Holiday Season

December 28, 2006

Back to Portugal for the Holidays! I really needed all this…

To be with my family, play with my niece, meet friends and even ride a TST bus for 1€ (now that’s novel). It’s good to know things are going well since I went to Linz… LOL!

I have still so many things to do that sometimes it is difficult for me to be everywhere and meet everyone I want to meet. Plus the Fiat Punto is almost sold now (I hope) and I still haven’t managed to borrow a car, or even rent one.

But nevertheless there will still be some time after the New Year party to meet some more people… and maybe time to go to the movies too, I’d love that.

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Flash back

December 20, 2006

Now that my Futurelab project is in tune-up and my trip back to Portugal for the holidays is near, I can kick back and blog some recent events.

I should start obviously with the PhD meeting at the Interface Culture Lab, where we had the visit from 3 students from Zürich. But nah, that’s top-secret. It vies in secrecy with the Futurelab project.

So let’s move on to the Tangible Interface Workshop. This rather complete lecture spanned two weeks under the good-willed of Martin Kaltenbrunner. Some really good background on tangible interface motivations and principles was provided and discussed. But the main practical focus of the workshop was the reacTIVision framework for computer vision – capable of recognizing some visually curious fiducial marks, finger input and (futurely) other types of fiducial marks and general shapes – which constitutes the computing foundation for the reactable, a colaborative tangible musical instrument. We even got the chance to try out the reactable (I’m asking Santa for one) and even attempt to overload it with objects. Now we were left with the table to take care of. It needs some adjustments, which I will perform when I come back from Portugal. Here’s a pic of one of the classes.

Tangible Interface Workshop - Interface Cultures 2006

In the weekend that marked the start of December (and right in the middle of the two weeks of Tangible Workshop) I traveled to Darmstadt. This trip was well planned, for it was at the same time an occasion to meet Carsten Magerkurth, whose work with hybrid tabletop games I find inspiring (and it sort of appeals to the D&D gamer in me), and also to participate in the pre-TIDSE06 Little Red Cap workshop on authoring for interactive storytelling, where I met some interesting (to say the least) people and had some bites out of Rottkäpchen pizza (“not a joke” was written on the pizza menu). As the French would have said, j’ai une faim de loup. Also between these two events, I found lots of time to despair with thread programming for Windows and a little bit of time to visit the Christmas market in the center of Darmstadt. Here’s a pic of a wossname* right in the center of the rather cosy market. Can anybody tell me what this thingy is called? I should have asked, I know. When will I learn to properly play the tourist?

A very interesting… wossname!

And now for the funniest of all: after all of the above I managed some time to take part on a video shoot for a students’ project. The short sequence happened at a sushi bar, and concerned a young couple’s meeting that would turn to an angry argument. Of course I didn’t understand much of it, altough I was explained. But then again I only had to sit at a table wearing my Punisher t-shirt, listening to some good old metal on my Shuffle while drumming the chopsticks on the table, acting completely oblivious the lover’s quarrel all along. That wasn’t so hard, as you may imagine. And if you consider the all-you-can-eat sushi, I was close to heaven.

Well, I’m getting kind of sleepy now. There are some more things to log about but sorry, they will have to wait ’till tomorrow. If I have the time, of course.

* I love that placeholder name, Terry Pratchett uses it a lot; for an interesting list of placeholder names see Wikipedia.

Cobwebs

December 19, 2006

Cobwebs, yes! It’s what this blog is, at the moment, all about. But I do promise I’ll write some more stuff tomorrow.

Anyway, it was a really good day today, especially having sushi lunch with Junichi (JP) and Kasia (PL). Also my Futurelab project is nearly finished, some minor tune-ups still missing, so this lunch was also for me some sort of celebration. Anyway, I’ll have to get seriously back on track with the PhD and also I know some work awaits me in IMG back in Portugal.

It feels s good to know I’m going back for the Holidays… I miss my niece sooooooooo much!

Let me breathe…

December 5, 2006

Busy week, this last one:

  • Interface Culture Lab doctoral students meeting;
  • moving from the evil Kolpinghaus to the famous Julius Raab Heim;
  • Martin Kaltenbrunner’s really cool Tangible Interface Workshop lectures;
  • trip to Darmstadt to meet Carten Magerkurth and to participate in the pre-TIDSE06 Little Red Cap workshop.

All this concurrently with my work for the Ars Electronica Futurelab… whew!

Oh and tomorrow I’ll be participating in a videoclip of sorts. When will I have time to write about ALL this?