Archive pour mars 2008

Nouvelle utilisation de l’écran géant tactile de Perceptive Pixels

Lundi 31 mars 2008

Lors des grandes conférences (MIX, WEB 3, etc.), il est coutumier de poster les compte-rendus des présentations de la journée afin d’en faire profiter l’ensemble de la blogosphère.

Lors des conférences TED, deux artistes Kevin Richards et David Sibbet, « capturent » ses événement à l’aide de dessins. Pour l’occasion, ces derniers ont ensuite été intégrés dans une interface spéciale sur un écran tactile.

Grand amateur de prise de note sous forme de sketch et croyant beaucoup à l’efficacité de prototyper rapidement des concepts d’interface sous cette forme, je dois avouer que çà serait bien sympathique de disposer d’un outil comme çà à l’agence. ;-)

D’autres ressources disponibles ici.

La complexité vue par les seniors

Vendredi 28 mars 2008


Source :

A strangelet in your garden

Vendredi 28 mars 2008

You might not be aware of it, but in two months (May 2008) the world’s largest particle accelerator will be operational close to your home. To be precise, at CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland.

This blog article gives a detailed overview of what is called ‘the most complicated thing that humans have ever built’. The purpose of the LHC is to observe the Higgs boson, also known as the ‘God particle’, which has not yet been observed but is expected to move the science towards the Grand Unified Theory, or the Theory of Everything.

The LHC, once operational, will recreate the conditions of the Big Bang (on a smaller, 27 km diameter scale). The temperatures generated in the tunnels will be more than 1000,000 times hotter than the sun’s core and the superconducting magnets will be cooled to a temperature colder than in deep space.

I did not know we could do that. SAFELY. I think we don’t really know if we can.

The idea is to put as much energy as possible into the smallest possible space and see what comes out. A black hole, for instance. A tiny one. Somewhere under a Swiss farmer’s garden, just outside of Geneva. Which will safely evaporate, say the scientists, because of Hawking evaporation. Which has never been tested, they admit, and actually might not work, but trust us. Everything is under control.

Or a strangelet. Also known as ‘strange nugget’ but best described as ‘a fragment of strange matter’. Something the Swiss farmer might find in his back yard on a peaceful May morning. ‘What’s that you found there, dear?’ his wife will ask. ‘Not another strangelet, I hope?’ From Wiki: ‘If the strange matter hypothesis is correct, and a strangelet comes in contact with a lump of ordinary matter such as Earth, it could convert the ordinary matter to strange matter. This « ice-nine » disaster scenario is as follows: one strangelet hits a nucleus, catalyzing its immediate conversion to strange matter. This liberates energy, producing a larger, more stable strangelet, which in turn hits another nucleus, catalyzing its conversion to strange matter. In the end, all the nuclei of all the atoms of Earth are converted, and Earth is reduced to a hot, large lump of strange matter.’

‘We don’t even know what to expect’, says French physicist Yves Schutz. ‘We’re now in a domain of energy that nobody has ever explored.’

When a strangelet comes out, we will not be able to blog about it.

Your 10 minutes of fame

Jeudi 27 mars 2008

Why not 15 anymore? Because this is how long your video is allowed to be on YouTube.

Anyone who has ever uploaded videos to this online community site was curious about its audience. Who was watching, why, how many times? Now, there is now a answer to this question, at least, a partial answer. Today YouTube released a new feature hidden under the button About this video in Managing my videos: a doorway to the fascinating world of statistics.

For each of your videos you can see the viewing curve in time and, most interesting, in which countries it was viewed.

In the following example my video was ardently viewed in Europe, USA and Argentina, but most of all in France.
Video viewing statisticsCountries

The statistical widgets are elaborate and user-friendly, with a high degree of interactivity. So, for example, you can zoom in on a certain region, or a certain time period.
The tab ‘Popularity’ shows you the same kind of visualization, but there it turns out that my video was more popular in Russia than in USA, clearly the opposite of the viewing statistics.
Popularity countries

I though that this did not make sense, but YouTube says that the popularity curve shows how popular the videos are ‘relative to all videos in that market’. They do not explain what ‘that market’ means. YouTube is a community site and as any community site it is a huge pile of mostly useless stuff. This is its purpose, character and charm. It is filled with home-made bloopers, bad jokes, amateur footages, look-at-my-funny-cat movies, copies of television series, movie fragments, porn and any other kind of stuff imaginable – like the video of me dancing Argentinean tango. The word ‘market’ rings a dark tone.

