Archive for the ‘mobile’ Category

Hipster Perspective

January 6, 2013
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Hipster – Mobile App and Website

I have just launched a site and mobile app called Hipster at http://www.hipster.mobi and would like to give some background.

Hipster has become a term for people who dress and act cool taking elements from past styles.  Unfortunately and somewhat unfairly it has become a derogatory label – so much so that very few people say they are Hipsters.

I am a Hipster

Let’s take a look at a little “top of the head” history.  To be hip comes from hep – some jazzy black term.  We had the Beatniks in the 50’s who were Hep Cats and we had the Mod and Psychedelic Hip Cats in the 60’s.  60’s punk and early psychedelic folk wore Hipsters – pants that were low on the hips held up by big belts.  These often flared at the bottom – flares.  Not bell bottoms – Hipsters.

Stripey Hipsters - Original '66 taken in

Dan Zen – Stripey Hipsters – Original ’66 taken in

In the past, styles tended to last for a longer time and as time passes, eras get remembered for certain styles. I created a site in the early 2000’s called Hip Cats at http://www.hipcats.com.  There are examples of Hip cultures – Beatnik, Psychedelic, Surf, Goth, Cyberpunk and Urban. On the Scoop page there is a history section for each of these genres.  There are also relevant songs, books and films listed.

Hipcats

Hip Cats site at http://www.hipcats.com (2002)

These days, with many more people, accessible historical media – movies, TV, songs, the Internet, etc. styles have become much more varied and mixed.  There still are some unique forays and spinoffs like punk, indie-pop, nerd, emo, clubbers, etc. but over the last few decades, kids started liking everything – or a wide variety.  I would go up to someone who looked like a mod and ask them if they were a mod and they would say no – and on occasions, they would answer they did not know what a mod was.  They could not say what their favorite type of music was – they liked everything.  I have mixed emotions over this response – it seems on one hand that they are not trying hard enough – like they have not researched and felt a passion.  On the other hand… it is an inclusive attitude.

Pose

Some Second Generation Hipsters (me on right) 1986

Perhaps it is this lack of historical perspective that has led to concerns of the authenticity of modern day hipsters.  There is merit in this criticism but let’s go a little easy on the youth.  First of all, wise people say this kind of stuff does not matter – who cares what you dress or look like, etc.  I care because it is fun to care, what I wear is self expression.  Do I care if a girl likes to wear mod dresses but does not know their history – not really, I am pleased to tell her of its history.  I think we are drawn to certain styles regardless of knowledge of the deeper culture.  And the deeper culture is born from people who share interests so let’s take a more supportive and nurturing attitude.

Attitude is another issue with the current Hipster.  To be cool is to often be reserved.  This sometimes comes across as being better than thou.  This side effect has been there right from the start of hipness.  So now we have this backlash of you think your so cool… we hate or we laugh at you hipsters, etc.  And then this feeds the standoffishness, etc.

Hipster

Zany Dan Zen Dancing 2012

I have never condoned being too cool to communicate.  I am more zany and outgoing and inclusive – hipsters embody all sorts of people.  I think for the most part, the values of current hipsters are good.  They care about the environment – riding bikes, eating local food.  They are into cafe discussions, reading – they tend to be nerdy and intelligent.  This is what I assume – perhaps there are hipsters that do not share these values but for the most part, I think their outlook is positive and commendable.  Treat them like humans and I am sure that they will be kind and even a good influence on your life.

There is the issue of being labeled.  I suspect that nobody likes to be labeled.  I suppose if people include the “snooty attitude” and “lack of authenticity” issues in the label then perhaps I would not like to be labeled a hipster.  But if a hipster is just someone who IS hip – then I don’t mind that label.  I understand the striving to be unique but I say to you, if you ARE hip – then you are a hipster.

Comments welcome and please try out the app and have some fun.  http://www.hipster.mobi

Dan Zen – 2013

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Hipster! Hip Hunters Hunt Hipsters…

January 4, 2013

Hipster - Hip Hunters Hunt Hipsters

Hippy New Year!

Hipster at http://www.hipster.mobi is in Beta – the Web version works.  The mobile version which is its primary target should be out in January – it was completed first but delayed due to iTunes shutting down over the holidays (but that is okay).

Hipster lets you post pics of hipster sightings and tag-vote other people’s pics.

So come on in and try it out – just a fun free thing – no pressure.  But please, if you know of someone who would like to partake, pass them the URL.

http://www.hipster.mobi – iOS, Android, BB10, Windows M coming soon.  Web is working now (Flash).

Dan

2013

Tired of the same old Medallion? Try Hangy!

November 6, 2012

Hangy at http://hangy.mobi is the mobile app for wearable devices that will make you:

the PIZAZZ at the party!
the CROWN on the conference!
the COOL in the club!
the SHOW of the fashion!

