Augmented Reality: Browse Everything

The display of graphic information over real-time video is commonly referred to as Augmented Reality (AR). One’s initial experience with it was probably watching a football game on TV. It was a small miracle when the computer-generated first-down line magically stayed put while the camera panned. Players appeared to run over it, not under it. Camera angles changed, and the line remained. For a brief instant, it was cool. Now that has disappeared; it has become part of the game. In fact, it is part of nearly every TV sporting event. TV instances of AR technology are Pop Warner league compared to what is about to happen.

Tag the World
Layar is an app available for the android phone. It allows developers to lay photos, video, and text over live video on the phone. And it’s location based. So as you pan your phone’s camera over the food court, you can get information on which vendors are less likely to poison you (Are you listening, health inspectors?). Any content that is tagged shows up as information over what appears on your camera’s screen.

Be Recognized
What about people? TAT Augmented ID is an app that uses facial recognition technology from Flickr to identify a person and pull up available profile information about them. Think your online persona can’t follow you into the real world? Think again. Feel a Sandra Bullock movie here, anyone?

Need Directions?
Download Nearest Tube. It overlays subway station information onto live video on your iPhone. Point the camera down the street and get the distance to the nearest subway. The transportation, the restaurant, although…

Minority Report vs. Fight Club
There are two cinematic visions of AR that have manifested themselves in real life. Audiences swooned as Tom Cruise groped the gestural interface in Minority Report. His deftness at sifting through information felt almost inevitable. In reality, we got the iPhone and iPod touch. Small miracles, but not as grand an experience as we’d hoped for. Next, Ed Norton’s walking through his immaculately detailed apartment in Fight Club, with everything he owned displaying its name, price, and description. It was an IKEA catalog brought to life. And it was supposed to scare us. Instead, it influenced a whole generation of programmers and designers who are making it possible to overlay the real world with all kinds of digital information.

What we might find scary, though, is just how fast this kind of technology becomes commonplace. Will it be socially acceptable to scan strangers? Sure. Will there be virtual graffiti artists tagging the wonders of the world? Absolutely. Will we eventually forget how cool it is to use this stuff? Certainly.

UPDATE: Sean Kingston Augmented Reality Karaoke Yahoo Tech reports rapper Sean Kingston CD ships with an augmented reality component that lets visitors to Kingston’s site be part of a music video.

Good morning — eat or email?

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? You have a few choices: Attend to your biology, get something to eat, shower, stretch. Many of us are reaching for our laptops or cell phones before we even get out of bed.

The New York Times article yesterday notes that network usage is spiking much earlier than even a few years ago: “Arbor Networks, a Boston company that analyzes Internet use, says that Web traffic in the United States gradually declines from midnight to around 6 a.m. on the East Coast and then gets a huge morning caffeine jolt. ‘It’s a rocket ship that takes off at 7 a.m.,’ said Craig Labovitz, Arbor’s chief scientist.”

RoosterLast year, I would listen to NPR for a few minutes. Today, the clock radio is unplugged in favor of a cell phone charger. On more than one occasion, I have been awakened by the buzz of the first AP story alert of the day, or the first email from an early-rising colleague.

The first experiences of our day are critical to how productive we are during the day. Julie Morgenstern, the author of Never Check Your Email in the Morning, says no email for the first hour. In her opinion, email puts you into reactive mode to start the day, and you never catch up (video here).

Our morning routines will continue to evolve as technology integrates information into our lives. Is the fact that many of us reach for information before we reach for the cereal good news, bad news, or no news?

Experiences that click.

We help our clients delight their customers. We expand what’s possible for people to accomplish on the technologies they use every day. We love community, embrace advocates, and put experience first. Ultimately we want to help people achieve something big — our clients and their customers alike.

Our mission points toward a future where what people want to do is more important than how they do it. For now, the world is defined in terms of social media, online media, offline media, advertising, games, etc. But as those distinctions fade, what remains is the experience. One of our goals as an agency is making sure that with the diversity of work we do, we keep in mind that the customer has a goal. There is something they are trying to accomplish, and it’s not our job to get in the way. It’s our job to surprise them with how well they were able to achieve that goal.

