WE ARE NOT A CRIME – THE WORLD’S FIRST HOLOGRAPHIC PROTEST! BLOG #6

The world’s first virtual protest occurred in Madrid on April 11th, 2015.  Over 18,000 people marched holographically in protest of a new law called the Citizen’s Safety Law which prevents people from physically protesting outside government buildings.  The law, set to come into effect July 1st, has been heavily criticized in Spain and endangers civil liberties.  The holographic protest follows many, in the flesh, protests against the law, also known as the “Gag Law”.  Here is the call to the world to join the world’s first Holographic protest on the HOLOGRAMASPORLALIBERTAD site.

Holo - 3

The protest was made possible by more than 100 organizations which joined together to create a movement called “We are Not a Crime”, or “No Somos Delito.”  This statement best describes their plight:

 “…#HologramasLibres (FreeHolograms)-  describes a surreal future in which we have to shed our flesh and become three-dimensional light forms in order to protest… The hologram protest denounces how, as people, we cannot express messages contrary to those disseminated by our leaders; how we cannot think freely, as free thinking is reliant on the possibility of meeting freely to speak freely, expressing ourselves in the squares, the streets, the markets. We cannot be ourselves. The current climate of repression is silencing our society, filling us with fear. What’s more, we believe that this is not a national matter, but a global one, and that the strategy of silencing the population is aimed at eliminating all protest against new economic policies to be introduced in the future…”  Sound familiar?

We are not a Crime, called on people all over the world to volunteer to become a hologram in the protest. The video call above served as the intro to their campaign and in the weeks running up to the protest, supporters were given 3 options on how to participate:

  1. WRITE A MESSAGE – YOUR WORDS WITHOUT FEAR OF REPRISAL.  Button option allows you to write your words to be used on signs in the holographic protest.
  2. BECOME A HOLOGRAM – JOIN A UNIQUE PROTEST. Button allows you to record the image of your head using your webcam to submit to them so that they could paste it into the protest.  All of the heads in the protest are of real people.
  3. LEAVE YOUR SHOUT – DON’T LET ANYONE ELSE SILENCE YOUR VOICE.  Button allowed to record audio of your words of protest to be used in the holographic protest.

Here’s some footage of what the Holographic protest looked like when they put it all together:

The approach is a big step both for technology and activism.  Technically, the projection was not a formal hologram, but was actually closer to a theatrical illusion called Pepper’s Ghost, but it was close enough.  No Somos Delito, is currently working to create multiple technological mediums to use in their future protests so its activism can’t be silenced.   The real test will be whether their campaign helps to defeat the Security Laws and set an example for the world.

When I first encountered the news of this protest, I was stunned by how brilliant and surreal the idea was and I am still in awe of the idea.  My mind wanders back to Blade Runner and 1984 and I truly marvel at what the future of holographic technology may hold.

People from 50 countries around the world helped them.  Would you help them if they did it again?

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The Twitter Helmet Takes Wearable Technology to a Whole New Altitude! – Blog #5 COM 0011

The Twitter Helmet Takes Wearable Technology to a Whole New Altitude! – Blog #5 COM 0011

Photo:  An insider Twitter source shared the photo above from company headquarters capturing Twitter employees’ beta-testing the helmet.

As a new Twitter user, I am still getting used to HOW Twitter works and WHY I should spend my time on it.  I find Twitter to be more invasive than Facebook, and as someone who can get addicted to social media, I am being very cautious about how much I use Twitter.  However, I am also a victim of fashion and accessories.  I absolutely LOVE gadgets and I am especially fascinated by wearable technology!  I am the kind of person who wants an Apple watch NOW, regardless of how chunky it might be!  So you can imagine how intrigued I was when I heard about the Twitter Helmet!  Well, at first…

Announcement:

The Director of Wearable Technology Research Tweeted the Twitter Helmet announcement:

“Today we’re pleased to pre-announce the Twitter Helmet™, a sophisticated, fully immersive, staggeringly high-resolution wearable device that allows our users to interact with the world around them entirely via a custom aviary interface.”

Design Influence

The design influence of the Twitter Helmet is definitely bird influenced and I mean this literally.  Currently insider marketing spin doctors have come up with the fancy term “Aviary” to describe their product and its interface!  According to company release the device “allows users to tweet with a simple pecking motion of the head” further emphasizing the bird influence.  I found some leaked design sketches which show more of the style and capabilities:

Twitter Helmet Design Influence 1

twitter_helmet_concept_art_roughs 2

Other leaked documents said that the helmet being made of high-quality materials like impact-resistant, Oleophobic-treated glass.  According to the company statement  “The helmet will include a plethora of bird-related accessories like “a hand-tooled leather case inspired by falconry hoods, feather-shaped Wi-Fi and cellular signal boosters, and a carbon fiber chinstrap with optional wattle-form factor microphone.”  As evidenced by the first leaked photo, we can see that the base model will be available in a synthetic Easter egg blue, and the design sketches indicate that other colours and designs will follow.  The company also stated that the helmet will be available in September just in time for back to school.  Early rumours suggest that the product will be reasonably priced with the entry level base model set to retail at just 139.99.