Interactions : Experience, People, Technology

Mercredi 19 mars 2008

Découvert récemment grâce à Designer Interactif, je vous recommande vivement le magazine « Interactions », édité par l’Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), dont le numéro de janvier/février 2008 est disponible en ligne gratuitement.

Interactions magazine

Interactions est un magazine bimensuel rédigé par une équipe multidisciplinaire composée de professionnels du design, de sociologues et d’ingénieurs. Comme sa baseline le souligne (experience, people, technology), il traite de nombreux sujets sur la création, le développement et l’expérience de produits et services innovants.

The importance of getting through the front door

Lundi 17 mars 2008

One thing by which you can recognize a true Parisian: he is very quickly annoyed.

To go to work I take a small electrical bus called the Montmartrobus. You are supposed to get in through the front door, swipe your pass or ticket and exit through the back door. This morning an old lady came in through the back door, as other passengers were getting out.
‘Sorry’, she said to the driver, showing him her pass, ‘I got in through the other door.’

The driver was a true Parisian. He got immediately thoroughly annoyed.

‘You see?’ he exclaimed. ‘This is what I mean! You are supposed to get in through the front door, not the back door! This way the counters can register how many people are boarding this bus! If everybody just walks in through the back door the people back in the office will think there are too few passengers and they will give you less and less buses! I am not worried about myself, I will not be out of work, but YOU, you soon will be out of buses!’

‘I am very sorry’, said the old lady. ‘I will not do it again.’

But the driver was passionate about the future of public transportation. ‘Yes!’ he said. ‘You will be sorry when you have no buses and it will be all your fault! Not just for you, for everybody!’
‘I said I was sorry’, said the old lady, getting out at the next stop.

And the interaction designer in the back of the bus thought that she just had seen a very interesting use case.

Related reading:
The Connected Bus
Deutsche Bahn Launches Touch&Travel

Pratique : post-it transparent.

Dimanche 16 mars 2008


A ma connaissance, ce type de Post-it n’est toujours pas commercialisé (merci de laisser un lien dans les commentaires, si çà l’est – ;-) ). Or, ils seraient d’une utilité remarquable. En effet, ils éviteraient les gribouillages en tout genre dans les livres en rendant ceux-ci « temporaires ». Personnellement, je n’écris, ne surligne, ne souligne jamais dans les livres car :

  • cela rend la lecture pénible lorsqu’on partage le livre (par exemple les livres de l’agence),
  • un passage souligné peut parfois nous paraitre, après relecture, moins important voire obsolète,
  • à trop souligner, on finit par ne plus visualiser quels sont les passages vraiment essentiels du livre (objectif originel du soulignement en général).

Bref à quand la commercialisation de tel Post-it ?

Not everything that shines is Google

Vendredi 14 mars 2008

The difference between internet and shopping is that you cannot walk in and just gaze at things. Before you can do that, you are obliged to to search for what it is you want to gaze at. Internet used to be mostly text-oriented and so is every search. But there is more than just words out there.

Daily Slurp offers website search by color. When would you search a website by color? When you are a visual designer and want some inspiration. You can search by a combination of a main and an accent color. What is strange, however, is that the search itself is not offered by choosing a color on a pallet, but by choosing the name of the color in a drop-down menu, like ‘red’. Sooooo boring. Not only every visual designer knows that there are millions of colors of red, but scientific research has shown that every human being sees the colors slightly differently.

Daily Slurp

The discovery of Daily Slurp prompted me to see, if there are more ways to search than just by keywords. Retrievr offers an image search by sketch. However, my drawing of a red tulip gave me everything BUT a red tulip, so I suppose the engine can be improved.


FindSounds offers extensive help when searching for a sound.

There is a number of question/answer based search engines. An especially lively example is Ms. Dewey.

Besides, there is a number of search engines, which make an effort not as much as to offer an alternative search method, but to present the results in a more meaningful way. And when you try one of those, you find yourself thinking that Google results page is really nothing more than the stuff thrown in your face with the message ‘You figure it out’. For instance, Hakia presents the results in thematic chapters. If you type in ‘tango’, it will deliver you History, Founders and Innovators, Musicians, Venus and so on, including some illustrations. This is what I would call the encyclopedic search. However, if you type ‘interaction design’, it just gives you the plain old list of results. I wonder why.

