Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Day258 Web Wonders & Keith Lango

Web Wonders
Over the last few days I happened upon a few inspiring pieces of the web landscape. The web is certainly mature enough that people can explore the edges of the envelope and it all works. These examples are not only interesting in the technology or logic deployed, but in the commentary they make (deliberately or not) about our society.

Microsoft Silverlight
Microsoft have a brand spanking new web tech, Silverlight 1, that they will no doubt be flogging with a dizzying array of features and another attempt to control things. Pessimism aside, the sites that are using Silverlight so far are quite stunning. There is a definitively 'flash' feel to things, so it will come down to what advantages Microsoft can pack in under the covers to outdo Adobe that will get people excited.
The advertised feature set reads very much like Flash really, though it has an emphasis on programming. Since this is just v1 it is perhaps asking alot for it to come out fighting, but if it is to get a footing it will need something to lure people in. One of those things will be leveraging the .net development skills out there. I guess we will see soon enough, at least we will get to see some very nifty sites while we wait to see what happens.
My favourite in the quick sample list on the Silverlight homepage is the ReMIX07 Conference site which has a strong visual presentation and some fun dynamics.

Daylife Universe
Universe on Daylife 2 is a little gem of a site I found through the MDM (thanks Andre). It is hard to describe how beautiful this site is, it presents the web in a constellation-like way. So for a single search you see all the results laid out in a variety of beautiful ways. It isnt really a way to systematically find what you are after, it is instead a way to browse about and see the absolutely amazing amount of references and links that are out there from a single day.
The stars and shapes are the nicest versions, these images give you an idea of how beautiful it all is:

[screenshots from Universe on Daylife 2]

Google Music Trends
Google are very good at both building interesting views of user data and creating things that people want to participate in. A new piece in this space is Google Music Trends 3 which users of Google Talk can subscribe to which automatically sends to Google info on the music that you listen to on the computer. We have obviously come a long way to arrive at a point where so many people choose to actively subscribe to a service that collects data on your habits to simply generate data for others. Perhaps it is something like TV-ratings...

Kommerz Interface
This isnt a web things actually, but was shown in our SC class on Tuesday as an interface example. The Mixed Reality Interface by the name of Kommerz 4 has a nice way of combining digital (including virtual 3D environments) and physical pieces/models on a table. There is some overlap with the ideas we know well from Microsoft's Surface 5 computer, but has a different focus.

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Keith Lango
Through our 3D course we were put onto the wonders of Keith Lango and his site 6. There is alot of content here, I will have to digest his comprehensive blogging in a slow and steady fashion. The detailed (Maya-centric) tutorials look like an awesome resource and I will definately be using them during the week as I explore the animation tasks. There are plenty of little animations to o illustrate how we might go about bringing character and life to our own work (from very short snippets to longer shorts).
Keith has been part of a host of things, most recently films like Ant Bully as a character animator. The religious goop on his site puts me off, but I will look past that to the great work he does and the tips he has for the rest of us.
Here are 2 images from the tutorials that show the depth they go into - not just with commands and process in Maya, but with principles and logics as well.

[images from the Keith Lango site 6]


  1. “Microsoft Silverlight: Light Up the Web,” 2007, http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/ (accessed September 19, 2007).
  2. Jonathan Harris, “Universe,” Daylife, 2007, http://universe.daylife.com/ (accessed September 19, 2007).
  3. “Google Music Trends,” 2007, http://www.google.com/trends/music (accessed September 19, 2007).
  4. KOMMERZ and Thomas Kienzl, “Mixed Reality Interface, input device, CeBIT, information technology, communikation technology, presentation technology,,” http://www.kommerz.at/pages_en/20050722053921.php (accessed September 19, 2007).
  5. “Microsoft Surface,” Microsoft, 2007, http://www.microsoft.com/surface/ (accessed September 19, 2007).
  6. Keith Lango, “keith lango animation,” http://www.keithlango.com/wordpress/ (accessed September 19, 2007).

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