Meta Creativity Framework

April 14, 2015

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Dan Zen will be re-branding the Dan Zen Creativity Framework to the Meta Creativity Framework and providing the framework free of charge.  He would like people to consider the framework as theirs to use for creativity.  He would also like to encourage the framework be used in schools and thinks a more generic name will help meet these goals.

ZIM is “Better than Nothing” ??

April 10, 2015

ZIM js - free JavaScript Library of Interactive Media Modules

Had a fun time presenting ZIM (http://zimjs.com) last night at the Software Hamilton Demo Camp to an audience of 100 developers, designers, entrepreneurs, etc. in the Art Gallery of Hamilton’s Tanenbaum Pavilion.

It was one of the sweetest (in the old-fashioned sense) welcomes I’ve had where a few shouts of Dan Zen led to a growing round of applause as I was taking the stage.  It is nice to have a history of talks, the last being Droner http://droner.mobi where the audience controlled me with the multiuser app from their phones.  I still had people coming up to me thinking that my essence of being is Kitty Tartan – http://kittytartan.com – I would much prefer they take note of Tilty http://tilty.mobi and Touchy http://touchy.mobi both of which I presented at different times with the audience playing with business cards and coins with their neighbors. So from the first Demo Camp where I presented Optartic Tunnel http://opartica.com – the app that I made my spinning pleasure card with to the Keynote on Creativity and New Forms of Mobile Games http://wp.me/p9ja-8Z, Demo Camp has been a very rewarding experience.

So on taking the stage, I explained that I did not wear my turquoise fun-fur cape (or was it a bib) as I wanted the audience to take me seriously.  I was presenting ZIM which lets us build more easily on the Canvas side of HTML where we are free to dynamically draw for artistic purposes, drag, drop and hit test to make puzzles, e-learning apps and games – the traditional realm of Interactive Media.  I presented the live examples and finished with the fact that since ZIM Frame has launched… ZIM is now officially a framework.

Questions and comments were fast a fun as always!  One asked about avoiding the pitfalls of Flash interface – I claimed that I did not believe in one interface fits all of the ultra efficient consistency principle and we need room to explore as variety is the spice of life.  Other answers had me saying if security ever became an issue, we could blame HTML and another answer had me poking fun at the HTML components which are in dire need of some design love and extension.

HTML components could use an updating

My favourite part was the last question where an eccentric character in the back shouted, “How is ZIM better than WHAT?”  I asked what was what?  The audience and I puzzled and then realized we were looking for a comparison with the competition.  I hesitated a little – then said that the reason I made ZIM is that I needed what it provided and there were no other solutions that I knew of – so… I guess… ZIM is better than… nothing.  I did not realize what I was saying… just came to that conclusion from my logic. So – ZIM is better than nothing!

http://zimjs.com/ try it out and then see the HELP section for community help and discussion.

Dan Zen – Memories of a Performer, Patron, Participator, Practitioner, Planter, Pollinator and Partier

March 8, 2015

WARNING – LOCAL CONTENT!

Hamilton is experiencing a cultural growth led by an organic happening called the Art Crawl.  With organics, we have seeds.  I would like to honor the seeds I have seen and sewn in the growth of our culture.

Education is often at the root of culture and that in-part was my introduction into the arts – through the scene at McMaster University.  Despite being an Engineer, I hung out in the Art’s cafeteria so partied with artists, hung out with musicians, etc.  I made art, made music, put on shows, etc. during the 80s.  Hey, and did the same during the 90s – oh… and the 2000s and here we are in the 10s and we are still going.  Before me… I am sure there were scenes.

I like scenes – I nurture scenes and do my utmost to promote and welcome people.  Perhaps, that is my lot in life.  I have always liked a good game, a good party, a social happening – unabashedly meeting people and introducing people – breaking down inhibitions.  So, let’s check out some of these events.  As much as possible, I will relate these to the James Street area and in each case, we should remember these as seeds and their organizers as planters, their attendees as pollinators, etc.

I hosted some dances in the 80s during my Goth phase – then called Bat Caver.  There was a guy called AD who also hosted an event called Nekropolis and that happened on King William, where later in 1994, Thee Gnostics were the house act at Hep Mondays at the X-Club run by Darren (but I have skipped ahead).  After university, in 1986, I went to Europe for 9 months – another way to grow is to travel, and then we spread culture.  I came back and brought back with me a mod / psychedelic outlook and started doing dances called Op Hops.  One of these was at Patsy’s Banquet Hall on James in 1988.

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Somewhen around that time, there was a band called All Together Morris whose lead singer Glen Marshall had a studio space on James along side Denise Lisson’s gallery studio across from Jackson Square – so the first scene I recall on James St.   However, one of my earliest Hamilton cool memories from the seventies was of the record shop on the corner of James and King upstairs – might have to ask Bob Bryden about that.  There was also Susan George over in the warehouses by Beasley and various cool warehouse art parties.

The Hamilton Artists Inc was located on James Street the seventies across from where Mixed Media is now and then on James by the Wild Orchid where RoseAnne worked and then on Vine and then over above Gallery on the Bay and then on Colbourne near where the Art Bar is currently just off of James and now in its fantastic new location at James and Cannon. We solute the board members and volunteers of this scene – Paul, Judy, RoseAnne, Ian, Donna, Michael, Philip, Tor, Ivan, Douglas, and many more.

We were in at the Vine location before the Artists Inc. with a really cool art beatnik hang-out with Gaven, Stavros, Lorraine, RoseAnne and the Chessmen played there at my Stag.  Earlier, Tomas, Lorraine, Walter and Zena had the Synagog on Cannon with their band, Sublimatus.  Gaven and I put on the Figmentalisticanarianismist show there in 1991.

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Around the same time, I had a piece in a large group show at the Liuna Station on James – kind of.  Many artists around.

During Thee Gnostics time, the cool kids were hanging around Hess Village and we played the village a number of times.  But the cooler kids were starting to think elsewhere and look for a new music / art scene.  We went to Barton and Thee Gnostics had a great flat above an old post office as head quarters.  Tomas, Gaven and Lorraine lived there and I hung out there almost daily and of course, there was James and Cosmic Ray.  We connected with Elis and Dennis – who hung out with Francis.  They started the Gallery 435 speak easy hang out and it is still going waiting for the artists to finally come to Barton when the rent gets too high on James.  We were looking for a place for a scene and visited the Westinghouse building in hopes for it to become the new Rochdale.

As Thee Gnostics we also played on James at Bauka‘s studio – can’t remember quite where that was – it was on a South East corner maybe James and Rebecca possibly York or Cannon.  As well as excellent warehouses – Johny Angel on John for the Egypt Vishnurama.  The Double Feature Creatures were hanging around – Christine Leakey, RoseMary, Julia.  Art parties at the greenpeace houses – Chris – the old Jewelry place on York, etc.  And as mentioned, the Hep Mondays at the X-Club on King William right on the pre edge of the happening alternative club scene with Home Grown, Absinth and Baltimore House.  That building will be amazing if it ever opens again.  There was Psonic Unyon too on York and we did dances in that building with the mods – Samantha, Andrea, Valerie, Erin, Andre, Gaven, Sandy and shows at this amazing Chinese Playhouse upstairs on James around Rebecca – amazing place that and totally underutilized in our current environment.  Oh, and how could I forget – the Tivoli – before the front was taken down – the auditorium is still there.  Thee Gnostics played there watched by Chris, Lilly, Lisa – and others.

When Barton took too long we actively were establishing a scene on John StreetJohn and Andrea Deal started the GAG Gallery in the space where previously, Mark Byk, Peter and Kristine lived and where we beatnik-partied like crazy!  Later at the GAG we held the first Interactive Interactive show in 2003.  We also held the No Escape Artathon where we locked artists up in the gallery for 48 hours.  I MC’d that event to live web casting.  I met Steve Mazza, Laura Hollick, Len Jessome, all who have gone on to great artistic heights in Hamilton.  Many others too – Martin, Matt, etc.  Bob has some pictures from around that time – would be great to see them.  I planned to stage an Art theft to get people in the Suburbs to pay attention to arts in the city.