Safety/Fashion Concerns 

My first reaction when I saw the helmet was a bit of disappointment.  I must say that I am not the kind of person to wear such bright colours, all-be-it, Easter egg blue is better than pink or yellow, but still, I am not into mid-tone pastels and much prefer bleaker options like basic black or grey that might give off a more sophisticated air and work more flexibly with a variety of wardrobe options.  I was also concerned about safety!  It is currently unclear how the helmet which the statement said would “engulf the user’s entire head” will allow for good visibility for those using the device.  The idea of people using it while walking is a concern, but hopefully it will be outlawed for use while biking or operating a car!  The early company statement indicates that it is intended for mobile use.  Early reviews believe that the device will need to comply with current mobile phone laws pertaining to its use in motor vehicles.

What are your thoughts on the Twitter Helmet?  What wearable mobile technology do you crave? 

COM 0011 BLOG #4) –  ARE YOU SPRING CLEANING?  NEED HELP? NEED CASH?   THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT:

COM 0011 BLOG #4) – ARE YOU SPRING CLEANING? NEED HELP? NEED CASH? THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT:

Do you celebrate spring by cleaning and purging at the first signs of a melt and sometimes wish you could make the work go faster?

YOU ARE IN LUCK!

AskforTask has arrived and claims over 200,000 service providers Canada wide and growing!  Ask for Task is the next big thing in this new-fangled SHARING millennial economy. Move over Uber Taxi, Airbnb, and that strange Cuddir App! AskforTask is about sharing your simple everyday chores!  (You know you want to!)  Here’s the video/ad with the inside scoop on how it works:

WHAT CAN TASKERS DO FOR YOU?

According to a Creative Consumption articleTaskers are available for “small errands to manual labour to more extravagant requests. Initially, the most popular tasks were handy-man (person…GRrr!) services like plumbing or electrician work. This then grew to more menial tasks like putting together IKEA furniture. Later, seasonal trends, like snow removal or Black Friday shopping.  In fact, waiting in line has become a fairly popular Ask, with one Tasker spending 4 days at a mall in Toronto waiting for the iPhone 6 launch.”  I also noted online that even Airbnb people use Taskers to deliver keys, so even Sharing Apps are sharing!

3 EASY STEPS TO GETTING IT DONE:

STEP #1 – Asker – Post Your Task:  If you go to the site the best way is to use the general Post a Task button above.  It will ask the Asker for Task Title, Describe Task, and give you the option of Uploading an Image.  After that it asks you if the task is In Person or Online, then your Location, Method of Payment, and the Due Date of your project.  You can then set the payment as either Hourly Rate or Fixed Rate, then finish with your Phone Number.

STEP #2 Select a Tasker:  Select the right person for the task based on user-generated reviews and ratings.

STEP #3 Pay When Job is Done:  Your phone will ring and the Tasker you have selected will arrange the work with you.  You pay the site, not the Tasker, after the job is complete.  You, the Asker, then rate the Tasker.  Done!

THE COMPETITION:

The US has an older similar service called Taskrabbit.  Currently. Taskrabbit and Askfortask are competing in many major cities in North American and hoping to expand worldwide.  According to Creative Consumption:  “AskforTask differentiates from competitors in 3 ways:

First; Taskers can bid for the tasks they want and Askers can choose who they deem fit for the job, unlike Task Rabbit, which uses a model that assigns jobs to Taskers.

Second; AskforTask is very proactive about continuously improving user experience, going as far as updating their product every 3 days based on customer feedback.

Third:  AskforTask allows a user to post all their tasks in one place versus going on multiple websites that specialize in different services.”

Ok, so there you have it people!  Are you in?  Are you out?  Would you be and Asker, or perhaps prefer to make some extra cash as a Tasker?  Thoughts?

