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Archive for February, 2008

So i was encouraged (ok, it was an assignment) to try something new and follow a tutorial of some sort. Google Sketchup seemed like some fun that i hadn’t experienced yet, so i gave it a try. I just opened the help and followed the introduction, which was pretty helpful. Using my newfound sketchup skills, i made a pitiful attempt at a house-like structure, and learned just enough to realize that i probably ought to use the help button a bit more if i wanted to get anywhere.

try1.gif

The basics are pretty simple. You select the rectangle tool, draw a shape, and then use the push/pull tool to make it 3D.

But that’s just the start. Once you have a shape, you can push/pull on any of the faces to modify it. More importantly, you can draw another rectangle on any of the existing surfaces and push/pull that. If you push/pull to another face, you can create a void. For instance, to make the walls of my building, i made a large rectangle, pulled it up, then drew a smaller rectangle inside the top surface and pushed that down all the way to the bottom face. Automatically, sketchup made this a void space, with the end result being something that looked like four walls that form a rectangle.

You can do the same thing for windows, a doorway, etc. For some reason my doorway was a void once, but then i messed it up mysteriously and now it won’t be a void anymore.

Hoping for a stucco-house aesthetic, i tried to make some floor beams that stuck through the face of the building. It quickly became apparent that i hadn’t planned this quite right. Instead of making beam-like objects, i was creating a hollow, void space. So next i tried making a beam object off to the side to see if i could rotate it and simply drag beams into the existing structure. The rotate function is a little less than intuitive… i definitely need a tutorial on that. But i’m out of time and was supposed to crank out ten or fifteen web pages in the hours i’ve spent doing this, but at least i got you started. Good luck.

Here’s what i created.

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More Google Earth

Here’s another .kmz file you can download and play with in google earth. It is ten places i would like to visit:

the file

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On Friday, Suzannah Moore acted as a stand-in professor and shared some ideas about print advertising. Some interesting ideas came up – that modern advertisement sells a lifestyle rather than a product, especially when the products are expensive – that much of the style and content of ads are interchangeable with other products – that sex sells – that the lifestyle being sold isn’t necessarily reality. (about imitation)

Something that my mind latched onto was this concept of advertising a lifestyle instead of a product. It seems strange to me. Does this mean that advertising research has found that promoting a lifestyle myth in general is more effective than directly advertising your product? The ads I’m talking about are the ones like the jean and cologne ads that don’t seem to advertise anything in particular, and even the brand name is hard to find. They seem to make you want to be that person instead of wanting to buy a product. (examples)

How does this work? Don’t their competitors, who also sell products that contribute to coolness, also benefit from this advertising? I guess this is why I’m not in the marketing business.

The other thing that caught my attention was the idea of print commercials versus television commercials. Why are television commercials so much more odious than magazine advertisements? It seems to me that it is a matter of control. A magazine reader is an active participant in their own experience – they can skip ahead, move back, decide to read one thing but not another. They can skip advertisements or choose to study them.

In contrast, the broadcast television audience is passive. This audience has given up control in favor of immersion, but as a consequence they have to sit through advertisements over which they have no control. The only options are to stop paying attention or change the channel.

Why is this important? For me, it is a reminder of a criticism that George Landow, in Hypertext 3.0, has of video and animation clips. These clips, especially when imbedded in an otherwise interactive space, change the user to a passive audience rather than an active one. This is a good consideration when designing a web site – that a user engaged by the site, and clicking on links, is suddenly forced to sit back in her chair when a clip is clicked. This may not be what the site designer intends. It is sort of like inserting a television commercial into a magazine.

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