Scanadu Scout, a Real-Life Tricorder

February 15, 2015

scanadu-iphone-mccoy

The Scanadu Scout is an impressive first cut at a real-life Star Trek tricorder. I take a first look at this groundbreaking device over on the Timeless Boulevard blog. Read the post and let me know what you think…

Americanese

September 23, 2013

My friend Eric Byler just rescued his film Americanese from distribution purgatory, with a pay-per-view release on Comcast this month and a new crowd-funded project to release it on DVD.

Take a look at the new site we just launched for the film and DVD release…

Americanese: click to visit site

New film project: Story of America

January 9, 2013

Story of America: A Nation Divided

The social and political divisions in America seem to be worsening, and the resulting conflict and paralysis are increasingly destructive in the face of enormous challenges. That’s why I’ve been helping with a new film project called Story of America. The goal is to foster dialogue by sharing our stories — after all, the first necessary step to bridging any divide is to at least see each other as human beings again, with all the troubles, tragedies and joys that we have in common.

I invite you to come share your story (in words, photos or video). You can also help make the film a reality by making a tax-deductible donation via the project’s Indiegogo fundraising campaign.

People all over the country have already started to share their stories, and many more are joining the conversation. Take a look

Portfolio Updates — Film-Related Projects

November 17, 2011

I’ve been doing a bit of catch-up in the portfolio in the last week, with two new projects in the (recently renamed) Film & Books page along with additional items in the Gallery.

Since I wrote about the upcoming DVD release of 9500 Liberty in my last post here, I thought it might make sense to actually include a portfolio section about the project, too. I’ve also included a brief section on the web site for Declaration Pictures, an independent film production company.

9500 Liberty, the DVD

November 6, 2011

9500 Liberty movie poster, DVD and sell sheet

When I was working with filmmakers Annabel Park and Eric Byler on the documentary 9500 Liberty in 2009, America was at an inflection point in its immigration policy. Action at the national level was paralyzed by rigid opposition on the right and distracted timidity on the left. At the same time, mushrooming unemployment and economic uncertainty created a feverish hothouse environment where proponents of harsh laws against undocumented workers were finding traction among state and local legislatures. The film dropped at just the right moment to inform the debate with its depiction of the unintended negative social and economic consequences of such legislation in Virginia, and audiences in 42 cities across the country were responding to its compelling story.

Alas, in a series of consequences-be-damned, politics-above-all decisions, such laws came to pass in a number of states. These draconian policies — even more severe than the one documented in the film — have already been signed into law in Arizona, Alabama, Georgia and elsewhere, stressing communities and bringing the first taste of billions in economic disruption as people vote with their feet to find friendlier places to call home.

It’s in this climate that the DVD of 9500 Liberty is being released on November 29. Unfortunately as relevant and prescient as ever, it continues to tell an important story of lessons previously learned, even as the continuing debate, court challenges and social-economic consequences unfold.

Portfolio Update: E-Book Site Redesign

July 7, 2011

Project: Consumer Site RedesignThe latest update to the portfolio documents a massive 2010 undertaking to rework a large consumer e-book site from top to bottom.

As a one-time haunter of every bookstore and library that crossed my path, the design was a natural opportunity to celebrate the special bond between a reader and his beloved books and authors — a place to let titles entice with their sell-a-book-by-its-cover splash while allowing the underlying dignity of the medium to glow beneath the dazzle.

Take a look and let me know what you think…

Deconstructing Product Design Lands on 10-16-09

October 14, 2009

Deconstructing Product Design front cover

We received the authors’ copies of Deconstructing Product Design recently, and the books’ contributors should have their copies as well. It’s good to see it bound and printed, and we’re quite happy with the final product. Rockport did an excellent job with the book’s production and printing.

Amazon reports that the book will be available on October 16. The “Look Inside” feature is now enabled, too, so you can get a preview of the contents.

Find Deconstructing Product Design on Amazon

Deconstructing Product Design front cover

Deconstructing Product Design interior pages

DPD Contributors

August 23, 2009

The contributors to Deconstructing Product DesignWe added a contributors’ page on the Deconstructing Product Design site featuring the 38 thinkers and doers whose words will be featured in the print edition. With expertise ranging from design and architecture to music, firearms, and iBots, their commentary adds insight and wide-ranging perspective on the products discussed in DPD.

Portfolio Updates

May 28, 2009
screenshot of Health, Safety and Environment e-learning content
screenshot of course content
screenshot of e-learning content

I’ve posted several new items in the portfolio pages, including a CMS theme design for a grassroots political organization, promotional banners for e-commerce and very fresh (hot out of the oven!) examples in e-learning.

That last item (pictured, in part, at right) was something of a retro treat — a project to create content for a learning platform that I designed and helped to develop several years ago. At the time, I handed off the completed system to the production teams and never personally generated much actual course content for it. While I did create concept demos and some initial coursework to shake out the platform and the production process, I never had a chance to personally do full-bore, real-life content development with material that could show off its stuff in the way I originally envisioned. Now, years later, I had my chance.

The platform was intended to be something of a blank slate, capable of handling any type of content, from text layouts to video, animation and interactive pieces. It’s most common usage, though, was indicated by its name — “Magazine.” The intent was to create pages that mixed the layout conventions of that print medium, leveraging its rich and widely-understood information architecture, with the interactivity and dynamic nature of the web.

The result, as sampled here, is a grid-based layout carried throughout the magazine-style course. It features typographically varied headlines, integrated interactivity that provides content depth and supplementary breadth, and a dynamic on-screen build that both reinforces the information hierarchy and demonstrates the usage of certain features such as the tabs that segregate optional information off-screen.

Foreshadowing Web 2.0

April 20, 2009

Polaroid SX-70Deconstructing Product Design contributor Rob Tannen writes on the Polaroid SX-70 and the original Sony Walkman — 70s and 80s-era products that touched the same desire to share experience that drives Web 2.0:

The ability to take pictures and then quickly see the results increased the informality around photography that we take for granted with digital cameras and camera phones today.  Rather than waiting days or weeks to finish the film roll, drop it off for processing and then await the opening of the photos (incidentally, a suspenseful ritual that has been lost), Polaroid photographers could share photos instantly (more or less)… 

I remember well the magical effect of the Polaroid. The little white pictures would be passed from hand to hand, so carefully, as each person in turn cooed and often giggled with delight at the developing image. The sharing meme was clearly there, magnified by both the immediacy and the precious scarcity of the item — shots were limited by the film’s expense and the individual images were one-of-a-kind, difficult to copy.

Now that technology has erased the latter limitations — effectively an infinite number of shots can be taken, duplicated losslessly and passed with little effort to an ever-larger circle of friends and family on the social networks —  the value added by scarcity and novelty has clearly diminished. Yet the enormous volume of photos on sharing sites like Flickr and Facebook attest to the continuing, unquenched desire to share, to pass on the little rectangles that affirm our experience…