courage  fun  pedagogy  schools 
august 2015 by robertogreco
No Dickheads! A Guide To Building Happy, Healthy, And Creative Teams. — Medium
"There is a perpetuated myth within the design community, that a single visionary is required to build great products. Rubbish. Great teams build great products; moreover, in my experience, the greatest teams prioritize and nurture a healthy and positive internal culture because they understand it is critical to the design process itself.

In 20 years of leading design studios and teams, ranging from a small boutique consultancy to several in global corporations, I have become obsessed with the differences between a successful studio and a merely effective one. Inevitably what makes or breaks a studio depends on its ability to evolve skills and competencies while remaining fastidiously creative. However, simple adaptability is not enough. In an ever-changing hyper-competitive landscape, what I’ve found to be even more important is the value of laughter, empathy, a collective responsibility and a distinct lack of ego.

My measure of success — beyond incredible products — has been creating studios and a studio culture where the creative capacity of the collective team is palpable; where designers love to come to work, and visitors remark how positive and creative it feels.

The following, is an attempt to create a guide for the (often-overlooked, humanist leaning) behaviors that make a studio happy, functional and sustainable. I believe there is a straight line between how the studio feels, how we as designers treat each other, and the innovative impact of the team. The value of articulating the characteristics of an effective studio will hopefully make each team member a more conscientious contributor. Of course, these characteristics will ebb and flow to varying degrees and should not be considered concrete rules. Rather, these behaviors serve as a guideline for creating a consistently positive, and as a result, a consistently more creative place to work.

SAY GOOD MORNING AND GOOD NIGHT … While it may appear trivial, the act of observing (and even encouraging) these subtle cultural rituals increases a studio’s functionality by making it more personal.

BE OPTIMISTIC, EMBRACE FAILURE, AND LAUGH MORE… Design, through a humanist’s lens, sees optimism as a choice and creativity as an optimistic act. Therefore, constant optimism is a key ingredient to iteration. It fuels the persistence and tenacity necessary for sustaining the creative process, especially during challenging times. For example, the difficulty of innovating within a large corporation reflects a work environment where people often say, “No” or “I don’t understand” because change in corporate culture is often uncomfortable and slow. As a result, negativity must be confronted and countered — not just in a brainstorming session or during a proposal — but on a daily basis. …

EAT AND COOK TOGETHER … Team events within a big corporation are set up to facilitate these informal conversations but often do the opposite: you go to a nice restaurant, everyone orders expensive food and lots of wine, they drink until they get drunk, and you go back to your hotel room. One year, our budget ran low so we thought, “What if we did the opposite? Go to the wilderness, buy food, and cook for each other.”

What happened next was amazing! Somebody invariably took responsibility for cooking, another for preparing food, and someone else for laying the table. Without much discussion the whole team was buzzing around the kitchen, like a hive working towards a common goal. There’s something inherently vulnerable about cooking together and for each other. It’s humbling to serve and to be served.

GOOD STUDIOS BUILD GOOD WALLS It is important when you walk into any studio that you feel as much as see what is being built — the studio should crackle with creative energy. Specifically, I believe you can determine the health of any design studio simply by looking at its walls. …

READ FICTION … As designers we are often asking people to take a leap of faith and to picture a world that doesn’t quite exist. We are, at our essence, doing nothing more than creating fiction and telling good stories — an essential part of human communication. Wouldn’t it then make sense to, at the very least, invite fiction into the studio or at the most encourage it to flourish?

Storytelling is a craft. It’s emotional and it’s part of the design process. We should therefore read and study fiction.

DESIGN THE DESIGNING There’s one very simple rule when innovating: design the process to fit the project. …

EMBRACE THE FRINGE I believe creative people want “to make”. In corporations or complex projects, the products we make often take an inordinate amount of time. As a result, I assume that most designers (myself included) work on fringe projects — creative projects made outside of the studio. …

MIND YOUR LANGUAGE Language defines the territory of projects. It is therefore important to constantly check that people share the same understanding of a word, phrase or name. Ideally at the outset of the project you should define the language, almost to the point of giving each person on the team a list: when we say this, this is what ‘this’ means. This pedantic approach is particularly important in multicultural studios where a diverse language encourages multiple, sometimes volatile, interpretations …

MEET OUT IN THE OPEN There are very few highly confidential things in an effective studio, so why go in a room and close the door? Instead, move most conversations out in the open. They will be better as a result. …

EVERYONE LEADS AT SOME POINT … At any point everyone should feel the responsibility, or the opportunity, to lead. It is so important to be collectively responsible. No one person can lead these dynamic projects effectively in a studio because they are never two-dimensional. …

INVERT EVERYTHING Designing products for people requires that you get inside their minds, feelings, motivations and values. To do so, a smart designer must invert their own worldview and see the world through someone else’s eyes in order to empathize with them. This ability to empathize with others, a very humanist behavior, is perhaps the most important capability and characteristic of both a studio and a designer. …

HIRE A BOOKIE Competition motivates a team, that’s a given. But betting on shit seems to be galvanizing and brings a team together. …

BRING THE OUTSIDE, INSIDE … We spend most of our time with our colleagues at work rather than with our partners or families. So whether we like it or not, we are all going through this life together. We should embrace that fact.

Yes, I understand people value privacy and you must respect that boundary. But the reality of the modern studio is that boundaries often blur. In fact, I think it is good that they are blurred. Children, pets, and hobbies — shared human connections and interests — promote this intimacy. …

….. ALLOWED! … I believe it is a perpetuated myth that great products are built by a single visionary. Often the people who think they are visionaries are just egomaniacal Dickheads. I honestly believe that great teams build great products and that careers are made by people that prioritize great products first, not their own ambition. …

FIND A GOOD MIRROR The studio mirror is a distinct role and a job title. In our studio Luke’s role was to archive our work and reflect it back to the team in a unique way, much like the documentation of these principles. Pursued with persistence and the eye of a journalist, the Studio Mirror should capture not only WHAT is being made but HOW and by WHOM. This isn’t simply dumping files on a server but rather curating the content in a way that is compelling and consumable for the team. For example, our studio created a quarterly magazine. You can read ADQ2.1: The Launch Issue here."
rhysnewman  lukejohnson  teams  creativity  studios  openstudioproject  lcproject  2015  collaboration  tcsnmy  leadership  open  openness  transparency  process  fun  play  intimacy  sharing  language  storytelling  fiction  walls  design  place  work  food  optimism  failure  laughter  howwework  conviviality  cohabitation  facetime  relationships  publishing  reflection  documentation  jpl  omata  culture  fringe  display  planning  outdoors  criticism  connection  conflict 
march 2015 by robertogreco
George Orwell: Why Socialists Don't Believe In Fun
"The inability of mankind to imagine happiness except in the form of relief, either from effort or pain, presents Socialists with a serious problem. Dickens can describe a poverty-stricken family tucking into a roast goose, and can make them appear happy; on the other hand, the inhabitants of perfect universes seem to have no spontaneous gaiety and are usually somewhat repulsive into the bargain. But clearly we are not aiming at the kind of world Dickens described, nor, probably, at any world he was capable of imagining. The Socialist objective is not a society where everything comes right in the end, because kind old gentlemen give away turkeys. What are we aiming at, if not a society in which ‘charity’ would be unnecessary? We want a world where Scrooge, with his dividends, and Tiny Tim, with his tuberculous leg, would both be unthinkable. But does that mean we are aiming at some painless, effortless Utopia? At the risk of saying something which the editors of Tribune may not endorse, I suggest that the real objective of Socialism is not happiness. Happiness hitherto has been a by-product, and for all we know it may always remain so. The real objective of Socialism is human brotherhood. This is widely felt to be the case, though it is not usually said, or not said loudly enough. Men use up their lives in heart-breaking political struggles, or get themselves killed in civil wars, or tortured in the secret prisons of the Gestapo, not in order to establish some central-heated, air-conditioned, strip-lighted Paradise, but because they want a world in which human beings love one another instead of swindling and murdering one another. And they want that world as a first step. Where they go from there is not so certain, and the attempt to foresee it in detail merely confuses the issue."

[Also available here: http://www.k-1.com/Orwell/site/work/essays/fun.html ]

[See also commentary: https://radicalscholarship.wordpress.com/2013/12/25/the-socialist-objective-i-can-see-the-dawn-of-the-better-day-for-humanity/ ]
georgeorwell  socialism  happiness  charity  fun  1943  humanism  charlesdickens  society  plthomas  paulthomas 
march 2015 by robertogreco
I’m leaving Mojang | notch.net
"I don’t see myself as a real game developer. I make games because it’s fun, and because I love games and I love to program, but I don’t make games with the intention of them becoming huge hits, and I don’t try to change the world. Minecraft certainly became a huge hit, and people are telling me it’s changed games. I never meant for it to do either. It’s certainly flattering, and to gradually get thrust into some kind of public spotlight is interesting.

A relatively long time ago, I decided to step down from Minecraft development. Jens was the perfect person to take over leading it, and I wanted to try to do new things. At first, I failed by trying to make something big again, but since I decided to just stick to small prototypes and interesting challenges, I’ve had so much fun with work. I wasn’t exactly sure how I fit into Mojang where people did actual work, but since people said I was important for the culture, I stayed.

