Archive för Technology-category

Mapping St Petersburg

Tayga is an experimental platform for people within arts and cultural in central St Petersburg.

A group of artists managed to convince the landlord to let artists use this large empty building for art production, meeting-places, and networking, instead of leaving it empty and rundown. Art studios, a small shop, meeting rooms, a garden for music and other events, media, video showroom etc have been built up since then. And the deal is simple: The artists pay low rent to keep the facilities in shape.

One of the artists work with video art and mapping in the artistic collective Tundra. Sasha Sinitza has worked with different projects with Tundra, for example they did the interesting piece Void to try to visualize emptiness.

Mapping is becoming more and more interesting and the Tundra has explored this art form to the full extend, showing work both in a four-wall room with four projectors simultaneously working, and on buildings outside.

29 november, 2013

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Business or Humanities?

One of the success stories of Stanford University, with it’s premises in Silicon Valley outside San Francisco (US), is, it’s said, to be its close relation to the businesses in Silicon Valley. It’s a symbiotic relationship. They nurture each other and many success business stories have started at Stanford; Google, Facebook, Instagram, Apple, Hewlett-Packard.

Leland Stanford, a Republican governor in the late 1800s and who made a fortune from Central Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads, and his wife decided to found a University in their late son’s name. Stanford University opened its doors in 1891 and the device was that the University should not become an ivory tower, but ”qualify students for personal success, and direct usefulness in life”.  From the start, the close relationship to private funding, corporate research funds, and venture capital for start-ups, first for innovations in radio and broadcast media to todays digital technology, has been a base for the University.

The story can be read in The New Yorker (April 30, 2012) and gives an interesting light on the success story behind business ideas developed at Stanford and the philosophy behind it. But also the dangers of such a focus on success and making money.

The campus life and the atmosphere at Stanford is described as open to ideas, easy going, ”people are willing to try things”, risk-taking, access to venture and risk capital, creative. But there are also questions raised if Stanford has the right balance between commerce and learning, between getting skills to make it and intellectual discovery for its own sake? Is corporate money stearing research priorities?

David Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, who has also taught for many years at Stanford, express his worries that students uncritically incorporate the possibilities of Silicon Valley, but it’s a lack of students devoted to the liberal arts and the idea of pure learning. The one and simple question stearing choices is: What will I get out of it?

The philosophy now promoted at Stanford is the ”interdisciplinary education” and getting students to become ”T-shaped”, that is they have depth in a particular field of study and breadth across multiple disciplines. Social skills are put forward and an effort is to put together students with different majors (engineering, business, medicine, science, design) to together solve real or abstract problems.

David Kelley, the founder of design firm IDEO, is also director of Institute fo Design at Stanford (d.school), and is driven by the mission to lift empathy in his students. He wants the students to learn to see the human side of the challenges posed in class and that way provoke creativity.

Still, fewer students get into liberal arts and humanities and many become, as said by a senior Miles Unterreiner, ”slaves to the dictates of a hoped-for future”. Students become instrumental and only get majors in subjects that lead to jobs, something also supported by Universities.

It’s an interesting development. Reading Steve Jobs story and listening to many of his talks, he puts two processes next to each other as crucial for his success: The development of technology and the liberal arts.

The post is based on the article in The New Yorker (April 30, 2012) ”Annals of higher education. Get rich U.There are no walls between Stanford and Silicon Valley. Should there be?” by Ken Auletta. The photo is from a TED talk on the web.

Read more from posts on IDEO, San Francisco, and the Arts from our visit in 2008 here and posts on other interesting US visits here. Read also here the report from Svenskt Näringsliv which last year promoted less money to humanity education in Sweden, a very criticized report.

 

25 juni, 2012

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Back to the future 2

The second day in Bangalore started with a meeting with Shyamal Mehta, one of the co-founders of TechJini, a company with a very impressive track record when it comes to mobile applications. He showed us no less than 25 iPhone applications, ranging from business and travel to news and games applications, many of them built for foreign companies.

TechJini could absolutely be interesting for us, since they already built a store front for an American childrens book publisher, including inbuilt reader. They have also built store fronts for OEMs.

