Week 2 Reading Response

“Mashups: The new breed of Web app, An introduction to mashups”

Duane Merrill

Before reading the article, I didn’t really have an idea of what a mashup was. Words such as API and API enabling REST, SOAP, etc. were not familiar terms. As I continued reading the article, the idea of open APIs and different types of mashups started to become interesting. I realized that I have already been introduced to mashups by being working with open APIs while drawing in CAD software. Wikipedia defines mashup as “a web page or application that uses and combines data, presentation or functionality from two or more sources to create new services.” I regard mashups as a tool for combining and portraying rather complex data into a comparatively simple interface that is much more understandable to ordinary users. Furthermore, in the case of web 2.0, because almost everybody can retrieve information through mashups, these people can also contribute to the development of open source information. Mashups include Web 2.0 and social software that not only connect people to the computer screen, but also from people to people, computer screen, TV sets, cell-phones, microwaves, etc. – basically everything around you. Consumer mashups such as mapping mashups, video and photo mashups, and search and shopping mashups create a base for limitless exploration. As an example, people can use open API and link together words with pictures that have been tagged. They can drag every available picture online that has the tag of “2011” and can create a timeline or can create a map of where and when people actually took the photo. Basically, when one takes a photo, that picture can be represented by what time the picture was taken, who the picture was taken by, who is actually in the picture, the occasion of the picture, what camera was used to take the picture, etc. Later, all these information can be used to either reorganize pictures or to map these pictures into totally different topics. I believe mashups are a great way to make use of or increase the usability of all the massively stored information on the web that can’t be simply accessed by everyday users.

“Calm Technologies 2.0: Visualizing Social Data as an Experience in Physical Space”

Michael Hohl

As I was reading this article, I was first interested by the idea of making calm technologies – communication designs that gave sensual experiences to users without much disruption. The WebPresence was a very good example of interfaces that are not only aesthetically attractive, but conceptually appealing as well. It reminded me of when friends would throw small stones towards your window in order to grab your attention. But does WebPresence actually solve a problem? Can it actually be called a practical design? Because humans are already fully occupied by all the information provided to us through the mobile phone, the internet, and SNS such as twitter and facebook, should there be more products and services that alert humans of information? I like how the article touched upon how art challenges assumptions. “How would these disruptions affect our ability to concentrate and focus on tasks such as writing and reading that require longer periods of uninterrupted immersion?” In my case of twitter, facebook, and foursquare, I turn off all the pushing and alerting alarms so that I don’t have the urge to check on my twitter, facebook, and foursquare whenever it blinks or sends me an update. I am already using too much technology. There are times when I want to free myself from technology but pushing alerts and alarms prevent me from doing so. I still do believe that communication designers should work to improve calm technology as it will have limitless potential for communication design aside from alerting and pushing functions. I believe it necessary for designers to sometimes think in a bottom-up development as although some people may consider these designs to be currently useless, such research and developments can create a firm foundation for future design.

“A Manifesto for Networked Objects: Why Things Matter”

Julian Bleeker

When reading the section of this article related to networked video, I could not help but think about Big Brother of “1984” where every action taken by every person would be watched by telescreens and would be recorded as data. But as I started to read more about the author’s take on the role of future blogjects, it really made sense to me and it did not seem like “1984” at all. Yes we have up-to-date technology where cars can record everywhere you went and how much fuel must be pushed in order to gain the optimum driving experience. Yes we have internet based products that calculates so much information at such a short time. But are all these calculations and information necessary for the development of technology or development of the world? With the incorporation of Web 2.0, blogjects now have the opportunity to provide information that can actually raise political, environmental, etc. issues that can be debated on by people. The pigeon example in this article is an example where a blogject can raise questions and start debates regarding pollution of a certain area. It not only collects information regarding pollution, but it also raises an issue that people must take into concern. I totally agree in that mashups and blogjects “need to mean more than the sum of its parts.” Creating useless sensor-based objects that only have functions of collecting meaningless data is no longer needed. “Blogject is to make, disseminate and enhance meaning, to draw attention and to be assertive.” We now have so much technology and information available to us that we need to consider how such technology and information will be used wisely for the future.

