Luxo LogoThe world’s most innovative animation and game companies have just put their video software in your hands.

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Mi c With i Phone and i pad illIt’s never been easier to get music onto a phone, whether it’s yours or someone else’s. These tools help you find and record music–and even bust out an app for your band using HTML5.

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Padcaster Photo illTelevision is losing viewers, and iPads and their cousins are ready to replace it.

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3dThe third dimension isn’t just a Hollywood contrivance for repackaging old movies–it’s cropping up in everything from tablet computers to museum exhibits to Web design.

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Photo by Adobe ShadowWho’s got the right strategy for uniting content across desktop and mobile devices? (And who’s utterly failing?)

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This month’s debut of Apple’s digital textbook venture met with mixed reactions. Who’s right?

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Vintage Grilled Cheese Ipad heaA California high school aborts an “incentive” program that would give lower-scoring students different colored ids and a separate lunch line. Kindergarteners in Auburn, Maine, meanwhile, are handed iPads along with their jars of paste.

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Is it cheating to appropriate Google Street View images as photojournalism?

The Google Street View car is like the ultimate street photographer, a robo Cartier-Bresson methodically scouring the streets and documenting what it sees. But most people use GSV for practical purposes, and they view any drama or comedy captured by the roving 360-degree camera as accidents.

A few photographers are now looking for these ‘accidents’ intentionally. Instead of walking out on the street to find interesting scenes and people, they are simply curating the pre-documented streets from the comfort of their desk at home.

Michael Wolf, for example, uses a camera to photograph scenes from Google Street View open on his computer’s browser. In February, his honorable mention in the Contemporary Issues category at the World Press Photo Awards for A Series of Unfortunate Events ignited a storm of debate. Some balked at the idea that Wolf’s project was photojournalism, while others embraced the decision and called for more conceptual leaps and redefinitions of photojournalism in the digital age.

Meanwhile two women in Cincinnati are testing privacy ethics by selling reproductions of 1955 police mug shots.

On another mobile front: For those who prefer their art fresh rather than refried, tablet drawing is getting more sophisticated, as on this recent release by the same company that created AutoCAD:

SketchBook Pro, essentially a digital canvas and brush set, allows you to use both your fingers and aftermarket styluses to create illustrations and designs. Included are over 60 different brush tools, the ability to create up to six different layers for one file, as well as the ability to export files to Photoshop.

The app was previously available on iPhone, iPad and Android phone devices, as well as in an expanded desktop version. This is the first version of the app that will run on Android’s tablet-optimized software, a.k.a. Honeycomb.

Of course, just because you drew it on an iPad doesn’t mean you won’t be a kitschy derivative of other works–as demonstrated by a recent exhibition that showed off the iPad’s artsy side:

What would Leonardo do?

Wired reports on a development that suggests Adobe may be ceding ground in the Flash versus HTML 5 competition:

Adobe wants to bring fancy, magazine-style layout tools to web design and the company is turning to web standard to make it happen.

Regions can be both positive and negative space. In other words, you can write CSS rules to flow text into a region — say, as below, a pie graph — or around a region (as in the image of Arches National Park at the top of this post).

Lest you think that Adobe is simply trying to improve the web — which may well be true — nevertheless, it’s worth bearing in mind Adobe’s own agenda. We suspect it’s no accident that the company has used WebKit to power the CSS Regions testing browser. WebKit is, after all, the engine that powers the iPad’s web browser.

With Apple banning Flash from its iOS devices, Adobe has little in the way of iPad-friendly tools to offer its big magazine clients. Given that publishers are betting heavily on the iPad’s ability to save their business model, the more iPad tools Adobe can offer, the happier magazine publishers will be. By rolling CSS Regions into WebKit for a demo, Adobe is already one step closer to a toe-hold on iOS devices.

If this research is to be believed, your professor’s ugly PowerPoint fonts make you more likely to remember his lectures, and you’re gonna forget that book you read on your Kindle or iPad because the screen is too crisp.

Is the takeaway that good graphic design leads to bad education? Or is it that anything that gets students to participate more actively–even if only to squint their eyes–stimulates learning more than passive edutainment? via Byline When students read books printed in hard-to-read fonts like Comic Sans, they retain information from them better than material printed in traditional fonts.

Meanwhile, on Slashdot: via Byline New research suggests that the clear screens and easily read fonts of e-readers makes your brain “lazy.” According to Neuroscience blogger Jonah Lehrer, using electronic books like the Kindle and Sony Reader makes you less likely to remember what you have read because the devices are so easy on the eyes. From the article: “Rather than making things clearer, e-readers and computers prevent us from absorbing information because their crisp screens and fonts tell our subconscious that the words they convey are not important, it is claimed. In contrast, handwriting and fonts that are more challenging to read signal to the brain that the content of the message is important and worth remembering, experts say.”

Writing in the Atlantic, Dylan Tweney claims that online publishing is challenging designers to give up the control they were used to in print publications and even in the first decade of the Web. According to Tweney, software like Cascading Style Sheets and JavaScript and platforms like the iPad are enabling the separation of form and content like never before.

