Category Archives: Convergence

Using Innovation for Good at SXSW

The interactive-film-music conference juggernaut SXSW (South by SouthWest) comes around early March and this year I and Emad Tahtouh are lucky enough to be panelists. Reactive and Finch will present together our joint work for ‘The Most Powerful Arm‘. In the panel ‘Using Innovation for Good‘ we discuss the possibilities of using innovation and experimental technology for worthy causes.

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And best of all, you can participate by tweeting question that will be written in real time by ‘The Most Powerful Arm’ robot itself, live, in the room! Use the hashtag #SXSWArm and it shall turn into words on paper.

The Most Powerful Arm Ever Invented

The Most Powerful Arm Ever Invented

Here are the details of Emad’s and my panel: http://schedule.sxsw.com/2014/events/event_IAP22776

Tim and Emad at IAB Mixx Awards

If you happen to attend the interactive part of SXSW, please connect with us on SXSW’s social platform and/or say hi at our panel.

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I am also currently piecing together my own schedule of favourite events, which you can publicly see here. Maybe we can match interests or share interesting events:
http://schedule.sxsw.com/user_events/628a38f5b2d3793e35cb91f72719527cabe74cd0

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Google Chromecast in our boardroom

“The future is already here, it’s just not very evenly distributed” famously quipped cyber-punk authorWilliam Gibson in 1993. And in a very small way that is evident when little gadgets come out. Recently our Reactive brethren in the US were able to purchase a Google Chromecast, ahead of us here Down Under. But collaborative folks as they are, Carl Panczak and his NYC crew sent a device our way. So that we could experience the future!

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Chromecast is a small extension to your TV or boardroom display, essentially giving you the ability to display what’s happening in your browser (be it on the phone, tablet or desktop). In a nutshell: Send video or anything on the Web to your TV from your smartphone, tablet or laptop (as it says on the box). The fact that it uses your local Wifi to receive the content makes the performance quite appealing.

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We waited for a proper software update from Google (the original version wasn’t that smooth) plus Google only recently made the Chromecast manager app available for Australia. This meant we could finally set it up via our Android phone. Install the Chrome extension from here. And the Chrome browser has a new functionality currently in experimental stage that will cast your whole screen to the TV, which definitely makes this a promising (and cheaper) alternative to Apple TV.

Here are a few resources on how to use it. Sadly, some of the apps (like Netflix or Hulu) are still only available if you are of the American persuasion: Google Chromecast Home

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So next time you come visit us at Reactive Sydney, you can expect to enter the future.

Digital Future of Oxford Street workshop

A few weeks ago we held a nice little workshop at Flyn’s Tractor Design School on  the ‘Digital Future of Oxford Street‘, fusing a an intro to UX and wire framing with a bit of digital creativity in the realm of urban planning. With a mixed audience of partly junior design professionals and some novices we enjoyed our 2 hours of ‘digitally augmenting’ the experience of being on Oxford Street. Here’s the recording of our live video stream, where you can see Flyn, Gabriel and myself.

Our workshop on Ustream

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Oxford Street workshop

Innovation powers Reactive ‘Code And Snags’ BBQ

Take some of the brightest and most cutting edge developers in Australia, add a few high profile international speakers from companies such as Google, Financial Times and MailChimp, throw in cold beers, tasty sausages and a sunny balcony and you got the Reactive ‘Code and Snags BBQ’. As part of the renowned ‘Web Directions South‘ conference (currently underway in Sydney) we hosted an impressive group of technical experts who are busy creating the future of the web.

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Walking through the crowd, you could hear our own Reactive ubergeeks discussing all kinds of questions with our guests, from the most pressing ones to the most decidedly esoteric. When was the last time you were chatting about musical robots, a metadata language for designers, the future of animation, why the Apple Newton lost to the Palm Pilot and finally the Internet of Things, all within an hour or two? Among our most esteemed visitors was Scott Jenson who used to work on the Apple Newton, Symbian OS, managed the Google mobile UX team and also spent time at Frog Design in California. Please check his blog for great thoughts on how to combine on- and offline in the Internet of Things (IOT).CodeAndSnagsBlog02-a4e6c02e-4c66-4e8a-afce-e42a25b32d76-0-400x1215

Drifting through our event was not only the scent of our grilled snags. It was (more metaphorically speaking) the question of ‘what it takes to innovate’. And the answer was present in the group of guests: a lot of experience and skills plus an insatiable appetite for combining things in a new way. And we are curious what these bright minds will come up with next. 

Digital Future of Oxford Street

Art & About Sydney is a collaborative arts festival where every street, lane way, building site, intersection and thoroughfare is a canvas for creation and storytelling. And we at Reactive are gladly contributing with a free beginner’s workshop on digital design of urban spaces, in particular the Digital Future of Oxford Street. Our educational partner Tractor Design School is hosting our workshop where we explore a new digital perspective on one of the main arteries of Sydney: Oxford Street.

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From Mardi Gras stage, night clubs and restaurants to thoroughfare to the beaches of the Eastern suburbs – what role will technology and digital design play in the future version of Oxford Street? We’ll explore digital design ideas for this multi-faceted space with many different kinds of users. We will be mixing the concept of wireframes and user experience with digital thinking and a bit of fun: http://thedigitalfutureofoxford-es2.eventbrite.com.au

Here is an interview I conducted with Dan Hill, now CEO of Fabrica, on  How data is changing our streets and cities – listen to the audio here.

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No prerequisites or experience in digital design or software is required. It is an entry level workshop which is supposed to show residents and visitors what sort of professionals work in and around the area of Surry Hills and Darlinghurst. So if you are in Sydney and are curious about learning something new, we are looking forward to seeing you.

Get your free tickets here on Eventbrite.