Friday, 12 September 2014

skignz Augmented Reality Update

For those of you interested in Augmented Reality:

The skignz KickStarter campaign started about 6 days ago and lots of questions where raised: what are skignz?, what is KickStarter? etc..

Si, in charge of marketing at skignz, has done a blog post here: skignz blog post to update folk.

A new video has been posted here: skignz KickStarter

KickStarter is an example of a Crowd-funding site where you pledge a small amount of money towards what you consider to be worthy projects. Your money is not taken until the full, target amount is reached. So if the target's not reached you pay nothing. But it is important to pledge quickly to help gain impetus and hopefully attract more funders,

We hope to make skignz a free Augmented Reality platform that can be used all over the world.

The big dream is that people will start putting up skignz around their towns which visitors can then look at to interact with and find out more about the area, places of interest, businesses and so on.

The money will fund the further development of skignz to include social networking - twitter and facebook - feeds into skignz placed above people's heads.

We'd also like to start a team of people 'skignzing' up places like London, The Great Wall of China, The Pyramids and so on.

It's a fascinating and worthy project that could add a new dimension to all our lives with zero environmental impact and no charge.

Thanks for reading this far.
The skignz web site is here: skignz web site
Links to the app downloads are here: app download links

Saturday, 6 September 2014

skignz Augmented Reality

If you're at all interested in augmented reality:

skignz the planet!
What's life without a few
modest ambitions?
skignz - at - is a free to use augmented reality system which I started writing about two and half years ago.

It wasn't called skignz back then. I called it .. Yes. Well. Moving on ...

About 2 years ago, while trying to rescue a very dull SEO company, I invited an old colleague over to get his thoughts on raising funds for said SEO Co.

We both came to the conclusion it was a dead duck and we ended up talking about my ideas for this AR system. I showed him my little test app on my dodgy old Galaxy Android which showed a couple of objects floating in mid air to the North.
Basically you turned the camera on and saw the objects projected into the real world. A table top, a crate and a pyramid. It was pretty basic but demonstrated the idea quite effectively.

I talked about building a system that was free to use and the content would be provided by anyone. The ultimate goal in the far future being a parallel world around us where, using your smartphone or tablet, you'd see an alternate reality, people's avatars, alternate building design and so on.

Si, for that is his name, got pretty excited about it and started chucking in thoughts of his own. It turned out he'd done a whole load of work on Virtual Reality stuff in the past.

After some animated discussions and exchange of ideas we came to the conclusion that this was far more interesting than what we were doing at that moment and devised a plan.
This is the mess I've made outside my
home with lots of test skignz

The possibilities are infinite and we knew we'd have to focus on one thing at a time.

So we decided to make the signs, signs in the sky, the priority. Virtual signage that could be placed anywhere on the planet, viewed via a smartphone or tablet's screen and touched to do something like call a web page or dial a phone number.

skignz were born. And so was skignz Limited. skignz, by the way, is pronounced sky-nz to rhyme with designs.

With me as the technical dude and Si as the marketing dude we've survived off small projects - most notably skignzing up Teesside University Campus - while developing skignz further. It now even supports fully textured Wavefront OBJ files so you can tell what that wind farm full of 60 metre wind turbines will look like on your front lawn, or how that new proposed building will look on that brownfield site.

But the dream of letting people upload their own designs is still strong within us. We want to hold up out iPhones and Androids and see skignz over Machu Picchu, the Washington Monument, Stonehenge or even following people round. And it's mostly all there. All possible.

We want to see skignz full of info, full of art, enabling commerce, telling jokes, useful and fun. All completely free.

But we need support.

So we started a KickStarter campaign. is where you'll find us.

We'd really appreciate some help so if you know of anyone who'd support us it would be great if you could pass this on.
And if you look through the skignz
 app and see this you'll know I'm
close by as this skign is permanently over my head.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Me and lots of famous people.

I may suffer from SHFAITPOFP. That's Spontaneous High Functioning Autism In The Presence Of Famous People.

It might have its roots with an incident with Mick Jagger when I was 11 years old. I was on my bicycle about to cross a road. A white Jag was coming towards me but I thought that if I was quick I'd get across Okay. I pressed down hard on the pedal, the chain snapped and I crashed down onto the crossbar. The Jag slowed and swerved to avoid me, Mick Jagger's head poked out of the window telling me to, "Get off the f**king road!" I couldn't respond, perhaps due to my testicles being pressed up against my diaphragm.

Years later, I was a volunteer helping out at the highly esteemed Questors Theatre in Ealing. (I'm beginning to wonder if it was actually unconscious aversion therapy.) Anyway, I crossed paths with many quite famous actors while carrying props to and fro. On one occasion I had to stand aside and let the gorgeous Judi Dench pass by. I bowed! Yes, bowed. I actually fricking bowed!

Also at Questors, I happened to glance up and come into eye contact with Simon MacCorkindale. I found myself doing a simultaneous eyebrow-bob-reverse-head-nod while one side of my mouth tried a cool smile and the other side went for nonchalance. I swear the poor guy started looking round for security personnel for protection.

A while  ago I lived in West Hampstead and many times found myself fleeing from a friendly nod from the likes of Emma Thomson and the bald bloke from the Bronski Beat. One day I happened to find myself trapped in a small patisserie with Gordon Jackson who was ordering croissants as if he was projecting his enormous voice across Wembley Stadium. I commented, "Your voice doesn't curdle the cream so much as hurdle it, ha ha." To his credit, Mr Jackson seemed to recognise my SHFAITPOFP by doing the best possible thing in the circumstances and ignored me.

In the early 2000's, the then Prime Minister Tony Blair visited my company, turned to me and said, "So you're the brains behind all of this?" My response was, "Umm ferr pfeeble crufhh cucckle pfaah .. yes" so overwhelmed was I by his fame.

The exception was Simon Ward. Probably best known for Young Winston Churchill and All Creatures Great And Small.  Around the mid 80's I think, he was sat opposite me on a tube. Some children further along the carriage were whispering and pointing at him saying, "It's the Winston Churchill bloke .. James Herriot .." Simon looked at me, smiled and rolled his eyes in a self-deprecating 'kids, what are they like?' kind of way. I smiled back like a normal person and carried on reading my Evening Standard. Weird that.

When I heard of Simon's death in 2012 I was deeply moved.

The only other celebrity whose death I was so moved by was Robert Shaw. He was my childhood hero in The Buccaneers, a TV show about pirates. His voice as he buckled his swash stays with me still. A man filled with so much life. How could that ever go away?

What brought on this post was a Tweet I just sent to Hugh Laurie. I was trying to agree with his observation that some English commentators speak in idioms when talking to none English speakers. I'd just been watching the Winter Olympics and had thought the exact same thing.

His example had been, "Mario, are you whistling in the dark? Or slaying dragons by giving a green light to the shot in the arm on the front foot?"

This is my tweet trying to register my agreement: "@hughlaurie IKR? A spontaneous and almost completely unsycophantic LOL (I'm shite with famous folk)"

What in heaven's name was I thinking?!

Of course, we unfamous-ones can never really know the famous ones. And being famous must be so incredibly difficult when it comes to new acquaintances. How do you separate the genuine from the sycophants? My tweet must have been very helpful. *sigh* I can only pray the dude never reads it.

If you're famous and reading this, "Hiya :) LOL I like real ale but not keen on beetroot."

*facepalm* Oh, Lord …