people Archives

September 4, 2005


As I walked past Washington Square Garden, Tariq invited to play a game of chess with me. It was a little stressful because I haven't played in a long time. Anyway, Tariq gave me a chess lesson on covering the king, and the four important squares of chess. He beat me anyway, but it was an informative game.

Tariq also told me that Bobby Fisher used to play chess in that park. It costs only $3.00 to play a game. If you're good, challenge Tariq. He could be contacted at If you're not good, sign up for a lesson.

Protest at Union Square

These photos are dedicated to my political activist friend Gregory Lowe. He gave me an NRDC (National Resources Defense Council) bag that promotes saving whales. Anyway, I think he would really fit here in New York. Supposedly there's a protest at Union Square every weekend.

September 10, 2005

Justin and Lainie

Justin and Lainie are from L.A. (Pasadena and "The Brewery"). They're here for a visit. Here are some photos of Justin hailing a cab, and being pure goofy. They work at Jungle 8.

This was my First Celebrity Sighting in New York

Jimmy Falon and Parker Posey were in Greenwich Village today shooting a Pepsi commercial. This was my first celebrity sighting. Jimmy Falon was pretty cool. He posed for me, and then did the Electric Slide.

If anyone watches this commercial, let me know what channel it's on... or when for that matter.

October 22, 2005

Parade Photos

I was on my way to Fellissimo for the 3-D Authorship show. They were closed so instead I went to a parade on Fifth. Beautiful costumes.


Trump Tower:

Gold Bars
The Apprentice Game
Trump Business Card Holders

How much bling is too much BLING?

Super Creative People at MoMA

This guy made the backpack he's wearing. Then I met this guy who's partner works at ID Magazine. I was intrigued by his interlocking scarf. There are no seams, it's just made out of interlocking pieces. Very creative.

Contact sheets and Fashion Shoot

I just liked these photos.

January 24, 2006

Steinway Hall New York

Contemporary musicians...

We had lunch at the "Burger Joint" located in Le Parker Meridian on 56th Street, and walked to this gallery on 57th. Pretty Cool.

January 29, 2006

Soul Food and Sunday Gospel Brunch at the Cotton Club in Harlem

April 3, 2006

I was riding the

I was riding the subway and saw 4 kids, probably ages ranging from 11-17. One of the kids had a poster carrier, and within 5 minutes, he took the sports ad from one of the walls. He then contemplated to take the NYU ad, but after careful deliberation, he said "Nah, it's not worth it, since it would mean that he would have to break the Plexiglas. Then he wanted the whole line of the sports. He wanted this collection, but he seemed to scared to steal those because now the car was crowded. To seem a little "bad ass" he starts picking on his brother, saying how he had a chance to go out with a college girl. It's his younger brother because they were wearing the same exact polo hooded jerseys, that perhaps they received for Christmas. When they got off on 4th Avenue, I took a photo of them, and that dude flipped me off. He probably thought I was a narc or something.

Bernstein and Gershwin Concert

Nick and I went to the Bernstein and Gershwin concert at Town Hall, and at the end of the concert, the conductor proposed to his fiance.

April 4, 2006

Chanel Lady

This woman looks like a Chanel ad. She's in her fifties and she was dressed semi-formally in the middle of the afternoon in the Lower East Village. I thought she was fabulous. I wanted to get a closer photo, but I was too shy to ask her for a photo.

October 29, 2006

Nick is wearing my proxy...

He had to wear that for one day. It kind of reminded me of one of those old Toyota car dealer commercials except it bounced over words so you can sing along. Btw, Nick is a genius.


This is a game...

This is a social game created by Summer Bedhard at ITP at NYU and her group for game design. I couldn't resist taking a photo. It looks fun and funny. Btw, Steve Jackson smells fresh, like pecans, denoted by his name "Pecan Jackson."


November 1, 2006

New York City does Halloween well (Part II)...

Okay, went to a real parade with floats... On the way there, I saw some costumes that didn't make it to my list, but I'm going to give them some credit. Here goes:

The one in Los Angeles is equally fun, but this one has parades. Los Angeles' Halloween parade is structured more like a 2-mile street fair.parade.jpg

How many Freddy type monster masks have I seen? At least his eyes light up.

I'm not quite sure what these costumes are suppose to be, but I give them credit for having the courage to wear them.

At first, I wanted to take this photo because of the absurdity of a cow drinking Jamaican beer, but then his "udder" friend stepped in.

New York City does Halloween well (Part III)...

Popular themes this year include Ghostbusters, characters from the movie Vendetta, and the prom-queen from Stephen King's novel Carrie. The costume that I literally felt a physiological rise was from was a guy wearing a S.W.A.T. team uniform. Anyway, the costumes in Manhattan were pretty creative.

These costumes were the most original, home-spun, and creative costumes. They are in chron order, and I think all of these relate to objects:

Mike Buhkin is the Metro signage, which has a slight variation in destination -- The R train goes to hell.

This costume is a New York crime scene right before the cops get there.

While I saw several people wearing trash can outfits and ghostbuster outfits, this table at a restaurant was pretty unusual.

Maybe I've seen a toy robot costume in the past, but the design and details here are polished.

This guy was an enema machine, and was trying to offer free enemas. Bizarre.

These costumes must be relevant to their favorite drink, Jack and Coke. The Coke is wearing a Jack Daniel's tiara.

"Butta Face" is a Howard Stern term. Funny, if you listen to Howard Stern.

Ceci n'est pas un costume de nuit des sorcières...

This is not a Halloween costume...


He is the "moustache man" that works at the Java Lava Cafe. If you're tired of Starbucks, mosey to Waverly and Mercer Streets (293 Mercer), which is behind the Tisch building. Cheap coffee with NYU discounts.

Important Update for OJ lovers:

A small carton of Tropicana orange juice costs $2.00 at All About Food, but it costs only $1.25...go figure

November 6, 2006

Keith Herried

I met my friend Keith Herried, when I decided to take some life drawing art and acrylic painting classes at a local college. We used to eat at this El Salvadorian restaurant during breaks, pupusas, huevos ranchero and horchata. It became a weekly habit, and then after classes, we went to an exhibition or we used to draw people at a cafe. Our group of two grew to four (Brenda and Eduardo). I think they ended up going to art schools professionally, one on full scholarship.
I've kept in touch with Keith. He just had his first art show. I knew he would make it. I'm so proud of him. He just sold a piece too. One of the things I really appreciate about his work is that he's not afraid of being experimental. He has numerous works using collage, oil and watercolor. This is his self-portrait and the invitation.
Btw, this was in Los Angeles.

November 13, 2006

Chris Anderson and Lawrence Lessig

Last month, I signed up to see Lawrence Lessig and Chris Anderson talk about his new book The Long Tail. I haven't read the book yet, but "the long tail" represents the "power law distribution," a different way of reading statistical data. In Chris Anderson's book, it is used to analyze content on the web. In a class taught by Clay Shirky, he frequently uses this law to analyze social interactions and groups.
"RO" is defined as "Read Only" and "RW" is defined as "Read-Write." They also briefly covered their views about Net Neutrality.

November 14, 2006

Pollie Barden Networked Journal Project

When Pollie first pitched her idea, I remembered thinking "Wow! That's pretty ambitious." Anyway, two weeks later, she's already making her prototype and hooking her sensor to the book (which I believe is an fsr). So imagine that black electrical tape around the book's border is a force field. As you write in the book, it triggers the LED light. Then replace that LED light signal with a cell phone message, email, audio, or any kind of response. Keeping this in mind for when my group designs an antenna for our bookshelf. Kudos, Pollie!

I was wrong about the sensor. It is an analog QPROX (proximity sensor) that is constantly on using PWM (pulse width modulator: technique for controlling analog circuits with a processor's digital outputs). I think she's going to ground the cover of her book with some conductive fabric. I really can't wait to see this at ITP show.

For more information about Pollie's work, click here. She also designed and produced this cool laptop tray for one of the kids in her assistive tech class. I think he was very happy with it.


November 20, 2006

For the People who are taking Physical Computing Without Computers

These two images are for the people who are taking Physical Computing Without Computers, a course that explores mechanical engineering and other solutions that do not use microcontrollers. Most of them are doing projects with gears. These photos were taken in Ron Sear's studio. It utilizes power, but no "brain." Anyway, its functionality is cleaning metal using sand as an abrasive.


December 2, 2006

Shimon Peres...

came out of the NBC building (in Rockefeller Center) Thursday, November 30, 2006. I wonder if he was on the Today Show. There were only five cars escorting his car, and two armed men with high-tech rifles guarding his car.

December 6, 2006

Care Package Story

So my mom sent me a care package, which saids "Mommy loves you more than anything else." I brought the package to ITS, and gave some of the goodies to the people that work there. They help etch the design of my shelf on masonite. I also brought the same package to my work, and one of my co-workers, Angelos, wanted me to take a photo of him enjoying the orange, and to say a "big thanks" to my mom for him. The orange in the photo was part of the care package. She deliberately chose the healthier package that has fruits and nuts, instead of junk food. My mom is a cutie.

December 7, 2006

Christmas Ornament Sculpture

These ornaments kind of remind me of Paul Rand's cover of Direction (1940), where red dots are symbolically ambiguous, becoming Christmas decoration and blood drops. I was telling Andrew at work that they looked like festive bombs.

December 13, 2006

The Dollar Story

I went to the Java Lava Cafe to buy some orange juice, and paid with a five. Austin gave me this change back, a dollar that saids "BUSH IS THE BEST" in all caps, coming out of George Washington's mouth. Anyway, I ended up putting it in Cliff's birthday gag gift. It's in Barbie's skirt rolled up to show the balloon dialogue "Bush is the best." Cliff, who is not so Republican, and sarcastically funny as hell, appreciated the humor.

If you're wondering about Barbie, the id of the art department wanted to create "Bondage Barbie" with a Ninja theme (Dum-Dum lolipop nunchucks). Also included in this gag art piece, a blown up whoopie cushion, fake eye balls taped to Barbie's breasts, a package of oatmeal wrapped up with stapled bond paper, Japanese restaurant branded hand wipes and a package of raisin.

As a part of the gift, he got to assign anyone in our department to sit on the whoopie cushion, so he chose the elegant Emily. I hope Emily gives me permission to upload that video.

