Finally, an update !

It has been a long time since I posted to this blog, there are a couple good reasons for that. For a little over a year and a half, I was in Boulder Colorado working for Cripsin Porter + Bogusky who kept me quite busy. While there I learn so much it is crazy ! I left there to come back to Canada with my wife(finacee back then) and start a little agency called http://www.cultcreative.com/.

We have been working away at that since May of 2010 and all has been going really well. It took up so much of my time that I had no time to update anything on this blog, or even on the http://www.cultcreative.com/ site. That is changing now, I am making sure that I take the time to make some updates… but most, if not all of them with be done VIA the Cult Creative site. I have been going through and updating things on that site for the past week, finally taking the time to make sure that everything is working properly.

I would love it if you would check it out and let me know what you think. I will hopefully be able to start posting to the blog, the labs and the tutorials on a much more frequent basis than I ever did on here.

Here are some links for tracking down what else has been going on for the past 3 years:
http://www.cultcreative.com/
http://www.facebook.com/cultcreative/
http://twitter.com/cultcreative

Multi-Touch System with Lasers

About a month ago I decided that it was time to do something geeky, so I looked at a couple different projects that I could do and picked a multi-touch system. I didn’t want to do the standard FTIR system because it seemed like a lot of people were building them so I decided to do it with lasers. I stumbled across this http://arbi.trario.us/2008/11/02/diy-laser-multi-touch-table/ tutorial and set on my way.

The first step was to do a lot of planning. How big should it be? What do I need to build it? How am I going to do something like this when I don’t know anything about the technology? Well, I decided to go ahead with it based on the list of parts that were in that tutorial plus a couple things of my own.

Once all of the parts were ordered, I decided to spec out and start building the box to house the screen and eventually the projector. Here are a couple pictures of the construction process.

Once that was built enough for me to start on the electrical aspects of the screen (and once all the parts arrived), I started on that. Cut out the corners of my acrylic and struggled with my first ever electrical circuit. Mounted the lasers in some air-drying clay and plugged it in. It worked on the first test (with a lot of little adjustments) and I have the following video to show you my first test.

There is still a lot to do with the setup, including adding the projector and a screen to touch, but it is on its way and I am very happy with it thus far. Stay tuned for more updates in the coming weeks.

thanks, marc

The Nepali Children’s Education Project

The Nepali Children's Education ProgramIn 2006 a very good friend of mine, Luke Yorkden-Chamberlain, traveled to Nepal. The experience impacted him deeply and set the course for the formation of the Nepali Children’s Education Project (NCEP).

For the past 6 months he has been talking to me about the organization and asked that I build a website for him. Due to time restrictions I have been unable to make a site that is as solid as NCEP is deserving of but last night I finally got the first launch of the site up and running at http://www.nceponline.org/.

The Nepali Children’s Education Project’s mission is to provide poor and orphaned children with the financial means to access and complete primary and secondary education in Kathmandu, Nepal, facilitated through fund raising initiatives in Canada. I ask you to take a look at the site and consider making a contribution to the cause. The members of the organization are very passionate about what they are doing and after hearing stories from Luke about his reasons for getting the ball rolling with the organization, I believe that they have started something great for the children of Nepal.

thank you and happy holidays !

The God Delusion

The God DelusionYes, yes, I know! I should be posting about things that I am doing in the development industry. I just keep finding these great books to read and can’t put them down long enough to play with any development in my spare time (plus i am usually all coded out after work).

I picked this book up at a bookstore in Calgary a couple months ago and finally decided to dig into it, and I am very happy that I did! While I could see how a lot of people could find that the contents either outraged them or was really breakthrough, I was a little bit different.

I found the God Delusion to be a very well written book with lots of solid arguments against religious belief. What was not groundbreaking for me was that I had formed a lot of these opinions on my own over the past while.

Growing up in Canada must be different than growing up in the United States. When I was a child I was put in a Roman Catholic school system and my family went to church every Sunday. As time went by we all started forming our own lives apart from each other and over time religion played a smaller role in our lives. I saw this as normal amongst my friends and their families despite most being raised Roman Catholic. From the sounds of the book there is a LOT more pressure in other countries to conform to religious beliefs from family, school and friends. I have no doubt that if I told my family I am an atheist they would think no less of me (but who knows).

There were some smaller pieces of this book, little tid-bits of information about different religions, which I had no idea about and was grateful to learn about. A great amount of time was dedicated to the theory of evolution, but what I found really intrigued me were the details regarding the Bible. I have never read the Bible and have only heard select passages from it. I had no idea how violent a book it actually it.

That is all for now! If you get the chance, I suggest reading this book no matter what your beliefs may be. It is always good to have some knowledge of what is going on outside of your personal beliefs. I am starting on Sophie’s World tonight. It is a book that has been recommended to me numerous times and I am finally going to find the time to read it. It is fairly easy to find time to read these days, having just moved to another country and being busy with work. Whenever I need a break I just sit back in a coffee shop and read for a bit, very relaxing.

Sync – Review

About a week ago I picked up a book called Sync (Steven Strogatz) and started slowly reading it (I am not the world’s fastest reader by any means). Over the course of the week I have been trying to get some work done and get a little bit organized in my new country of residence, but increasingly found that I was unable to put the book down.

Here is a little history as to why I decided to read this book. A couple months back I had read a book called Linked (Albert-Laszlo Barabasi) and found it interesting how so many things are interconnected and how I, someone in a different world than the author, was able to relate to and understand the material. After reading Linked I decided that I wanted to continue learning about connectedness in the world, partly as research for social online systems and partly out of personal interest that I have developed in the topic. That is when I decided that my next read would be Sync.

Through the first couple of chapters in Sync, I discovered my brain working in an interesting way. It was coming up with application and visualization ideas to represent what the author was talking about. Thanks to this, I think that I was really able to dive into the book and learn a lot. From extensive discussions of fireflies to explanations of the Circadian rhythm, I learned not only about the overall topic but have a new way to look at these sorts of things.

The latter part of the book was also quite interesting, it was quite parallel to the thoughts brought forth by Barabasi in his book Linked. Linked was actually referenced in a couple sections of Sync. Both books were similar in my mind because they kept most equations and math separate from their writings (Sync more so) and just focused on getting the ideas to the forefront.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone that is interested in learning a little bit about the physical world. I find that I look at things just a little bit differently when I finish a book like this one and I am greatful to the author for this.