Archive for the ‘Meta’ 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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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.  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.

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?

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 http://altura.mobi 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

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Dan Zen Interview and Article on The Fair Observer

April 27, 2012

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Yuna from the Fair Observer in Munich interviewed me on Skype – it was cool.  Have a look – there are two articles, one is an interview and the other a piece that I wrote about creation and consumption – it got edited a little (less pictures, less links – my title used Consumption rather than Consumerism – does it matter?).

http://www.fairobserver.com/article/interview-dan-zen-mad-inventor

http://www.fairobserver.com/article/state-interactive-content-2012-consumerism-and-creation

All the best,

Dan

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The Truth about Flash on Mobile

November 10, 2011

Adobe Flash on Mobile with AIR

There has been a lot of buzz about how Adobe has “Killed Flash on Mobile”.  This is not true.

  1. Flash on mobile is being focused to make APPS.  Adobe will focus on HCJ (HTML, CSS and JavaScript) for mobile browsers.
  2. The current Flash plugin is still supported on mobile including security updates so any legacy content on mobile devices will continue to work.  Adobe will not be developing future plugin versions on mobile.

BACKGROUND

In general, the mobile browser is for looking at things and mobile apps are for doing things.  Flash is great for making apps.  HCJ is fine for presentation and animation on the browser.  Flash would have been fine as well if you discount legacy pages that were not designed for mobile and of course if all platforms supported it.

If you would like to read more of a background on the split between browsers and apps on mobile and the differences between Flash and HCJ, then please read my earlier post:
https://danzen.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/flash-and-hcj-html-css-and-javascript/

Flash HCJ - HTML CSS JavaScript

ADOBE

Adobe has clearly stated that it is focusing Flash-on-mobile for making APPS in articles such as these:
http://blogs.adobe.com/flashplayer/2011/11/focusing.html
http://mikechambers.com/blog/2011/11/11/clarifications-on-flash…

Adobe AIR

EXAMPLES

Here is a recent post about three mobile apps that Dan Zen has just launched that are made with Flash and Flash Builder:
https://danzen.wordpress.com/2011/11/12/swoodle-wavy-tada/

SOME COOL FLASH SITES

Flash remains on browsers on desktop and if indeed the plugin architecture fades on desktop, there is AIR for desktop apps which will support Flash.  Also, there are experiments in streaming Flash interactive content to browsers without the use of plugins  which would be ready I am sure by any demise of desktop/laptop browser plugins.  Below is a link to some excellent Flash experiences should you need a more positive reminder of what we can build.

http://www.thefwa.com/article/30-flash-sites-that-school-html5

Or click the icons below (thanks FWA for the compilation!):

A great example of an immersive experience site that drops you right onto Normandy beach on D-Day. With 360 degree beach views and real video stories.

Flash and HCJ (HTML, CSS and JavaScript)

October 24, 2011

Flash HCJ - HTML CSS JavaScript

In this post, I will compare Adobe Flash and HCJ (a handy acronym for HTML, CSS and JavaScript).

QUICK CREDENTIAL CHECK

I have built hundreds of features and sites in Flash and HCJ over 15 years of creation at http://danzen.com for which I received the Canadian New Media Awards Programmer of the Year.  I coordinate the Sheridan Interactive Multimedia Post Grad Program http://imm.sheridanc.on.ca for which I received the Canadian New Media Educator of the Year.  I also explore the philosophical side of coding at http://nodism.org.

PURPOSE OF POST

The purpose of this post is to help clarify what these technologies do to better guide our direction.  In a more specific context, there are a lot of people bashing Flash and I would like to put this in perspective.

  HCJ SUMMARY

HTML, CSS and JavaScript is an open source system to display Web pages and mobile Web apps

  • HTML is a tagging language that identifies and organizes the elements of the page.
  • CSS defines styles (look and position) that can be applied to the elements of the page.
  • JavaScript is a programming language based on ECMA Script that can work with HTML elements and styles.

