geek gadgetry

The big purchase of the last few months was made last night in Mouse St, home to a hundred mobile phone shops, and above the best mall in town. I’ve been wanting to buy a new phone for about a year. My old one, with three lines of text, black on backlit green and absolutely none of the features anyone should be seen without, was just looking embarrassing, as well as being hideously slow.

So, with a couple of necessities in mind – Bluetooth, Calendar and maybe a camera and MP3 player, 3G would be nice, but I can live without it for a bit – I went shopping. Two days of it, and at the end, finding the one that would do it all was almost top-of-the-range and a bit more than I planned to spend, I thought, well hey, I don’t have to buy a new digital camera anymore, having just been given one, and made my credit card squeal like the little pig it is.

So, please welcome to the pantheon of Frances’ many pieces of spooky electronica a Sony Ericsson K700c, and a Pentax Optio S40. The ‘c’ in the phone makes it China-localised so I can do good shit like enter hanzi with pinyin. Now I just need to buy an iPod and an electronic translator and my bag will be over the carry-on luggage limit.

going mobile

Lately there have been more people coming here using PDA and mobile phone browsers. So being in a mood to not do all the grant writing and funding applications due, and knowing a day without coding is a day wasted, I’ve thrown together a mobile version of this page.

If you’re using a PDA or mobile, you should automatically see the mobile version, which is designed for any screen from 3G phone (176*144 pixels) or bigger. mmm… mobile viewing pleasure. Just like the picture below, only shiney…

176*144 – performance art for 3G phones

My next project in Taipei is performance 3G mobile phones. With Big Brother in Australia getting on the bandwagon with late-night streaming to the video phones, I thought it was time for some art to sneak in like a theif in the night.

176*144 is a very simple project. Artists, choreographers, filmmakers send in short videos and anyone with a 3G handset can download it to their phone from the website and send it to their friends. The perfect way to see art on the subway in the evening

Currently the project is still being put together (video isn’t all up yet), and is going to be part of an exhibition at the 台北國際藝術村 Taipei Artist Village in January next year. So far, thanks to the joy of internet, there are artists from China, Australia, America, and Germany, with more to follow from several other countries in the coming weeks. Wanna put your own work in? email me.

nofzilla

One of the projects I’m doing in Taipei is performances for mobile phones. It’s pretty basic use of existing technology, 3G phones, web sites, a bit of css tweaking, like a short film festival only for people with special phones. Beats the crap out of watching Big Brother Up Late on streaming video. So far the response has been awesome, going far beyond the dance performance criteria I initially planned. Lots of people from all over the world have sent me their work, and somehow my initial email to a few people has become a virus. For a few days or a week there is silence, then for no apparent reason I get a flood of emails from people wanting to contribute their own art. Maybe this is from successive postings of my initial email on various email lists, or just truly random response times. Either way, it’s what makes me love the internet.

And I get to see alot of really cool art from people I’d never otherwise hear of. So, I’m going to rave about nofzilla, Liz Nofziger, whose tiny beautiful films are one of the coolest things I’ve seen since Emile Zile rocked the world with satanic laptop black metal in morloch. I love art and this is why.

great technology crappy game

In a sweatily adolescent application of great technology, Hong Kong’s Artificial Life have just announced the release of a new 3-D game for 3G phones, Virtual Girlfriend, perfect for guys who confuse fantasy with reality, and want their girlfriend to have the responses of a Tamagotchi.

The Virtual Girlfriend is a very innovative mobile game that is based on intelligent animated 3-D characters (avatars) that live in a virtual mobile world. The virtual girls can be contacted and seen using a 3G phone at any time. However, the characters will be involved in different activities during the day, for example, the girlfriend may be in her virtual home or at her virtual workplace or in a virtual bar or restaurant or just shopping with another virtual friend in a virtual shopping mall. The user can watch the characters during these activities and interact with them via the mobile phone. The characters and the game follow a certain daily and weekly schedule which will continuously change and progress over time. The behavior of the virtual characters is based on scientific principles and algorithms inspired by the computer related artificial life sciences and is using artificial intelligence technology to achieve human like behavior and responses.