So after a brief absence, I once again attended a monthly meeting of the Secret Handshake, Winnipeg’s informal group of freelancers and other creative professionals and enthusiasts. It was once again held at the Lo Pub. And I finally figured out why it’s called that. It’s attached to a youth hostel from Hostel International. It has a rather large sign out front that sez “HI”. So, I guess “LO” is a rather clever and natural fit. And I cannot believe I didn’t make the connection earlier. Yes, I am a Graphic Designer, and no I’m not a very observant one.
As I’ve blogged before, the menu at the Lo Pub is vegetarian. I set out to try their vegetarian burger (even sprung for vegan cheese) and was very pleasantly surprised at just how good it was. And I’ve had some pretty mean veggie burgers in the past. I was alo very glad I did not order the nachos as it came in a rather ginormous serving. Might be something to consider if I can ever get Kimmy out there.
Shortly after my meal, I ran into someone I went to high school with and caught up a little bit. He hadn’t really been to many meetings before, and was wondering whether these meetings had any agendas or if they were just mixers. I said that while it seems some events have specific purposes, like launching an iPhone app, or showing off a hand-crafted camera rig, most the other evenings I’ve had with Secret Handshake were very informal. This got into a rather lengthy discussion regarding pecha-kucha that the DGC put together once in a while and how it would be nice to develop a forum that allows local creatives talking about their work to other creatives in a slightly more structured way than the slightly hap-hazzard what that Secret Handshake goes about doing things and the very curated and structured way pecha-kucha is handled by the GDC in Winnipeg. While I certainly do not mind the very informal, party friendly atmosphere Secret Handshake has right now, and would hate to see it disappear, it would be nice to get people to show off what they are working on or perhaps try getting people to do something creative while attending the event itself. An easy one could be found over yonder should anyone but me think it’s a cool idea. And no, that’s not a hint for me volunteering.
Later on, I ran into a web developer who just started working over at some little company called Automattic that make a little piece of software I think most people reading this blog might of heard of. Surprising that it’s now the second time I’ve run into someone located here that works for them. Must be something in the water.
Anyways, we wound up having a rather interesting discussion involving revolutions in publishing, Guttenberg, the hell that is making ePubs from InDesign and blogging when we were suddenly bamboozled by a couple of guys looking for beta testers for their software. They were from a company called Fannex and all this weekend (as I write this) they are running tests of their software and needed some brave volunteers. These guys came across pretty strong and the web developer fled quickly enough (or perhaps our conversation was only interesting from my end?) leaving me to hear the spiel.
It was actually pretty cool. The idea is pretty simple. You‘re at a game or concert somewhere and people in the audience turns on their smartphone and the phone becomes one pixel in a giant sized monitor. Thus allowing the audience to display an image or motion graphic. Pretty cool, as long as you have enough people in the audience to participate. Won’t work if only five people use the app. The simulation with 30% participation was interesting, though it would only allow for primitive graphics.
While they guys I was talking to from Fannex seemed to have their eyes set on a bigger market, they seem keen to launch here in Winnipeg. And I think that’s a good decision. The newly reformed NHL team , the Winnipeg Jets, have quite a history of getting everyone to wear white to create a “White Out” and that’s without fancy technology. So it might be an easy sell. And the fan base seems rabid enough to try anything right now.
When I went home and mentioned all this to my wife she thought the Fannex App was pretty cool, and remarked it was similar to a flash mob in some ways. Just a bit more “flash” than mob I think. And speaking of flash mobs, while I am pretty certain it’s not what the developers have in mind, this technology could certainly be used for culture jamming. Not to mention having the possibility of taking away the home team advantage at a game by creating a make-shift banner for the opposing team. I’m thinking Labour Day at Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field in Regina. 😛 Though, while funny in theory, I could imagine that might get dicey in practice depending on how much of a sense of humour the home team fans have! There could also be some interesting (and far less dangerous!) possibilities for artistic expression by turning a whole bunch of cell phone into a virtual canvas.
Well that’s it for now. Got to rest up as I think I’m in for a busy weekend!