The third day we met with Zunaa, a relatively new company, only five months old but already having eight people employed and currently hiring four more. The shared offices, and some services, with a few other companies, among them an online advertising agency, in a very posh building. The attitude here was more laid back and in some ways more like home. Perhaps it is a telling sign that Zunaa’s flagship application is the popular Indian game Tiger and Goat, available in Apple’s app store for two dollars. But they have also developed a blog service, connected to the users google account, Voar.

The mobile application development branch is practically exploding in Bangalore. On the fourth day we attended the Mobile developer conference, arranged by Silicon India. The conference was unfortunately sponsored by Nokia, a very evident fact that nobody could miss. As an example, one of the keynotes turned into a product presentation for Nokia’s latest line of communicators. That was actually quite hilarious, as the keynote speaker asked the audience if any of them had owned a Nokia communicator. About half of them raised their hands. Impressed, the keynote speaker asked them how many enjoyed the experience. Nobody raised their hands, not a single one. People started laughing about the situation.

But the first four keynotes and the following panel debate were very interesting and gave a good perspective of the present mobile application market and what to expect form the future. Some important topics that were raised:
-    Cross platform compatibility. The situation here seems much more diversified than in Sweden, with no OEM dominating. Having your application ported to several operating systems becomes more important.
-    UI/UX. The market is evolving and the user interface and experience is now as important as the functions of the application.
-    Business models are changing every 12 months.
-    The life span of an application before it needs major function and/or UI updates is 3-5 months.
-    Few mobile application development companies have the stamina to stay in the business after the first critical 12 – 18 months.

For the future we can expect applications that takes advantage of the mobile handsets inbuilt core technology, like sensors, gyroscope and GPS. We will probably see more kinds of sensors in the phones. Locality seems to be a trend and we should probably expect more location based ads, as well as a development of money transfer functions beyond mobile banking.

The conference was filled to the last seat with mostly young developers. Unfortunately, and probably due to Nokia’s sponsorship, the sections dealing with iOS and Android development very much smaller than the one dealing with QT, Nokia’s newly acquired cross-platform application framework. Although we had registered late and paid the 500 Rs entrance fee online just the night before, we managed to sneak into the iOS section after some haggling.

The keynote there was very basic in nature, an in itself interesting fact. Apparently, judging from the following questions, many developers had come there almost as a sort of extra curricular activity. That really shows the hunger for knowledge within the development sector here in Bangalore.  We couldn’t help wonder how many Swedish engineer students that would take their Saturday off school to attend a full day, paid conference – sharing knowledge they really should be getting as a part of their education.

Outside the iOS auditorium we met Indpro, a Swedish mobile application development company, based in Bangalore since the last 3 years. This is probably becoming more and more common, as many customers in the field of applications already are foreign companies. For long time relations, it makes sense to establish a local presence or partnership, just like Nätverkstan are doing with NamNätverkstan.

The night before the conference, we had updated our project specification and took the chance to discuss it with some of the attending developers. Many were interested but very few seemed skilled enough to make serious offers. At the end of the day it was still a very worthwhile experience for us, to be hurdled directly into the epicentre of Bangalore’s emerging mobile application development scene and to learn more about the challenges it’s facing, and what the market looks like.

Text: Carl Forsberg, Nätverkstan

26 januari, 2011

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Frankfurt Book Fair 2010. Digitization, Adorno & Vampire erotic with sex

Iqbal, Pakistan & Knut, Norway

I was invited by The Goethe Institute. They have arranged a trip for journalists, publishers and other persons connected to the publishing world. Our group was a very international with guests from Pakistan, Palestine, Ukraine, Malta, Qatar, Tajikistan, Myanmar and Norway. The persons in the group were very interesting and we learned a lot from each other. With a little bit of luck there will be some cooperations in the future. Nätverkstanwise my main task for this trip was to look at the current debate about the digitization of the bookworld. Some conclusions:

Digitization is here.

It was the main topic of many, many discussions. At the fair they had a special subfair about digitization. It was called Hot Spots and the main theme had the title “Where Content meets Technology”. Before the fair actually started there was a conference in cooperation with O’Reilly media and their annual conference Tools Of Change. The programme was very impressive and many of the discussions where spot on for the Swedish debate.

