TCP/IP... with a Lego train set

Got a train set, an Arduino board, and some imagination?

Train with key by the_glu, CC licence

French hacker Maximilien has combined all of these to produce a working variant of TCP/IP through a Lego train set.

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Click watching

Bill Thompson and Gareth Mitchell are recording the BBC World Service show Click in January... in front of a studio audience.

Bill Thompson. Image by courtesy of Bill Thompson.

So, if you're free on the evening of 10 January and able to get down to central London, you can join them at the Radio Theatre in Broadcasting House.

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Into the next dimension

2011 seems to be the year where 3D printing really took off. Flexible, quick, and increasingly affordable, it has become a manufacturing and prototyping technique that is now a realistic option to designers and manufacturers, with 3D printshops springing up as a result.

Héloïse Parke. Photo by courtesy of Aram Gallery

London's Aram Gallery is celebrating the growth of 3D printing by opening an exhibition which focuses on work created and produced with a 3D printer. Called Send to Print / Print to Send, the exhibition showcases work by notable designers and organisations, as well as including examples of the role that 3D printing plays in the design process, particularly in prototyping.

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Exhibit two

New media journal Leonardo has added two new articles to its ongoing "New Media exhibition".


The two articles are interviews with prominent UK folks, complete with reproductions of their works and video clips.

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Internet Rising is a feature-length documentary which investigates the impact of the Internet on our collective consciousness.

Internet Rising detail

The film, made by three American professionals in theatre, journalism and computer science, is available to watch online, entirely for free.

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This fluid world

In a gallery is a massive, almost overwhelming, box with an inviting little door. Stepping into this room gives the guest the ability to control nature – to move liquid simply through controlling sounds that the liquid "hears". While this may seem to be the preserve of science and fiction – if not science fiction – it isn't. The room holds Suguru Goto's work Cymatics.

Suguru Goto. Photography by Pablo Balbontin, by courtesy of Luca Barbeni / Action Sharing

Cymatics is an installation which plays carefully with nature. While this play is overtly natural, the way in which nature is manipulated in the work, through a computer, is highly covert.

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Inanimate objectives

Marcus Brown has developed, and played, many fictional characters over the years – and has set many of them free in digital space. His most famous piece, The Kaiser's Toilet, features Marcus, an Englishman now based in Munich, waxing lyrical while sitting on the loo at home.

Marcus Brown. Image by courtesy of Marcus Brown

His new project is The Inanimates, which takes his work in individual characters and applies it to a new idea for him – a pop group. The Inanimates will lead online lives like many of Brown's other characters, but The Inanimates will also develop a product – a concept album, in the style of the great 80s groups whose worlds were contexualised by the east-west nuclear arms race.

We caught up with Marcus to ask him about his new project.

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The little protocol that could

As devices decrease in size yet increase in complexity, they need to exchange more data. This creates a problem in terms of both devices and networks, because the way in which data has historically been sent and received between them has been designed for much larger systems. You don't want a UPS van each time you're sending a birthday card. In this space, enter the MQTT protocol.

Andy Piper. Photo by courtesy of Andy Piper


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A load of crystal balls

Everyone loves to make a prediction. Everyone in digital really loves to make a prediction.

Ever So Slightly Delayed by Ben Sutherland, CC licence

While this year was, disappointingly, not the year of flying cars and the Sunday lunch in a pill, what did it contain - and did our friends in the (cough) digital space get any of it right? Did any of them invoke the prediction first used by Cistercian Monks in the year 1098, that "this year will be the year of mobile"?

We've aggregated some of the predictions below - verbatim where possible.

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In conversation with... Gregory Povey and Simon White

A near-perfect storm of a contemporary culture that revels in the past, combined with mass computing power and storage to record seemingly everything, has changed the way in which we view the one thing which is uniquely ours – our memory. The ever-fragile relationship between subjective and collective memory is being transformed through what, on the face of it, is an increasingly ironic world: where everything is personalised within the context of a global shared experience.

To discuss the past, present and future of memory, Imperica invited two leading thinkers – Simon White and Gregory Povey - to come together for a discussion. Projects from the participants include MemCode and My Earliest Memory.

Gregory Povey, Simon White. Photographs by courtesy of Gregory Povey and Simon White

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Appeal time

OK, time to get serious.

@Dabitch by Deeped Strandh, CC licence

One of our favourite sites, the highly-regarded, well-respected and decade-old Adland, is in trouble.