Easily express your moods, give greets, show pics or promotions and even wear styling lights!  Watch the Hangy YouTube Playlist to see how it works and how to make a Mobidallion wearable device in two minutes!

iPad, iPad Mini, iPod,  iPhone, Android,  Blackberry 10

The Hangy site offers a fun view of famous characters wearing Hangy and imagines how they would express themselves.  Click any character to VOTE for your favourite.

Inventor Dan Zen recounts, “For years, I have been watching the Web for mobile devices used as wearable expression – and have found nothing.  The closest is the digitalDudz fellow – I was telling my students about putting a device on the front and back so you could see through your body since the dawn of mobile video – so we seem to have similar interests. 

Why are we waiting around for digital fabric that can show the same old thing over and over – why not make use of our current devices with all the apps in the world!  A whole series is planned – with similar interface, so try out Hangy and let others know!”

There are a couple existing fasteners to hang Apple devices as a necklace iHangy (not related) and Necklit.  These require extra production and cost and only work with Apple devices.  You can create a Mobidallion wearable device in less than 5 minutes with tape and string or use a gel case and thread string through two pencil poked holes.  These free and easy techniques are more than strong enough to hold the device even with the most rambunctious of dancing!  Please watch the videos to see what we mean (see the second and third in the playlist).

All the best and send us your pictures wearing Hangy!

Inventor Dan Zen is an award winning digital media creator with over 80 games, gadgets, communities, and tools at http://danzen.com.  Hangy was made with Adobe Flash and easily published to all platforms through Adobe AIR.  Dan Zen has launched a half dozen mobile apps in FLASH/AIR such as Touchy, Wavy and Swoodle.

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Mobidallion! Wearable Computing + Hangy App

September 12, 2012

Just figured out a good name for the hanging mobile device – Mobidallion.  It is fun to say.

https://danzen.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/mobile-device-as-medallion-wearable-computing/

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

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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

Apple Should be Punished for Attempting to Kill Browser Plugins

February 22, 2012

THIS IS A PICTURE OF THE APPLE ICON STABBING A PLUGIN

Can you imagine if Microsoft back in the days of operating system wars… just after the time they bailed out Apple when it was on its death bed, said to the world.., “Our browser will not support plugins.  Instead, we have made an app store on Windows where we will get 30% of apps sold.”  Well this is what Apple did.

A couple of things have changed since the Microsoft reign:

1. HTML 5 has introduced the canvas tag and we have kludged JavaScript to get better at making apps in the open source world – so why do we need plugins?

2. Mobile is here with less processing power than desktops – so we can’t run plugins… right?

3. Mobile is small and plugin content was built for large screens – right?

4. Apple has become a cult and can seemingly do no wrong.

Let us address these points:

1.  The world should not rely on one type of thing.  We know that.  Why are we allowing HTML 5 (HTML, CSS, JavaScript) to have a monopoly in our Web world?  Plugins offer a forum to let companies build improvements.  How can people support open source and then say… sorry, it has to be made in HTML 5.  That is hypocritical – or perhaps to be more delicate… narrow minded.  We need plugin architecture in our browsers or we will stagnate.  Alternatively, we will find companies making their own browser systems ala Second Life, Steam, etc.

2. The processing power of mobile devices initially was understandably slow.  Blackberry and Android supported the Flash plugin for instance and performance on existing Flash content was sluggish for the most part.  Speeds have been getting faster and faster and soon, if not already, have reached acceptable rates.  Also, plugin makers did not design them for mobile.  So, let them design plugins for mobile.

3. Mobile screens are small and any legacy content runs the risk of not working well from an interface standpoint.  There are a number of HTML sites that do not work well on mobile – why single out plugins and in particular Flash for not working well?  Here is an idea – plugins have version numbers… why not allow version numbers after a certain date so that legacy material is filtered out until it is updated with mobile in mind.  Going forward, designers and developers know they are making for mobile.   Flash, for instance, does run on mobile – the thousands of apps in the app stores built with Flash prove it.

4.  Apple, through its iPod, became huge.  This success continued with the iPhone and iPad all the while glamorizing the brand and also selling its laptops and desktops to a point where it is the most profitable company in the world.  Hey… and it takes 30% of all apps and songs sold.  Obviously, Apple benefits from killing browser plugins.  If the world can’t get free apps and games in the browser, they will have to buy from the app store where they get 30%.  Now this is somewhat good for app developers because they have a better chance of making some money too.  It is also somewhat beneficial to the public in that they love consuming and the app store is a laid out to easily consume.  So… Apple seems to have gotten away with it and unfortunately influenced other browser makers like Microsoft to make similar decisions – while also giving plugin makers an inferiority complex as advertising companies and the world shun them for not being on the iPhone browser.