At the same time, designers are increasingly in demand to find efficient ways to convey people and information, as some recent remarkable examples of design make clear. So who’s right?

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Yes, it’s only Flash video, and then only because a third-party app converts it to HTML5 first. But this could be the first chink in the great Flashwall of Apple.

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Animation is all about time, right? Well, these animations demonstrate that time can be a box you can break out of, thanks to stop-action applied to simple 3d CAD files.

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Net artists never die, they just find new networks. The latest platforms for digital art? iPhones and iPads, not to mention Google headquarters.

Could the iPad be the new canvas for artists? 400,000 downloads for a single artwork say “Yes, it is.”

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Most students just “rent” textbooks anyway, so why not rent them digitally? via Byline With the rise of tablets and e-readers, software developers and textbook publishers are making yet another effort to take textbooks digital. The latest entrant is Inkling, a textbook app for the iPad.

mongoliadFamed science fiction author Neal Stephenson has unveiled a digital novel platform created with a cabal of interactive fiction / martial arts enthusiasts. To judge from initial glimpses of their first interactive novel, The Mongoliad, this “new” platform is more of a combination of older ideas: part interactive CD-ROM (Voyager in the 1980s), part paid subscription (the New York Times in the 1990s), and part user-generated content (Wikipedia in the 2000s). At least the authors have given up on DRM from the get-go.

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Looking for ideas to inspire a new media capstone? How about turning a problem into a solution? The software keyboard has been one of the biggest stumbling blocks to using mobile devices such as the iPad for real work rather than just media consumption. But that may soon change. Thanks to soft keyboards like BlindType, the words smart and keyboard may start to be used in the same sentence.

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Several NMD courses at U-Me this fall will be using iPads–though I don’t believe it’s so much to read textbooks as reinvent them.

The iPad is about to have its academic chops put to the test this fall in a number of programs around the country. Colleges and universities are looking to adopt the iPad as a collaborative tool, a standardized mobile device to integrate into curriculums, and, in some cases, even a cost-saving device.

Several NMD courses at U-Me this fall will be using iPads–though I don’t believe it’s so much to read textbooks as reinvent them.

The iPad is about to have its academic chops put to the test this fall in a number of programs around the country. Colleges and universities are looking to adopt the iPad as a collaborative tool, a standardized mobile device to integrate into curriculums, and, in some cases, even a cost-saving device.

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Slashdot comments on the original story:

Ars Technica has an opinion piece by Sarah Rotman Epps on the iPad and other potential tablets as a new paradigm that they are calling ‘curated computing,’ where third parties make a lot of choices to simplify things for the end user, reducing user choice but improving reliability and efficiency for a defined set of tasks. The idea is that this does not replace, but supplements, general-purpose computers. It’s possible — if the common denominator between iPads, Android and/or Chrome tablets, WebOS tablets, and the like is a more server-centric web experience — that they could be right, and that a more competitive computing market could be the result. But I wonder, too: would that then provide an incentive for manufacturers to try to lock down the personal computing desktop experience as well?”

Meanwhile, at Wired, Eliot Van Buskirk takes Epps’ curatophilia even further, citing four realms of digital culture he claims have already been colonized by the curatorial compulsion:

1) Facebook curated the web….

Personal websites remain the domain of geeks while Facebook (and its predecessors), LinkedIn, Tumblr, Flickr and other pre-fab web-presence providers flourish, despite valid privacy concerns. When faced with social freedom on the web, we chose social curation instead, and now we’re dealing with that choice….

2) Music curation vs. music criticism…

Today, you can discover in seconds how nearly any band in the world sounds, assuming it wants to be heard, on YouTube, MySpace, Spotify, The Pirate Bay and other services. At that point, the role of the music critic shrinks considerably and becomes more about curation than criticism. The fact that your favorite MP3 blog mentions something at all is more important than what they say about it, because you can then download or stream the song and decide for yourself….

3) News publications filter the news.

Before the internet and Google all we had was curated news, in that readers typically got all of their news from one or two paper publications, which are closed systems. When the news went online and the internet opened up news distribution, aggregation became important. A Google News search on a current event typically reveals thousands of articles on the same topic, and the sheer number of current events being reported has skyrocketed in the past decade, which has made curation important once again….

4) Consumption devices curate functionality.

Finally, we arrive at the sort of curation Epps is talking about. The Kindle, cellphone, MP3 player, GPS and other specific-purpose devices curate functionality in order to deliver a better experience than a general-purpose desktop computer could ever deliver. This holds especially true for devices designed around consumption, such as portable MP3 players or big-screen televisions….When a “curated computing” device offers general functionality and a large screen, geeks get nervous because they view it as a blow against computing freedom.

Are jargon-happy digerati like Epps and Buskirk only infatuated with “curating” because they’ve run out of other Web 2.0 buzzwords? Or has the proliferation of the once-artsy concept of curating into sectors like journalism and computing helped to reveal its true political merits and liabilities?

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