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Christmas: a time for giving

Adam Buxton, the one that is not "& Joe" of Adam & Joe, has produced a tear-inducing song that celebrates all that is good about Christmas: specifically, the ads.

Poopants by Katsommers, CC licence

It's classic Buxton, spliced together from the year's best ads (well, the year's ads).

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Our new look

This is the new look for Imperica.

Oxford Market

After 18(ish) months, this is the third redesign. This redesign, and the past one, have been evolutionary rather than revolutionary. In this redesign, we have made a number of improvements which result in a better and more effective editorial. The design has been led by the content, not the other way around.

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Get some Dick down you

Today at 4.30 - and later on iPlayer - is Great Lives, BBC Radio 4's series celebrating, well, great lives. This week, it's Philip K Dick.

Philip K Dick by p373, CC licence

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Spotting on the move

Raphaëlle Heaf and the team at ArtSpotter have launched their new iOS app, just in time for spotting some art over the Christmas break.


Raphaelle Heaf


The app features a location-based search - inevitably it searches for local galleries, but looks for specific exhibitions too - and allows users to add new galleries, exhibitions, and photos to the database. It has member follow functions, and allows you to see what people have bought from art collections across the world (a nice touch for the curtain-twitching inquisitive ones among you).

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Movable feasts

Still from Sufjan Stevens promo; image provided by courtesy of Grant Orchard / StudioAKA

As we know from mainstream Hollywood cinema, it's easy to rely on computer-generated tricks and techniques to enrapture an audience – no matter how young or old. The increasing sophistication of studios such as Pixar in developing feature-length animation has been a story of technical, as much as creative, development. However, the enduring properties of story, character, and narrative structure are omnipresent, and producing great work with beautiful, creative visuals doesn't necessarily result in the desire to create an all-out sensory extravaganza. When story and character are at the fore of the creative process, the role of the computer becomes one that supports, that realises the idea, rather than one that helps to generate the idea in the first place.

Grant Orchard is perhaps best known for his series of films, Love Sport. They featuring, as Orchard puts it, "... simple graphic shapes that bounce around a lot and do all things sporty." It is, of course, a lovely understatement; Love Sport is a frantic, energetic exploration of sport which evokes Len Lye in its kinetic colourplay.

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Want to honour a digital artist? Now's your chance

Dish by Secretlondon123, CC licence


The Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement in Digital Art is now open for entries. It's an annual award to a creator of a significant body of work in digital art.


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BERG launches the Little Printer

This is the Little Printer. Hello, Little Printer!


BERGCloud Little Printer, copyright BERG


Taking some fondly-remembered old technology and removing the peripheral wobble, it's a... well, it's a little printer. It's a printer, and not big.

BERG's new product is designed to print those handy little notes: the day's agenda, places where you should be going, and so on. It talks to your accounts over at Nike+, 4sq and the like. All the handy stuff you want, on neat little bits of dead tree.

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Platform for art

Robert Norton. Image by courtesy of

As interconnected digital media increasingly gives us a lens with which to view the world, it should come as no surprise in terms of where its tentacles go next. Having taken – and shaken – the music and film industries, it's now working its way through publishing, with the lens itself moving from a chunky white box to a curved aluminium tablet. Art may be next on its list of markets to disrupt, if not conquer.

With that in mind comes s[edition], a new platform to collect digital versions of works from leading contemporary artists. It provides a means of "digital collecting" - a way to securely store artworks in digital form, and to display them through an image viewer, a video player, or through a bespoke iOS app. The collection available at launch is from nine artists, and comprises of work made especially for s[edition], as well as some re-purposed for the medium.

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Epic visions

Dawid Marcinkowski. Photo by copyright of Dawid Marcinkowski.


In the age where attention is currency, grand, epic works have to fight for everything that they can get. Where Internet-based digital media and platforms allow for the staging of expensive (or at least expensive-looking) work in a way that circumvents the costly issues of distribution, they face an issue of maintaining viewing times when the viewer paradigm for "big, interactive stuff" is largely focused on the Xbox or PS3.

Dawid Marcinkowski is up for the challenge. The director of Sufferrosa, an extraordinary piece of big interactive fiction to which the player moves through the world in the first person, aiming to discover the real story behind the disappearance of Rosa Braun. Taking elements from computer gaming, film noir, Godardian iconography and the contemporary perceptions around aging, it is a work which, in every sense, spans many levels.

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