Archive Page 2
There is a really prominent article about Off World in Eye this week that is quite favourable – honouring us with 4 stars. You can read it HERE.
Just in time for the closing party this Sat, May 30 7-9 @ Camera Bar. Come by one and all.
I put up a page of other press itemss on the offworld site; let me know if you spot anything else out there.
An innovative project conceived as a walk in the park. (Pulling it off was another story). Working with Brooklyn-based designers Mélngerie, and Toronto-based animators 3Di, and featuring a soundscape by composer Nicholas Longstaff, the project is a time-limited online wedding tradeshow.
The interface promotes exploration and discovery by creating a whimsical lanscape, while simultaneously making quickly accessible information to those seeking it.
A Drupal 6 site with a Flash-based front-end + Drupal back-end, featuring Lightbox2/Thickbox implementations. I’m proud of how un-drupal this drupal site is.
Screenshots don’t do this project justice. The innovative interface, and animations set this project apart. I’m going to try to post a video showing the site navigation soon.
Off World is an exhibition part of the 2009 Contact Toronto Photography Festival.
It is a street-level public installation that runs 24/7 during the month of May.
The installation features 11 looped videos playing on cell phones, accompanied by an illuminated text panel. While watching the videos, images are sent directly to your cell phone, either via Bluetooth or email.
It was very important to me that the technology not get in the way of experience the work, but rather enhance the user experience and deepen the reading of the work. The presentation is, formally, designed to provide an intimate experience in video viewing – highlighting the personal connection that we have with our mobile devices. The arrangement of the screens brings people shoulder to shoulder, in turn drawing onlookers who, in the act of waiting are presented with affordances that encourage them to read instructions for, and engage with, the interactive component of the piece.
I’ve been working with the firm JMA Consulting for a good number of months now. The firm does a lot of work for non-profits in the areas of citizen engagement and relationship management. They do a lot of work for the Ontario NDP, and organizations in the environmental and educational fields too.
I’ve been doing work implementing and configuring CiviCRM. Joe, the principal JMA, is on the advisory board, and many of his clients leverage this solution to manage their constituents.
I’ve also been doing a lot of sysadmin work: Linux server administration, Subversion repository managment, etc. Generally, I figure things out; make things work. I’m enjoying not being the lead on every project I work on, and it’s helping me achieve more balance in my life, I think.
I’ve been working with a really fantastic organization, Techsoup Canada, on helping them launch their new site. They do really amazing work connecting non-profits and Charities to technologies that they might otherwise not afford.
Techsoup Global was founded in 1987 by a couple of guys in a station wagon, who went around collecting all the freebee software sent to publication for review and re-allocating it to organizations in need. These robin hoods of silicon valley eventually grew the organization to the point where, in 2008, they were receiving annually tech donation worth 312$ Million.
The real beauty here is that Techsoup has become more than just a great enabler – connecting organizations to a myriad of corporate donation programs in a centrally administered repository. Their success has mad them an important advocate for the non-profit sector.
For years, Techsoup has served the needs of Canadian NGO’s and NFP’s through their San Francisco office. Establishing a Toronto base of operations will allow the organization to better administer the intricacies of Canadian donation programs, and to support the language needs of French Canada. Techsoup Canada is the result of a collaboration between the Centre for Social Innovation, the Information Technology Association of Canada, and the Trillium Foundation.
Working on the website has posed numerous challenges. Namely, coordinating workflows between a development team in Poland, the San Fransico office, and Toronto. Drupal has always been challenged when facing the dev-staging-production workflow, but I haven’t faced butted up against it this much before. The Drupal community desperately needs to smartly seperate database content from configuration, and develop better logging and migration toolkits.
As of November, I’m a tenant at the Centre for Social Innovation, located at 215 Spadina Avene. It is a really great organization with which I’ve felt an affinity for a while now. After my residency at the CFC Media Lab, I decided to freelance, encapsulating my consultancy as the entity Ideograph. Working from home was nice for a while, but lonely.
I really love it here. The people are really, educated, and passionate. Some are dedicated to the solvency of our relationship with the environment, others committed to the realization of our political aspirations as citizens. Humanitarians, scholars, do-gooders unite!
The CSI is an open-concept work environment. We share amenities, and through proximity that is the result of space planning, ideas. I continue to work with many another tenants, and am stimulated and validated in the work that I do daily.
As an art-maker, it is challenging enough finding the right motivation to face the void out of which summon my creations. The network I am a part of at CSI has helped structure more the business side of my identity. That isn’t to say that Andrew Mallis the artist is never present at the CSI. Indeed, there are many arts organizations present in the space, and even a few CFC grads too.
Amenities are great. Meeting rooms, kitchen, mailbox: I like. I even more so enjoy the bicycle parking in the basement and the rooftop garden.
MYTIME was recently featured on SPACETV‘s The Circuit. Many people have reported difficulty viewing the show online, so I’ve pulled the stream down and re-encoded it here for convenience. You can download the video in .mov format or watch it here.
theRetailSaver.com was built and deployed on Drupal 5.x. When I started development, I think Drupal was at 5.4, but with the flurry of recent updates, we’re up to 5.10 as of this writing.
The site is a business listings site, intended to partner with a mail print product put out by Exposure Marketing Solutions. Listing pages incorporate google Maps, a Lightbox photo gallery. The site makes heavy use of hook_form_alter via a custom module.
