Big Yellow Tutu

Honda ASIMO conductor May 29, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — helenium @ 1:08 pm
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It wasn’t until last year that I realised there was a skill in conducting; either I was very naive or very lucky in having only experienced great conductors. It was a musicianship workshop last year that changed my mind – an entire afternoon dedicated to conducting skills, as each nervous stick waver walked up it dawned on me that this is actually a craft. I’d only ever seen conductors who were easy to follow and who could add a bit of style to the music; to suddenly see someone in front of us who couldn’t give a clear beat or any pazzaz to a piece was unnerving. It was amazing to see just how quickly a piece of music can fall apart when you’ve an inexperienced conductor.

In steps Honda for the solution to all our problems:

OK, so it’s wooden as hell and I’m not entirely sure that the orchestra isn’t just ignoring the robot, but the idea is cute. Our conductor wiggles and grinds a lot more than this though, so I need to put in a request to Honda for a robot with more dance moves. And crazy hair, all conductors must have weird hair.

I’d like to know if it’s radio controlled or pre-programmed. Radio controlled would make more sense for conducting, I guess.

I’d love to see 100 orchestras playing the same piece, each with a pre-programmed robot conducting, so they’re all playing the same thing at exactly the same time.


The robot is programmed from a real conductor doing the piece, using movement trackers. That’s a bit disappointing. It’d be amazing if the robot could read any score and conduct from that, not just repeating human movements.


Awww… lovely, lovely Fire Eagle people May 23, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — helenium @ 2:05 pm
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I have a huge smile on my face, I just went down to reception to pick up two parcels. One being a huge bunch of flowers from the lovely boyfriend. The other parcel was a little more mysterious, a FedEx package from America. Aside from my landlord I don’t think I know anyone in the States.

I opened it to find another anniversary message, this one from the folks at Fire Eagle! They’ve sent a handmade card, two shirts, stickers and some more invites! I’m so thrilled, it’s rather wonderful of them. The card is beautiful, they’ve even got everybody to sign it! I’m going to wear the t-shirt next week to work, then walk around our tech dept and watch them all turn green with envy.

Big thanks to the Fire Eagle folks, they’re wonderful people.


Fire Eagle invite update May 22, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — helenium @ 9:37 am
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How wonderful. I sent an email to Yahoo, detailing my desperate need for a Fire Eagle invite. I explained how the future of my relationship depended on my getting hold of the Yahoo equivalent of a Willy Wonka Golden Ticket. I get to my desk this morning, wait 10 minutes for Outlook to fire up and lo and behold there sits the reply from Fire Eagle HQ, complete with two lovely invites. I’m so pleased. I am now the best girlfriend in the entire world. I’m so thrilled that they were kind enough to send out two invites, I will be naming our future children Fire and Eagle as a token of my love for those chaps.


Fire Eagle invite May 21, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — helenium @ 3:17 pm
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Very soon I will have been dating my lovely, nerdy boyfriend for about 928 years. He doesn’t want a proper present. Offers of fish, jaunty hats and bicycle baskets were refused. Instead he wants a Fire Eagle invite. Umm… where the hell am I going to get one of those from? If anyone could help out I’d be soooo sooo grateful.




Innovation Edge conference

Filed under: Uncategorized — helenium @ 12:56 pm
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I’m used to going to conferences in pubs and basements; where Power Point rules the day and you’re lucky if there is a toilet, yet alone lunch. Yesterday I lived the high life, going along to Nesta’s Innovation Edge conference at the Royal Festival Hall. Oh it was posh. There were free croissants and a choice of organic teas! Not one single speaker used PowerPoint!

The whole day was about innovation in technology as an aid to communities. Not online communities mind, actual real life ones. That confused me a little. People told us about banking projects in Africa, new types of doorhandles that stop kids from getting their hands stuck (an injury that apparently costs the NHS £200 million in hospital visits each year), and even people who grow mint. I’m not sure who they were helping.

Bob Geldof spoke for half an hour – he’s more intelligent than he looks. He was shockingly eloquent. I’d spent an entire day with him as his escort when I worked at MTV, he spent the entire time taking the piss out of my choice of outfit. I liked him better yesterday.

Gordon Brown popped along for ten minutes. He apparently gave the exact same speech that he’d given to Google the day before. How nice of him.

Michael Birch from Bebo talked too, as did Sir Tim Berners-Lee – that man is really rather dishy. Though no one else seems to agree with me on that.

Lots of the conference was just motivational piffle, little more than cheerleading, but I did come out of it with a few ideas. I want to be working on more CSR projects – so I’m going to spend the next few months looking at the CSR work that our clients do and where we can help with them. This might be from a simple visibility and marketing angle (setting up blogs, flickr accounts etc) or from a hardware/software angle (what do we have that we can offer projects or communities?).

I sent an email round work about fifteen mins ago telling people about the conference and got a reply from Dare Labs two mins later saying they’re already working on exactly this kind of thing and asking I if wanted to get involved! Hurrah!


Paint an album May 19, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — helenium @ 10:40 am
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On Sunday the flat needed tidying, there was washing up to do, there was no milk or bread and I had no clean clothes. I had plans to solve all these issues, they were good stong plans with great intentions and I woke with a smidge of motivation until I discovered a wonderful Facebook group – “Draw Album Covers In MS Paint and Guess What They Are“. Oh dear. It wasn’t until about 4pm that I managed to stop raiding my CD collection and get cracking with the tidying. Needless to say there is still some washing up to be done. Oops.

Here are my four attempts, I didn’t really realise that you were supposed to make them reasonably hard to guess, so my first three were rather too easy. Oh well.


John Malkovich’s Snow Angel – the finished film! May 15, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — helenium @ 11:55 am
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A few weeks ago I posted those first images from the John Malkovich animation, well the final film has just been finished and oh my, it’s rather wonderful.

The project was for Sony Vaio, we asked the ever brilliant Malkovich to write the first scene to a script and then asked everyone else to collaborate on the following scenes. We got tonnes of submissions from some amazing people, everyone from hairdressers through to professional script writers. Malkovich chose his favourite each month, from which everyone then wrote the following scene. We carried on like this until we had the finished script. The whole thing together is rather surreal, as you’d expect, but I love how it’s worked out. The final film is so kooky, and a little bit creepy!

I’m dead pleased that we managed to get it made into a film, it’s so nice for all the winners of the project to get something like that back for all their hard work.

So, with a big trumpet fanfare, here is Snow Angel…