Monthly Archives: May 2018

Hong Kong Polytechnic AR Presentations and Workshops by Stephen Black (June 11 and 13)

MUCH MORE INFO ABOUT THE MATERIALS PRESENTED IS HERE.

EVENTBRITE registration

There are many posts on this website related to my ideas and experiences with AR. This post however, gives some of the most up-to-date examples of AR that I have found.

AS PART OF THESE SPECIAL EVENTS I AM GIVING AWAY AND DISCOUNTING MY EBOOKS!DETAILS HERE! (No I am not shouting, just excited.)

Location: Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Jockey Club Innovation Tower

WORKSHOP 1 (June 11 Registration at 2:15. Workshop 2:30-4:30 Room V513, 5F V Building)

Title: AR: Define, Think and Do

To achieve one’s goals, one must use the best words. By defining and clarifying the vocabulary of the AR world, we eliminate some inefficiencies. Three parts:

- Explanation and visual examples of terminology

- Open time for the exchange of participants ideas, questions and experiences

- Group brainstorming and the description of a proposed AR project in which a digital creation would be placed into a physical situation.

Special emphasis is given to the uses of AR in design, gamemaking and art

WORKSHOP 2 (June 13 Registration at 2:15. Workshop 2:30-4:30 Room V513, 5F V Building)

Title: AR: Examples and Mockup Possibilities

This poster is currently being updated, showing less of me and more of the work of HK Poly students.

Presentations and workshops by Stephen Black

Examples of AR in art, design, gamemaking and commerce: U2, Pokémon Go, Magic Leap, 19 Crimes and many more

- How to make, how to host: commercial and free apps

- Individual’s ideas, questions and experiences

- Mock-up creation, either with paper or free software such as HP Reveal

........................................

PRESENTATION 1 (June 11 5-7 PM Room V1101 11th floor V building)

AR in 2018: an overview

Augmented Reality is starting to be used in every area of our lives, and its uses will continue to increase. This presentation showcases AR projects in art, design, gamemaking, advertising, fashion, education, shopping, marketing, finance and more.

PRESENTATION 2 ((June 13 5-7 PM Room V1101 11th floor V building))

Stephen Black: VR, AR and Me

Artist, writer and producer Stephen Black began working with virtual worlds in 2002. Game-making, VR filmmaking, AR projects and more; the locations being Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, HK and Thailand. An entertaining and informative look at two very dynamic trends, the presentation is for anyone, IT geek or not!

AR reference materials for Hong Polytechnic Presentations and Workshops

MUCH MORE INFO ABOUT THE MATERIALS PRESENTED IS HERE.

Interesting things I found while doing research for my workshops and presentations on June 11 and 13.

Eventbrite registration is here

I will be giving ebooks away during this time, as well as discounting them. Info here.

.

AR and ART! An article by Grace Ko/Jumpstart magazine.


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/14/movies/snapchat-3d-bitmoji-animation-augmented-reality.html

U2 Snapchat type Mephisto

Video: The Augmented Reality Market Opportunity - Panel at AWE 2016

https://arilyn.com/cases/ Highly recommended!

http://3dbear.io/

https://www.slideshare.net/WeAreCramer/augmented-reality-for-brand-experiences-during-augmented-reality-in-action-aria-2018-at-the-mit-media-lab

I would like to thank Michael Konin Kato for the following four pieces of AR/VR info:

http://qoncept.co.jp/

https://www.designboom.com/design/teamlab-dmm-digital-office-tokyo-05-16-2017/

https://vrzone-pic.com/en/

https://www.tokyoweekender.com/2018/02/we-cant-wait-to-see-teamlabs-new-digital-museum/

I have benefited from The Ghost Howls for over a year. Inspiring, informative and funny! I want to be The Ghost Howls when I grow up!


Here is an informative podcast:Ken Devellis on How to Create AR Apps.

walkin_demo_LP from Living Popups on Vimeo.

