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Steve Tsuida
I help people tell their own stories. I'm a graphic designer, videographer, photographer, animator, illustrator, and maker of things, because that's what it takes.
I help people tell their own stories. I'm a graphic designer, videographer, photographer, animator, illustrator, and maker of things, because that's what it takes.


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I just photographed my local #makerspace with a Ricoh Theta S 360° camera and posted a navigable tour of the place to Google Street View.

It's a handy way to show people who I'm trying to, frankly, drag out to our weekly open houses, what to expect. I think they sometimes imagine a little hole in the wall with about as many tools as you'd find in a suburban garage. Hopefully this virtual tour thing challenges some of that. We'll see.

Anyway, it's relatively easy to make, using any od 360° camera (and there are lots of then out there, all bad, but all usable) and the Google Street View app for iOS or Android. The app is a little flaky, but nothing you can't figure out!

Anyway, have a look around Protospace, and then go add your maker space to Street View and share a link!

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iPhone X vs. Polaroid Originals i-Type, in a new Polaroid Originals OneStep 2 camera. Both of these cameras were built this year. Both are fun to shoot with. One… kind of does it’s own thing every single time.
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Last week our #makerspace held an open house event. I was demoing restored old cameras and another member was demoing ways to restore old computers (using an S.D. card dreaded in an Apple II Plus, for example). I had to bring the two together. So here’s three lovely old computers, photographed with a 1955 Graflex Speed Graphic, on Ilford FP4 4x5 sheet film.

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‪#Calgary’s most productive #makerspace. ‬
‪Protospace members have 24/7/365 access, because inspiration doesn’t end at 9 PM. There’s always someone here, making something, learning something, or augmenting the space itself (our newest door, for example).‬
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The arguments you used to justify pirating media will be used by pirates who’ll undercut you out of the Gig Economy and then every other economy.

Two decades of telling us it was right, proper, and harmless to use the power God put in your hands to copy media is going to leave us all stone deaf and numb to the arguments that this is different, somehow, because now it’s your stuff they’re taking a perfect digital copy of while leaving the original untouched, on the shelf, so to speak.

“Your YouTube channel is still up, so it’s not a theft per se, if we repost your original content to our YouTube channel. People can still watch your stuff. Advertisers can still choose to support you instead of us. You should really be making your money doing live workshops, and selling shirts.”

“People can still sign up for your live workshop that I Periscoped with that badge camera.”

“People can still hire you for marketing advice. It’s not like you lost that knowledge when I secretly recorded it and posted it online. It’s really just there for the people who couldn’t afford it and were never going to hire you, anyway.”

And eventually:
“We has our software search for digital surveillance of you—and everyone in your team, going back ten years—and it built a model of an experienced [name your job], and so we found a village overseas who all agreed to wear AR hardware and will be guided through the motions, to be our AI’s hands and feet, to help it do your jobs, but at a scale we just can’t pull off here, in our budget. But the good news is you didn’t really lose anything. Nothing was really stolen, right? No tangible property, we just observed patterns and recorded them as bits. So no harm, no foul. But thank you for the quote.”
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Hi: What’s missing from your Smart speaker.
Smart speakers run a very real risk of winding up in the tidy but lonely corner of our device culture where we push novelty kitchen accessories, aspirational power tools, home gym equipment, and those free packs of four by six premium inkjet photo paper that come with every printer.

Every home has a scattered collection of tools and toys that don’t have unrealized potential so much as they’ve always had unrealizable potential. The guitar that was too loud to learn. The kitchen knife that was too intimidating to practice with. The smart speaker that always waited for you to make the first move.

You can make lots of private mistakes while you learn how to use your first tablet. No one has to know how many hundred times it took before you finished a level of Angry Birds. You can have no idea how to really operate your 2,000 channel TV while still looking like you wanted to watch what you’re watching. You can’t get good at your smart speaker without failing out loud at least once a day while you learn what it can and can’t do, or what you do or don’t say very clearly. And unlike the voice assistant on your phone or computer, smart speakers are almost all built to look exactly like a smart speaker. They’re defined by an absence of a display where they could have silently offered up some suggestions for conversation-starters.

