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Final Project

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Written by minjikwon

December 16, 2009 at 3:17 pm

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XVII. Video Scenes Pulled From Peoples’ Thoughts

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Dr. Jack Gallant of the UCB psychology department claims that it’s possible to reproduce video images from human brain activity.  Basically this means that it’s possible to extract brain memories or images onto youtube.  Dr. Gallant and his colleague Shinji Nishimoto have used fMRI to scan the brains of two videos as they watched videos. According to Times Online, “A computer program was used to search for links between the configuration of shapes, colors, and movements in the videos, and patterns of activity in the patients’ visual cortex.”  The computer program then was fed 200 days’ worth of YouTube internet clips and asked to predict which areas of the brain the clips would stimulate.  The software then monitored the two patients’ brains as they watched a film and reproduced what they were seeing based on their neural activity.  Even though the computer was able to identify the video clip, some of the details were lost. Gallant then explains that “some scenes decode better than others.”  For example, Gallant points out that they can decode talking heads really well but a camera pan across a scene confuses the computer’s algorithm. This idea has been entertained before, however; it’s been mentioned in sci-fi movies such as The Final Cut where a special implant makes it possible to record the internal images that a person sees and remembers. Another example is the sci-fi series Farscape which entertained the notion of peeling back the layers of a mind one by one and exposing the memories on a screen. 

This article eerily relates to the last entry I blogged about and my feelings still haven’t changed by much. Even though I believe that this advance in technology could help us, I believe that it’s more harmful than helpful especially when it’s in the wrong hands. For example:

The Pros:

Can help solve crime/murder mysteries

Good for people with Alzheimers

Just help you remember and share information in general

The Cons:

Identity theft/hacking

Invasion of privacy

Even though there are more pros than cons, the cons outweigh the positivity of the pros in terms of quality and severity. I just don’t understand why the world wants to put brain chips in our head or monitor the images we see. Advancement in technology is always an exciting thing but I have a strong belief that people are going to abuse the power given to them and use it for personal, selfish reasons in comparison to using it for “good”. I guess I’m just cautious of these new devices and people’s motives.

For more information, click here.

Written by minjikwon

December 9, 2009 at 1:53 am

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XVI. Brain Implants

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Intel wants brain implants in their customers’ heads by the year 2020; they want to be able to control all different sorts of gadgets directly via brain waves by 2020. The scientists believe that people will tire soon of using touch-screen/multi-screen technology such as using iPhones, Microsoft’s Surface Table, Android smart phones etc. They also believe that people will be craving the freedom of not using a mouse, tablet, keyboard, remote control etc. to scroll the Web. According to popsci, “The Intel team has already made use of fMRI brain scans to match brain patterns with similar thoughts across many test subjects” (Hsu 1). Intel is not the only company that has dabbled in this idea, however. Toyota has recently demoed a wheelchair that is controlled using brainwaves and University of Utah has created a wireless brian transmitter that allows monkeys to control robotic arms. 

This article relates directly with my last entry about the abuse and addiction of new technology. As I stated in the last entry, I’m afraid that we will become too dependent on these new gadgets and we will ultimately not be able to live or function without them. I don’t like the idea of a brain chip being installed in my head. I mean a few years back when I was in high school, I would’ve totally entertained and welcomed the idea but now I feel as if it’s too much. Have we as humans become so lazy that we need this brain chip to surf the web for us? This chip actually reminds me of this past weekend because my father entertained the idea of a remote control that could rotate the TV monitor so he didn’t have to physically move it in different directions for his convenience everytime. I believe that this chip is just going to promote more laziness and problems for the future. If this new invention succeeds, I feel as if the world is going to become a cross between The Matrix and Wall-E. I don’t want to be tied down to a computer chip. In the wise words of Albert Einstein, “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”

for more information on Intel’s brain chip, click here.

Written by minjikwon

December 2, 2009 at 4:35 pm

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XV. Depending too much on technology?

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In this chapter, Saffer discusses the dependence we as humans have developed for technology. We have acquired a soft spot in our hearts for the constant expansion and growth of technology. Technology is accessible to everyone or most people everywhere so we tend to grow addicted to it and its functions; as the years pass, more products and services will utilize technology to their own benefits. It’s already happening around us. For example, you can order Dominos pizza online now which saves some the frustration of calling and placing their order through the phone. Saffer doesn’t only mention product and service advancement with technology but goes on to also mention robots which is machinery that performs a physical task. There are different types of robots for different services such as robot toys for children, cleaning robots, robots that cook etc. All of this dependency on technology and robots frightens me, truthfully. I feel as if we are getting too dependent on technology, computers, the internet etc. I’m afraid that our society is going to end up like I, Robot where robots will soon be integrated as a part of our daily routines  and lives. We’re just cramming all this information into little devices such as iPhones or Blackberrys. What happens if computers, robots, and the internet complete control of our lives? They already have such an impact on the way we go about our day but what happens if we actually start to center our days around these new technologies? Will we no longer be capable of doing normal functions? Will we lose all sense of functioning as a human because a machine can do it all for us? Will we forget how to cook, clean, bathe because there’s an advanced piece of machinery or computer service that can help us do it all? This intrigues me because once we get all the physical deeds such as shopping for groceries, cooking, cleaning etc. out of the way with technology, what will become of our emotional well-being? Will a computer chip tell us how to feel emotions since we’ve become too clingy and dependent on technology?  I’m afraid of getting to this point. Even though I embrace the benefits of increasing technology, I despise the overuse and dependency that’s developed along with it. I’m afraid that soon we will be so dependent on it that we will just eventually morph into the robots.