AWE

Charlie Fink's Metaverse - An AR Enabled Guide to AR & VR

https://www.swedenvirtualreality.com/

Book Merah Ebook Giveaway June 2018 HONG KONG and BEYOND

It is now noon on Sunday. I will update this in about 12 hours. There are other book discounts and giveaways now available; please check on Amazon. And, actually Alphabet Spikes and Antigone.Cloud have not yet been cleared into the Amazon system. They will appear soon. Thanks for your patience and please check back later. Thank you! Steve More book info here!

The giveaway will coincide with my presentations at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University on June 11 and 13.

Information on some of the books can be found here.

I am excited to present two book ideas. The book ideas are: Alphabet Spikes and Antigone.Cloud: Ghost of a Robot I use the word "book ideas" because these two projects will be "normal" books and ebooks someday. For now, they are both inexpensive subscriptions. What do I mean by that? Here is how it works:

1. You buy the book, or get it while it is a free giveaway.

2. You read it.

3. If you like it, send me your email, and I will send you the latest chapters.

4. If you don't like it, I hope you feel that the price was fair and the information and stories were valuable.

So, these two books are something like subscriptions or crowdfunding. Without further ado, the books are:


Alphabet Spikes

Art and entrepreneurship go on a road trip in Southeast Asia. Lots of eating, a few meetings, and nonstop ups and downs.

and

Antigone.Cloud: Ghost of a Robot

A ten year old girl made of software faces the difficulties of growing up.

.................

A national bestseller in Singapore

i ate tiong bahru is a bestseller in Singapore. Here's the link to iatb on Amazon. Here is a link to a blog post with reviews and more information.

photography as part of book cover design

a photograph of a dancer on a farm, the title and the author's name

Short stories that involve rice seasonings. A price discount. What more could you want? (And those blank pages are gone. And a story has been added! I should really update that Amazon description soon. Speaking of Amazon: the link.

The Ipoh photobook is free from June 9-13,2018. This is the book that inspired the world's first AR photo exhibition. On Amazon!

UNGLUE CONTACT WITH SHADOW IMMEDIATELY!

Contact With Shadow in quotes book cover

Printing history and romance collide in this novel by Stephen Black.

from the Internet Cafe in Chung King Mansions

An HK$ 8 paper cup of chai tea is in front of the monitor. Tea reminds me of coffee and I could certainly write at length about my six day crash course on HK coffee culture. Here, I am an unofficial spokesman for northern Thailand coffee and tea.

I could also write about how it feels to be back. I lived in Hong Kong for a few years during the Handover. Food is another obvious topic.

But what I will write about is a list of things I have to do and think about. Probably boring to most people, but here we go:

Hong Kong Polytechnic Workshop. Two workshops, each 3 hours. Two presentations. The workshops will be more conceptual than technical. It will be interesting to learn the AR awareness level of those participating. It is likely many will have much more hands on production experience than I do. The first presentation will be geared towards design students, but open to all. The second is titled AR, VR and Me, which uses my life experiences as a starting point to explain AR and VR. This talk is for the general public.

Kandao! This exciting camera manufacturer is just over the border in Shenzhen. We have agreed to meet, but when? My passport is full; I go to the consulate next Tuesday. I need to finish my movie proposal soon!

"All his life was an incessant research of a language that could conform with the modern man.
Speed, words in freedom, war, and revolution are the words that best represent the life of Marinetti, who was called “caffeina d’Europa” (caffeine of Europe), because he was always ready to excite the Old Continent with some novelties."

Stuart Rankin/The Dundercats Now that I am on the home turf of the Dundercats, it's time to brainstorm and plan how their AR plans can be woven into the AR plans of Bubiko Foodtour, Secret Donut World and the Dobots.

Signal 8 Publishers. I had a great time at the launch of two books: Xu Xi's Insignificance and Marshall Moore's Inhospitable. The Sunday afternoon was anything but inhospitable, and it was very significant to me, on several levels; one being that Xu Xi will be leaving HK for New York. I should also note that her husband Bill was there, and he reminded me of an evening in Manhattan when I bumped into him in midtown. He was in a pack of karaoke singers, and for some reason I was invited. I went to where they were going. I ate a bowl of soup and left. Or so Bill says. I don't remember that happening, but a chance meeting on the streets of NYC, followed by a bowl of soup sounds about my speed.