A browser should find and present things.  Browsers find and present an image, a video – why not an interactive piece like a Flash Feature, a Java Applet or a Unity Game?  The browser should NOT say – oh… I have a way to make interactive content – therefore no other way will be allowed.  This is especially true when the plugin structure has used by billions with content created by millions of designer/developers.

Now… Apple did what they did – and if the market says okay – then I guess they should not be punished – is that how it works?  I find it unethical for a company to present an Internet browser to a captive audience that does not include plugins like other standard Internet browsers so that people will be forced to a store run by that company.  Apple, I punish you even if our business society does not – you are not getting any more of my money nor have you for the last 3 years.

The real loss, however, has been a setback in advanced interactive works in the short term followed by a monopoly led by a slow moving open source conglomerate in support of HTML, CSS and Javascript.  I have said it before, and I say it again… Open Source should not kill Closed Source – it is not good for advancement.  They should both exist.  Killing browser plugin architecture (or the likes) is a bad move.

Dan Zen

PS.

A caveat is that I don’t make browsers or plugins, so do not really know the technical difficulties of all this.  I heard from Adobe that it was not practical to support all the different phones, etc.  Yet, Flash works as an app through AIR on these same phones so there should be a plugin architecture for browsers that will just play the app in a frame.  If it can be done on the desktop it should be able to be done on mobile.

Swoodle, Wavy, Tada!

November 12, 2011

Dan Zen has just launched three mobile apps on iOS, Android and Playbook. The apps were made efficiently with Adobe Flash and Flash Builder. Just search the stores for the apps by Dan Zen.

Swoodle Mobile App by Dan Zen TITLE: SWOODLE

BUILD: 2 Nights

DESC: Swoodle to hone your finger tai chi!

Wavy Mobile app by Dan Zen TITLE: WAVY!

BUILD: 1 Night

DESC: Wave your device to make sounds!

Tada! Mobile App by Dan Zen TITLE: TADA!

BUILD: 10 Nights

DESC: Decision and Faves tool.

The apps were uploaded to the three stores in one hour. This is amazing cross device efficiency from Adobe Flash and Flash Builder.

Dan Zen is the creator of TOUCHY the mobile app where players try to touch each others’ devices.

Touchy - Mobile Game by Dan Zen

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.

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-

Touchy is on TV – see the Inventive iPhone App Introduced by Kayla and Alex

September 10, 2010

TouchyTV has launched at http://touchy.tv with three episodes.  Kayla and Alex commentate on games of Touchy.

Host Blip.tv shows the episodes one after the other with a slight delay or you can roll over the bottom of the video for a navigation.

Touchy is the mobile mediated game where you try and touch other players’ screen but do not let them touch yours.  It is an iPhone/iPod Touch game available on the Apple App Store for $0.99 – look for Touchy by Dan Zen.

The Touchy site is at http://touchy.mobi.  There is also a facebook application to challenge friends to a Touchy Duel – see the facebook page at http://facebook.com/touchymobi and go to the Touchy Duel application tab.

Have fun and please help spread the word.  From our testing, Touchy is a transformative game with old friends laughing a new – teens finally finding that social icebreaker – parents getting an update on the old wrestle.  We thank you for being a Touchy Ambassador!

Dan Zen

mad Inventor meets mobile finds peace
http://www.danzen.com

Touchy – iPhone iPod Touch App Launches – the First Mobile Mediated Action Game!

March 29, 2010

Touchy is a unique iPhone / iPod Touch game where you wrestle with other people to touch their screen as they try to touch yours.

You and your friends, foes, yoga mates, family, competitors, party goers, etc. press the TOGETHER button at the same time and then try and touch each other’s targets.  The Touch application records how long each target is touched and awards points at the end.  Past scores and win-loss-ties are saved and totaled and an average is calculated.

WARNING – playing Touchy can easily result in minor injuries so play carefully – Dan Zen is not responsible for any damage to yourselves or your devices.

Here are some examples of play:

More can be found on the Touchy.mobi site.

The first mobile app I created was “phone says” in 2001 where you have to do what the phone says no matter where you are…

This was an early example of a mobile mediated game. Touchy is another where the game is outside the mobile device but the device acts to enforce rules or some aspect of play.

Mediated means to sit in the middle. Like a medium. Mediated reality is made up of augmented reality and diminished reality. Augmented is when we add to reality like adding descriptions to shapes we recognize. Diminished is when we take away from reality such as removing advertisements.

I have been involved in hundreds of mobile prototypes all with the focus of multimedia pioneering to take the extra aspect of location in to account. I cannot recall coming across an application like Touchy. So simple a concept and execution – but very inventive none the less.

The implementation of the “Together” button avoids complex multiuser functionality. It allows for synchronous play much like the starting gun in a race. Yet as far as I can tell, this functionality has not been implemented in a mobile game. If you find an example, please let us know.

Now why not try Touchy – you will need to get some friends involved too!

Inventor, Dan Zen

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