I was at home with a bad cold a couple of weeks ago when the internet exploded with hate against me over some kind of EULA situation that I had nothing to do with. I was confused. I didn’t understand. I tweeted this in frustration. Later on, I watched the This is Phil Fish video on YouTube and started to realize I didn’t have the connection to my fans I thought I had. I’ve become a symbol. I don’t want to be a symbol, responsible for something huge that I don’t understand, that I don’t want to work on, that keeps coming back to me. I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m not a CEO. I’m a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter.

As soon as this deal is finalized, I will leave Mojang and go back to doing Ludum Dares and small web experiments. If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I’ll probably abandon it immediately.

Considering the public image of me already is a bit skewed, I don’t expect to get away from negative comments by doing this, but at least now I won’t feel a responsibility to read them.

I’m aware this goes against a lot of what I’ve said in public. I have no good response to that. I’m also aware a lot of you were using me as a symbol of some perceived struggle. I’m not. I’m a person, and I’m right there struggling with you.

I love you. All of you. Thank you for turning Minecraft into what it has become, but there are too many of you, and I can’t be responsible for something this big. In one sense, it belongs to Microsoft now. In a much bigger sense, it’s belonged to all of you for a long time, and that will never change.

It’s not about the money. It’s about my sanity."

[Also here: http://pastebin.com/n1qTeikM ]

[See also: http://kottke.org/14/09/this-is-phil-fish
http://incisive.nu/2014/ditching-twitter/ ]
games  gaming  microsoft  minecraft  notch  2014  celebrity  making  work  fun  play  philfish  makers  creativity  business  obligation  internet  web  twitter 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Mozilla Web Literacy — Andrew Sliwinski has recently joined Mozilla as a...
"Andrew has a background in learning, as well as engineering and design. He thinks digital literacy is a ‘huge and valuable thing’ that has shaped is life. The first thing we discussed was that the Web Literacy Map presupposes that the user sees value in the web / technical domain being described. People in Bangladesh or under-served communities in the US don’t necessarily see this straight away. Job One is getting them to care.

Web Literacy is about empowerment, says Andrew - not trying to turn users into anything other than more empowered versions of themselves. This is tricky, as this empowerment is not something you understand before (or even during) the process. Only afterwards do you realise the power of the skills you now have. Also, contextualisation only happens after the learning has taken place. That’s why learning pathways are interesting - but “as a reflection tool rather than an efficacy tool”. Pledging for a pathway is aspirational and has motivational benefits, but these aren’t necessary to learning itself.

Andrew thinks that the ‘creamy nougat centre’ of the Web Literacy Map is great. The Exploring / Building / Connecting structure works and there’s ‘no giant gaping holes’. However, we should tie it more closely to the Mozilla mission and get people to care about it. Overwhelm them with how amazing the web is. One way of doing this is by teaching problem-solving. Get them to list the things they’re struggling with, and then give them the mental models to help them solve their problems.

Getting over the first hurdle can be difficult, so Andrew explained how at DIY.org they used personas. The skills on the site are aspirational titles - e.g. ‘Rocketeer’ - which draws the user into something that gives them “enough modeling to start momentum.” Andrew did add a disclaimer about research showing that over-specificity of roles is not so motivational.

We need a feedback loop for the Web Literacy Map. How is it being used? How can we make it better? Andrew also thinks we should use personas across Webmaker to represent particular constituencies. We could liaise with particular organisations (e.g. NWP) which would inform the design process and elevate their input in the discussion. They would be experts in a particular use case.

We discussed long-term learning results and how subject matter plays into the way that various approaches either work or don’t. For example, Khan Academy is linear, almost rote-based learning, but that suits the subject matter (Maths). It does efficacy really well. Everyone points to DuoLingo as a the poster child for non-linear learning pathways, but there’s no proof it works really well.

Andrew’s got a theory that “the way to get people to build life-changing, amazing, relevant things is to have fun and be creative”. We should build tools to facilitate that. Yes, we can model endpoints, but ensure the onboarding experience is about whimsy and creating environments where the user is comfortable and feels accepted. It’s only after the fact that they realise they’ve learned stuff.

We should start from ‘this is awesome!’ and then weave the messaging on the web into it. Webmaker as a platform/enabler for cool stuff. What are the parts that we all see at the same time that makes the web special, Andrew asked? He thinks one of these things is the incredibly long tail of content, from which comes incredible diversity. This is the differentiator, making the web different from Facebook or the App Store. We don’t see this from an individual user perspective, though. Although we love looking at network maps, we don’t really get it because we visit the same 20 websites every day.

Part of web literacy is about building ‘cultural empathy’, says Andrew - and showing how it helps on an everyday basis. We should focus on meaning and value first, and then show how skills are a means of getting there. What’s our trajectory for the learner?

Andrew believes that we should approach the Web Literacy Map from a ‘personas’ point of view - perhaps building on the recent UX Personas work. These are very different from the Mobile Webmaker personas that Andrew’s team have put together. We should focus on a compelling user experience from start to finish for users to navigate literacies and to create their own learning pathways. For Andrew, the Web Literacy Map is the glue to hold everything together."
andrewsliwinski  2014  interviews  webliteracy  web  online  problemsolving  learning  fun  projectbasedlearning  webliteracymap  mozilla  personas  motivation  duolingo  howwelearn  modeling  culturalempathy  inclusivity  webmaker  roles  contextualization  khanacademy  rotelearning  linearity  efficacy  dougbelshaw  beginners  making  care  lcproject  openstudioproject  onboarding  experience  userexperience  ux  whimsy  sandboxes  pathways  howweteach  momentum  remixing  enabling  platforms  messiness  diversity  internet  open  openweb  complexity  empowerment  teaching  mentoring  mentorship  canon  facilitation  tcsnmy  frameworks  understanding  context  unschooling  deschooling  education  linear  literacy  multiliteracies  badges  mapping  reflection  retrospect  inclusion  pbl  remixculture  rote  inlcusivity 
september 2014 by robertogreco
What’s the Point If We Can’t Have Fun? | David Graeber | The Baffler
"Generally speaking, an analysis of animal behavior is not considered scientific unless the animal is assumed, at least tacitly, to be operating according to the same means/end calculations that one would apply to economic transactions. Under this assumption, an expenditure of energy must be directed toward some goal, whether it be obtaining food, securing territory, achieving dominance, or maximizing reproductive success—unless one can absolutely prove that it isn’t, and absolute proof in such matters is, as one might imagine, very hard to come by.

I must emphasize here that it doesn’t really matter what sort of theory of animal motivation a scientist might entertain: what she believes an animal to be thinking, whether she thinks an animal can be said to be “thinking” anything at all. I’m not saying that ethologists actually believe that animals are simply rational calculating machines. I’m simply saying that ethologists have boxed themselves into a world where to be scientific means to offer an explanation of behavior in rational terms—which in turn means describing an animal as if it were a calculating economic actor trying to maximize some sort of self-interest—whatever their theory of animal psychology, or motivation, might be.

That’s why the existence of animal play is considered something of an intellectual scandal. It’s understudied, and those who do study it are seen as mildly eccentric. As with many vaguely threatening, speculative notions, difficult-to-satisfy criteria are introduced for proving animal play exists, and even when it is acknowledged, the research more often than not cannibalizes its own insights by trying to demonstrate that play must have some long-term survival or reproductive function.":



"Years ago, when I taught at Yale, I would sometimes assign a reading containing a famous Taoist story. I offered an automatic “A” to any student who could tell me why the last line made sense. (None ever succeeded.)
Zhuangzi and Huizi were strolling on a bridge over the River Hao, when the former observed, “See how the minnows dart between the rocks! Such is the happiness of fishes.”

“You not being a fish,” said Huizi, “how can you possibly know what makes fish happy?”

“And you not being I,” said Zhuangzi, “how can you know that I don’t know what makes fish happy?”

“If I, not being you, cannot know what you know,” replied Huizi, “does it not follow from that very fact that you, not being a fish, cannot know what makes fish happy?”

“Let us go back,” said Zhuangzi, “to your original question. You asked me how I knew what makes fish happy. The very fact you asked shows that you knew I knew—as I did know, from my own feelings on this bridge.”

The anecdote is usually taken as a confrontation between two irreconcilable approaches to the world: the logician versus the mystic. But if that’s true, then why did Zhuangzi, who wrote it down, show himself to be defeated by his logician friend?

After thinking about the story for years, it struck me that this was the entire point. By all accounts, Zhuangzi and Huizi were the best of friends. They liked to spend hours arguing like this. Surely, that was what Zhuangzi was really getting at. We can each understand what the other is feeling because, arguing about the fish, we are doing exactly what the fish are doing: having fun, doing something we do well for the sheer pleasure of doing it. Engaging in a form of play. The very fact that you felt compelled to try to beat me in an argument, and were so happy to be able to do so, shows that the premise you were arguing must be false. Since if even philosophers are motivated primarily by such pleasures, by the exercise of their highest powers simply for the sake of doing so, then surely this is a principle that exists on every level of nature—which is why I could spontaneously identify it, too, in fish.