  FLASH SUMMARY

Flash is an application to make features that run in a browser plugin or in the AIR environment for desktop and mobile Apps

  • The application has tools to build visual assets like vector illustrations, animations, text, images, sound and video.
  • Flash has the ActionScript programming language which is based on ECMA Script (latest Object Oriented).
  • Flash also supports CSS for styling.
NOTE:
Both systems access server side scripting just fine to store and retrieve data or to accomplish asynchronous loading like AJAX.  This was a hallmark of Flash ten years ago.  Flash also has Flash Builder and the Flex framework which is a tag based approach that publishes a Flash file.  The Flash compile code is open source as is the Flash code that people make if they choose.  For instance, my http://flashfeathers.com series of advanced interfaces is open source. Regardless, open source should not kill closed source.

COMPARISON

Both systems have the same potential.  The main difference is in culture and in tooling.

Over the last ten plus years, creators of Flash and creators using Flash have been in a symbiotic relationship to hone the tooling of Flash specifically for making enhanced interactive features (see INTERACTIVITY SCALE post). This means that there are  hundreds of media specific classes (code) with thousands of properties, methods and events tailored to interacting with the media.  Everything we need has been carefully catered to (or filtered out), organized, tested and applied.

HCJ, on the other hand, has been used primarily for display and collection of information.  So culturally, there is a ten year gap – even in basic functionality like rotation, let alone the culture of dragging, collision, keyboard commands, bitmap control, sound and video manipulation, filters, 3D, etc.  I say culturally, because some of these things were possible, just not really sought after.  There might be hundreds of hit tests done in HCJ and millions done in Flash.

Culturally, over the last few years (and particularly since the iOS no-Flash-in-Browser “NFIB” situation) there have been steps to move HCJ in the direction of enhanced interactive features. As mentioned, the potential is there.  People are building  libraries – a famous one being JQuery, and media is getting tag support with HTML 5, etc.

Tools are being built – even by Adobe, especially by Adobe, to support enhanced interactive features in the HCJ system.  Tool makers have the benefit of seeing Flash grow and will no doubt catch up to where Flash is now in a few years.  Of course, in a few years, Flash will have continued to progress as it is doing in the direction of 3D.

ANALYSIS

We are again at a time where Consumption and Creation have been separated.  In the 90’s we consumed online and created on our desktop.  In the 00’s, we did both on the Web although the creation pattern has always lagged far behind the consumption pattern. In the 10’s, with the arrival of mobile devices and in particular the success and arrangement of the iOS devices, we have the Web for consuming stuff and the Apps for creating stuff.  Communication sits between or can be done on both sides.

Consumption with browsers and creation with apps is a natural split as indicated by the names – browser and apps. As an application builder, I do not mind the the split because we have a way to get paid for the apps!  Try getting paid for a Web app – I have tried for 15 years with little success.

Marketing loves the split too – because they get to show authoritative content to the viewer.  Unfortunately, there has been a throw-back to authoritative content and I think they have forgotten the power of user created content – rotating a picture of a car in 3D is not user created content and only scratches at the surface of engagement.

PREDICTION

The split between consumption on the Web and creation with Apps will hang around for a while **.  There will be some enhanced interactive sites with the HCJ system but for the most part, people will think that fancy animation is enhanced interactivity and they will be satisfied consuming. The HCJ system will also be used to make apps.  Most of these apps will be information apps – as in, “it is on the Web but we wanted a presence in the App store”.  Other HCJ apps may rival Flash and Native apps in enhanced interactivity but if the Adobe Flash team and community does its job, Flash will keep ahead of the curve – the curve that they created in enhanced interactivity.  Props to Flash.

NOTE:
Flash now uses hardware acceleration to help with issues of slowness on macs, etc. in video playing and 3D and more mobile functionality is available so there has been (and will be) improvements in speed and functionality.

