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Original author: 
Steph

[ By Steph in Gadgets & Geekery & Technology. ]

Hell is Other People Smartphone App 1

Social media was invented to bring people closer, but the more antisocial among us can use it in a different way: to avoid the people we know. ‘Hell is Other People‘ is an interactive smartphone app that will show you exactly where your friends are based on Foursquare check-ins, and provide ‘safe zones’ where you can hang out without fear of being recognized.

Hell is Other People Smartphone App 2

Using the GPS function on your phone and your contacts’ public check-ins or location updates on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and other social media, the app will show you yellow points on a map that indicate where your friends are. The green points represent ‘safe zones.’
Hell is Other People Smartphone App 3

Of course, the map only works if your friends are avid social media users, checking in to virtually every place they go, and you still run the risk of running into them when they’re in route. You also might be relegated to unexpected places in the city. But as creator Scott notes in the video, “It’s kind of nice that I’ve been pushed into parks.”

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Yoshihiko Mano

It’s the nature of the beast that web design is always changing, and one of the many things that designers often lose sleep over is fonts.

Till recently web fonts were usually limited to ones installed on Windows or OSX, but these days you can choose a wide range of fonts available online. This means lots of choice for design but with more choice comes more woe. Which one to pick for which occasion?

Well, let’s put aside difficult decisions for a moment. We want to have a bit of fun with fonts! PingMag has scoured the plains of the world wide web for some funky Japanese fonts that are useful (okay, maybe not so useful!) — but always unique.

Fonts that are almost practical!

Imagine Yokohama fun-japanese-fonts01

This font was created to mark 150 years since Yokohama opened its port to the world and to remake the “Yokohama” brand. The designers researched the images that people associated with Yokohama, and then turned the character you could see in these into a font. The result is a harmony of classic and modern, and rather attractive too. You can write in Roman characters and Hiragana, but the Kanji is limited just to characters used in Yokohama ward names!

Yakitori Font fun-japanese-fonts02Photo by matsuyuki

fun-japanese-fonts03

This is recommended for all budding izakaya owners! You can almost taste the atmosphere just in the lettering. (Personal use okay. Apply for commercial use.)

Yoji Font

fun-japanese-fonts04

Perfect if you’re in need of some nostalgia. Do you remember how your handwriting looked when you were a young child (yoji)? Say three or four years old? Well, with this font adults can recreate that charmingly earnest look on their work documents! It’s Japanese only and, of course, there’s no Kanji. (Personal and commercial use okay.)

Fonts for sentimental train (and other forms of transportation) aficionados

National Rail-esque Font fun-japanese-fonts05Photo by tosimisi

fun-japanese-fonts06

So now you can turn any word into a railway station name! The font resembles the style of characters used in old (i.e. back when JR was still nationalized) railway signage. Actually, it’s not just for nostalgia. The font can also look super modern and smart as well. (Personal and commercial use okay.)

Handwritten Railway Type fun-japanese-fonts07

Okay, this one’s for the real train fanatics among you, recreating the handwritten station name signs as used on Japanese railway lines from a bygone age. The design quality is also still good enough for today. (Personal and commercial use okay.)

National Rail Font: Pictographs fun-japanese-fonts08

This time it’s not words but the pictographs used in stations. Saying that, we’re not totally sure what that onsen (hot spring) symbol is doing there… (Personal and commercial use okay. Requires device with Japanese language input.)

Highway Sign Font fun-japanese-fonts09Photo by Ryo Yamaguchi

fun-japanese-fonts10 If you’re more of a driver then check out this font that looks like lettering on the signs to be found on Japanese highways. Striking and easy to read (since you are in theory driving fast!), this is great for titles. (Personal use okay. Apply for commercial use.)

Ghosts in the digital age?! Yes, it’s horror fonts!

Onryo fun-japanese-fonts11

Do you sometimes want to give your text a scary or ghoulish look? Gothic type just doesn’t cut it, right? Well, you will find Onryo (which means “ghost” or “phantom” in Japanese) a very useful font for those days in the office when you need to cast spells and curses on your work enemies. (Personal use okay. Commercial use also okay but recommended to check with the designer.)

DingTheInsect fun-japanese-fonts12

No scary experience is complete without some creepy-crawlies. For such occasions, reach for this font, which might just send shivers up your spine as you type. (Personal use okay. Commercial use also okay but recommended to check with the designer.)