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I ran Interactive Interactive shows with Sheridan and McMaster Interactive Media at the Artist Inc for the next four years 2004, 2005, 2006 with the last one in 2007.  It was just too hard to get media and people from the suburbs to come plus we started doing open houses in Toronto and packing everything twice at the end of the year was too hard.  Here is a shot of James Street in 2007 with Mixed Media and the Factory at their old locations and Dane’s Loose Cannon where I usually purchased something each visit.  I was at the first meet to discuss the Factory – it was held in the Artists Inc above Gallery on the Bay.  And I certainly remember Mixed Media in their old place with Dave and Teresa – I donated a cool 50s boomerang chair and Ottoman.  During the mid 2000’s I also MC’d a number of Artists Inc events with Sky Gilbert and Matt Jelly like the Sin Circus at Worker’s Heritage building where Brian Kelly works and prior to that there were the Fetish Fashion Shows with Sue Phipps and Ian James the last of which took place somewhere on James – was it the Chinese Playhouse (not really called a playhouse – would love to find that again!).

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Well… that’s enough name and place dropping for now – doubt anyone gets this far but good memories and really would like to honor all the folks that have made Hamilton so much fun.  Keep at it – would like to tell the story of early Art Crawls but will leave that for another post.  I am just glad a self sustaining art scene has finally arrived so we don’t have to work as hard!  Our garden is growing – Gardener Russ would be happy – hi Russ!

— 15 —

PP – Please forgive me if I left anyone out – or even give me a comment!  This was all from the top of my head so I may have mixed some details.  Again, it is how I remember the past as it relates to James Street N and Art – there was certainly much more going on all over – art on James S,  Kevin McKay‘s early SkyDragon scene, music scene at the Corktown, Dundas art scenes, etc.  but I tried to focus on perhaps some forgotten seeds leading to our current wonderful scene on James.

The Canvas is your World – HTML 5 Canvas

March 7, 2015

I have been making interactive media for twenty years and now I hope to convince you to try.  If you already code then I hope to convince you to try a new system.  ZIM.

ZIM Interactive Media JavaScript Modules

In 1995, I worked in Director to make CD Roms.  In 2000, I moved to Flash to make Web games and apps.  In 2015, I moved fully to HTML 5 and in particular the canvas and JavaScript to make anything.  http://danzen.com/museum/tour.html

The HTML canvas tag allows you to dynamically manipulate pixels to draw and animate shapes.  It was the early 2000s that we got this ability in Flash and it was very exciting.  It is now very exciting in HTML where we can use free tools and publish just about everywhere.  We can also bring our experience to a very large creative community.

HTML HISTORICALLY

HTML was initially conceived as a tagging language for showing people information in a Browser.  You could also provide information through forms with text fields, etc.  DHTML (dynamic HTML) came along in the 2000s and used iFrames and layers to show new information without reloading the page (as could JavaScript through AJAX).  Simple animation of page elements with JavaScript were introduced and continue on with libraries like jQuery.  CSS (cascading style sheets) came along to allow us to style the page more efficiently and completely.

INTERACTIVE MEDIA

While making Web pages for browsing does fall under the realm of interactive media, it can be more specifically called Web design.  Interactive media is much more – see the Interactivity Scale.  Interactive media allows us to create, communicate and play – not just consume.  To make interactive media takes more than just tagging or animating – you have to code (program).  This means capturing events and using logic to determine and create what comes next.  It means providing a variety of interfaces so people can create things (applications).  It means dragging, dropping, rotating and hit tests so people can re-enact the world but in a virtual space.  These are things that were not done in traditional Web design and development (aside from maybe dragging items into a shopping cart).

Dan Zen - Interactivity Scale

ZIM

Short for Zen Interactive Modules, ZIM is a free JavaScript framework specifically for making Interactive Media. http://zimjs.com

Much of the ground work is found in a library called CreateJS written by Grant Skinner and crew.  Grant has transported years of interactive media knowledge with Flash to the HTML canvas / JavaScript world.

Remember, the Flash community (and the Director community before hand) has spent over twenty years honing the commands needed to accomplish interactive media.  There are dozens and dozens of commands that go beyond traditional HTML and JavaScript.  These have been shifted and tweaked to perfection.  Without any one of these commands, we could not easily make what we make.  I know, I have created hundreds of applications with millions of lines of award winning code – trust me.  We all owe a HUGE debt to Grant and his team for the phenomenal job they have done preserving our heritage. – Dan Zen

In a sense, CreateJS lets us code in JavaScript as we did in Flash and has even added or simplified nicely in places.  The backbone of CreateJS is EaselJS which provides us with proper object oriented display hierarchy – we can nest objects within objects (containers, shapes, bitmaps, text) and manipulate properties such as position, rotation, alpha, scale and these properties are transferred to their children.  So CreateJS takes us roughly to ground zero of Flash.

Enter ZIM.  When I was coding in Flash, I made over one hundred helper classes (a class is a bunch of code that does something and we can use it over and over).  These were created over ten years and put into packages but otherwise were a touch hodgepodge.  This time, I got to start fresh and planned from the start to let others use and understand these classes.  Half of them are now in ZIM version 1.  The other half, which are for advanced interfaces like gesture and multiuser will be launched as ZIM version 2.  Certainly, there is a lot that can be done with ZIM version 1.

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USING ZIM

You can code with any text editor but it is best if you have syntax coloring so you can see the different parts of the code.  Sublime, TextPad, NotePad++, DreamWeaver, etc.

Start with a ZIM Template – perhaps the basic template.  Copy the source code into a file and name it sample.html.  Now drop the file onto a Web browser – Firefox, Chrome, IE, Safari.  You should see a big button and if you click it, it will go to ZIMjs.  Look at the code and see if you can make sense of it.

On ZIMjs, there is information about the functions and classes that are available.  There is example code and you can try out the examples.  There is also a Docs section that tells you what is available, what parameters you can provide, and what properties, methods and events are available.

ZIMjs Documentation

You can start cutting and pasting bits of the examples at a time into your sample.html and see if you can make things work.

You will also need to know how CreateJS works so you can draw circles, rectangles, lines, and use bitmaps (images), sound and animation.  You can use tutorials, etc.

You will also need to know JavaScript for the programming logic parts such as variables, functions, conditionals, loops, arrays and objects.  Also basic number and string manipulations.  Eventually, you will want to make your own classes as well.

Read about coding here: Dan Zen Museum Coding Tour.

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Please try out ZIM and if you need a hand, there is the CreateJS Facebook Group where we answer questions about CreateJS and ZIM.

I can tell you now, you are as close as you have ever come to making being able to make interactive media.  You need no huge application, no instals, etc.  And you can package your code up into a mobile app in less than an hour once you know what you are doing – all free (aside from the $100 dev cost on Apple, the $25 dev cost on Android and $20 for Windows – free for BB).  Just copy that template file and start poking around.

If you want formal training, I teach at Sheridan College in the one-year post grad diploma program http://imm.sheridanc.on.ca – we have a great learning environment.  Here are some open house photos.

— 15 —

Interactive Media – Digido

October 31, 2014

I have been making digital interactive media works for almost twenty years now.  I have a museum of approximately one hundred works at http://danzen.com.  There is a problem.  I do not know what to call them and I do not know what to call me, the maker.  This matters as it hampers our advancement in culture.

Unlike other creations like Songs, Videos, Sculptures, Paintings, Photographs, etc. we have no name.  We are stuck with generic names for what we make – projects, features, works.  These describe many types of creations.

Unlike other creators like Musicians, Videogrophers, Sculptors, Painters, Photographers, etc. we have no title.  We are perhaps Developers, Designers, Producers, Makers, Creators – but these are titles used in many fields.

I have struggled with this issue all my career and have attempted to come up with an answer a number of times.  You can see a poll that I put on Tapoll – a poll application where you predict the results as you vote:  http://www.tapoll.com/poll/id/413790478.  My recommendations at the time can be seen there – please take the poll.

WHAT DO WE MAKE?

