posts about or somewhat related to ‘interactivity’

The Election as Graphic Novel
Just look at it.

The Election as Graphic Novel

Just look at it.

Making a Smart Newspaper
Researchers at the University of Central Lancashire have created a prototype of the world’s first newspaper that plays audio. Called Interactive Newsprint, the prototype is set to improve over the next few months as they test it on readers.
Here’s UCLan:

The platform is capable of capacitive touch interactions, which means that by touching various parts of the page, readers can activate content ranging from audio reports, web polls or advertising – all contained within the paper itself.
But the developments in printed electronics do not stop there. Digital devices and microphones, buttons, sliders, colour changing fibres, LED text displays and mobile communication can all be used in an interactive newspaper. Existing forms of local journalism and content are being used as part of the project to develop a range of interactive paper documents. 

They’re also working directly with the community, involving readers in the development of their prototypes. Paul Egglestone, the project lead at UCLan, had this to say:

Through these workshops we are looking at how communities would develop this technology rather than how boffins in a laboratory would develop it. That’s such a strong element of what we’re doing.  Being able to place the paper in the middle of the internet opens up a whole new ball park in the ways we can both tell stories, but also how we can collect data. Who’s holding the paper, who’s touching it, how are they interacting is part and parcel of the kind of stuff this project will explore.

H/T: journalism.co.uk

Making a Smart Newspaper

Researchers at the University of Central Lancashire have created a prototype of the world’s first newspaper that plays audio. Called Interactive Newsprint, the prototype is set to improve over the next few months as they test it on readers.

Here’s UCLan:

The platform is capable of capacitive touch interactions, which means that by touching various parts of the page, readers can activate content ranging from audio reports, web polls or advertising – all contained within the paper itself.

But the developments in printed electronics do not stop there. Digital devices and microphones, buttons, sliders, colour changing fibres, LED text displays and mobile communication can all be used in an interactive newspaper. Existing forms of local journalism and content are being used as part of the project to develop a range of interactive paper documents. 

They’re also working directly with the community, involving readers in the development of their prototypes. Paul Egglestone, the project lead at UCLan, had this to say:

Through these workshops we are looking at how communities would develop this technology rather than how boffins in a laboratory would develop it. That’s such a strong element of what we’re doing.  Being able to place the paper in the middle of the internet opens up a whole new ball park in the ways we can both tell stories, but also how we can collect data. Who’s holding the paper, who’s touching it, how are they interacting is part and parcel of the kind of stuff this project will explore.

H/T: journalism.co.uk

1. The model which has guided many people’s thinking in this area, the 1/9/90 rule, is outmoded. The number of people participating online is significantly higher than 10%.

Above is just one finding of 6 by BBC’s Holly Goodier, who has spent a good deal of time assessing online participation patterns in the UK. Here are the other 5, which she and her team culled from a general agreement that the former audience is becoming more and more active online:

2. Participation is now the rule rather than the exception: 77% of the UK online population is now active in some way.
3. This has been driven by the rise of ‘easy participation’: activities which may have once required great effort but now are relatively easy, expected and every day. 60% of the UK online population now participates in this way, from sharing photos to starting a discussion.
4. Despite participation becoming relatively ‘easy’, almost a quarter of people (23%) remain passive - they do not participate at all.
5. Passivity is not as rooted in digital literacy as traditional wisdom may have suggested. 11% of the people who are passive online today are early adopters. They have the access and the ability but are choosing not to participate.
6. Digital participation now is best characterised through the lens of choice. These are the decisions we take about whether, when, with whom and around what, we will participate. Because participation is now much more about who we are, than what we have, or our digital skill.

See here for more on the 1/9/90 rule.

Today, Harvard joined MIT in announcing edX, an online service allowing anyone anywhere to take Harvard and MIT classes online and free of charge. The pilot course is in Computer Science and runs through early June - enroll here.

The plans, though, go beyond what we’ve seen before. Namely, they open the door to new research.

via Fast Company:

Eventually, edx will offer a full slate of courses in all disciplines, created with faculty at MIT and Harvard, using a simple format of short videos and exercises graded largely by computer; students interact on a wiki and message board, as well as on Facebook groups, with peers substituting for TAs. The research arm of the project will continue to develop new tools using machine learning, robotics and crowdsourcing that allow grading and evaluation of essays, circuit designs and other types of exercises without endless hours by professors or TAs. Although edx is nonprofit and the courses are free, Agarwal envisions bringing the project to sustainability by one day charging students for official certificates of completion. 

Besides Harvard and MIT, Stanford has taken the leap into MOOCs (massively open online courses) along with Princeton, Berkeley, Michigan-Ann Arbor, and University of Pennsylvania in a joint venture with Coursera. Check it out.

Loving the Future in Chinese - how, sometimes, absurdism online is the best way to make sense
(Inspired by the Guardian’s Battles for the Internet series)
We all know that China has the world’s largest online population, and its government is among the most intrusive when it comes to censorship.
But what we may not is that on China’s domestic sites, posts about sensitive issues — Tibet, ousted officials, and occasional village rebellions — are often deleted quickly, and searches for similar terms are usually blocked. So how do people get around them?
With humor. via Offbeat China:

The most interesting of all is the case of “Teletubbies vs. Master Kong”. This is not a new cartoon and surely not meant for kids, either. That is the argot for what might be happening or have happened in a rumored “coup” in Beijing.
Almost overnight, everybody on Sina Weibo becomes part of a “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” reality show – they look for traces of truth in every rumor, and in their hands lies a secret code book.