Speaking of food: CONFUSION reigns!

Super Rare! Block chain. I need to have a conversation with them. The plot twist here is that I would like to use some of Toyo's images as the basis for simple digital artworks. As I Toyo and I were discussing things l;ike this before he passed away, I feel it is OK. However, I have tried to contact his family first, so as to get their thoughts.

Alphabet Spikes: the book I am writing about the Bubiko Orwell Tour. I am still filling notebooks, still frustrated that I do not have a laptop. Here is the blurb: Art and entrepreneurship go on a road trip in Southeast Asia. Lots of eating, a few meetings, and nonstop ups and downs.

The other book:

Antigone. Cloud: Ghost of a Robot A ten year old girl made of software faces the
difficulties of growing up.

Back in HK, I instantly remembered Visage.

Back in HK, I instantly remembered the Star Ferry.

Back in HK, I instantly remembered the prices of housing and food. Ouch! We came here planning to do a month-long house sit.However, this fell through a couple of days before we got on the plane. SO... if anyone in HK has any leads on housesitting or inexpensive housing, please do get in touch asap. Chung King certainly has its charms, but...

Oh yes: since I am in HK:

3how!

The Silent State

Self-published. No marketing. What happens?

Today, for the first time in about two years, I looked at the sales reports for my eight books. Fully expected to see no sales. Zero. No sales would be an expected consequence of doing no marketing and being self-published. Over ten years ago, I made it clear that I would do no marketing until I had written eight books.

So, today was a pleasant surprise.

self-publishing statistics

Stephen Black does no marketing...

My biggest "audience" is in Japan, then the US, then India. Interesting. I have not lived in Japan for quite a while. Have never been to India. Kindle's programs that allow people to sample the book seem to be helping.

Amazon and self-publishing

The number of Kindle Edition Normalized Pages (KENP) read determines the royalties you earn from KU (Kindle Unlimited) and KOLL (Kindle Owners’ Lending Library). This graph is updated as pages are read by customers who borrow your book from KU and KOLL.

I am now working on two books. One is a novel ( Antigone.Cloud: Ghost of a Robot), the themes of which are AR, sentient software, Southeast Asia and children. The other, Alphabet Spikes, is a journal; of my entrepreneurial, food-related and art adventures in Southeast Asia. I would be thrilled to find a publisher and or an agent, but if not, that is that.

Some may laugh at the above sales figure, but to me it is encouraging. What will happen when I finally start to do marketing?

Marketing is not easy, but thanks to Amazon, services like Adwords, and social media, things can be very efficient. Within the next three months, I will give away free ebooks, hoping this will lead to spikes in sales. I will start marketing in October.

About my books, here is a post that includes videos.

FWIW, the stats on this blog:

An experiment with Amazon

As for my bestseller, I sold it in bookstores and in certain areas of Singapore. The first edition is almost completely sold out; 2000 copies, which in Singapore qualifies it to be a national bestseller. The print version of i ate tiong bahru is a bestseller in Singapore There is an audiobook version as well.

Cupping Steve’s Wild Coffee (part 2)

part 1 is here..

Boss: "Fruit. Westerners eat different fruit than Thai people. So when a coffee description in English mentions the name of a fruit, it doesn't always immediately register."

This is the second statement Boss said after he took his first sip of medium roasted SWC. "Apricot" was the first.

female barista

Neung, from Once Cafe in Chiang Rai, cupping Steve's Wild Coffee.


Then, with Neung, we began a discussion on the many variables related to describing the taste of coffee. The individual's sensitivity, cultural background and coffee-tasting experience for example. How do different machines affect the taste? The water? The weather? The soil, weather and growing conditions are constantly changing; how does a plant respond? It was only after Boss mentioned the word "apricot' that I became aware of the trace of tangy sweetness that he was referring to. And, after some thought, I think a young chiku fruit, not yet sweet, would be a solid comparison.
Coffee beans on a plate

Beans on a plate on a blue and white patterned cloth.