We make digital interactive environments.  Firstly, we cannot just say interactive environments as our world is an interactive environment.  Digital, these days, means in the computer, so that is fine.  Things like songs and films have transcended analog and moved into the digital space – but are not interactive.  Some of the things we make have transcended as well such as games.  Games are an excellent example of digital interactive environments and certainly would be a subset of what we make.

Applications are also an excellent example of what we make.  An applications is software that lets people do things.  Traditionally we have had word processors, spreadsheets, paint programs, etc.  Applications are certainly digital interactive environments.  Social media, where people communicate through posting, sharing, rating, filtering is also a digital interactive environment and can also be thought of as a subset of applications.  Gadgets are small applications and we make those – Wavy – wave your mobile device and make sounds, etc.  Along the same lines, we make simulations where we recreate experiences in life often for educational or training purposes.

We also make art – which is neither games nor applications but for the most part, interactive experiences.  We have to be careful, because many experiences, are not interactive. Videos and Music would not be considered interactive works. You can experience art but it most art is not considered interactive however, there certainly is interactive art experiences and it is an exciting and thriving medium – installation art, etc. and we make that.

I do not consider an information site an interactive environment.  Navigation, in my mind, is the weakest form of interactivity and is already found in older media.  For instance, you navigate to what channel you want to watch or what book on the shelf and which page to read.  Please see my Interactivity Scale.

OPTIONS

Digital Interactive Experience is just too long.  What options do we have…

In our industry – the Interactive Media industry, it is common to have Interactive departments.  This is an indication that interactive is a good word to use.  We have even started to use the term as a noun – “have you seen the interactive?” but I would call this fairly rare – an indication that it is not quite the right word as it has had all the opportunity to catch on and has not.

The “inter” prefix of interactive is not terribly important.  Most people (even most people in our industry) see the inter part of interaction as being between the user and the computer. They completely forget the true or more powerful meaning behind inter.  They forget, that this can mean to interact with people – through the computer.

Act is the key word – whether alone or with others.  Activity would be an ideal name.  We make activities.  Unfortunately, that word has been taken by kindergarten teachers ;-).   Also… we would have to add that we make digital activities.  But you see how activity fits games, puzzles, applications and for the most part any art form where the user takes part and does something.  In the end… “digital activities” is probably not marketable.

In the sense that an activity is a noun (something to do) we could use interactivity as a noun in a similar way.  Therefore, we would make an interactivity.  You would play an interactivity or partake in an interactivity, etc.  I like that.  We can then be Interactivists.  It is a little tongue and cheek, though, with a play on an activist.  Maybe Interactivators ;-).  A problem is that interactivity is used most commonly as a qualifier of our product – it has interactivity.  It is also not a stand-alone, unique word for our work.  Think song, photograph, etc.

We do have the term media but this has been taken by… the media.  Media (plural) or a medium (singular) is a great word – it basically means the same as an environment.  It is something that sits between.  Hot, cold and medium – spiritual medium, etc.  In our case, a medium sits between the creator and the creation – like in art – clay, and paint, etc.  We are have a very special talent and task.  We make mediums.  For instance – the Flute is a medium – we would have made the flute.  We empower people to make content in our environments.  In my philosophy of Nodism I would say we make context in which others can make content.  Anyway – slightly digressing – back to it…

Along the lines of video and audio we could construct another such as actio, doeo, interactio etc.  I like doeo but it sounds quite silly – probably because of Dewey and our association with Huey, Dewey and Louie – or whatever.  Silly is not necessarily a bad thing – and I was using doeo for a while – but I just did not believe in it.

Neal Stephenson called them Ractives in Diamond Age with a plot of an interactive storybook.  Racitve is a really cool name and I would support that – it is the last part of interactives.  It sounds cool perhaps because of Raptors – it is unique – so… maybe.  It has potential.  We could then be Ractivators.

Experientials was a thought as for the last 5 years have been using the term “experiences” as what we build.  Again, many experiences are not interactive but rather authoritative – not user generated.  So, really, this is too broad a term – and it might need the term digital as well.  However, since it is a made up word, it might not need the digital qualifier.

Maybe someone who knows more Greek or Latin might come up with some good arrangements.

PROPOSAL

To really make this stick, I think we need a made up name or a “combo” name with roots or short classifiers.

DIGIDO is my current recommendation.  Digido is initially laughable – and undoubtedly you are at least smiling.  Smiling is not a bad thing.  If we really think about the words audio, movie and video we see that they too are quite cute.  People probably chuckled at the start as they did with iPod and iPad and now we are just fine.

I really like the word DO and so does Nike with its Just do it campaign.  Do means to act – to take part – to create – to build and make.  We make environments in which other people create, communicate and play.  They do things.  They do not just watch or consume – they do.  It is also nice and short.

DIGI – from digital or digits – like our fingers – I believe just means a distinction – like 01 – a jump rather than a blend and hence represents the way computers operate and we are making our environments with computers for computers – whether they be stationary or mobile – big or small – connected or not.  The Canadian New Media Awards, of which I have won two, have been renamed to the Digi Awards.  So that is a positive point in the digi direction ;-).

Digido sounds slightly like didgeridoo – an auspicious connection as a didgeridoo is one of the most basic of instruments.

One thing to consider is what this would be like as a field or industry.  What would it be like on job titles, etc.

Hologram – Holography – Holographer
Photograph – Photography – PhotographerSong – Music – Musician
Show – Television – Producer?  Team…
Movie – Film – Film Maker / Videographer
Digido – Interactive Media – Digidoist

CONCLUSION

Without a name, we are misunderstood.  It is slightly more difficult with our industry because we encompass different media – hence our traditional name, multimedia.  Unfortunately, with media being plural, multi was considered redundant.  The multimedia term is seen as old fashioned – sort of from the CD Rom days.  This has left us without a name and at best “interactive media”  which is like using “musical notes” every time we mean a song.  See what I mean?

Thoughts?

Dan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dan Zen Creative Technology Presentations

April 3, 2014

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DAN ZEN

Dan Zen is an Inventor who works with creative technology.  He is a futurist working with short stories to advance invention.  He uses philosophy as a creativity framework and gives talks, presentations and classes concerning creativity and advanced interface technologies.

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PRESENTATIONS

Dan Zen is very busy building however on occasion, he does talk at conferences, user-groups, workshops, schools and the like. Here are some examples of past engagements. Please contact door at danzen.com to discuss possibilities.

Commercial Creative Technology – Keynote at CreateInTO (CITO) – 2014

http://www.meetup.com/CreateInTO/

Commercial Creative Technology Diagram

Commercial Creative Technology Diagram

Some Creative Technology Icons

Commercial Creative Technology Icons – Dan Zen

Dan Zen Museum Launch – 2014

http://danzen.com/museum BlogPost and YouTube Video

Dan Zen Dances Psychedelic in the Clouds at the Extravaganza

Canadian New Media Award Winner Dan Zen on Dan Zen

DEMO CAMP DEMOS: DRONER, TILTY, KITTY TARTAN, TOUCHY, OPARTICA TUNNEL  – 2014, 2013, 2012

http://droner.mobi http://tilty.mobi http://kittytartan.com http://touchy.mobi http://opartica.com http://softwarehamilton.com

Mediated Reality: Past, Present, and Future – Function Keys Conference – 2012

http://danzen.com/mediatedreality

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Mobile Techniques: Making of Hipster – FITO – 2012

http://hipster.mobi/hipster/talk/

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Creativity and New Forms of Mobile Games – Keynote Hamilton DemoCamp – 2011

http://wp.me/p9ja-8Z

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CyberSpace Meets Social Change – TalkMedia at Art Gallery of Hamilton – 2010

http://danzen.com/intro [click the logo to toggle interface]

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Developing iPhone Applications – mDot Mobile Technology Group – 2010

Creating in WordPress – Toronto WordCamp Presenter – 2009

Inventing for the Web – EntMent Entrepreneur Group – 2009

FITO Educational Panel – 2008, 2011

Gesture Technology – FITO 2007

Zen Mix Vlogging Tool – Dorkbot Toronto 2006

ENDORSEMENTS

Dan Zen is unquestionably a gifted thinker. It is a pleasure to tell you that Dan Zen is also an extremely engaging speaker. He explains his complex, intriguing explorations with such clarity and unbridled enthusiasm that the audience can not help but be captivated; and it is obvious his listeners are of paramount importance to him. To that end, his talks are inclusive, making each audience member feel that they are a participant in the entertaining experience regardless of their level of knowledge about the given area. Equally enjoyable is witnessing his delight in sharing his thoughts with others and encouraging them to think, to be creative.

