March 11th, 2013Always On Always Connected
I just finished developing my midterm project for “Always On, Always Connected”. I decided to work on an Android version for the fun napkin game “Tic Tac Toe”. With my app, friends can still enjoy playing the game even that they don’t have the right supplies (napkin and pen)! Just download the app and run in your Android phone.
I develop this project using Eclipse. The code is on Github.
March 4th, 2013Always On Always Connected
For my midterm in Always On, Always Connected I want to try to make a small prototype of my thesis idea in Eclipse. For my ITP thesis I am creating what I called “Alice”.
“Alice” is a mobile social network that uses geolocation to give handpicked suggestions of unique activities to encourage users to explore the city, transforming going out into a memorable experience.
For thesis, I’m not in the production phase yet. Just ended the research phase and now I’m in the design phase, so it’s going to be the first iteration of what in the end of the semester I want to be my working thesis! Pretty challenging, but exciting!
Description of Alice:
Although our modern world offers so many rich activities around us, we tend to have the same “work-home-restaurant-shopping” routine. Opening ourselves to new experiences is a great way to accumulate knowledge and great memories. “Alice” enables the user to easily plan fun experiences by finding handpicked tours and memorable activities. Instead of going to a bar, why not brew your own lager with a craft beer expert? The user is presented with interesting activities happening around the city and can save them in lists and invite friends to join. Using the application, the user is also able to update the status of each activity by adding pictures and personal notes. The activity can then be published onto a timeline for friends to view. My plan is to encourage users to follow curated lists of special events (e.g. where to go on a rainy day) in order to leave the mundane behind them and improve their quality of life.. The application is also perfect for travelers, as it will contain guides and suggestions of how to enjoy cities as knowledgeable locals or curious adventurers, rather than as stereotypical tourists. Overall, my goal is to use mobile technology to create a new routine where there is no routine.
This is an idea (wireframe) of how “Alice” can looks like:
napkin tic tac toe
My other idea is to do a simple and fun napkin tic tac toe game for people to play with friends. I want something with a canvas where people can just draw with their fingers and have fun on-the-go. It’s perfect to use in bars or informal gatherings.
Just pop your phone, put in the table, open the app and start to play… You can even bet that the loser pays the next beer!
Tags: Android, Eclipse, ITP, Thesis, Wireframe
February 12th, 2013Always On Always Connected
During the “Always On, Always Connected” class Amelia and I developed a flashcard game app idea based on students and their thesis. The app presents thesis’ categories that the user can choose, as: Physical Computing, Installation, Mobile App, Website, Data Representation, Art & Craft, and Performance.
Choosing one of those, send the user to a random page where he is presented with a thesis’ image, name and description, and 4 pictures of ITP’s second years. The user needs to choose the student that is working on that thesis. If he gets it right, he gets a point and goes to the next random thesis-match. If he gets it wrong, it’s game over and he is sent to the ranking page.
I did a simple wireframe for the app so the interaction is more visible.
Tags: Android, App, Application, game, ITP, Thesis, Wireframe
January 31st, 2013Always On Always Connected
On the Idea Channel video from PBS the question “Are cell phones replacing reality?” is made. Simulation and the definition of hyperreality by Jean Baudrillard is presented as a reality constructed by images which represent, but also masks the true reality. The video reveals a critical view of our “new reality” through cellphone lens, how humans are behaving differently, people don’t even look to one another anymore, and are noticing the world around them with digital emotions, rather than with true feelings.
My opinion is that this reality shift abnormality is something that we, older non-native generation, are going to get used to. As our grandfathers got used to cars and our parents to television. Kids of today are not going to question this change as we don’t question the world with newspaper, planes and all other inventions that come to make life easier and connect people. Cell phones and on-the-go media are already a big part of our daily life and something that we can’t live without anymore. There is no reason to fight against it.
I totally agree with the video in a way that this overflow of pictures on Instagram, tweets and check-ins, indeed, are now our new reality, and the real-real is getting separated from us by screens. But digital and non-digital soon are going to be things of the past, and everything is going to be all one big thing: the world. The video presents itself with a “tone” and a small inclination to a negative opinion about it that I don’t agree with. The video exaggerates “the new real” using as arguments people that sometimes exaggerates on their use of phones. That happens sometimes, and with some people, but I believe most of people have a pretty good equilibrium between their real life and their digital life. Yes, we are in the “oversharing era”, but this is because it’s is new, because now we can do something that we couldn’t before, and we are all pretty excited about it, why we shouldn’t be? It’s REALLY amazing. As an international student leaving far from most of my friends and family I just have to thank everyday that we have this mobility these days. I can’t imagine how hard would be to leave in another country, otherwise. I probably wouldn’t do it alone as I did.
