Do the Gojim also have Christmas Trees?

Every year the same story - beautifully lit trees everywhere. And while the European tradition demands to decorate the tree and light the tree on December 24, the much less religiously oriented (but often much more religiously obsessed)  - and not to overlook business-drive American tradition is to observe not to have trees before Thanksgiving. Maybe it has to do with the turkey... Now observing Jews and observing members of other belief systems may not have a tree as it may be perceived as not appropriate or worse - but every other child will wants sparkling,colorful lights - no matter where they come from. "Shiny" is the design du jour.  Here again ontogenesis is a recapitulation of phylogenesis - a by the way defunct scientific theory promoted in the 19th century by Ernst Häckel - but looking at the history, decorating with evergreen trees to "symbolize eternal life was a custom of the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews" [Wikipedia].

Stringed lights are obviously depending on electricity. While the first recored Christmas tree may have been in 1777 and historic documents in Europe go back to traditions in the 15th century, string lights are a much more recent invention and there is little reason not to have them to decorate and light up the darkest season of the year. Technological details are here.

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Unless you are a competitive decorator, attend dedicated conventions and training classes for holiday decoration and attempt to compete in the Christmas Light Fight Show on ABC TV (for non-believing Europeans - yes this is really on US television!)

So - does everyone have christmas trees? And problems with the lights?

 “Dad - do non-Jews also have Christmas trees?”

“Dad - do non-Jews also have Christmas trees?”

source for this nice quote is a little booklet published 1912, that I inherited from my father.

I ran into a serious issue - part of the lights of the chain did not light up - what to do? I typed "Holiday light chain does not work" and immediately found advice from an expert - an Iranian engineer.

He has a similar problem - his daughter complaining that Santa will not bring presents when the lights don't work - and they're not even Christian - the solution he offers definitely falls into the category "do not try this at home" but the video is very good.

He mentions in a different video that "people like to see when others get hurt" so he leaves the parts where he almost electrocutes himself in the video.

My search continues. The next video is pretty shaky and I had to turn the sound all the way up, but the solution is exactly what I had figured out - and it works.

My neighbor already sent me a text message "very festive."

Recovering the Aura in the Age of Digital Reproduction

Recovering the Aura in the Age of Digital Reproduction

Much has been lamented about the loss of the Aura of Art in the Age of Digital Media - mostly because the transition from old to new media has been poorly understood or poorly executed. And then comes an amazing collection of landscape photographs by someone who has never been there, has not even taken the photos.

Too practical to be useful - the Phonecamera

Too practical to be useful - the Phonecamera

Engineering marvels - especially consumer products - have a long history of being so practical and convenient that they are completely useless. Add-on lenses to smart phones are fast approaching this category. It is common knowledge that the best camera is the one you have with you, and unless you go on a specific photo shoot, this will be more many the smart phone in their pocket

Nothingness: Energy from Within (revisited)

 powerplugs

powerplugs

In 2013 I gave a TEDx talk in Austria with the title "Nothingness: Energy from Within".The topic for the conference was "Powering Up" with many great talks covering every aspect of energy production, management, ecological alternatives, solarpower plants, and the future city. As very child knows, energy comes out of the plug in the wall which is why parents discourage toddler stop put random metal pieces into those interesting little holes. Alternatively energy comes from power bars.

My talk closed the event with a different perspective about the energy potential of form and emptiness. Ways we create power from within in charging and balancing body and mind.

When I became interested and then certified in Integral Coaching®  these potentials to support clients in their personal development are of special interest to me as they allow clients to develop long-term benefits and life-changing results.

The idea continues to develop and gain power.

Nothingness:Energy from Within

Form does not differ from emptiness,
Emptiness does does not differ from form.
Form itself is emptiness, emptiness itself form.
— Heart of the Perfect Wisdom Sutra

Power and Energy are always directly related to motion, force and ultimately speed. To move in space and time we need energy in a wide range of forms – internal emotional as well as external energy to sustain our lives.

