Archive for the ‘Gadgets’ Category

Dan Zen Light Shows

August 21, 2013
07_visualInterests

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.

ophop21

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.

oilddrop

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.

opartshow

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.

ride

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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).

christmas

magic7

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.

hawk4

hawk1

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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!

-13-

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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

TADA! Make Decisions or Discover Your True Favourites With the TADA! Mobile App for Android and Playbook

March 27, 2011

Tada! Free App for mobile Android and Playbook

A few taps and Tada! Decision!

Quickly and easily rank options with Tada! Enter items to rank like sites, apps, people, food and rate them on factors such as usability, fun, nose, taste, etc. When you are done rating press to reveal the results!

Save multiple files, do secret rankings, and get tips if you are stuck. Helps solve dilemmas in a real way as opposed to a random way.  A few presses and Tada!

Available on the Android Market and soon for Playbook and iPad.

Have fun!  Tada! was used to come up with the name for the product.

-2011-

Opartica II TUNNEL Launches with 3D Op Art Creation and Animation

February 6, 2011

Opartica II TUNNEL the online op art making tool where you create and fly through 3D optical art has launched on the Dan Zen site!

Please check out the Opartica Facebook page for postings and discussion. “Likes” are greatly appreciated!

Opartica II makes use of HummingBird the open source Parallax code for Flash written by Inventor, Dan Zen, and part of the Flash Feathers series of advanced interfaces.

Opartica II lets you create a wide variety of op art in two basic formats, tiled with rows and columns and radial with segments.  There are a variety of shapes including free form curves.  Layers, backgrounds, distances between layers and a unique fill mode and more can be controlled from the left hand panel.

You can save works (Tunnels) with the right hand panel.  You can automate a slide show through your Tunnels and animate in 3D at various speed settings.  There is an import and export feature to share and save Tunnels.

The original Opartica was launched in 2005 and has received over 200,000 views.  It is still available at the bottom of the Opartica site.

Dan Zen used the current Opartica was used to create hundreds of Op Art holiday cards which can be viewed on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/danzen/sets/72157625558618858/ the collection – perhaps one of the largest collection of hand made Op Art, shows the diversity available in Opartica.  Please have fun exploring!

-2011-

Inventing for the Internet the Early Years

June 24, 2010

Inventing for the Internet

Over on the Inventor Blog, I have just posted on Inventing for the Internet – the Early Years. Below is a brief synopsis but please see the post for the examples.

—————–

Here is a look at inventing for the Internet written in 2005 looking back over the ten year period from 1995 up to 2005. In general, the focus was on making new use of the medium:

  1. People can interact to make content not just view content
  2. People can communicate with each other
  3. A computer mediates to enforce rules of a game or environment
  4. Production and distribution of virtual objects are free

Other inventive focus was the relation between story and game play. Sometimes a story would suggest game play but usually a relevant story was created for a given game play.

Here are the comments about inventing features for the Internet in the early years. Many of these ideas would have relevance being redone in today’s social media aware world – because we were socially aware in the past but perhaps did not quite have the platforms and sharing systems worked out.

Inventions for 2005 – 2010 will be the focus of the next posting.

Enjoy – Dan Zen – Full Post

Snipisode – Agency Zen Launches First Facebook Status Story Telling Application

February 26, 2010
Snipisode Facebook Status Storytelling App

Snipisode - Facebook Status Storytelling Application

Snipisode lets you schedule status posts as episodes of a story or feature – Snipisodes!

There are status schedulers out there but they are quite tedious to use.  Snipisode lets you type or paste in a whole story and then with a click of a button snip up the story either by line or by periods (? and ! too).  Then you choose a time either daily or every two days and that’s it!

The story will unfold on your status line.  People can click the Full Story link by the status to see all your status posts for the story including comments on one page.

A live Snipisode Post

Snips and schedules!

Here is a YouTube video showing the process in action.  So come on in and try it out!  Please let us know what you think.

Agency Zen has also created The Party and Stick Aliens for facebook.

Party Application on Facebook - see your friends

Stick Aliens on facebook

Interactive Valentines Card – You Move My Heart

February 14, 2009

heart

An interactive valentine for the special one in my life 😉

Interactive Op Art – Opartica

April 8, 2008

Opartica Op Ar Tool

Just making sure that anyone searching online for interactive op art tool will find Opartica at http://www.opartica.com. Opartica is a fully interactive optical art maker that lets you spin and overlap shapes like rays, concentric circles and squares, zig zags, and spirals. You can change color and centers. It was built some time ago as a first Flash feature in 2001.  Still works and gets lots of hits etc.

Light Show for Christmas Psychedelic Band

November 5, 2007

lightshow.jpg

I have been working on a tool in Flash to put shapes that move to music on top of pictures and apply blend modes and filters – I hope to launch it in the Spring.

One of the filters that I am experimenting with is the displacement filter. This light show comes from my experimentations and was used as a light show for the psychedelic band, Christmas / Reign Ghost from the 70’s and late 60’s at Sneaky Dees this weekend. FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS at the bottom of the show to see different pictures:

http://www.danzen.com/lightshow/

My friend Gaven Dianda, who was in thee Gnostics and a few other bands with me is in a band called Saffron Sect and they played backup to Bob Bryden for the show. He played some really nice guitar and the crowd loved it.

Here is a link to a YouTube video of the show. The sound was great but the sound in the recording is distorted. I was manning the show so I could not take much video and it is just with my little camera.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNUxCHoT5Ok

It was a cool show!

Focuso – Photos with Focus Out!