If there is an opportunity to have the incredibly inventive Dan Zen speak, or present, my recommendation is to seize it.

As the host of “In Conversation: TALK MEDIA” presented by The Factory: Hamilton Media Arts held November 19, 2010 at The Art Gallery of Hamilton, the above reference is written from personal experience.

Best regards,

Denise Dickie
Host, In Conversation: TALK MEDIA
Professor – Media & Entertainment Mohawk College
Former Media Relations Manager and Producer CHCH TV

AND

Dan Zen blows my mind! I am always intrigued and delighted by the expansion I feel when I engage in Dan’s ideas. His talk “Creativity and New Forms of Mobile Games” was brilliant. I learned things about creativity that I had never considered before and that is saying a lot since I have devoted my life work to creative expression!

When I first decided to attend Dan’s talk I worried that it would be too technical for me. I was relieved when he included interactive exercises to express his ideas in a way that made sense.

I would highly recommend a dose of Dan Zen to anyone who wants to expand their mind and open up to their creative potential.

Laura Hollick
Soul Artist and CEO
http://www.soulartstudio.com

Half Century Celebration and Dan Zen Museum Launch Red Carpet Extravaganza

March 24, 2014

Dan Zen Dances Psychedelic in the Clouds at the Extravaganza

Here is the link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yl280Rrn2do for the Dan Zen Museum Launch and 50th Birthday party. Here is a Video Table of Contents:

1. surreal-like introduction – well, why not – I am chronicling my past.
2. an upstairs section with the physical inventions
3. happy birthday and opening speech in Theatre
4. split screen with talk from theatre booth mixed with dancing
5. concluding theatre talk
6. Dan Zen museum Website promo

MISSING: interviews and parts of speeches and here and there.

Thanks to the Staircase and amazing staff, Catherine for much of the footage, Christine for the YesUmNo, Ada for the music, RoseAnne, Madeline, Elliot, David, Cheryl and all who helped move and put up with the moving (still ongoing).  Also, thanks all for the wonderful presents – I am just about to get thank-you messages out.  Thanks for all those who sent wishes but could not be there – the 100’th party will be a cape and sash theme.

A few clarifications, I say that I am the world’s number 1 psychedelic dancer according to Google – not the best psychedelic dancer – that credit goes to each and every person who dances psychedelically. And… the unfortunate new name of Interactive Multimedia is Interactive Multimedia Management (not Business) we are fighting it http://danzen.com/petition/imm.  Also… it was great to see the TRANSLATION TUBE being used – but… there was a stone in one end so that it balanced when sitting on the table – if we only took the stone out, the whispers would have been much much better.

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The Dan Zen Museum is up and running but some final tweaks and edits are still to do before it replaces the main Dan Zen interface.  The URL is http://danzen.com/museum and I still have 50-100 more stories to add to the stairs.  Thanks again to all who came out and sent wishes and made it one of the best nights of my life ;-)

Supplemental links:

Facebook Event:
https://www.facebook.com/events/207807509414895/

Pictures by Todd:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/danzen/sets/72157642442992504/

Staircase Theatre:
http://staircase.org

YouTube Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yl280Rrn2do

Dan Zen Museum:
http://danzen.com/museum

Dan Zen Creativity Framework:
http://danzen.com/creativityframework

Dan Zen Facebook Page:
http://facebook.com/danzenpage

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Dan Zen Teaches at Sheridan in Interactive Media – Reviews and Ratings

January 10, 2014
Dan Zen - Sheridan Interactive Media - CLICK!

Dan Zen – Sheridan Interactive Media – CLICK!

Just happened upon an online review/rating of my teaching.  They did not name me but mentioned a teacher climbing on desks and our Sheridan Interactive Multimedia (now called Interactive Media Management – under extreme protest!) one-year post grad program in Oakville Ontario Canada near Toronto – so I figured it was me.  Unfortunately, the student was not able to learn from me as this was too distracting.  It is not like a climb on desks every lesson – but oh well.  So I thought I would balance this with a few anonymous reviews from the last couple years – I hope this is not inappropriate – if you think so, please message me.

If I had to spend 3 hours in a class room and 9 hours at Sheridan, I wouldn’t want it to be for any other class.

Dan Zen is the best University teacher I’ve Ever had.

The course is the greatest!

Class is always fun, innovative and interactive

Best Professor [large underline]

Wonderful learning experience, wish he can teach more courses!

Great Prof.

Great professor who understands and is enthusiastic about the course / topic he teaches

Great Professor :-)

Amazing class.  Truly engaging and enthusiastic prof makes the process of learning code and game theory a blast and therefore very informative and a great learning experience was had.  Prof used a great number of effective methods to describe complex concepts and codes and make them easy to understand and accessible.  Fantastic experience [multiple underlines]

Professor Dan Zen is an excellent instructor and teaches with lots of passion and understanding.  He is able to teach a lot of important details within a short time period.  Great class and great Professor.  Thanks.

Great enthusiastic attitude in course material and communicating effectively to students.

On of the best classes I’ve ever had thus far.  His energy and interest has kept me awake during class, something I wish all instructors had.

Great enthusiasm for Professor and good to work with.

Great prof!

He is an amazing prof.  He teaches very well and knows how to explain.  Very understanding.

Great Prof!

Great prof and course!

Very enthusiastic about the material; explaining coding in an easy to understand way

Great teacher.  Keep up the good work

Best class I’ve ever had!  Prof Dan Zen has very high enthusiasm and makes going to class very enjoyable!

Best course I have ever taken at Sheridan. :-)

Great and unique course, recommend to all – applied learning through out – class experiences were great [underline]

I like this class very much.  It is fun and enjoyable and at the same time you learn a lot of new things.

The prof is proud of what he does and teaches a great course.  Very fun class to be a part of.

Very enthusiastic professor!  Looking forward to your classes next year!

Dan Zen is a great prof who shows a lot of enthusiasm while teaching.  Good Job!

Dan Zen is extremely enthusiastic and a great professor.  Easy to talk to.  By far one of my favourite professors

Excellent teacher, the only on I’ve met so far who encourages class participation and interaction with other students.  Explains the lessons very clearly with lots of hands on activities and exercises to ensure comprehension.  Very enthusiastic.

Prof. Zen is a very enthusiastic and knowledgeable teacher who makes learning experience very enjoyable.  This is arguably my favourite course in comparison to all others taken as a UofT student.  I look forward to coming to class every week and hope to enroll in other courses taught by him.

I enjoy how he teaches.  He should teach a workshop for professors.  He makes the class enjoyable – thank you.

The course was very well taught with lots of enthusiasm and always in a good mood.

I think Dan Zen expresses great interest in teaching and he is very well informed and full of ideas.

You are awesome!! =)

Professor Dan Zen is just so much fun to learn from because he brings his enthusiasm to class and is passionate about games.  Best professor I have had in my University time span.

Great enthusiasm, wide knowledge, Flash expert, extremely helpful. Great teacher.

Very eccentric and enthusiastic

Very good prof, Dan Zen.  Very descriptive and explains things well.  Highly recommend for future reference.

Great professor.  Provides a unique learning experience combining many effective teaching techniques.

Professor has been very supportive in helping me learn Flash and I have found this course very valuable.

He is very enthusiastic about his work and gets students just as enthusiastic about the course work.  He is also very helpful and understanding.

Shows very high enthusiasm in the classroom and attends to every question raised by each student.  Makes learning a lot of fun and uses many examples to relate to the concepts to make it easier.

Very fun class!

-> Great professor -> very fun and interesting class

I never thought a teacher could actually make me be more interested in programming.  Congratulations Dan!

Awesome classes conducted in active interesting way. Having fun while learning makes the knowledge gained stay in mind much better and longer.  Awesome semester!  Thank you!