Domino’s online ordering service.

Written by minjikwon

December 2, 2009 at 3:44 pm

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XIV. Services

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What exactly is a service? According to Service Design by Daniel Saffer, a service is a chain of activities that form a process and have value for the end user (Saffer 175). There are different characteristics attached to a service which are:

1. Intangible: Customers can’t touch or see the service but rather see just the physical embodiments associated to it

2. Co-Created: Services aren’t only created by the provider but require the involvement and engagement of customers. Customers fuel the cycle.

3. Flexible: Adapting the service to a particular situation

5. Time-Based: “Time is Money.” Services take time to perform and whatever time is not used up, it is lost.

6. Active: Humans create the service and use it. They determine the busyness of the service.

7. Fluctuating demand: Depends on a range of things such as season, time of day, cultural mood, what’s “in” and what’s “out” etc.

Saffer also mentions branding which shows the effect the service has or the expression it shows to the media. Saffer gives different examples of company branding such as Tiffany’s Blue Box, Disney’s handwriting script, and the green that’s associated with John Deere. He also goes onto to mention how you wouldn’t find a fluffy checkout at Home Depot (environment) but instead would encounter the company’s rugged, no nonsense branding. I find this particularly interesting because as a graphic designer branding is everything; it’s about selling yourself to the public and creating an image for you. In graphic design, the logotype or symbol is what can make you iconic and memorable which leads to success. For example, Nike and Coca Cola’s symbols are known throughout the world and everyone because of the simplicity and marketing associated with the branding of the company. Also, this drags in the concept that for something to be successful, it needs a partnership or a marriage between different people (consumers and producers). Without the consumers, these brandings would be left in the dust, not memorable. The consumers and producers need to form a marriage or a harmony with each other to prove success. As the great Henry Ford quotes, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

Written by minjikwon

November 18, 2009 at 4:46 pm

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XIII. Apple’s New Mouse

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Apple strikes again with a model of a new mouse, the Magic Mouse. Unlike the standard apple single ball click mouse, this mouse is entirely touch activated. The mouse lacks physical buttons but instead takes on a similar role to the iPhone. The top of the Magic Mouse is a sensor that reads touch gestures to scroll, pan, swipe and click on documents and in applications (Williams 1).  The mouse  sells for $69 dollars, is Bluetooth accessible and equally friendly to left hand and right hand users. The only downside, however, is that the mouse is only run with Macs running Leopard version 10.5.8 or later. This new mouse is being promoted with the new updated desktop iMacs for $999. 

I am not a big touch sensitive person so I’m not very keen on new technologies using touch sensitive. I like to actually feel the physical buttons and to know that I’m actually pressing something. Even though it’s a cool marketing pitch considering most gadgets are now touch savvy, I believe that it’s an inconvenience. First of all, I don’t like the original Mac mouses with the single scroll ball and single click so for this new mouse to be entirely touch sensitive makes it even more confusing and difficult to use especially since I’m used to double click mouses. Also, just because it works for a phone doesn’t mean it’s necessarily going to carry through with other applications such as a mouse. The exterior and design may look slick, smooth, modern but at the end of the day,  it’s going to take certain individuals awhile to get used to. Unless this mouse has feedback such as there being a noise when one clicks (even though it shows a sound in the Magic Mouse video), it’s just going to be confusing. Even though I’m all for old-fashioned mouses (or is it mice?), I applaud Apple for coming out with this interesting concept and idea. We’ll just have to wait and see how it interacts with real human beings in the real world. 

For more information & pictures: Click Here or here for the official website


front and back.

front and back.

Written by minjikwon

October 21, 2009 at 3:24 pm

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XII. Project 1. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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What exactly makes a website “bad”? What elements make the design of a website unsuccessful? Well there are certain factors that can make a website seem rather confusing and constructed of poor quality.

For example:

1. Clutter

Clutter is a big nuisance, headache and eyesore to many. The saying “less is more” is not familiar to websites who pile on information, images, and ads. These websites think they’re doing viewers a favor by squeezing in as much writing as they can onto one page. Instead of spreading the pictures or links to different pages, they choose to place everything on top of each other; they take whatever empty space is available and clutter it with a plethora of things, whether they’re all useful or not.

2. Poor Navigational Direction

This goes hand in hand with clutter. When there’s too much information being shown all at once, there’s no clear direction or navigational path throughout the site. People don’t know where to click or what to look at because there’s too much thrown at them all at once. Even Krug mentions in DMMT (Don’t Make Me Think) that as viewers when we look at a web page we just scan it for the words and phrases we’re more interested in. However, if a website has poor direction then it’s going to be harder for the eye to wander to it’s correct destination and for the viewer to find what they’re looking for. 

