Digital Upcycling

Darden (an instructor for BDW and project manager at mondo) brought up an interesting proposal about a week and a half ago. She wanted to do something with digital junk, but recycle it or modify it in a way that makes it more valuable to us than what it was before. She coined the term “Digital Upcycling”. She also gave us a week to produce something on the BDW Wall that would display the essence of what Digital Upcycling means.

After a couple days of brainstorming and tinkering, we were finally ready to put everything together. This timelapse captures part of the process:

Creating an upcycled installation from jesse weaver.

Max created the image and Patrick and Max painted it.

George and I created the hard drive speaker wall to the left.

Jesse, John and RJ created the beat machines that ran the hard drive speakers.

Sean created the little man with the glowing eyes.

Who Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up?

Today in Joe Corr’s class we were asked to pick 3 examples of people who have our dream jobs. I chose:

  1. Chris Coyier – because he’s an expert (or at least considered by many to be an expert) but he’s also an innovator. Over the past 4 years I have been following his site and community as he created it. As Chris learned our community of avid standards based coders learned as well. I chose Chris because he’s managed to transcend a boundary between “really really good” at something and “innovator” or “leader in the field” status. Not that I necessarily want to work with CSS all day or design for that matter, but simply, I would like to become a leader in the field of my choosing, whatever that happens to be.
  2. The guys/gals at Sparkfun. Again I don’t necessarily want to work with just hardware all day. I feel a variety of different technologies mixed with a little strategy would be a good fit for me…but these guys have it good. For one, they work at a small company (that also happens to be very financially stable). Second, some of these people get to play everyday! They come up with cool projects to either build or test and then do it! Who wouldn’t want to go to work everyday and get into something and not notice that they’ve passed by lunch and it’s already the end of the day?
  3. Tim Ferriss. He experiements with what he calls “life design”. Basically he’s just really good at cutting out the bullshit. As a result, he’s amazingly successful at different activities and hobbies he takes on in a relatively short amounts of time. If I had his job, I would be spending most of my time (the other 36 hours/week) innovating in different areas of technology and social entrepreneurship. Specifically, I would help entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs make companies in developing countries. I happen to believe, despite popular belief, that the entrepreneur is the central driving engine in building stable economies and by association lifting the poor out of poverty.

Interesting exercise.

Wordle – Beautiful Word Clouds

I love clouds, I love wordle…

When making up my resume…I decided to do a version in wordle just to see how it came out…turned out nicely IMO.

Wordle: resume for mike

I used the following words to describe me.

Flickr Plugin for WordPress

Recently I decided to take an ajax widget I made for a wedding website and turn it into a wordpress plugin. It turned out to be alot easier than I thought it would be!

The plugin goes something like this:

  1. The user must specify some information in the backend, specifically a username from which to grab photos.
  2. When the page loads, use a library called phpflickr to access the flickr API and grab some photos.
  3. Once we have the data, load in the thumbnails attached to each image, and link to the larger images.
  4. Then output everything on the page and include a simple yet robust pagination system for accessing new images.

Hooking the plugin up to prettyPhoto was a bit of a task…but wordpress makes ajaxifying widgets so easy now that it became my only real hang up in the entire process.

I’m currently in the process of cleaning up the code, commenting and registering it as an officially distributed wordpress plugin.

Here’s the end result:

Facebook and Wolfram Mashup

Recently Joe Corr showed us an example of the facebook api he’d been playing with. It allowed users to login via the facebook login button, then grab interesting information with the return data. In class we were playing around with several ideas:

  1. What if facebook could predict who you’ll be hooking up with after you break up with someone?
  2. What if facebook could predict who you’re most likely cheating with?
  3. What if we could predict how has a crush on you?

I came up with an idea to simply take the numbers that represent you i.e. your birthdate, facebook id, age etc. and run them through the Wolfram API to see what interesting information we might extract.

As it turns out, some of the most interesting information has nothing to do with numbers but rather information regarding your name.

Anyway, check it out!

John B. Winsor

I tweaked WordPress a bit and built a custom theme for John, a writer, who required a very intuitive backend interface. John’s goals were to crowdsource a novel and needed something more than a simple website/blog. He had a social media plan but also needed users to be able to submit their portions of a story that would be later published as a crowd sourced novel.

His target market are current/aspiring writers age 55 and up. He wanted a space where he could give advice, blog about writing/storytelling and allow other writers to submit their short stories. Among other things, he also wanted to promote his books on amazon.

Site design: Chris Znerold

Social Media: Denise Horton

Hosting: knownhost

Backend CMS: WordPress

Gluten Free Pantry

I made this site for my girlfriend to blog about gluten free living. She about everything from gluten free restaurant reviews and products to recipes and even health related products like skin care. She loves the site and the design works quite well with the overall tone.

Design: ivanov

Backend: WordPress

Hosting: Knownhost

Alice and Will get Hitched!

I was delighted when my good friend Alice asked me to do her wedding website. Of course I did it for free (what are friends for?). I chose a simple design to draw attention to these two lovebirds. The colors are more traditional Hawaiian (Since Alice is a native) and the font was chosen to convey a simple and fun aura. It was also a great learning experience.

I found out quickly that not building a backend content management system was a bad idea. Since launch, I have spent many hours doing back end maintenance to the site that could easily be done by the wedding party. In the future, I will remember to build a backend interface so I don’t have to manage content.

I also used this site to experiment with a bunch of jQuery plugins like sliders, lightboxes and timers. I feel all the technology I used were pertinent and add functionality rather than adding superfluous design elements and interaction. Additionally, all the information on the site exists in a single page served by several backend php functions, so it has wonderful SEO!

Design: Mike Newell & Indonez

Backend: Custom

Hosting: Knownhost