Posts Tagged ‘danzen’

Creativity Framework Rename!

April 14, 2015

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Dan Zen will be re-branding the Dan Zen Creativity Framework to CreativityFramework.com and providing the framework free of charge.  He would like people to consider the framework as theirs to use for creativity.  He would also like to encourage the framework be used in schools and thinks a more generic name will help meet these goals.

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ZIM is “Better than Nothing” ??

April 10, 2015

ZIM js - free JavaScript Library of Interactive Media Modules

Had a fun time presenting ZIM (http://zimjs.com) last night at the Software Hamilton Demo Camp to an audience of 100 developers, designers, entrepreneurs, etc. in the Art Gallery of Hamilton’s Tanenbaum Pavilion.

It was one of the sweetest (in the old-fashioned sense) welcomes I’ve had where a few shouts of Dan Zen led to a growing round of applause as I was taking the stage.  It is nice to have a history of talks, the last being Droner http://droner.mobi where the audience controlled me with the multiuser app from their phones.  I still had people coming up to me thinking that my essence of being is Kitty Tartan – http://kittytartan.com – I would much prefer they take note of Tilty http://tilty.mobi and Touchy http://touchy.mobi both of which I presented at different times with the audience playing with business cards and coins with their neighbors. So from the first Demo Camp where I presented Optartic Tunnel http://opartica.com – the app that I made my spinning pleasure card with to the Keynote on Creativity and New Forms of Mobile Games http://wp.me/p9ja-8Z, Demo Camp has been a very rewarding experience.

So on taking the stage, I explained that I did not wear my turquoise fun-fur cape (or was it a bib) as I wanted the audience to take me seriously.  I was presenting ZIM which lets us build more easily on the Canvas side of HTML where we are free to dynamically draw for artistic purposes, drag, drop and hit test to make puzzles, e-learning apps and games – the traditional realm of Interactive Media.  I presented the live examples and finished with the fact that since ZIM Frame has launched… ZIM is now officially a framework.

Questions and comments were fast a fun as always!  One asked about avoiding the pitfalls of Flash interface – I claimed that I did not believe in one interface fits all of the ultra efficient consistency principle and we need room to explore as variety is the spice of life.  Other answers had me saying if security ever became an issue, we could blame HTML and another answer had me poking fun at the HTML components which are in dire need of some design love and extension.

HTML components could use an updating

My favourite part was the last question where an eccentric character in the back shouted, “How is ZIM better than WHAT?”  I asked what was what?  The audience and I puzzled and then realized we were looking for a comparison with the competition.  I hesitated a little – then said that the reason I made ZIM is that I needed what it provided and there were no other solutions that I knew of – so… I guess… ZIM is better than… nothing.  I did not realize what I was saying… just came to that conclusion from my logic. So – ZIM is better than nothing!

http://zimjs.com/ try it out and then see the HELP section for community help and discussion.

Dan Zen – Memories of a Performer, Patron, Participator, Practitioner, Planter, Pollinator and Partier