Dan Zen has done amazing things in the past and speaks from a breadth of experience. He makes time for every student and is fantastic at catering to individual needs.

You are so relatable and it creates a great environment in the classroom and amongst the students. You appropriately
integrate fun and humor to make the lessons engaging and enjoyable.

Dan is really knowledgeable and is a great resource for learning Flash and Action Script. He is great at teaching to all skill levels in the class. The material is quite intimidating but Dan keeps it interesting and engaging. My interest and desire to master ActionScript keeps growing as the term progresses.

Interactive Coding is a great course and I am so surprised at how much I already know how to do with it. Dan Zen is a great instructor and he is very enthused about the topic, even at 9 in the morning.

Dan Zen is a great instructor. He is truly unique and has a way of explaining material in an engaging way. Even though my strong suit isn’t coding, I know since I have started I have learned a lot and Dan opened my eyes to the beauty world of coding. Another great thing about Dan is that he does not only teach us how to code but rather to think creatively and challenge the status quo of society. He makes us think and explore ourselves and find what we are passionate about and express that idea in a unique way.

Dan Zen is an absolute pleasure. He is very passionate about his work, technology and very happy to share with us his passion and zest. He is very dynamic, keeps the classes going with interesting stories of his rich past experiences and it always pertains to the subject and lesson in hand. I am very very happy to have met Dan as he reminds me of myself where the zaniness, wackiness, creativeness is always welcome in an environment that fosters creativity, advancements in new technology and overall brotherhood and sisterhood within the classroom and outside. Thanks Dan!

I have never met a professor that instills so much inspiration and learning encouragement as Dan. My main reason to join the program wasn’t to learn, it was to be taught and inspired by him. With such a complicated curriculum as Flash and ActionScript, Dan is able to amazingly make everything clear. Whatever was not clear to me, Dan brought comfort in telling us that it will come in time. And it did. It really is all about the teacher. I am sure I would have given up on ActionScript if it wasn’t for the dedication, professionalism, and pedagogical understanding that Dan possesses. What a teacher. I will truly miss him when the program ends. Dan has given me the logical tools and creative inspiration I need to delve deeper into programming, and for that I thank him so very much.

Professor Dan Zen does an exceptional work within this course. Throughout the learning process which is taught really well, students feel comfortable with the methodology and the teacher. The teacher really engages himself and concerns if all the students are learning. Which is really a plus. Awesome work!

This is my favorite course. The assignments allow a lot of freedom to design what we want to create, making us very proud of what we produce. Dan gives us enough tools to play with, and let our imaginations go wild. The assignments are also catered to various skill levels, so everyone is learning at their pace. Everyone is given the option to explore and challenge themselves if they wish. Interactive Coding is great!!!!

Interactive Coding has been an exciting class and one of my favorite classes.

It has been amazing to delve inside the mind of Dan and analyze his creations (feather series). Having Dan actually explain the steps he took to create a certain Class or application was thoroughly helpful. Even though I found this class a bit outside of my scope of understanding, I did learn the holistical approach to Multimedia Pioneering.

For an intro class, I think the assignments were very appropriate, in terms of learning multimedia pioneering. Assignments helped me understand it better. The prof was always very approachable and was available for help. Great enthusiasm for technology and for this course subject.

I am very proud and honored to be in the presence of Dan Zen and absolutely love the way he thinks and delivers the material. He introduces us to ideas that one may not necessarily explore and also touches on ideas and notions that I wouldn’t think that others would understand, yet I have experience with. A progressive, futuristic, outside of the box thinker. I really enjoy him and his deep thoughts. Thank you very very much Dan. So much fun and laughter. I look forward all the time to the end of the week. He brings laughter and joy to the class and it makes me feel good especially since the material is quite heavy. Absolutely love it! :)

I love this course. Mainly because I find it the philosophical counterpart to programming. Since programming is about creative an environment with artificial intelligent, this course fits great in the curriculum. Dan teaches us about the future and how this technology affects us and even though some of the talks and experiments we create maybe not applicable who knows in the future. I mean, most people did not believe when Bell created the telephone it would substitute the telegram. In conclusion, I love Dan’s vision and the way he shares it with us.

Dan Zen Light Shows

August 21, 2013
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Compilation – click to enlarge

Dan Zen has been interested in Light Shows for most of his life.  He grew up watching Hilarious House of Frightenstrein – with Igor dancing in the oil drop psychedelics.  Zen also grew up in the sixties and seventies with hippie parents and a love of patterns and shaping environments.

For his first band, The Chessmen (1989), he created light shows for pretty well every show.  This was pre-digital projector times so were made from old slide projectors with their middles cut out to allow for custom spinning wheels or revolving tracks run by little motors.  Many involved op art or overlapping lines and circles.

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Oil Drops were a favourite.  Zen would put several sandwich bags with different color oil and water into the slide area and squish them with a cam lever run by motors.  He also created overlapping circular plates with mixing fins and trays trays for squelching as seen in many of Thee Gnostics shows (1994).  Gorgolon Tape Release is pictured below.

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With the dawn of digital projectors all sorts of light shows were possible.  For Zen’s Final Gnostic appearance (aside from reunions) a compilation of old home videos including video feedback were projected.  See if you can get through all of this song – it is worth it – there are some wicked sounds and visuals as the Hari Krishna come on to stage.

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Thee Gnostics videos are filled with light shows and they can all be seen on the Flash site http://theegnostics.com.  More videos are planned for the future.  Many of the videos are on YouTube as well.

When Zen left Thee Gnostics (1996), he still did light shows for them as well as light shows for other bands such as the Ride Theory (Young Rival), Christmas and Simply Saucer.

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Watch the video – Ride Theory

Some Simply Saucer pics – look at pics to right in photostream to see more patterns used for lightshow – from the Dan Zen tool, Tilator.  These flowed with the beat.

saucer

As Zen became able to animate to sound frequency in Flash he created light shows that moved to the beat of the music.  Examples were the Christmas show in Toronto (try it) and The Magic Shadows show in Hamilton (try it).

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In particular, the demand for original Christmas vinyl records is extremely high, with one album recently having been sold on Ebay for $2000! For this show Bryden was backed up by Toronto’s Saffron Sect and the performance was enhanced with a wickedly cool light show created by Dan Zen.

For Thee Gnostics Reunion show Zen created a water based light show that moved when people pulled on a series of Cyber Medallions hooked onto the light show – this warbled projections of the inside of keyboards.  This was used as a wall projection as there was a projectionist for the night.  See the making of video.  The cyber medallions were given away to the audience after the show.

The latest light show for the Hawkwind Tribute show at This Ain’t Hollywood in Hamilton used Opartica Tunnel controlled live by Dan Zen – click the link and watch as there are a number of snips from songs in the one video.  There were also lights by General Chaos at the sides.  See Pics.

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Did the lights for the Bob Bryden Yorkville Days CD Release:

And Hollow Earth

Here are some videos from the 2014 Simply Saucer show at the Casbah for the Baby Nova Tour – animated factories at controllable speeds and background supernovas.

SAFFRON SECT

All the best and try adding a light show to your event!

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The Chessmen – Garage Mod Band Hamilton, Canada 1989

July 15, 2013

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THE CHESSMEN

Op Art light shows, go-go girls, splotchy cravats, Vox amps, Rickenbackers and a mad mod following! The Chessmen were Hamilton’s garage band in the late 80’s playing original songs influenced by the Kinks, Who, Beatles and Stones to name some well known bands but also deeply routed in more obscure way-out sounds.

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The Chessmen – album 1989 13 original songs (ZAP)

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The Chessmen – Warren, Jamie, Dan, Mike, Rick


ALBUM

The Chessmen launched one self titled album on ZAP records in 1989. The sound was more thin than their live acts and shortly thereafter they went psychedelic with longer songs like Follow the Path, Floating Down the River and Garden of Earthly Pleasures. They disbanded still friends and did a few reunion shows like the Baron of Time show at Amigos in Hess Village. Time Machine and several other songs were featured on garage compilations from around the world: Time Machine Mr. Garager’s Neighbourhood

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The Chessmen – Rick, Dan, Mike and Randy


FORMATION

Rod Fuzzfiend (Rick Blythe) and Dan Zen had seen one another out at dance clubs in the 80s and started jamming together before Dan Zen went off to Europe for nine months to hang out with garage bands – the cool side of the indi-pop movement – squatted with My Bloody Valentine and went to Spacemen 3 gigs to see the mop-top opening bands like the Surrounds, Jamie Taylor Quartet and Aardvarks.

