Archive | July 2012

[Manic Monday] The Multiple Screen Strategy

Some of us grew up with only one screen – the TV screen. In Indonesia, there was only one national, government-owned TV station that graced the airwaves, which we watched dutifully since there was nothing else to watch. Having the TV on was somewhat of a necessity, whether or not we watched anything – it somehow connected us to the world, even if it was only one way (and any content was tamed first by the government). Even for those fortunate to own videotape players, you had to choose: watch TV, or watch a videotape.

Most people nowadays carry at least one screen, their handphone, in their pocket. Another would be a desktop computer at home or at the office, a laptop, or even a tablet. Some invest in special game devices, some with their own screens. And TVs have become comparatively cheap compared to 25 years ago, so there would be at least be more than one television set in an average middle-income house in Jakarta. The TV also has so many options for content input – terrestrial TV, cable TV, satellite TV, DVD players, Bluray players, IPTV, and so on. Even mobile phones have long expanded beyond their namesake and can play a variety of video and audio content, and games also. And let’s not forget the cinema screen. We have been in the multiple screen era for some time.

Read the rest of the post on Dailysocial.

Advertisements

[Manic Monday] The Show Doesn’t Stop At The Cinema

This weekend, people the world over are raving on about the last installment of the Batman movies directed by Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight Rises. I watched it Friday night, 3 rows from the front, and I loved it. It’s a fitting finish for the Batman trilogy as narrated by Nolan, and the trilogy is one of the best renditions of the Batman saga on the silver screen. If you haven’t watched it, I recommend that you do. Especially if your a comic geek like me.

Don’t worry, I won’t spoil the movie for you, but I will talk a bit about how the TDKR opening was the pinnacle of a campaign that started… a year ago. The viral campaign started even before the movie shoots were finished. And towards the end of 2011, more tidbits surfaced about the movie. The vague nature of the viral campaigns added with the already much-hyped news about the movie itself, surely delivered many people to the cinemas even before the trailers started to run.

Read the rest of the post on Dailysocial.

What I Learned In Design School

Readers of this blog (if there actually are any, that is), might or might not know that I went to design school. Yes, I studied at what is said to be the best design school in Indonesia, at FSRD ITB. I put in ‘said to be’, because I don’t really know how they determine this. But that’s another matter altogether…

After 1 year of general courses (where we were taught basic foundations for art and design), we then had to choose the study program we wanted – since I loved drawing cars from childhood and am a Lego fan, I chose product design. But even before we started studying within our chosen study fields, the curriculum (and the student body, KMSR), tried to make sure we were brainwashed clean from 12 years of formal education based on memorizing facts, and tried to get us to see the world through a different perspective.

It was often said that those talented kids who already had advanced drawing skills would never be accepted to FSRD ITB, as it would be difficult to guide them through the curriculum which basically refreshed everything back to basics and built from there – to this day, I don’t think I could draw better since before I studied at FSRD ITB, but I’m sure that I can convey my ideas visually better (even if it’s through a Powerpoint). More on that later.

So, product design, in a nutshell, basically designs things – objects of daily life, manufactured or not. Shoes to cars, computers to phones, even clothes hangers. But good product design – or good design, generally – is not a matter of how things look – but it’s how a problem is solved in a novel way. The look, the style, is an outcome of a process of attempting to find a solution.

Many people see design as making pretty stuff on the computer so that it looks good. Well, I can tell you, anyone with a little talent and a computer can make things look good, and a lot of software already helps people do this without much hassle. And Indonesia is full of talent, whether or not trained in design. But go to any web company and they’d be talking about ease of use, user interfaces, user experience design… and you’d see, the companies with the best UI and UX are the ones who include the visual design in the overall design process (see there, the word ‘design’ is used in different contexts in the same sentence).

Anyway, back to school. I thought I was going to be lying back and make cool sketches of cars and whatnot, then suddenly graduate. No such luck guys. We were taught a very scientific process, where before you even put pencil to paper, the design process already begins by identifying a problem. Of course, our creative and aesthetic sensitivities were trained and honed, but only to be used as an element or tool in helping to solve a problem.

In product design, we identified a problem we wanted to solve that we thought could be solved by introducing a new product. Then we had to study all about the surrounding circumstances. For instance, I designed a container for carrying radiopharmaceuticals. So before I even drew sketches, I had to learn about radiochemistry, I had to learn about the radiopharmaceutical industry, I had to learn about nuclear medicine installations, I had to study how staff used existing tools and systems for pharmaceuticals, and I had to learn everything about sociological impact, psychological impact, habit, ergonomics; I even had a special consultant from the National Nuclear Energy Agency.

Before even proposing any drawings, we had to do our research on the problem, and research on the research. We had to present a ‘problem case’ to our professors to argue that the problem we are attempting to solve, deserves merit for a design-driven approach (as opposed to a simple redesign or even, just an adjustment of the visual look). Then only after we had the go-ahead, we started sketching and building a solution to the problem. And as a solution-finding process has emphasis on the visual, we tried to optimize semantics and gestures. For instance: see how for some door handles, you simply already know how to open them, even when there are no signs saying ‘press here’ or ‘turn here’? Or how to open or close a faucet? Or how to best tie your shoes? The best product designs solve problems in such a way, that we do not need writing to operate them.  Would you need arrows showing ‘turn left’ or ‘turn right’ on a steering wheel? No, right?

