For our second Visual Language class, we looked at signage and wayfinding systems – systems which constitute such an essential and ubiquitous part of our designed world that their effectiveness in conveying information can be considered a public interest. As pedestrians we use and depend upon these visual markers dozens of times within a single commute for directions. And as drivers we look to them to convey essential right-of-way information and rules of the road within seconds.
For week two of Physical Computing, we are doing a lab on basic electronics: soldering and switches. I wanted to find a way to use a mini joystick from the electronics store in this lab. The joystick has three possible movements: forwards / backwards right / left pushbutton click My first task was to discover exactly how each of these movements translated into an electronic signal.
For week two, I had big ambitions, and somewhat less exciting results. My ambitions were twofold: to create an interactive animation that allowed someone to use the mouse to blow up a balloon, then have it float away when released, and (at someone’s very kind suggestion) to have a mouse click make a progressively larger ball, which, on a mouse release, would drop down at a rate in accordance with its size.
A few years ago, I stumbled across a series of reference manuals in my uncle’s (electronics /computer) workshop that had been published by IBM. These manuals (for BASIC, DOS and the like) were housed in small cloth-bound binders which were themselves housed in cloth-bound hard dust-cases. On these outer cases was printed the IBM logo and various bits of information about the version of BASIC, DOS, etc. that it supported: