Hands hands hands – Looking for a good time!

While searching for something entirely different, I came across an article about the future of interaction design. It was written on November 2011 and it still is fairly valid. In fact, I am starting to become a “finger sliding” person as well. Even while typing this, I am using the capacity of my hands way less than when I write with the good old pen. And yes, this is a faster way to type, typewriters have been around for years (hence the qwerty keyboard structure) but oops I am losing the grip here!

There is much to talk about this, yet this post was more of a reminder to myself about this article and as inspiration for my future work in the field of interaction design. Click on the link and enjoy.

A Brief Rant On The Future Of Interaction Design

The next time you make breakfast, pay attention to the exquisitely intricate choreography of opening cupboards and pouring the milk — notice how your limbs move in space, how effortlessly you use your weight and balance. The only reason your mind doesn’t explode every morning from the sheer awesomeness of your balletic achievement is that everyone else in the world can do this as well.
With an entire body at your command, do you seriously think the Future Of Interaction should be a single finger?

Project Soli

Right after I posted this,  my facebook wall was invaded with the news of Google’s radar based wearable, Project Soli. As TNW news put it “Project Soli wants to make your hands and fingers the only user interface you’ll ever need.” or in TechCrunch “What it does is let you control devices using natural hand motions, detecting incredibly fine motions accurately and precisely, even through materials (you could install the sensor beneath a table, for instance). It does this using radar (I’ll get to that later) and allows you to manipulate tiny or huge displays with equal accuracy, thanks to the lack of a need for touch point sizing constraints. Haptic feedback is included, since your hand naturally provides it itself – your own skin offers friction when you touch fingertip to fingertip. Soli then is designed to reimagine your hand as its own user interface.”

Yet again I am very not impressed. I do not want my hands and fingers to be the only user interface and rubbing my thumb against my index finger the only interaction I have. In fact an interface is defined as “A boundary across which two systems communicate”, so reimagining my hand as its own user interface just does not click for me.

My desire still lays on the tangible, physical interactions, so even though Soli may open up new areas and offer a better approach to the “finger on screen” interaction, I can not help feeling it is just replacing “screen” with “air” or “other fingers”. That being said, with further explorations, it can turn into something interesting, but it just is not there yet for me right now.

Let’s see what the future has in store for us ;)


Drawing challenge

I found out in the past couple of weeks that I have been torturing my creative side with my perfectionism. I don’t know when I stopped sketching just for the fun of it and instead focus on the prettiness of the outcome but I want to start sketching just to sketch, communicate and enjoy! I have a tendency to stick to challenges, so I decided to go for one – a little drawing challenge. I have found different versions on different websites; I plan to start with the 15 day challenge (not to scare myself off), continue with 30 days challenge if I feel fine and try out the 30 days of lists challenge. Or I may create a list of my own, haven’t decided on that yet ;)

The mini goal for the first day is to write/draw “Draw something today even if it sucks” on my sketchpad and write down the challenge list.

Even though blogging about it gives me the chills, I am doing it! I am even reaching my hand to all of you people who consider giving it a try, “Come on, we can do it!” (This requires willpower since the risk of you completing the challenge and me not -aka me feeling like shit- is presented to me when I invite you, but this is another strech zone for me, so yay for more challenges! :)) Happy draw time!

Note: If you decide to take on the challenge I would love for you to let me know.

Google it!

google itWhen google first started to offer specialized content according to location I was annoyed. I just wanted to be able to search the way I did before, not worrying if I was seeing something different in Sweden or in Turkey. As for all technology, I got used to it and accepted the annoyance.

Yesterday we were talking with a friend about natural remedies. I was suprised that she did not google it for herself, since all I did was to google her symptoms and tell her what was written on the search results. But then I realized that saying “google it” to someone else may mean a completely different thing. Then my fictional mind took me over to an exciting journey..

I don’t know if it is quite the case right now, but what if google adapted the results according to my interests, previous results etc. It would be quite invasive right? But also it would mean that My google would evolve and accumulate knowledge about stuff I am interested in and her first search results would reflect her interests. Me being a “search for a natural remedy every chance you get” person, my results would be more curated towards that direction.

Since the term “google it” had made it to the dictionary, I had a feeling that the value of personal accumulation was degrading. But with this possible future, where people’s interests may shape their online accumulation of knowledge, we may actually see an increase in personal interactions again. So let’s say I were to search for something specific in the dance field, I would not try to google it by myself and instead ask a dancer friend. Cause even if she has no clue, her google would know better than mine! So why shouldn’t I just contact her and save myself the hassle of digging deep in the google well?