The bottom line for the SWC Medium roasted, for this cupping, is that the texture is smooth and there is a slightly tannin taste as well as a hint of apricot. It is a flavorful drink by itself. Adding milk would likely mask this coffee's subtleties. We discovered peaberry beans among the flatbeans and this was a nice surprise! Peaberry, especially from northern Thailand is recognized as a quality bean.

The SWC dark roast was very similar to the medium roast, but with an additional taste resulting from a longer roasting time. The taste sensation, like so many, is difficult to describe."Burnt" strikes me as being too strong of a word. The flavor is not really "smoky", either. Well-roasted is a phrase that could be used, but it does not contain any specific description of taste. The beans look like smooth glossy stones, and this is because the roasting process brought some of the oil to the surface. An excellent post about roasting is here, on The National Coffee Association USA website.

The last version of SWC we cupped was a mix of 80% dark with 20 percent of an extended roast. The beans were dark and oily, as more oil was brought out because of the longer roasting time.

It tasted energetic to me, a little bit "burnt", a little bit fruity, a smooth but "buzzy taste"; energetic. This latte was made from the 80/20 blend and it was pretty gosh darn good.

Latte Art

Created by Neung, at Once Cafe, Chiang Rai

I will need sometime to think about the short description for SWC. Having no experience, I can't really judge things like Dry Fragrance, Wet Aroma,Flavor, Finish, Acidity, and Body.Let alone the procedures scoring methods found here. SWC is wild, and I am still researching exactly what that means. Overgrown estate? Birds or animals ate the coffee cherries from the government-affiliated plantations and then deposited the seeds throughout the hillsides?
The "wild" part of this experience is what interests me. I briefly worked on a permaculture farm, and it seemed that the intent was to simulate an "uncivilized" growing environment, ie
the wild". The main reasons for growing in the permaculture style are taste and environmental respect. Now, I do not have the time to see for myself what wild means in terms of SWC, meaning I cannot go to the growing areas.

I will just have to make another cup and sit and write a description.

A photograph of a photograph

A photograph of a Pa O woman in the Coffee Traveler magazine displayed on the counter

Cupping Steve’s Wild Coffee (part 1)

Later, I will talk about my experiences using coffee in my visual art projects and writing. For example, one of my books contains a chapter about coffee. For now, I will simply say that creating my own brand of coffee would combine several longtime interests, including, ultimately, AR. (Presentations about AR at HK Poly. A post about AR and Coffee)

This post is about my first cupping experience, which occurred on May 12, 2018, at Once Cafe in Chiang Rai, Thailand. I had discovered Once the day before the testing, by accident.Lucky! The barista was Neung (Matorose Plengsai).

Coffee cupping preparation

Neung (Matorose Plengsai).from Once Cafe in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

She is deeply connected with coffee. Her husband is involved with the production of organic foods, including coffee: at one point he made his own roaster. Neung supervised the creation of Once Coffee, the signature of her cafe. In the course of discussing Once Coffee, it was agreed that I could bring some to Hong Kong, for a tasting event I am planning.

Here is my description of Once Coffee:

Made from Peaberry beans, Once is light-hearted and slightly fruity, yet powerful-- an excellent choice for lattes and cappuccinos. Organically grown, processed and roasted on a single estate in northern Thailand, Once is a blend of roasts: medium and dark. The blend is constantly monitored and adjusted to maintain Once’s signature flavor.

Once treats the people it is involved with fairly.

Let the cupping begin!

Once was cupped in the afternoon. The cupping for Steve’s Wild Coffee (the name for now, anyway) started at 8:30 AM. Besides Neung, we were fortunate to have Boss (Pattapong Valuvanarak), who manages a restaurant called Kafe Journal.

thoughtful coffee drinker

Boss!

We had three types of Steve’s Wild Coffee (SWC). The beans are Arabica: a medium roast, a dark roast and a mix of 80% medium and 20% dark.

Like most coffees, the dark roast and the 80/20 mixture will work well with lattes and cappuccinos. No surprises there. The medium roast was judged to be very suitable for simple, hot coffees. Again, no surprises.

