Create Your Own Business Card

Visual Language

The first thing I did was brainstorm possible logos using my initials:

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Things got pretty wacky. I considered turning my two Ms into the sides of a tower with a “P” flag on top, but I realized that such a logo would only be appropriate for a feudal lord. Then in a flight of fancy I wanted to turn my Ms into lips and a mustache,  and the P into a pipe. I finally settled on an M-head self portrait (shown near the bottom of the page), using the signature purple streak in my hair. Here are two iterations:

m-head-logo-version-1    m-head-logo-version-2

I ultimately decided it was better to hide the bottom half of my face (my chin isn’t really my signature feature) and make the Ms more prominent. I’m not quite finished with the design–I’m going to change the glasses to make them look more like my actual glasses, and I’m going to play around with the colors to get a higher contrast between the background and the text. Here’s what it looks like printed out!

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ITP Winter Show Postcard

Visual Language

Here is the original concept sketch:

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It’s based on an old proverb: In both Heaven and Hell, everyone eats with 6 foot long chopsticks. In Hell, everyone goes hungry. But in Heaven, everyone is always well fed. Why is this? Because in Heaven, everyone reaches across the table and feeds each other.

This is what I wanted to evoke in the image–curiosity in each other’s work, and generosity towards one other. ITP would not exist without the abundance of collaboration and kindness that exists here.

I believe strongly in my concept, but my execution was lacking. The photoshoot was rushed, I unwittingly used a low-quality digital camera, and the placement of everyone’s hands and projects is not as precise as I would like. Here is the end result!

itp-postcard-final

Observing Jukeboxes

Physical Computing

When I was growing up, there was a Tex Mex joint in my neighborhood called Radio Mexico that was the best place ever. They had a pool table, a pinball machine and a jukebox. My dad would give me a chair to stand on (so I was tall enough to read the song titles) and let me choose whatever music I wanted.

Radio Mexico doesn’t exist anymore, so I decided to visit a few bars on the Lower East Side that reportedly had jukeboxes. My first stop was a bar called Hi Fi:

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My first thought was, “This layout is hideous!” There’s a pile of seemingly random artists in the middle of the screen, and the gray sidebars are drowning in text.

That said, all the information I’d want to have is available to me. It’s obvious how to search for artists (the cursor is controlled by a trackball below the screen). It’s nice to have the playlist available so I can look to see what’s currently playing, what’s up next, and how long it will be before my song will play (as indicated by the 22:30 in the bottom right corner). Scrolling through albums was also easy once you picked an artist:


The obvious advantage over an old school jukebox is how much more music is available. The first interaction I observed lasted over 10 minutes–there were two friends tag-teaming, searching for their favorite artists. They were enjoying themselves, but eventually it appeared to get tedious scrolling through all the artists (there are many, many artists):


Their conversation devolved into “They have it!” “No they don’t.” “They have to have it!” “They don’t.” Something else that may have contributed to the long interaction: before you buy a song, a popup appears asking you if you’re sure you want to buy the song. I saw them pull up and turn down a bunch of song choices. I guess the popup is nice to prevent accidental purchases, but it also seems kind of wimpy. Like, if you accidentally buy cheesey oreos at the vending machine, you just need to accept that your midday snack is cheesey oreos!

At any rate, the women were happy enough with the selection that they kept refreshing their playlist as the evening wore on. Other than the two women, there was one other guy who went up to the machine and left when he realized he didn’t have any money.

The other bar I visited was B Side:

As you can see, this is a fancy touchscreen jukebox. Oooo. Ahhh. Something that’s immediately off-putting about this device is that not only is it advertising for itself, it’s advertising for random third parties, of which Fanduel’s fantasy sports is just one. Another is scratch off lotto tickets:

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Because the opening video made such a big deal about the top plays, I decided to navigate to the “Top Plays” playlist. The jukebox immediately froze. After about a minute, it restarted itself. To see if this was a fluke, I tried to navigate to the playlist later, but it froze yet again. The interaction wasn’t off to a good start. When the machine wasn’t freezing, here’s what it looked like:


This is more visually appealing than the last jukebox, but also a lot more unreliable. And why all the ads? One of the ads was for the Touchtunes mobile app, so I decided to download it and see if it would work. It took a while, but eventually I was able to control the music in the bar with my phone. This is me rocking out to “She’s a Rejecter” by Of Montreal:


The phone app was kind of fun. Because there’s no verification system to prove you’re in the bar when you’re using the app, if you have a grudge against a bartender you can force them to listen to shitty songs during their shift!

Another clever/slimy aspect of the Touchtunes interface is that you can pay more money to have your song jump to the head of the playlist. At B Side, this was no concern,  because no one in the bar had any interest in the jukebox. I was not able to observe any outside interactions with it.

This really made me miss Radio Mexico, and the Radio Mexico jukebox. Their selection might be considered “small” in the digital age, but it was an awesome selection. I loved watching the machine take the compact discs and set them on the player. I loved pressing my sticky little hands against the glass and watching my music play.

 

A Servo, a Piezo, and the least efficient way to play NBA2K

Physical Computing

This lab did not have fruitful beginnings. To mix things up a bit, I tried to use a temperature sensor instead of a photocell, but I was getting an unworkably small range. I decided to “troubleshoot” by removing a resistor. I shorted the circuit and burnt my finger when I went to test the temperature sensor. Photocells it is!

Here’s what the circuit looked like when I got burnt:

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Here is the functioning circuit:

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I attached a rubber band to my Servo and wrapped it around a Joystick. Here is the result (Max Chomet with the assist):


This is the set up to get my piezo to play  a couple of notes:

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Here is the ditty:


And finally, here is the three-note keyboard. This took forever because it didn’t occur to me that my three photocells would have three completely different ranges!

Color Composition

Visual Language

Here are the photographs that inspired my color composition. This is where I park my bike every day:

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This is the view of Brooklyn from my terrace:

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Street view from my terrace:

sidewalk-view-from-terrace trees-from-terrace

The coffee shop I live at:

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I pass by the fountain in City Hall Park on my commute home:

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My favorite restaurant/bar in my neighborhood, Cowgirl Seahorse:

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The Brooklyn Bridge. Photo taken from the East River bike path:

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I couldn’t get a high quality picture of the red “Watchtower” sign, but it holds a lot of nostalgic significance for me–when I was younger my dad and I would sit on the deck of the South Street Seaport, eat candy and sing songs together while looking out on the water:

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A historic ship parked at the pier:

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A view of the ship while standing on the pier:

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This is a photograph of what the South Street Seaport looked like in the 90’s, and this is how it looks in my mind’s eye:

old-seaport

luchador

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Finally, a close-up shot of my hair and glasses.

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For my color composition, I wanted to restyle my hair by making a digital collage out of the photos that I’d taken. I don’t think I’ve made a collage since elementary school, and as I started the project I realized how difficult it was to take snippets of photographs and get them to emulate “hair” in any way. It’s also funny how cutting out part of a photo can make it appear extremely ugly without the rest of the image surrounding it. There were several iterations of the collage that had water spraying from the fountain (which looked like spider legs), the reflection of the red Watchtower sign on the water (which was a sad red contextless blob), and the billowing American flag that looked so distorted in the collage it was basically desecration. Here is the final version. I wish it didn’t look like I had a huge broccoli floret stuck to my forehead, but oh well:

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