CONCERNS AND CONCLUSION

The Flash community is very open and creative – some have gone on to help HCJ with their experience.  What has not been very helpful is calling Flash (or letting Flash be called) taboo because clients can’t get their message on iOS Web.  Marketing agencies should offer (or continue to offer) engaging mobile APPS as a further opportunity to build brand experience.  Right now, for the most part, there is no better and efficient way to create enhanced interactive experiences across the mobile platforms than Flash and Flash Builder – I guarantee it.  Adobe is doing a wonderful job with the tools – just perhaps not as good a job as Apple with the hype.

Dan Zen Signature

Dan Zen – 2011

** It is possible that we will sway away from the Web as an all encompassing place for everything.  The Web will act like a promotional place for offline and online products. More and more products will access the Internet directly like multiuser game “clients”.  This will happen more so if we kill plugin architecture – either that or everyone will have their own browser (Google has already started with Chrome and its custom extensions).   If you are thinking of going this way – Adobe AIR allows you to make your own Web browser – similar to Steam for instance.

FINAL NOTE:
There have been generalizations made in this post – to go through all the specifics would have been lengthy.

-11-

Interactivity Scale

October 23, 2011

Interactivity, computation and distribution are the three main distinctions between the Internet and the authoritative content of TV, Print and Radio.

The following is a chart showing aspects of interactivity with examples.  These are ordered by general purpose going from simple navigational interactivity for consumption at the bottom to enhanced interactivity for creation at the top.  There is often a blend of these aspects, for instance, you select and move a collage piece as you organize it.  The scale shows tendencies.

Dan Zen - Interactivity Scale

Click the picture for full size.  Let me know if this is useful or used.

Inventor Dan Zen
http://danzen.com

–11–

Dan Zen – “Master Magician” Series

January 15, 2011

BEYOND TRON – Small Stories or Nano Narrative

December 16, 2010

I am not sure what Disney’s TRON will hold.  It is admirable that it continues the story rather than retells.  That must be a pretty good computer to be still going – perhaps they escaped through a network and now they will be on the Internet – that would be pretty cool. BUT… I suspect it will not be the movie we need.

UPDATED VERSION
We need a dramatization and visualization of the nano world.  Something more real than people with human bodies in a computer space.  If we do go small and enter a digital substrate maybe it will only ever seem like virtual reality – ala the Matrix, etc.  There is the shrinking concept of the Fantastic Voyage, etc. but I don’t think it will be like that.  I just bought the Fantastic Voyage 2 where they go into the brain and am looking forward to it even though it will be a little out of date.  We need an updated vision.

DIGITAL CONSTRUCT
There have been some sci-fi books that deal secondarily with nano cultures – as in the characters are nano size or live in a digital construct but I have not read one where that is the main setting.  There have been lots with nano-tech but not the characters being there.

DITCH OUR BODIES
At some point we will ditch the bodies. This would help us get ready for aliens too 😉 who would most likely have progressed into the nano world to be beamed as information across galactic distances. Perhaps the realm of Transformers and such would be a closer example to us in some sort of nanobot form.  Of course there is the whole mind and soul issue, etc. to get used to socially, spiritually, and technologically.

Here is a compilation of some stories I have been doing in the nano tech world.  I want to do more, and hook up with local labs working with nanotech… one day.

META
http://zenvlog.wordpress.com/category/meta-mystery/
The nano anti-gravity sci-fi mystery.  This probably goes the furthest in terms of a vision.  I am telling the story through Zen Mixes and sort of got sidetracked on other things the last few years.  At some point I might launch the story in a quicker form.  It also involves anti-gravity which is really just an aside to the main theme of life at smaller sizes and more particularly, an artificial intelligence that seeks this life.

NANO RACE
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=16672952605
A facebook group game that encourages people to roleplay in the nano world assuming we have some sort of shrinking or remote viewing technology to put is in the world of small.  It did not take off as a game – perhaps people were not interested or maybe they tried to think of what to say and could not.

SOUP MAKERS
http://apps.facebook.com/snipisode/info.php?id=21
A Snipisode entry which is the current way I am telling non-interactive stories.  Soup Makers are people who make nano-tech.