Would YOU “Spock a Five” ?  COM 0011 Blog #3

Would YOU “Spock a Five” ? COM 0011 Blog #3

As a long time Sci-Fi geek, my fellow “Trekkies” and I were saddened by the recent passing of Leonard Nimoy only one week ago today, as I write this blog.  No doubt, most of you know of the famous actor, Leonard Nimoy, who played Mr. Spock on the original hit TV series Star Trek from 1966-69.  Wikipedia confirms that the show had a major influence on popular culture and it became a cult classic in broadcast syndication during the 1970’s. The show eventually spawned a franchise, consisting of five additional television series, 12 films, numerous books, games, toys, and is now considered one of the most popular science fiction television shows of all time!  Although Mr. Nimoy, was also known as a film director, poet, singer-songwriter, and photographer, according to Wikipedia, Nimoy’s greatest prominence came from his role as Spock, the half-Vulcan, half-human alien hybrid on Star Trek series. It is considered one of the most popular alien characters ever portrayed on television. Biographer Dennis Fischer notes that television viewers admired Spock’s “coolness, his intelligence,” and his ability to take on successfully any task. As a result, he adds, Nimoy’s character “took the public by storm,” nearly eclipsing the star of the show, William Shatner’s Captain Kirk.  I was a not a big Captain Kirk fan.

Leonard died on Friday February 27th.  Fans around the world immediately started to respond to Leonard’s passing on social media.  My Facebook news feeds featured Spock cartoons and videos, famous character quotes, and photos all posted and re-posted by fans.  You could not miss it.  Everything Spock was suddenly viral!  It was also my first day on Twitter!  I have no doubt that most of you must have found out about the news that day?  When did you know?  What type of media alerted you – old school or new media?  Did anyone find out on a social media other than Facebook or Twitter?

What is Spocking a Five:

The one thing that immediately caught my eye in the sea on Leonard tributes was the “Spocking Fives” spin-off that has since exploded!  For those of you who have yet to encounter this art wave, “Spocking a Five”, means to take a Canadian Five dollar bill and, using a black sharpie or pen, alter the head of Sir Wilfred Laurier into the head of Spock.  Here is what the classic Spock Fives looks like:

Classic Spock Five

Twitter

On Friday when Mr. Nimoy passed away the “Spocking” movement surged when Canadian Design Resource firm put out a tweet that said “Spock your $5 bills for Leonard Nimoy”.  It was one of the first Tweets I had ever seen!  The tweet, last I checked received 1,693 Retweets and 1.132 Favourites on Twitter by the end of day.  There are many secondary sites now, but the main one I found on Twitter is #SpockingFives, it has an excellent photo gallery  of people’s artistic efforts! There is even one in the gallery that is a young Spock Photoshopped on a new 5, but this kind of activity boarders on criminal forgery:

Young Spock 5

 

Bank of Canada Reaction and History:

On Tuesday the Toronto Sun published an article in which the Bank of Canada asks Trekkies to stop defacing currency!  However, the article also makes It was very clear that although it is disrespectful, the act of “Spocking” is actually not illegal.  The comments section after the article is full of fans confirming this fact.  Notably, “Spocking Fives” did not just start with the passing of Mr. Nimoy.  According to Wikipedia  the practice started almost as soon as the Sir Wilfred Laurier five dollar bill was issued in 2002.  I will note that the old fives are the easiest to Spock because they are paper, should you chose to Spock one.  A quick Google image search will also reveal that the five has also been altered into other famous characters, if you do not happen to like Spock, the 2nd most popular alteration is called “Snaping” after Severus Snape from Harry Potter:

Snape 3

Would you “Spock a Five”?

I was absolutely astounded at how quickly Spocking went viral!  It totally reminded me of “The Dress” article that out professor, Robert posted.  All of a sudden an activity that is only practiced by a handful of people becomes a wide spread ritual in a matter of hours and days!  Welcome to Twitter!

So what are your thoughts on this new viral phenomenon?  Has anyone seen a “Spocked Five”?  Post photos of 5$ if you find them!  Have you noticed it in any other places on social media, if so, where?  Do you think it should be a crime to deface Canadian bills?  Or, is “Spocking Fives” an unstoppable art movement honouring a legendary character/actor?  We are talking about SPOCK after all!  I want your input as I am thinking about Spocking a Five!

“Live long and prosper.”  Spock.

Spock 5 with hand

COM 0011 – BLOG #2 – The “SOMEBODY” App – You send a stranger to perform a message from you.

COM 0011 – BLOG #2 – The “SOMEBODY” App – You send a stranger to perform a message from you.

I was thinking about this second blog and I really wanted to find something to share with you that was shocking, cutting edge and/or mind bending.  I wanted to locate a new way of using social media that was creative, possibly brilliantly twisted and futuristic.  Something to make us all think about the future and what strange and unexpected paths social media might take!  I knew I hit pay dirt when I discovered “Somebody”.