“Grey Album Producer Danger Mouse Explains How He Did It”

Corey Moss

Here, a mashup is understood much more as “a new song that is mixed from the vocal and instrumental tracks from two different source songs. (usually belonging to different genres)” Jay-Z and the Beatles song genres are different indeed. It can be seen that Jay-Z’s a cappella version of The Black Album acts as an open API if this was a Web 2.0 mashup. People can work with the a cappella tracks and coat it to an entirely different song. But in the process of recreating two different music into one, the most challenging aspect would be to create the music so that it doesn’t sound like one music was “just laid on top” of another. Similar to web mashups, people would not find it so intriguing if two different types of information were just combined with no concept whatsoever. Although some people may find mashing up music to be an easy task, there are so many things to consider such as “the strike of a drum or cymbal” and “changed up tones and pitches.” A deconstruction of something and integrating the parts to another is a difficult task but only though this process is mashup created. Burton says that creating this grey album was not as easy as people say but rather it was a difficult form of deconstruction.

I went to youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obksjtagvLY)

and listened to Danger Mouse’s version of Dirt off your Shoulder. I found it interesting because it sounded like a Beatle’s version of hip hop.


Week 2 Reading Response: Arshaan

Grey Album:

I have never heard of the Grey Album before. Being someone who listens to a lot of hip hop and rap I feel ashamed that I haven’t come across this before. The mash up of the two artists is excellent. I have heard a few mash ups before that I have really enjoyed and some that have failed miserably. This album is one that is thoroughly enjoyable. The amount of work that goes into making songs like this is tremendous. I had no idea that so much deconstruction had to go into making a successful mash up. Everything seamlessly fits into place. The fact that Danger Mouse did this even though he knew that lot of people thought this was sacrilege is something I admire even more. The fact that he made it because he would like it is really cool and something I look to do with my work. On a side note I think the album that Jay Z and Linkin Park made together was a very successful mash up of two completely different styles of music.

Mashups: The new breed of Web app:

This was a very technical article that even with my knowledge of creating web pages I am not sure I understand all of it. It did an extremely good job of talking about the various different mashups like mapping and search mashups. I thought I had no idea what a web based mashup was. However, once I read about RSS feeds my grasp on the topic strengthened. I was and still am a little bit lost on the technical side of things. With my general understanding of what a mashup is though, I feel that there are already a ton of websites that do this. The point that the author brings up about how providers will handle their content when mashups become sophisticated applications is an interesting one especially if it is is private content.

Why Things Matter:

This article talks about blogjects. To put it as simply as the article, a blogject is an object that blogs . There are three peculiarities of blogjects and to summarize them they are tracking and tracing, having self-contained histories and having some form of agency. The thing that excites me the most about blogjects is how they can be used in a social/environmental context to help us overcome problems. Having automobiles telling us about their fuel consumption habits seems to me an extremely useful thing. It can help us reduce the consumption of fuel and maybe even in our efforts for finding a new fuel source.

Calm Technologies 2.0: Visualising Social Data as an Experience in Physical Space:

I find the idea of calm technologies fantastic. It might be introduced as as sensual experience in a physical space and the example the led light might illustrate this. However, the bell that rings and the jackhammer that damages the building are far from sensual. To me personally, they open up this new world of social advertising. Making social posters is something I love to do and one of the things I really want to do is make some kind of interactive social poster. I can see this idea of calm technology as a way for me to do this. Making someone interact on a website to make something react in the physical world is what I see as an answer to making interactive posters. I am 100% there yet though.



7 in 7 Updated – Arshaan

Day 01 – Shut Your Mouth:

Concept: To make annoying fans of the big three shut up when they keep talking about their soccer club.

Execution Method: Cards the size of a normal businness card as it is easy to carry around.