Two years ahead of Sweden.

The international (mainly the US) development in the book market is two years ahead of Sweden. Here can you have a look at the changing consumer patterns, new devices and other future trends. This does not mean that what’s happening in the US will happen here, but it will give you some indications. The figure about actually selling e-books was probably the most interesting. The expectation for the US Christmas market is that e- books will have a market share of 12% of all sold books. And it’s increasing. The reason is simple: Reading devices.

Ipad is still #1.

At one of the Hot- spots there where an exhibition of reading devices. For a tech- geek it was like Christmas. Many Korean and Chinese companies showed their latest products. Sadly enough they where not so impressive. The Ipad is still #1 in each and every way.

Magazines/ journals for the iPad

This morning my wife woke me up with the question: Do you want the morning paper or the iPad? Of course I wanted them both. But this will not be the question in the years to come. At this year Frankfurt Book fair many of Germanys leading morning papers had iPads at their stand. The result wasn’t too impressive. My main conclusion is that they have not used this new format enough. It’s still the traditional morning paper, but on a led screen. But to be fair, the iPad was released April this year. The future is here, but the very interesting is still yet to come.

But what about the books?

Jonathan Franzen. Freedom was the major book on this fair. After reading the first 200 pages I must say: Believe the hype. It’s like the film American Beauty, but on acid. It has everything that made The Corrections one of my favourite novels. But Franzen is few years older and a more mature writer.

Trends/ hype. The next big thing after Stephanie Myers Twilight epos is “Vampire erotic with sex”. When Myers is a little bit puritanical, the next writers in this genre are not.

But my best buy at this book fair was made outside the gates. Our guide Stefan took us to a small antique bookshop in the centre of Frankfurt. There I bought a signed copy of Theodor W. Adornos Zur Metakritik der Erkenntnistheorie. Studien über Husserl und die phänomenologischen Antinomien. Thank you Stefan for showing me the long tail!

Text & photo: Olav Fumarola Unsgaard


Stefan, our Guidemangakids1

15 oktober, 2010

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Filemaker Development Conference 2010. Part two.

As one of more than thousand developers from all over the world that attend the Filemaker annual conference I can choose between over 80 sessions in little more than three days. Unfortunately I can´t attend every session I find interesting; there are just too many going on at the same time. Today at nine, just after breakfast, I have to decide whether to attend a session named Improve Quality, Reuse Code, and Program Efficiently or another named Speaking the Same Language. Understanding Your Client and Helping Them Understand You. Two very interesting topics but I have to choose one before the other. The first one is compelling but the second is more what I need, to be honest.

The main theme this year Connect with your world is well mirrored in the schedule and you find sessions on PHP, SQL and ESS but, again, Filemaker Go is the talk of the day. With Filemaker Go on an iPhone or iPad you can reach your Filemaker solutions from any place but the office. That makes sense. I bought an iPad and I am impressed. It’s way better than I expected it to be. In Sweden you have to wait until fall to get a piece but when it comes it will be a big hit. I am Sure!

I attended a very scary session called File Maintenance and recovery: tools and Best Practices. The speaker was Alexei Folger and she was awesome. Really bad stuff can happen with files but there are some good techniques and strategies to prevent a disaster. But it was a bit creapy to here in a theatrical voice ”…and then you are in big trouble!”

homerpainting

Devcon is an International conference with developers from different parts of the world but the typical attendee is American, actually. At least you can say it’s an Anglo Saxon world. I have seen or talked to people from Britain, Australia and New Zeaand but not from the Latin world or Asia. There is a lot of attendees from Japan.

Its´s striking how big Filemaker is in the US. I learnt that Filemaker is used in schools, universities, really big coorporations and in govermental offices. On a high percentage.

Tonight we enjoyed a dinner at the USS Midway in the San Diego Harbor. The ship was on duty as late as in the Dessert Storm. Dinner was served on the actual flight deck and during the Californian sunset we listening to live music zipping a drink or could hear docents telling stories how it was once up on the time… One of the best moments so far.