March 8, 2015

WARNING – LOCAL CONTENT! Hamilton is experiencing a cultural growth led by an organic happening called the Art Crawl.  With organics, we have seeds.  I would like to honor the seeds I have seen and sewn in the growth of our culture. Education is often at the root of culture and that in-part was my introduction into the arts – through the scene at McMaster University.  Despite being an Engineer, I hung out in the Art’s cafeteria so partied with artists, hung out with musicians, etc.  I made art, made music, put on shows, etc. during the 80s.  Hey, and did the same during the 90s – oh… and the 2000s and here we are in the 10s and we are still going.  Before me… I am sure there were scenes. I like scenes – I nurture scenes and do my utmost to promote and welcome people.  Perhaps, that is my lot in life.  I have always liked a good game, a good party, a social happening – unabashedly meeting people and introducing people – breaking down inhibitions.  So, let’s check out some of these events.  As much as possible, I will relate these to the James Street area and in each case, we should remember these as seeds and their organizers as planters, their attendees as pollinators, etc. I hosted some dances in the 80s during my Goth phase – then called Bat Caver.  There was a guy called AD who also hosted an event called Nekropolis and that happened on King William, where later in 1994, Thee Gnostics were the house act at Hep Mondays at the X-Club run by Darren (but I have skipped ahead).  After university, in 1986, I went to Europe for 9 months – another way to grow is to travel, and then we spread culture.  I came back and brought back with me a mod / psychedelic outlook and started doing dances called Op Hops.  One of these was at Patsy’s Banquet Hall on James in 1988. ophop2 Somewhen around that time, there was a band called All Together Morris whose lead singer Glen Marshall had a studio space on James along side Denise Lisson’s gallery studio across from Jackson Square – so the first scene I recall on James St.   However, one of my earliest Hamilton cool memories from the seventies was of the record shop on the corner of James and King upstairs – might have to ask Bob Bryden about that.  There was also Susan George over in the warehouses by Beasley and various cool warehouse art parties. The Hamilton Artists Inc was located on James Street the seventies across from where Mixed Media is now and then on James by the Wild Orchid where RoseAnne worked and then on Vine and then over above Gallery on the Bay and then on Colbourne near where the Art Bar is currently just off of James and now in its fantastic new location at James and Cannon. We solute the board members and volunteers of this scene – Paul, Judy, RoseAnne, Ian, Donna, Michael, Philip, Tor, Ivan, Douglas, and many more. We were in at the Vine location before the Artists Inc. with a really cool art beatnik hang-out with Gaven, Stavros, Lorraine, RoseAnne and the Chessmen played there at my Stag.  Earlier, Tomas, Lorraine, Walter and Zena had the Synagog on Cannon with their band, Sublimatus.  Gaven and I put on the Figmentalisticanarianismist show there in 1991. fig_s Around the same time, I had a piece in a large group show at the Liuna Station on James – kind of.  Many artists around. During Thee Gnostics time, the cool kids were hanging around Hess Village and we played the village a number of times.  But the cooler kids were starting to think elsewhere and look for a new music / art scene.  We went to Barton and Thee Gnostics had a great flat above an old post office as head quarters.  Tomas, Gaven and Lorraine lived there and I hung out there almost daily and of course, there was James and Cosmic Ray.  We connected with Elis and Dennis – who hung out with Francis.  They started the Gallery 435 speak easy hang out and it is still going waiting for the artists to finally come to Barton when the rent gets too high on James.  We were looking for a place for a scene and visited the Westinghouse building in hopes for it to become the new Rochdale. As Thee Gnostics we also played on James at Bauka‘s studio – can’t remember quite where that was – it was on a South East corner maybe James and Rebecca possibly York or Cannon.  As well as excellent warehouses – Johny Angel on John for the Egypt Vishnurama.  John and Jesse had a cool little place on Hughson I think and King William. The Double Feature Creatures were hanging around – Christine Leakey, RoseMary, Julia.  Art parties at the greenpeace houses – Chris – the old Jewelry place on York, etc.  And as mentioned, the Hep Mondays at the X-Club on King William right on the pre edge of the happening alternative club scene with Home Grown, Absinth and Baltimore House.  That building will be amazing if it ever opens again.  There was Psonic Unyon too on York and we did dances in that building with the mods – Samantha, Andrea, Valerie, Erin, Andre, Gaven, Sandy and shows at this amazing Chinese Playhouse upstairs on James around Rebecca – amazing place that and totally underutilized in our current environment.  Oh, and how could I forget – the Tivoli – before the front was taken down – the auditorium is still there.  Thee Gnostics played there watched by Chris, Lilly, Lisa – and others. When Barton took too long we actively were establishing a scene on John StreetJohn and Andrea Deal started the GAG Gallery in the space where previously, Mark Byk, Peter and Kristine lived and where we beatnik-partied like crazy!  Later at the GAG we held the first Interactive Interactive show in 2003.  We also held the No Escape Artathon where we locked artists up in the gallery for 48 hours.  I MC’d that event to live web casting.  I met Steve Mazza, Laura Hollick, Len Jessome, all who have gone on to great artistic heights in Hamilton.  Many others too – Martin, Matt, etc.  Bob has some pictures from around that time – would be great to see them.  I planned to stage an Art theft to get people in the Suburbs to pay attention to arts in the city. ii I ran Interactive Interactive shows with Sheridan and McMaster Interactive Media at the Artist Inc for the next four years 2004, 2005, 2006 with the last one in 2007.  It was just too hard to get media and people from the suburbs to come plus we started doing open houses in Toronto and packing everything twice at the end of the year was too hard.  Here is a shot of James Street in 2007 with Mixed Media and the Factory at their old locations and Dane’s Loose Cannon where I usually purchased something each visit.  I was at the first meet to discuss the Factory – it was held in the Artists Inc above Gallery on the Bay.  And I certainly remember Mixed Media in their old place with Dave and Teresa – I donated a cool 50s boomerang chair and Ottoman.  During the mid 2000’s I also MC’d a number of Artists Inc events with Sky Gilbert and Matt Jelly like the Sin Circus at Worker’s Heritage building where Brian Kelly works and prior to that there were the Fetish Fashion Shows with Sue Phipps and Ian James the last of which took place somewhere on James – was it the Chinese Playhouse (not really called a playhouse – would love to find that again!). james Well… that’s enough name and place dropping for now – doubt anyone gets this far but good memories and really would like to honor all the folks that have made Hamilton so much fun.  Keep at it – would like to tell the story of early Art Crawls but will leave that for another post.  I am just glad a self sustaining art scene has finally arrived so we don’t have to work as hard!  Our garden is growing – Gardener Russ would be happy – hi Russ! — 15 — PP – Please forgive me if I left anyone out – or even give me a comment!  This was all from the top of my head so I may have mixed some details.  Again, it is how I remember the past as it relates to James Street N and Art – there was certainly much more going on all over – art on James S,  Kevin McKay‘s early SkyDragon scene, music scene at the Corktown, Dundas art scenes, etc.  but I tried to focus on perhaps some forgotten seeds leading to our current wonderful scene on James.