Day 02 – Arsenal Anonymous:

Concept: Trying to partly bring to life a quote I had read a few months ago. ‘Given the amount of abuse they have suffered this season, it’s about time someone started a group called Arsenal Anonymous, where people who have been persistently abused by the club they love can meet and share their burden in the company of like-minded individuals. I can just see it now: “My name is John and I’m an Arsenalaholic. I too believe it is all the referee’s fault…”’

Execution Method: Stickers based on ‘hello! my name is’ tags so that arsenal fans can identify each other.

Day 03 – Tissue Box:

Concept: When United are humiliating your friends team, what better way to be supportive than to hand your friend a tissue so he can cry in to it.

Execution Method: A small tissue box package that is shaped like a shoe to add to the feel of soccer.















Day 04 – Ronaldo Tribute Poster:

Concept: He might have left United but I still think that C. Ronaldo was one of the best players to wear the United jersey. I wanted to design something that would show how much I appreciated his time at United.

Execution Method: A poster in which I would draw Ronaldo using pencils, color pencils and photoshop.








Day 05 – Trophy Cabinet:

Concept: In 2011 United won their 19th English League title making them the most successful team in the league. There might be a lot of United fans out there but not many people know when and how the trophies were won.

Execution Method: An interactive flash piece that gives a little bit of information to the user about each title won.

Download .swf/flash file by clicking trophies.

Day 06 – We Do What We Want:

Concept: By this time I knew that I wanted to make a website as my last project. I felt a short animation like a pop up ad (flash banner) was missing regarding United and showing their domination.

Execution Method: A short flash animation based on ad banners showing up on websites focusing on the United chant ‘we do what we want’.

Download .swf/flash file by clicking banner.

Day 07 – United For Life:

Concept: As all my projects were related to Manchester United, I wanted to make a website to showcase all the work and a place where United fans can look at my ‘gift’ ideas and get in touch with me to buy them.

Execution Method: Basic HTML 5 to create a single page website showcasing all the work done during this week.





Click HERE to go to website.

To be able to read my response to this project please click here.
To download presentation to see a bit more of the process click 7in7A.

Locataur: Social Network Redesign – Arshaan


Locataur not only is a social networking platform, it is a cross platform augmented reality using, holographic image projecting mammoth that serves as an effective informative tool that broadens the prospects of location based networking. The best feature about this platform is that it successfully connects online communication with immediate offline engagement which from a money makers point of view, has been the biggest problem that the current social networking platforms face. And it has holographic projection.

The presentation can be found by clicking – Locataur. (low quality version)



Maker Faire 2011

Maker Faire showcased a wide range of individuals who utilize the technologies available to create various types of projects. Some interfaces were specific to an audience who worked with the technology, but some could be used by the average joe. Overall, my Maker Faire experience introduced me to a lot of new technology and how people are creatively working towards improving the technology.

Key Glove, Jeff Rowberg The Key Glove project displays a new way to interact with technology without a keyboard. By putting on the Key Glove, a person can type using the motion sensors in the glove.  This technology allows for the user to interact with their computer using the motion of their fingers.   The Key Glove was created to be an accessory for technology as well as simplify interaction. It was designed with disabled users in mind.  This is where I see Key Glove being the most successful.  For the average person, the Key Glove may not be the most efficient way to do work.  The interface seems difficult to work with because you would have to get used to what motions react to the key functions. It may end up being more frustrating to use the Key Glove than it would be to just use a keyboard.

However, for a person who is disabled, and is only able to type with one hand, this would be the perfect solution to their problems.   The glove could also be a technology used in video games.  As I read more about key glove online, Rowberg is successful in his design since he has clearly done research on his idea and what is also out there. He used what he has seen to combine technologies and develop the broad features of Key Glove.

AtFab: Open Source CNC Furniture A series of furniture that can be cut by a CNC router laser cutter or water jet, and assembled by locking the pieces together. AtFab struct my attention because I thought the design of their products were functions, visually pleasing, and resourceful. This interface brings together the technology of CNC and a laser cutter with the practicality of creating furniture for the home. AtFab recognizes that their furniture might not be perfect for everyone but it is for most.