For the longest time we just used the energy sources we could get our hands on: wood, coal, wale blubber, all sorts of fossil and nuclear energy, wind, sun, cow dung, to name a few. While responsible use of resources, and awareness of the impact on our environment and us is always very important and has become a critical argument in selecting and using different energy sources.

When discussing the use of energy, efficiency, reduction, new energy forms, we consistently look at the issues in an isolated environment; yet the energy from outside and the energy we have inside us are directly connected. And furthermore, energy and energy usage is always also about communication, be it smart grids, powering a telephone line, socially, sitting around a fire or internally the way we feel at a very moment – spiritual, mental, emotional as well as physical energy. Discussing “alternative energy forms” usually gets stuck because it does not take into account the whole picture.

Understanding the energetic potential between form and emptiness, between what we need and don’t need we will get to surprising insights that go beyond the question of sun versus wind.

 Walzenstecker ZB27

Walzenstecker ZB27

A personal side note - At the age of four, my personal preference was a telephone plug clearly designed to be used as a toy. Official denomination "Telefon-Walzenstecker Anschlussdosenstöpsel ZB 27", clearly an empowering highlight of my early years with an added benefit that it was not life threatening in its use.

How Green is the Valley?

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My paper How Green is the Valley; ICT Markets Are Going Green: The Other Story from Silicon Valley finally got published: ABSTRACT. Sustainability is no longer an added feature but a core element of a major part of industrial developments. While the Silicon Valley is at the forefront of technology development and is trying hard to provide an ecologically responsible and healthy work environment it is challenged by the fact that a major part of its output both in hardware and software is consumption-driven and relies on a neo-colonialist approach to produce its wares while creating a green image. Green tech, briefly one of the fastest growing segments in institutional investment has fallen out of favor in 2013. “Green” is not an add-on that can be introduced as method or legally required, it redefines the way we conceive, produce and consume products overall.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
— Clarke’s 3rd Law

The Magic

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Silicon Valley has a reputation of almost mystical dimensions on all aspects of innovation, creativity, start-ups and moneyto fund all these ventures. The unique quality of the Valley lies in it geographical, informational, and conceptual density of its resources and thus offers a catalytic effect on projects and enterprises. With Green Tech becoming a major segment worldwide, Silicon Valley companies add their own twist, providing everything from energy efficient devices to alternative energy production. Yet after initial interest, the engagement by investors dropped sharply and investment in all segments of green technology is down up to 80 percent in 2013 compared to 2012. [more]

Michael A. Herzog (ed) Economics of Communication. ICT Driven Fairness and Sustainability for Local and Global Marketplaces. GITO Berlin 11/2015 ISBN 9783955451431 Amazon US Amazon DE

The Xylophone of the Forest

The Hokkaido Garden Show 2015 features the Xylophone of forest created by the invisible designs lab "The creator group who changes an invisible sound into a work to see." I first wrote about this piece when it was created as an ad for the limited edition NTT DoCoMo wooden mobile phone in 2012 created by Drill. Inc. I could not find information if this is the same piece or a re-built version.

While Bach may be amused by this version of his Cantata 147, it has become a widely publicized piece with many videos - the one below being one of the better ones.

 

Morihiro Harano gave a TED talk on NTT Docomo's "Xylophone" campaign 

initially via BoingBoing

If you want to try something similar at home, the is a toy for this.

 

Le vrai Musée Henri Langlois

 Musée Imaginaire d'Henri Langlois

Musée Imaginaire d'Henri Langlois

The most important film archive in the world, the Cinémathèque Française in Paris dedicates a major exposition to his creator: Le Musée Imaginarie d'Henri Langlois on the occasion of his 100th birthday. The 'real' Museum that Henri built to document, describe and present  cinema as the 7th art - no longer exists - it had been destroyed by water damage after a fire in the building - yet his legacy not only as collector of films but as the one who looked forward to wards film as more than a commodity for casual amusement but a highly collectable piece of art. April 9 - August 3 Monday, Wednesday to Saturday 12 - 7, Sunday 10 - 8, closed Tuesday 51 rue de Bercy, 75012 Paris

A catalog has been published.