The basic content type is a business listing, to which can be attached one or multiple coupons. Coupons can be printed individually and brought into the stores. A listing can be sold as a “featured business”, thereby appearing in the sidebar, and at the top of search results.
Anonymous users can submit a basic listing. The site admin is then notified to approve the listing, and can offer the client a photo or video gallery, or featured business for a fee. Businesses awaiting approval appear in a custom block for the site admin, to facilitate editing.
The site makes heavy use of imagefield and imagecache – two modules that aren’t yet production-ready for Drupal 6.
westqueenwest.ca was built for the West Queen West BIA (Business Improvement Area). BIAs are associations of commercial property owners and tenants within a defined area who work in partnership with the City to create thriving, competitive, and safe business areas that attract shoppers, diners, tourists, and new businesses.
Toronto’s BIAs play an important role in urban development, and are responsible for defining commercial districts, adding to thier character by commissioning public murals, banners and street signs, benches, and much more.
In 1967 the Bloor-Danforth subway line was completed and shoppers who formerly traveled along the surface on Bloor Street in streetcars began disappearing underground. In response business owners banded together to legislate the creation of a levy-based organization dedicated to revitalizing thier neighbourhood, and by 1970 Bloor West Village was. You can find out more about Toronto’s 65 BIAs on the TABIA website.
This is a Drupal 5 site built around a business listings model. It incorporates a lot of custom content types, including press clippings, photos, photo galleries, news, and events. Other features include HTML email newsletter subscriptions and delivery, advertisement management.
The site was a lot of development work and I did some new, more advanced coding here. In the end, I wish I’d had more time to spend on the design, but in the end, the functionality of the CMS is leagues ahead of their old site, archived here.
DrupalCamp Toronto 2008 took place on Friday, May 23 and Saturday, May 24 2008 at the Bissel Building at U of T. Thanks to organizers André Molnar, Alan Dixon, Jane Zhang, Jamon Camisso, Dan Kurtz, myself, and William Roboly (last-minute chauffeur extraordinaire), the event went off pretty well, in my estimation.
Some photos of the event were tagged on flickr here.
We had about 150 attendees, and 21 sessions over the two days, as well as a reception on the Friday with free booze and cheese. I’m especially proud of the t-shirts this year, which I think were totally rockin’.
The event website http://2008.drupalcamptoronto.org/ lists the sessions we ran, participants, and also, our generous sponsors, without which we would never have been able to pull this off. This year again, excellent catering was provided by Vert Catering and the Afghan Women’s Goup.
The organization happened in a free form manner, mainly out of the Linux Café on Harbord St. I’d definitely consider helping out again next year. I’d like to see a bit better communication and role definition, though. I also wouldn’t mind upping the event profile a bit more, maybe with a keynote speaker.
Another notable session for me was Wrestling the Octopus: Using Pageroute and Nodereference to Manage Complex Node Relationships which also introduced me to the node relativity module which seems like it will address a development issue I’m having right now with a couple of business listing sites.
I’ve recently started using Rimuhosting’s VPS services. The server is running CentOS 5 and bundled with a bunch of goodies. A VPS offers more control, but is also more susceptible to hacking attempts, and requires a bit of preventative medicine. This is just a log of my experiences setting up a more secure environment.
I have a piece in the upcoming Framework Foundation Timeraiser. It’s a great cause and concept. In a nutshell it’s an art auction. Bidders bid their time as professionals. It isn’t a statement about how time is money. Rather, it’s a great way to get new people involved with worthy organizations which simultaneously supporting the arts.
The (juried) selection this year looks really good. Actually, Sanaz has a photograph in the auction too! The printed materials are already out, but, at the time of writing, the website is a little behind. Check out frameworkfoundation.ca to learn more about what they do, though.
My piece is from an ongoing series I’ve been working on called “The Corruption of Art” – an ongoing series of digital images, some of which have been realized as chromagenic prints. The origins of the work are for the most part analog: drawings, documentation of artworks and reference material, since digitized to become part of the artist’s filesystem. Through deliberate manipulation of the file structure, the images have become corrupted – their meaning annihilated, their raw content reconfigured. They make structure apparent to the point where it becomes the subject of the work, twofold: structure as an encoded sequence that is ordinarily hidden, and structure as it conforms to the formal artistic canon. In altering the raw digital material, almost everything recognizable is lost, which speaks largely to the fagility of our encoded reality, and directly to concerns of representation, fidelity, and permanence.
After 5 months, my residency at the CFC Media Lab has come to a close. It’s been an extremely rewarding experience. It was beyond a doubt the best thing for me to do at this time in my life. It was quite a leap from full-time employment to full-time ideation.
There are still some lingering tasks like completing our video documentation and fixing a few software bugs, but I’m mainly off and focusing on other things right now.
The softlaunch went well. Way more people showed up than I thought would, given the terrible 30cm snowfall we had that evening. The aforementioned bugs meant that we had to hold hands demonstrating the prototype, but people got the idea and were generally excited about how MYTIME could impact their lives in a positive way.
We’ve got a site (barebones right now) outlining the scope of MYTIME at mytimeworld.com where we’ll soon be posting the video. I’m excited – I think it’ll be a solid piece.