Riffing on Books and Life – Arts & Sciences Literary Blog by interactive new media author & artist Terry Bailey

31Oct/10

Los Angeles with and without my brain (see previous post if you don’t know what this means)

okay, I had to do a new media piece as I ponder the world of color and sound we create in our brains only (see previous post). You must have Flash capability to see it - so your iPads and iPhones may have a hole where my animation is up there. I will get back to the Mozart story next week.

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23Oct/10

Back to Book Riffing – and Your Brain on Music

GeniusBookImagesAnimation

There is a lot of great stuff in this book. Definitely worth a read. But today I want to share a bittersweet moment that resulted from it. And a bit of a disagreement I have with it. Wait. I have to go get a cup of coffee before I do this. Often I riff from one of my favorite cafes, but today I am just sitting in my own studio listening to the LA Guitar Quartet (check them out!!!!) on my stereo.

Okay, coffee in hand. French Roast. The bittersweet moment. Every quarter I give a guest lecture in the Design Layout class for the web and interactive students at the college where I am developing a web and interactive department. They are college freshmen. It is like their third quarter. I start with a funny story about how I freaked the Disney Imagineering "students" when I used to teach staff there with my "everything you learned about color theory and the color wheel was a lie" lecture. In art school everyone has been studying Itten as the color God for, what, one hundred years? Well, he made it all up, and he was wrong.

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10Oct/10

Part 5: . . . and the Flash, iPad and mobile device saga continues: 1 step forward, 2 steps back

In her Insider Comment column in WEB Designer, Issue 173, Stephanie (Sullivan) Rewis states: "Long, Long Ago (in web years that is) we built our code to work in the browser that was currently the leader . . . . Life was tough. It was nearly impossible to make everyone happy." She then refers to the "Revolution" that held the promise of permanent cross-browser and cross-device WEB standards, and the end of our frustrations and "Best Viewed in . . . " WEB designer disclaimer. Standards based CSS and HTML were going to solve the lack of consistency issues and the world ahead looked rosy. Then came smartphones . . .

Rewis lays out an important historical development in WEB design, but the problem dates back even earlier. For many  interactive multimedia began with the WEB. That is actually when I was finally able to explain to my parents what it is that I do! But the current standards issues that many are tearing their hair out about today - because of the "move" from desktop to mobile devices - have multiple historical precedents.

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3Oct/10

Part 4: . . . and the Flash, iPad and mobile device saga continues

The WEB is Dead Wired article I mentioned in my prior post reminds readers of the distinction between the Internet and the WEB. An important distinction as we try to grasp our new media roles and the future of all. The Internet is best thought of as a delivery medium - it delivers the WEB and its "sites," but also iTunes, Netflix, phone apps, Facebook, email, online games, etc. The WEB is your browser and HTML. The Internet is apps. The WEB is open. Apps delivered over the Internet are closed.

The "problem" (as seen by business) with the wide open WEB is that business has not been able to harness it and make money off of it. For a time, it was thought that ads were the answer. But as more and more people have accessed the WEB, ad revenue has actually gone down. Because there is no concentration of people anywhere to make advertising worthwhile. The users are diluted all over the WEB. TV was a great example of the value of a media to advertising: when a show was popular, advertisers could count on a concentrated and captive audience. No such model has existed in the wide open WEB. And in open and closed Internet locales, like Facebook, users have simply not been watching or clicking on those banner ads. Yes, give us control, and we are more difficult to manipulate!

I run a WEB and interactive media department at a private art college in Los Angeles. People frequently call me, and parents meet with me, to ask about the future of the WEB and Internet. Since I took this position two years ago I have stated: we teach students to create content; the Internet is simply a delivery medium for content. Like a TV broadcast station. People often look at me askew when I say that. "But don't you teach them to code web pages and design user interfaces?" I tell them, "Yes, of course. But the important stuff we teach on my watch is how to conceptualize and develop compelling content, for that is where it is at."

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