Zhuangzi was right. So was June Thunderstorm. Our minds are just a part of nature. We can understand the happiness of fishes—or ants, or inchworms—because what drives us to think and argue about such matters is, ultimately, exactly the same thing.

Now wasn’t that fun?"

[See also: http://www.shaviro.com/Blog/?p=1194 via @bobbyjgeorge ]
davidgraeber  fun  play  evolution  culture  psychology  economics  socialscience  2014  history  philosophy  living  life  freedom  homoludens  animals  behavior  multispecies 
february 2014 by robertogreco
The Heart of Hort | Desktop
"How important is happiness to the running of the studio?

It’s a big part. Fear and bad vibes are a highly negative energy that works against good solutions in design. But we are not just happy people. We are hard workers and sometimes it’s also very frustrating. However we always try to come back and fight again for the good times. We spend so much time together and therefore there is a big investment from all of us to make this time as enjoyable as possible.

Do the Hort designers work collaboratively?

Yes, they do. Big jobs are done by lots of people, smaller ones by small teams or individuals. Everyone involved is responsible for the job.

Your work feels as if it is continuously uplifting — is this a purposeful infusion of happiness and celebration in your work?

The work we do is pretty serious. It’s about questioning the past to design the future. What is important for us is that our work has kind of a Hort personality. We want that people understand that this is the way we would solve the problem … that doesn’t mean that this is the only way you can do it. There are millions of ways. But we want soul in our work. If this is understood as happiness – that’s fine, but this is not our intention.

Is there a unique, “Hort” relationship with colour?

There’s no one ‘unique’ relationship as there are different individuals at Hort, each one promoting their own unique relationship. But when it comes to commissioned work, the team have to decide which colour range would be, in our opinion, the best to serve our concept.

What about Hort and irregularity?

I have my own experience with errors in my work. I learned graphic design by doing layouts by hand. “Layouting” an idea on a sheet of paper was connected to a lot of senses. There was much more time involved in making decisions as there was no Apple ‘Z’ in reality.

One day I talked to a lithographer about perfection in design. He showed me a sheet of a rasterized 70% black film used to exposure a pressure plate. There was one little dot that was damaged and my eye somehow found it. He told me that that errors build a much stronger relationship to us as we are not perfect either. At that time I did not understand the meaning behind this sentence. However when the computer entered my life I fell in love and designed everything on this machine, after some time I found out, that every design follows programming by someone else, just a tiny little bit. Design looked like it was designed on a computer. Slick and programmed. It was hard to learn to break out of this system. Perfection might be the engine for some designers, but for me perfection often kills the soul of someone’s work. So I try to integrate little irregularities to feel more connection with what I’m doing.



What is in the bright future for Hort?

It’s more important to enjoy brightness in the moment than hoping for a brighter future.

And after it all, how would you like Hort remembered?

As it is. A fantastic place where investing in relationships and humanity is more important than success and money."
hort  design  openstudioproject  learning  fun  work  howwework  wikekönig  2014  interviews  graphicdesign  relationships  studioschool  studioclassroom  lcproject  tcsnmy  cv 
january 2014 by robertogreco
The 50-point plan to ruin yer career...and (possibly) save your life | 22 Words
"1. Enjoy the G–damned moment.
2. Love where you’re from.
3. Move somewhere wild.
4. Frequent eateries that use decimal points in their menu.
5. Know your f—ing condiments.
6. Get out there and get dirty.
7. And then, share what you find.
8. Work with yer friends.
9. Know yer tools and be thankful they exist.
10. Go wherever they’ll send you.
11. Shed any G–damned sense of entitlement.
12. Provide proof of a bonafide graphic art existence.
13. Fight for the long dogs.
14. Lose the crutch.
15. Exhibit a little humility.
16. Quit spending yer money on bulls—.
17. Be wary of certain business professionals.
18. Pay off those f—ing school loans already.
19. Laugh at stuff.
20. Turn yer back on organized sports.
21. Dream up a plan.
22. Get cosmic.
23. Take color theory seriously.
24. Make some room for magic.
25. Say what you mean.
26. Get it on vinyl.
27. Be ready for when they call you up to the big leagues.
28. Learn an instrument.
29. Be the client.
30. Go by car.
31. Know what really matters in the end.
32. Buy things made in America.
33. Question stuff constantly.
34. Know who’s got the power.
35. Collect cool s—.
36. Grab yer social media by the throat.
37. Savor the little stuff.
38. Support yer local rock bands.
39. Know all the shades of being “professional”.
40. Don’t worry about awards.
41. Quit saying the word “dude”.
42. Make big-ass posters.
43. Go pantless.
44. Get free.
45. Treat the UPS guy, mail lady, and printing pressman like they are gold.
46. Know what you love.
47. And don’t forget about the things you hate.
48. Learn to roll with the good, the bad, and the ugly.
49. Work hard and love this s—.
50. Be thankful for everything."

[direct link to video: https://vimeo.com/39441590 ]
aarondraplin  design  professionalism  talent  via:lukeneff  aaronjamesdraplin  sports  life  living  howwework  2012  questioning  fun 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Tom Armitage » Driftwood
"What this means is: I can check into a location and find myself, a year ago, standing there too. Does that make sense?

(The terms and conditions say I can’t imitate other people, but that doesn’t stop me imitating myself, right?)

So there’s me in the present, and also me-a-year-ago brought forward into the present.

What I learned from this is: you can very viscerally remember a year ago. I see old-me somewhere, and remember who I was in that pub with, or why I was at an event, or what terrible film I saw, or how sad – or happy – I was at any particular point in time."



"It’s interesting for me to look back on this body of work when considering the final – and perhaps largest – project I’d like to talk about today. It takes a lot of these impulses – the psychogeographic; the act of creating situations; the act of dérive; the use of leftovers; the barely-game – and pieces them together to create a new kind of interaction that played out in the city."



"And we wanted to do that in as accessible a way as possible: for the most people, at the largest scale. I’ve worked around ARG-like things before, and to be honest: it’s not that hard to create a cool experience for a few hundred people that’s not very good value for money. Making something fun and immediate for thousands – that’s far harder. But if we were to make the city playable, it had to be at the biggest scale possible.

Firstly, that meant making it super-accessible. An app for a smartphone might be cool and have GPS and that, but it limits your audience. Everybody understands SMS – every mobile phone has SMS – and it’s super-simple to implement now; Twilio does the legwork for us. Superficially unexciting technology made super-simple by web-based services.

And secondly, to use as much of the city as possible without incurring too many costs – we’d need to use things that were already there. We wanted instead to find a way of hijacking the existing infrastructure – we spent a lot of time scouring the city for opportunities. We noticed that a lot of street furniture – lampposts, postboxes, bus stops, cranes, bridges – have unique reference/ maintenance labels. We thought it would be interesting for these objects to be intervention points – something more tangible than GPS and quite commonplace. Just telling us where you are.

At the time, I jokingly said that the Smart City uses technology and systems to work out what its citizens are doing, and the Playable City would just ask you how you are.

What we ended up with was a playful experience where you could text message street furniture, hold a dialogue with it, and find out what other people had been saying."



"We heavily “front-loaded” the experience – the first experience of Hello Lamp Post has to be really good. It’s no good putting all the best content behind hours of play – most of it won’t get seen, as a result. So we chose to make the early interactions completely fully-featured – and then treat the players who continued to engage, to come back again and again, to more subtle shifts in behaviour that were still rewarding – but that didn’t hide most of the functionality from casual players. The Playable City had to be playable by everyone."



"Now that I look back on it, I can see that Hello Lamp Post acts as a lovely summation of five years of toys and games built around cities. It’s an experience that doesn’t so much interrupt your experience of the city as it layers on top of it, letting you see the paving and the beach all at once. It builds ritual and new interactions into routine. It requires almost nothing to engage with it – and most of the systems it uses – SMS, Twilio, the city – are already built by other people. We just built the middle layer. (Which, in this case, is rather complex. But you get the picture.)

What can we learn from all this?

By building on top of other services, we also create a kind of sustainability. When Noticings closed, the photos were still on Flickr – just with an unusual tag. If the ghostbots break, their activity is still preserved forever.

We don’t destroy the value we’ve created the second we turn it off. Which is more like how a city behaves: it degrades, or is reused, or gentrified, but history becomes another layer of patina on top of it – it isn’t torn down instantly.

We’re not planting fully grown trees and then tearing them out: we’re building an ecosystem, and perhaps other games or tools will build on top of us. We hoped – once people twigged how Hello Lamp Post worked – they might start drawing codes on things, on posters, on street art, in order to attach messages to it.

If the city is a beach, it is littered in driftwood. When I think of driftwood, I think about flotsam and jetsam. Flotsam is that which floats ashore of its own accord; jetsam is that which is deliberately thrown overboard from a boat – man-made detritus, as opposed to natural wastage (or wreckage).