COSBIAN CHRONICLES
http://apps.facebook.com/snipisode/info.php?id=53
A more closer to now Snipisode perhaps bridging the gap to Soup Makers which bridges the gap to META.  In Cosbian Chronicles they use nano tech.

-2010-

Inventing for the Internet Part 2

October 20, 2010

Inventing for the Web Part 2
Just posted Inventing for the Web Part 2 (2006-2010) on the Inventor Blog as a continuation to the first part (1995-2015).

Here we look at inventing for a medium (and we define a medium) and see some examples. Topics include:  chat, facebook, social media, mixes and mashes, Tapoll, Focuso, comment activism, parties, aliens, groups, Flash, feathers, interfaces, Snipisode, story telling, playing Touchy, mobile, iphone apps, Nodism, hierarchies, the environment, mediums, and McLuhan. Come on by and have a read!

– 10 –

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

Happy Holidays – You Better Watch Out! 3D Parallax Card

December 14, 2009

3D Parallax Holiday Card from Dan Zen

Please click: http://www.danzen.com/holiday2009/ to view the interactive card!

The card makes use of the HummingBird 3D Parallax class for Adobe Flash.  HummingBird is part of the Dan Zen Flash Feathers series of advanced interfaces.

HummingBird 3D Parallax

You will need a current Flash plugin which you probably already have so just try the link…

Enjoy and happy holidays!!!

Adobe Flash Games and Apps on Apple iPhone

October 5, 2009
Penguin for Flash on the iPhone

Penguin for Flash on the iPhone

Yay!  Adobe has announced that Flash Games and Applications will run on the Apple iPhone as of the upcoming Flash CS5.

Flash on iPhone

This is great news for a number of Dan Zen features and tools such as the advanced interface tools called Flash Feathers at http://flashfeathers.wordpress.com.  Where open source Flash classes are provided to handle multitouch and tilt technologies:

small_05

Tilt Technologies in Flash using Penguin

small_04

Multitouch in Flash using Goose

A fantastic day for all – long awaited!

Modes of Tilt and Translation Interface for Mobile Devices

November 24, 2008
Tilt Emulator Showing Front View Yaw Mode

Tilt Emulator Showing Front View Yaw Mode

Imagine we have a mobile device with hardware and software that can capture tilt (pitch, roll, yaw) and translation (x, y, z) motion.  An accelerometer can more readily find tilt but a camera can find tilt and translation.

If hardware and software can leave this information in the format of a TiltML (Tilt Mark-up Language – XML based) then front-end software such as Flash can make use of the information as interface.

A simple example would be to look down on the mobile device and tilt the device to roll a ball through a maze.

Here is an example Video:  Tilt for Mobile Devices Video

Tilt Emulator by Inventor Dan Zen

Tilt Emulator with Top View Tilt Mode

A device can be looked at in either horizontal or vertical orientations.  But there are a number of different ways these two orientations can be viewed.  We will call these ways, modes.  Here are six modes of interface:

MODE 1:  Top View Tilt
Looking down or up at the device and tilting in pitch and roll. Rolling a ball through a maze.

MODE 2:  Front View Tilt
Holding the device in front of you vertically and steering with yaw. A racing game  where the device is like a steering wheel.

MODE 3:  Top View Translation one Axis
Looking down and using one translation (y axis) as motion and tilt to steer. Walking or running creates motion in the game, pitch and roll or yaw to steer.

MODE 4:  Front View Translation one Axis
Looking forward and moving forward causes forward motion in game (z axis).  Walking, running or driving creates motion in game and then steering with yaw.

MODE 5:  Top View Translation all Axes
Looking down and mapping out two or three dimensional space with translation and yaw.  Finding virtual items in real space looking down (or up)

MODE 6:  Front View Translation all Axes
Looking forward and mapping translation z plus pitch or roll to map real space.  Avoiding obstacles or capturing items as you walk

Combining these modes leads to Full Space where the device acts as window to alternate virtual space in full 3D.  Putting these devices in front of your eyes is a form of mediated reality where you can diminish or augment reality.


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