Cliff is going to deconstruct the art piece and re-gift it. Cliff always jokes that "Truth is stranger than fiction."


December 23, 2006

Cliff as Count Pocula

This is Cliff with two Pocky sticks as fang. He is the funniest guy, and always has the best stories. He should really write a book.
Anyway, I told him about "the squirrel story." He suggested that I email the photos of the albino squirrel, and tell her that the ghost of the squirrel she killed is haunting Prospect Park.

He's got other stories:
The $10 million Spit, a true story
Guppy ice-cubes
and more...

We were thinking about starting a magazine for kids called Cereal, which should just be about cereal, and kids that read this magazine, have to read the squirrel-power oath when they wear the squirrel wristband that is the "surprise" in every "Honey Bunches of Oats" cereal.

December 27, 2006

Angelos as Count Clementocula

My friend at work was jealous of Count Pocula's debut that he wanted me to take his portrait too.

Those are Clementines (tangerines) I purchased at Trader Joe's, hence, "Clementocula."

He kind of looks like a walrus though.


January 10, 2007

Harlequin Romances

My ex-co-worker, Riadh, started this trend of bringing us Harlequin and various romance novels. We heard that Ziggy, Cliff's wife likes to read them, so Cliff designed this cover with their faces on it.



Cliff and Ziggy are married.

January 17, 2007

Ceci n'est pas une flight attendant... Ivanka Trump

This is Ivanka Trump at the LAX airport Tuesday, January 16, 2007, waiting in the security line at approximatelt 7:30 am. I am happy to report that she didn't receive any preferential treatment. She's really tall, and took off her 3-inch stilettos, and gracefully tippy-toed through. Very stylish, wearing a camel coat, and violet alligator bag. She noticed us noticing her, and I even joked, "You're FIRED!" A former graduate at Wharton, she helps her dad host The Apprentice in Los Angeles this season. So far, I've watched two episodes, and the tasks were pretty silly. I like that the winning project manager can sit in the board room for the elimination. I also like what Ivanka has to offer to the show. Hopefully, the tasks get more challenging, but so far it makes Los Angeles look like the Diva Drama Queen of Soap Operas.




Donald's probably thankful that Ivanka didn't turn out like Paris Hilton.

The other celebrity I saw when I moved to New York about a year and a half ago was James Cameron, the director of the Titanic.

February 18, 2007

Skull and Bones

Is this in style? In the past week, I've seen this "skull and bone" graphic in the form of jewelry and printed on clothes (Preston Noon's cuff links and pants and Avani's earrings). Avani told me that the Joyce Leslie store had featured skull and bones. Flashback to 80's punk.

March 3, 2007

Is Oprah the most connected person?

I just found this site, Knover. A site that practices the "Six Degrees" theory. It basically maps and keeps a database of famous people and their affiliations. I believe this site scapes the Internet for articles with the specific names, and compiles it in a database, so you can cross-reference people with people, affiliation with affiliation, or people with affiliation. I just searched for Oprah, and her profile alone, came up with 15 pages of people, and has 973 web associations. Warren Buffet has 63 web associations, Bill Gates has 462 web associations, George Soros has just 213. Wait! I found someone who beat Oprah with 1,798 web associations, Bill Clinton. I'm not counting George Bush (2,149 web associations) because it seems like most of it is related to what he's doing with the war, i.e. his connection with Adolf Hitler? I also like how they have separate categories like business, music, fashion, news and politics.

The pitfalls, don't type someone not famous, or it will crash, and it tracks just the mainstream/popular "notables." Although, a profile came up for John Zorn. A search for Clay Shirky came up with a profile as well, but I couldn't find Red Burns.

March 14, 2007


How cool is this site? I was just complaining about how printed birthday cards and e-cards are so cheesy. Cliff Hahn, my cool friend (I swear he should start a magazine), recommended this site. This is for the geeks at heart.

GeoGreeting will allow you to send a personal message/e-card, but what is unique about this site is that the font are photos from satellite images of the top of buildings.

Here are some examples:




April 10, 2007

Danny Rozin

Production process and first peek of his new Pixel Mirror.


May 6, 2007


Here's a preview of the ultraORB by James N. Sears and his father Ron Sears. It's a dual-axis rotating display creates color visualizations of models in 3D space, using persistence of vision.


A rotating 320 tri-color LEDs about two axes simultaneously under the control of sixteen microcontrollers, creates a fully volumetric display that can display arbitrary models within the three dimensional volume of an 11" sphere.

It will be at the ITP Spring Show, this Tuesday and Wednesday night at 721 Broadway.


June 4, 2007

Webbies Pre-Pre-Party

Nick and I just met the sweetest, most down-to-Earth designers and architect. They just won a Webbie for their work site. We also saw Lonely Girl at the party.

[Nick, me, Joel, Jennifer, and Paul]

June 13, 2007

Facebook Meetup in New York

Facebook Meetup was organized by Amit Gupta, who wrote the Amazin' Wishlist application, and is founder of the startup Photojojo. Also a special guest showed up at the first NY meetup.

Recognize this face?

Mark Zuckerberg showed up in New York because of his sister's graduation.

I saw a couple of ITPers there. A holler out to Jadie and Cat! Two out of 4 females including myself. More about what I thought at this link:

I'm very proud of our Kermit Soufflé.

June 16, 2007

Graffiti and Priority Mail Labels

Angelos told me that a lot of graffiti artists use Priority Mail labels as free stickers to promote their craft. Maybe that's why I have to wait in line at the post office twice.

Photo taken close to Plan B bar in East Village.

July 8, 2007

Michael Moore's Sicko


Of all Michael Moore's movies I've watched, this one was the most effective. I must have cried three or four times during this movie. I'm not going to ruin the movie, but I was amazed at how successful "universal health care systems" worked in other countries. I was also appalled by the cost of drugs here compared to everywhere else (London, approximately $10.00, and $0.05 for an inhaler in Cuba compared to a whopping $126.00). Something has to change. I'm also a believer that drug ads should not be broadcasted on television ("Ask your doctor if you have..."). Hopefully, we have a better president who will care about this issue in 2008. The candidate who focuses on healthcare will definitely have my vote.

Of course critics of Michael Moore and universal health care programs will say things like "these programs will cost more," but the fact of the matter is that, in the long run, we pay more. We have to pay for our education ($60,00 - $100,000), and add to that health insurance ($2,500 - $3,000), and don't forget if you own a car (another $3,000). Insurance is like an investment. You have to be insured because if you don't, they jack the rates up. I just read something in BusinessWeek about early retirement advice, and they recommend what insurances to get at what life stage your're in (20's, 30's, 40's, etc.). There's even a stint about insurance for insurance (just in case you live longer and your nest egg runs out). How ridiculous is that?

I just read an article in the New York TImes about Freelancers Union. They offer affordable insurance to freelance workers.

Here are some interesting links.

Link to how much these presidential candidates are receiving from the health care industry.

Link to a Blue Cross PR Rep's analysis of Sicko and his talking points... Michael Moore actually challenges the CEO of Blue Cross to a debate.

CNN Gets Blitzed by Michael Moore

CNN's report is so slanted that Michael Moore addresses point-by-point all of Dr. Sanjay Gupta's claims (doctor for CNN).

Anyway, the movie is good, and it reminds me of what Linda Stone lectured about in Red's class. We have the power, as consumers.

September 9, 2007

My Sister's Blog...

I started reading my sister's blog, and I really love it. She's so deftly honest. Anyway, good stock tips (except Altria which was formerly "Philip Morris," but they are known to higher dividends, and Ebay) and random minutia that "microwave popcorn" linked to lung cancer. I first heard about this 15 months ago from Nick's parents, but didn't know the chemical that caused it (diacetyl). I can't believe that those popcorn manufacturers (Orville Redenbacher's and Act II brands) are going to remove that chemical by the end of this year. HOW ABOUT RECALL NOW?!? I really think they should get fined for waiting that long.

Anyway, she's from Los Angeles, so some of the advice might be helpful to those that live there.

September 15, 2007


Only in New York will sell every seat to the movie Helvetica. There was an ITP "designers" reunion at 8:20 pm last night. The movie was great in exhibiting pro-Helvetica and anti-Helvetica sentiments. Liked how the movie presented the historical and cultural contexts of helvetica and graphic design in general. Super designers from the older and current generations gave their two cents. In the end, the director, Gary Hustwit and type designer Tobias Frere-Jones made a special appearance. The director was down-to-earth and honest. He admitted that he was approached to direct a movie on the font Times New Roman. I really liked the movie, and would probably watch it again to see David Carson, who will make a special appearance today. I was a big fan of his work in Ray Gun magazine.

If you go, do pick up an "I hate Helvetica" or "I love Helvetica" pin.

Gary Hustwit and type designer Tobias Frere-Jones
Photo Credit: Lia Bulaong

Jane and Tim in this photo, among other ITPers that went, Pollie, Dmitri, Dan, Ahn (Mang), and Lia. It was really great to see them.

October 8, 2007

Idea 2007 Conference in New York

Even though the Idea 2007 conference was sponsored by The Information Architecture Institute, the speakers were really diverse, ranging from artists/designers to developers/engineers, and public agencies, such as hospitals and New York City's non-emergency number, 311. A lot of the speakers were ITP alums or teaching at ITP. I'm working on a wiki with my extensive notes, and will publish the link here (TK TK TK). Missed some really good presentations, but for the entire list, please visit

Here were some of the speakers:

Rachel Abrams (who currently teaches a mapping class at ITP) - I just caught the end of her presentation on taxis.

Frank Lantz, area/code (also teaches at ITP)

Brad Paley, Information Esthetics

Hasan Elahi, artist (he was a guest speaker at one of ITP's Friday seminars)
He's working on a pretty cool project titled Tracking Transcience (will have more of the backstory in my notes.

Chenda Frutcher, The City of New York's 311 line, (alum of ITP)
Couldn't take photos of her presentation, sorry (will have a section of her presentation in my notes). I enjoyed her presentation because she works and designs around real-world problems.

