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Michael Johnson

Soldier turned civilian. Now a Media Architecture student at Portfolio Center. My goal is to help people interact with the new era of convergence.
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Buddha said...

Saturday, January 06, 2007
Believe nothing on the faith of traditions,
even though they have been held in honor
for many generations and in diverse places.
Do not believe a thing because many people speak of it.
Do not believe on the faith of the sages of the past.
Do not believe what you yourself have imagined,
persuading yourself that a God inspires you.
Believe nothing on the sole authority of your masters and priests.
After examination, believe what you yourself have tested
and found to be reasonable, and conform your conduct thereto.

Figures

Thursday, December 28, 2006
The perfect way to end the year.

Kind of felt it coming on two days ago. That little scratchy feeling at the back of my throat. Well, maybe I've just been smoking too much lately. Well, any amount of smoking is too much.

My plans for that evening consisted of laundry and a little bit of housework, but Jason's family was congregating over at Meehans, and had invited me down. Figured I'd just have a couple with them.

We probably made it home around 3:30 in the morning. Another one of those nights. The next day would bring the typical hangover, combined with a full on cough. Chills, fever, aches, etc. Yuk.

Just hoping that its done by New Years.

Time to angle

Friday, December 22, 2006
Well, this blog was created because of the writing for web class. However, I didn't really use it a lot for that purpose. So, I'm going to restate the purpose.

I want to make an effort, a plan, to post thoughts regularly. Often concerning the professional world of design, sometimes things of a personal nature, and maybe a few random thoughts from time to time.

So I type this out sitting in a coffee shop in Pratteville Alabama called House of Java. Still hung over from the night before. Normally, I'd be pretty tough on myself for that, but hey, it was my birthday, which pretty much means that you can't sit around the apartment by yourself.

The birthday has always been a bit lonely. Hell, half the time nowadays I don't even know its DEC 21 til my mother calls. Almost all my friends are out of town for the holidays, which kind of makes the idea of having a party a bit pointless. Nothing worse than having a party that nobody comes to.

Got a week and a half til school starts again. I've been enjoying this break more than most of them. Maybe its because I got such good feedback in critique. Hell of a way to start a vacation. Might as well have fun while I can, because this is the last full quarter of work that I have.

Speaking of school, I'm anxious to find out what this last full quarter will bring. We have the "I Love Blood" project coming soon (more on that in a later post), but other than that, I've got no idea what is in store. Hoping to either go deeper into Flash or CSS this quarter on a tech side, but what I'm really intrigued about is what design courses I'll be taking.

Ok, Jacob is finally out of hte store, leaving.

Net Neutrality

Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Every time I've mentioned net neutrality to one of my interactive teachers, I've gotten a blank stare. What the hell are you talking about?

I find it interesting. Here's an issue that threatens to stifle the innovation that drives the web economy (and our job market), and nobody seems to want to be bothered by it.

One person, who actually understood a little of the issue, said that there's no way that it will be regulated in a way that is painful to the customers. Really? One needs only look at cable television or the airlines to see that this isn't true.

So I came across a podcast by Bill Moyers that I'd like to share. You can watch it here.

Balance

Monday, October 30, 2006
"The Universe divided
As the Heart and Mind collided,
With the people left unguided
For so many troubled years.
In a cloud of doubts and fears,
Their world was torn asunder into hollow Hemispheres.

Some fought themselves, some fought each other.
Most just followed one another,
Lost and aimless like their brothers,
For their hearts were so unclear,
And the truth could not appear.
Their spirits were divided into blinded Hemispheres.

Rush
Armageddon - The Battle of Heart and Mind
Hemispheres

I've always been a bit of a geek. When I was a teenager, a friend introduced me to a band called Rush. And thanks to the random playlist of iTunes, I recently rediscovered them and some of the ideas that I wanted to bring to design when I came to Portfolio Center.

The Balance of Heart and Mind. Technology and Life. Science and Culture.

Its something I believe to the core. One of my main goals in going into media architecture is to help bridge the gap between technology and life, to find ways to make people's lives easier, their time more effective, their lives more rich. As our world becomes more and more complex, our attention is drawn in to many directions.

I believe that technology can help. It hasn't so far, that's for sure. As every advancement in computers has promised to help us do our work faster and easier, each time we are given a new set level of complexity. Sure, we can do things with our new tools that couldn't have been achieved before, but our lives are not getting easier. Our work days are not getting shorter.

Its a trend that needs to reverse. And I intend to help it.

Which is why I'm so excited about this project for Seed Magazine. Thank you Alena for getting which project the Rock/Paper/Scissor gods picked.

Drat! Pre-empted Again!

Every now and again I have what I think is an original idea. A moment where I know I have the solution.

It happened a few months ago when I was thinking of how to do a project on Triumph Motorcycles. They needed an identity, a reason for people to buy their classicly designed bikes. I found the solution looking through an old book on classic motorcycles, discovered the "rockers" from the 60s.

Fast forward a month, Triumph rolls out their 68 Series, a collection of addons to the Bonneville line that makes your bike look like something from a Steve McQueen movie. Dead on. Where's my paycheck?

Tonight, doing research on Seed Magazine, I had an idea about using their logo as a navigation system for sorting stories. Then I come across this. Arghh... back to the drawing board. And what a wonderful piece of design. My favorite part is the slider at the bottom. It illustrates the concept of the magazine more than any description could.

A Demonstration of CSS

Sunday, October 29, 2006
In the class we had Saturday, Hank talked about Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and spoke a bit about their power and application.

One site popped into my head as the perfect demonstration of what CSS can do. CSS Zen Garden helped me understand what style sheets were all about. Its a site where designers can upload new style sheets and have them displayed on the site. The actual HTML, the true structure of the site, never gets changed, only the style sheet itself.

Side Effect of Being Tired

Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Ever been tired, and had an absolutely profound thought just occur to you?

Fox News is a faith based organization.

Think about it. Watching it is very much like being in church. If you're in the religion, things make sense. The leaps in logic made by its business suit clad priests can be followed if you share the same version of reality.

If you're not a member of this particular church, watching the telecast sermon can be disorienting. Their far reaching conclusions and assumptions seem the equivelant of one's relatives reincarnated as grasshoppers, or winged harp players in the clouds for that matter.

If what they are saying fits your particular flavor of the political cosmology, we have a feeling much like that of being in church - comfort, community.

Its no different from those of us who watch Stewart and Colbert. Well, perhaps a little different. Those two are entertaining on their own, no matter how far they've reached in recent months. Is it too much to ask people to remain critical of what they're told? Do we do so when someone tells us what we want to hear, or what we already believe?

Or is it all a sleep deprived rant?

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