3. No Distinguishing Features

No distinguishing features means that the website is very monotone or the same throughout. The font’s all the same color and size which add to the poor navigation. There’s no color coded sections to separate anything and when you hover over the clickable links there’s no underlining or anything that makes it different from the other text on the page.  Krug mentions that in order to make a website one should create a clear visual hierarchy, take advantage of conventions (standardization), break pages up into clearly defined areas (grouping), make it obvious what’s clickable (feedback), and minimize noise (Krug 31). He even mentions that more important something is, the more prominent it is (Krug  31). This means in order for the viewer’s eyes to wander to the important sections of the page, the important font needs to stand out from the rest of the font; this means the font can be bold, underlined, bigger etc. As long as it makes a statement and pops out at the viewer, the designer has done a successful job. 

Now I have two examples of good and bad websites that follow the formula above.

Example 1: Cinderella Photography Studios

Picture 5

This wedding website is an example of a bad website as it shows clutter, lack of navigational direction and no distinguishing features. The Be Mine background repeats throughout the whole website which already makes it a distraction and hard to read the font. Also the background really has nothing to do with the content of the website considering this site sells cameras. The coloring on the text is at random and isn’t separated into different categories. The good thing about the website, however, is that the biggest font is the Cinderella Photography Studios which shows it’s importance but down below there’s a bunch of fine small print which is too small to read and therefore strains the eyes; it’s just squished in with all the other text on the site. Also, there’s no sidebar on the left, right, or top showing options but instead there’s more hyperlinks when you scroll down which serves as a nuisance. I don’t like that everything is extended onto one page and that there’s no side bars to make things easier; the infinite scrolling to get to the many different things of text doesn’t make it any easier either. 

Picture 6

The red font is slightly bigger than the purple font but are hard to read with the distracting repeating background. Also the big WEVA ad takes all the attention away from the text. 

Picture 7

The very fine print I was talking about earlier is above all the randomly colored hyperlinks and is too small to read. There’s too much information on this website to know what to read or where to click and go. 

Picture 17

If you look at the image above, there are these colorful links that lead to other pages that show their clients, cameras, prices etc. I decided to click on the first link which is *Love Walks*Weddings*New Clients*Old Movie Conversion and it lead me to the page (image) above. Also I just realized that by clicking on these different words within the asterisks leads you to different pages. In short, instead of having a sidebar that separates these categories, they have asterisks to separate them which leads to a lot of confusion considering it’s all on the same line and underlined. Anyways, going back to the page above, it shows the different couples on another page and this time shows these really gaudy heart gifs next to their names which are clickable links to another separate page (posted below).

Picture 18

The new website leads to another tacky background with the couple’s image and a youtube video underneath. I don’t understand why there aren’t more photos displayed for the couple. I don’t understand why there’s no extended portfolio of the couple. 

In conclusion, just looking at the website and trying to figure out makes me frustrated and gives me an eyesore. If the website doesn’t look professional and well kept, why will anyone gravitate and give you their business? Now onto a better/more refined website:

Example 2Rebecca Ruth Photography

Picture 14

The website is clear and simple. There’s no annoying repeating or overlapping ugly backgrounds to distract the viewer. The visual hierarchy is evident up at the top bar. The top bar acts as a rollover bar when you hover above the different categories; the navigation is nice and easy to read. There’s also a nice wedding image taken by the photographer on the far right which balances out the text on the left. 

Picture 15

I clicked on the portfolio link and it navigated to another page where it shows two different separated sections labeled our portfolio and recent weddings. This is easy to read considering the two sections are separated by a line and symbol. Nothing’s squished and everything’s separate from one another unlike the previous Cinderella website. 

Picture 16

Here’s another image of the portfolio page where it shows the different couples and their pictures. I find it to be really balanced with the couples’ names and their big photos right underneath it. Also Rebecca Ruth added small thumbnail photos of their wedding on the right of the big photo which is a nice visual effect; you can click on the thumbnails and they pop up in another smaller screen magnified. 

In conclusion, this website is much easier to navigate around and doesn’t have annoying text and images squished together all into one. There’s good feedback, visual hierarchy, minimal noise and clearly defined areas which are all things Krug wants.

My view:

Picture 21

Picture 23

I just used the Bella Pictures website layout as a template since i’m not good at using photoshop or illustrator and blanked out the Bella Pictures text and replaced it with Cinderella  since both websites are similar. This is a more refined website now with a rollover menu on top of the page which makes it easy to find things. There’s even a Check Availability and Contact Us button in pink in the upper right hand corner which stand out; along with that there’s gray links that direct you to Client Center, Wedding Look Up, Reserve and Payments. There’s also an array of images right above the text describing the site which makes the website look balanced. This refined site is now easy to navigate around, has a clear hierarchy, and effective feedback. It’s user friendly and isn’t gaudy or flashy anymore. Now it looks as though it would draw in potential customers instead of scaring them away.

Written by minjikwon

October 14, 2009 at 3:48 pm

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