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This is my last post about my first post.

                Everybodies, first blog is my last. Well, I stand out of the crowd. Enought jokes, I will put on my straight face. So topic of week one is again of internet communities and networks and how can I put them in my advantage as a designer or student. This looks an interesting topic to discuss. So let the SHOW BEGIN.

                How can I use them? I will reflect on my sweet spot. My sweet spot is characterizing, which is hard to describe, but I will try my best. Characterizing is character describing – story, image, personality and so on. For me I have done something like this for a while. I have been reading books, watching movies, playing games and there is a huge choice of different characters, but how is that related to communities and networks. Good question, Watson.  I have been looking into different character designs for a while not. The best network and community I have found is a part of a whole different network. There is this online video game company called Steam. Steam provides people with easy access to different video games for the right price, but what people don’t know is that Steam also provides Workshop for the related game community. In this workshop people, can design their own modifications to the game. These modifications are mind blowing.  I search different character ideas in these workshops. People from around the world are joined under one community. These people are listing from, designers and artists to programmers and game writers. These communities provide me for everything I need to learn to focus on my sweet spot.

                Talking about different communities. I actively follow http://www.reddit.com/r/design for now I only follow L. I have considered for long time to do something more than follow, but I have never find time for it L.  If I’m talking about what I need to explore more of these communities, I think only things I need is a working computer with at least 10 mbs speed internet.  Little materialistic, but I can’t think of anything else.

                I kind of have seen my teams project outcome, and that’s kind of everything I want it to be. We used camera in combination with Adobe Special effects. That’s not boring. Talking about my contributed specially is awkward for me.  Kind of feel that they are pulling my weight, but I’m given a chance to bring my Adobe Illustrator skills with me. So, I will try my best to create the best report this group can create.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOTrOlaNRXk - A video some of the desings made in workshop are found.

Posted in Community, Group 7, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Kalvis Riptide Design

Can I fix my sink using an internet tool?

When a person, writes blogs in a row they lose thoughts about what to include into the introduction, so this is my introduction. Yes, I know nothing special, but the topic is what kind of useful online tools I can tell to other people. Well, I usually don’t prefer online tools, I prefer the program, tool or even game to be saved into my computer, I think that’s just faster and more reliable, but that doesn’t mean I don’t use online tools.

                Well, I have had my fair share of different programs connected with computers; one more specific is called Adobe Photoshop. If a person nowadays haven’t heard of it, he is  considered to be living in a cave. Anyway, this program takes up a lot of memory and it’s difficult to install, so sometimes I use http://www.photoshoponlinefree.com/ .  I haven’t mastered Photoshop, god to master Photoshop a person has to have years of experience, but I am very familiar with the program, and what can I tell about the website. The website is a huge help if you need some fast creating or picture modifying, but it’s not the real Photoshop.  If a beginner works in this website he may not see a difference, but If a person who has lost weeks with Photoshop he will go crazy by the algorithms. I just noticed I’m using a Photoshop as a verb.  The reason why Photoshop takes up so much memory is because its algorithms are so long and advanced that nowadays another program doesn’t stands near it. Anyway, talking about the online tool, I’m not saying it’s useless and there is nothing to gain, I’m trying to say that it’s not the real thing, but I would recommend it to anyone who wants to start doing something on Photoshop. Few YouTube guides and everyone can start doing something on Photoshop. The website is really great for beginners it’s easy to understand, no advertisement, allows you to choose different kinds of formats like banners, leaderboard which is basically a banner as well. It would take me all day to list all the good and bad things about this website so I will just move on.

                So how do I choose my “tools”. I don’t know really. I usually chose tools on other people review. My computer science teacher has told me about many useful tools in the internet that I have used in past, but that only proves that I know about different tools from other people. I don’t really go on a trip to explore the internet. I usually use the tools I know. If that doesn’t work, only then I start to think about different working points. Talking about if everyone in the group had the same preferences that I had, then I think it would be chaos.  If everyone used only like Photoshop and the same programs for the same tasks I did, it could be easier in some way, but I would go crazy. The problem with these tools is that, if everybody knows something about them, they usually consider that they know the most. I do that, but that doesn’t mean that I know the most. So if there was a task about picture modifying then everybody would go for that and there wouldn’t be any people to do other things. I know much about different programs and I’m handy with them, but I don’t want any pupils or followers.  If somewhere in the future I had a situation like this, than I would be probably the one that would back off.  If some one sad: “Hey I’m handy with video editing programs!” My answer would probably be:” Be my guest, I can try making animations.” 

                I know many people that are not good, but great at different programs, but I try to kind of learn everything myself, which is good and bad at the same time. Not always I have time for that, but I know how to do tricks with many different programs and I don’t need other people help.

 

Posted in Community, Group 7, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Kalvis Riptide Design

Networks are the REAL DEAL!

