Friday June 11, 2010

Studyweek

I was just about to go into a small rant about spellings of words like programme vs program and disc vs disk but I used google and discovered that my usage is not only correct for NZ English but also British English. Compact Disc, Hard Disk. Television Programme, Computer Program. Right, well, that's sorted.

Monday was a public holiday so on Tuesday we went in and were briefed about the remainder of studyweek.

We've finished all of this semesters projects, and the first 3 were formative, meaning the marks that we got back for them were really only a guide to how we were doing. The bummer for me is that the last project, the one that I could have really excelled in but didn't due to factors that were sort of outside of my control (I could have gone nazi on my group, but I'm not sure that this is a reasonable expectation to be placed on me) is assessed as is.

This week our job was to choose our strongest project (or one that we have since developed further) and turn it into a presentation. A1 poster and 15-minutes talking and any supporting materials that we may wish to include.

I chose the wearable interface because it's the one thing I did on my own. It was either that or serious fun, but if I'd chosen that I'd have to delve further into exploration of semiotics and tie it up with the cat which I'd like to explore, but not in the given time limit. If I'm going to present I need to look like I know what I'm talking about, I do not want to look exactly like what I suppose I will be: a first year student giving a quickly cobbled presentation.

Time has gone fast and I could have possibly used it a bit better, I mulled over what I was going to do and just how to do it for too long. I considered ringing an old employer ahead of time to get the A1 printed on Friday but then decided go with AUT's printer for $20. I pulled what could possibly be my last all-nighter for the semester to get the poster finished and add 2 last events to my events blog as it was due in Friday too. I'm a bit disappointed with myself that I wound up working on the events blog right up until the day before it was to be handed in. Everyone expects school-leavers to screw around and leave stuff until the last minute, but I had a work ethic. Alas I've placed so much importance on my studio work that event adding was sporadic. Then again I haven't really been able to attend any real events either. I attended a Pixies concert during March, but those tickets were paid for 5 months earlier, a time when I took my income for granted.

My allnighter resulted in me deciding to try a powernap snooze at 9:30am. I woke up at 2 and didn't have time to get the poster printed, so tomorrow I'll be looking for printshop open on Saturday.

We also have to resubmit our other projects in a clear accessible format, so I'll be setting them up in InDesign this weekend too. Last of all I still need to submit the supporting material for the last project. On Tuesday afternoon I have to present so I have a day to practice the actual presentation side. And I will practice. Looking to Steve Jobs here.

The following Friday we have an open night, where family and friends can view our presentations. Then after we're on holiday. Real holiday, no assignments. During that time I plan to study a few things. I want to revisit Edward Tuft and data visualisation, read more on Processing, perhaps look more into semiotics and visual communication, maybe look over my other materials and recommended readings, play around with Xcode and Blender, a free 3D application. But I also want to relax, exercise and perhaps find part time employment to make the financial side of next semester much easier. Looking forward to it.


    Monday June 21, 2010

Presentation

Hahahaha! Did I say I'd practice the presentation? While I did factor in sleep to presentation prep time I didn't really factor in fatigue. I've run out of steam. I've had about as much rest during waking hours as I've worked in the last week. Not really the greatest time to hit a wall since this is the stuff that actually matters grades-wise but I'm not going to beat myself up too much about it.

I set up a 5-page article on Project 1 (Drawing Machine) a bit late in the weekend, then decided to move straight to Project 4 (Reverse Cinema). That was difficult. One question was to analyse 5 key shots from the final video. Quite difficult when you don't believe that there was any substance to much of the movie, so irritated and tired and realising I'd left it all a bit late I analysed some shots, but didn't make the word minimum. Oh well. Analysing the audio track was even more difficult, nearly putting expletives about it in my answer, I backspaced and tried a new approach: How it could have been improved.

I still had to finish Exercise 2, where we used original Wizard of Oz footage to create a short movie of our genre. I had started it but never really finished it. The soundtrack needed dialogue but I was working on it in the middle of the night, people sleeping. Complete oversight. I had to get it done, so my solution was to find samples of people speaking Spanish (I tried Italian first, but Spanish yielded more results) and put that in and then just use subtitles. Slight comedic value too as the dialogue really doesn't match all that well. I really couldn't think of an ending using the footage from the movie, it felt like I  was no where near a conclusion and I'd set myself up for a long and involved plot so I axed it and finished the video with a "to be continued".

The poster wasn't printed yet as I didn't want to pay what Warehouse Stationary charges, I thought I'd rather take my chances on Monday morning which was rapidly approaching. Project 3 (Serious Fun) really didn't get much further consideration as time was running out so when I burnt the disc containing all of my work it really only contained what I've previously submitted.

I got the poster and A4's printed at Pressprint in the AUT library in the morning, it cost about $45 for the poster and $10 or so for my A4s. I own a colour laser printer that I picked up for a bargain last year but it seems that it was knocked around during my move because it currently doesn't work. Pressprint charge a $2 "downloading fee" to get files off your USB drive. What the hell. I'd really like to hear their justification for an unavoidable part of the job. Hey Pressprint, why don't you just charge a separate fee for opening the file, ripping the file and walking across the room to get the print from the printer as well??

Though I can imagine students handing over usb sticks with 20,000 irrelevant and obscurely named files and folders and somewhere in there, their document is buried deep inside some folder structure and it's called "document23_final#2.doc.pdf", but why am I paying for that little irritation?

I stuck my work up and went home. I dragged my heels with the presentation so that when I made it I didn't have the time to do the practise that I'd hoped to. We had been divided into small groups of 5 and presented to those groups and 2 tutors. Everyone was nervous and I felt I didn't really have enough content for 10-15 minutes. I'd made a slide show and brought a monitor in to connect to my mac, but sort of used the slide show to prompt me. So the paragraphs of words in my head evaporated and I basically repeated the single-line point on whatever slide happened to be up. I knew that would happen, that's why I wanted to practise. But the apathy. The last few days, doing as little as possible has just been far too appealing. My work ethic had dried up, I just wanted a break. A huge sleep.

So I wasn't terribly impressed with my presentation but I was asked questions and I found that easier (apparently a common experience), and my group seemed mildly interested. I undersold myself at one point saying I could do with learning more conceptual abilities when really it was just that I hadn't given much thought to the greater implications of a pair of pants with drum pads in them. I could really do with learning how to not undersell myself. Later on I thought about how handy it would have been to set up a video camera to record my presentation. A cringe-worthy experience but good to work from for future presentations.

We then had a couple of days off and Friday night we had an open night, I had a couple of siblings and one of their friends come along and... that was that.

So perhaps a summary of this semester is called for. I might make a new post for that so I can think about it for a day or so.