Archive for the ‘2014’ Category

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

translationtube

 

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.  I also teach in Web Development, Web Programming, Interactive User Interface Design in Sheridan Computing courses.

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.

Processing is Dead! All Hail JavaScript!

January 21, 2012

hail2

Processing is Dead!  All Hail JavaScript and HTML5!

ActionScript is Dead!  All Hail JavaScript and HTML5!

Java is Dead!  All Hail JavaScript and HTML5!

Objective C is Dead! All Hail JavaScript and HTML5!

C++ is Dead! All Hail JavaScript and HTML5!

C# is Dead! All Hail JavaScript and HTML5!

Ruby is Dead! All Hail JavaScript and HTML5!

Python is Dead! All Hail JavaScript and HTML5!

PHP is Dead! All Hail JavaScript and HTML5!

Hopefully you detect my bitterness and disappointment with the open source world, the tech media and the marketing industry in their frenzy to adopt HTML5 as supreme leader and shun perfectly good programming environments.

My experience is with ActionScript and Flash – a mature authoring environment which allows developers to make once and publish anywhere.  Anywhere that is until Apple came along an banned it from the mobile Web with lame self-serving excuses.  What followed was nothing short of persecution.  https://danzen.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/apple-should-be-punished-for-attempting-to-kill-browser-plugins/

Processing is a spin-off of Java with a wonderful artist following to make cool things.  Well… watch out… once people realize that you can do this in JavaScript and HTML5 – maybe you will have the horde against you too.

Most of these languages are server side languages and back-end coders may think they are safe because JavaScript is a front end programming language… but there is server-side JavaScript too.

My point is – there does not have to be nor should there be one programming language or development stack.  Why we are letting the Web be controlled by one system is beyond me.  Countless Marketing folks, Developers and Designers I have talked to in the field are saying Flash is dead – Plugins are dead.  Stop trying to kill Flash with your words and start trying to support it.

My apologies for the harsh metaphor (not as harsh now that I have taken out the swastika from the picture).  Of course, nothing is worse than human persecution.  But what some of you with power of influence are doing when declaring Flash dead or accepting the demise of the Plugin is unjust and truly not good for our culture.  Please read https://danzen.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/apple-should-be-punished-for-attempting-to-kill-browser-plugins/.


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