How it Works:

Explained briefly by wired magazine, Somebody is a messaging platform that allows one person to deliver a message to another. The catch is instead of sending a direct friend-to-friend text, your message will be delivered verbally, IRL (in real life) via someone other than yourself. Think of it like a 21st century version of a singing telegram, without all the singing.  The way it works is this: You’ll log onto Somebody and pick a friend to send a message to. But instead of sending that message directly to him or her, you’ll choose an app user who is near the recipient who can deliver the message. Inside the app you determine what you’d like to say, and the human proxy will repeat your message to your friend, as though they’re reading off cue cards.  All messages begin by your proxy introducing himself/herself as you. So if I were to send a message to my brother, for example, my messenger would find my brother and say: “Sam? It’s me Liz.” Then she’d go on to repeat whatever message I intended to deliver, guided by a curated set of actions she must perform (they include, but are not limited to: hug, kiss, fist bump and buy a cup of coffee).

Finding this hard to imagine?  Here is an entertaining short film directed by Miranda July that shows you what using “Somebody” would look like:

HOW “SOMEBODY” CAME TO BE:

Somebody is an app and a film created by Artist Miranda July. Miranda’s app first began as a film proposal to be part of a series of short films by high-profile women film makers for a series called Women’s Tales, sponsored by the women’s high fashion house Mui Mui which is a division of Prada.  Miranda, a talented emerging film director, wanted to make a film about an app and proposed they would then also create the app for real!  She was not expecting that Mui Mui would say “yes” to the whole idea, but much to her surprise they did!  Miranda directed and acted in the film and created the app with a team.  Somebody is the 8th film in the cutting edge short Women’s Tales Series.  Here is Miranda explaining how it all came together and giving you a bit more detail on what she wanted to create:

Affective Communication could be part of the Future 

“The app makes people do things they normally wouldn’t do,” July told Wired magazine. For July, an app (in this case, her App Somebody) is less about the phone itself and more about using technology to facilitate real-life interaction.  “It can get outrageous. I do like the fact that it creates these ephemeral experiences, but I also hope that some people will document their message deliveries, just so I can see them.”  Actually, Miranda shared some of the experiences people shared with her on her Somebody website for all of us to see.  On the site, people describe the thrill that happens when delivering or receiving a message.  According to Wikipedia, “affect, emotion, or feeling is displayed to others through facial expressions, hand gestures, posture, voice characteristics, and other physical manifestations” and it is just such “Affective Communication” that is the thrill and the fun part of Somebody!  In my opinion, the most fascinating part of the App is the messenger who performs the message through both word and action!  Let’s face it, people like apps that are fun and they like social messaging, together they are a great combo!

As a teacher I have noticed that many of my students are out in the hall on their breaks standing in a circle, not talking to each other, but typing adeptly and quickly on their phones.  Usually they type with two thumbs in a way that looks to me like the phones are an extension of their bodies, and it seems more spider-like than human.  The relative silence of the circle unnerves me and the reason they stand in a circle escapes me.  I imagine what would happen if the Somebody App invaded their circle…  I think I like Miranda’s idea of the phone as just a conduit of a message and using phones to create more “Affective Communication” in our future.  At this point, I know, many of you are likely thinking of security concerns that come with this type of messaging.  But let’s remember that there are security concerns that go along with all types of social messaging, the google list on the subject is a long one!  Also, the Somebody App allows you to rate the messenger with a 5 star system, like movies or restaurants, so you can be discerning.

 

Somebody 2.0

The Somebody app, at this stage, does rely on a critical mass of people downloading the app in a certain geographic area for it to work best.  The 1.0 version was primarily used and tested at the Venice Film Festival, where Miranda’s Film debuted, plus a host of museums and art galleries exploring new media: The New Museum, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, and Boston Museum of Fine Art, to name a few.  Somebody was available through the App Store, but has been taken down so that July can go from Somebody 1.0 to a 2.0 version, or so it says on her site.  When July was asked, by Wired, what she would like to see more of in the app she said, “Better writing” particularly with regard to describing the affect in a given communication. When a message is sent via Somebody, the composer is meant not only to transcribe the communication, but also to describe how it is to be performed. (i.e. “Jeremy, I miss you” [crying and holding hands].) In the context of screen-oriented living, communication does not end with words, but can expand to images, emoji, methods not yet seen or understood.