Reality is how we see, feel and live the world through our eyes, and now through our lens. For a crazy person, the others are the crazy ones. We have been discussing real and non-real since always, since Plato and his allegory of the cave. Not much progress we had on these discussions. We can only live one tiny-little part of our world per moment, and if someone is only sharing beautiful and inspiring pictures of the world around him on their Facebook, this person is probably happy, lucky, has a really good life or has a really positive view of his own world. That’s actually great. It’s great that in a world with so many sadness, poverty, diseases, and greed, people still appreciate the beauty of a sunset and use their precious time to share this single moment with their friends on Instagram.Tags: Idea Channel, Instagram, Mobile, Opinion, PBS, Reality, Video
November 20th, 2012Dynamic Web Development
If you could go back on time…
Would you have done something different this year? 2012 is almost ending and with the end of the year comes our personal balance. The things that we did and accomplish, and the ones that we wished we have done. There is always that promise that we didn’t followed, words that we didn’t say, moments that we regret.
So to start 2013 with no regrets, I created this web app using Twilio API so anyone could say whatever they forgot or wish they had said in certain occasion. Through the app, anyone can easily send anonymously a SMS with a message.
“No Regrets” was developed using Flask/Python, HTML/CSS and the Twilio API.
P.S.: Because it’s the Twilio trial version account, it’s only working with my phone number!
November 6th, 2012Dynamic Web Development
With the end of the semester, also comes that time when the students choose the classes that they want to attend the next semester. It’s always a tough decision for everybody, even more difficult at ITP. With the trendy, art, and technology related interests, the classes reflect the future, and it’s hard to choose to learn and experiment with something very new and that you are not so familiar with. The class’ descriptions try to guide us a little, but they are often general statements about the future and art, too obscure or too vague to completely understand what that class is going to be about.
Based on that, and wanting to help current and future students at ITP, I teamed up with Matt Epler and we are developing as a Dynamic Web Development assignment a database where ITP students can anonymously add comments in the classes that they previously attended, being completely truthful about what they thought about the class, the teacher, the assignments, for which kind of people they think that class is directed for, why they had a good experience with the class or why not, and so on.
This is the first version of the database, already with the Fall 2012 and Spring 2012 classes for students to review.
Since the Spring semester is coming and some of the classes are going to be the same (maybe with other instructors and descriptions, or not!), it would be AMAZING if the second years could write reviews on last Spring classes. It will help both first and second years to make their choices!
If you are an ITP student, please, help us leaving comments in the classes that you have attended.Tags: Classes, Courses, Dynamic Web Development, Flask, Heroku, ITP, MongoDB, Programming, Python, Review
October 31st, 2012Off-topic
Once you get your domain name and your host company, you need to install WordPress in your site/blog. WordPress is this super easy control panel for blogging. It’s a free and open source blogging tool and a content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL database.
WordPress 1-Click Install
- Some host companies, as Blue Host, offers “1-Click install” WordPress, in this tutorial I’m showing how to install WordPress if you have this option in your Host Company.
- If you can’t find the “1-Click Install” in your cPanel with your Host Company, you can also find instructions in the WordPress Installation Page.
- I’m also going to publish another tutorial showing how to prepare and install WordPress manually if you can’t find an easy installing option with your Host Company or if you just want to learn more about it.
A) Installing WordPress
- In your Hosting Page: Go to the Control Panel and login (the example of this tutorial is using the Blue Host)
- Find where it says: “Site builders” and select “WordPress”
- Click in Install
- Enter some basic information about your site:
- Select the most recent stable version of wordpress
- Select where you want to wordpress be installed
- Select “Advanced Options”, give a name to the Website, create a username and a password, leave checked “Automatically create a new database”
- Uncheck all the plugins in the “step 3″
- After you hit “Complete”, it gives you a login URL: your domain.com/wp-admin where you can login to WordPress using the username and password that you just created and then to your WordPress Control Panel!