I think those two categories also apply to the materials I’m terming “driftwood” today. And I genuinely believe the things I’m about to describe are materials, just like wood or steel. That might be obvious with regards to some of these – but not all. If a material is something we manipulate and shape as designers, then all these things could be considered materials.

Leftover infrastructures – services like Twitter and Foursquare, more tactile infrastructure like transit networks or maintenance codes on objects. And leftover technologies, too; print-on-demand, SMS, telephony – all are now available over straightforward web APIs. These things have become commoditised and tossed overboard, made available to all.

In this way, we can spend our time working on unique experiences and interactions, rather than the underlying platforms.

If that’s our jetsam, what’s the flotsam – the stuff just floating around?
Data

The city is drowning in data.

I tend to describe data as an exhaust: you give it off whether you like it or not, and it follows you around like a cloud. People give it off; machines give it off; systems give it off. Given all the data we emit by choice – our locations stored in Foursquare, or Twitter, or Facebook; our event attendance tracked by Lanyrd and Eventbrite; as well as that we emit regardless of whether we want to – discount card usage; travelcard usage; online purchasing data – well, what are the experienes you could build around that? This is all there (with end-users permission) for the taking, and it can lead to unusual new ambient interactions.

Environments

What are the environments you can repurpose? Not just the City as a whole but smaller spaces – institutions, establishments, public spaces, parks, transit networks. All these are spaces and contexts to build within, and they all come with their own affordances. Even when they’re controlled or marshalled by others, they are spaces to consider reclaiming and repurposing.

Routine

And just as we can reclaim space, consider Time as a material to be reclaimed to: what are the points of the day we can design for – not just active, 100% concentration, but all the elements where there is surplus attention? We can’t create Debord’s focused, committed dérive – but how can we create a tiny fragment of it, without invading the daily routines we all have to live with?"



"I don’t think, ultimately, the city can resist the beach it sits upon. There are so many things we can build atop it, be it on semi-public, semi-private, corporate spaces – or the genuine publics of the city.

To build and make them, we don’t even need to invent architectures and infrastructures – we don’t even have to make it obvious they’re happening. We can use what’s already there - making new experiences out of the driftwood that lives in the city and across the network. Lifting up the paving slabs to reveal the beach underneath."
tomarmitage  2013  driftwood  ghostcar  hellolamppost  muncaster  noticing  noticings  foursquare  flickr  leftovers  playablecity  cities  derive  psychogeography  towerbridge  toys  play  fun  dérive  situationist  games 
november 2013 by robertogreco
UX Week 2013| Ian Bogost | Fun on Vimeo
"Lately, there’s a lot of interest in borrowing design techniques from game design. At worst, such approaches mistake games for Skinner Boxes, incentive dispensers that dole out rewards for attention. But even at their best, designers’ adoption of game principles run up against the fact that games are fundamentally opposed to product and service design principles. Games are inefficient; they serve no purpose but to provide the experience that is their very playing. Yet, perhaps the most misunderstood concept in game-inspired design is also misunderstood within game design itself: the concept of fun as an end goal and aesthetic. This talk offers a surprising new theory of fun that can help anyone make, use, and appreciate things with greater satisfaction."
ianbogost  games  gaming  play  design  ux  gamification  gamedesign  2013  psychology  servicedesign  experience  fun 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Campsick: Julian Bleecker Reports from Alec Soth’s Camp for Socially Awkward Storytellers — Magazine — Walker Art Center
"To give a measure of what a Camp for Socially Awkward Storytellers is, let me describe some of its awkward moments.

1. Unspecified expectations, except whatever happens, it will be shared at a public slideshow on the last day.

2. No packing list. Usually, when I went to summer camp as a young tot, there were checklists of bug spray, 12 changes of underwear, swim trunks, swim goggles, toiletries, sleeping bag, wash cloth, pajamas, sun hat, etc.

3. No agenda, except to show up on July 9 at the offices of Little Brown Mushroom around 9:30 or 10.

4. Suburban excursion in a stout RV. That just sorta happened. Spontaneously.

5. Itchy, scratchy mosquito bites in spite of semi-legal, high-test, under-the-counter mosquito repellent.

6. Late-night slideshows. (Think of it as a modern variant of the campfire story telling hour.)

7. A surprise birthday cake.

8. A dance.

9. Campsick. It’s like homesick, but for camp. Specifically, an aching in the belly, like you’ve finished a great summer at camp and must immediately make plans to stay in touch and meet again. As soon as possible. Like something happened you didn’t want to stop, but you had to because it was too expensive to change flights and stay another day or two.

That was the Little Brown Mushroom Camp for Socially Awkward Storytellers, a project that brought together 15 eager campers from all over the map. Camp, as Soth described it to me, “evokes campfires and canoes, but the definition is actually quite flexible. ‘Camp’ simply means a summertime gathering that lacks the formal and institutionalized aura of school.” For Soth, the hope was “to just create a context in which people can make art happen.”

But that context, as camp’s name suggests, is decidedly awkward. That’s fitting for a group like Little Brown Mushroom. There is not the pretension that one might expect from a studio attached to an artist’s name. It would’ve been clear to anyone who knew of LBM—either through its blog, their books, or Soth’s work—that camp would not be supplicating students learning from the great master. First of all, Soth is self-admittedly awkward in front of people, so he would not be holding forth in the style of the self-indulgent artist. We’d be working among each other, campers and counselors on equal footing. It was activity-time camp, nearly 14 hours every day. We’d be defining the activities. Exuberant, exhausting, difficult, strange, get-your-game-face-on kinds of activities."



"I have no idea what’s going on, or what I’m doing, but I’m doing it.

And now, back at our encampment there are four of us quietly sitting, thinking, drawing, talking. Out of nowhere, Jim’s lying on the ground in front of the limb-and-leaf backdrop. He’s perfectly still. Is it overdone performance, or is he my muse for the day? I decide, game-face on, he’ll be my muse. Most people have left to find stories in the neighborhood surrounding the park. Some have driven to other parts of town.

The hard part is finding a story in that. You have to, though. Day Two slideshow is at 7 pm. That’s just a couple hours from now.

This is the day that I realize I need to be inspired by the constraints that exist at camp. There are constraints of time, obviously. Cooking out a slideshow from a day of conversations, excursions, light reading, trundling in RVs, following fellow campers in the woods. All this means I have to hold my ideas lightly, not make things too precious, keeping my nose up for any whiff of a story to find and tell.

Today, I’ve become sensitized to what Soth refers to as “humble epics.” Big, powerful things, perhaps in modest, carefully constructed, simple, compact, $18 or cheaper packages.

That’s a kind of storytelling that feels quite modern in a sense. The overwrought image and text story is not what will come out of camp. There are no Taschen-sized epics to be done here, at least for me. I find that liberating. As I quickly refine and hone and edit my forest slideshow, I consider LBM’s obsession with audaciously democratizing the pricing of their publications at $18. I think about Target, the Twin Cities mega-mega that I can imagine goes to nutso ends to whittle pricing by fractions of pennies to make them the no-brainer store. Soth mentions an LBM book that they couldn’t get cheaper than $24, and you can physically see the disappointment at the price-point in his shoulders. Soth would make a great Target buyer. You know, in case this whole photography thing doesn’t work out.

The inexpensive, accessible, humble, epic, image+text LBM books come with an inherent simplicity in production, packaging, and design that is an aesthetic in its own right. Accessible, humble epics are a thing of note, especially within the world that Soth could circulate. He’s a Minnesotan first, Magnum photographer second. Beautiful, seductive, tangible $18 stories-in-books are not a gimmick. Free camp isn’t a gimmick. I can see the earnestness in his explanation of the non-tuition camp. He wants it open. He doesn’t want to turn away someone who could not afford to attend because of a fee. He doesn’t want LBM to be big business.

And only now do I realize that we’re learning how to tell stories. I’ve never mentioned it and stifled the thought in my own head, but we’ve not had formal discussions about photography. At the end of Day Two, during the slideshow, I resolve the suspicion I’ve had since shortly before I arrived: this is not a photography camp, despite being in a photography studio. That thought relaxes me. No one’s geeking out on gear. There is scant feedback on technical elements of image-making or storytelling. We’re free to find stories. Of course, that’s liberating and debilitating at the same time. We’re not told what to do. We’re only told that “whatever you do, whatever story you want to tell at the public slideshow on Saturday, it mustn’t take more than five minutes to tell.”

Day Three
Bookmaking Day, although we don’t make books. We talk about books and their making and unmaking. Some campers wonder why we’re doing a slideshow rather than a book as a final deliverable. A book is easier to keep and share and show again and again. We have a nice, long discussion in the morning facilitated by Alec and designer and art director Hans Seeger. We talk about the materiality and tangibility of books. Their preciousness. The contrast in books designed too earnestly, and books devoid of design that are merely containers for famous photographs by famous photographers. We talked about the great glissade of books after 1986 when computers performed their radical democratization of visual design and publishing. And I wondered how short-form composition and networked dissemination frameworks like Twitter, Instagram, and Vine would do similar things. I wonder aloud to camp if the modern image+text story as we know it now—the things in Soth’s studio library—are for doddering “old” folks like us? I want to talk about the modern, modern image+text story? Is Adam Goldberg’s Vine feed tomorrow’s Willliam Eggleston, or perhaps Cindy Sherman? The comparison may sound idiotic. I once thought that instantly sharing one’s thoughts in 140 characters was idiotic and self-indulgent. I once thought #selfies were idiotic. Then the Arab Spring happened, facilitated in part by 140 characters and what protesters could share in a single image.

