Boogie Board

Two weeks ago I had read an article about a “replacement for papernotes” product called “Boogie Board”. The company behind the product claims to replace paper with the bold slogan of “say goodby to paper”.

Well what is it? Basically it’s a liquid crystal display without the logic to adress specific pixels. So think of it like taking the liquid crystal part and leaving out all the transistors and logic to actually display something. Then add a pen or even your finger nail and you can “write” on that display – what’s happening is that obviously the crystals get pushed aside and the background of the “display” shines through – this background is white so when you write on the boogie board everything is white on black…

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The only button on the tablet is named “erase” – and that’s what the button does: the whole display flashes two times, one white, and then black and everything is back to where we started. You cannot save. You just press erase and start over. It’s truly a replacement for post-it-notes…

Of course there’s a battery inside, and it’s said to hold for tens of thousands of erases. You cannot change the battery when it’s empty, but on the other hand this gadget is less than 30 Euros and it does look like you can break it up and try your best to exchange the battery yourself. Since the battery isn’t needed to display anything I don’t think I will run out of juice just yet.

Source: http://www.improvelectronics.com

draw Sequence Diagrams by writing them on a website

Since we are developers we do need tools to note and draw what we think would solve the problems of this planet.

One way to draw a sequence of actions would be a sequence diagram. There are a nbumber of tools to draw them but now I came across a web service that would allow me to write my sequence diagram in a easy textual representation and then it draws the diagram for me. Great stuff!

webseqdiagram

Source 1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sequence_diagram
Source 2: http://websequencediagrams.com/

BOMB IT

It’s been quite a few years (since 2005) when elGono came up with the “Obey the Giant” stuff.

This campaign was subject (not only this campaing…) to a documentation called “BOMB IT The Movie”

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“Featuring street artist and top graffiti writers from 5 continents the acclaimed documentary.
Bomb It is the first film to update the story of graffity with a truly international perspective. Each month we will presenting portraits of the artists from around the world in never before seen footage and interviews.”

You can watch the whole documentation online now! For free!

Source 1: http://www.babelgum.com/bombit
Source 2: Obey the GIANT

the Visual OpenType Layout Tool

If sometimes you need to just create your own font… well maybe that’s a bit too much theoretical – but it’s interesting to play with a tool like VOLT. It’s out now in a new Version and I suggest taking a look:

“The Microsoft Visual OpenType Layout Tool provides an easy-to-use graphical user interface to add OpenType layout tables to fonts with TrueType outlines. It is licensed free and can be downloaded from the online community set up for it. The community hosts an active discussion forum, version history information, a wish-list and related downloads. Links to VOLT’s release notes, as well as tips and tutorials are also posted.”

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Source: http://www.microsoft.com/typography/VOLT.mspx

a concept map of everything “distributed systems”

Apparently someone had some time to kill:

“The other day I had this idea, what if I were to take all the concepts I write, speak, and consult about and turn them into a concept map. That might help me explain how things like messaging, unit of work, and exception management work together and why. It also shouldn’t be too much work. Or so I thought.

I started out with a blank piece of paper, and this is what happened:”

concept-map

Source: http://www.udidahan.com/2008/08/04/distributed-systems-concept-map/

have serious fun with…free 2D physics sandbox tools

The standard nerd knows: physics is fun. Even better: When you play with gravity and friction and water an what-not in a sandbox. Now there are several tools available that allow you to do just that: Play with physics.

The first tool is called “phun” and is Windows and Linux only. It’s a small tool that allows you to draw circles, boxes, springs,… and when you finished: press the “play” button to start the simulation. You can interact all the time with the objects and the simulation by draging and manipulating everything.

phun 

There’s even a video available of phun in action:

It’s serious fun…that phun tool… yeah I had to write that, you know?!

The second tool I want to write about is called “Chipmunk” and is available for OS X only. To be fair: this is not a real drawing tool like phun – it’s more or less a game physics engine that cames with several samples in sourcecode that you can play with if you can… You need XCode and some Objective C knowledge.

tower

So now go and play!

Source 1: http://www.acc.umu.se/~emilk/index.html
Source 2: http://wiki.slembcke.net/main/published/Chipmunk

Echochrome… just for the PC and right now.

“OLE Coordinate System is trompe-l’oeil interactive software that enables characters to wander along blocks and staircases in impossible ways. While M.C. Escher is famous for his “trick of the eye” works, this piece enables users to create and experience their own Escher-esque worlds. Examples of such animation expressions are: character movements based on a 2D interpretation of attached blocks which are not contiguous in three-dimensional space; falling motions on a single plane, etc. You don’t have to do anything special to create “trick of the eye” images like these. The user just clicks to position the block, staircase or character and change the angle.”

For a better understanding, look at the pictures and the video:

Source: OLE Coordinate System