September 23rd, 2011
Stereoscopy is what scientists (and Wikipedia) call creating or enhancing the illusion of depth in an image. This is achieved by presenting two offset images separately to the left and right eye of the viewer.
Engineers have come up with three methodologies to create the illusion of depth. Two of them involve eyeglasses to either combine separate images from two sources or filter images from a single source to each eye separately. What is working best are liquid crystal shutter glasses. They alternately darken over one eye, and then the other synchronized with the refresh rate of the screen. And how well they work!!! If you have ever asked yourself why your eyes hurt after a 3D movie….It’s because you have a colibri in front of your eyes for two ours.
The real illusion is to believe however, that the third, glassless methodology is ever going to work for a broad audience. The basic idea behind it is to have the lightsource split the images directionally into the viewer’s eyes. But as the viewer moves his head from left to right, or up to down the image in his head changes. The first commercially available displays try to solve this issue by introducing an eye-tracking device. Recently LG presented the first commercially available screen for multiple users.* While LG is positioning itself as an innovator, they weren’t really the first one’s to come up with that technology. Plus it doesn’t seem to work too well. Imagine 9 people in the room all seeing a different image of the screen….
In their desperation to sell 3D home TV’s marketers have identified glasses as the scapegoat for lame global revenues. Some argue there wasn’t enough content to incentivize consumers to buy 3D TV’s. But what if the real differentiating element of cinema 3D was the screen size? In that case I see Sony on the right track, having started to experiment with virtual reality again. Watching a movie per se has never been a social experience anyway.
Guillaume manipulating a touchscreen to navigate through a 3D landscape
SquareClock crew watching stereoscopy enabled landscape prototype
January 11th, 2011
Any person who lives outside the world of software development will give the person who lives inside, incomplete specifications. The constant integration of workspaces from different developers exposes the limits to specifications and hence, Martha’s. Martha organizes workspaces into a hierarchy, so she can remind the people involved, to ensure consistent distribution of development and corrective updates. For Martha, two or more objects being concurrently developed are inconsistent by definition. Martha reminds the user behind each version of another version being concurrently developed. Her workspace hierarchy merges the graphs, but not the objects we develop. The version graph will never show inconsistency. At Squareclock, reintegration of files into a superior workspace asks for deliberate merging. This in return asks for responsible, manual consolidation of the objects. How? If Arnaud starts changing ‘Hamlet’ before Aurelien, Martha will send a popup to Aurelien, ‘changed by Arnaud’ so he knows he will have to wait until Arnaud finishes and delivers his changes to a workspace superior to his own. That’s what we call responsibility. Finally, any file can be cloned, without causing an incident as there will be two identical objects after the transaction. Developers typically employ the clone function when they need to preserve a status quo or don’t want to be tracked by Martha:-)
Aurelien is quite ahead of his time….files on the left to be received, on the right to be sent.
January 11th, 2011
We don’t reinvent the wheel at Squareclock. But we deliver more value to our customers than large software development teams.
Imagine a world without meetings, an endless flow of internal bulk email or any other FIY kind of communication. Discuss what you need to know with people next door, or if lucky even in the same room when you need to know it. Use chat if you need some ‘expert-wording’, visit the engineer in charge of the product if you need a demo. Make decisions or have them made in a glimpse as the management is next door. Make direct use of R&D as your richest input ressource for frontend development, marketing and content design. Work with mostly cool people as clients, suppliers and collaborators, choose them yourself and listen to your gut to do so. Does that sound like the work-heaven and the place to be for smart, modern people?
It is for some, but it takes quite a bit of ‘balls’ (sorry, there is just no better expression that is non-sexist) both on the development side and for those who work on the commercial deployment of innovation. Floating freely in the space of possibilities requires courage, respect and a lot of heartfelt intuition, every day.
That is also why there is a treat at Squareclock, every once in a while. You know what happened the day before, when you enter the office and there are two bags full of croissants and pains chocolates. Someone just broke Releasedev, the Queen of all workspaces.