The bookmaking-day discussions turn into a list of books to get and a note to consider getting another bookshelf at home. That’s fine. Having a library of books—the material sort—is validated by LBM’s amazing collection. It’s the morning-quiet-time gathering place we all meander through as our coffee takes hold. There’s a quiet reverence to the library in the mornings as campers peruse the stacks, heads cocked to the side to read titles. I find my first photo book in the B’s [Hello, Skater Girl, 2012] and feel suddenly embarrassed at its earnest naivete. I wish I had been to camp and learned what I am learning at camp before I made that.

LBM is a publisher of stories, so one might think camp would do a book as a final outcome. But that brings along complexity and time and money, and you begin to obsess over the operational details of producing such a thing. The slideshow. It has a tradition. It’s familial. It’s familiar. It’s something that can be condensed into a short amount of time. It has history."



"I think about “bookmaking” day’s discussion of Darin Mickey’s Stuff I Gotta Remember Not To Forget and his image story about his father’s odd, Cohen-esque life as a salesman of storage space in underground vaults. In 27 images, Mickey tells a remarkable, humorous, heartfelt story about his father. And I think of Soth’s image of a strikingly pale Indonesian girl he stumbles upon, photographs for The Auckland Project, loses the photograph and then spends the rest of his time struggling to find a story, struggling to find an image that moves him. He finds “missing cat” posters, bird road kill, and pale models. Just hours before he leaves Auckland, he stumbles upon Diandra, the pale Indonesian girl, sitting delicately on a low wall, watching the tiniest bird.

These count as powerful stories in my mind and from what I’ve been learning at camp. I’m thinking about “humble epics,” creative constraints. And how to get done in the next four hours."
julianbleecker  campforsociallyawkwardstorytellers  alecsoth  openstudioproject  camp  lcproject  classideas  walkerartcenter  minnesota  adventure  fun  conferences  unconferences  experientialeducation  design  bookslcproject  summerinwintercamp  littlebrownmushroom  ncmideas  conferenceideas  2013  camps  learning  collaboration  projectideas  experientiallearning 
august 2013 by robertogreco
Eike König, Hort, Berlin - YouTube
"my rules:

1. enjoy what you are doing
2. get paid
2. don't work with assholes
4. only accept work that challenges you and you can build up a relation to
5. don't work 'for' people but 'with'
6. be honest to your client and yourself
7. keep on searching and exploring
8. quit when you don't enjoy it anymore

I like to invest in relationships rather than money and success"

[Presentation outline]

"1. Who the **** is Eike König? [0:07:47]
2. How to create a creative space
3. Bauhaus is dead, long live Bauhaus. [0:30:44]
4. Is it magic? [0:45:36]
5. How can you reach excellence? [0:51:28]
6. Create your own future [0:59:39]
7. Don't fear the future [1:14:34]"

[The Hort Band]

"1. collaboration is essential
2. the Hort band is in a state of constant evolution
3. repetition dulls creativity
4. the moment is more important than the documentation"

[See also:
http://blogs.walkerart.org/walkerseen/2013/03/14/designers-on-site-eike-konig/
http://www.walkerart.org/channel/2013/eike-koenig-hort-berlin
http://www.walkerart.org/calendar/2013/insights-eike-koenig-hort-berlin
http://robertogreco.tumblr.com/post/48414988312/this-is-eike-konig-of-hort-speaking-at-the-walker
http://robertogreco.tumblr.com/post/48414385349/hortfolio-mark-prendergast ]
eikekönig  hort  making  2013  walkerartcenter  design  burnout  graphicdesign  openstudioproject  work  howwework  money  relationships  studios  education  learning  dropouts  studiodesign  openspaces  bauhaus  collaboration  glvo  presence  attention  documentation  evolution  change  repetition  creativity  arial  courier  typography  fonts  success  play  fun  community  risk  risktaking  fear 
april 2013 by robertogreco
Tupperwolf - Lichen names
"Yesterday I happened across that Eames promotion for the SX-70 for the first time. It reminded me, among many things, of an old friend, now dead – Bob Rodieck.

My high school was my mother (a qualified teacher), our neighbor R., and me. One of the classes was to make a book on our island’s natural history. When we were planning it, we visited Bob on an extremely gray spring day to talk about desktop publishing, because he’d been talking about how he was writing a book himself. (I may have the timeline slightly wrong here. Please consider this an As I Remember It story.)

We explained what we wanted to do. Bob, who was a freshly emeritus professor, scratched his stubble and leaned forward, then leaned back. He asked if we knew the difference between vector and raster graphics. I started explaining how they’re actually fairly isomorphic, since pixels can be represented as squares and, conversely, control points are in a discrete space, and from then on we were friends. It was Bob who turned me on to Tufte, and I turned him on to Bringhurst.



The natural history book was a well chosen project. We interviewed a lot of the oldest and most eccentric people on the island. They had records, written or in memory, about when flowers used to bloom, where the clams used to live before they were depleted, how many eagles used to nest on the point, how the old Samish woman had treated leather, when the last puffin was seen, what time of year the beaver showed up, and so on. There was the mystery of the flying squirrel.

We got a lot of very guarded mushroom knowledge from Dorothy H., who was in her eighties and roughly three times as vigorous and alert as I was. It’s really hard to come by good mushroom knowledge, because the people careful enough to understand mushrooms tend to be careful about risking other people on possibly poisonous food. Dorothy played her cards close to her chest.



Bob eventually finished his book, which was called The First Steps in Seeing. It was very well received, but as far as I can tell never sold well – Amazon has only four reviews, though they’re all five-star. I think it’s because he wasn’t around to promote it. He’d told me this wonderful story about graphic design and experimental design once: He went to get a check-up. He was given a form to fill out that included dietary habits. He said that he was about to check “1 serving of green vegetables/day” when he noticed that the checkbox itself was red! He figured that, being of northern European stock, he was adapted to fewer greens, and checked the first box that wasn’t red, 3 servings, and called it good. Not long after finishing the book, he was diagnosed with gut cancer.

Towards the end, he was on the island resting when he started having an unusual type of trouble moving his eyes. He said it was clearly a certain potassium channel failing, and it was time to go back to Seattle and die.

I think that, had he been around to promote it and put out a second edition, his book would be a classic now. It’s in the details and how they’re subordinated to the big-picture view. He drew all the illustrations himself. He chose the spot colors. He thought very hard about what path through the material he could provide that would be easiest for the beginner but pass the best trailheads for those who went further. He threw a lot of textbook conventions out the window and never missed them. He gave a crap but didn’t give a fuck.

Dorothy’s reluctance to tell us which mushrooms we could eat drove us to the classic texts, David Arora’s books. We could use him as a lever on her – “Arora says …; is that really true?”. In other fields we found other guidebooks: Pojar & MacKinnon on plants, Love’s Probably More Than You Want to Know About the Fishes of the Pacific Coast.

If you don’t spend a lot of time with natural history guidebooks, you might not know that the best ones have voice – authorial voice. It’s necessary, I think, to make a book that’s basically a huge list of details interesting enough to pay attention to. And I suspect you’re unlikely to excell in mycology, botany, or marine biology unless you have a sense of perspective. If you are humorless, it’s a lot easier to be a businessperson than to spend three weeks in a tent, looking at little tufts of fungus–alga symbionts.

It’s the big picture and the little picture. It’s Philip Morrison’s speech at the end of that Polaroid film. It’s the SX-70 letting you be more inside experience, less concerned with problems of representation, in something more than a tree or a net. It’s an idea of technology that seems a little dangerous and very good to me. It reminds me of Twitter a little. Lately there I appreciated a map of surf conditions from Bob’s son, and reconnected with my fellow student R.’s cousin."
charlieloyd  highschool  projects  projectbasedlearning  pbl  naturalhistory  lichen  names  naming  2013  memory  learning  education  books  writing  teaching  sx-70  philipmorrison  polaroid  mushrooms  bobrodieck  unschooling  deschooling  sight  seeing  memories  imaging  photography  publishing  promotion  fun  play  words  wordplay  design  davidarora  trevorgoward  brucemccune  delmeidinger  science  interestedness  interestingness  interested 
march 2013 by robertogreco
David Foster Wallace on 'The Nature of Fun' | Books | The Guardian
"The smart thing to say, I think, is that the way out of this bind is to work your way somehow back to your original motivation: fun. And, if you can find your way back to the fun, you will find that the hideously unfortunate double bind of the late vain period turns out really to have been good luck for you. Because the fun you work back to has been transfigured by the unpleasantness of vanity and fear, an unpleasantness you're now so anxious to avoid that the fun you rediscover is a way fuller and more large-hearted kind of fun. It has something to do with Work as Play. Or with the discovery that disciplined fun is more fun than impulsive or hedonistic fun. Or with figuring out that not all paradoxes have to be paralysing. Under fun's new administration, writing fiction becomes a way to go deep inside yourself and illuminate precisely the stuff you don't want to see or let anyone else see, and this stuff usually turns out (paradoxically) to be precisely the stuff all writers and…"
ego  writers  readers  audience  psychology  howwewrite  fiction  authenticity  2012  fun  writing  creativity  creativewriting  davidfosterwallace 
december 2012 by robertogreco
Dotsies
"That says "dotsies is here". Dotsies is a font that uses dots instead of letters. The latin alphabet (abc...) was created thousands of years ago, and is optimized for writing, not reading. About time for an update, no? Dotsies is optimized for reading. The letters in each word smoosh together, so words look like shapes! Follow me on twitter for periodic tips on learning it (it's not that hard) or to tell me what you think."