The moment a customer has a great experience and feels empowered in the process, that’s an OIC moment.

Galapagos Syndrome

Once in a while a term comes along that resonates with some truth we all feel about technology. Kludgey was one — a perfect description for an interface or experience that was designed with blatant disregard for the user. Then there was ecosystem — the notion of a decentralized technical landscape where services are deployed in the cloud. Ecosystem emerged as a metaphor just when technology companies were trying to make substances like beryllium sound eco-friendly.

Now we have a phrase that combines the frustration a a poor user experience with urgency of an environmental disaster: Galapagos syndrome.

Galapagos syndromeThe Japanese develop amazing cell phones. They constantly lead the world in cell technology. Kids in Tokyo were using phones as digital wallets, and to read manga, while we were still enamored with the slide-away antenna on our StarTAC. Japanese phones are expertly adapted to life on the island, but they look like alien creatures to the rest of the world. The Japanese call it Galapagos syndrome — the creation of technology that develops independently of world markets. It makes a Japanese cell phone with e-wallet features we can’t use as appealing as a Gila monster in our pocket.

I imagine that this term used to describe all manner of closed technical systems. Social networks, and proprietary e-commerce solutions, will be vulnerable, as will any system or product that can’t be deployed in a global market on an open platform. The term creates a sense of urgency that implies that prevention or an antidote for the syndrome might be possible. So it’s perfect for your next IT meeting.

Objectified, The Film

Objectified is a film about product design. The documentary by Gary Hustwit, who also directed Helvetica, is a passionate look at the designers desire to create objects so perfect they seem almost inevitable. Early in the film former Braun Chief of DesignDetier Rams states one of his 10 principles of design “Good design is as little design as possible.” Gary takes the viewer into conversations with the luminaries of product design. There is a segment in Apple design studio with Jonathan Ive. Design firm IDEO takes the audience through a brainstorming session on a tooth brush design. Smart design reminisces the creating of the Good Grips handle from a bicycle grip. In one segment Andrew Blauvelt head of design at the Walker Design Center reveals why Japanese tooth picks are only sharp on one end.

Gary is an independent film maker. It is amazing what one man with a loptop and camera can do with a credit card. See this movie.


Graphic Designer

Who you are

  • An intellectually-curious graphic designer who knows how to create captivating designs that strengthen creative strategy
  • A whiz with Adobe Creative Suite CC
  • Someone who is never happy with the status quo and has a desire to continually optimize and improve their designs
  • Someone who excels in a team environment
  • Someone who is comfortable in a high volume, fast-paced environment
  • Friendly and participating collaborator, with a positive outlook & attitude
  • Ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously

Your qualifications

  • BA or AA in Graphic Arts or equivalent combination of experience and education; may be overlooked if portfolio and experience is strong enough
  • Proficient knowledge of MAC OS and Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign)
  • Two or more years as a professional graphic designer working with print and digital media, preferably under a Creative Director or Art Director
  • Strongly skilled in design, typography, color theory, grid, and layout
  • Strong multitasking, prioritization, and organization skills
  • Ability to self-edit to produce accurate and high quality work
  • Must have experience with print setup
  • Strong commitment to quality, design integrity, and innovation
  • Highly organized individual


  • Collaborate effectively with creative team members and other project stakeholders
  • Be a proactive communicator with all involved parties on a project
  • Close attention to designing within a client's brand standards
  • Respect all due dates and deadlines, communicate directly with project team to ensure project delivers on time
  • Be able to take projects from design through production for a wide variety of projects
  • Meticulously label layers, layer styles, organize swatches, etc.
  • Archive all projects according to department standard, and ensure most up-to-date files are available to other team members at any given time
  • Be reliable and punctual
  • Give lots of love to the office dogs

Bonus skills

  • Experience with photo re-touching
  • Thorough knowledge of keynote and or PowerPoint
  • Knowledge of HTML, CSS, jQuery, and/or JavaScript
  • Experience as a UI/UX designer

Note: Please send resume, portfolio link, and cover letter. Applicants will not be considered without providing a link to their portfolio.

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