Fernanda Viegas & Martin Wattenberg, Many Eyes, open source data visualization site

David Rose, Ambient Devices, founder of the Ambient Orb

Mike Kuniavsky, Founder of ThingM and Co-founder of Adaptive Path
RFID Wine Rack

Jake Barton, Local Projects (teaches thesis at ITP)

October 28, 2007

Willa Cather & Richard Wright

In East Village, close to the West 4th St. stop, I discovered where Willa Cather and Richard Wright wrote their books. The sign reads:

Willa Cather, author of My Antonia, wrote her first novel, Alexander's Bridge, here in 1912. Richard Wright, author of Native Son, wrote his autobiography, Black Boy here in 1945.


Crazy stunts in Washington Square Park

Last year, a performer was turning 40 years old that day was involved in a crazy Evel Kenievel-like stunt. He rode his skateboard and gained momentum to jump over 25 trash barrels (mid-air), and landed on his skateboard. I wish I had my camera back then. Hopefully, I can catch a repeat performance this year.

In the meantime, there were a set of brothers (a guy and his two twin brothers) are performing some fun stunts and comedy routine in Washington Square. They had the most successful act in collecting money, they had almost everyone involved and engaged. They would reward people who offered bigger donations and created a competitive atmosphere rewarding the donors by giving props to their countries (aimed at tourists). Well this year, this guy ran over and jumped over five people and aimed through his brother's arms.






November 21, 2007


with interesting forms. These images are for Ron Sears, who is an artist in Jerseyville Illinois, and works with metal. The first sculpture reminds me of David Smith's works.



December 15, 2007

Funniest Flash site I've seen in a long time


PETA does a spoof on the Olsen twins. On the PETA site, they are the Trollsen twins, Hairy-Kate and Trashley, yikes! You can dress them in fur outfits, persuade someone not to wear fur (by sending them a prewritten email), watch a reappropriated video of Full House on the Tanner Family Crisis, buy t-shirts, and download free banners. Interesting that they are targeting the youth market. I wonder what happens if they do stop wearing fur, who will they go after next? Now all they need is a Facebook app.


January 7, 2008

Facebook and New Hampshire Debates


I was pretty impressed with how progressive ABC network was with their broadcast of the New Hampshire Debates. In an effort to get the youth involved, they integrated Facebook into their program. At first, I thought it was because Microsoft owned NBC that they were involved with Facebook, but I don't think they own ABC. Nevertheless, I watched both parties address issues. My only criticism was that the moderators should have asked the same questions to all candidates of both parties, even though their intention was to bring up questions that posed weaknesses to each of the parties. Anyway, it was interesting to watch the Facebook polls on television, a convergence with traditional media with the web.



For some reason, I thought Ron Paul presented the strongest arguments, and I thought Mitt Romney appeared superficial. I agreed with Bill Richardson's strong stance on Pakistan, and second Hillary Clinton's views on foreign policy. In any case, my vote will probably go to the candidate who best addresses the national health care issue, and issues that affect aging Baby Boomers. That's because my mom is paying ~$800.00 per month for insurance, which seems pretty excessive.

March 2, 2008

IXDA Conference in Savannah, GA

I attended this conference because of Bill Buxton and Sigi Moeslinger, and was amazed with their presentations. I was also impressed with Malcolm McCullough, who teaches at the University of Michigan, and spoke of his research with culture and ubiquitous computing.

I also enjoyed a presentation on "fieldwork and sketching" from a Ph.D. candidate, who interned at Intel, Matt Jones who founded Dopplr, Regine DeBatty from "We Make Money Not Art," Alan Cooper ("An Insurgency of Quality") as well as another one of his rep who talked about his processes in design, and Dan Brown, who lectured on Concept Models. I hope to put my notes, but it might take a long time to transcribe. In the meantime, please check out my flickr photos.


Design and the Elastic Mind, MoMA



This was a phenomenal exhibition. I'm going to it a third time, and even bought the catalog, which is beautifully designed by Irma Boom (if you like typography, check out the cover and title page).

Lots of ITP alumni and adjunct faculty, and a lot of current information visualization designers like Brad Paley, Sep Kamvar, Jonathan Harris and Jason Wishnow.

Lisa Strausfeld and James N. Sears, NY Times cover
Dimitri Tyler, Hypothetical Drawings
Dan Phiffer and Mushon Zer-Aviv's pcomp project: Atlas Gloves
Christian Schmidt (ITP adjunct faculty) and Lisa Strausfeld's OLPC's operating system, "Sugar"

Probably more ITPers' works that are not mentioned here.

Artists/Designers (left to right): Sep Kamvar, Jonathan Harris and James N. Sears

Clay Shirky's book

If you are interested in social computing, collective action by groups, sociology of groups, and group dynamic, then this is the book for you. Download his podcast from


This book is clearly written, succinct, and relevant and current of the technologies we use today. Each chapter is composed of a story to demonstrate the psychological theories, but the difference, these aren't controlled experiments from the 60's (residue from my undergrad studies in psychology). Reading the first chapter reminds me of Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point, basically comprehendable to lay people like me.

Anyway, I'm a little biased because I had Clay Shirky as a professor twice.

March 21, 2008

Group Culture and Large Organizations

Paul Graham boiled it down to an analogy with food and explanation of the economies of scale:

An obstacle downstream propagates upstream. If you're not allowed to implement new ideas, you stop having them. And vice versa: when you can do whatever you want, you have more ideas about what to do. So working for yourself makes your brain more powerful in the same way a low-restriction exhaust system makes an engine more powerful.
Mediocre hires hurt you twice: they get less done, but they also make you big, because you need more of them to solve a given problem.

In other words, work at a smaller company or your own start up. To read the whole blog post, click here.


His post about "How To Do Philosophy" is funny, as it reminds me of some people who fit the stereotype. Bracket Manager

Yesterday, a friend of mine invited me to join a pool for March Madness. I've never heard of March Madness, let alone ever watched a basketball game, so I decided to check this event out.


To begin with, CBS's Bracket Manager allows you to feel confident in making your decisions. When you mouse over each school, there is a call-out box that gives you odds and a little blurb-summary about the team (e.g. all team members are freshmen or the team has a new coach). And you just pick for each region, until you get down to 4, then 2, then 1.


So when I logged in to my fb account, CBS already asked if I wanted to add their app. The primary profile page (i.e. first image below) lists the top 5 favorite and despised teams. Fortunately, you can see how many fans, but the flip-side is that 3 out of the 6 schools are on both lists: favorite and despised. They are named by the team and not school, but the brackets are by state, not team, so you do have to click on the link, which takes you to the school/team's page. Each team/school has their own page (i.e. second image below), which lists all team members, stats, scoreboard, schedule, trash talk, etc. Unfortunately I wasn't able to brag about my brackets because of technological difficulties (maybe a broken link between CBS brackets with fb account?)

This page updates dynamically to tell you which schools played, which schools won, and even a photo of some plays.

I found out that Barack Obama picked North Carolina to win the NCAA championship on this page.

If you're involved in a pool, you can see dynamic updates as to who is in the lead, the estimated best score, etc.


How has this changed my behavior? Well, I spent about a half an hour trying to transfer my brackets from my account in CBS to my fb account. Then I was simultaneously watching two or three games at a time, and refreshing my brackets and standings page. I've been looking up how I could HAVE increased my odds (Vegas bets--this is too late, of course because these brackets closed at noon Thursday).

And LAST, more importantly, I am engaged. This photo is just...

April 8, 2008

One Stop Framing Shop

is where to get reasonably priced frames in New York...


I was hesitant to try this place that I found on Citysearch, but after reading 15 positive 5-star reviews, I decided to take a chance and try it.


When I first met Mr. Shah, he had a lot of questions about the layout, but I left it in his creative hands. He did a fantastic job, and even when I had a quiver of doubt, he still accommodated my worries by emailing me photos of the comp. We were very satisfied with his works.

269 West 36th Street
New York, NY 10018
Phone: (212) 869-7040

April 19, 2008



I just recently watched Spamalot. I think I probably watched a couple of Monty Python movies in my life, and wasn't privvy to the storyline. Anyway, this was okay. Clay Aiken plays Sir Robin, and there were some lines relevant to American Idol and ex-governor Spitzer to make it more current. The set design wasn't as sophisticated as some of the other musicals and Broadway shows I've watched, and the atmosphere was like watching a high-school play because the humor appealed to a grand group of high schoolers (sitting next to us) that were hee-hawing at every boob and camel-toe joke.

But in the end, my overall opinion was that I like it, probably because of the "Find Your Grail" medley, some snarky bits, and it's originality. I would definitely watch this before seeing Wicked, and/or KA. I watched this after, so my expectations were higher.

Wonder Woman...

merits her own post.


I'm not sure who the artist is of this painting, but it's probably one of my favorite illustrations of her. Found in Comicon at Javitz this year.

She was my favorite character while growing up. I think every girl wanted to be her. They marketed Wonder Woman underoos when I was in grade school, which was the tank and bikini underwear that made you feel like a super hero, or Diana Prince. Anyway, a movie is in production, and slated to be released in 2009, but I wonder, who will play Wonder Woman? Lynda Carter played her in the 70's. Heard through the grapevine that either Catherine Zeta-Jones or Angelina Jolie would play her. I don't think Angelina Jolie should play her, since she's already Lara Croft in Tomb Raider. And Catherine Zeta-Jones should've played Elektra instead of Jennifer Garner. Anyway, we're do for a heroine blockbuster movie soon! Crossing my fingers.

April 20, 2008

Comicon, Javitz Center, Part 4

There were some people who dressed like their favorite characters. I guess everyone wants to be a super hero/heroine. Anime costumes were more popular. Some of these I know, but some of these I don't know.









A couple of Japanese companies were promoting Victorian fashion.




Comicon, Javitz Center, Part 5

Interesting exhibitors at Comicon...

Record/audition your scream at the Spiderman booth.


Get an autograph by your favorite comic illustrator at DC Comics (though I saw a guy bring in a case of comic books to sign, so the line may take awhile).

Try out My Beating Heart at Android8, which is designed by ITP alum Yury Gitman. It is strangely meditative. I ended up buying one to test. Reminds me of MIT robotic seals. Android8 has other cool toys and characters that are new.


So many people visiting this booth selling LED-lit samurai swords and ninja stars.

Play video games.

Win prizes (there was a really long line for this).

Find a job at TokyoPop. They were interviewing and reviewing portfolios of illustrators and writers.

Watch this guy finish this illustration.

