TalkingCock in Parliament is the closing event for IndigNation2006. It was an amazingly talented bunch of funny people with their own takes on what it means to be a Singaporean. Ruby Pan and Hossan Leong’s performances, in particular, caught me.
Ruby’s masterful command (impersonation?) of various English accents in Singapore only gets better and better: watch it till the end!
Hossan Leong sang Singapore’s condensed history to the tune of “We didn’t start the fire”.
Chinese does deserve its reputation for heartbreaking difficulty. Those who undertake to study the language for any other reason than the sheer joy of it will always be frustrated by the abysmal ratio of effort to effect. Those who are actually attracted to the language precisely because of its daunting complexity and difficulty will never be disappointed.
I came across this guy who wrote a long article on why learning Chinese is hard. At first I thought, “Bah, just another angmoh whining away”. But as I read on, I began to see that, hey, Chinese IS damn hard. It’s just perhaps that I didn’t notice it too much, since I am a Chinese, and my primary school was conducted in Chinese. But his article explained in detail how Chinese is more difficult than other languages, the barriers he faced.
So I’ve been through all that hurdles to mastering Chinese without even realizing that they are there! Count me blessed! =)
As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I’ve gathered 10 cases of ultimate flattery in autos here, where the industrial design of one is blatantly copied onto another. Here you go, the showdown of the look-alike cars (and a bus):
1. Daewoo Matiz vs Chery QQ
This one was so extreme, some parts of one car fit into the other (e.g. door panel, bonnet etc).
2. Vauxhall Frontera vs Landwind
3. Honda CRV vs Laibao SRV
Check out the semi-Audi front logo too!
4. Mercedes C vs Geely Merrie 300
The Geely was shown in an auto exhibition. I don’t think it was eventually produced looking like this though.
5. Neoplan Starliner vs Zonda A9
6. Rolls-Royce Phantom vs Hongqi HQD
7. Smart vs er. Chinese Smart
8. Toyota Prado vs Dadi Shuttle
9. Nissan XTrail vs Greatwall Sing
10. BMW 7 vs BYD F6
For this, the copying is not so drastic except the lights, but it does get brownie points for imitating the badge as well.
Digital data and interfaces have certainly become more prevalent, even though to some it’s still a somewhat nebulous, intangible and hard-to-conceive abstract notion. There have been some efforts in making digital gestures more tangible, analog or personal, and the Slurp digital eyedropper is another very interesting concept. Here’s the description:
In this video I demonstrate how slurp can be used to move digital files between machines over the network. Rather than plug a usb drive into the port that corresponds with a specific file seen on a screen, just suck the file directly off the screen itself. Slurp is used like an eyedropper, it vibrates and displays light to indicate it’s state to the user.
Slurp is tangible interface for manipulating abstract digital information as if it were water. Taking the form of an eyedropper, Slurp can extract (slurp up) and inject (squirt out) pointers to digital objects. We have created Slurp to explore the use of physical metaphor, feedback, and affordances in tangible interface design when working with abstract digital media types. Our goal is to privilege spatial relationships between devices and people while providing new physical manipulation techniques for ubiquitous computing environments.
I have a personal interest in tangible media interfaces, especially in the balance between intuitiveness and “tangible-for-tangible’s-sake”, which we often see when some designers turn digital bits into some arbitrary physical objects for little additional benefits/interests. This uncanny valley between the two requires a delicate sense of what’s appropriate and resonant, and I think Slurp has managed this very well indeed.
Slurp is made by Jamie Zigelbaum, Adam Kumpf, Alejandro Vazquez, and Hiroshi Ishii, and you can see more of such works at MIT Media Lab’s Tangible Media Group.
Microsoft is developing an impressive alternative to Google Street view. This awesome Street Slide technology shown at the computer graphics conference SIGGRAPH 2010. I’ve always thought there’s little left to improve on in navigation aid. I found this video an enjoyable surprise to see them demo this very interesting and engaging navigation mode.
Hopefully they will launch this as a real, available (and free!) interface from within Bing Maps.
Making only minor alterations to well established steel-framed tower design, we have created a series of towers that are powerful, solemn and variable. These iconic pylon-figures will become monuments in the landscape. Seeing the pylon-figures will become an unforgettable experience, elevating the towers to something more than merely a functional design of necessity.
The human forms adapt to the terrain where these are erected, mimicking the figure’s (imaginary) interaction with the landscape, whether it’s climbing a mountain or crossing a valley, using small design changes to convey the differences in posture and mood:
Very interesting! It’d probably brighten anybody’s imagination (or thoroughly haunt him)…especially if it’s produced in enough variations – imagine a long drive through a countryside where the electrical lines become an animated xkcd comic. (Am I thinking too much?)