This morning I finally got my suitcase from the airport. It was lost in Frankfurt during the stop over and I had to buy new clothes every day while img_0880waiting for the trunk to arrive to my hotel. The downtown hotel, by the way, is something extra. Its very old with an interior like those in a horror movie but with a very helpful staff.

To morrow is my last day in San Diego!

Written by Christian Stensöta

Christian Stensöta is a colleague at Nätverkstan in charge of database and Filemaker solutions for the cultural and civil society field. He is visiting the Filemaker Development Conference 2010 in San Diego, USA, August 15-18.

Devcon:
http://www.filemaker.com/developers/devcon/

Filemaker Go:
http://www.filemaker.com/products/filemaker-go/for-ipad/

Horton Grand Hotel:
http://www.hortongrand.com/

19 augusti, 2010

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Filemaker Development Conference 2010

It was a Grand Opening!

On four giant screens we could see the a thin and charismatic man given us the facts: the numbers are great, the future is bright. A big Wheel in the Sky. The speaker was the president of Filemaker Corporation Dominique Goupilon in his keynote speech. A fairly short but intense opening speech was followed by appearances of the company´s engineers. One after the other they went on stage to describe new features and the crowd was ecstatic!

Chief engineer Andrew LeCates made some entertaining presentation of FilemakerGo, a new and promising product on the IOS platform. Filemaker on iPhone and iPad. This is the most interesting aspect of Filemaker for the moment and I am going to attend every session on that topic during the conference.

The opening session was over and time to party. Live music, food and drinks and lot of networking. Tomorrow agenda is packed with sessions from 8 in the morning until 10 in the evening and I can hardly wait…

Written by Christian Stensöta

Christian Stensöta is a colleague at Nätverkstan in charge of database and Filemaker solutions for the cultural and civil society field. He is visiting the Filemaker Development Conference 2010 in San Diego, USA, August 15-18.

Have a look at: http://www.filemaker.com/products/filemaker-go/for-ipad/

18 augusti, 2010

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Skifte – Reflections around work and everyday life

How do we look at work and employment? What is our relationship to working? How does time linger after people left? How do our perception and dreams change as we grow up? Are we prepared to do anything to reach our goals? What is meaningful work?

Skifte is a collective digital exhibition with filmmakers, animators, photographers, artists and poets, who all reflect on the theme work. Nine pieces showing different aspects and expressions, putting forward questions rather than answers. The exhibition is part of Medieverkstäderna i Väst, a collective of digital workshops in Region Västra Götaland, where members are visual artists, editors, photographers, poets and film makers.

Curator has been Stina Karlsdóttir Vestrin, who is also a student at Kulturverkstan. In the folder coming with the exhibition she writes:

”The fact that our work is one of the things forming us, building our identity and creating a community in a social context, we can all agree on, work is a central part of our lives. I would like, with this exhibition, to do some pounces in everyday working life and lift reflections around its structure. What is a job? What is a good job? Why do we work and what makes an honourable day’s work? The same occupation can in some cases be a job and in others not. In today’s society it’s more and more important to be adaptable and flexible on a more and more demanding labour market at the same time as the boarders between working life and leisure is erased. Working conditions is  constantly shifting and each time as its problems to solve.

The war of ants has disappeared from our TVs. The digital era has its own noise, its own war, other ants. Internet is today an obvious part of labour market. Fifteen years ago you hardly knew what it was, yet it has since changed labour for many people all over the world. It also affects those workers who don’t have access to computers. A shift has taken place. Changes can sneak on you slowly without us understanding a shift is on its way. What happens to our jobs? The new is growing out of the old, breaking out from it, against it, want to be free. It is in this contradiction that we find other ways and tramp our own tracks.”

The exhibition will be touring in Region Västra Götaland and is on Internet 25 of April to 24 of May 2009. Look at www.skifte.se and click for English. Download (in Swedish) the catalogue here: skifte_katalog.

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27 april, 2009

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Authors

Lotta Lekvall
Director of Nätverkstan, a Cultural Organisation in Sweden. Nätverkstan provides services …

Cultural and Social Entrepreneurship

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