April 27, 2008

Amy Tan on Creativity

June 15, 2008



For jazz lovers, check out Birdland this month. Last night, Saxophone Summit [Ravi Coltrane/Dave Liebman/Joe Lavano/all sax players, Cecil McBee/bass, Phil Markowitz/piano, and Billy Hart/drums] played some songs from their new album Seraphic Light and some work from the late John Coltrane. As a novice to jazz music, I recommend seeing live performances, especially with more of the experimental genre.



Tickets are $40 for orchestra seats and there is a $10 minimum purchase for drinks/dinner. I was impressed with the food too (had the scallops plate and stuffed pepper with mushroom risotto).


Reasons To Be Pretty -- MCC Theater at The Lucille Lortel Theatre


I was fortunate enough to find this indie theater through NYU Ticket Central. I watched Reasons To Be Pretty by Neil LaBute. I've been following his works via film and theater for approximately one decade now (In The Company of Men and Your Friends and Neighbors, The Shape of Things). Most of his works are a little dark, but his new play that just came out actually has a sliver of a silver lining, which is a "coming of age" tale. Love his note in the program, which he expresses that he wishes he was a "braver person," and continues to sympathize and admire the protagonist, Greg. I was impressed with the cast (i.e. Piper Perabo, Thomas Sadoski, Alison Pill, Pablo Schreiber). Subscription prices are reasonable, click here for more information.

MCC Theater at
The Lucille Lortel Theatre
121 Christopher St
New York, NY 10014


Fifty Words
By Michael Weller
Sept 10-Oct 25, 2008

The Break of Noon
by Neil LaBute
Jan 14-Feb 28, 2009

Based on the Novel by Neil Gaiman
May 6-June 20, 2009


Other recommended theater picks from my friends include: Xanadu (within 2 weeks) and 39 Steps (Alfred Hitchcock).

July 27, 2008



So after a 2 years of perusing, I've finally become a Yelper. I used to use Citysearch frequently before, but one time I reviewed a restaurant, and it was rejected (and it was a good review too). I think I was trying to upload photo several times, then finally I just gave up.

In a recent trip to Miami, I was looking for a restaurant that served good ceviche, so I checked on Yelp, and found The River Oyster Bar, which met and exceeded my expectations. Instead of blogging about food, I just review them on Yelp. Also, I've been looking for recommendations on hair stylists and acupuncture, and found some very helpful tips (e.g. they don't charge tax if you pay cash, and so forth).

Just recently, a fellow Yelper invited me to an event to meet other New York Yelpers in Red Hook.

August 6, 2008

"Be Kanye" Ads


I thought this ad was funny. It's on the 4/5 train. I did do a double-take to read this ad. Anyway it's sponsored by Absolut, which is surprising because usually there ads are very elegant and sleek (e.g. artist reappropriates the Absolut Vodka bottle).

This is pretty risky, and you wouldn't know who sponsored it unless you were reading it up close (i.e. versus a crowded subway).

I'm not sure if I want to be Kanye.

Dedicated Director

I took a photo of this aspiring director. Could that be a Super 8 or 16 mm? What was he shooting? Legs? Shoes? Walking? Documentary? Live-Action?


August 8, 2008



Finally... I get to see Radiohead at All Points West, which is a music festival on the East Coast, comparable to Coachella in California. I had an opportunity to go to a Radiohead concert at the Hollywood Bowl 5 years ago (box/front row), but because I had AT&T (and the service was spotty) that I never received the calls (4x) from my friend (it was a last minute thing). Hence, I don't have an iPhone or use AT&T.

Anyway, this should be good because this May at Coachella, Prince reappropriated Radiohead's song "Creep," and some listeners took video of him, and uploaded it on YouTube. And then Prince told them to take the video down. Then Radiohead got involved, and said it was there song, and to leave it up. Well they're playing tonight and tomorrow night. Also Ben Harper is playing there as well.

December 5, 2008

Nick Sears Orb Video on TED just released Nick Sear's 2007 presentation on the Orb. Since it's premiere, he has been working on version 2, which is probably 200% more complex than the first one. There are more LED lights, 80-pin chips, and SD cards. Every component is surface-mounted, and takes place on both sides of the circuit board.

This is the Eagle/CAD drawing of the circuit board:

This is the printed circuit board with the electronics soldered on:

This is when it's illuminated:

It is heading to Singapore for Siggraph 2008. For more information on Nick Sears, visit Art Magnitude site.

December 9, 2008

Dot Dot Dot, The MFA Interaction Design Lecture Series (School of Visual Art)


Just went to this talk about "interviews" related to research process, which I thought was pretty valuable, and was glad I didn't miss. There were 4 speakers:

Elisabeth M. De Morentin, Illinois Institute of Technology, Institute of Design
She presented some research on the Apple Store Experience, particularly about iPod nano.

Clive Thompson, Contributing Writer for New York Times Magazine and columnist for Wired magazine
He spoke about interviewing the Netflix competition to improve the accuracy of movie recommendation, and the discovery through interview (that six indie movies were causing the algorithmic problem, particularly Napoleon Dynamite).

Jason Severs, Principal Designer, frog design
He presented ethnographic research for a couple of products (e.g. remote control, and Neutrogena Exfoliator device).

Gary Hustwit, Director of Helvetica and currently Objectified (coming out this Spring)
He spoke about replacing the word "interview" with "conversation," which helped people to be more natural (versus over-rehearsed), and the importance of facial cues.

I believe Adam Greenfield, author of Everyware, Design Director of Nokia, Former Faculty at ITP and Steven Heller (Author and Art Director) will be speaking at the next Dot Dot Dot event.

I saw a lot of ITP Alumni, including a couple of ITP Faculty (Kate Hartman, Rob Faludi, and Robert Fabricant, also Creative Director at frog)

I wasn't able to attend the first one, but here were the speakers:
Tom Bodkin, design director, New York Times

Jake Barton, founder and principal, Local Projects

Andrew Sloat, graphic designer and videomaker

Christopher Fahey, founding partner, Behavior; forthcoming faculty, MFA Interaction Design


Check out StartHere, one of the sponsors... They raffled out StartHere notebooks--if you had 3 dots (Dot Dot Dot) on the back of your raffle ticket, you would have won one of these prizes.

January 4, 2009

David Fincher in New York City...


I can't wait to see David Fincher tonight at the Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of at Jazz at Lincoln Center (I've been wanting to check out this venue for awhile), hosted by Film Society of Lincoln Center. He's going to speak about his new movie, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I've already read up on the production which affected his decision of writing a second screenplay, and making of the movie from articles in the New York Times [You can find the links through Delicious I'm sure]. More about this event, here.

Btw, that photo above was one of my favorite scenes in the movie.


They also showed Zodiac, which I'm going to have to rent via Netfix. That movie went under my radar. Just from the thumbnail on this page, it looks like some 70's movies like Network.

January 15, 2009

New York City and Heroes...

I <3 FDNY, NYPD, Coast Guards, Paramedics, et. al.


Need I say more? As a NYC-transplant, I love watching everyone pulling together collaboratively to remedy the situation. Photo above was taken by James Nicholas Sears at Battery Park, NYC. And yes, that's the tail.

At first I thought the story about birds sounded ludicrous, but when we went out there, we saw a flock of them flying around the area.

If you want to see more photos, check out my Flickr photos, we took the D700 out for a run with a Nikon 70-300m, 5.6 lens. I'm satisfied the D700 is great with low light. All photos taken by James Nicholas Sears...


Google Maps

Google Earth

January 18, 2009

Washington DC is the place to be...

On my way to the Mayflower, I just saw Joe Biden on his way to the Inaugural Concert. The block before, I saw Bill Clinton, but didn't have time to pull out my camera... Oh well.


To see a bigger version of these photos, visit my Flickr account.

January 19, 2009

Robert Frank Exhibition at the Smithsonian

Awesome Robert Frank Exhibition at the Smithsonian. It is pretty comprehensive with prints from The Americans and Black, White And Things. Not only do they exhibit prints, but his test prints, contact sheets, application for the Guggenheim Fellowship, Jack Kerouac's drafts and letters to Walker Evans. This is probably the best photography exhibition I've been to, along with another one, a few years back at LACMA on some experimental Japanese photographs.

This is one of my favorite photographs of all time. Mr. Frank took this in New Orleans in 1955. After coming out of jail, he was shooting a parade, and then quickly captured this photo. There are racial and gender tones [Caucasian male, Caucasian female, Caucasian boy, etc.]. Obviously, this photo was taken during segregation. A couple of weeks after Frank took this photo, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat. You should be familiar with Robert Frank's works if you're a photographer.



It ends in April. Also, they have a smaller Ansel Adams exhibition close by, which ends in March. I am definitely coming back. Last, I saw ads 2-for-1 tickets for an exhibition for Richard Avedon's works (also in DC as well).

January 22, 2009

Obama Photos at the Inaugural Parade


So my girlfriend, Min Batstone and her husband, Ian, fought their way through the crowds to take these photos. She said she was close to Ann Curry as well, one of my favorite journalists.

All photos were taken by Min Batstone, and can be viewed on Flickr profile. Please contact her if you would like to use them.

He waves to her directly in this photo.




I <3 Ann Curry. This photo is also taken by Min.

January 24, 2009

Beautiful LED light installation in at the National Gallery of Arts in DC

I didn't get to visit this, but plan to on my next trip to DC. This LED installation was designed by Leo Villareal, an ITP Alumni, and is located at the National Gallery of Arts. I'm not sure if it's interactive, but anyway, it's a sight.



Please credit Min Batstone.

Always finding treasures on Flickr...

I found out so many and learned how to do so many things on Flickr. It is truly one of the most successful social software. So far, one of my photos have been published in foreign newsletters, domestic music videos, Art Forum magazine (Print edition) and BBC (digital edition). I learned how to take a screenshot of my iPhone app, and meet great photographers and artists, who tell me about new interesting exhibitions or advise me on camera purchases.

Please credit Lia Bulaong.

Just recently, on Lia Bulaong's page, I found the above photo with a lot of people commenting about this newspaper/newsletter on select internet writings from techno-artists-designers, such as "Michael Beirut, Matt Jones, Michal Migurski and the Mars Phoenix probe" (Lia Bulaong). Lia also included a link where you can order this paper, which is pretty cool. It's published by Ben Terrett and Russell Davies of Really Interesting Group. I just ordered one. You can read more about their project here.