Kartoo offers a relationship-based results page.


And then there is personalized thematic search such as this demonstration. Aetna Healthline proposes a search concerning your specific medical symptoms, including pushing the information to the user to give him/her a complete picture of the condition and its consequences.

Vénérable Pong

Jeudi 13 mars 2008

Voici un jeu vidéo, que dis-je un mythe, qui semble inépuisable, et cela depuis 1972…

Considéré comme le premier grand jeu vidéo, il marqua le lancement d’une nouvelle industrie du divertissement. D’abord conçu comme une borne d’arcade commercialisée par Atari, il fut ensuite adapté pour être joué sur un écran de télévision classique et acquis ainsi son titre de premier jeux vidéo grand public.

Pong : The original

Mais bien plus qu’un jeu vidéo Pong a su devenir un véritable mythe à l’origine de nombreuses productions notamment artistiques, mais pas seulement. Il n’y a ma connaissance aucun autre jeu vidéo qui puisse se vanter de cela. Le scénario, aussi simple soit-il, du jeu de tennis noir et blanc semble pouvoir être transposer dans de très nombreux contextes sans pour autant perdre son essence. Est-ce cette simplicité qui lui a permis de survivre à travers les différentes époques ?

L’exposition « Pong Mythos » réalisée en 2006 par le Computer Spiel Museum de Berlin lui était totalement dédiée en illustrant l’utilisation du mythe Pong dans différent domaines… aussi bien à travers l’art, le jeu, que la science. Aujourd’hui encore, l’exposition « Design and the Elastic Mind » consacrée à l’innovation technologique par le design, actuellement au MoMa a New-York, présente deux projets directement inspiré du célèbre jeu : PainStation et Pong Table.

Pong Table

Une chose est sure, Pong n’a pas fini de faire des bébés !!!

Atari 1972
Publicité Atari : Since 1972

Quelques détournements intéressants de Pong :
Blinkenlights Pong : jeu sur la façade de l’immeuble en utilisant votre téléphone portable
De Pong Game : jeu sur immeuble avec utilisation de l’architecture du batiment comme obstacles et limites
Sonic Body Pong : détournement ou la balle devient sonore
The pong clock : pong détourner en horloge
Publicité American Express : Andy Roddick affronte Pong

Brave new nanoworld

Vendredi 7 mars 2008

In the exhibition Design and the elastic mind in New York Nokia demonstrates the prototype of Morph, a mobile phone built with nanotechnology.
Nokia Morph Phone

This design triggered me to do some quick research on what nanotechnology actually is and what it means for the future. In short, nanotechnology is professed to change our economy and society in a much more revolutionary way than any other technology so far. The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology lists the benefits of it as well as its dangers. In short, from the benefits point of view, nanotechnology will save the world, making it finally into that green leisurely utopia we have all been promised for so long. From the dangers point of view, nanotechnology will destroy the world structure and us with it.

Which brings me to my point, which is not about nanotechnology, but about the future as we imagine it – and the actual outcome.

When the escalator was invented, the intention was to transport people quicker from A to B. The inventors assumed that the people would continue walking, adding their own speed to that of the rolling stairs. But humans love being transported because it gives them the luxurious pleasure of doing nothing and still getting somewhere. So on the escalator people stop walking and wait till they reach the end, unless they are in a great hurry.

With digital revolution people expected all paper to disappear. But digital revolution has also brought along a vast amount of information and mass access to cheap printers. So we now use more paper than ever.

Telecommunication was thought to reduce travel, but as Tim Harford writes in the February issue of Wired: ‘Paradoxically, your cell phone, email, and Facebook networks are making it more attractive to meet people in flesh.‘ Along with mass access to telecommunication there also came mass access to air travel. So we now travel more than ever, also because it is so much nicer to have a business meeting in a sushi bar in Tokyo instead of on a video screen in your office.

Economical wealth and technological progress were expected to bring us also more free time, make us more relaxed, tune our activities to leisure and art. But technology enables us to do things faster, so we automatically do more things and are therefore in a continuous lack of time. What was supposed to make us happier, gives us instead such an enormous amount of choice in any domain of life that we constantly worry about choosing the right thing. And worried people are not happy people.

Whatever we predict, the future will be different. Fortunately or unfortunately.