Nutty day in the observatory.
Tonight to the Pacific Film Archive to watch a live competition: Powerpoint to the People, which opened with a loop of 100 PowerPoint slides by our friend Michael Lewy. Radically different approaches to the competition, most of which poked visceral fun at corporate boardrooms, greed run amok, “branding” of faith in the workplace, American Idol, clip art, idiotic sound effects… hard to describe the results, some of which were button-down but funny, others totally surreal, but no one left the building with any question that PowerPoint can be put to satisfying artistic or parodic ends in the right hands. Very fun, and the judges were hilarious. Interstitial presentations between the competitors were used to “clear the visual palette,” and included one of David Byrne’s PP pieces (Byrne being the most famous practitioner of what is apparently rapidly becoming the new hip display medium).
Minutes after arriving at work, a SIMS student showed up in my office wanting me to evaluate her final project for an information design class; she had reworked the iApp interface to create mockups of an imaginary “iFlix” application for organizing digital movie content, with some cool twists (such as a “stained glass” feature that lets you create a mosaic of stills taken from a movie to use as a poster or DVD insert).
Then helped several students getting their final web projects ready for final assessments tonight and tomorrow (can’t believe the semester is over already!)
Met old housemate/friend Jay, from my Boston days, for lunch. He’s traveling as the sound guy for Patricia Barber, who played Yoshi’s tonight and whose latest recording I just bought at iTMS. Wish I could have seen her perform.
Then participated in a two-hour focus group on the coming campus-wide events calendar. I’ve done a ton of work on the J-School Events database and know from experience that events are far more difficult to manage as a web app than you think at first, due to the huge number of exceptions (this event spans multiple days, this one has an associated webcast, this one needs to display collateral material on separate pages, ticketing info is different for students and the public, this event is for internal listing only, that event has multiple sponsors…). They want us ultimately to dump all the work we’ve put into the system and adopt theirs, but they’re going to have to deliver feature parity before we go for it.
Later part of the day critiquing projects by students in our advanced multimedia skills course; some very good stuff this year; I’m always impressed.