Lia is definitely a cool hunter.

Dot Dot Dot, The Urbanist, Part I


I went in with the mind set of not taking notes for all four speakers, which is why I just brought my iPhone and no tablet.

But at the end of Rachel Abram's talk, and in the middle of Soo-in Yang's talk, I decided to not be lazy, and start taking notes. I've seen Rachel speak at an IDEA event in 2007 and an AIGA/Apple event last year [a link to my notes last year]. She spoke about how her many diciplines have added to her interaction design, and showed some of her research of the taxi system. Soo-in Yang is an architect who created this physical interactive sculpture that reacts to information about air quality via mobile phones. It was a public art piece in South Korea (look at photos below). He also collaborated with Rob Faludi and Terence Arjo on another project.


Last, was this music composer, Phil Kline, who started Unsilent Night, an event that happens on Christmas Eve, and started with a couple of people in NYC, but has grown to thousands in many other cities. You can see his video on YouTube.

Dot Dot Dot, The Urbanist, Part II

A slide from Adam Greenfield's Presentation

Adam Greenfield, who taught at ITP, and wrote the book titled Everyware also spoke at Dot Dot Dot, and now head of design direction at Nokia. He researches many ubiquitous computing systems. I can't cover everything he spoke about, but if you want to see some of his presentation slides, visit my Flickr set. Here are some of the highlights that you can look up or read about in his new book The City Is Here For You To Use:

UNStudio with Arup Engineering: Galleria West, Apgujeongdong in S. Korea

u-Cheonggyecheong: Instead of cleaning the stream, they wrapped it in media.

Tom Armitage, Making Bridges Talk: What if the London Bridge could Twitter?

u-City New Songdo: totally networked, and can track everything down to tagging soda bottles with RFID tags that can automatically credit your account even if you throw it in trash. Every action is recorded and mediated. This project is still a work-in-progress.

Massive simultaneity: The 1K Project

MITsenseable city lab/New York Talk Exchange (NYTE)

Mosaic of Singapore mall: A photo that shows a lady moving through a mall physically, but this mosaic also shows a layer of secondary information--who is on the other end of her mobile phone. We should think about cyberspace (Being on phone is like being in cyberspace) when we think about designing the physical space.

Stamen Design: Oakland Crimespotting
Think about constraints in analysis (e.g. Taxonomy of police department is already a constraint (e.g. categorizing rape).

iPhone/Flickr: Geotagging/Search urbanism, browse urbanism, make urban API. If we check the weather before we go out, we are conditioned to that networked information, hence Adam calls this a "network overlay." Contemplate how this "overlay" reflects every decision we make (i.e. real-time info).

I've also added Adam Greenfield's blog to my RSS Feeds and Google Reader.

Lightwave '09, Part I

I'm in Dublin, Ireland to document some work at the Lightwave Exhibition in the Science Gallery at Trinity College. This exhibition is trying to bridge science and art. Already, there a couple of ITPers showing their works: James N. Sears, Nurit Bar-Shai, and Lori Napolean.

Nick is showing his second design of The Orb, which now plays videos and Processing apps, and still images. Right now, Jonathan Cousin's data visualization is currently on The Orb.

Nurit Bar-Shai collaborated with other artists and MIT to show live video feeds of cellular interactions and the Northern Lights, of course separately.

Lori Napoleon created an interactive sculpture called "Scintillator." The sculpture is composed of tetrahedral shapes, and changes color when you touch it.

Later, I will try to post photos on Flickr. Feel free to ping me if I forget.

Lightwave '09, Part II


I just went to a laser performance by Dmitry Gelfand and Evelina Domnitch. This was pretty amazing, but unfortunately I couldn't take photos. Here's a link to a video...

They have three colored high-powered lasers in red, green and blue, which is refracted and projected over a circular flat tray with soapy solution. When they manipulate the solution, beautiful textures are projected. There was a grainy texture, so I had to ask how they achieved that. They told me that they just densely packed the bubbles together, playing with the surface tension and properties, such as hydrophilic/hydrophobic surfaces of the bubble. What is seen is a visual and elegant light show, sometimes the light bubble film looked like peacock feathers. If you have an opportunity to see this show live, I highly recommend it.

The artists (from left to right) Evelina Domnitch and Dmitry Gelfand.

February 18, 2009

Lawrence Lessig, Shepard Fairey and Steven Johnson at NYPL next Thursday...

I am so lucky that I got tickets for this event. I have probably seen Lawrence Lessig (founder of Creative Commons) talk twice before. Steven Johnson spoke in Red Burn's class at ITP in 2005, and co-founded the community site []. Also, he is coming out with a new book titled The Invention of Air. Just from the title, I can see how it's relevant to Lessig and Fairey. Here is the video of him talking about his new book. I've also been a big fan of Shepard Fairey's works since Obey. All three will be at this event, hosted by NYPL, and co-sponsored by Wired magazine.

There's been a lot of controversy surrounding Shepard Fairey (known for the popular Hope posters depicting Barack Obama and Obey). Apparently Fairey is being sued by AP Reuters for referencing a photo he used for the Hope poster. Read the article from Wired magazine.

Photo Credit: Boing Boing

Milton Glaser writes his point of view on this matter in Boing Boing. Milton Glaser designed the Bob Dylan album cover, and was popular for his "I ♥ NY" identity.

What I think is interesting is all these remixes of Fairey's works. You can see people using Fairey's style and aesthetic for the Hope poster on their Facebook profile, but instead of Obama, it's them. Here is an article from Wired magazine of fans of the movie Dark Knight using Fairey's style on a photo Heath Ledger's Joker.


If you like Shepard Fairey's works from Obey. You may like Robbie Canal as well. He did a lot of posters of political figures.

March 5, 2009

Brilliant video of Clay Shirky's suggestions on New Business Models

Having worked in the publishing industry for a couple of years, I can't say enough how "On Point" Clay is about businesses having to think through new business models to survive. He mentions useful suggestions/examples and provides solutions to problems that I saw first-hand in these environments (e.g. The Guardian does it right, Fail-Forward-Fast model). Adaptation/Iteration/Group Action seem to be some relevant points. It's great that they covered filtering as well because I'm starting to get more of my news and more relevant links through Twitter.

The original link here []

Another good article on Micropayments/Journalism/Freakonomics here []

April 2, 2009

First Korean Astronaut, So-yeon Yi, at event this Saturday

Open event and I think it is free. The Korean-American Scientists Association is sponsoring. Found this on the ITP list.

Date: April 4, 2009
Time: 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Location: Davis Auditorium
4th Flr. Schapiro Center (CEPSR), Columbia University

June 21, 2009

Ignite Videos are up, here are some of them...

till parsing through all these videos, but if you want to watch more videos, visit IgniteNYC on YouTube, click here:

Matthew Burton's Presentation "Hacking with Spooks: How to Code For the CIA From Your Basement"

Perry Chen's site Kickstarter (pretty awesome site)

Luke Dubois' "A More Perfect Union"

Baratunde Thurston's "...I Learned From Being @the_swine_flu"

Andy Maskin's "Bring On The Dancing Horses"

Rachel Sklar's "How I Learned to Love Giving Away My Money Online"

Kevin Slavin's "Dollhouse Earth"

October 6, 2009

Laverne and Shirley Nostalgia

After seeing my friend and colleague Matt Chmiel at the ITP 30th Anniversary, I couldn't get this song out of my head. Then I found the lyrics on this site Lyrics on Demand. Who knows? I might just by the ringtone there ;)

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Sclemeel (Chmiel), schlemazel, hasenfeffer incorporated. We're gonna do it!

Give us any chance, we'll take it.
Give us any rule, we'll break it.
We're gonna make our dreams come true.
Doin' it our way.

Nothin's gonna turn us back now,
Straight ahead and on the track now.
We're gonna make our dreams come true,
Doin' it our way.

There is nothing we won't try,
Never heard the word impossible.
This time there's no stopping us.
We're gonna do it.

On your mark, get set, and go now,
Got a dream and we just know now,
We're gonna make our dream come true.
And we'll do it our way, yes our way.
Make all our dreams come true,
And do it our way, yes our way,
Make all our dreams come true
For me and you.

November 7, 2009

Phenomenal Robotic Arm (and experiments with phantom limbs)


So quite awhile back when I went to Wired Nextfest, I saw a robotic arm with 33 pneumatic pumps. I thought it was amazing because it could pick an object as fragile as an egg, but I couldn't visualize how this could be translated to helping amputees.

But recently on a 60 Minutes program, DARPA is funding this amazing project. You can control the arm connected to sensors with your foot. In this clip, you can see a user pick up a bottle of soda, open it, and drink from it. Also in the last portion of the clip, this company experiments with brain waves by connecting sensors to the limb (not sure, but could be related to phantom limbs). Anyway, I was blown away by this technology. If you have any insight, and ping me links to other scientific research (address is posted in the footer--Thx).

Watch CBS News Videos Online

You can read more about this story, here.

November 27, 2009

CNN Heroes

Just watched CNN Heroes show that awarded people making a difference. The premise is there were ~9k applicants, but they awarded 10 people $25k, and allowed people to vote for 1 out of the 10 to receive an additional $100k. I thought the award (etched wooden plaque) was interestingly designed (not the black case for the "Hero of the Year" -- looked like a coffin). In any case, I wished CNN awarded more than $25k to all recipients, but they may recieve more money from just the high visibility of this show. Was wondering where Bono was.

These were the people who made a difference (in the order of CNN's presentation of awards):

Doc Hendley
Bringing clean water to devoloping countries.

Roy Foster
Aids homeless veterans a second chance (was formerly homeless and veteran himself).

Efren Peñaflorida
Pushcart classes so kids can be interested in education rather than gangs.

Jordan Thomas
Provides proesthetics to amputees 18 and under (mostly shyed away from Health insurance companies).

Betty Makoni
Women's Rights Advocate (Counciling Women who have been raped--Probably the most disturbing story is health rumor that men can cure HIV by raping virgins).

Derrick Tabb
Started a music ed afterschool program (teach and form bands) in New Orleans for poverished. I also read about how successful music ed program is in NY school (if interested, read Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers).

