Archive for the ‘2012’ Category

Dan Zen on Consumption and Creation.

March 8, 2016


It’s A Consumer’s World

We have seen a difficult trend for independent interactive content creators: Fifteen years ago content creators were paid for creating content. Ten years ago creators were downgraded to receiving advertising money. Five years ago creators had to pay to have their content shown. Today, content creators have to pay consumers to partake in their content.

This, of course, is a generalization, but in the digital world the contemporary consumer seems to get what they want at very little cost.  They now assume that music, entertainment and information should be (and there are often ways to get it) free. This however makes it tough for creators of original content to make a living and to optimally produce content.

For instance, my own site has 3 million page views. At a minute a view this is 50,000 hours of entertainment.  And yet, from dozens of different attempts at monetizing, the site has made about $500. That is a payoff of one cent an hour.

The concern, however, is not just the money — interactive content creators are often happy if people simply use their tools or experience their environments.  A far greater concern is that people are partaking less and less in independent interactive content.  “Interactivity” can be broken down into types and when referring to interactive content I mean interactivity beyond just navigation to where people can create and communicate with one another.

People today are spending increasing amounts of their time on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Here, they share pictures, stories and videos that comprise authoritative content, but they rarely share interactive content or take the time to go out and engage in interactive experiences.  We can deduce that the attention span of people online has been greatly reduced.  They write and read in 140 characters. The status post is the new blog. They are no longer accustomed to spending time reading a story, let alone creating a story.

Alongside social media usage, people are increasingly partaking in online gaming.  For the most part, gaming is consumption of thrill and is not really creation.  Puzzles have the mindset of creation and they hone the mind of the user but the output does not benefit society.  Creation via programming also hones the mind, and has the added benefit that the output usually helps society: it educates or entertains and can provide environments to communicate or organize.

On a positive note, today there is more creative practice executed in a day than in all of history up to 1950.  Millions of songs, art pieces, stories and the like are being made on a daily basis. Proportionally, though, I think less people create. This is probably because there is just so much to consume and to consume is so much easier. Also, creative renaissances come and go, just like any other trend. Those trends may also differ in different regions.  I would not say that in North America it is currently “popular” to create although the Maker movement is gaining traction.

Creation and Mobility

A recent factor in the creation versus consumption balance has been the onset of mobile devices.  Smaller mobile screens and somewhat reduced controls can limit creative production.  For instance, graphic designers use many panels in an application such as Photoshop and require precise selections that would be hard to achieve on a mobile device. Even if the interfaces improve, there is often distraction when being mobile, especially in busy areas, and so surely this is not the correct platform for true creativity. Even so, workstations, the ideal site for focused creativity, are being abandoned for mobile devices.

[There are of course new ways to create using mobile – and we can improve on some of the old ways!]

Naming Interactivity

People gravitate towards things they are comfortable with. The Internet is a new medium – even more so a medium of mediums – and yet the majority just use it to consume articles, listen to music, view pictures, watch videos and play games. These mediums are easily recognized with single established names and the user has clear expectations before partaking.

We do not have a name for a digital interactive feature. We may call it a tool or an application, but this is far from suiting all interactive features.  Could we call it an environment or medium instead?  Perhaps, but these categories seem a bit broad. If we had a specific made-up name for an interactive piece, project or feature then perhaps there would be more support for sharing and partaking in it because people will instantly understand what is offered. For instance, Neal Stephenson in The Diamond Age calls them “Ractives”.

Interactivity and Personal Growth

From a personal growth standpoint, we have been led by accountability concerns towards only being our “legal” self.  The opportunity to explore personas to interact with abandon has been greatly reduced and marginalized.  For instance, we are required by policy to be only ourselves on social media sites such as Facebook – any other personas are removed or at least viewed with suspicion. This is a shame.  There needs to be more opportunity to interact with imagination and passion – not just in second life or dating sites but in our average every day life. A site such as, allows you create personas and interact with others , making it possible to explore new ways of thinking and acting which may actually lead  to real life transformation.

Slowing Down in Conclusion

It would be great if people slowed down a little and spent more time thinking and creating. The Internet is a wonderful medium to favour creative collaboration.  Perhaps exploring fresh personas would give people a better ambiance for creation and help tip the world back to a healthy balance.  If your character is an artist or inventor, then you might realize — hey… I can be an artist or inventor! Creative writing can often lead to self-transformation and even invention.

I suspect that I am preaching to the converted. If you feel the same way and want your friends to know, please share the article!

Tired of the same old Medallion? Try Hangy!

November 6, 2012

Hangy at 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  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.


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.

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


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.

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.

Dan Zen will restart the game.


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.


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.

MOTTO: How much wood does woodchuck buy?

WORTH: $1,109,927,000 dd CASH: $673,777,000 dd

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


Dan Zen “You are in the Dark” – New Interface Launch

June 22, 2012

Dan Zen launches a new interface!

Here is a look back through the various interfaces.  Click on any picture to go to the interface.

The “dark” interface is better suited for mobile and like the interfaces of the past offers a touch of playfulness with a light metaphor of early text based games.  [It almost made me want to make one of those.]  There is the recent if you are in the mood for text based interactive storytelling.

Up top we have the Dan Zen logo as a pixel art logo this time around (click it too).  Note that each interface is represented by a vertical totem logo variation.  There is a * link to a surprise feature, an about link, a contact link, a text ad and a GOGO Ad.

The main body as has five sections roughly as follows:

1. Guidance
2. Media
3. Games
4. Feedback
5. Create

The first section is always at the top and the others randomly rotate.  There are little >> marks after links that will pop up more options.  The other links pop up a new browser window or tab.  You can use key press letters to launch the links as well.

We hope you enjoy the site.  The design makes it simple to feature items although it is a bit more exploratory which is good or less good depending on your mood and purpose.

Dan Zen


Gogo! Animate YouTube Videos in your Ad Spots

April 16, 2012

Gogo - YouTube Video Ad by Ad Inventor

See the ads in action!

Read more at  Ad Inventor has been around for a while with dozens of different types of ads made – see for a rather dated history.  Please remember that when hypno was made, it was full screen size!

Note… gogo will show a static ad (of your choosing) for browsers that do not support Flash.


Touchy on Dragons’ Den CBC

January 16, 2012

Touchy, the mobile game from Dan Zen will be featured in a short segment on CBC’s Dragon Den on January 18th, 2012 at 8PM.

Touchy – visit – is available on the Apple iTunes store and Android Market. It is a social game where players physically try to touch each others’ mobile screens. So it is a game of reaching and protecting – with shrieks of laughter!

Arlene and Robert play Touchy on Dragons' Den

Arlene and Robert laughing after a game of Touchy

The pitch went well – but I was called in the day after a three day conference with late parties each night and this was just after a long open house – after I stopped talking, I could hardly get my mouth open – all I could do was nod and smile! Oh well – Inventor Dan Zen.

Touchy Inventor Dan Zen on Dragons' Den CBC

We would love your help getting Touchy out to the people – please check out the game on iTunes and Android Market – just search for Touchy – links are available at, leave a review and tell anyone who you think would like to play – it is hard getting the message out to the youth – the primary market.

If you are interested in getting involved in an upcoming Touchy Tournament – find us on facebook and leave a message on the Wall – – all the best!


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