I appreciate this idea because it shows that the technologies of a laser cutter or a CNC router can be used to create well-designed products for everyday life.  Although initially developed to work with larger scale projects, AtFab proves that these technologies can successfully work for the average person (with the money, of course).

The perks of having this type of furniture would be that it can easily be moved, taken apart, stored, and then put back together.  What makes AtFab successful and useful is the availability of their files online.  The purchaser can use the files at home if they have the tools available, or they can order them to be cut.  The only downfall is that not everyone has a CNC router or laser cutter at home.  However, this project has a lot of potential for the future and since they are going to keep designing and customizing their products in the future, they will definitely find success.

MakerBot Industries: 3D Printer Prior to the Maker Faire, I have never seen a 3D printer in action. I had no idea that it basically worked like a glue gun that melted down the plastic material to print layer by layer. There were many people there showcasing what they can do on their 3D printer, but I listened to what John Abella had to say about his. This was another opportunity where I saw that the 3D printer did not just have to be used to prototype projects, but was becoming affordable to be used in the home.  Abella had a few models of objects he created on his 3D printer, but what was more interesting to me was how he uses the technology to fix things around his house.  (He also created the card-stand that held his brochures!)  This man was a hobbyist and enjoyed how much fun he could have with this product. There were also people at the Maker Faire who showed how the 3D printer could be used to extrude cookie dough and chocolate.

The technology behind a 3D printer gives possibilities to society, but what I would be hesitant about is purchasing one and not being able to understand the working mechanics. A person who would purchase a 3D printer would not just have to understand the working mechanics of the printer, but also the 3D modeling programs (AutoCAD, Rhino, etc) and how to use it. This type of interface will definitely be successful for those people who are prototyping projects. The price is fairly reasonable, but in the future, it will become even more affordable. The technology of a 3D printer definitely shows promise in aiding inventors and properly speeding up their process.

Cory Arcangel: ProTools

In the Cory Arcangel’s exhibition, ProTools, he uses technological tools that are available to all to create what he has exhibited in the gallery. Much of the exhibition is nothing that the average person could do.  For example, the series Photoshop Gradient Demonstrations, gives the exact specifications he used to create the image so it can be replicated by anyone with Photoshop.  Although, I did not find myself intrigued or deeply engaged in the color combinations and compositions in front of me, the concept that anyone can re-create what the artist created was important.  This gives anyone the power to be the artist because we all can gain access to these tools.   The art piece no longer becomes focused on the finished product, but more on the process and what the steps taken to create this image. Although I was not impressed by Arcangel’s gradients, I am sure that if I decided to open Photoshop and recreate one, I would feel accomplished and proud at my recreation. This process and emotional connection is important, and also brings the artist closer to their end result.

The process of completing an art piece can give the same feeling when playing a video game. In the two video-game modifications found in the show, the viewer can participate by watching, but Arcangel has manipulated the situation so the viewer will never win. In “Various Self Playing Bowling Games” one can see the progression of how the virtual world has progressed to slowly become increasingly realistic.  As I sat and watched the game being played there were two people who were attempting to “play” the game themselves.  Standing in front of the big screen, they started to move with the figure playing.  They went through the motion of throwing the ball, but just as Arcangel intended, became frustrated that every ball went to the gutter.  These actions of the viewers show how we have become so accustomed to technology doing things for us and putting ourselves into these virtual worlds. The frustration shows how technology has the ability to affect our daily life.  There were no directions of what to do, but two people instantly reacted to the game by wanting to play it.  It has become natural for our society to want to engage with technology. The two people in the show felt more natural participating in the virtual world, rather than just watching it.

Overall, Arcangel makes solid points about our relation to how we use and interact with the technological tools we have available to us today. By just looking at the exhibition, I was not convinced what I was looking at was considered “art” but after reading more about each piece, and understanding the artist’s process, I found the value in the exhibition.  Initially, one might have strong criticisms on the work, but Arcangel is taking positions on the human interaction with technology, and how so much of our culture depends on it.