Jorge Munoz
Drives a bus during the day, and at night prepares and delivers homemade meals to unemployed people in New York.

Brad Blauser
Provides wheelchairs for Iraqi kids so they are empowered with mobility. Also aids parents too.

Budi Soehardl
Budi is a pilot, but he also started an orphanage in Indonesia. They have 49 kids.

Andrea Ivory
Provides mammograms to uninsured women for early detection of breast cancer. If you see her dress at the awards show, the bustier part of the dress (I think) signifies the pink ribbon of breast cancer.

Tim Burton

First of all, MoMA is exhibiting Tim Burton's work.

Aside from that, if you don't live in New York, check out this site I found:

It features episodes of Stain Boy, and some characters from the Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy. There is an edition where the cover is black and purple (beautiful cloth bound). Most of the animations are done in Flash and are beautiful (they are funny, ridden with sarcasm). Tim Burton is a creative genius.

Also, check out his free fonts (which are cool, and not as cheesy as most free fonts):

Chinese Senior Citizens practice hip hop on Current TV

December 25, 2009

I <3 reading comments by donors for Wikipedia...

Here are some good ones:


Feds monetary policies create financial disasters; Great example of a pyromaniac working for the fire department.

Charles Hampton

Thank you for being a light to the world. I have every confidence that Wikipedia will help lead us out of the dark ages.

Albert Morton [this guy donated $100]

I never thought about Wikipedia needing money. OK! I'm on board now.

Karl Jay Garcia

If I could only have ONE website, it would be wikipedia

Adam Burton [he donated 2 Canadian dollars]

I dont have much this year....but thank you for letting me use this wonderful source of knowledge,

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

September 2, 2010

Sneak Peek at NYPL Live Events

Supreme Court Associate Justice STEPHEN BREYER & JEFFREY ROSEN
in conversation with Paul Holdengräber
Monday, September 20, 2010 at 7:00PM in the Celeste Bartos Forum

in conversation
Monday, October 18, 2010 at 8:00PM in the Celeste Bartos Forum

Monday, November 15, 2010 at 7:00PM in the Celeste Bartos Forum

Also, Toni Morrison, and more... click here.

November 5, 2010

Tufte Conference...

I had the wonderful opportunity to see Edward Tufte speak. I highly recommend anyone who is a designer, developer, business/product manager, education, information services, and/or IT to go his event. It is a one day course that costs $400, and you receive all 4 books.

He opens with this animation:

InfoViz that displays all these bits of information: past, future, present (in white), visual music interface, pure information/content.

Please feel free to download my notes, but you will need his books as a reference. Please excuse any grammatical errors since I was typing on my iPad:
Download file

Also, below the fold of his site, there are a list of links to discussion topics:


December 6, 2010

New York City at Night Book

Nice work by photographer Evan Joseph Uhlfelder, an ITP alum.


Book signing event:
December 8th, at the rooftop lounge of 75 Wall Street, at 6:30pm

If you're not around, check out his site here:

April 9, 2012

Nice way to celebrate Eadweard Muybridge's birthday...


September 15, 2012

"Fireflies On The Water" by Yayoi Kusama

If you are in New York and you like contemporary art, please see this exhibit at the Whitney until October 28, 2012. If you do plan on going, go early, to get tickets. If you have to wait, trek up to the Met and see the "Cloud City" exhibit.

More about the piece here.


Ingo Maurer's new piece

I am such a fan of this artist/designer's works. Awhile ago, there was an exhibition of his works at Cooper Hewitt, displaying a glass bench and tables with LED lights mounted on conductive film, DIY LED wall paper, and so forth (see some photos here).


I just visited his store in SoHO, and saw this latest work. It is so simple, beautiful and elegant. The concept is a black PCB mounted with a grid of RGB LED lights that play different animations of a flickering flame.

There is also a chandelier piece that mounts 100 of these PCB's

Apology for the blurry image:

November 10, 2012

Great presentation from Donald Norman, Interaction South America 2012

Donald Norman, author of The Design of Everyday Things presents this comprehensive overview of interaction/experience design, which cover his 6 design principles as well as visceral, behavior, and reflective states of the user:

Aside from that, he is coming out with a new book that will possibly cover projected designs of the future from now until year 2037. Here are some of my notes:

• Example of Windows mobile phone interface
• Apple volume button in earbud cord (I had no idea until watching this presentation there was a middle button)
• Brain interaction (reminds me of phantom limbs) - DARPA (this video covers research in this area)
• DIY markets (INMO: I am bracing myself for this revolution, as I hope it changes mass production, not proliferate more unnecessary products for our environment's sake)
• BMW iDrive
• Future of subscriptions
• Interesting analysis on who are Google's customers? And what are their products?
Google customers: Advertising agencies
Google's products: Us
• Great attention to accessibility (displaying text on slides when signing wasn't appropriate)
If you are interested in more ixd/hci principles, check out Jakob Nielsen:

December 8, 2012

Landfill Harmonic

Fantastic video of people re-appropriating trash to make recycled instruments in Paraguay. This video says it all:

The recycled orchestra is an orchestra that performs with instruments made out of trash... People realize that we shouldn't throw away trash carelessly... Well, we shouldn't throw away people either.

December 15, 2012

Great post by Arik Hesseldahl on Andy Rooney's bookshelf

I’m certain Rooney never read that email, and though I can’t prove it, I’m betting his producer did. Because two months later, Rooney closed the April 22, 2007 edition of 60 Minutes with a segment that included a few of his favorite books (Link goes to the video, which is not embeddable). They were: three dictionaries; a heavily used edition of Modern English Usage by Henry Watson Fowler. Walter Lippman’s A Preface To Morals; four leather-bound volumes by Charles Darwin; and the fifth edition of The Modern Researcher by Jacques Barzum and Henry Graff, also heavily used.

Here is Andy Rooney's segment on books (can't open the video, but maybe that is because of my browser):


I, too, have been fascinated with what is on people's shelves. I was so interested that I tried to translate this fascination into a physical object, a shelf connected to an RFID reader:

This initial prototype did function the basics (with the help of ITPers: Kazuhiro Nozaki, Josh Cheng, Max Weng, James Sears). However, there were some issues to be resolved like finding an RFID reader that had anti-collision properties (and was small enough and affordable). This investigation led to my thesis project, Hypershelf.

January 6, 2013

Great video about the possibilities of creative code [using open source software]

One of the professors that teaches in my program, Dan Shiffman and others, talk about the endless possibilities of using creative code, such as Processing (Java), Cinder (C++) and OpenFrameworks that interact with devices such as Kinect.

If interested in Dan Shiffman's new book, click on the links below. His book was a Kickstarter project, documentation here.

January 8, 2013

Kickstarter stats and best projects of 2012


Ever thought of being a VC or Angel Investor, but couldn't afford to invest or commit? Well, Kickstarter is the platform for you to become an investor on some very cool projects. A group of friends that periodically invest in some interesting projects end up in my feed, which end up becoming a social way to invest. It is empowering and fun!


This comes out to $606.76 per minute.

Just like an annual report (but more interactive and engaging), Kickstarter publishes some stats and some projects for the public, [Just click here to visit]. But I will summarize some of the numbers below. All art belongs to Kickstarter, but I had to modify the screens so they fit in my blog.

Interesting list of categories and how much they made as a group. I believe games win at ~$83 million:

Here is a stat for those in music:

Here are a couple of music projects look pretty interesting (a movement to bring classical or new classical music back):

Now for funny projects that I have to revisit:



Other projects for me to revisit:


Design/Environmental Design/Architecture/Urban Planning

Design/Graphic Design/Urban Planning/Legal (offering "public domain" fonts)

A former colleague of mine, Britta Riley at NYU/ITP grad program founded this project:
Design/Environment/Interior Design/Nutrition/Education


Even Stanford University is teaching Kickstarter for college credit:

And Kickstarter is parodied by major publications like The New Yorker:
The caption reads: "Thanks to Kickstarter, we're buidling a tunnel." Click here to view original.

More funny links: [The Daily Show]

The Onion:,28655/

IFC (Portlandia):


Funny or Die [Rated PG-13]:

January 12, 2013

"Ten Reasons to Teach Our Children Music" by Alla Aranovskaya (St. Petersburg String Quartet)

By Alla Aranovskaya (St. Petersburg String Quartet); The quartet's performance of "The Following."

A girl is singing “Jingle Bells” out of tune. She clearly does not have a musical ear! And there’s no room for a piano. Grandma lives too far and can’t take the boy “to the music” (a Russian idiom). Moreover, the child simply has no time and is fully scheduled with French classes, Spanish classes, swimming classes, ballet, gymnastics, yoga, chess club, math tutoring…

There’s no way to add music lessons to these children’s schedules!
But there are good reasons to overcome all those obstacles and still teach children music. These reasons should be made clear to today's parents!

1. To play music is to follow tradition. All aristocrats, Russian as well as European, were taught music. To play music is glossy, shiny, and chic. The study of music builds one’s character, stimulates the intelligence, and stirs the soul. Music is the apotheosis of civilization.

Duke Ellington started to play the piano because girls always gather around a guy who plays music. And how about a girl who plays Scott Joplin’s ragtime music?
Attention, parents of brides!

2. Music exercises develop willpower and discipline: one must practice the instrument constantly and regularly—in winter and summer, on weekdays and holidays—almost with the same persistence with which champions train in the gym and at the rink. But, in contrast to sports heroes, piano playing won’t lead to a broken neck or leg, or even a hand.

Attention, strict parents! Music builds character without risk of injury. How great that it’s possible!

3. While making music, children develop mathematical abilities. They think spatially while fingering the right keys. They manipulate abstract musical figures that represent sounds. They memorize musical texts. And they learn that a piece of music is similar to a mathematical theorem in that you cannot subtract anything from it or add anything to it.

It is not a coincidence that Albert Einstein played the violin, and that professors of physics and mathematics at Oxford University comprise 70% of the members of the University music club.

Attention, parents of future mathematicians and engineers! To make music is more pleasant than to solve difficult science problems under the supervision of a tutoring stick.

4. Music and language are twin brothers. They were born one after the other: first, the elder—music, and then, the younger—verbal speech. And they continue to live together in our brains.

Phrases and sentences, commas and periods, question and exclamation points, exist in both music and speech.