Pure unadulterated fun!

JoJo Font

fun-japanese-fonts13

For the uninitiated out there, this font is in the style of the cult manga ‘JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure’. Great for adding flourishes of onomatopoeia and the like, transforming dull text into exciting comic book scenes.

Neko Font fun-japanese-fonts14

Who cares about getting meaning across? If you’re crazy about cats (neko), then the felines are all that matter! This font isn’t available as data but you can type what you want on the website, and then get an automated code to display an downloadable image.

And there you have it for now, folks! The wealth of Japanese fonts available online is almost endless if you search around — and we’ve just scratched the surface with this quick intro. Happy hunting!

Okay, so please look out for future PingMag articles written entirely in cats.

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Original author: 
Urbanist

[ By WebUrbanist in Gaming & Computing & Technology. ]

bitcoin digital physical designs

The crypto-currency Bitcoin is all over social media, blogs and news sites. But beyond the volatility, speculation and noise there is a fascinating question being asked and answered: from coins to wallets, how does the world’s first widespread digital currency manifest in visual or physical form(top image by cybrbeast)

bitcoin 3d currency variants

The Bitcoin logo is a rather simple affair, borrowing much from traditional currencies (a partial strike-through) and clearly, most of all, the United States dollar. For some, though, seeing is not enough – for emotional and practical reasons alike, many want a physical analogue to their virtual wealth.

bitcoin physical round design

That baseline design, however, has spawned not only 3D renderings approximating solid coins, but actual physical coins themselves for fans of hand-held collectibles. The Casascius series have solid brass, electroplated gold and pure silver variants that ‘contain’ real Bitcoins (an address with a private key hidden below a removable hologram). Like Gold Eagles, the value of these on the secondary market has consistently stayed above the ‘spot’ price for the currency they contain.

bitcoin paper currency notes

And it does not end there. For security purposes, many people prefer to keep copies (in some cases: their only copies) of their virtual Bitcoin ‘wallet’ in offline form. For better or worse, this translates computer-centric risks (hacking and data corruption) back into more familiar ones (physical theft or loss). Designers on that front  have come up with a number of interesting options, from plasticized and paper ‘notes’ to self-printed wallets. In the decentralized, open-source spirit of Bitcoin, many designers (like Doctor 75R) give these designs out freely as well.

bitcoin printable folding wallet

Canton Becker lists off the advantages of his variant, shown above: “(1)Private key is hidden behind folds, so your wallet content is still safe if left out in the open or photographed. (2) Tamper-proof tape indicates when you (or someone else!) has revealed the private key. (3) Folding design obfuscates private keys so they’re hidden even when holding wallet up to a bright light. (4)Reverse side has basic wallet operation instructions and a register for writing down deposits / balance. (5) Private and public keys are replicated (and rotated) in triplicate to maximize chances of recovering keys if paper is damaged / crumpled.”

bitcoin physical ring designs

There is even a movement toward making Bitcoin secret (de)coder rings – like gold or silver ones, they can be stolen, but they also allow you to wear and keep your wealth (literally) close at hand. By engraving the private key on the inside of the band, there is no way to see it unless you (or someone) takes it off.

bitcoin wallpaper digital designs

And, of course, anything with sufficient fans warrants making wallpapers – here are a series of six available at full size on Flickr.

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ghg

Nehmen wir nur CourseSmart, den unangefochtenen Branchenführer bei Lehrbüchern und Unterrichtsmaterial in digitalisierter Form. Dieses Unternehmen, 2007 von Pearson und McGraw-Hill Education und anderen Verlagsgiganten gegründet, hat über zwanzigtausend elektronische Lehrbücher im Angebot, das sind etwa 90 Prozent aller in Nordamerika verwendeten Lehrbücher. Diese Texte können online und offline am Computer, auf Tablets oder Smartphones gelesen werden. CourseSmart verfolgt globale Ambitionen. Wie kürzlich bekanntgegeben wurde, expandiert das Unternehmen in den Nahen Osten und nach Afrika, so dass seine Produkte auch in Ländern wie Saudi-Arabien und Zimbabwe erhältlich sind. Anfang November wurde seine jüngste Innovation namens CourseSmart Analytics vorgestellt, ein Trackingsystem, mit dessen Hilfe verfolgt werden kann, wie lange sich Studenten auf jeder Seite eines elektronischen Buchs aufhalten, welche Kapitel sie überspringen, welche Passagen ihnen Mühe bereiten und so weiter. Aus all diesen Informationen wird für jeden Studenten ein „Engagement Score“ ermittelt, den Dozenten abrufen können.

http://www.faz.net/aktuell/feuilleton/silicon-demokratie/kolumne-silicon...