That’s that.. Just some random thought drops that I had while preparing the breakfast..

Spiritual talk show -I-

waterfallInspired by the usual chats between pinkwaterfall and purpleunicorn…

– What is the route to not taking it all so seriously? Not getting caught up by the speed, not drowning in expectations or get lost while comparing yourself to the performance of others?

– I’ll give you a secret, but you must never tell anyone. It has been told between the friend support circles for years: You can not reach the hill if you are looking at the hill. One must just look straight ahead, or look around. Remember the breath, just one pedal at a time. Forget the hill, just focus on pedaling. You would never know you would be where you are now, 5 years ago. Why worry about the future? Or others?

– And what about the unvocalized fears? “What if they think my design is stupid? What if they think I AM stupid? What if they don’t even get it?” What should one do with them? Where to put them?

– There are many places to put them.. The best one may be to shove them back to where they came from, IF anyone says something, they can shove it up their mouths(!). Today is the day of labour! You are creating! You are a part of the creation! If you one day have a child, will you not like him if he turns out to be ugly? Is there a chance for you to know what will come out of it when you are making love with the man you love?

– Hahaha, these are awesome points, we should start a spiritual talk show!

-Hahaha, so we shall :))

Note: “What? You are not using my real name? I will never be famous!! :))”

Focus, Creativity and Nail Polish

I am in the midst of report writing process for my degree project and it is not always easy to block the distractions. I had found Zen Habits and Zen Pencils extremely rewarding to help me keep my motivation up, so I decided to blog about my favorite creativity / focus boosting posts from these two websites.

The latest post in Zen Habits was titled “How I Tackle a Big Writing Project“, and our paths crossed a few days ago just when I was procrastinating from my report and looking for inspiration. It talks about letting go, focusing, chunking down and creating a distraction free environment. Kept me thinking about the balance between focus and letting go. I still don’t feel I fully comprehend it, but I am thinking about digging deep in his book, Focus, during the summer.

Today, once again I was feeling drained, so I turned my attention to Zen Pencils and stumbled upon (after going through dozens of comics of course!) “Make Gifts for People“. Very touching and very inspiring. Made me just want to produce, create, dedicate and gift! Hence the blog post…

Ok, what about the nail polish? A couple of weeks ago, when telling a newly met friend about my adventures on becoming a designer, I realized the nail polish somehow was a recurring little theme (the story may pop up in another post) so I decided to color up my nails for happy writing experience and enjoy the clicking of the keys while my “gift” is created in the form of a very academic report :))

Momo and the gift of listening

I recently finished Momo, a fiction book by Michael Ende, about a little girl, her friends and time.. It was lovely to read, both since it was related to my degree project and it made me see my life in a different way.

 “Momo was able to listen in such a way that stupid people suddenly had wise insights. And this came not from her saying something or asking questions that provokes wise answers, no, she simply sat there and listened with deep attention and empathy. When she looked at someone with her big, dark eyes as she listened, that person felt all at once thoughts rise up from deep within, thoughts which even their owner had never suspected of being in there.

She could listen in a way that confused and wavering people suddenly knew precisely what they wanted. Or so that shy ones suddenly felt free and brave. Unhappy and depressed ones would suddenly become confident and joyful. And when someone thought that his life was all amiss and insignificant, that he himself was merely one among millions, totally unimportant in replaceable like a broken dish, – when such a on went and told all this to little Momo, it happened that while he was still speaking he realized in some mysterious way clearly that he was mistaken: there was, in fact, no one quite like him among all other human beings; he was unique, and therefore in a special way important for the world. And all this came from the way Momo was able to listen.”

My first feeling was not amazement, nor joy as I read the lines. It was envy! (yes, I said it) I put the book aside and thought “oh I wish I had a gift like that”. That little wish stayed close to my heart as days went by and I started to try and just listen to people.. Picturing myself those with big, dark eyes of Momo, imagining that I have the gift, hoping I didn’t look completely ridiculous, fearing that people will take my silence as a bad sign and suppressing my urge to “fix things”, give advice, voice opinions, comfort the person in front of me.

It was hard at the beginning, I found myself not knowing what to do and I was afraid of the long pauses. But I hung on, and just smiled, giggled, tried to ask questions with my eyes, tried to show that I cared. And slow by slow I did not need to try.. I felt my heart expanding, I felt myself calm, one with that person, just “be”ing and not “do”ing. It was liberating! It was amazing! It was harmonizing… I felt like I did not just learn this but I “remember”ed.. And I realized how much struggle it actually brought when I tried to give advice, since it mostly ended up as me taking it personally if the person take the advice or not.