The Canvas is your World – HTML 5 Canvas

March 7, 2015

I have been making interactive media for twenty years and now I hope to convince you to try.  If you already code then I hope to convince you to try a new system.  ZIM.

ZIM Interactive Media JavaScript Modules

In 1995, I worked in Director to make CD Roms.  In 2000, I moved to Flash to make Web games and apps.  In 2015, I moved fully to HTML 5 and in particular the canvas and JavaScript to make anything.  http://danzen.com/museum/tour.html

The HTML canvas tag allows you to dynamically manipulate pixels to draw and animate shapes.  It was the early 2000s that we got this ability in Flash and it was very exciting.  It is now very exciting in HTML where we can use free tools and publish just about everywhere.  We can also bring our experience to a very large creative community.

HTML HISTORICALLY

HTML was initially conceived as a tagging language for showing people information in a Browser.  You could also provide information through forms with text fields, etc.  DHTML (dynamic HTML) came along in the 2000s and used iFrames and layers to show new information without reloading the page (as could JavaScript through AJAX).  Simple animation of page elements with JavaScript were introduced and continue on with libraries like jQuery.  CSS (cascading style sheets) came along to allow us to style the page more efficiently and completely.

INTERACTIVE MEDIA

While making Web pages for browsing does fall under the realm of interactive media, it can be more specifically called Web design.  Interactive media is much more – see the Interactivity Scale.  Interactive media allows us to create, communicate and play – not just consume.  To make interactive media takes more than just tagging or animating – you have to code (program).  This means capturing events and using logic to determine and create what comes next.  It means providing a variety of interfaces so people can create things (applications).  It means dragging, dropping, rotating and hit tests so people can re-enact the world but in a virtual space.  These are things that were not done in traditional Web design and development (aside from maybe dragging items into a shopping cart).

Dan Zen - Interactivity Scale

ZIM

Short for Zen Interactive Modules, ZIM is a free JavaScript framework specifically for making Interactive Media. http://zimjs.com

Much of the ground work is found in a library called CreateJS written by Grant Skinner and crew.  Grant has transported years of interactive media knowledge with Flash to the HTML canvas / JavaScript world.

Remember, the Flash community (and the Director community before hand) has spent over twenty years honing the commands needed to accomplish interactive media.  There are dozens and dozens of commands that go beyond traditional HTML and JavaScript.  These have been shifted and tweaked to perfection.  Without any one of these commands, we could not easily make what we make.  I know, I have created hundreds of applications with millions of lines of award winning code – trust me.  We all owe a HUGE debt to Grant and his team for the phenomenal job they have done preserving our heritage. – Dan Zen

In a sense, CreateJS lets us code in JavaScript as we did in Flash and has even added or simplified nicely in places.  The backbone of CreateJS is EaselJS which provides us with proper object oriented display hierarchy – we can nest objects within objects (containers, shapes, bitmaps, text) and manipulate properties such as position, rotation, alpha, scale and these properties are transferred to their children.  So CreateJS takes us roughly to ground zero of Flash.

Enter ZIM.  When I was coding in Flash, I made over one hundred helper classes (a class is a bunch of code that does something and we can use it over and over).  These were created over ten years and put into packages but otherwise were a touch hodgepodge.  This time, I got to start fresh and planned from the start to let others use and understand these classes.  Half of them are now in ZIM version 1.  The other half, which are for advanced interfaces like gesture and multiuser will be launched as ZIM version 2.  Certainly, there is a lot that can be done with ZIM version 1.

zim1.2

USING ZIM

You can code with any text editor but it is best if you have syntax coloring so you can see the different parts of the code.  Sublime, TextPad, NotePad++, DreamWeaver, etc.

Start with a ZIM Template – perhaps the basic template.  Copy the source code into a file and name it sample.html.  Now drop the file onto a Web browser – Firefox, Chrome, IE, Safari.  You should see a big button and if you click it, it will go to ZIMjs.  Look at the code and see if you can make sense of it.

On ZIMjs, there is information about the functions and classes that are available.  There is example code and you can try out the examples.  There is also a Docs section that tells you what is available, what parameters you can provide, and what properties, methods and events are available.