It hasn’t happened in a long time, so I needed to take this shot at the bakery…
May 29th, 2010
Our clients fight a battle that is different from ours. They fight to spend less time, space and money than last year. They sell, invest and earn more than their smaller competitors. They increase their product assortments and varieties every year so to benefit from a higher market share.
Retailers of home equipment products are aiming for more space, light and a superior experience that puts their products on perfect store display. They invest a lot in ever more retail space, so furniture can be shown as if in their customers houses. We wanted to go one step further and display consumers individual homes around these products.
Some home equipment retailers passed by and asked us to remove the weight and difficult handling of their products and let them look good, everywhere at any time. Squareclock can teleport bulky, static objects into virtual space. It can put them into everybody’s virtual home and pass or fail the test of personal fit. Odd enough that consumers still want to see the real thing, still want to spend their Saturdays in shopping malls. At least they can now experience the real thing after they have virtually planned and cofinigured in almost the same visual attractiveness.
May 25th, 2010
Initially the Squareclock pioneers Guillaume, Eric and Vincent imagined phaser-proof car protection systems, new generation jet packs and ubiquituous media broadcasting units based in space, as their source of revenues. In the end however, reality caught up with them and let them work out a 3D technology for interior design that comes with a cloud based raytracing engine. Not as sophisticated, there appeared to be some commercial use to it. Their first clients from the old economy considered homes in virtual reality, shared and distributed through the internet, pure science fiction.
We keep up with the spirit of tomorrow as a troup of fearless r&d fighters. In small teams we challenge the rules of old industries so to reduce complexity. In teams we find bugs and kill them with deliberate satisfaction. When an airstrike hits, we duck, hide and reboot. When we are ambushed by a crash, we take it easy, figure out a plan and escape with all the brainforce the collective can afford. When storm shuts down the power supply of our office, we go home to our families and wait for the French government to act.
April 25th, 2010
i) My first days in a startup. Squareclock is a collection of geeks who don’t need innovation. That’s just what we are perceived by others to do. For us it’s normal stuff we like to do and others don’t. Nothing more than solving problems we ourselves have caused, based on nothing less than rocket science.
Here in Courbevoie next to Paris, specialized, large scale development efforts are compensated by lateral, concurrent brainmixing. Armies of developers are replaced by a commando of warriors who engage the force of mathematical algorithms to visualize simplicity. But: we don’t cherish the less is more approach. There is a massive brain behind the cute, easy to use applications we build. Our value is built on integrated thinking.
You can’t use a battery, ballpoint pen, air freshener, rubber band, tweezers, nasal spray and a turkey baster to create a bullet proof protective shield around a hamster. Or can you?
As long as big corporations and researchers develop the ingredients, folks like us can choose the best patch it together to more than just the sum of all components. And that’s exactly what we do here, at Squareclock. We compile, integrate and rethink.
January 4th, 2010
Just because it is a gas guzzler, doesn't mean it's my only one.
Just because my car looks like a truck, doesn't mean I am a redneck.
Just because it looks ugly, doesn't mean it's cheap.
Just because it looks ugly, doesn't mean it's cheap.
Attention is hard to get. Understatement isn't.
I will change the time-space CONTINUUM.
‘Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.’*
Imagine, you drive a gas guzzler that looks like a truck and will never get you the sympathy of planet earth. But driving it, you feel all the freedom and self confidence that you will ever get on this planet. What reputation do the products we wear, drive, watch and listen to communicate to other living creatures? Symbolic values and differentiation lead us to purchase decisions for the sake of our egos. None of these make us feel like millionaires, movie gods or rock stars. It’s just that we think so.
Product innovation, be it symbolic or functional aims to make life easier, more entertaining and yes, happy. But what does a good life consist of, exactly?