Fear of…
…the long silences: They stopped feeling long after a while.
…the person thinking that I was being silly: Didn’t happen yet (or no one said it out loud)
…the “why are you looking at me like that” question : Giggled and took eyes away to just bring them back with a full smile. The question was dissolved in the smile.
…not being able to “help” the person: I received a big “thanks for listening” anytime I did this and it felt like this helped both of us more than a race to voice out feelings/opinions.

I cherish the gift of listening and hope to always carry it close to my heart <3

Clementine muffins

muffinsMore than a month ago my lovely D got me a big bag of satsumas, as he knows how much I love them. The only problem was, they weren’t satsumas, they were clementines (yes there is a difference! :)). So for the past month those poor clementines were hanging out in the fridge, waiting to be noticed while getting sad looking and soggy. Today, I decided to finally give them the value they deserved!

For those who are not familiar with my cooking, I first search for as many good looking recipes as I can, pick up 3 or 4 of the ones with the right ingredients and start the process while mixing and matching the 4 final recipes as I go along. Needless to say, a baking angel dies, and my boyfriend, a believer of the saying “baking is chemistry”, moans painfully every time I go through this routine.

After 20 minutes of google search, my final three recipes were clementine cake recipe from Smitten Kitchen, morning sunshine muffins from We Like to Cook and Eat and my darling clementines from Thursday Night Smack down. They were all adaptations from Nigella Lawson’s Clementine Cake and required the clementines to be boiled for 2 hours. I tossed in the clementines into cold water and decided to boil for an hour as the muffin recipe suggested.

While the clementines boiled, I realized I had 2 really old apples in the fridge too, so I started searching if I could add those in the muffins too (by then I had decided to go with the muffins, since I didn’t have any almonds to do the flourless cake). During my search I found out that apple sauce could be used as an egg substitute! Oh la la! So I cubed the two apples and tossed them in with the clementines, while adding some cardamom too. I took out the apples after 15 minutes and mashed them with potato masher and measured them as egg substitutes. I also had a broken egg that I wanted to use, so I also added that after the apple sauce cooled down.

1 egg = 1/4 cup ( 4 tablespoons) applesauce + 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

After an hour, I took out the clementines, broke them in half to check for seeds, couldn’t find any, and used the mixer to puree them with the peels and all (after they cooled down considerably). I didn’t measure the amount of the puree, since I didn’t have any other place to use clementine puree, I decided not to bother.

clementines only

I was following the muffin recipe and it called for 2 cups (4.6dl) of flour. Being the smart, healthy person I try to be, I decided to cut down the flour and used 2 dl all purpose flour adn 1.5 dl dinkel flour. I also cut down the sugar and added 0.5dl brown (muscovado) sugar and 0.5dl white sugar. And of course the butter (sometimes I wonder why do I even check out the recipes if I never follow them!).. I used 2 tbs butter and 2tbs peanut oil (instead of the 6tbs melted butter).

The muffins turned out a bit soggy (as all my muffins tend to.. I’m open for suggestions!), but nevertheless they taste AMAZING!

Cherish the old // Clementine muffins

Preheat the oven to 200 Degree Celsius.

Wet ingredients
5 clementines
Boil them in their skins after removing stickers, stems etc and washing, in cold water for 1 hour. Add cardamom on request.
After an hour, take out the clementines, drain and let cool.
Check for seeds and put all in a mixer/processor with the skins and all to make the puree.

2 apples (substitute for 2 eggs)
Peel and remove the core and cut into medium sized cubes. Toss them in with clementines to take out after 15 minutes.
Mesh  the apples with a potato mesher, drain the water in a glass (drink as apple juice afterwards)

1 egg (you could skip this, I just needed to use the broken egg)
2 tbs molten butter
2 tbs oil
2 dl sugar ( I used half brown half white)

Add all in a bowl and whisk together.

Dry ingredients
2 dl all purpose flour
2 dl dinkel flour (or any whole wheat flour)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt (or skip this if you use salted butter)

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix together lightly until you are sure all the dry ingredients are moistened. The recipe said “do not over mix” but I am not sure if I managed that!

Oil the muffin tin or use muffin papers. Pour the batter evenly to the tin, almost all the way to fill till the top. Let them bake until the top starts to crack and brown on peaks. (Can be anywhere between 12 to 25 minutes depending on your oven)