Pencil Vs. Camera by Ben Heine (Review)

(Flickr prevents me from including the photo’s on this blog post, to see the full collection vist Ben Heine’s Flickr site from the link on the bottom of the page)

Ben Heine’s Pencil vs. Camera art collection is unlike any other piece of art I’ve seen. When I see photography, I don’t immeditely think art, but it reality photography is just a form of art. The way Heine includes drawings over photographs makes the images scream art. Each image is innovative, interesting, unique and overall a masterpiece of the digital form in art.

While I’m still in debate whether or not these are photoshoped or actual demonstrations, this does not take away from the creativeness and quality of the collection. The use of hand drawn paper over a photograph doesn’t seem like a innovative idea, but the way Heine creates this work makes the collection pop. The uniqueness of each image and the quality of each drawing is at the top of the charts.

Most pictures are accompanied with a poem that adds to the work as well. Also each image has a tag box that provides poems or relevant information that adds to the work and informs the viewer about the piece.

My favorite image is number 12, the image with the two donkeys with sunglasses and wild faces. This image draws me into it for some reason. Donkeys are fun animals that often show some type of emotion when around people. The addition of faces to these donkeys as a brilliant device to add personality and charm to these visually simple animals.

Another favorite image of mine is number 4. The image is quite and alone, but the quality of the work and how the lines match up are magnificent. This image seems almost real life just without color.

Image 26, I believe, makes the collection whole. The image flips the collection by putting an image over a drawing. This great piece that seemingly makes the collection pop and brings a lot to the collection as a whole.

Overall, this collection bridges the analog and digital in an amazing way. It forms new and old forms of media in an almost seamless and natural way. Bravo to Ben Heine for creating such a magnificent collection.

To find the full collection of this art collection by Ben Heine, visit here.

To find more information about Ben visit his website here.

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Trans-Media Plans for The Nature Conservancy

Our plans for Trans-Media uses for The Nature Conservancy from class is as follows:

Photos – Before and After photos about restoration, clean up, sustainability.

  • Before and After photos can demonstrate the work and effort of the Conservancy group. Showing that their efforts are actually impacting the places their working instead of words just describing the work. Visual imagery impacts people more than words.

Video – Spotlight different campaigns that a single photo or map couldn’t sustain.

  • Video’s create an emotional attachment through sound, sight, and a complete emotional draw. The combination of words, images and sounds creates pictures and scene unlike any other media type can create.

Maps – Locations of work, map wildlife corridors, and weather patterns

  • Maps physically show the location of impacted area. Words can tell and describe a location, but maps give a real world connection to the viewer. When somebody reads about a problem, the physical location doesn’t create an image in their mind. By showing how close it is to them, or people they care about, a larger impact could be made on them.

Website – Interactive to show ways and locations for a user to get involved with the program.

  • By drawing all of the above together, the website can provide a platform where everything comes together. By putting all of this content on a single place, people can see everything easily and efficiently. A website also incorporates forms of feedback and interaction for the viewer. Hosting all of these media types from above, then creating feedback and interaction forums, the dynamic between the Conservancy and other supporters is endless. 
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New Forms of Print Media

NewspapersPrint media is one of the first forms of communication that aggregated information to the masses. This isn’t a story about the history of print media or where the industry is at today, but it’s a look at what print media has overcome and what it is about to face in the very near future. Print media has outlasted many different news sources over its history. The most popular were the radio and television. But these mediums didn’t threat print media like the most current threat is.  Television and radio presented content in a different style and form. There were pictures and words. Sound and visual imagery played a part in the content. At both times when these two technologies were introduced, some people left print media in the dust, but the form never disappeared, print media will never be replaced.

However, there is a threat unlike any other coming to the plate. The web.

The web has been around a while and has only impacted printed media sales in a minute manner. But now is the scariest times for analog print. Before the revolution of the smart phone, netbook, and tablet computer, the only way to access the web was through a personal computer. The adoption rate of computers in homes was relatively low until roughly five years ago. Although a majority of the population had web enabled cell phones, the adoption of smartphones and smart phone prices were still at a point to where only the rich and elite had them.

Now that almost every home has immediate access to some form of the web, print media is facing the toughest challenge. The free access to news and content that is found on the web has made some people walk away from their newspaper and magazine subscriptions. Now that tablet computers are being introduced into mainstream consumer electronics, the form of magazine and newspaper is being replicated. Users are now able to replicate the feeling of holding newspapers or magazines with iPads and Kindles.

Analog print media for the first time in its history is facing a direct competition. It should be very interesting how analog media conforms to the new competition. The bigger question is will newspapers still be around in ten years.

