Monday, July 19, 2010

(c) Joia Shillingford

Technology for art’s sake

What can technology contribute to art? The creators project, a partnership with chip-company Intel and style magazine Vice, sought to answer this question, or at least have fun exploring it.

The creators project is launching in five cities. First was New York, London was last weekend (Friday 16/Saturday 17) and Sao Paulo, Seoul and Beijing are to follow.

Among the exhibits was a chair that seeks to complement the colours of the sitter’s clothes (above) and bathe them in a halo of light.

Also popular were a forest with embedded music, a Triptych of light sculptures, which changed as people approached, and a modern take on old-fashioned computer games. Among the collaborators were London-born DJ and producer Mark Ronson (on the panel at Friday’s press conference) and fellow London musician Tinchy Stryder.

The project team began by selecting artists they wanted to work with in various cities but people are now contacting them and saying they want to be part of the global experiment.

Perhaps surprisingly, given its influence on popular culture, few of the exhibits had any connection with mobile communication. However, one of the projects under the creators umbrella - from Hojun Song of South Korea - is the Open Source Satellite Initiative, which “strives to give everyone the means to send his or her own little hunk of metal into orbit using a combination of everyday items like an iPod, a portable radio, and a modified directional antenna”.

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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Post-traumatic web loss

It was a tough week without the web for Nigel Hawthorn, European marketing manager at Blue Coat Systems, who took part in an FT Digital Business challenge to see if he could give it up.

Though back online, he has not forgotten the stress. He emailed me from Africa earlier this week, saying “I am in Nairobi in Kenya and keep on having flashbacks to not having access to the web. For example I was supposed to be picked up at the airport, but due to traffic the taxi driver didn’t make it. As I didn’t have the phone number of the hotel, I used the web to find it and call them.”

“If I’d still been on my week without the web, I might still be standing and waiting,” says Nigel, who also sent me the cartoon above. What can I say except: “There, there Nigel, it’s all over now.”

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A week without the web

Next week I am watching one man's struggle to live without the
internet for a week for the Financial Times.

You can read about Nigel Hawthorn, European Marketing manager of Blue Coat's experiences at

I'm delighted that today Nigel promised to restrict his access to
the internet at home, but a bit worried to hear on his Youtube post - at - that he has an Apple iTouch.

So I am posting a photo of him. If anyone sees this man on a train or in an airport using his iTouch in the week of September 21, please contact me urgently.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

(c) Joia Shillingford

One to watch

Once a staple of science fiction, watch phones are set to become more widespread. Mobile network operator Orange began selling the LG watch phone at its Bond Street store in central London today.

The phone has a cool retro 70s look and was one of the most interesting products at the big mobile shindig, the Mobile World Congress, in Barcelona this February. The phone costs £500.

People queued to be first to own one when the store opened at 8am. The watch phone has a touch sensitive screen, and can take voice commands of the “Call Bob” variety. LG also makes a watch phone for high-fashion brand Prada.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

(c)Joia Shillingford

Making the news, not filtering it

SocialMedian, the news filtering and recommendation website founded by New York-based internet entrepreneur Jason Goldberg, has been acquired by German business networking site Xing.

Goldberg, founder of US jobs website Jobster, will move to Xing’s headquarters in Hamburg as a vice president of the business.

XING, which claims 6.5 million business users, plans to offer its members filtered news on topics that tie in with their interests or business needs.

“We want to offer our members the greatest value in their networks, and this includes having the relevant news at their fingertips,” said Lars Hinrichs, chief executive and founder of XING. “Now we have the technology necessary to do so.

“We're also excited to have someone like Jason working with us to develop the XING ecosystem of partnerships with leading companies around the world.”

SocialMedian sends out emails of the top stories on topics subscribers select. Recent topics have included the credit crunch and the US elections.

The emails can be received on mobile devices, such as the BlackBerry, or on PCs. Or users can interact directly with the site at

XING also has offices in Barcelona, Istanbul and Beijing. The deal was announced on December 19.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

(c)Joia Shillingford 2008

Driving without due care and attention

A clever piece of concept art at the Frieze Art Fair in London this month showed a wall of text messages.

In front of them, stood a Witness Appeal board for a fatal traffic accident between a lorry and a cyclist. A reminder not to text while driving.

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Friday, August 08, 2008

Battery-free BlackBerry

A guest on CBS News on August 7 came up with the alarming (if true) suggestion that China’s intelligence service has the technology to switch on a BlackBerry when it is switched off, and to turn the microphone on. He advised visitors to remove the battery from their BlackBerry when it is not in use.

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