What follows are notes on what I learned, observed and thought about. I am a fresh arrival into this part of the coffee world. Also, the wild coffee is almost completely undocumented. So, we were in the rare position of being able to respond to what we were tasting with very few preconceived ideas.

I should state that wild coffee is a new venture by a company with over forty years experience producing high grade organic teas. It is not a secret who they are, and I will later identify them, especially on all packaging. They are now applying for a USDA organic certificate.

Cofffe packaging

Once Cafe, in Chiang Rai, Thailand. The first cupping of Steve's Wild Coffee.

So... the cupping!

Neung opened the medium roast, and Boss spread some beans out on a plate. He picked something up, showed it to Neung and they laughed. “Elephant ears”, he said. Elephant ears are shells of beans that are empty. I looked, and yes, the shell of an empty coffee bean looks just like the ears of an elephant. Boss showed me another bean that had a tiny hole in it. “An insect ate some.” I made a mental note to find out why this was bad. Psychologically, perhaps it is not good, but in terms of the coffee making process, why is it bad? There was no insect, of course. I wonder if, by eating the coffee bean, the insect allowed air into the heart of the fruit. This would mean oxygen being added into the fruit’s “manufacturing process”. Perhaps this is the reason for the rejection. The coffee is roasted, which kills bacteria and other micro-organisms. Simply, I must learn more about insects eating coffee beans. Is it a cosmetic issue, or something more?

No fungus was detected and the other beans which were rejected were chipped, a common fault. But again I wonder if this is cosmetic or something more serious. Could it be that the chipping results in the bean drying out in that area and losing flavor?

(PART 2 is here)

An Instagram post of the cupping.

AR as Blockchain: an eye-opener

My limited understanding of blockchain is that it is decentralized. My experiences with AR have given me the impression that AR is also a decentralized technology, though mobile phone makers can be said to be an international cartel of sorts. As I write this, I am in Chiang Rai, Thailand, close to the borders of Myanmar and Laos, and a few hours bus ride north of the more famous city of Chiang Mai.

I have just spent a few hours with Suphakorn Traisrisin, a 14 year old boy. He is teaching himself how to work with Hewlett-Packard's AR system, Reveal. Suphakorn wants to be a computer engineer, and undoubtedly, when the time comes, he will have a number of geographical options in which to pursue his career. Unlike the businesses of the Industrial Age, the internet has created a decentralized and seemingly level playing field where talent and ideas can take root anywhere and blossom internationally.

I realize this concept/possibility has existed for a while, but it was really brought home watching a 14 year old, very distant from Silicon Valley, teaching himself a cutting edge technology.

two generations and a laptop

in Chiang Rai Thailand, with Suphakorn Traisrisin

Handphone  + laptop display

HP + AR + tea!


Bubiko Fodtour AR tearial

Experimentation with the Reveal AR software by Hewlett-Packard



Bubiko  Foodtour in Chiang rai

https://www.instagram.com/bubikofoodtour/?hl=en

Chiang Rai, the Golden Triangle Palace: Art, Content, Portraiture

Regarding the retireinchiangrai performance.

What began at the Abby Hotel in Ipoh, Malaysia as a kind of durational art piece has become a form of portraiture for hotels. With the Abby Hotel piece, the goal was to create content for 72 continuous hours, mainly with Facebook Live. Next was a sixty hour project at Symphony Suites, also in Ipoh. Christmas, Penang, 24 hour documentation of food.Then in Bangkok, there was a near continuous three day marathon at La Rivetta.

My latest mix of photography, historical research and interviews/oral history is partially documented at this website: https://retireinchiangrai.wordpress.com/2018/04/29/chiang-rai-transportation/

The intention is to use photography for personal expression, rather than commercial documentation, as well as to create a vocabulary of procedures that allow for spontaneous internet experiences. Plus, the experiences will become a chapter in An Alphabet of Spikes, one of the two books I am currently writing.

In short, we did a lot of stuff and put it online to see what happens in both the art world and the world of people who want to retire in Thailand.