And good product design is a synergy and collaboration between the designer, the engineer and any other fields tied in to the product – ideally, an anthropologist and psychologist as well – to make sure the product can be used, used well and avoid ‘malfunction’ (where the product is used outside of its function parameters). Good design completes the equation of the solution; it is not just window dressing. Look at how x-banners in front of stores and billboards are designed slightly differently – because they fulfill a different function and optimize for a different kind of message conveyance (and that’s also why, I consider billboards with too many words to be bad design).

Creativity and innovation is not ‘just’ about doing stuff differently than others. It’s finding new, elegant solutions to the right problems and questions. And design, is a thought process, not just the visual end-product. So looking to be creative? Find a problem that you want to solve for yourself, and go through the design process and start from zero, don’t start by assuming all existing answers are correct. Just go back to square one and research everything, and see where it leads you. Brainwash yourself. It’s never about being ‘different’, but it’s about asking all the questions all over again and challenging existing answers.

Just my opinion.

Introducing: Manic Monday

Today we’re veering from the oft-serious topic of the digital music business to go slightly mad. Well, not entirely (at least not yet), and I’m not going to break out in song on a tech blog. I am, however, introducing a new title to this column, ‘Manic Monday’, which could be applicable to any number of things related or not to tech, since we all “love” Mondays. But bear with me a bit, and I’ll show you a bit of what’s in store.

So for those of you who don’t know, ‘Manic Monday’ is a song by a band called The Bangles, which are probably more popular as the band behind the song ‘Eternal Flame’. The song itself was written by Prince, which became a no.2 hit in 1986, only outsold by Prince’s own ‘Kiss‘. The song’s lyricsbasically tell about the fleeting dread that we feel when faced with yet another Monday, a feeling that most of us feel all to well.

Read the rest of the post on Dailysocial.

[Wooz.in] Cornetto Summer Ice Cream Festival

Cornetto Summer Ice Cream festival kemarin digelar di Taman Krida Loka, Senayan pada hari Sabtu, tanggal 14 Juli 2012, dan menyulap area sekitar Gelanggang Renang Senayan tersebut menjadi penuh warna.. dan penuh es krim :). Banyak acara dan permainan menarik ditawarkan pada pengunjung yang bisa datang hanya dengan membayar HTM Rp 40,000 atau membeli Cornetto 5 potong saja, seperti – Battle Of The Bands, Cornetto Open Cinema, Cornetto Sing A Long, Summer Style, Cornetto Summer Fun dan Cornetto Lounge. Pengunjung yang mendaftar akan mendapatkan gelang RFID Cornetto gratis, yang bisa digunakan untuk foto di Photobooth, dan check-in ke semua permainan yang disediakan. Setiap check-in dan foto akan dihitung poin, dan kalau poinnya cukup bisa ditukar dengan lebih banyak lagi merchandise Cornetto gratis!
Terdapat juga banyak acara musik dari Drew, The S.I.G.I.T, Pure Saturday, Andien, Maliq N D’Essentials, Endah N Resa, Hivi, dan DEV.

Kalau mau liat foto-fotonya, bisa liat di blog Wooz.in atau di halaman Google+ Wooz.in.

[Music Monday] The Darker Side Of Digital Music

Many people are not aware the complex structure that sits in what is vaguely known as “the music industry”. For many people, what is seen through the media is the musician, artist or songwriter (albeit not as often), and sometimes a mild mention of the music label here, a record producer there, and sometimes the supporting musicians of  a certain album. But actually, a clockwork between songwriters, publishers, record producers, music labels, distribution channels, artists, and countless other people and bodies are involved in an intricate (and often confusing) dance. So, what happens if that clockwork breaks down?

Yet again it was somehow much simpler in the pre-digital days of music, and even that balance was struck after years of haggling, negotiation, and corporate maneuvering. The publishers represent the songwriters for anything to do with duplication (duplication of the song to any medium, of which they get ‘mechanical’ royalties), and synchronization (the use of a song in sync with any sort of other media, i.e. TV commercials) and make sure the songwriters get a good deal. The record labels basically invest in making albums and building artists, and take the lion’s share of profits from album sales. The distributor – the CD store and any go-betweens – make money from distributing the music products, and public performance collecting societies, usually representing the songwriter also, collect royalties from any company or body that uses songs for public performance, i.e. for TV broadcast, radio, karaoke, hotels, restaurants; anything where the establishment using the music gets an indirect benefit (more viewers, more customers, etc). Things more or less stayed in balance and any issue was discussed between the industry-level associations.

Read the rest of the post on Dailysocial.

[Music Monday] Revisiting Indonesia’s Copyright Law

Indonesia is a democratic country, at least by principle. Well, at least, the word “democratic” doesn’t come with quote marks anymore, as it did during the time of the New Order. Now, a democracy will either vote or discuss on everything, or appoint representatives to do all the voting and discussing, and thus deciding on whatever is going to be enacted into law, to be followed and safeguarded by the executive branch (just to remind you, this means the President and his government). Now what does this have to do with the digital music business? The law, that’s what.

Being basically a content-based business, the music industry is highly influenced by copyright laws – how the government sees the issue regarding copyright and how it thinks it is best implemented. And of the million things that need regulation in the country, Indonesia’s most recent copyright law was signed into law in 2002, under President Megawati Soekarnoputri. Albeit according to some still lacking in some areas, the upgraded legislation added some much-needed law protection for works of cinematography to computer programs, as the earlier version of the copyright law was signed into law in 1979.

Read the rest of the post on Dailysocial.