February 13, 2007

Focuso is a little gadget that explains various techniques for Focuso – the art of taking pictures out of focus. Just click the little circles to see examples and a brief explanation.

http://www.danzen.com/focuso

For more information see the Focuso post.

A Million Alarms

September 15, 2006

Zen Alarm is rapidly approaching a million views at about 150,000 views a month as a module on Google homepages. Zen alarm lets you play any Web MP3 as a time-based alarm.

http://www.danzen.com/zenalarm/
http://www.googlemodules.com/author/Dan+Zen/

Zen Alarm 2 adjusted how the alarm worked and added the feature of launching any Web page at a certain time. Also in the selection is to launch the latest vlog from Zen Vlog.

Zen Alarm 3 is planned with the following features to attend to functionality requested by an astute and lucid user named Harel – our thanks!

PRESETS

  • Five presets at the top numbered 1-5 in little boxes
  • A yellow save link to the right of them
  • Click on a preset to toggle the alarm being set for that preset
  • So, any number of the presets could have their alarms turned on
  • Clicking on a preset will also make it the active preset
  • The preset will then be highlighted in yellow
  • Adjust settings and click save to save them for the active preset
  • These presets and their settings are remembered across visits
  • When an alarm from a preset goes off, the preset number will flash

MODES

  • Make the “time left” numbers in the bottom right editable
  • When edited, they change the time of the alarm
  • So you can change the time or change the time left

SILENT ALARMS

  • Make the window or tab active when the alarm goes off

Any thoughts are welcome!

Dan Zen

Zen Alarm – Play Any MP3

December 16, 2005

Zen Alarm is an alarm clock that comes with two alarm sounds – a gong and a special message. But, users can type any MP3 and it will play it as the alarm – pretty cool huh?

Go to the site, read the quick instructions and bookmark your alarm – or download a desktop version…

The link to put a Zen Alarm on your Google home page is here:

http://googlemodules.com/?q=danzen&mode=showSearchResults

ZEN ALARM 2.0 just launched with an added feature to allow you to pop up a Web site after a certain amount of time. Also, the alarm does not go off until you select a type of alarm.

Zen Picture Pan Zoom

December 9, 2005

Zen Picture Pan Zoom is a picture tool for you and a picture site.

Pictures will slide horizontally and vertically as you move your mouse in the direction you want to go. Click on the picture to zoom to a spot then click-drag to pan or click again to zoom again. Double click to exit zoom. POP pops up a window and FIT makes the picture fit. When all pictures are loaded, a triangle appears at bottom right. Click the triangle to show a menu. Drag the pictures in the menu to scroll them – click to choose a picture. You can also use arrows to jump to previous and next pictures and spacebar to pause.

You can see your own pictures in ZPPZ within 5 minutes by clicking Download Tool above. Send us a link and we might post them!

Spy-mail – Secret Message Service

December 9, 2005

Quite an interesting game, Spy-mail lets you send messages to people and if you do not protect the message or forget to protect the message, then other players can spy on it.

Even before we launched Spy-mail, we sent a Spy-mail message to the president of GameSpy, the very large multi-user gaming site who happened to have the URL spymail.com. We made them a branded site and asked if they would be interested in using it. After a while, we spied on the topic and sure enough, there was a message from another employee back to the president that was unprotected. We got to read the initial message from the president saying “what do you think about this…” then “well, we already have our upcoming gaming network mail…”

Do a spy on Agent Dan Zen and you will find a number of interesting uses of Spy-mail.

Given the right codes, Spy-mail also acts as a full fledged Web-mail account – not bad for a few months of partial programming.

Kirputnik Cam – Mad Inventor’s Workshop

December 9, 2005

The Kirputnik Cam was a prototype interface for Dan Zen and then launched as the first feature of the Pagoda of Games interface. It provides a bumpy ride through the Dan Zen workshop viewing imaginary representations of Dan Zen games through a Web cam mounted on the Webmaster robot, Kirputnik.

The interface features movement and zoom and also introduces random bumps along the way.

The drawings are of Dan Zen online games and gadgets as well as some offline inventions. As you roll over the features, Kirputnik describes them but eventually Kirputnik runs into some technical difficulties which you can overcome by pressing a button. Have fun.

Opartica – Online Op Art Tool and Optical Art Collection

December 9, 2005

Opartica is Dan Zen’s first Flash feature after five years of using Director. Flash 3 was looked at but it did not have a powerful enough programming language. This changed with Flash 4 and ever since, Dan Zen has built games in Flash.

Opartica is an Web application that lets you overlap op art shapes and spin them, move them and change colors. You can save the collages in a portfolio and exchange them with others.
A version of Opartica was built for Austin Powers but it was not used: Austin Powers Golden Ball.

Opartica was well accepted by the VJ community and has been projected on a number of bands and dances. It is hoped that stores wanting to advertise to the dance culture would request their logos to be put in the center of Opartica. If you have interest in this, please contact us.

Opartica still remains one of the strongest examples of using interactive multimedia to let people create content not just navigate through content – a prime directive of the Sheridan Interactive Multimedia Program.

Spirogram – Spiral Encryption

December 9, 2005

Spirogram was the second feature (after Utopia) to be singled out on Dan Zen. It claimed that you could quadruple your visitors by adding a Spirogram to your site.

Spirogram lets you send spiral encoded messages and send them to people who then come to the site to decode the messages.

Although the campaign was targeted the Web masters to pay for a Spirogram, Dan Zen visitors could also use the Spirogram on Dan Zen and many have.


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