Yesterday I won the University of Auckland 2009 General Staff Excellence Award for Excellence in Innovation which is conferred every year to one staff member across the entire University. I highly appreciate that the efforts are recognised. The ceremony was held by the vice-chancellor.
Here's the citation:
"Anatol led the technological implementation, customisation, improvement and maintenance of the online learning management system (LMS) Moodle for the Faculty of Education. He managed the transfer of existing online courses from the legacy system and the creation of new courses in the LMS.
He also provides ongoing support and training for staff and students. He created a student management system that is essential to the implementation of the new e-learning environment and developed a CD-ROM generator for readings CDs.
He engages in ongoing research into technology and media that is innovative and useful for teaching and learning and that helps to keep the University up-to-date and competitive in the tertiary sector."
The award also comes with a nice cash prize that will come in quite handy to get some equipment for my Masters studies for a MA Art & Design at AUT University that will commence next year. What a lot of good news at once!
Be Careful What You Wish For
I'm usually not the biggest fan of Flash sites but this one blew me away: Coraline
Also, the film is absolutely brilliant and it really annoys me that I missed the 3D screening in cinemas. I hope that one day I can make up for this. Perfect stop-motion animation and a beautiful dark story.
Here is the trailer.
Incredibly Strange: Movie Marathon 09
It seems I survived the 24 hour Incredibly Strange Movie Marathon over the weekend. Here is the lineup:
The Secret Four/Kansas City Confidential (1952)
Road House (1989)
Forbidden World (1982)
Vice Squad (1982)
Paranormal Activity (2007)
Mill of the Stone Women (1960)
The Visitor/Stridulum (1979)
The Informant! (2009)
Creature From Black Lake (1976)
(Couldn't find anything on this film.)
That's all folks.
Including some very short breaks it lasted about 25 hours nonstop.
Here are the instructions for this year's movie marathon:
And if you still don't have enough here are some trailers for the Movie Marathon itself. Enjoy!
A million thanks to Ant Simpson and everyone involved for a fantastic weekend!
I just came across a really nice game today: Machinarium. A little roboton a big adventure. This is a nice little point and click adventure game with very beautiful design made in Czechoslovakia.
Funny enough I could say the exact same thing about a game called Little Wheel, except that that's from Slovakia. Both are definitely worth a look. I wonder which was first.
Big White / Big Black
Hmmm ... ja! I really like this animation by Rosto: Big White / Black White
Also make sure you check out his website with much more amazing stuff like these episodes (dammit, the gears remind me of the idea I'm working on right now...)! And the music is also written by the director. It seems my new hero is Dutch.
Here is a good collection of other works.
I started to work on a new animation. Above is a visual test of the protagonist (see the large version). It's more than likely that the look will change completely but I somewhat like this still. It could make a good flyer as it is but the style will probably not be expressive enough for character animation.
For those who are interested in the tools: The robot above was made from scratch in the free open source software Blender, the halftone texture on the robot comes from a PyNode Script for Blender by T.K., backgrounds are put together and modified in Photoshop.
The story is complete (but I won't spoil it here). It will be a rather short animation, yet I expect it'll still take me quite a while to complete because I have a lot of stuff on my plate right now.
Reinventing Your Inbox
It seems that Google is currently reinventing email. According to the keynote the upcoming Google Wave indeed looks very promising. It has the potential to become an incredible innovation for the world wide web. I think what sums it up is probably the question that the Google developers asked themselves:
"What would email look like if it was invented today?" (email has been around for 40 years)
As I see it Google Wave could potentially replace email as we know and use it today. It is from the ground up designed to be collaborative (much more than e.g. Google Docs or Wikis etc). Think of it more of a 'conversation space' rather than an inbox with the 'traditional' concept to send and receive letters. It can also link into (or be embedded in) any web content.
One of the best decisions around that is that it's not proprietory to Google but will be an open source project with open standards.
You'll get the best idea if you watch the 1h 20mins keynote. Or if you wait a couple of months until it'll be released.