October 30th, 2012Off-topic
As the Hurricane Sandy leaves us home playing in the Internet, here a tutorial for the ones that want to start a new blog in WordPress (maybe talking about the experience of being in a hurricane in NYC) or to understand a little better how WordPress works.
A) Basics: WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org
WordPress.com – they host the blog for you! It’s better for people that don’t want to customize the blog so much, and maybe want to be part of the WordPress community.
WordPress.org – where you download wordpress software, host and install in your site. It’s more customizable, you can add plug-ins, add your own theme, and it’s way better for bigger blogs, business and e-commerce.
B) Domain Name
- It’s the address of your website. If you want you blog/site to have their own address.com (instead of having a subdomain provided by wordpress… Something like ‘myblog.wordpress.com’) you need to buy a domain.
- PS: buy the ‘privacy protection’ to prevent spams to have your billing information
C) Hosting Plan
- It’s where you store all the files that power your website. Every website needs a host company, it can either be free hosts (like wordpress.com – but it leaves your website with limited features) or a paid company (recommended!!!).
- How does it works? When someone enters your website, his Internet browser shows them the files that you have stored in your hosting plan!
- Blue Host: cheap hosting company, perfect for personal blogs, small focused blogs, portfolios, etc.
- WP Engine: better host for blogs with thousand of views/month, companies websites and e-commerce sites.
- WordPress.com: offers free hosting, but with some limited things as only 3GB of storage (add more storage paying), you can’t add plug-ins, limited customization of your blog, you need to pay $13/year to use your own domain, etc, etc.
- WordPress has updates multiple times a year.
- If you use the wordpress.org version you have to update the site yourself (nothing complicated, when you login to your site, there is a notification and you only need to click in “install”).
- If you use the wordpress.com version, the updates are automatically and you don’t need to concern yourself.
- Plug-ins extends the functionality of your blog, as social features and e-commerce functionality. WordPress.org offers a HUGE amount of plug-ins.
- WordPress.com: no plugins with this version!
F) Themes & Templates
- Themes are HTML/CSS/PHP files that allow you to change how your site looks like. Even without coding skills you can purchase beautiful wordpress themes and easily install in your blog.
- Premium Themes: it’s how we call the ‘paid themes’, there are tons of websites that sells beautiful premium themes, but you can also buy some interesting templates direct from WordPress here!
- Remember!!!! With WordPress.com you can’t edit themes, but with WordPress.org you can customize and edit themes!
Tags: Blog, Domain, FTP, Host, MySQL, Tutorial, Tutorials, Web, Wordpress
October 25th, 2012Understanding Networks
I teamed up with Yoonjo Choi and Mark Breneman to work in a project for Tom Igoe’s “Understanding Networks” at ITP. Together we created a control surface for facilitate the habit of taking medicine pills.
We were suppose to pick an environment and an activity that could benefit from a new control panel. For example: driving a vehicle, operating machinery, managing a transportation system, etc. We choose to concentrate our efforts in solving the problem that is managing to take pills at the right time for someone who needs a daily cocktail of medicine pills.
We wanted to create an automatic system that reminds patients when to take each one of their pills and not only inform which pill to take, but also open the dispenser of the pill that they need to take. Also, we wanted for the patient to get reminders when they are running out of their medicine – so they could buy more when they are running low, how long more they are going to continue the treatment, have an easy accessible history of all their treatments that they were submitted in the past, and even be able to see if their love ones are taking their medicine as they should. For example, a worried woman worried if her mother is taking all the medicines that she should.
Researching the already existing control surfaces for this activity, we notice some problems. Either the systems depend of the patient remembering which pills to take at each time and don’t have any automatic function or the function is automatic, but there isn’t any carry-on reminder for when you are not home or a way to keep track of your personal history or your family members.
Based on that, we wireframed a better control surface, and designed a RESTian scheme for the messages from the control panel to the control system. This presentation is a first draft of what the solution can be and how it can work. Peter Darche and Ben Light are going to take this sketch to the next level, developing the control in this second part of the project.Tags: Design, Health, Sketch, Understanding Networks, User Interface
October 23rd, 2012Open Source Animation
This is an abstract experiment using sound to time the animation in After Effects for the Open Source Animation class. The animation was made using the Trapcode Particle plug in connected to an expression that isolates the Bass and Treble of the song to manipulate the particles.
The song is Celebrate from the newest Mika’s album.Tags: After Effects, Animation, Audio, Open Source Animation, Plug in, Sound, Trapcode Particle