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First time accepted submitter Laser Dan writes "I'm an engineer (robotics) who can't seem to find a pen that satisfies me. Most of my writing is just temporary "thinking notes" on random bits of paper, like diagrams, flowcharts, equations etc, but pens always seem to have one or more of the following issues: 1. They write too thickly — I write very small, and when I start adding extra details to diagrams it gets even smaller. A line width of about 0.2-0.4mm would be good. 2. The ink bleeds, making the lines thick and unclear. 3. The ink is slow to dry or the tip grows blobs of ink, causing smudges everywhere. 4. The first line drawn is not fully dark, as the ink takes a short distance to get going. 5. The lines drawn are faint unless you press hard (I don't). I have been given several fancy pens (Parker etc) over the years but they all suffered from problems 1, 3 (blobs), 4 and 5. I'm considering trying a Fisher space pen, but it looks like even the fine cartridge writes rather thickly. Have any fellow Slashdotters found their ultimate pen?"


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An article at The Verge discusses a new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art which traces the history of photo manipulation, starting in the mid-1800s. Early photographers used simple techniques like painting on their negatives or simply forming a composite image from many painstakingly framed shots. That period of time even had its own approximation of modern memes: "A large number of prints from that era — featuring decapitated subjects holding, juggling, or otherwise posing with their own heads — might be seen as the lolcats of their day, owing to an alluringly macabre and widespread fascination with parlour tricks and stage magic." However, lying with pictures really took off when business and government figured out how effective it could be as a tool for propaganda. The exhibit has many examples, such as President Ulysses S. Grant's head superimposed onto a soldier's body and a different background, or another of Joseph Goebbels removed from a photo of a party. The article likens these manipulations to more recent situations like the faked pictures of Osama Bin Laden's corpse, and often-hilarious altered ads featured on Photoshop Disasters. The article ends with a quote from photographer Jerry Uelsmann: "Let us not delude ourselves by the seemingly scientific nature of the darkroom ritual. It has been and always will be a form of alchemy."


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Following the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime last year, photographer Jehad Nga set out to explore the former dictator’s political and military philosophies within the framework of an underlying and contrasting Libyan culture. Here, Nga he writes for LightBox about his project, The Green Book, which depicts the conflicting values of reality through gathered images broken down into binary code.

The Green Book, first published in 1975, is a short tome setting out the political philosophy of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Intended to be required reading for all Libyans, the 24 chapters were constructed simply, containing broad and basic slogans rendered in a rudimentary writing style easy to understand by all. Gaddafi claimed to have developed the book’s theories in order to resolve many contradictions inherent in capitalism and communism thereby—by his logic, freeing its citizens from bondage of both systems. The book, however, proved for most to be nothing more than an inane manifesto used to further reduce the value of a population’s role in the building of a society.

During the revolution that finally brought Gaddafi’s reign to an end last October, it was common for the intelligence arm of the government, in its heightened state of awareness, to target people attempting to traffic information out of the country.

Employing the similar technological principles, I used a satellite adjusted to intersect varying levels of Internet traffic flow transmitted over Libya. An assigned command allowed for the satellite to look only for photographs and disregard all other associated data traffic.

Without any distinguishable narratives, the constant stream of communication I captured visually grew over time to resemble a hyper-realized paradise, where the borders between the natural and supernatural had been washed away. From the ebb and flow of images being sent between people—the population’s naked, unedited psyche rendered visual—I harvested 24 representative images.

Once the images were captured, I wanted to further explore the meaning of my action. I first reduced each image to its most basic structure, binary code, which singled it out from the other billion bits of data shooting through the sky. This conversion exposed each image’s digital “cell structure”—millions of algorithms mathematically, miraculously unified to produce something of beauty. Code is built in layers, each with a metaphor constructed by its programmer to enact and describe its behavior. Reducing an image to pure binary data strips it of any individual identity, any protection, and any premise.

I was able to exploit this frailty—the structural weakness of each image—by introducing new information into its binary data. Each chapter of The Green Book was introduced into the code structure of each photo, threatening to break the image file past the threshold of recognition. Sometimes the new data caused the complete collapse of the image structure. When my experiment was successful, the text at once contaminated the image and created something new.

The final product is a depiction of how something with “genetic predisposition,” something rigid and fixed, struggles to coexist with additional textual information. The conflicting “values” are evident in the distorted and augmented reality presented by the photographs.

Taken as a whole, The Green Book Study, a collection of 24 images that carries with it Gaddafi’s three-volume manifesto in its entirety, becomes an method for evaluating the process of which a society’s human structure becomes distorted and at time fully collapsed by a command line of one totalitarian vision.

Jehad Nga is a New York-based photographer. LightBox has previously featured Nga’s work about his Libyan roots as well as a photo essay on the world’s biggest refugee complex.

The project will be showing at the Bonni Benrubi Gallery in New York and the M+B Gallery in Los Angeles.

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Stewart Brand sums up Susan Freinkel's Long Now talk: "What Common Objects Used to Be Made Of," a history of the world before plastic:


“Bakelite was invented in 1907 to replace the beetle excretion called shellac (“It took 16,000 beetles six months to make a pound of shellac.”), and was first used to insulate eletrical wiring. Soon there were sturdy Bakelite radios, telephones, ashtrays, and a thousand other things. The technology democratized consumption, because mass production made former luxury items cheap and attractive. The 1920s and ‘30s were a golden age of plastic innovation, with companies like Dow Chemical, DuPont, and I. G. Farben creating hundreds of new varieties of plastic for thrilled consumers. Cellophane became a cult. Nylons became a cult. A plastics trade show in 1946 had 87,000 members of the public lining up to view the wonders. New fabrics came along—Orlon and Dacron—as colorful as the deluge of plastic toys—Barbie, the Frisbee, Hula hoops, and Silly Putty.

“Looking for new markets, the marketers discovered disposability—disposable cups for drink vending machines, disposable diapers (“Said to be responsible for the baby boom“), Bic lighters, soda bottles, medical syringes, and the infinite market of packaging. Americans consume 300 pounds of plastic a year. The variety of plastics we use are a problem for recycling, because they have to be sorted by hand. They all biodegrade eventually, but at varying rates. New bio-based polymers like “corn plastic” and “plant bottles” have less of a carbon footprint, but they biodegrade poorly. Meanwhile, thanks to the efficiencies of fracking, the price of natural gas feedstock is plummeting, and so is the price of plastic manufacture.

What Common Objects Used to Be Made Of

(Image: Plastic Power, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from fxtreme's photostream)

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[Video Link]Excellent video by Bill Hammock that looks at the accelerometer in a mobile phone, and how it's made.

Bill takes apart a smartphone and explains how its accelerometer works. He also shares the essential idea underlying the MEMS production of these devices.This video is based on a chapter from the EngineerGuy team's latest book Eight Amazing Engineering Stories.

(Via Cult of Mac)

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[ By WebUrbanist in Conceptual & Futuristic & Technology. ]

Nothing moves faster than light, right? True as that may be in theory, a team at MIT has developed a method for visualizing its propagation to amazing effect in practice.

Slowed down and turned into film format, an illuminated tomato goes from ordinary to uncanny as a snaking arc of white light approaches in a billionth-of-a-second burst, then deforms to move across it, with an unrivaled FPS rate.

And the impact goes beyond making neat little films: “Beyond the potential in artistic and educational visualization, applications include industrial imaging to analyze faults and material properties, scientific imaging for understanding ultrafast processes and medical imaging to reconstruct sub-surface elements.”

So how does it work? Per their abstract: “The effective exposure time of each frame is two trillionths of a second and the resultant visualization depicts the movement of light at roughly half a trillion frames per second. Direct recording of reflected or scattered light at such a frame rate with sufficient brightness is nearly impossible. We use an indirect ‘stroboscopic’ method that records millions of repeated measurements by careful scanning in time and viewpoints. Then we rearrange the data to create a ‘movie’ of a nanosecond long event.”

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