ZIMjs Documentation

You can start cutting and pasting bits of the examples at a time into your sample.html and see if you can make things work.

You will also need to know how CreateJS works so you can draw circles, rectangles, lines, and use bitmaps (images), sound and animation.  You can use tutorials, etc.

You will also need to know JavaScript for the programming logic parts such as variables, functions, conditionals, loops, arrays and objects.  Also basic number and string manipulations.  Eventually, you will want to make your own classes as well.

Read about coding here: Dan Zen Museum Coding Tour.

tour

Please try out ZIM and if you need a hand, there is the CreateJS Facebook Group where we answer questions about CreateJS and ZIM.

I can tell you now, you are as close as you have ever come to making being able to make interactive media.  You need no huge application, no instals, etc.  And you can package your code up into a mobile app in less than an hour once you know what you are doing – all free (aside from the $100 dev cost on Apple, the $25 dev cost on Android and $20 for Windows – free for BB).  Just copy that template file and start poking around.

If you want formal training, I teach at Sheridan College in the one-year post grad diploma program http://imm.sheridanc.on.ca – we have a great learning environment.  Here are some open house photos.

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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

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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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!

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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

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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Touchy on Dragons’ Den CBC

January 16, 2012

Touchy, the mobile game from Dan Zen will be featured in a short segment on CBC’s Dragon Den on January 18th, 2012 at 8PM.

Touchy – visit http://touchy.mobi – is available on the Apple iTunes store and Android Market. It is a social game where players physically try to touch each others’ mobile screens. So it is a game of reaching and protecting – with shrieks of laughter!

Arlene and Robert play Touchy on Dragons' Den

Arlene and Robert laughing after a game of Touchy

The pitch went well – but I was called in the day after a three day conference with late parties each night and this was just after a long open house – after I stopped talking, I could hardly get my mouth open – all I could do was nod and smile! Oh well – Inventor Dan Zen.

Touchy Inventor Dan Zen on Dragons' Den CBC

We would love your help getting Touchy out to the people – please check out the game on iTunes and Android Market – just search for Touchy – links are available at http://touchy.mobi, leave a review and tell anyone who you think would like to play – it is hard getting the message out to the youth – the primary market.

If you are interested in getting involved in an upcoming Touchy Tournament – find us on facebook and leave a message on the Wall – http://facebook.com/touchymobi – all the best!

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Altura – Pseudo Interactive Storytelling Site Launches

January 4, 2012

Altura at http://altura.mobi is a Web / Mobile site that lets people partake and write pseudo interactive stories in a fun and free manner.

We will not give away exactly how it works until you try it!  Suffice it to say, it is another interactive storytelling feature from creator Dan Zen – http://danzen.com to add to the long list of interactive fiction environments:

Interactive Storytelling GAMES
GORGOLON
Underwater Multi-user Sci-Fi Game
SAVE EARTH
Save Future Earth With This Online Remote Control!
MOUSTACHE MYSTERIES
Zany Mysteries from the Mind of the Moustache!
SHRINK RAY
Save thousands shrunk in a bottle!
BLIMP RACE
Fly your blimp with all your friends!
Social Interactive Storytelling
HIP CATS
Turn On, Jack In and Hang Out
CHANGING MAIL
Change sent mail after it is read
SPIROGRAM
Spiral Encode Messages To Friends
DENS
Atmospheric Forums
SPY-MAIL
Get Spied On!
COMMENT RIGHT
Encouragement for blog comments
Interactive Storytelling EXPERIENCES
TOWER OF BABEL
Whisper Words That Have Never Been Said
ZEN MOTTO
Philosophical Focus
A MILLION CLOUDS
Fly a Jet Pack Through a Million Clouds!
GYCOPO
The Game You Can Only Play Once!
PREDICTION TRAIN
Ride the Prediction Train Into the Future
Interactive Storytelling APPS
SNIPISODE
Tell stories through Facebook status lines!
TAPOLL
Predict-a-Poll Web 2.0 Site!
YASEESAY
Say What you See Tool!
ZEN MIX
Cool Vlogging Tool
ZEN PICTURE PAN ZOOM
Scrolling Picture Viewer

-2012-

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

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 and Thee Gnostics Dance – Alien Juice

August 27, 2011

Click above to see Video.  Thee Gnostics at http://theeGnostics.com are a Space Rock band from Hamilton.  Dan Zen is the one with the big round glasses – Gaven in robe and Russ in Fried Potato Gang shirt.  Missing are Matt and Thomas although they are playing on the song.

Fun to get the gang dancing – quite the eclectic styles.  Please visit Thee Gnostic playlist on YouTube and leave a comment or two!


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