I had the chance of working as Henri's personal assistant for several summers 1967 - 1974 and to help building the Musée du Cinéma as well as staging the relaunch of the collection of Chaplin films with Charlie Chaplin attending together with his daughter Geraldine.

 brody_florian-henri_langlois~OM034300~11113_20121024_13844_243

brody_florian-henri_langlois~OM034300~11113_20121024_13844_243

UPDATE: This photo that I took during my work at the Cinémathèque was recently sold at an art auction in Paris. I have the negative as well as many other photos created during my work at the CF.

 Auction Photo Henri Langlois

Auction Photo Henri Langlois

I never gave the rights to sell this photo or any prints. So I wonder if I should get the funds resulting from this auction.

Here is a five minute presentation by the curator of the exhibition: Présentation de l'exposition "Le Musée imaginaire d'Henri Langlois", du 9 avril au 3 aout 2014 à la Cinémathèque française, par Dominique Païni, commissaire de l'exposition.– Le Musée imaginaire d'Henri Langlois...by lacinematheque (in French): "c'est la légende qu'on présente".

There's a Bell in My Head

There's a Bell in My Head that Makes ding-dong and keeps me from thinking. Watch the craziness in the finale of Act 1 of Rossini's opera "An Italian Woman in Algiers", first performed in 1813. Rossini, often discounted as too shallow as a composer has captured in detail and with humor a common challenge when things start to get overwhelming and confusing: all you hear is a bell in your head and the clarity to understand the situation and make a decision is gone. “La mia testa è un campanello che suonando fa din din. Nella testa ho un gran martello mi percuote e fa tac tà. Sono come una cornacchia che spennata fa crà crà Come scoppio di cannone La mia testa fa bum bum.” (translation) — L'Italiana in Algeri, Finale Act 1. Gioacchino Rossini, 1813.

Take a look - and listen:

Maybe you should meditate. Just sit. Quietly, without moving. Yet this seems to you like the story of the guy admiring impeccable British lawn: How do you get it so perfect? – Oh just water twice a day, cut twice a month and roll twice a year – that's easy – just do it for 300 years... Yet, even if you manage once to sit for 20 minutes without moving, just breathing normally and instead of desperately trying to ban all though just let them come and go, you will experience why you want to do it again. Not so sure? Than you need to try again. No time to sit and meditate for 20 minutes? Then you should sit for 40 minutes.

Actually it's not even meditation, just sitting. So even when you think meditation is for wimps, there is a path for you: just sit. You can of course sit on the floor in full lotus position or somehow cross your legs in a way that your knees touch the ground (that's important to get the stability (think stool with three legs) and you will need a cushion or something to elevate your body to accomplish this – or sit on a chair, as long as your spine is straight.

Yes meditation is a powerful way to regulate emotion and prevent depression as well as many other benefits, including but not limited to enlightenment. But most important, it allows you to stop the bell ringing, the hammer that knocks and the radio that constantly plays in your head.

Try it and you will succeed and the moment you succeed, you will fail again and try again and you cannot graduate or get a black belt and advance. That's it - nothing else. This alone is worth the effort. And it's so simple that it is really hard.

And if nothing else helps, listen to Rossini - how they try to escape from Algiers and get back to their home in Italy to be free from the slavery of this crazy guy who keeps everybody with best intention in a luxurious palace. (You get the idea). 

Translation from the Italian text:

In my head I have a little bell which rings ding, ding
In my head I have a big hammer which knocks me and goes tick tack.
I'm like a crow which when plucked goes craw, craw.
Like a cannon shot my head goes boom, boom
(translation by Mark Wolston)

The complete opera is here.