["How to Learn" page: http://dotsies.org/learn/ ]
decoding  writing  wcydwt  classideas  fun  words  symbols  codes  via:caseygollan  dotsies  language  typography 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Gaga Playground Game Is Popular at Camps - NYTimes.com
"Believed to have originated in Israel, the game — “touch, touch” in Hebrew — has been a standby of Jewish summer camps and community centers in the United States since at least the 1970s. Now, to the surprise of parents who recall the game from their youths, gaga is solidly mainstream. …

In gaga, players lob the ball underhand, trying to hit one another below the knees (or below the waist, depending on where you’re playing) to eliminate their opponents from the court. If the ball goes over the wall, or if it is caught before bouncing, the person who launched it is out of the game. …

The quick turnover is well suited to children’s short attention spans…

It is also appealing because the game is easy to learn, and unlike many playground sports, gaga is not typically dominated by children with natural athletic ability…

As in any good playground game, house rules vary…

…schools and camps favor gaga because they can engage a large number of children in a limited amount of space."
fun  toplay  children'sgames  children  2012  ballgames  srg  edg  playgroundgames  play  games  gaga 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Well-Kept Gardens Die By Pacifism - Less Wrong
Good online communities die primarily by refusing to defend themselves.
It is easy to be naive about the evils of censorship when you already live in a carefully kept garden. Just like it is easy to be naive about the universal virtue of unconditional nonviolent pacifism, when your country already has armed soldiers on the borders, and your city already has police. It costs you nothing to be righteous, so long as the police stay on their jobs.
—then trying to defend the community is typically depicted as a coup attempt. Who is this one who dares appoint themselves as judge and executioner? Do they think their ownership of the server means they own the people? Own our community? Do they think that control over the source code makes them a god?
This about the Internet: Anyone can walk in. And anyone can walk out. And so an online community must stay fun to stay alive. Waiting until the last resort of absolute, blatent, undeniable egregiousness—waiting as long as a police officer would wait to open fire—indulging your conscience and the virtues you learned in walled fortresses, waiting until you can be certain you are in the right, and fear no questioning looks—is waiting far too late.
internet  communities  web  censorship  pacifism  fun  2012  via:tealtan 
june 2012 by robertogreco
Koloro Desk | a dollhouse workspace by Torafu Architects | Spoon & Tamago
"Torafu‘s latest work is the koloro desk and stool, a customizable workspace and, what is to be, the first in a series of products for decorative plywood manufacturer Ichiro. The desk, which resembles a dollhouse, also happens functions like one. It comes with windows in various locations that can be opened and closed to adjust the level of privacy. There are also spaces for lighting, potted plants, and even a windowsill that can be used for display or storage purposes.

It reminds me a bit of the work of Kawamura-Ganjavian, who’ve also come up with various solutions for maintaining privacy in open working environments. See Deskshell [http://www.studio-kg.com/deskshell/ ] or, for maximum privacy, Ostrich [http://www.studio-kg.com/ostrich/ ]."
2012  small  lighting  design  fun  privacy  classroom  classrooms  dollhouses  torafu  srg  furniture  desks 
march 2012 by robertogreco
Playmakers on Vimeo
"playmakers, a 35 minute documentary, is the culmination of a six month project following the progress of Hide&Seek; game designers Alex Fleetwood and Holly Gramazio through the development of a new game. The documentary was filmed over the first 6 months of 2009 and premiered at the Sheffield Documentary festival. Playmakers will be available to download and view on the 5th of May 2010.

Over the last 50 years play has become an increasingly private activity. Now it is bursting back onto our streets. playmakers explores the emerging area of pervasive games it examines the implications of reclaiming play into the public domain and shows the possibilities offered by new technologies.

Playmakers investigates four main themes:

Part 1: Play…

Part 2: Public space…

Part 3: Technology…

Part 4: Theatre/art…"

[See also: http://playmakers.org.uk/ ]
blasttheory  simonevans  quentinstevens  paulinabozek  duncanspeakman  mattadams  simonjohnson  clarereddington  jackcase  thomasbrock  hollygramazio  alexfleetwood  hide&seek  art  theater  urbanplay  urbangames  parkour  social  urbanism  urban  legal  law  publicspace  fun  ubiquitousconnectivity  ubicomp  geolocation  geocaching  socialgames  gaming  via:chrisberthelsen  playmakers  play  games  rules  arg  pervasivegames  pervasive  2010  howardrheingold  michaelwesch  hide&seek; 
february 2012 by robertogreco
The Complete Rules For Games | Rock, Paper, Shotgun
"DO let me flush the toilets and turn on the taps. Scenery, in any game of any genre, shouldn’t be painted on the walls. And so many games before have put in a nice toilet flushing noise. Since all games do insist in including a toilet, as well they should, then all games should include the splishy sploshy noise of flushing it.

DON’T tell me that you’re a game any more. You want to capture something of Brechtian estrangement, break down that fourth wall with mallets and wrecking balls, because you think it’s a fresh and original approach. It’s not. It’s been done a lot, and it’s probably a sign that you’re not confident enough in your own creation. If you feel the urge to winkingly acknowledge to the player that they’re playing a game, then you need to go back to work to create a more convincing world."
gamedesign  fun  rules  games  play  videogames  2011  gaming 
december 2011 by robertogreco
Fireplace
"Type words to interact with Fireplace or just sit back and enjoy. The logs burn to ashes in about 30 minutes each.

I really wanted a big-pixeled fireplace to keep in my bedroom and thought other people might like it, too. If you have any feedback or photos, you can contact me here.

I hope you enjoy it.

— Ted Martens

Some basic commands to try: log, match, marshmallow, smore, eat, hotdog, fireworks, photo, paper"
pixelart  pixels  fun  windows  applications  mac  fireplace  art  artgames  games  fire 
december 2011 by robertogreco
Constant spoonerizing - Neven Mrgan's tumbl
"I spoonerize words all the time. All. The. Time. Good spoonerisms and bad. In my head. (I worderize spoons all the time. Tall. The Lime. Spoon Gooderisms band ad. Hin my ed.)…

I’ve only ever told a few people about it openly - not because it’s a big secret, but because it’s so… goofy and inconsequential. I know others have similar uncontrollable wordplay obsessions: constant punning, rhyming, anagrams, inverting words. Another minor thing I do is count the letters in a word and sort the consonants from the vowels, possibly as a pre-processing step for spoonerization.

This is a contagious brain-bug. Start doing it around someone and watch them pick it up. (I’m so sorry, Cabel. Oh also, dart stewing it surround omeone and pock whem ditch it up.)"
fun  words  language  classideas  tcsnmy  toshare  cv  play  wordplay  spoonerisms  nevenmrgan 
december 2011 by robertogreco
A Sister’s Eulogy for Steve Jobs - NYTimes.com
"…worked at what he loved…really hard…opposite of absent-minded…never embarrassed about working hard, even if results were failures…wasn’t ashamed to admit trying…

Novelty was not…highest value. Beauty was…didn’t favor trends or gimmicks…philosophy of aesthetics…“Fashion is what seems beautiful now but looks ugly later; art can be ugly at first but it becomes beautiful later.”…willing to be misunderstood…Love was his supreme virtue, god of gods…believed love happened all the time, everywhere…never ironic, cynical, pessimistic…choices he made…designed to dissolve walls around him…humble…liked to keep learning…cultivated whimsy…had surprises tucked in all his pockets…had a lot of fun…treasured happiness…set destinations…

We all—in the end—die in medias res. In the middle of a story. Of many stories…

character is essential: What he was, was how he died…

…final words were: OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW."
life  death  work  happiness  stevejobs  monajobs  2011  eulogy  living  wisdom  storytelling  beauty  parenting  love  attention  failure  character  stories  fun  pessimism  cynicism  irony  virtues  art  time  timelessnessm  durability  workethic  ethics  philosophy  aesthetics 
october 2011 by robertogreco
The Believer - Doubling in the Middle
"Barry Duncan is quite possibly the world's first master palindromist, and he refuses to cede control to the alphabet

DISCUSSED: Epic Struggles, The Distance Between Masters and Hacks, Palindromic Taxonomy, A Convenient Ampersand, Cutting-Edge Work in Reversibility, Some Limitations of an Untrained Audience, A Strange Kind of Amazing, The Relationship Killer, Disproportionate Responses, A Surfeit of Calendars, A Deficit of Wool and Illusions"
writing  language  barryduncan  words  literature  fun  taxonomy  reversability  2011  thebeliever 
september 2011 by robertogreco
Tweetghetto Poster — Create Your Own — Better Nouveau
Pick a #hashtag or @username that's close to your heart and let Tweetghetto create the perfect poster for you. See tweets become print and make their dwelling among us.