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LINEUP

Rick did back-up vocals and played Rickenbacker bass (being a Stranglers follower) with local legend, the late Randy Steele on Guitar, and Musicologist, Mike White on the skins. Dan Zen went CHANG CHANG on a solid body Rickenbacker, sang, and wrote the songs – what primitive lyrics – a little raw or adolescent for his standards now but certainly all about girls coming and going, smiling and dancing. He also did light shows and managed the band. Soon after forming, Warren Cavenagh took over Bass with his little hofneristic boingbinger. Rick moved to Guitar for a double Rickenbacker front line. This was the album line-up along with Jamie sessioning ards. There were also a number of gogo dancers – Glynnis, Erin, RA, Angie, Melanie, Sue, and so forth.

SHOWS

Op Hops were the main gigs – dances put on by Dan with posters and light shows, etc. Mods would scooter from Brantford and Toronto to Hamilton locations like the Terra Nova Theatre on Dundurn (where the Taco Bell was put and then kaput), Patsy’s Banquet Hall on James St. N. and the Corktown. Empty Hours, The Captives, Ten Commandments and the likes would work up the crowd.

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PARTIES

After parties would happen on Grant just up from Grant Avenue Studios. The Gruesomes would hang out and all sorts of garage bands from around Canada – the Frankenstien Five, Sherlocks, the Minstrels, from the States, the Cynics, even some friends from Britain – the Thanes, the Offhooks and Surrounds. There would be jams in the attic where the Chessman practiced above the Op Art and Surreal Rooms. Various feasts like the Medieval, Beatnik, Space and Psychedelic parties transpired along with mystery parties like Baron Digbody’s Castle and the Lady with Brooch beatnik art theft and car rallies around the dozens of waterfalls in Hamilton. We’d walk in woods at night doing silly walks playing pass the documents. Late at night we would tell stories a sentence each and dance in strobe lights waving ties like snakes.  Below are some people – missing Samantha, Andrea, Valerie, Sandy, Suzanne, Keith, Mark, Myra, Jen, Dave, Bam Bam, Michelle, and many other fun folks!

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Christina, Darren, Glynis, Angie, Doug, Erin, Angie


AND THEN

After the album, Rick went back to bass with Andre LaPointe from the Captives coming in on guitar and backing vocals. Gaven Dianda also did a stint or two on bass when Rick was away. When the band disbanded Dan and Gaven went on to form the Swinging Gurus and later Thee Gnostics along with Andre and Thomas Monte from Sublimatus as we were all hanging around at these parties listening to early Pink Floyd, late Miles Davis, Hawkwind, Soft Machine and Orphx.  Mike moved off to Vancouver and then Toronto to work in Musical Media, Warren became Michael and travels the world helping the needy.  Rick and Dan both married their lovely girlfriends at the time RoseAnne and Ada and are still best friends in the Hamilton area working with latest technologies.

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Thee Gnostics – Dan, James, Gaven, Thomas

Hipster Perspective

January 6, 2013
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Hipster – Mobile App and Website

I have just launched a site and mobile app called Hipster at http://www.hipster.mobi and would like to give some background.

Hipster has become a term for people who dress and act cool taking elements from past styles.  Unfortunately and somewhat unfairly it has become a derogatory label – so much so that very few people say they are Hipsters.

I am a Hipster

Let’s take a look at a little “top of the head” history.  To be hip comes from hep – some jazzy black term.  We had the Beatniks in the 50’s who were Hep Cats and we had the Mod and Psychedelic Hip Cats in the 60’s.  60’s punk and early psychedelic folk wore Hipsters – pants that were low on the hips held up by big belts.  These often flared at the bottom – flares.  Not bell bottoms – Hipsters.

Stripey Hipsters - Original '66 taken in

Dan Zen – Stripey Hipsters – Original ’66 taken in

In the past, styles tended to last for a longer time and as time passes, eras get remembered for certain styles. I created a site in the early 2000’s called Hip Cats at http://www.hipcats.com.  There are examples of Hip cultures – Beatnik, Psychedelic, Surf, Goth, Cyberpunk and Urban. On the Scoop page there is a history section for each of these genres.  There are also relevant songs, books and films listed.

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Hip Cats site at http://www.hipcats.com (2002)

These days, with many more people, accessible historical media – movies, TV, songs, the Internet, etc. styles have become much more varied and mixed.  There still are some unique forays and spinoffs like punk, indie-pop, nerd, emo, clubbers, etc. but over the last few decades, kids started liking everything – or a wide variety.  I would go up to someone who looked like a mod and ask them if they were a mod and they would say no – and on occasions, they would answer they did not know what a mod was.  They could not say what their favorite type of music was – they liked everything.  I have mixed emotions over this response – it seems on one hand that they are not trying hard enough – like they have not researched and felt a passion.  On the other hand… it is an inclusive attitude.

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Some Second Generation Hipsters (me on right) 1986

Perhaps it is this lack of historical perspective that has led to concerns of the authenticity of modern day hipsters.  There is merit in this criticism but let’s go a little easy on the youth.  First of all, wise people say this kind of stuff does not matter – who cares what you dress or look like, etc.  I care because it is fun to care, what I wear is self expression.  Do I care if a girl likes to wear mod dresses but does not know their history – not really, I am pleased to tell her of its history.  I think we are drawn to certain styles regardless of knowledge of the deeper culture.  And the deeper culture is born from people who share interests so let’s take a more supportive and nurturing attitude.

Attitude is another issue with the current Hipster.  To be cool is to often be reserved.  This sometimes comes across as being better than thou.  This side effect has been there right from the start of hipness.  So now we have this backlash of you think your so cool… we hate or we laugh at you hipsters, etc.  And then this feeds the standoffishness, etc.

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Zany Dan Zen Dancing 2012

I have never condoned being too cool to communicate.  I am more zany and outgoing and inclusive – hipsters embody all sorts of people.  I think for the most part, the values of current hipsters are good.  They care about the environment – riding bikes, eating local food.  They are into cafe discussions, reading – they tend to be nerdy and intelligent.  This is what I assume – perhaps there are hipsters that do not share these values but for the most part, I think their outlook is positive and commendable.  Treat them like humans and I am sure that they will be kind and even a good influence on your life.

There is the issue of being labeled.  I suspect that nobody likes to be labeled.  I suppose if people include the “snooty attitude” and “lack of authenticity” issues in the label then perhaps I would not like to be labeled a hipster.  But if a hipster is just someone who IS hip – then I don’t mind that label.  I understand the striving to be unique but I say to you, if you ARE hip – then you are a hipster.

Comments welcome and please try out the app and have some fun.  http://www.hipster.mobi

Dan Zen – 2013

Hipster! Hip Hunters Hunt Hipsters…

January 4, 2013

Hipster - Hip Hunters Hunt Hipsters

Hippy New Year!

Hipster at http://www.hipster.mobi is in Beta – the Web version works.  The mobile version which is its primary target should be out in January – it was completed first but delayed due to iTunes shutting down over the holidays (but that is okay).

Hipster lets you post pics of hipster sightings and tag-vote other people’s pics.

So come on in and try it out – just a fun free thing – no pressure.  But please, if you know of someone who would like to partake, pass them the URL.

http://www.hipster.mobi – iOS, Android, BB10, Windows M coming soon.  Web is working now (Flash).

Dan

2013

Tired of the same old Medallion? Try Hangy!

November 6, 2012

Hangy at http://hangy.mobi is the mobile app for wearable devices that will make you:

the PIZAZZ at the party!
the CROWN on the conference!
the COOL in the club!
the SHOW of the fashion!