Vernetzen – verstricken – verheddern – verfangen: Vom Zwang sich vernetzen zu müssen

H2Barcamp-300x97.png

Meine Keynote  beim ersten Barcamp an der Hochschule Magdeburg-Stendal (26. Juni 2014) zum Thema "Vernetzen – verstricken – verheddern – verfangen: Vom Zwang sich vernetzen zu müssen" wurde sehr positiv aufgenommen obwohl das Thema für viele neu war und in der Kürze wohl auch schwer verständich. Das Workshop zum Thema "Mindful-Management: Achtsamkeit und Anfängergeist" gemeinsam mit Bernd Bender vom Akazien Zendo in Berlin vermittelte dann am Nachmittag "Achtsamkeit" in der Praxis mit einigen Übungen.

 Drawing: Miriam Brody

Drawing: Miriam Brody

Vernetzen – verstricken – verheddern – verfangen: Vom Zwang sich vernetzen zu müssen

Social Media – sind ja nicht soziale Medien – genauso wenig wie personal Computers  persönliche Computer sind. Wir verbinden uns nicht – wir vernetzen uns und verheddern uns dabei heillos in einer unpersönlichen Umgebung die uns gleich einer Fata Morgana ein soziales Umfeld vorspiegelt das niemals greifbar wird. Die Schatten verflüchtigen sich schnell und wer eine direkte Erfahrung erhoffte wird enttäuscht. Dabei bieten Social Networks Interaktionsmöglichkeiten die in einer analogen oder gar physischen Kommunikationsumgebung in dieser Form gar nicht möglich wären. Das Bedürfnis nach Kommunikation verführt leicht dazu Interaktionsumfelder zu verwechseln und zu vermischen und schon vernetzen wir uns statt miteinander zu reden und zuzuhören. Achtsamkeit als Praxis der Interaktion ermöglicht die effektive und effiziente Nutzung von persönlicher Kommunikation ebenso wie von social Networks.

Rainer Maria Rilke.

 Rainer_Maria_Rilke,_1900

Rainer_Maria_Rilke,_1900

As Austrian without formal US education I sometimes wonder how the poems of Rainer Maria Rilke appear at most unexpected moments – at event, in seminars, at readings. With so many amazing English and American poets, there must be a secret longing that draws to Rilkes work that is so hard to translate and mostly causes suffering when read - at least to me. I need to talk to the natives - preferable natives who understand German about their experience. Despite best intentions (and you know how dangerous these are), the language of Rilke does not lend itself to translation. And reading Rilkealoud  is again a special craft - one that I will only undertake alone.

Paul Celan is even harder to translate – only I rarely see references to his work in English. Maybe it is taught less in college.

For Rilke, (1875 – 1926) I let the great Oskar Werner speak – and I found German versions with English translations. Please forgive those who put together the videos for the sometimes atrocious image material. They tried hard - and unfortunately it shows. If you understand German, close your eyes, if you need the English text, try not to see the images.

Oskar Werner reads Rilke: Der Schauende – The Man Watching


Der Schauende

Ich sehe den Bäumen die Stürme an, die aus laugewordenen Tagen an meine ängstlichen Fenster schlagen, und höre die Fernen Dinge sagen, die ich nicht ohne Freund ertragen, nicht ohne Schwester lieben kann.

Da geht der Sturm, ein Umgestalter, geht durch den Wald und durch die Zeit, und alles ist wie ohne Alter: die Landschaft, wie ein Vers im Psalter, ist Ernst und Wucht und Ewigkeit.

Wie ist das klein, womit wir ringen, was mit uns ringt, wie ist das groß; ließen wir, ähnlicher den Dingen, uns so vom großen Sturm bezwingen, - wir würden weit und namenlos.

Was wir besiegen, ist das Kleine, und der Erfolg selbst macht uns klein. Das Ewige und Ungemeine will nicht von uns gebogen sein. Das ist der Engel, der den Ringern des Alten Testaments erschien: wenn seiner Widersacher Sehnen im Kampfe sich metallen dehnen, fühlt er sie unter seinen Fingern wie Saiten tiefer Melodien.

Wen dieser Engel überwand, welcher so oft auf Kampf verzichtet, der geht gerecht und aufgerichtet und groß aus jener harten Hand, die sich, wie formend, an ihn schmiegte. Die Siege laden ihn nicht ein. Sein Wachstum ist: der Tiefbesiegte von immer Größerem zu sein.