Tweetghetto is a time capsule for your digital world. It frames the fragments, showcases what stirs you up, and creates life-bits that bridge the gap between virtual and physical memory.
twitter  webapp  posters  papernet  fun  todo.it  tweetghetto 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Pragmatic suggestions for schoolers from unschoolers (Guest Post by Patrick Farenga) « Cooperative Catalyst
"None of this easy, I know. John Holt got fired from some of his teaching positions because many teachers and parents felt his students were having too much fun, even though he could prove his students’ grades improved in his classes. Ironically, as Holt notes in Instead of Education, while some of his fellow teachers complained how their students wanted their classes to be more like Holt’s, it was ultimately the parents who demanded that Holt stop making his classes so engaging and be “more like school.”

It isn’t educational techniques that will ultimately help children learn, but rather sincere relationships with other people. As my friend Aaron Falbel said in an interview several years ago, “Indeed, it is a great joy and privilege to help someone do something that he or she wants to do, if you are asked to help. It’s when that help or teaching is not wanted that the ambiguities and unequal aspects of our relationships come into play…"
patfarenga  johnholt  unschooling  deschooling  tcsnmy  relationships  fun  lcproject  schooldesign  johntaylorgatto  self-promotion  schools  schooling  schoolsurvival  teaching  learning  education  ivanillich  trust 
july 2011 by robertogreco
pecha flickr
"Can you improv? Enter a tag, and see how well you can make sense of 20 random flickr photos, each one on screen for 20 seconds."
classideas  pechakucha  flickr  mashup  improvisation  fun 
may 2011 by robertogreco
How 'Radiolab' Is Transforming the Airwaves - NYTimes.com
"they seem to share is a blend of curiosity & skepticism, willingness to be convinced—& delight in convincing."

“Normally reporter goes out & learns something, writes it down & speaks from knowledge…Jokes & glitches puncture illusion of all-knowing authority, who no longer commands much respect these days anyway. It’s more honest to “let audience hear & know that you are manufacturing a version of events…

“It’s consciously letting people see outside frame…those moments are really powerful. What it’s saying to listener is: ‘Look, we all know what’s happening here. I’m telling you a story, I’m trying to sort of dupe you in some cosmic way.’ We all know it’s happening—& in a sense we all want it to happen.”

This is how “Radiolab” addresses tension btwn authenticity & artifice: capturing raw, off-the-cuff moments…& editing them in gripping pastiche…hope…is to preserve sense of excitement & discovery that often drains away in authoritative accounts of traditional journalism."
via:lukeneff  radiolab  radio  npr  robertkrulwich  jadabumrad  2011  storytelling  science  journalism  classideas  authority  authenticity  humility  humor  fun  artifice  attention  engagement  curiosity  skepticism  convincing  knowledge  honesty  uncertainty  perspective  teaching  knowing  understanding  transparency 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Introducing: Helicopter Taxi | Toca Boca
"As our first digital toy, we are proud to announce the release of Helicopter Taxi for iPhone! The story is that Rita and Skip, our pilots, run a helicopter taxi that picks up five different characters that need to get to certain places. Your kids can fly the helicopter by walking around in the room and moving the iPhone. Since it is in 3D, you can look at the helicopter from all angles by simply turning the iPhone. After picking all of the characters up and flying them to where they want to go, you fly the helicopter home so Rita and Skip can rest for the night. After that, you’re ready to play again!

Helicopter Taxi uses the camera on the iPhone in an innovative way in order to create an augmented reality effect. It looks like the helicopter is flying in the room with you! You pick the characters up by simply laying the iPhone down on a flat surface, and then they get in or out."
children  gamedesign  toys  iphone  applications  ios  helicoptertaxi  tocaboca  interactive  fun  augmentedreality  ar 
march 2011 by robertogreco
This will not stay in Vegas - Vegas gift wife | Ask MetaFilter
[The long Version is funny.]<br />
<br />
"SHORT VERSION:- Leave note: "MORE SOAP PLEASE" and $5 bill in bathroom- Tip housekeeping staff, ask "MORE SOAP PLEASE, ROOM #xxxxxx"- Store soap in in-room safe- Be persistent- 100 bars of Vegas soap, scored in Vegas fashion, makes for a great gift. Two bars? Meh."
life  fun  humor  vegas  lasvegas  metafilter 
january 2011 by robertogreco
Flavorwire » Dinner Party Menus Based on Literary Tastes
"Any meal is immediately improved by a stylistic theme — and, no, we don’t just mean of the murder mystery variety. After hearing about Vinegar Hill House’s American Psycho inspired New Year Eve’s menu, we got to thinking about other books that would make for great dinner party premises. You can choose from the following fantasy menus based on literary taste, and remember to have guests complete the bookish tone by appropriately dressing up as their favorite character."
literature  classideas  food  menus  humor  fun  writing 
december 2010 by robertogreco
RoachBall :: 0009.org
"a sporty mashup between cricket, dodgeball, soccer and kickball played in a bocci ball court"
dodgeball  cricket  soccer  bocceball  sports  play  games  fun  outdoors  tcsnmy  classideas  projectideas  kickball  bocce  roachball  futbol  football 
december 2010 by robertogreco
The Future of Board Games: Innovation Is Afoot
"“Scavenger hunts have been around for a long, long time, but still I believe they are a harbinger of things to come. They’re relatively easy to put together and can be quite fun, and no doubt will become increasingly more complex and varied in the years to come. Especially given the technology that exists today – cell phone, camera phones, text messaging, GPS, and more – it seems quite reasonable that such games will get more and more sophisticated with more and more coordination and variation. There is obviously no actual board to speak of. The board is the neighborhood, the mall, or the city. I have to believe at some point, someone, somewhere will actually formalize rules for such a game, complete with technology variations and scoring systems.”

Well done Nike. You’ve found a way to effectively combine exercise, fun, competition, technology, social networking, and more. Participants absolutely loved The Nike Grid."
boardgames  nike  socialnetworking  nikegrid  games  gaming  play  scavengerhunts  classideas  gps  technology  fun  innovation 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Meet Penki: a new light painting app Dentsu London Meet Penki: a new light painting app
"We’ve made a new light painting app based on the technique used in the first Making Future Magic film. It’s available from today on iTunes.

Penki means “paint” in Japanese and it’s also the name we’ve given this little fellow, who guides you through the app.

Penki allows you to paint 3D messages and images that are revealed in long exposure photographs, using an iPhone (or an iPad once Apple’s released version 4.2 of iOS), a camera, and a darkish environment. There’s a more detailed explanation here on the Penki site and in the app itself."

[via: http://berglondon.com/blog/2010/11/24/designing-media/ ]
penki  iphone  applications  lightpainting  dentsu  ios  light  fun  photography 
november 2010 by robertogreco
View From Your Window Game
"Try to find the location seen in the picture in the upper right within the fixed number of guesses."
googlemaps  streetview  googlestreetview  geography  games  fun 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Konstantin Novoselov Interview - Special Topic of Graphene - ScienceWatch.com
"The style of Geim's lab (which I'm keeping and supporting up to now) is that we devote ten percent of our time to so-called "Friday evening" experiments. I just do all kinds of crazy things that probably won’t pan out at all, but if they do, it would be really surprising. Geim did frog levitation as one of these experiments, and then we did gecko tape together. There are many more that were unsuccessful and never went anywhere (though I still had a good time thinking about and doing those experiments, so I love them no less than the successful ones).

This graphene business started as that kind of Friday evening experiment. We weren’t hoping for much, and when I gave it to a student, it initially failed. Then we had what you could call a stream of coincidences that basically brought us some very remarkable results quite quickly—within a week or so. Then we decided to continue on a more serious basis."
google20%  tcsnmy  graphene  science  physics  materials  play  research  fun  serendipity  experimentation  crossdisciplinary  crosspollination  konstantinnovoselov  interviews 
october 2010 by robertogreco
notgames
"This is Keita Takahashi. I became a freelancer in October. I want to continue fun activities and help somebody with fun people of the world along with my wife who is a composer."

[original: http://www.uvula.jp/2010/09/blog-post.html]
keitatakahashi  partnerships  fun  games  gaming  gamedesign  glvo  work  freelancing 
october 2010 by robertogreco
Frank Chimero - The Back Side of Your Gullet is Decadent and Depraved, Part 2
"What was nourishing creative work? “Maybe it does what nourishing food does,” I thought. “It fills a void. Fills us up. Maybe makes us stop wanting for just a little, brilliant moment.”

