Archive for the ‘2013’ Category

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

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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

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

October 26, 2012
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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?


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