Aus: Das Buch der Bilder

The Man Watching

I can tell by the way the trees beat,
after so many dull days, on my worried windowpanes that a storm is coming, and I hear the far-off fields say things I can’t bear without a friend, I can’t love without a sister

The storm, the shifter of shapes, drives on across the woods and across time, and the world looks as if it had no age: the landscape like a line in the psalm book, is seriousness and weight and eternity. What we choose to fight is so tiny! What fights us is so great! If only we would let ourselves be dominated as things do by some immense storm, we would become strong too, and not need names.

When we win it’s with small things, and the triumph itself makes us small. What is extraordinary and eternal does not want to be bent by us. I mean the Angel who appeared to the wrestlers of the Old Testament: when the wrestler’s sinews grew long like metal strings, he felt them under his fingers like chords of deep music.

Whoever was beaten by this Angel (who often simply declined the fight) went away proud and strengthened and great from that harsh hand, that kneaded him as if to change his shape. Winning does not tempt that man. This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively, by constantly greater beings.

English version by Robert Bly

Thank you J.F. for reading the poem today.


Oskar Werner reads Rilke: Herbsttag


Herbsttag

Herr: es ist Zeit. Der Sommer war sehr groß. Leg deinen Schatten auf die Sonnenuhren, und auf den Fluren laß die Winde los.

Befiehl den letzten Früchten voll zu sein; gieb ihnen noch zwei südlichere Tage, dränge sie zur Vollendung hin und jage die letzte Süße in den schweren Wein.

Wer jetzt kein Haus hat, baut sich keines mehr. Wer jetzt allein ist, wird es lange bleiben, wird wachen, lesen, lange Briefe schreiben und wird in den Alleen hin und her unruhig wandern, wenn die Blätter treiben.

Aus: Das Buch der Bilder

October Day

Oh Lord, it's time, it's time. It was a great summer. Lay your shadow now on the sundials, and on the open fields let the winds go!

Give the tardy fruits the command to fill; give them two more Mediterranian days, drive them on into their greatness, and press the final sweetness into the heavy wine.

Whoever has no house by now will not build. Whoever is alone now, will remain alone,. will wait up, read, write long letters, and walk along sidewalks under large trees, not going home, as the leaves fall and blow away.

English: (C) Robert Bly 1981


This Website offers nine (9) translations - none of which "get's" it: great summer - overwhelmed - magnificent - very big ... Listen and you will hear why only "sehr gross" will work here.

Die Philosophen - Festhalten und Loslassen im Kontext des Digitalen

 Philosophen-kommen

Philosophen-kommen

Die zweite Monographie der Serie "Die Philosophen kommen" von Marion Fuglewicz-Bren erscheint im September 2014. "In Anlehnung an Band eins kommen auch hier in essayistischen Interviews Denker, Intellektuelle und Persönlichkeiten aus Wirtschaft und Medien zu Wort, die mit ihren jeweiligen interdisziplinären Ansätzen oder Festivalprogrammen dazu beitragen, dass philosophische Denkansätze und Lebensentwürfe einen größeren Stellenwert in unserer Gesellschaft erlangen. Autorin Marion Fugléwicz-Bren: „Das Nachfolgebuch „Die Philosophen kommen - The Next Chapter“ - ist inhaltlich weiter gefasst und umfasst etwa auch das „Neue Denken", dem man heute bei charismatischen Menschen oft begegnet."

Details am Blog

Leseprobe und Bestellung beim Verlag. Oder Amazon.