Somebody Man Woman Photo

The Stats that Support Somebody:

According to Sarah Perez, in her very informative article entitled Mobile App Usage Increases In 2014, As Mobile Web Surfing Declines, “Facebook, combined with Twitter (1.5%) and Social Messaging apps (9.5%) grew to 28% of time spent on mobile, up from 24% last year, indicating the broader shift from socializing on Facebook to sharing within smaller, more private messaging applications. These stats are based on the yearly statistics provided by Flurry, which are detailed more clearly in Sarah’s full article, but what it does mean, is that the social aspect of mobile phone usage is growing and evolving!

Do you want to be a Somebody?

I really hope that many of you will find the exploration of the Somebody App as mind bending as I did?  After finding out about it, I wondered if I would use it by sending a message or being a messenger.  I thought a lot about the risks, awkwardness and intensity of such an experience.  I guess I resolved that at least it was a human to human experience, rather than just silent communication through a device.  I will certainly track it’s evolution.  What are your thoughts on Somebody?  Would you use it?  Have you found any Apps that function this way?

COM 0011 – Blog Post #1 –   The “5 STEPS” to the Perfect Blog!

COM 0011 – Blog Post #1 – The “5 STEPS” to the Perfect Blog!

Five Steps

(Note that I have used a photo to illustrate my title.  I have discovered that all good Blogs often have related feature images.  Well.. I hope you are seeing a photo and that I pressed the right buttons!)

I have never written a Blog EVER and come to think of it, I don’t think I have EVER read a Blog before either.  So when I got this assignment I was panicked!  I went to the course mainpage and read the sample Blogs, which gave me a general idea, but I really wanted a formula and I needed to get this done quickly and efficiently.  I am piled high with work these days, as I am sure many of you are, and time is of essence!  At this point, I confess that I am an avid Facebook user, so, I thought that I would use my Facebook experience to make my Blog a bit more interesting!  So I promise to provide info on the “Steps”, but I will add a few Facebook techniques to keep the process less stressful.

Facebook has taught me that one of the best approaches to getting people interested in a topic is to use a number, like the one in my title.  By this I mean that my Facebook site is often littered with ads from the likes of The Huffington Post (the HuffPo for those in the know), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Huffington_Post which often claim that almost everything in life can be divided into STEPS or REASONS and then you just ad a number et voila – done like dinner!  I assume that many of you have seen these types of articles and clicked on them.  Am I right?

BREAK #1:  Facebook has also taught me that animal videos help us deal with stress, so I have added two short ones in my Blog discussion for good measure.  This is currently my favourite short cat video Jumping Cat Fail – I Believe I can Fly Version (Original) 50min:  Does anyone else like cat videos and find they release stress?  (Note the use of video.)

5 STEPS AND 8 STEPS

There are many sites out there that breakdown how to write a Blog into steps to assist you.   In my research, I found that The 5 Step Formula for a Perfect Blog, by Karri Stover, was really informative and helpful:  http://writtent.com/blog/5-step-formula-perfect-blog-post/.   Of all the sites that claim to have the best “Steps to Blogging” that I read, I liked this one the most, because it was clear and compressed into only 5 steps.  I figured that for the sake of time and energy, I would not heavily recommend Jeremy Goldman’s article: The Write Stuff:  8 Steps to the Perfect Blog Post   http://www.inc.com/jeremy-goldman/8-steps-to-creating-the-perfect-blog-post.html as, let’s get serious here folks, for some of us, 8 steps takes longer than 5.  Mr. Goldman does make some excellent points though, so if you do have time, it is worth the read.

BREAK #2:  I just want to pause here, in case your stress is mounting to share this short sloth video.  I am not sure why sloths are so popular on Facebook of late, but “Super Sloth” certainly really helped to keep in Zen mode while writing: https:// Has anyone else notice a plethora of sloths of late?  (Note 2nd amusing video insert.)

10 Steps

Finally, I found Jeff Bullas’s 10 Key Steps for Blogging Successhttp://www.jeffbullas.com/2013/01/29/10-key-steps-to-blogging-success/ for those of you who do have more time on your hands and are really nervous and you want to make sure you are going in depth on understanding how to write this thing, this is the best of the longer guides that I found.  Admittedly, even though I was pressed for time this was very helpful.

I did spend a fair amount of my allocated time looking at the different steps to Blogging.  I found myself disinterested in anything over 10 steps, as I figured that my audience are likely other busy people who, like me, just don’t have the time for more steps than 10!  12 Steps are a thing of the past!  It is ALL about the target audience; as they note in most of the “How To” step processes.

So I hope my research links help you if you are about to write your first Blog or even your second, or perhaps, at the very least, the animal videos will help to calm you in the process!   Feel free to share your favourite relaxing short animal videos and any of your recommended “How To” Blog thoughts and research sites below.

Happy Blogging!