Smart speakers are going to have to learn to take the initiative. They’re going to have to start asking us the questions, like, “Are you on your way out? Did you know it’s going to snow this afternoon?” Or, “Was that tortellini I saw you cooking last night? Would you like me to add more tomatoes to the grocery list?” Or, “That’s the third rerun you’ve watched. Want me to cue up a workout playlist?” Or, “The car tells me you haven’t taken it for maintenance in a while. Is it a money thing? Your bank account [which now has a Toy Story-like ‘being’]* has a couple of ideas!” (My Watch™ does most of this. Even though I know better, it feels downright magical.)

That unsolicited prompting sets you up for a successful interaction right away, and it helps map out the sorts of things you two can talk about in the future. It also takes the surveillance microphone edge off the device. Sure, it’s still a cloud-based spy microphone, but it seems genuinely interested in your immediate world. Everyone reading this makes a point of asking at least five people, “How’s your day going?” every day, and you do it for relationship upkeep, not for news. Every toddler on the planet learns the power of, “Hi!” AI, particularly AI speaker pods, need to learn to say hi.

There has to be something real on the other side of that “Hi!” It can’t be a menu, or a blanket prompt like, “Hi. Ask me a question.” It has to feel like the device has some agency, and took some initiative to put together a relevant question; it has to feel like it asked me a question just for me, because it seemed to want to know the answer. It’s the difference between, “Welcome to Gadget Mart, how can I help you?” and “Hey, Steve, how are you liking the watch band [you bought last time you were here]?”

When Smart Speakers and their AI souls start conversing—rather than just waiting to reply—they’ll step out into the brighter, lovingly scratched-up middle of our device culture, where we put the coffee maker, the bike, the trusted backpack, or even our phones. Things that—should they inspire us to act—feel like partners.

*On at least a dozen occasions I’ve seen people reflexively thank Siri, or apologize to their phone for dropping it, and everyone has yelled at their GPS, because they can’t make a u-turn there. I can’t help but wonder if people would take better care of their finances, or be more fully banked if they felt their bank account [rather than just their bank] had feelings. But that’s for another post.
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“Now that I have a car, I understand on a deeper level why it’s wrong to drop cinder blocks into traffic from overpasses, and how dangerous a place I continue to let the road be by not speaking up to my buddies who still drop cinder blocks into traffic.”

That’s exactly how people sound to me when they say things like, “Now that I have a [daughter/wife/niece], I understand how endemic sexism and sexual harassment is, and how hostile a place I help social media remain, through my inaction.”

It comes across to me like a possessive kind of empathy. One that’s still about you, and your newly-extended vicarious experiences.
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I’m seeing a lot of armchair quarterbacking over Blade Runner 2049’s box office performance, and a recurring theme is that the movie failed because it didn’t explore this group’s issues or that group’s issues; 2049 didn’t appeal to Group XYZ because it didn’t integrate Group XYZ’s narrative into the Blade Runner world.

As someone from a visible minority, and part of a few other groups who are, objectively, underrepresented or misrepresented in cinema, let me chime in:

Piss off.

Nobody owes you the movies you want to see or the stories you want told. You owe the world those movies and those stories.

You’re reading this on an HD or 4K camcorder that can run a perfectly capable editing suite, and let you collaborate with a storytelling team. You’re reading this on a portable computer you can use to upload your movie or story up to any of a number of fantastic distribution platforms. You’re reading this on an internet communicator that’s connected to a billion other internet communicators, which gives you infinitely more power to gather collaborators, cast and crew than all the films produced before the 1990s.

You don’t have their budget. So what? Neither did hundreds of award-winning indie films.

You don’t have their star power. So what? Neither did Star Wars.

You don’t know how to get started. So what? Open a browser and ask YouTube, or catch a bus to your nearest Apple Store and sit in on a free iMovie workshop.

You know what you want to say, and you have literally everything you need in order to say it reasonably well. Now, get to work.
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The difference between science and screwing around is taking notes. Spent most of my Sunday using an image accumulator app to shoot light trails of the projectile and the weight in my shoulder-mountable trebuchet for Calgary Maker Faire.

Made at Protospace, a #makerspace in Calgary.
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