Easily express your moods, give greets, show pics or promotions and even wear styling lights!  Watch the Hangy YouTube Playlist to see how it works and how to make a Mobidallion wearable device in two minutes!

iPad, iPad Mini, iPod,  iPhone, Android,  Blackberry 10

The Hangy site offers a fun view of famous characters wearing Hangy and imagines how they would express themselves.  Click any character to VOTE for your favourite.

Inventor Dan Zen recounts, “For years, I have been watching the Web for mobile devices used as wearable expression – and have found nothing.  The closest is the digitalDudz fellow – I was telling my students about putting a device on the front and back so you could see through your body since the dawn of mobile video – so we seem to have similar interests. 

Why are we waiting around for digital fabric that can show the same old thing over and over – why not make use of our current devices with all the apps in the world!  A whole series is planned – with similar interface, so try out Hangy and let others know!”

There are a couple existing fasteners to hang Apple devices as a necklace iHangy (not related) and Necklit.  These require extra production and cost and only work with Apple devices.  You can create a Mobidallion wearable device in less than 5 minutes with tape and string or use a gel case and thread string through two pencil poked holes.  These free and easy techniques are more than strong enough to hold the device even with the most rambunctious of dancing!  Please watch the videos to see what we mean (see the second and third in the playlist).

All the best and send us your pictures wearing Hangy!

Inventor Dan Zen is an award winning digital media creator with over 80 games, gadgets, communities, and tools at http://danzen.com.  Hangy was made with Adobe Flash and easily published to all platforms through Adobe AIR.  Dan Zen has launched a half dozen mobile apps in FLASH/AIR such as Touchy, Wavy and Swoodle.

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Flash is Finished (but not how you have been brainwashed to believe)

October 26, 2012
flashIDE

Flash Authoring Tool with Asset Tools and Management

I admire the human instinct to explore – to want to do new things.  So… perhaps it is no wonder that the interactive development world has embraced this challenge of HCJ – HTML, CSS and JavaScript under the popular guise of HTML 5 and proudly open source for all to contribute.   Flash on the other hand has been honed for roughly 15 years into a tool with synergy of parts organized by a hired team of brilliant people with the focused purpose to make an application for building advanced interactivity.

In my mind, Flash is finished – as in COMPLETE.  In recent years, the improvements that the Adobe engineering team were telling us, we could not even really understand.  Concurrency… and other really high level tweaks to make it run as fast as possible has been the focus.   Developer conferences were becoming stale – there was nothing really new and exciting – new ended at getting access to the GPU and mobile devices through AIR.  One final wish for Flash would be to integrate the GPU so we do not have to think about it – like the Starling framework.

So… can we perhaps get it in our head that the lack of excitement for Flash is not because it is dead but because it no longer needs to be changed.  Flash is a mature system.  As such, can we please show it some respect – the whole world seems to want to kill it – is that what you do with adults after they stop growing?

On the HTML side, we are still adding new things.  We got three important tags – canvas, audio and video.  When Flash got bitmap access (canvas) in 2003 – yes, ten years ago, we developers felt the amazing excitement.  It was followed shortly with a dramatic upgrade to ActionScript – moving to AS3 a generation beyond the current JavaScript.  These were exciting changes.  The changes we are excited about on the HTML side are for things that Flash had years and years ago – I can’t even remember Flash without sound and video.

While HTML is still changing, so too is the culture of Web developers.  Hopefully they will advance past the mindset of just presenting information – and this whole adaptive design hoopla – we have been doing adaptive design in Flash forever.  That is what vector is about – that is a main strength of Flash.  Flash has always been able to scale in multiple ways – I have made many projects that implement adaptable design.  Anyway… hopefully developers will look past this to building applications where users can do things and create things.  This does not mean a form.  This often involves several elements that Web developers are still getting used to.

1. Hit Tests
2. Dragging and dropping
3. Resizing and rotating
4. Drawing with shapes and curves

If you ask any Web developer how many times they have done any of these you would probably get that they have dragged and dropped a few times.  I, being an interactive developer, have done all of these things hundreds if not thousands of times.

In Flash, we have been given 67 packages holding 757 classes although we do not use all of them and many just hold constants.  Perhaps we use about 50-100 classes regularly. Our main interactive container class, the Sprite has 68 events available, 53 properties and 39 methods.  You can see them here: http://help.adobe.com/en_US/FlashPlatform/reference/actionscript/3/flash/display/Sprite.html  Some might say that this is bloat.  Well… there have been many things pruned from Flash as well over the years – including the current way that JavaScript handles classes.  Flash is so well organized that any excess does not really get in the way.  You import the classes you need – and it is nice to have what you need.

AS3 Packages, Classes and Sprite Example.

AS3 Packages, Classes and Sprite Example.

I will continue to develop my Web and Mobile apps in Flash.  If I need a Web app for mobile browser then I will use HCJ.  I encourage all former Flash developers to use and recommend the right tool for the job.  I also encourage you to help develop HCJ into a right tool.  But I certainly do not encourage you to say Flash is dead or to recommend to co-workers, clients and upcoming developers not to use Flash.  Because I can guarantee you that in Flash we can build faster and more concisely than HTML 5 developers when it comes to advanced interaction.

Dan.

PS.

View the source of what I needed to do to get dragging to work in HTML.  I looked for almost a day to get a drag and drop script that worked across all platforms.  In the end, I chose an older script and modified it with the help of an expert in HTML 5 to handle mobile.  http://www.danzen.com/realmstar/drag-drop-custom.js – is 789 lines long to drag and drop.  Well… Flash is startDrag() and stopDrag().

This brings us to the topic of Libraries and Frameworks. JQuery and JQuery Mobile have have drag and drop solutions – I could not get them to work but I don’t currently do jQuery so that could be why.  CreateJS has a solution and I have since gotten it to work.  SentiaTouch probably does as well, etc.  All these different frameworks provide their solution with their syntax.  HTML is trying to implement drag and drop if they have not already – I think I read something about it.  Well… I tell you, it is time consuming to keep up with all this stuff and be swapping frameworks every month.  Perhaps it will settle but how will this look?  Do Web developers want all the solutions to go into HCJ?  Are the framework developers going to be happy with this as they see their framework implemented “natively” and become poly-fill for old browsers – hopefully.  And will this end version – converging to perfection be called bloated.  Will it take the same resources Flash?  Most likely – that is if it ever gets there.

In my mind, we need both open source and closed source.  You cannot design by committee – it gives you grey – committees and open source are similar.  Agile groups or even individuals are where ideas and advancement come from.  It helps for there to be a reward – such as money to spur such innovation.  Of course many innovators will donate their work to open source, it is just that for the most part, I see innovation coming from closed source – so do not try and kill it by smearing it and making it taboo – or, for instance, taking away browser plug ins.  It is most ridiculous for an open source community to say the only scripting in Web browsers will be JavaScript.  Can you hear yourselves?

Mobidallion! Wearable Computing + Hangy App

September 12, 2012

Just figured out a good name for the hanging mobile device – Mobidallion.  It is fun to say.

https://danzen.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/mobile-device-as-medallion-wearable-computing/

Working on the hangy.mobi app – here is a video of where I am at:

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Mobile Device as Medallion – Wearable Computing

September 6, 2012
Wearable Computing - Mobile Medallion

Wearable Computing – Mobile Medallion

For the last while I have been prototyping mobile devices as medallions in a way to make wearable computing easy, affordable and practical today.

I have used iPods, iPhones, iPads, Galaxy Tabs as medallions hanging around the neck but my favourite size and device is the Blackberry Playbook.  This is an excellent device with superb sound and screen – and is the perfect size for a medallion.

I am working on apps that let you express your mood, communicate, mesmerize and promote using simple gestures or grid based interfaces – which work as you wear.  As far as I know, I am pioneering this technique.  I have had dozens of people research for examples and have come up empty.  Still to this day, there are no pictures of people doing this.

The odd thing is that I can do it with any existing device with a couple pieces of tape and a string in less than five minutes.  That means you can do it too and along with the apps I will be launching will come instructions.