“According to unreliable resource, the 18th tug war has a winner. The winner is the team of dragon led by carrot and his team mates Teletubby, Subor study machine and wood son Li. The team led by Master Kong beef instant noodle was defeated because they lost tomato and it was a great loss.”

Total nonsense? Not if you know the ciphers.
Carrot: 胡萝卜(hu luo bo), a vegetable = 胡锦涛 (hu jin tao), President of China
Teletubby: 天线宝宝 (tian xian bao bao), popular cartoon character = 温家宝 (wen jia bao), Prime Minister of China
Subor study machine: 小霸王学习机 (xiao ba wang xue xi ji), famous brand of children electronics = 习近平 (xi jin ping), one of China’s 9-member Politburo and who has been speculated as China’s next President
Wood son Li: 木子李 (mu zi li) = 李克强 (li ke qiang), one of China’s 9-member Politburo and who has been rumored to be China’s next Prime Minister
Master Kong: 康师傅 (kang shi fu), famous instant noodle brand = 周永康 (zhou yong kang), one of China’s 9-member Politburo and who has been rumored to be a supporter of Bo Xilai
Tomato: 西红柿 (xi hong shi), a vegetable = 薄熙来 (bo xi lai), fallen political star that has been the center of recent political dramas in China

Outrageous? Yes. Inventive? Yes. Necessary? Yes.
This one is a bit less silly: Ai Weiwei, China’s most famous artist and government dissident, who was jailed for several months last year and remains under close watch at his house in Beijing, has long been a human rights icon for Chinese people. But he’s scarcely mentioned online due to censors and rules, and so netizens have slightly altered the three Chinese characters in his name to give the sounds new meaning.
via the Atlantic:

Term: Love the Future.
Definition: “‘Love the future’ is a coded reference to Chinese artist and dissident, Ai Weiwei (艾未未) that began to be used after Ai’s disappearance in early 2011. Ai’s surname sounds the same as the word ‘love’ in Chinese, and his given name ‘Weiwei’ can be converted into the word “future” by adding two small strokes to the second character.” 

For more on this weird but not inaccessible phenomenon, see the China Digital Times’ lexicon of Chinese terms used online.
Photo: The Atlantic

Loving the Future in Chinese - how, sometimes, absurdism online is the best way to make sense

(Inspired by the Guardian’s Battles for the Internet series)

We all know that China has the world’s largest online population, and its government is among the most intrusive when it comes to censorship.

But what we may not is that on China’s domestic sites, posts about sensitive issues — Tibet, ousted officials, and occasional village rebellions — are often deleted quickly, and searches for similar terms are usually blocked. So how do people get around them?

With humor. via Offbeat China:

The most interesting of all is the case of “Teletubbies vs. Master Kong”. This is not a new cartoon and surely not meant for kids, either. That is the argot for what might be happening or have happened in a rumored “coup” in Beijing.

Almost overnight, everybody on Sina Weibo becomes part of a “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” reality show – they look for traces of truth in every rumor, and in their hands lies a secret code book.

“According to unreliable resource, the 18th tug war has a winner. The winner is the team of dragon led by carrot and his team mates Teletubby, Subor study machine and wood son Li. The team led by Master Kong beef instant noodle was defeated because they lost tomato and it was a great loss.”

Total nonsense? Not if you know the ciphers.

Carrot: 胡萝卜(hu luo bo), a vegetable = 胡锦涛 (hu jin tao), President of China

Teletubby: 天线宝宝 (tian xian bao bao), popular cartoon character = 温家宝 (wen jia bao), Prime Minister of China

Subor study machine: 小霸王学习机 (xiao ba wang xue xi ji), famous brand of children electronics = 习近平 (xi jin ping), one of China’s 9-member Politburo and who has been speculated as China’s next President

Wood son Li: 木子李 (mu zi li) = 李克强 (li ke qiang), one of China’s 9-member Politburo and who has been rumored to be China’s next Prime Minister

Master Kong: 康师傅 (kang shi fu), famous instant noodle brand = 周永康 (zhou yong kang), one of China’s 9-member Politburo and who has been rumored to be a supporter of Bo Xilai

Tomato: 西红柿 (xi hong shi), a vegetable = 薄熙来 (bo xi lai), fallen political star that has been the center of recent political dramas in China

Outrageous? Yes. Inventive? Yes. Necessary? Yes.

This one is a bit less silly: Ai Weiwei, China’s most famous artist and government dissident, who was jailed for several months last year and remains under close watch at his house in Beijing, has long been a human rights icon for Chinese people. But he’s scarcely mentioned online due to censors and rules, and so netizens have slightly altered the three Chinese characters in his name to give the sounds new meaning.

via the Atlantic:

Term: Love the Future.

Definition: “‘Love the future’ is a coded reference to Chinese artist and dissident, Ai Weiwei (艾未未) that began to be used after Ai’s disappearance in early 2011. Ai’s surname sounds the same as the word ‘love’ in Chinese, and his given name ‘Weiwei’ can be converted into the word “future” by adding two small strokes to the second character.” 

For more on this weird but not inaccessible phenomenon, see the China Digital Times’ lexicon of Chinese terms used online.

Photo: The Atlantic