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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.

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.


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.

Armageddon - The Battle of Heart and Mind

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?

Pervasive Design

Sunday, October 15, 2006
Just wanted to share this piece of video with the class.

I'm not so much showing this because it is a great piece of video. Or that it is innovative or surprising. I want to share this with you because I think this clip explains the importance of our industry, and its pervasiveness.

Logos, signs, messages. They surround us everywhere we go, in ways we often don't see anymore. Especially in a major city such as Atlanta, there are messages everywhere.

I often try to imagine a world without signage and the constant barrage of advertisement. This video does the opposite.

Video Link


Sunday, October 08, 2006
Well, this is without a doubt going to be the biggest workload I've had at Portfolio Center since first quarter. Added on top of that is finishing a group project from last quarter, known as Coke Class.

We were tasked with creating a new drink for the asia market. Our idea was a low sugar, slightly carbonated green tea-honeydew drink with a special vitamin infusion capsule that drops in when the bottle is opened. Its called "Pop."

As part of the presentation that we're giving at Coke headquarters tomorrow, I created the following video. Props to Tex for the actual illustration, and props to the whole team. I think we've created something special.


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