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The “New” Government

When President Obama was elected into office, one of the main points of his campaign was to create a more open government. Obama wanted to open up to the public so that the American people had access and an open view to governmental actions. This new level of open government would lead to a new level of accountability and was ment to mend the gap between the government and the American people that was created over the course of history.

Not only did Obama want to create a more open and accountable government, a big issue was creating avenues to share government data and information easily with the general public. This was to be done on the web with the aid of web 2.0 technologies. One of the most visible changes since the Obama administration is the redesign of the White House homepage. Efforts have also included easy access websites that track government spending, using new technologies to make the public more aware about the government actions that directly affect their lives and issuing the Open Government Directive which requires all governmental organizations to share information and data on a regular basis on a centralized website.

All of these efforts are in the public view and people can see direct effects of these initiatives. However, what I find more interesting and what David Eaves and other political activists push for is a more internally open government. A lot of what Eaves talks about is seeing government as a platform or network. He uses the term E – Gov. which is the idea of how to get government online and interact within itself and people. In todays current form of operation, there is a very slim chance or even zero chance the government organizations are working with each other. The reason is because there is no channel of communication established between organizations. Organizations seem to operate without knowledge of the other organizations around them. If government can’t communicate with its self, then why should we expect the government to easily communicate with the public?

Internal communication is the key for a more efficient and open government. With the government being able to source its self for overlapping task that involve multiple organizations a better functioning government is created. The implementation of a government “Facebook” could aid in the effort to open the government up publicly. For public openness to happen, internal openness must occur first.

Government 2.o is already underway but has a very long way to go. For more information about Gov. 2.o, visit the Gov. 2.0 summit website here. For more information about E-Gov, visit the Wikipedia article found here. To find out more about open and transparent government efforts visit the Sunlight Foundation here.

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The Five Days.

What would you do if you had no connection with the world for five days? Lived completely isolated, had no human interaction whatsoever? You had no contact with your friends, family or colleagues. You lived your life totally alone. That’s what most young adults would say going without Facebook for five days would feel like. Now you might be saying, “Well, I could do it,” and you’re probably right. However, for some people the mere thought of taking away a part of life we have come to depend on is shocking. Here is my experience of going five days without Facebook.

In the movie “The Social Network,” Mark Zuckerberg says that he is “taking the entire social experience online.” When I first heard this, I realized he saw Facebook as an extension of the social interaction we experience everyday. Even though Facebook has become more than that now, this concept is still evident on the site.

When I log on to Facebook, I see three levels of friends on my friends list. The first level are the friends that I physically interact with everyday. On the second level are the friends I have a deeper relationship with but don’t see on a regular basis. For me, they’re friends from Austin where I recently moved from. On the third level are friends from childhood or high school that have found me on Facebook. This is the largest group of friends that I have on the site. Continue reading

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40 Minutes Without Connection

When assigned the task of reading for forty minutes uninterrupted, I didn’t really believe that it was a big deal. I often read for much longer than that but with distractions. I always have my phone or laptop near me to check Twitter and Facebook.

So I didn’t really think much of this when I started. The reading was not very eventful. But what happened after the reading was. I had been away from Internet and social networks for roughly an hour and the strange thing was I didn’t really have an urge to go back to the social world on the internet. I then tried to accomplish some homework and other tasks while I wasn’t being drawn back to the internet.

As soon as I started in on the homework, without even knowing what I was doing, within five minutes, I was on Facebook. I didn’t have the intention or want, I was just browsing the Internet for the homework assignment, and Facebook used it’s “gravity” and pulled me in.

It’s amazing how I didn’t even think about going to Facebook, it just happened. After Facebook, also without thinking, I was on Twitter. I was scanning through my feed and started to fall away from homework to just wasteful time on the Internet. The ability to just find things in my Twitter feed that I wouldn’t normally find on the Internet fascinates me.

Not being connected wasn’t a problem, I didn’t even realize it, but as soon as I was able to be connected, my web browser somehow ended up on the social web.

The next class assignment is one week without Facebook, I know I won’t be able to stay away from Facebook my self because it is on every device I own, so I will have a friend change my password so that I stay away from Facebook.

Note – never write a blog post on an iPad, it’s a horrible experience!

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“iPadification of the web” – Is it upon us?

Yesterday, Christina Warren published a story on Mashable about the “iPadification of the web” (quote from the article). She writes about how websites are changing the way developers design websites to feel more like iPad Apps. Although I agree with Christina that this “phenomenon” is happening, her article seems to be biased and does not show very good examples.

Story on Mashable!!!