People who play and sing also speak and write better, they memorize foreign words more easily, and they learn grammar more quickly. Many famous writers were also music lovers, including Stendhal, Turgenev, Pasternak, Leo Tolstoy, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Romain Rolland, all of whom spoke more than one foreign language; and all of these writers recommended the study of music to future polyglots.
Attention, wise parents of future journalists and translators! In the beginning was the Word, but before that was the Sound.

5. Music is structural and hierarchical: major works are divided into smaller parts, which in their turn are divided into smaller themes and fragments consisting of tiny phrases and motifs. Spontaneous understanding of musical hierarchy facilitates understanding computers, which are entirely hierarchical and structured as well.

Psychologists have proved that young musicians who studied with the famous Shinichi Suzuki, even if they were not very successful in developing a musical ear and memory, nevertheless easily surpassed their peers in development of structural thinking.

Attention, pragmatic parents of future IT engineers, systems administrators, and programmers! Music leads straight to the top of computer science careers, and that’s why the Microsoft Corporation prefers workers with musical backgrounds.

6. Music lessons develop social and communication skills. After years of study, a child will become acquainted with the gallant and friendly Mozart, the energetic and athletic Prokofiev, the sophisticated and philosophical Bach, and other very different musical personalities. While playing, a child has to portray these composers and bring to the audience their character, style, emotions, voice, and gestures.

Such children are only one step away from the talent of manager! That’s because for a musician, perhaps the most important skill is to understand people and to use this understanding to manage them.

Attention, ambitious parents of future founders of business empires! Music goes from heart to heart, and the most powerful weapon of a top manager is the disarming smile of a “good guy.”

7. Musicians are tenderhearted and courageous at the same time. According to psychologists, male musicians are as sensual as women, and female musicians are as firm in spirit as men. Music softens manners, but to succeed in music, one must be brave.

Attention, sagacious parents who expect help and support in old age! Children who are involved in music are both sympathetic and patient, and will therefore be more willing to care for their elderly parents when the time comes.

8. Music lessons teach children to turn upon a signal immediately. Musicians are less afraid of that terrible word, “deadline.” In a music school, you can’t postpone an audition or a concert to the next day or week. A musician, like an actor on a stage, learns to be ready, no matter what. A child with such experience won’t fail an important test, won’t fumble an employment interview, and won’t delay preparing an important report.

Attention, anxious parents! Music lessons in childhood mean responsibility and artistry in life.

9. Music classes bring up small “Caesars” who can do many things at once. Music teaches children to navigate in multiple concurrent processes; for example, a sight-reading pianist remembers the past, looks to the future, and controls the present, all at the same time.

Music flows at its own pace, and a sight-reading person can’t be interrupted; he can’t relax or take a break. Similarly, the air-traffic controller, computer operator, or stock broker watches multiple screens, listens to many commands, and communicates via multiple phones simultaneously. Music teaches children to think and live in several directions.

Attention, overworked and tired parents! It will be easier for a child-musician to run on multiple life paths and come in first than it is for you.

10. And finally, music is the best way to succeed in life. Why? See paragraphs 1-9.

No wonder that the musical past is shared by many celebrities:
The first story that Agatha Christie wrote was about why it is difficult to play the piano onstage.

In contrast, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice loves most of all to play in public in her dazzling concert dress.

Bill Clinton is sure that if he had never played saxophone, he would never have become president.

Take a look at successful people in any professional field and ask them whether they were engaged in music as a child, even if it was not for long and without much enthusiasm. Of course they were. And we have given you ten good reasons to follow their inspirational example.

If that’s not enough, perhaps our little closing poem will inspire you to offer your children a musical education:

“You make me work so hard,” he said,
“You’re stuffing music in my head.”
“It’s good for you,” his mom replied.
“I hate to practice!” the young boy cried.
The years went by; the young boy played.
His pastimes changed; the piano stayed.
He went along with mother’s plan,
Until that boy became a man:
A man with music in his heart,
Who learned to love a living art.
~ Lilian Duval

January 26, 2013

Love this commercial, do I dare say it?

By Microsoft, Internet Explorer. But they got the generation wrong... I think they meant GenX, not Y.

January 29, 2013

Wikipedia is AWESOME...

Awhile back, I was fortunate enough to travel to Calcutta, India. I was a photographer at Kshitij in IIT Kharagpur, India. IIT is the acronym for Indian Institute of Technology. They are the Asian version of MIT. In fact, I remembered watching a video about a graduate saying that this school was harder to get into than even some of the ivy leagues [source: 60 Minutes].

When I visited, there were robotics competitions and many innovative projects there. I was fortunate to see Jimmy Wales speak. I have always been an advocate of Wikipedia, since I wanted a set of Britannica Encyclopedia, but couldn't really afford it.

In any case, I found these two videos.

Did you ever wonder what happened to OLPC (One Laptop Per Child)? OLPC was founded by Nicholas Negroponte, who is also the founder of MIT Media Lab. Lisa Strausfeld, one of my professors for Information Visualization at ITP, worked on the o/s Sugar. This video documents children in Peru using Wikipedia on OLPC.

Children in Peru write their own history on Wikipedia

International contributors from Wikipedia talk about their experiences and contributions.

Meet some of the awesome people who make Wikipedia

If you are an expert, volunteer!

January 30, 2013

"Jiro Dreams of Sushi" & How to Master Your Domain

One of my favorite documentary movies:

He has a strong work ethic.

Rules from Jeff Weiner's article "From Seinfeld to Sushi: How to Master Your Domain:"

1. Never stop practicing (there is no perfect)
2. Sweat the details
3. Keep chipping away
4. Work clean
5. Be passionate
For more inspiration, please read the chapter from Malcolm Gladwell's book, Outliers on "10,000 hours." Malcolm Gladwell is one of my favorite authors. I highly recommend Tipping Point.
From Jiro on ageism:

There, in the last paragraph of an article announcing the Yankees had re-signed baseball great Ichiro Suzuki, was a quote from Ichiro that read, "I believe the Yankees organization appreciates that there is a difference between a 39-year-old who has played relying only on talent, and a 39-year-old who has prepared, practiced, and thought thoroughly through many experiences for their craft."

October 11, 2013

Malala Yousafzai, age 16, to Receive the Nobel Peace Prize

An advocate for education and women's rights, she tells this story on the Jon Stewart show:

I started thinking about that, and I used to think that the Talib would come, and he would just kill me. But then I said, 'If he comes, what would you do Malala?' then I would reply to myself, 'Malala, just take a shoe and hit him.' But then I said, 'If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others with cruelty and that much harshly, you must fight others but through peace and through dialogue and through education.' Then I said I will tell him how important education is and that 'I even want education for your children as well.' And I will tell him, 'That's what I want to tell you, now do what you want.'

Read more:!

July 26, 2014

More on Standardized Testing...

In May 2007, a couple of colleagues of mine, and I had the opportunity to create a Facebook App for the Bschools channel titled "Best Fit Bschools." I researched how selecting grad schools could be more engaging and better fit for students by using the reference of old SAT/GMAT/LSAT tests. Erica Pelzek wrote the copy for all of the questions. We were trying to develop this app for the 2007 issue of "BusinessWeek Bschools Ranking" []. We mixed her copy with reappropriated science and math graphics.

She wrote with humor:

B-schooler since birth? Or weighing your options? Whether you've taken the GMAT five times already or are still considering academia, our quick quiz will dish out the b-schools that are the best fit for you. And after you take it, your Harvard Law-bound friends or UC-Berkeley-headed significant other can vote on which school they want you to choose.

Next page:

Have you been attending Future MBA meetings with Brooks Brothers-wearing, golf-playing buddies since your freshman year of high school? Or have you been gushing to your eco-friendly comrades about the environmentally sustainable sneaker line you dream of launching? Whether you want to pay $47,000 a year or $25,000, study in an ultra-urban or quaint rural setting, this brief quiz -- no data sufficiency questions, we promise -- will suggest the right b-schools for you.

The great thing about working together is that it becomes fun and more creative. Here are more excerpts of her creative writing. Angelos Dosoulas and I pieced together the graphics:



August 10, 2014

Fashion Designer: Charles James at The Met

I just caught this exhibition with the works of Charles James, which was highly recommended by colleague, Ms. Jacqueline Gordon. It was pretty impressive, and the digital kiosks displaying media on Mr. James' process was engaging in that 3D graphics were used to show how the dresses were made.



My favorite dress from his collections (front/back):

Even though some of his styles seem simple, his sketches and construction of these dresses and coats seem complex to me (especially matching a pattern with the seam:

August 17, 2014

9/11 Memorial Museum

Just visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum, which has been opened since May 2014. The tour guide recommended that we start with the 20-minute video, which is why the tickets have the printed showtimes. Then you go downstairs and start with the artistic globe, which was located in a fountain between the twin towers.

The information visualization and timelines were beautiful, yet haunting. As you walk through columns of projections, the audio plays different people's voices. I think each column represented a different time zone.



There is a beautiful installation of paper tiles representing shades of blue the morning of September 11, 2001, surrounding a quote made out of steel from the twin towers, "No day shall erase you from the memory of time" -- Virgil, referenced by The New York Times.

There is an interactive kiosk, where you can write a message, and submit a zip code or country, which places the message and messages in a projection. There were messages in different languages projected on different continents.


There were some timeline information visualizations that were projected on the walls.



This visualization was accompanied by audio:

I have seen this visualization before, but not in the context of the attacks on September 11, 2001 by NASA:



There were great applications of vertical videos, but I was not able to take photos beyond the inner perimeter of the museum. I would recommend a good 4 hours if you are slow to peruse through all artifacts. On Tuesdays, between 5:30pm-8:00pm, the admission is free, but you need to start lining up at 3:00pm-3:30pm.

August 22, 2014

NYPL LIVE: Bryan Stevenson & Sister Helen Prejean

When I was a kid, my parents, as most Asian parents, tried to push me to be a doctor or lawyer. I wanted to be a doctor more than a lawyer, but I was also interested in art. Then I watch Inherit the Wind, and really wanted to be a lawyer. Read more about the film here on Wikipedia []. After I graduated, I went abroad to teach, then decided to apply for law school. You have to take the LSATs, which was fun, but before dropping over $100k, I got my paralegal certificate (3 or 6-month overview of Constitutional Law/Statute Law, etc.), and worked at two law firms, and may I say the experience was far from being "an Erin Brockovich." Julia Roberts played her in the film []. My experience was paper pushing, coding, and politics. I am glad I have the experience because I can create my own provisional patents, and edit contract templates. If I were to go back in time, I think I would have been an Intellectual Property paralegal/attorney. I like to draw and read about technology. Anyway, I am glad that there are people like Bryan Stevenson and Sister Helen Prejean, advocates for the poor and incarcerated.