Zu meinem Beitrag (ein Auszug):

Alte und neue Inhalte – können wir das Web heute schon verstehen? – Festhalten und Loslassen im Kontext des Digitalen

Florian Brody denkt im Interview darüber nach, wie hilflos der „gemeine Archivar“ dem Zerrinnen alter und neuer Inhalte gegenüber steht. Er lebt als Wiener seit den 1990er Jahren im Silicon Valley und entwickelt kreative Marketing-Strategien für Start-Ups. Gemeinsam mit dem Amerikaner Bob Stein erfand und entwickelte er 1991 bei der einstmaligen Kult-Firma Voyager die ersten elektronischen Bücher. Bob Stein meinte damals zu mir in einem Interview: „Multimedia is like Sex, you have to experience it“. Brody hat seine Erfahrung aus Archiven und Bibliotheken mit seiner Arbeit an neuesten Technologien immer verbunden und beschäftigt sich seit vielen Jahren mit der Frage, wie sich alte und neue Medien zueinander verhalten und ineinander übergehen und welche Brüche dabei entstehen.

Philosophische Erkenntnis wird gegenüber vermitteltem Wissen eine noch größere Vorrangstellung einnehmen, so Brody und „... durch die Verfügbarkeit von einem weitaus breiteren Methodenspektrum unterschiedlichster Ansätze wird es einerseits zu einem tieferen globalen Verständnis, andererseits aber auch wieder zu lokalen Sektenbildungen kommen“.

[...]  Digitale Medien tendieren auch in ihrer Archivierbarkeit zu binären Entscheidungsmodellen: Alles oder nichts. Die mannigfaltigen Methoden technischer Reproduzierbarkeit und die Trennbarkeit von Information und Trägermedium führen zu einer kurzzeitigen Illusion, alles sei beliebig oft kopierbar, neu speicher- und aufhebbar. Beim Versuch „das Web“ – recte: Die Inhalte von Webseiten – festzuhalten, indem man sie punktuell früher auf CD-ROM, derzeit auf große Massenspeicher, demnächst auf – was auch immer – kopiert, zeigt sich schnell die Problematik des Unterfangens; wenn zwar viele Buchstaben und Informationen, nicht aber die relevanten Inhalte wieder abrufbar sind. [...]

Cloud Computing and the Weather

If the title to this blog entry seems somewhat incongruent to you, you either know a bit about cloud computing or you're faking it. You read correctly - according to a  2012 Study by Wakefield Research among 1006 Americans, 22% admit that they fake it – pretending to know what the Cloud is. That is double the number of men stating they faked orgasm according to a random-sample telephone poll of 1,501 Americans quoted by Wikipedia. But what about the weather? According to the same Wakefield Research study: 51% believe the weather can affect cloud computing and 29% said that it has something to do with the weather. Over half of those interviewed (54%) said they rarely use Cloud IT while 95% use it regularly for banking, social media, eCommerce, etc.

Clouds take on many shapes:

Hamlet: “Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in shape of a camel? Polonius: By the mass, and ‘tis like a camel, indeed. Hamlet: Methinks it is like a weasel. Polonius: It is backed like a weasel. Hamlet: Or like a whale? Polonius: Very like a whale.”

William Shakespeare, Hamlet III / 2

The complete Radio Show on Cloud Marketing is here.

Das Internet als moralische Anstalt

THink Cross Change MediaMein Vortrag "Das Internet als Moralische Anstalt; Digitale Medien – Ein historischer Ansatz" ist nun in Buchform in  Think CROSS - Change MEDIA. Crossmedia im Jahr 2014 - Eine Standortbestimmung von Christine Goutrié, Sabine Falk-Bartz , Ilona Wuschig (Herausgeber) erschienen. Paperback 348 Seiten ISBN 978-3-7357-3780-9  Verlag BOD –  bei Amazon als Taschenbuch sowie eBook. Informationen zur Konferenz sowie meinem Beitrag.

 

Das Internet als Moralische Anstalt

Digitale Medien – Ein historischer Ansatz

It was a large room. Full of people. All kinds. And they had all arrived at the same building at more or less the same time. And they were all free. And they were all asking themselves the same question: What is behind that curtain? (Laurie Anderson 1981)

Das Internet in der Form in der es allgemein rezipiert wird existiert nicht. Wir haben gemeinhin eine gewisse Vorstellung, wie das Netzwerk, das gewissermassen “hinter dem Vorhang” stattfindet auszusehen vermag. Unser Bild des WorldWideWeb das als Synonym und abwechselnd mit dem Begriff “Internet” verwendet wird (obwohl es nur eines von vielen technischen Kommunikationsprotokollen ist) ist genauso verzerrt wie das der Kanalisation, die unsere Körper in noch weitreichenderer Form verbindet als das Internet unseren Geist.

Nicht quantitativ sondern vor allem qualitativ hat sich die Nutzung des Internets in den letzten 20 Jahren soweit verschoben, dass es notwendig wird, ein neues persönliches und gesellschaftliches Nutzungsmodell aufzubauen dass nicht mehr frühere Medienmodelle imitiert sondern neue Formen der Informationsintegration ermöglicht. [...]

The Expanded Books Project

Michael Cohen's partially autobiographical review of the "The Birth of the Ebookappeared on TidBITS  in slightly different form from the original article published in The Magazine in December 2013. Voyager-frameI had the chance to work with Michael during my tenure at The Voyager Company 1989–1992 and his expertise in literature combined with an uncanny ability to catch inaccuracies and errors in books was an amazing complement to the truly eclectic group of team members at Voyager. The way Michael describes my initial contribution to the Expanded Books Project sheds a light:

"Florian Brody, a loquacious Austrian with a background in computer science, film, and linguistics, had put a couple of pages of “The Sheltering Sky” on the PowerBook, turned it on its side, and asserted, “This looks like a book!” You could almost see cartoon lightbulbs flaring over people’s heads."

 The time at Voyager not only shaped my future work, it also allowed me to contribute to the creation of the first electronic books at a time when a laptop was a curiosity. We showed it to one of the many authors we talked to and after reviewing he asked for the price of such a device - it was over $2000, a lot of money for the time. He commentedEB_interface that this may be a lot of money but probably justifiable for such a book, not being aware that he would also get a fully functional computer "for free".

Sometimes late 1988 I got my hands on an Apple Scanner, a wonderful device good for almost nothing with its 4-bit deep images but great to generate input for early OCR software. HyperCard was just becoming the development platform of choice for the multimedia on the Mac. I still recall the day I sheltering Skyscanned the pages of Paul Bowles' Sheltering Sky and looked at them on the 13 inch screen of the most expensive computer I had ever bought (some $12,000 - over $23,000 in 2013 money), flipped through the pages, excited about the ability to go back to a page rather than randomly scrolling around. Page consistency – the ability to find something at the same place you saw it the last time – is one of the essential elements of eBooks compared to word processor (old terminology) files. There is a reason why we gave up scrolls for codices for the most part some 1000 years ago. (The Torah Scrolls: exceptio probat regular.) The issue of the loss of location in digital document merits a separate blog entry (forthcoming).

It was late in the evening and I had this HyperCard stack with some 60 pages of The Sheltering Sky. I needed to share my newest finding. I had met Bob Stein briefly at the 3rd Microsoft CD-ROM Conference in Seattle in March of 1988 when the Apple CD-ROM drive was introduced. As I supported Apple Austria, driving their multimedia efforts, I had a highly valued – and extremely expensive – AppleLink account with the coveted handle of A.MM (for Austria Multimedia). There was nobody I could call and share my excitement so I sent the whole stack to Mr. Stein in California and went to bed. Next morning I found a response in my inbox if I would be interested to come to California and build this book.

I spent a long summer in 1989 and then two years 1990–1992 at Voyager on Pacific Coast Highway in  Santa Monica in a building that was neither earthquake safe (= low rent) nor had it decent power or heating (save your files every 2 minutes as the next power failure due to circuit breaker overload from under-table heaters) but we had daily lunch cooked by a South African professional dancer, sunset calls over the Intercom (don't miss the green flash) and boogie boards for the rare lunch breaks.