The article gives three example websites that have “transformed” to the iPad design style. The examples are, Apple’s web app for its Mobile Me service. The next example is the Twitter, and the design change that is currently undergoing. Lastly, she shows the New York Times website compared to its current iPad app.

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The reason I find these examples inadequate is because they are either Apple branded sites, or organizations that are known to work closely with Apple on apps and mobile development. These company’s are known to be on the cutting edge of Apple technology and are always the first to have Apple ready sites. Of course Apple is going to design its own apps to be complaint with their products, and company’s that work closely will always want to satisfy Apple’s demands so that the company will keep them in close arms.

Although I agree that the web is taking a shift toward sites that are mobile compliant and have the Web 2.0 look and feel, I don’t believe this is the result of one product. The ability to create Web 2.0 applications and websites on the web and offer them over broadband to more and more users everyday is what is creating this shift. Also the technology that’s found on the web, is now being shifted over to the mobile devices such as HTML 5 on the iOS system.

It will be a while until we see the majority of websites that operate and have this look and feel to them. The majority of the web is still not up to speed with Web 2.0 and until that shift occurs, the web will still be viewed from a computer browser mainly. Also, until tablets like the iPad, as well as the iPad, gain more market share and penetrate the laptop market more, companies will not focus on tablet development of websites and apps as their main focus. They will sick to creating sites and apps for the PC.

Being an iPad owner, I hope the “iPadification of the web” occurs. As Steve Jobs said at the iPad unveiling, “It’s like holding the web in your hand.” Like I said before, until tablets gain enough market share and development is targeted at the tablet market more than the PC market, my opinion is that the iPad is like “holding a nice window that looks out onto the web and surf’s it with cool hand gestures.”

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The World of Wikipedia

Sometimes when I’m working on a project, I wonder to my self, “Where would I start if it wasn’t for Wikipedia.” Wikipedia is a great tool and makes my life as well as many others lives easier. But how has Wikipedia changed how students go about research and learning? I’m not an expert, but I would like to share my experience with the site and what I have benefited and learned from many years of use.

My first introduction to Wikipedia was my freshman year of high school. At my high school, every student was issued a laptop and had access to the web without limits. I remember one of my friends walking into my computer science class carrying his laptop and saying “Look what I changed on Wikipedia!!! I put [Teacher’s Name] picture under dictator!!!” Everybody in the class was amazed that our English teachers picture was the main picture for the dictator article on Wikipedia. After a forty-five minute rampage of students editing articles and changing pictures, our school’s IP address was blocked from editing. The picture for dictator as well as some other major changes that we had made lasted on the site all of ten minutes. Some minor changes, like misspelling words lasted a couple of days, but overall, the rampage was deleted off of Wikipedia altogether.

This little story took place late in 2003 and as you can see, even then Wikipedia was on top of our little attack. For my most of my high school life, teachers would not let us use Wikipedia even to a point that it was blocked for about a week because of the abuse of the technology from the student body. But as Wikipedia progressed and expanded teachers slowly let the use of Wikipedia into the classroom.

Todays Wikipedia has even more official editors as well as more peer review editing. This is benefiting the site because the accuracy and the level of the content is getting better everyday. Wikipedia has established guidelines that guide the editing and who and who can’t edit articles. For high profile articles, only certain people can edit, but for smaller articles, almost anybody can edit articles.

Part of class this week was to find an article that I knew a lot about the subject matter. Then to search through it and either add or edit the article. I picked the article about the Dallas Stars. I noticed that the information about where their minor league team was located was rather vague. I edited the article so it more accurately described where the team was located. This isn’t a big change, but I enhanced the accuracy of the article just a little.

If everybody can just further make little parts on articles more accurate all the time, Wikipedia could end up just as well respected as book encyclopedias. If the community keeps this trend, the amount and accuracy on the site will be great. It will turn in to a great tool for future generations to use and to further add and change.

It’s neat that Wikipedia seems to be always progressing and that it contains fresh and new material. When you go to an article, you know you are getting the most up to date information about the subject matter.

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Active Participation for Television

ABC recently announced a new app for the iPad. Its called My Generation Sync. In a nutshell, this app syncs to the show that’s playing on the television and as the show is going on, the app will pop up questions or polls. It can also provide character bios and information pertaining to the show. From researching ABC’s promotional page, I think the app is nifty.

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Continue reading

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Game Center, Apple’s Other Social Network

GameCenter on iPhone's

Not long ago Steve Jobs stood on a stage at Apple headquarters and announced Ping!. Many claim it is Apple’s first real dive into the social networking scene. But even before that, Jobs spoke at an Apple Special Event just after the iPad launch to introduce iOS 4. Included in that launch was Game Center.

Continue reading

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