Yes, I am a fan of the film, Dead Man Walking, starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn. Read more about the movie on Wikipedia []. NYPL Live is hosting a discussion with these two authors.

Does our criminal justice system lack mercy? Could the U.S. legal system exact justice if it abolished capital punishment, or eliminated mandatory minimum sentencing? These questions are at the heart of Bryan Stevenson’s new book, Just Mercy, which explores these issues and chronicles his career as founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative. Joining him at LIVE is Sister Helen Prejean, from The Ministry Against the Death Penalty and author of Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States.

BRYAN STEVENSON is a public-interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned. He's a professor of law at New York University Law School and the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) [], an Alabama-based group that has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent prisoners on death row, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill, and aiding children prosecuted as adults. EJI won an historic ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court holding that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger are unconstitutional (too cool). He has won relief for dozens of condemned prisoners, argued six times before the Supreme Court, and won national acclaim for his work challenging bias against the poor and people of color. He has received numerous awards, including the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant. He is a graduate of the Harvard Law School and the Harvard School of Government, and has been awarded 14 honorary doctorate degrees.​ His book is entitled Just Mercy.

SISTER HELEN PREJEAN is the public face of the Ministry Against the Death Penalty. She spends most of her time giving speaking engagements across the USA and internationally, teaching people about the realities of the death penalty and encouraging people to educate themselves on the issue. She is the author of Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty, which was developed into a major motion picture starring Susan Sarandon as Sister Helen and Sean Penn as a death row inmate, and The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions. Sister Helen has served on the board of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, and is a member of Amnesty International and an honorary member of Murder Victim Families for Reconciliation. Presently, she serves as the Honorary Chairperson of Moratorium Campaign, a group gathering signatures for a worldwide moratorium on the death penalty.

Cited from NYPL LIVE website:

August 23, 2014

[Edtech]: STEMteachersNYC: Standards-Based Grading

I have gone to one STEMteachersNYC event on [], and open-source Java based code for artists and designers. First off, STEM is an acronym for (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). I was pretty impressed with the teachers in this group. I worked with two high school teachers, who were teaching Processing, Arduino inputs (software-to-hardware and hardware-to-software interaction), scary that some kids are learning this in 10th grade, when I learned this program in my mid-thirties. Within 20-40 minutes, my group created a simulation of a decaying leaf over 365 days, including day and night. That was one of the issues I had in graduate school. Artists and designers were creating beautiful art, but not using the program to simulate science. I saw some projects simulating Visual Calculus techniques that simulated a presentation from a Caltech Professor, Mamikon Mnatsakanian [New Horizons in Geometry(Dolciani Mathematical Expositions) Hardcover – January 18, 2013 by Tom Apostol (Author), Mamikon Mnatsakanian (Author)]. I also saw cool applications of teachers teaching Trigonometry, sine and cosine by creating the application, and editing the program. Processing is the new Mathematica (this software was $100k at one time).

I am attending this event on assessment. I have been interested in retention. Why can I remember almost every colleagues' thesis or class projects in graduate school, but on a MOOC, I need to review content. In both physical classes and digital classes, assessment was very important, but very different. Since approximately 70k-100k can take one Coursera class, students are often graded by their peers using specific examples of rubrics. Anyway, there are 30 spots:

More about this event and how to join the group below:

• Elizabeth Dowdell (Urban Assembly Maker Academy, Manhattan)
• Steven Carpenter (Avenues: The World School, Manhattan)

DESCRIPTION: Standards-Based Grading (SBG) begins with standards that teachers author/choose/revise and that they apply in their classrooms. Rather than a top-down directive, these standards are a helpful tool that teachers use to make required work and acceptable performance levels transparent. Instead of receiving a traditional letter or number grade on an assessment, SBG allows teachers to provide students with feedback on their mastery of a set of specific skills and content knowledge. With SBG, conversations become more focused on learning itself rather than report card grades. SBG can also be used to help meet the demands of Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards, and Danielson’s Framework (especially component 3d).

In this workshop, we will share our experiences developing and implementing Standards-Based Grading systems in our classrooms. During the first part of the workshop we will present specific examples and resources from our classrooms, along with discussions regarding why and how we made the shift to SBG and some of the challenges and rewards we experienced. During the second part of the workshop, you will have the opportunity to work in groups to experience the process of developing/choosing standards and to discuss how those standards impact instruction and grading.

Elizabeth teaches physics and Steve teaches physics, engineering, physical science, and computer programming. In addition to using SBG in their own classrooms, both Elizabeth and Steve have experience implementing SBG with interdisciplinary teams. Thus the focus of the workshop will be on a variety of disciplines, and the strategies and tools considered will be useful to any teacher, irrespective of subject.
Receipts and Certificates documenting participation are available.

STEM (Science-Tech-Engineering-Math) teachers, including physics, chemistry, biology, earth science physical science, and general science teachers
Teachers of any subject interested in making their evaluation of student work more meaningful and transparent as well as in developing explicit standards and connecting them with grading.

Students interested in becoming teachers or engaged in preparing to be teachers.
ACCELERATED MOTION APPARATUS AND WHITEBOARDS. There is a simultaneous workshop at Teachers College on “Accelerated Motion Lab Make-n-Take & Intro to Modeling.” If you wish to do so, you can order whiteboards (6 for $20) and/or one or more of the accelerated motion apparatus setups for $10 each (or 8 for $64) at . The whiteboards and apparatus will be available for pickup in room 414, down the hall from the SBG workshop at 1 pm.

CAPACITY: limited to 30 participants.
ORGANIZER: Fernand Brunschwig, Math, Sci. & Tech. Dept., Columbia Teachers College
To join STEMteachersNYC, fill out survey:

By the way, I met with Fernand Brunschwig, founder of this program, and author of a college physics text book. You can google him, or check out his books on scribd [].

August 25, 2014

[Jazz Musician]: Duane Holmes

Duane Holmes has been playing jazz and classical improvisations on the platform of Columbus Circle on the A/B/C/D lines. When I used to work for Macmillan Science and Scholarly, formerly Nature Publishing Group, I switched trains from the "1" to the "A" and cut my commute by approximately half, from 35-40 minutes to 15 minutes (i.e. 5 stops at 3 minutes apiece). I would listen to Duane play, and wanted my husband, a music composer to go here him play. Btw, I used to see some high school kids in a Trio play "Careless Whispers" by George Michael -- awesome and talented musicians playing in this station.

Anyway, I have since been taking the "A" in the mornings and able to catch his music again. Sometimes he plays new unique music, or sometimes he plays Carlos Jobim's pieces. I saw the cutest photo... a kid slowly engaged in the keyboard. Duane sort of hinted for him to play, but he didn't bite. Now, you know he's good if a kid is interested.


I'm surprised a music agent hasn't discovered this guy. If you are interested, here's his contact info (he's on sound cloud too):
youtube: duaneholmes "as" Duke Ellington


There is so much talent here, it's intimidating. That's how I met my husband. I saw a photo of him playing on one of the "Piano in the Parks" installations (i.e. now "Sing for Hope"), in Long Island City. I have been teaching myself Pachelbel's Canon, some works from the film The Piano [], and Once. I had been practicing for 6 weeks. I hadn't played for ~20 years, so reading treble and bass clef notes was challenging. I would practice with the right hand, then the left hand, then simultaneously. At the time, I asked my husband what he played, and he said "Baroque." I didn't believe him, but he really did play Baroque. It's like everywhere there is a piano, there are flocks of professional piano players following you. I've seen even kids, ages 10 play Bach.

So if you see those pianos in the future, you better practice, and play in a recital as practice. And whatever you do, do not play the violin in Central Park... I'll save that as another story for another day.

May 17, 2016

Good to see you Duane Holmes!

It was a great but brief reunion at Columbus Circle. Several years back I would take the "A" train to Varick Street, and listen to this talented musician. His music engaged little kids.
These photos were taken in 2014, (view playlist)

And here we are in 2016

Duane is playing in a jazz band that experiments with fashion and supports a mental health organization June 4, 2016, 419 W. 150th Street, on St. Nicholas.

If you're interested in learning more about the event, please contact him:
youtube: duaneholmes "as" Duke Ellington


I was so lucky to have found this event. I was visiting my old hood, and had to make a pit stop for free WIFI at the Atrium. They have free and discounted concert tickets and lecture talks:
61 W 62nd St, New York, NY 10023

I was able to attend the first NY PHIL BIENNIAL: A Player's Guide, where Alan Gilbert hosted conversations with Jennifer Koh, Martin Bresnick, Aaron Jay Kernis, Hilary Purrington, Christopher Theofanidis, Jay Campbell, Dianne Berkun Menaker, Lisa Bielawa, Colin Jacobsen, John Corigliano

Alan Gilbert is a conductor and violinist. He was in season 9 of Mozart in the Jungle
I just wish my nephew was with me because at 18 months, he loves to conduct. And as a novice conductor, he loves to hear me play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on my violin even though it sounds like fingernails scratching a chalkboard. I guess he's a Mozart fan.

Jennifer Koh shared her experience about a community acquiring a violin for her. She was so thankful. I was grateful to take a photo with her:

STEAM Event in NYC

I was lucky to get tickets from NYU to a STEAM event at a public school in Brooklyn.

I gravitated away from the new technologies like Arduino and LittleBits, and found this booth. I was able to experience some of these tools that people used in early 19th and 20th Century. It was a like a tangible museum.

This device reminds me of Google Cardboard:

This is what I see in the viewer:

Here's a microscope:

Here's what someone joked as a Ouija board.

But it looks like a mini-printing press or type-plate. It reminds me of a Letterpress class I took at Art Center:

See in context:

They use these tools for teaching. If interested, here's more information:
The Museum of Interesting Things
Denny Daniel


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