Yes, that…

Let’s see, nourishing creative work: To Kill a Mockingbird. Citizen Kane. Shakespeare. You know, stuff that speaks to our essential human nature, the canonical creative output of human-kind…

"Committing to making nourishing things might be resigning myself to a life of stuffiness, corduroy blazers, NPR pledge drives, & raw food diets. Surely there must be some nourishing things out there that are fun, right? I redrew my list as a graph…

The top right was the place. It was the challenge. Fun, but not vapid. That’s where I wanted my work to live at all costs: fun & nourishing. I closed my eyes & imagined biting into a ripe peach, large enough to share, but delicious enough to not want to.

“This is what success tastes like…”"
creativity  graphs  frankchimero  nourishment  culture  fun  unfun  notnourishing  soul  fulfillment  enjoyment  bliss  glvo  maps  mapping  quality  purpose 
august 2010 by robertogreco
I Write Like
"Check what famous writer you write like with this statistical analysis tool, which analyzes your word choice and writing style and compares them to those of the famous writers.
analysis  language  literature  comparison  writing  fun  english  authors  classideas  via:robinsloan 
july 2010 by robertogreco
dy/dan » We Had Too Much Time On Our Hands [Dan Meyer runs a UChicago-like (http://scavhunt.uchicago.edu/) Scavenger Hunt with some students *outside* of class]
"This seems dead on to me. Imagination can be threatening and scary if you aren't accustomed to doing something with it. It seemed necessary to trigger the imagination of my students slowly, with progressively harder challenges, so that they'd reach the hardest challenge with confidence and competence, thinking to themselves three things:...I'm really glad we did this. We fell way short of my expectations, but it's hard to reconcile that fact with the wide grin on my face when I think back on the whole thing." [See also: http://scavhunt.uchicago.edu/ AND http://www.clusterflock.org/2010/06/dont-miss-46.html]
danmeyer  creativity  teaching  fun  classideas  tcsnmy  scavengerhunts  persistence  failingspectacularly 
june 2010 by robertogreco
dy/dan » You Have No Life
"We have watched some incredible videos lately—Rube Goldberg machines & time lapse photography—& if video smacks even slightly of concentrated effort or advance planning, someone will inevitably scoff that subject has "too much time on his hands" or "no life."...I would so much rather my students understood the value of turning stupid ideas into reality than the entire sum of Algebra1. It's so obvious to me that the kind of person who would create a cocktail-mixer from balsa wood & twine is simply blowing off steam that life will eventually focus in a direction that will be extremely constructive and/or profitable. I can't make this obvious to my students. After six years I lack a succinct, meaningful response to my students' defensive, clannish embrace of mediocrity, though I'm grateful for this tweet, which comes pretty close: dwineman: You say "looks like somebody has too much time on their hands" but all I hear is "I'm sad because I don't know what creativity feels like.""
attitudes  creativity  geek  criticism  lifehacks  motivation  productivity  ingenuity  persistence  danmeyer  fun  mediocrity 
june 2010 by robertogreco
Dropophone App « Lullatone
"Create your own minimalist melodies with this easy and enchanting app. Based on Lullatone’s album “Little Songs About Raindrops,” Dropophone allows you to make songs that sound like drips and drops falling on a tiny orchestra of instruments.
dropophone  lullatone  applications  iphone  music  fun  electroplankton  ios 
june 2010 by robertogreco
The Pleasures of Imagination - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education
"So while reality has its special allure, the imaginative techniques of books, plays, movies, and television have their own power. The good thing is that we do not have to choose. We can get the best of both worlds by taking an event that people know is real and using the techniques of the imagination to transform it into an experience that is more interesting and powerful than the normal perception of reality could ever be. The best example of this is an art form that has been invented in my lifetime, one that is addictively powerful, as shown by the success of shows such as The Real World, Survivor, The Amazing Race, and Fear Factor. What could be better than reality television?"
psychology  culture  imagination  creativity  games  fun  fiction  fantasy  consciousness  brain  art  entertainment  emotion  play  empathy  escape  videogames  narrative  via:lukeneff  film  tv  television  reality  realitytv  storytelling  leisure  english  mind  writing  pleasure  behavior  science  paulbloom  humans 
june 2010 by robertogreco
KaleidoVid - A fun little diversion for your iPhone. - Home
"Crazy as it may sound, iPhone development can be intense at times. So, we decided to take a break from a few of our more ambitious projects and do something delightful. We hope you find KaleidoVid as fun to use as it was to develop! —Just $0.99—"
iphone  applications  cameras  kaleidoscope  fun  ios 
march 2010 by robertogreco
Who Turns the Lights Off When We Leave Kindergarten? by Tom King | Teacher Reboot Camp
"Why can’t powerful model of kindergarten be extended into upper grades?...good question. & far too few “good” answers. Among biggest obstacles is we group learners by how old they are instead of what needs are. Followed closely by the fact that there’s little chance to play & learn in groups, talking is not tolerated, naps are not encouraged when your brain is tired, there’s no milk & cookies, & learning is way too often boring & no longer fun. After kindergarten, labels get hung on learners like an albatross & too many of them give up & become negative self-fulfilling prophecies...What can we do? Bring some of the fun back to learning. Break some of the rules….especially the ones you think you can get away with: more collaborative group work, answer fewer questions but ask more, let them teach you, give them the tools to show what they know.
kindergarten  agesegregation  learning  schools  schooling  fun  education  unschooling  deschooling  tcsnmy  lcproject  collaboration  teaching 
march 2010 by robertogreco
Annie Hall
"A young-ish Christopher Walken appears in Annie Hall but his name is misspelled in the credits as "Christopher Wlaken". Were this 1990, I might have invented a eastern European backstory for Wlaken, who, perhaps, Americanized his name sometime after appearing in the film. But as we live in the future, a cool hunk of glass and metal from my pocket told me -- before the credits even finished rolling -- that the actor was born Ronald Walken in Astoria, Queens.
kottke  wonder  imagination  deficit  deficitofwonder  wonderdeficit  iphone  search  livinginthefuture  notsolongago  google  internet  web  technology  online  society  culture  information  curiosity  fun  mystery 
february 2010 by robertogreco
McSweeney's Internet Tendency: The Real Timothy McSweeney.
"I was intrigued by the letters so much that I kept them in a drawer in my room, wondering if Timothy was actually related to us...When a new letter would arrive, she would hand it to me, usually without reading it. I would pore over it for clues, then would add it to the stack...So many years later, when I was conceiving a name for this literary journal, the name Timothy McSweeney's Quarterly Concern occurred to me...made sense on many levels...honor my Irish side of the family & also allude to this mysterious man & the sense of possibility and even wonder he'd brought to our suburban home...Knowing that the journal bore the name of a real person who had endured years of struggle threw melancholy shadows over the enterprise. But the McSweeneys insisted that the use of the name was acceptable, even appropriate, given Timothy's background as an artist & search for connection & meaning through the written word. Since 2000 we've implicitly dedicated all issues to the real Timothy."
daveeggers  history  writing  fun  journalism  celebrity  obituary  mystery  mentalillness  glvo  names  naming  letters  correspondence  mcsweeneys  weird  mentalhealth 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Urban Bike and Social Club (San Diego, CA) - Meetup.com
"Like to ride bikes? Don't have to put on your spandex uni-tard to have fun riding? Like to group ride to fun social events around town and make new friends? Lets meetup and ride somewhere fun! To happy hour , to a festival, to an outdoor movie in Balboa Park, you name it! Its a brave new world out there and its fun to ride around with like minded friends to explore it!"
sandiego  bikes  biking  fun  excursions  social  glvo  meetups 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Personal projects are often worth more than professional ones. What's stopping you? - Ewan McIntosh | Digital Media & Education
"It's all too easy to relegate our personal projects to the bottom of the pile until "the day job" is complete. The result? We nearly always end up having to leave creative, fun, new projects behind in the interest of ticking someone else's boxes, when those same personal projects could be the very innovation that make the difference. Ji Lee was fed up with his life as an ad exec when he decided to engage the public in parodying that very same world, printing out 50,000 speech bubble stickers and placing them over ads around New York City. Over time, the public took the lead in inventing political or comical speech to make the parody. The ultimate parody in this project is, of course, that ad agencies used them to further promote their products. He spins a good yarn in his 99% video. A personal project that took Ji Lee's name to the world and helped him find a seat as Director of Google's Creative Labs."

[video: http://www.vimeo.com/8596045 ]

[related: http://gelconference.com/videos/2006/ji_lee/ ]
learning  plp  tcsnmy  creativity  fulfillment  time  work  lcproject  glvo  play  fun  jilee  boingboing  viral  graffiti  streetart  humor  advertising  ewanmcintosh  joy 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Historical Tweets
"In the history of history, nothing has been more historic than Historical Tweets.

Most people think Twitter was “created” in 2006. These are same people who think Richard Gere created Buddhism in the 1990’s. Just before Madonna created yoga. Folks, like the sun, moon, and stars, Twitter has always been. This site proves it beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Books have been ruining history. So many unnecessary words. Now, with Historical Tweets, history’s most amazing men and women can be fully understood, a mere 140 characters at a time."
via:cburell  history  humor  twitter  socialmedia  fun  microblogging  internet  historicaltweets 
december 2009 by robertogreco
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