Archive for April, 2007
Wayne Hodgins has posted a good “current news” article that points to a number of other online comments on the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative (the $100 computer). Wayne refers to Jeremy Allison’s article “A laptop to change the world” and Wayne quotes Jeremy’s final statement from the article “If it succeeds, I think it will change the world in ways we currently can’t envisage.” The second I start thinking about that I recognize that the Sugar interface that’s being built for the laptop which tag-lined this way – “Sugar is the core of the OLPC Human Interface. Its goal is to turn the Laptop into a fun, easy to use, social experience that promotes sharing and learning.” is what might accomplish this.
And I’m going to emphasize those words “sharing” and “social” – I think that’s where the laptop will have its greatest effect (that is IF they really can keep these computers networked). Computers and networks are for communication as much as they’re for computing. Actually FAR MORE for communication than for computing. (When was the last time you executed a good floating-point operation on your computer? In fact, do you know what a floating-point operation is?) Nope, you use your computer for communication far more than you do for computing.
Keep your eye on Sugar.
My friends are all over the map in terms of their opinions of the “$100 laptop” computer by the One Laptop Per Child [OLPC] project. They range from those who think it’s a total scam and rip-off (no link – anonymous for now) to those who are actively seeking to produce software for the computer.
But I was pointed at a really good “review” article today entitled The Laptop Crusade – Nicholas Negroponte’s $100 laptop is a sweet piece of engineering. But can it really change the world? By Tekla S. Perry in IEEE Spectrum online. It’s worth reading. [The picture at the left is the Sugar interface that kids will use to operate the computer and discover their communities.]
You may already know that my opinion is that the OLPC computer:
- Will actually work, and will be useful as a communications platform;
- Be somewhat “fragile” in the field, and difficult to keep operating;
- Cost more than $200 because nobody’s counting the cost of shipping, deploying and making it operational in the field.
All in all, I am positive about its potential and think that it’s worth tracking as the story unfolds.
I track the game-developer world to a limited extent (because I work on real-world pervasive games), and today I ran across an article by Andrew Clark in Gamasutra describing what he calls adaptive music. Very few online articles keep me reading from start to finish – and a four-part article is even less likely to do so.
Why did this article intrigue me so much? Well, first, I have been a musician (to some degree) since I was five years old; and second, I’ve been writing educational (computer-based) games and programs since 1978. And I’ve always wanted to incorporate sound and music when it was possible. At the age of 18 I was faced with a flip-the-coin decision between engineering and music. My piano teacher told me that I could embark on a life of music and perhaps if I worked really hard I could make it – but that it was more likely that I’d be a “talented amateur” rather than a successful professional musician. So I went with engineering, and ended up in computer science.
But when personal computers came along, I tried to incorporate music wherever I could. When I started a company (in 1980 – DesignWare) to create educational titles for kids and we started working on the new Apple-II, we had little musical themes that popped out of nowhere when the game started up.
The Missing Peace: Artists Consider the Dalai Lama has opened in New York (March 2007), after successful runs in Los Angeles and Chicago, but for you newcomers to my blog, I wanted to remind you of the great online virtual tour of the exhibit, that I first described in August 2006. The tour will continue to be online until, well until long after the physical exhibit no longer exists. The idea behind having a virtual tour was twofold: first, to provide a way that people could see the artworks who otherwise will not be able to get to a real-world showing, and; second, to provide a preview the would be of value to those attending the exhibit.
In fact, it’s probably also a great “reminder” or those who’ve visited the show and forgotten the details of what they’ve seen.
Here’s a part of Darlene Markovich’s description of the opening in New York – The event began at 6:30. As we approached the museum just before 6:00, we were amazed to see a long line of people waiting in the cold and rain outside the doors to get in! The museum stopped counting at over 1,000 people so we don’t have the exact count of attendees. It was a big hit!
The event was very well organized and beautifully arranged – the food was excellent. Just for a moment, I wondered if their events always had such a draw, but museum staff told me that this crowd even exceeded their very large and well-attended anniversary event!
To us, since just over 50% of the exhibition was shown (4th and 5th floors and lower level) , it appeared to be a much smaller show; however, the installation is absolutely beautiful and the juxtaposition of ancient Himalayan art with TMP art is outstanding. To a person unfamiliar with the full exhibition, it was a major (sized) show. Most people commented that it was wonderful to see contemporary art at the RMA. The energy level was Himalayan-high. So much so, strangers would comment about the artworks to each other.
Sixteen TMP artists attended, and, as well, art critic and advisory board member Lilly Wei and art critic Kay Larson. It was a lot of fun to receive Christo and Jeanne-Claude as they raised quite a bit of excitement in the crowd.
What lies behind this online tour?