The New Economics Foundation’s happy planet index (HPI) says it is made of life expectancy, life satisfaction and the ecological footprint of a population. A contradiction in itself? Yes to the understanding of western society. No for some of the less developed societies on this planet. And what does that have to do with a car? Doc Brown knew the answer in 1985. He must have changed the time-space continuum with his actions. After all, the future he experienced is set in 2015.
Happy New Year,
Wilfrid Utz & Clemens Schrenk
*Robert Zemeckis, ‘Back to the Future’, 1985
June 6th, 2009
Back to a temporary stadium of work, I have all kinds of wishes crossing my mind. Coming to analyze what it is, that consumers desire, I might as well draw some analogies to my own humble existence.
Otherness. I am a notorious winner in this category. Not me but the environments I choose, drive my high scores. I would sometimes rather hang out at weekly gatherings of atomic engineers than being among peers who think, behave and act the same way as me. This is why sitting in an office with engineers, developers and graphic designers makes me temporarily happy.
Sociality through Relationships and Imitation. How do I fit this category? I do as long as differentiation through relationships counts in. Imitation is sad, being social is sometimes just a waste of time. Sociality is beneficial as long as it includes loud music, booz and other cool stuff, leading to the next of categories.
Danger & Immorality through Imbalance, Gilt, Sin and Addiction. I feel guilty when my colleagues work more and harder than me. I can get addicted to all kinds of things but just not work, it seems. I become a sinner when I think about myself at the cost of other people. After all, I am just another human being trying to live among the others.
Distance & Inaccessibility. I want to be a designer sometimes, I think about acting, making music or writing as sources of happiness. Knowing who I am however, leads me to the conclusion that I can never enjoy doing only one of these. Knowing that, I conclude that you still can have them all. You’d be watching, organizing, or doing business around them, if you’re lucky.
Now that I know all these categories I have a major problem. How do they all relate to 3D interior design? That’s what keeps puzzling me, ever since I am here in Paris. I’ll keep you posted, as soon as I know the answer.
March 28th, 2009
According to you, what should the writer of this weblog have achieved, how can he best describe his potential and what can he do for you? As I have found out now, my personal approaches to convey that message were a total failure. According to some anonymous person at career services, my resume is arrogant, presents myself as part of an elite that won’t find recognition in the area I am targeting. What’s more my writing is self-consumed, chaotic and cryptic for anyone who reads it. I am supposed to tell you all that, so that you can decide whether or not to continue reading.
Here is something I could never write within a resume, but still holds true.
What it really means to be a consultant. It means that you get a flight ticket and you wake up on a plane, just to present yourself as the long awaited expert for something that you a) don’t have the faintest clue about b) have heard about but never worked on or c) that you know about but is close to impossible to realize. Ok there are some d), e) and f) alternatives, but for new assignments they are rare, especially in the early years. Maybe it is the same situation, but just a different feeling later on, as you know that experience is just another word for knowing how to approach things that you don’t know anything about.
The problem is, that after all that experience your environment can assimilate you back into a world of darkness. Darkness being the feeling that only profound knowledge and expertise within an area can lead to being hired. Darkness being the reality of many companies being convinced about the exclusiveness of their business. Darkness being the self imposed limit to corporate fit.
Would they actually pay for someone who doesn’t live their everyday reality, so that he can bring another perspective? Usually quite a lot, see a), b) and c). (But consultants are never hired by human resources) Now what can you expect from someone that is trapped in the darkness, but is supposed to hire you? As for me, he will hire someone else, of course. My environment is leading me into darkness, and so does everyone who has become a part of its institutionalized framework.
As Randy Pausch put it, brickwalls are there for a reason: They let you know how badly you want something. After all I achieved, went through and overcame, I find myself in front of a tremendous brickwall. A resume is simply not the right tool to break the wall. It might be useful for open doors, useful to overcome a filter, but not more. Which is why I should discard the whole idea of using it, or simply stick with the elite, that the mainstream career service thinks I am a part of.