I wonder why this blog didn’t wrote it self.  That would have eased things. Anyway, fourth weeks topic is about networks. What is that?? Glad you asked, Watson. Let’s describe networks, as anything you do online. If you search information for designing that’s a part of your design network. If you look at your friends photo in Facebook, that’s part of your friendship network or something like that.

                Time to REFLECT.  How do I use my internet networks? Depends on the network, I have networks about games, drawing, music, guitar playing, socializing, working and so on. Each of these networks works differently. For example, in my video game networks I’m a lurker( a lurker is a term used in internet communities were a person reads or gather some kind of information without adding anything to it or engaging in discussions about it), so I’m just reading stuff about the video game, I personally have thought about engaging in conversations about video games, but there are some obstacles. First of all, I don’t spend that much time in video gaming, I play them once in a while, but not that much, so I probably wouldn’t be on the same page as others. Second, video game communities are “toxic” that means most of the things discussed there aren’t that useful for me and most of the time people there are arguing. Talking about other communities, I engage some of them very much. For example, about 4 years ago I found a pixel character drawing community – that’s the best I can put it in words. This community chooses different kinds of character through books, movies, games etc.  and draws them in pixels. Doesn’t sound that impressive, but its actually fun. When you know the right pixels to put in, then you can redo it on different surfaces. I usually put them into street art or something like that. The website is called http://www.pixilart.net/. Haven’t made new submissions lately, but still a part of the website ;)

                Talking about these kinds of networks or online communities, most of the people I interact, I don’t even know in real life. This excludes social networks. So talking about interactions it doesn’t matter to me if the community’s members are a small circle of hundred or a huge one of tens of thousands, posts usually are the same. If your work or comments are good enough then they will be seen.  In Latvia we had a similar website to 9gag. There people could post anything and if it was good then it was seen, ether a post or a comment.  It is harder to get attention in bigger communities, but that doesn’t change the way I interact with other people!

                From all of my networks, I would say that the most important are my social networks, because those are the only networks, I actually know people in real life.  It’s not the same to know people when he is standing next to you or knowing him with chats and posts. I try to keep relationships better with people in real life, because I know they will respond me better if I ever had a need for them. Talking about which one is the most comfortable that would be my Latvian 9gag website called http://spoki.tvnet.lv/ . There I can post anything – important stuff, silly stuff, random stuff.  I can’t actually notice my preferences. I have random communities. Some are art, sport, games, videos, jokes, social life – a little bit of everything.  I see some of these preferences totally opposite of the others like sports and art, I follow each one of them and I enjoy each of them as well.

To sum up, I use networks, more than I would like to tell anyone. I believe that most important information comes from peoples own life experiences not some theoretical sh*t I can read in Wikipedia or Facebook, and the best way to find these experiences is to visit different forums, communities or my personal favorite Reddit. 

Posted in Community, Group 7, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Kalvis Riptide Design

The puzzle of the Solution.

 For some people this would be the last blog post, but not for me. I’m “special” in a way that’s not to be proud. Anyway, post theme is: “Which way is the most effective in achieving the unmet need of my NGO?”

For that I think the answer is AWAIRNESS.  The unmet need is a need that is unknown yet, but may appear in the future.  Future is full of surprises and you never know which person you will need. Anyone can be helpful in some way; they just need to know that you’re there to be helped. In this world there are many things, ways, hobbies and so on…. Too many things to be listed. These things are similar. Now I will use the Apple example, because everyone knows what apple is. There are a lot of companies that make phones, laptops, all together and more, but Apple is the most known one and the most expensive one. They can be expensive, because they are well known.  But how is it connected to NGO’s? That’s a good question. Well, there are big and small NGO’s, but only one “pie”. Let’s call world’s people awareness the pie. Well, the pie is only one and as in animal nature, the biggest animal takes the biggest part of the pie. They can take the biggest part because they are most known and that gives him more people, contacts, space and much more. The same goes for PAGE, to get people to help more, believe the cause, to volunteer, PAGE needs those people to know about them.

Awareness, of course that was the answer all along, but it’s not that simple. The road to awareness is long and rocky and slippery and many more ands.  To attract people is harder then it sounds, actually most of the things in this world are harder and more complicated than they sound, but let’s not get distracted.  What’s the key’s to successful awareness?