My prototypes also include pockets with plastic or cut out areas to see the screen of the devices as well as packs, headbands, sashes, pouches, etc.  There have been arm bands to hold devices but the purpose has always been individual usage.  With Medallions, etc. the purpose is to communicate with others.

Dan Zen

Dan Yen over One Billion Deck Dollars in RichDeck!

July 3, 2012

In roughly 1,500 transactions, Dan Yen has grown his RichDeck empire into $1,109,927,000 Deck Dollars. Currently in second place is Silent B89 with $654,309,000.

http://danzen.com/richdeck

RichDeck is the game where you buy companies and make money from people buying franchises or you buy franchises and make money from getting your friends to accept franchise cards. There are also four types of companies, each providing special bonuses for franchise owners:

a) Cool Bonus: 1% the franchise price for each day a friend who accepted the franchise product signs in to RichDeck.

b) Health Bonus: 1% the franchise price for each week the owner owns the franchise.

c) Environment Bonus: 1% the franchise price for every 100 people who log in to RichDeck.

d) Time Bonus: 1% the franchise price for every day the owner logs in to RichDeck.

IF ONE PERSON COMMENTS BELOW AND REQUESTS A RESTART
Dan Zen will restart the game.

RICHDECK RULES

You start with ten million Deck Dollars.  The object of the game is to buy and sell companies and franchises and make billions!  Here are the rules and some examples.

1.  You can own any number of companies and franchises but no duplicates.  Companies can only be owned by one player and you can always buy* a company.  Company franchises can be owned by many players and you can buy** a franchise for the franchise price.

2.  When you own a company and someone buys a franchise, you get paid the listed price of the franchise. Also, if someone buys your company, you get what you paid plus 1% the starting price.

3.  When you own a franchise, you make money*** by sending the product to friends.  You also make money from one of four bonuses listed on the card.

4.  At any time, you can sell a company to the ‘bank’ for the price you paid.  You can sell a franchise to the bank but you must wait at least one week after the purchase date.  You will still receive money from any sends (see 3. above) accepted after a sold franchise.

* As long as you have enough money, you can always buy a company for 1% the starting price more than the current owner paid.  Prices will be worked out for you.

** You cannot buy a franchise if you own the company.  But you can buy a company if you own the franchise.

*** The friend will receive an e-mail with a product picture and an accept link. If the friend accepts, then you will receive the list price of the product.  The friend will also receive the price of the product plus ten million deck dollars if they have not already signed up for RichDeck.  The friend cannot be you and can only accept the particular product once per owner of the franchise.

EXAMPLES

The starting price of the Glass Car company is $20,000,000.  If a first player buys the company then they would pay this amount to the ‘bank’.  If a second player buys the company then they will pay the first player $20,000,000 plus 1% the starting price which is $200,000 so this makes a total of $20,200,000.

You can then buy the company for what the current owner paid ($20,200,000) plus 1% the starting price ($200,000) which makes $20,400,000 and the current owner cannot stop you.  But they could buy back the company for $20,600,000 and you could not stop them. If that player does buy the company from you then you get $20,600,000.

Now, if you decide to buy a Glass Car franchise instead of the company then you would pay the owner the franchise price of $2,000,000.  You can then send out glass cars to friends and make $200,000 each time the car is accepted by a friend.  You also make one of four types of bonus below – in this case the cool bonus.  If you want to sell your franchise then you have to wait at least one week after your purchase date then you will get $2,000,000 back from the bank.  Note that the owner does not pay the money back.

A Personal Copter and Glass Car

Here is the account records of Dan Yen current leader of RichDeck.

PLAYER: DAN YEN
MOTTO: How much wood does woodchuck buy?

WORTH: $1,109,927,000 dd CASH: $673,777,000 dd
COMPANIES: MOON MANSION, LUNAR RESORT, SCIENCE SQUAD, GLASS CAR COMPANY, CENTRAL LEMONADE CO
FRANCHISES: OASIS, 10,000 ACRE PINE FOREST, RUNNING COURIER CO, ERGONE CHAMBER, ENVIRONMENTAL SOUND, LASER HAIR CHAIR CO, FRESH AIR CO, SOLAR LAGOON BATH, AZTEC SUN TEMPLE, SCIENCE SQUAD, PLANETARIUM OFFICE, CENTRAL LEMONADE CO, SOLAR FARM, GLASS CAR COMPANY

LATEST HISTORY:
01-07: Received $500 dd TIME bonus on LASER HAIR CHAIR CO for signin
01-07: Received $20,000 dd TIME bonus on PLANETARIUM OFFICE for signin
01-07: Received $20,000 dd TIME bonus on CENTRAL LEMONADE CO for signin
01-07: Received $40,000 dd TIME bonus on SCIENCE SQUAD for signin
01-07: Received $720,000 dd HEALTH bonus on AZTEC SUN TEMPLE for 9 weeks
01-07: Received $90,000 dd HEALTH bonus on OASIS for 9 weeks
01-07: Received $9,000 dd HEALTH bonus on ERGONE CHAMBER for 9 weeks
01-07: Received $9,000 dd HEALTH bonus on ENVIRONMENTAL SOUND for 9 weeks
11-07: Received $200,000 dd for accepting CENTRAL LEMONADE CO from THEDORE BAGWELL
11-07: Received $100,000 dd for accepting ISLAND WITH RESORT from THEDORE BAGWELL
11-07: Received $400,000 dd for accepting SCIENCE SQUAD from THEDORE BAGWELL
11-07: Received $100,000 dd for accepting 10,000 ACRE PINE FOREST from THEDORE BAGWELL
11-07: Received $100,000 dd for accepting ISLAND WITH RESORT from JAYKEEN
11-07: Received $200,000 dd for accepting GLASS CAR COMPANY from AKUA
11-07: Received $500 dd ENVIRONMENT bonus on FRESH AIR CO for 100 signins
11-07: Received $20,000 dd ENVIRONMENT bonus on SOLAR FARM for 100 signins
11-07: Received $10,000 dd ENVIRONMENT bonus on 10,000 ACRE PINE FOREST for 100 signins
11-07: Received $8,000 dd ENVIRONMENT bonus on RUNNING COURIER CO for 100 signins
11-07: Received $500 dd ENVIRONMENT bonus on SOLAR LAGOON BATH for 100 signins
11-07: Received $800,000 dd for accepting AZTEC SUN TEMPLE from MURAD
11-07: Received $200,000 dd for accepting PLANETARIUM OFFICE from GUMUSOGLU
11-07: Received $500 dd TIME bonus on LASER HAIR CHAIR CO for signin
11-07: Received $20,000 dd TIME bonus on PLANETARIUM OFFICE for signin
11-07: Received $20,000 dd TIME bonus on CENTRAL LEMONADE CO for signin
11-07: Received $40,000 dd TIME bonus on SCIENCE SQUAD for signin
11-07: Received $960,000 dd HEALTH bonus on AZTEC SUN TEMPLE for 12 weeks
11-07: Received $120,000 dd HEALTH bonus on OASIS for 12 weeks
11-07: Received $12,000 dd HEALTH bonus on ERGONE CHAMBER for 12 weeks
11-07: Received $12,000 dd HEALTH bonus on ENVIRONMENTAL SOUND for 12 weeks
11-07: Received $4,000,000 dd from JOKIC buying franchise, SCIENCE SQUAD
11-07: Received $2,000,000 dd from JOKIC buying franchise, GLASS CAR COMPANY
11-07: Received $4,000,000 dd from THEDORE BAGWELL buying franchise, SCIENCE SQUAD
11-07: Received $4,000,000 dd from JAYKEEN buying franchise, SCIENCE SQUAD
11-07: Received $2,000,000 dd from AKUA buying franchise, GLASS CAR COMPANY
08-14: Received $100,000 dd for accepting 10,000 ACRE PINE FOREST from NT
08-14: Received $200,000 dd for accepting CENTRAL LEMONADE CO from NT
08-14: Received $5,000 dd for accepting FRESH AIR CO from ANDREW_
08-14: Received $100,000 dd for accepting CLIFFSIDE CONDOMINIUMS from ANDREW_
08-14: Received $400,000 dd for accepting SCIENCE SQUAD from SARU

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