PKN MTL vol 01: Success

Matt Biddulph of Dopplr at PKNMTL vol 01I think it’s safe to say that Volume 01 of Pecha Kucha Night in Montreal was a great success. Everybody had a great time, saw something new and interesting, and Boris got to stretch out his stage legs a bit. The full speakers list is up at and I’ve put the photos that actually turned out up on my Flickr. It was certainly an educational evening for me as I tried learning my new camera on the fly while keeping an eye on the Keynote slideshow. You can tell which shots were taken later in the evening as I started to figure out the appropriate settings.

Huge props to Boris for all the work in putting this together, the SAT for helping us out on the space, and MocoLoco for sponsoring, and of course the speakers for their presentations. (Also, Boris wants everybody to know that Laika is his second home.)

I started trying to do this because I wanted to attend such an event. Boris’ return to Montreal was perfect timing to get it off the ground and there’s not a hope it would have happened without him. I’ve been slammed with a pre-Alpha then Alpha milestone schedule at work and before I knew it things magically started to coalesce. I tracked down a few speakers, did some promotional work and other odds and ends, but Boris made the magic happen. When it was all said and done I think the speakers felt they had participated in a really solid event, we had a lot of fun, and everybody started talking about the next one right away. Along the way it went from an event I wanted to attend to a thing I can’t imagine not doing.

If you attended and took photos, please tag them with PKNMTL!

Pecha Kucha Night Montreal

A few months ago I heard about Pecha Kucha Night and thought it sounded like an event worth attending. The idea is simple, a show and tell by designers for designers. It uses the broadest possible definition of design so that architects, photographers, print, industrial, fashion etc. designers are included. Everybody shows up and starts socializing, a 5 à 7 atmosphere prevails, and then presenters kick off their talks. 10 to 15 people in an evening get 20 slides at 20 seconds each, so it moves quickly. Even if you’re not terribly interested in one presentation, give it 6 minutes and 40 seconds and another will take it’s place.

Unfortunately there wasn’t a Pecha Kucha Night in Montreal. So I contacted the Pecha Kucha organizers in Tokyo and asked what I had to do to set one up. Knowing that I’d need a partner in crime on this project I twisted Boris‘ rubber arm before he returned from Japan and we were off and running. (Mad props to him for the PKN MTL site)

So, June 14th 7:30pm at the SAT is Volume 01 for PKN Montreal! If you’d like to present ping us at infos -AT- otherwise just show up and enjoy.

Helvetica, a documentary

Still from HelveticaWent to a screening of Helvetica tonight, a documentary about the typeface. That might seem like a recipe for boredom, but the omnipresent nature of the font and it’s effect on graphic design cannot be overstated. The documentary itself is an excellent example of the species: genuinely interesting interviews with some great characters from the graphic design world, woven into a narrative describing the subject. There are a remarkable number of laugh out loud moments, but overall what carries the film is the absolute passion all of the interviewees have for the subject. The Helvetica fan club is most strongly represented, but its detractors are given significant screen time to make their point. Eric Spiekermann (designer of FF Meta among others) in particular is quite a character, “Why is Helvetica so popular after 50 years?” a fleeting moment of serious contemplation then, “I don’t know, why is bad taste so ubiquitous?”

Highly recommended if you can catch a screening. It seems to be doing a roadshow right now, and the only word on a DVD release is Fall 2007.

The Wii and 1:1 Motion

Wiimote by Andy Terletski
The biggest problem with the Wii Remote? It makes porting from another platform a pain. I’m dealing with this right now on a project that is all about digital inputs. Precision and snappy response times are what matters, as it’s a very oldschool game at heart. It uses most of the buttons on the PS2 controller, which means it overruns the available buttons on the Wii Remote very quickly.

At first I wrestled with this by trying to come up with some inventive control scheme to take advantage of the motion sensing functions of the remote. I found a couple of workable solutions, but nothing that came close to the efficiency of the PS2 pad.

At the end of the day all I had done was mask digital inputs with more complicated analog actions. Continue reading “The Wii and 1:1 Motion”

Setting up a real blog

Excuse the dust and funky paint smell. I’m setting things up to post my design ramblings, both general and project specific. I’ve got two side projects that I plan to blog the design and development of, Z2Z and I Hear You. More on those in future posts.

This was blogged from Laika, with Shawna riding shotgun. Look at me, I’m all 21st century!