  • Marketing, what the hell is marketing??  I think marketing is everything that gives you awareness. If I go to a group meeting dressed like a chicken, the group members will think, I like chickens, I’m weird, and I like Halloween, but its not how you get the message is about getting the right message, in an attractive way.
  • Being different, well this involves a lot of creativity. Like I said, there are a lot of things in this world, and a lot of people trying to achieve same thing as you are, so being different is a huge benefit. The thing about being different is that you should never forget what are you trying to be different from. For an NGO, you want to be different than other NGO’s, that means you can’t go the same roads as they are going. You might have to be more aggressive in your marketing strategies, but there must be a line that separates you from the rest.
  • Believing your cause! Here is a phrase from the most famous quotes, but  that’s true. People do stuff to achieve different kinds of causes, but what people don’t realize is that they actually believe them.  I go to work, because I believe I will be rewarded money for it. The second I stop believing  they reward me money will, be the second I won’t get paid for my work, In that second I will stop going to work. There is a lot of words, but it’s simple to understand. People don’t do things they don’t believe in. NGO should believe that they are doing their goal, if not then why are they doing it, why are they even an NGO.

This text keeps getting longer and longer. Furthermore, what should be the solution to the whole problem; well I still think its awareness.  If PAGE as an NGO gets more people know about them that could solve many problems. My computer teacher from my high school had this story.  It was around year 1996 when he made the website for our school. He started it simple. At that time my high school didn’t have any computers except for the teachers. Students only learned theory about computers. At that time a professor from USA saw one of the posts my teacher made in a Europe school group. The professor wrote an email asking my teacher what would he do if he had 10 000$. Well my teacher wrote he would buy computers, for school, upgrade the system and so much more. At that time that was enormous money.  The professor believed that my teacher had the goal to educate students, so he gave him the money. My professor did what he said he would, he bought new computers for the school and soon after there were noticeable changes in students education. Year after that, the professor wrote another email to my teacher asking what would he do if he had 20 000$. The professors picture and name is still on my schools honor wall. The point is that, anything of this wouldn’t have happened if my teacher hadn’t made those few posts in the school group. The same goes for PAGE if she raises enough awareness then someone somewhere will believe that she is the proper person to achieve that goal and will help. That’s why I believe this is the solution.

Posted in Community, Group 7, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Kalvis Riptide Design

I don’t care what you say, only what you write.

Another delayed blog entry, still can’t  figure out why it’s so hard for me to write these entries. Anyway, missed my class last Wednesday, because I didn’t feel that well, bad for me since I had to research everything on my own, but that didn’t stop me. Delayed me, but didn’t stop which is the main thing. So what did I researched?  The answer is online marketing that could be put for some use. After reading some articles and watching some videos on related and totally unrelated topics. I’m ready to not write about online marketing.

                What have I learned from my marketing research about online communities and networks? Nothing that comes to mind, but I have been a part of lots of online communities. Online community on any topic for me is an addictive thing, I get sucked into conversations and discussions way too fast. Anyway, let’s address the topic on Innovating design. Online communities and networks are all about people’s ideas and opinion, which is almost the same thing as innovating if you “twist it” up a bit. Isn’t innovation about people’s ideas, creativity and opinion?  Online communities could serve perfectly for any new innovator or designer. People in communities share their opinion differently than in real life, designers could get some inside of what people think. For example, a designer may see better the flaws in his product and make it more crowd appealing.  Even better if it’s a designer community.  Teaming up with someone for bigger projects can have its benefits. In my opinion, online communities is a dangerous game, you have to find the right opinion and people who you can trust, but at the end the results can be amazing.

                The best thing about online communities is that anyone who makes a post in them is a part of it and helps it foster. The only principle that I can think of about fostering any kind of online community is to be as active their as you can. Giving your opinion on things only grows communities, somewhere someone will agree with you or disagree with you that will only develop your or other people’s personalities. In designing these things are important, because designers need to adjust them and their products to different kinds of people so its friendlier to everyone. In my experience, I have been right, wrong and totally in a different direction in many things, but only when I share my opinion about these things, I can adjust it in the way its needed. If I make a certain design of something, I will try my best to adjust it to the targeted crowd, but what if my concept of the targeted crowd is completely different then in reality it is? Then people will share their feed back, it may be harsh, painful to read, but it will give me space to improve. Even if people “lurk” – which is just reading what other persons are posting without an actual action, It can spread the word to people that may be interested. So my only principle would be to be as active in online communities as possible. Interesting, I just realized that I’m post things in online communities regularly then why is it so hard for me to write these blogs.

                I’m active in about 3 online communities, but keeping track on about 20. It’s hard to pin your interests when they are too many. I don’t know what I want to learn in future about online communities until I see it, maybe I should look one up about good blogging. Anyway, In ancient times, like 50 years ago, which is not that ancient, there wasn’t any online communities and people never really expressed their opinion worldwide if they wasn’t famous or important, but now everyone can express their opinion, which give so much opportunities, we just have to know how to use them. image

Posted in Community, Group 7, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Kalvis Riptide Design

Crowdfunding is NOT fun

               5 days without internet are fun in a weird uncomfortable way, lets hope its not too late. Anyway crowdfunding and crowdsourcing are the topics for this week, but what exactly are those?  I would say that crowdfunding is project funding by raising money from large number of people.   Projects can come in all shapes and sizes, but the whole concept of crowdfunding depends on people funding those projects.  Crowdsourcing is something completely different. Crowdsourcing is obtaining ideas, concepts and content from large groups of people.