MacbethTitleScreen

We initially published Jurassic Park, Alice in Wonderland and the Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy for the launch at MacWorld with the dinosaur sounds in Jurassic Park being the most loved feature. "Multimedia" was surely the way to go. It was up to Voyager to turn the "nice add-ons" into media elements that truly expanded the book and the work Michael did on Macbeth. With hardware as well as software no longer available, it will be a museum project to see Macbeth again: "When shall we three meet again? — In thunder, lightning, or in rain? — When the hurlyburly's done, — When the battle's lost and won. (Macbeth: Act 1, Scene 1).

Thanks to Michael Cohen, The Magazine and TidBITS for republishing this article and make it available to be found online.

Michael - if you're interested in presenting Macbeth again - I may be able to find a venue.

 

Cities in Media

Back in 2011 I set two vastly different movie projects about the visual representation of cities against each other: Vienna and San Francisco. Here comes another very interesting project: In 1927 the cinematographer Claude Friese-Greene created a film about life in London and 85 years later filmmaker Simon Smith recreated the footage in today's London. Little has changed in the surrounding architecture yet the feeling is vastly different. via Photoblographer

 

The archaeological terrain of an idealised consumerist society

Moving into the future and looking back, you may find a huge abandoned architectural structure that may once have been some sort of temple or ritual center by a culture not clearly understood. For some reason yet to be discovered it was abandoned in a unused state. Welcome to the South China Mall: with its 892,000 square meters leasable space it still affords the title of the largest shopping center in the world. Yet less than one percent of the 2350 retail spaces are occupied. Archaeologists will have a hard time understanding what happened here based on excavation of other shopping malls. Grégoire Basdevant produced a 30 minute documentary of this vast Emptyness that describes itself as "…sunny and zealous South California Coast and San Francisco, clear and enchanting Amsterdam, elegant and romantic Champs- Elysees Ave (sic) in Paris, mysterious and passionate Venice, sensational and beautiful Caribbean coast and adventurous Tropical Rain Forest. Such zones display the world's famous water scenes and create relax and romantic shopping and living environment: you can enjoy yourself and have delicious foods while shopping and also enjoy cultural communication and body-building while in diversion. In terms of humanistic concern, it allows you to enjoy anywhere and delivers to you the higher spiritual enjoyment besides the creature comfort." (Unedited quote from the New South China Mall [Wikipedia] website via Domusweb)

This place has not been abandoned but never occupied in the first place. Watch the locals use it as a gym for their morning t'ai chi exercise

Via Gizmodo > DomusWeb

New South China Mall, Living City from Grégoire Basdevant on Vimeo.

"The archaeological terrain of an idealised consumerist society" quoted from DomusWeb

Digital Business Management

I'm teaching e-Business Financing for the Digital Business Management graduate course jointly offered by Johannes Kepler University (JKU) in Linz and University of Applied Sciences, Upper Austria (FH Steyr) - both in Upper Austria. The course is a major development as it offers for the first time a collaboration between a college focused on practical aspects of applied science with the academic approach of the university. Students continue either directly from undergraduate studies at either of the universities or are already integrated in the work process. All of the students have a clear entrepreneurial perspective and the focus on my class is to understand the details of creating a fundable business proposal.

Standard literature is mostly how-to for SMBs and not really applicable or academic works on economics. As the students are tasked to create a pitch presentation for either an already existing venture or one they "invent" for the class, a practical tool is best suited to support this.

Business Model Generation is a highly effective tool that can be read while developing a plan and never feels like "reading assignment" on top of the actual work.

Here's a preview of the book And here is a 2 minute video that explains the process

http://youtu.be/QoAOzMTLP5s

The Business Model Canvas is available as pdf for print-out here. Best print on large paper, stick to the wall and use post-its to fill the fields. Review http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/ for details on the process.

The Book is available here in the US and here in Austria - deutsche Ausgabe and English Edition.

Here is another video on how to use the Business Model Canvas to develop a business concept (in German)

http://youtu.be/pEmzJRSdg1M

– via Dominik Hager, DBM class of 2014

 

 

My students will be asked to present each of the projects both as a slide presentation and as a canvas with a Silicon-Valley style pitch competition (5 minutes maximum) in the last meeting.