BrainBlog

BrainBlog is the Brains4All weblog. Established 2004 in The Netherlands. Brains have been working in IT since 1983, working on the internet since 1993, and using their own agile development process for design and application development since 2003. We talk about about design and usability, the industry of software and web development, web applications and simplicity, beautiful and spectacular things.

Little Pink Bench

September 29, 2006 |
marko

littlePinkBench.jpg

When we first moved into our present house, the former owners left behind an old wood and iron “little bench” in the backyard. Not knowing what to do with it, we've put it in front of our house, right on the curb. We gave it some love. Cleaned it up a bit and then we sanded it down and my wife painted it pink.

I can't believe the effect that the "little bench" has had.

We don’t have a yard in front of our house, so we're right on the street. It is a nice neighborhood we live in, but before we the little bench, most people would hardly meet each other. Children would play in their respective backyards and mostly amongst themselves. The bench has changed that; amongst other things.

Every night children from all the houses in our street, but also from all over the neighborhood will come out to play with each other right on our doorstep. The bench is packed, double row, with kids playing on their Psp's, their Nintendo’s and Game-boys. Others are playing football (soccer), or catch, or hide and seek. Yesterday over twenty kids spontaneously held a competition folding and flying paper airplanes.

In the daytime or in the evening when all the children have gone to bed the bench is a place where neighbors meet and come to talk about and discuss the things that are important to a small village.

The bench has been a catalyst for communication and has helped to bring people together. It is a place to stop the frantic world of today, to cool down and to sit and relax. And when someone does, other neighbors will see someone sitting outside, and they'll come outside too. Just to chat. Or to share some beer or wine or water or just a silent moment together.

If someone is walking down the street, of course you say "hello" in passing, but because we're always busy-busy-busy, we're almost afraid to start a conversation. Or just to ask how things are.

The "little pink bench" changes that. Because when you sit on the bench you're approachable. People feel safe and that if they're going to invest to come out of their home to talk to you, you'll still be there, and not gone and already busy doing some other thing.

The little pink bench has improved our street and our neighborhood. Putting it out increased our quality of life. It has made our children happier and our community stronger.

So you too can help and make the world a better place; put out a "little pink bench".

The little pink bench is a metaphor. It reminds us to create a simple and safe place where people can come to share and relax where they would otherwise just pass each other by with just saying "hello".

The bench is pink so it stands out is noticed. Because when it is noticed the pink bench reaches out to people and offers them a choice, just by its very presence; “You can hurry on by or you can, if only for a moment, stop what you are doing and sit down.”

But the most important thing the little pink bench is saying is; "Look, you too, can make a change."

What is your "little pink bench"?

  



Autumn

|
marko

autumn

n. *Fluidness
1. the property of flowing easily.

Water & Color Fluidness,
Petit Lac Cache, Mont-Tremblant National Park, Quebec, Canada. by Gaëtan Bourque

It's autumn, and to get into the mood here is a set of spectacular autumn photos by Canadian photographer Gaëtan Bourque. What I like about his photos is his almost awkward sense for natural colors. His colors seem almost chemical and alien in nature. Nature is so beautiful and such an inspiration. Gaëtan knows where to look for beauty and color and how to capture these inspiring moments.

  



Line riders and shadow monsters

September 28, 2006 |
marko

Check out these two spectacular projects of electronic artist Philip Worthington.

Shadow monsters:

shadowMonsters.jpg

Watch as shadow animals, you know, the ones you can make on the wall with your hands and a bright light, come to life. Using video capture techniques, ingenious animation software adds spikes, teeth, hair and sound to your shadow character...

Lineriders:

lineRiders2.jpg

Line riders are the result of research done for Mattel to examine possible increased interactivity with their successful Hotrods brand. Watch as virtual toy cars drive around on a racetrack you can draw and extend yourself with a felt tip marker...

The exciting element about these exploratory investigations into the future of human and computer interactivity are the new and simple ways with which we can interact with computers (and hopefully each other) in the nearby future.

“The beauty in the system lies in the iterative design process the child goes through in order to drive his/her car to the limits of its capability. The construction phase is an integral but often overlooked phase of the play experience, and too many overly prescriptive toys leave little room for innovation here. In contrast the line riders play experience is open ended in a way that actively encourages children to experiment with household objects and their surroundings.”

Also check out the Lineriders video and the website of lineriders programmer William Denniss for details.

  



A garden of wireless analog pixels

September 22, 2006 |
marko

paris_300_2.jpg

Genius Loci stands for the spirit of the place, a common phrase in architecture for the poetic context, for the cultural reading of a site. Ping, the most basic command in computer networking, is a sort of greeting among computers, if I ping an address, it replies, so we know we can communicate. Ping Genius Loci (PGL) is an architectural installation trying to build a network into the poetics of the place.

PGL is built up from 300 radio networked, solar powered, self sustainable intelligent analogue pixels, that are placed on a 20 by 20 meters grid. These pixels function in the bright sunshine, and are interfacing the people walking in the grid.

Check out the video: http://www.aether.hu/pgl/

  



Feedburner

September 14, 2006 |
marko

feedburner_logo_150w.gif

I've been playing around with Feedburner for a bit. I'm not sure what to make of it. It's serving over 309K feeds, so it must be useful to someone. :) I'll play a bit more, meanwhile...

Here is BrainBlog's feed in feedburner;
http://feeds.feedburner.com/brains4all/brainblog

Update: I got the feed url wrong. No wonder. :)

  



Customer

September 12, 2006 |
marko

customer.jpg

Yesterday we soft launched a big change to 14Dayz. A selected group of clients has been testing this release and helping us get it right for the past eight weeks. And now it is finally ready.

Here are some of the changes that are in this release:

  • Added a customer chapter. Allows you to enter detailed customer data.
  • Integrated customers into the Project chapter. This means there is no longer a need to make a Customer/Project subdivision in the project chapter.
  • Implemented a way for you to influence the project structure. Now you can rearrange the structure of your projects and sub projects on the fly, without deleting or creating new projects.
  • Quickly add and link an existing or new customer from the project screen.
  • Easily find customers using Quick search with auto suggest.
  • Quickly browse customers using alphabetic tabbed navigation. This means your customers works like a contact book or rolodex.
  • You can now have reports for a single customer.
  • Quick date navigation helps you do quick date selections that you often need, like "this week", "last week" or "last month".
  • You can now quickly make large reports with sub totals by project, team member or date. This means you can print specifications for all your projects with just one single click. (Works in PDF exports too!)
  • Started experimenting with the integration of on-line calendars or agendas. We'd like to see how this feature is working for you. Simply bring in a calendar feed and any events that are in your calendar show up in your time sheet as well. You're given control of whether you want to add the entry to the time sheet.

Also this release includes some mayor internal overhaul that will help us get ready for future expansions. So keep your eyes open for future developments from your favorite on-line time tracking application.

All-in-all we think it is another great release that we feel you will enjoy immensely and we hope will help you make your simple time registration and reporting even more simple.


If you do not yet use 14Dayz to help you register and report your time, sign up now for a free trial.

  



Txtms

September 11, 2006 |
marko

logoTxtMsHm.gif

Txtms.com is a new project we're working on. Txtms has hired Brains4All to do the design and development of their mobile business card application. It is a new way for people to exchange information. You can exchange personal and/or business profiles with your trusted network using Txtms. Txtms makes it fun, fast, and easy to connect with people in real-time.

All you need is a mobile phone.

To be kept up to speed with the developments of this project or to help out with beta testing, please leave your email on the txtms.com website.

  



Archive entries


Archives

Categories


Sign up today