I see crowdfunding on 2 ways. Raise money for charity organizations, where money helps people who need it, but can’t get it. The other way is the way, I feel kind of bad of. The other way is raising money for projects, whose people can’t afford to fund the projects themselves. This other way, I feel that people would use crowd funding only because they can’t find enough people to believe their project, and if they can’t find those people they don’t believe their project themselves or because they are too lazy to get the money themselves. In both cases the fundraising don’t justify the cause.

                So I’m kind of in a confliction here, by thinking why a designer use crowdfunding would. The way see it is that a designer isn’t a good person and only uses a crowdfunding to get money for his own projects as payment or salary – which he could earn if he was a good designer. And the other way which a designer would use fundraising is that if he wants to do something good for society, but then fundraising should be the last resort and if it’s the last resort it’s not that good to raise money for.

                Crowdsourcing is a whole another thing.  I believe that creativity can be taught or it can be talented ether way it needs to be learned or perfected, but not everyone can perfect it alone and inspirations are needed. I think for a designer crowdsourcing could is a “must” that needs to be used. Designers work is largely depending on people – what they want, when they want it and how they want it. Crowdsourcing is the way to answer these questions. To know what people want is designers work and how other way designer can know what people want is to ask them.

                I don’t see any cons for crowdsourcing. Its designers job to find large groups of people and find out what they want, but in nowadays society any creative designer could find them easily.  However, designers have to be careful at what groups they are targeting.  If a designers targets a group that isn’t so educated and builds the project on that groups results the whole project can be useless and be just a waste of resources and time.

                To sum up, I think crowdfunding isn’t the way any designer should get funding or popularity, because if the project need crowdfunding it is not that good project to begin with, the money can be used to help charity. Crowdsourcing however should be the only way designer should find out about what society wants from him, but the designer should know to what crowd he targets.

Posted in Community, Group 7, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Kalvis Riptide Design

Group? Where can I find that?

Well, week 4 of Project communities has almost ended and to be honest I still don’t really know what my part in the team is. It’s time to wake up and start to be an teammates a.k.a. group member that is not worth to lose!

Let’s, start by saying few words about my personality. Since this is my first blog post here! Yeah…. (That’s very lazy). I have never been a true group member. Its either I take all of the group matters on my own hands or let others do it and at the end wave my hands and say I have no idea what’s going on. Well that is my minus I suck at group work. That doesn’t mean I don’t add anything. I discuss things, interfere with other ideas, but at the end I feel like my team would exchange me for good quality food. 

From previous group experiences I have usually taken matters on my own hands, because I’ll be honest. I don’t trust people who are not in my “family, best friend zone” and even then I have exceptions and plan B if something goes wrong. I sometimes don’t trust myself, because I know when I lie to myself.

When I’m not a leader I go passive group member mode, where I can be defined more like a tool. I do what I’m asked to do. Not really interfering with group work if that’s not necessary. 

Writing about this group. I could say that it’s kind of “okey”, we are getting the job done and everybody is happy, but at the same time I get lost in the whole idea of group work. So everybody is discussing and  comparing their notes and then something?? The job gets done and we are moving towards our goal more rapidly than we should and maybe it’s only me who gets lost in the whole concept and it’s probably my own fault that I don’t talk to group members more often. I only have this feeling in my gut “this doesn’t feel right” and I still haven’t find a way to get rid of that feeling. Got some pointers from Alex and Xander that I will have to put to use.

Well the most challenging part for me is to find what to do to contribute to groups work. I have contributed some things, but I feel like that’s not enough. When I try to find something to do someone is already doing or when I’m tasked to do something, I do it, but at the same time someone else has done it or is doing it too so I can’t really find this feeling of self-satisfaction. 

Well this group work is actually the longest group work I have ever done. 4 weeks of group work! Damn… That’s huge and scary! I feel like I spend way too much and way too less time with these people at the same time. Just by thinking about this is making my mind kind of bloom or blow, can’t tell. The question of impact confused me a bit, but I don’t think I can answer better.

I feel like in future my group should do some sport to build a group bonding more. Every time I feel that I need to crush an enemy I start to be more of a team player. Now for serious, I need to get to know my team better, I still feel like they are strangers for me and after this group is done we will be left nothing more than that. I think it’s time for me reconstruct my personality (This may sound weird, but I feel like I can turn on or shut down different emotions and that changes EVERYTHING) this one isn’t working. 

I don’t know if this reflection will help my group members, but I think I just needed to “get some things out of my system” before I could engage in full potential. 

Posted in Community, Group 7, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Kalvis Riptide Design