Third time’s not a charm

Me: this sem review will be fun no? ๐Ÿ˜›
Rasagy: Sem review? As in your blog post wala?
Me: yes ๐Ÿ˜€
Rasagy: I wonder what you’ll write in there this time! ๐Ÿ˜›
Me: exactly.. ditto to you
Rasagy: I’m not posting. You’re the one who posts sem wise. I’ll post next year ๐Ÿ˜€

Indeed, half this semester was marred by a module that made me wonder what I was doing with my life. I know, I am still a crappy designer but what I felt this semester module left me just feeling plain stupid and so I will not be speaking about it at all. Some part of this failure project has been documented here.

So here are the highlights of this semester.

We started this semester with a new faculty Mr. Venkatesh Rajamanickam, rumoured to take over as the new IID coordinator. At first we were apprehensive about how this would shape IID as a discipline. But our fears were unfounded because within the first few days itself, we realized how awesome he was and still is. I personally had an awesome time, discussing things with him. He showed me Durell Bishop’s Answering Machine which blew my mind. Someone doing such work, when I was in preschool was something I had not imagined. From this I learnt that ‘Why should something digital always mean having a display?’ Sadly, all good things tend to end and with this semester end, Venkat resigned from NID citing personal reasons- a loss, that IID will feel for quite sometime.

Moving on, one of the things that I had decided to follow this semester is try and document my projects. And document I did ๐Ÿ˜€ You can find the projects over here at the Projects page. This was good because when the time to make a jury presentation came about, I just had to go back to the posts and find the relevant content already prepared by ‘the past’ me.

Being sent to MIT’s DIy workshop was an eye-opening experience. This I feel was the central design project that I did this semester. A week packed to the brim with research, design, prototype and testing; I wish we had atleast one module this intensive at NID, every semester.

As for data visualizations, I’ve begin to realize the balance that I will try to maintain in my work anymore. Not too functional and not too arty. Easier said than done. My semester work is out here.

I became aware of real interaction design thanks to Sudhakar’s interactive classroom assignment. I intend to take this output forward.

So there, another semester goes by and am not any closer to figuring out what I want to do after this. All in all, as I look back this was not really a bad semester. I got to interact with Girish Dalvi a whole lot as part of his Grids and Layouts workshop and APCHI. Arun’s Geo viz workshop gave me a diving board into cartography. Listening to keynotes at APCHI was also wonderful, interacting with Jun Rekimoto or Alan Dix was not something I imagined I would be doing at the beginning of this semester.

What I hope I shall learn some more about the next semester is physical visualizations, tangible user interfaces and anarchistic visual design. A tall order to fulfill but next semester’s going to be a bore otherwise.

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Design School : Year One

After last semester, I wrote what I had learned. At the end of this semester I was confused what really happened in that one semester. So I thought I could use this post to talk about other things that I experienced this year.

After last semester, I wrote what I had learned. At the end of this semester I was confused what really happened in that one semester. So I thought I could use this post to talk about other things that I experienced this year.

Being a Quizzer, you end up having an ego because you have all that information in your head, ready to spout out at the slightest notice. I really believe that that knowledge repo originating from a well read childhood is one of my strengths. Still I was humbled in Girish Dalvi’s typography workshop when I couldn’t answer any question that he threw at us. I mentioned last semester that reading is crucial. But this semester was when I realized that the reading stack is hundreds of books high. Actually, its infinite.

Open Elective although a major disappointment (atleast I got to meet some awesome people) had a good theme this year – Old age. Our world is increasingly getting older but most companies out there are busy trying to solve endemic problems. In one year, I might end up in the same industry and that actually made me wonder if I should try to end up someplace else where I can really make a difference.

Good research is important. Last semester made me realize that. I also realized that surveys, interviews mostly masquerade as research methods. I have lost faith in both of them while at the same time learning that custom research methods(like this one) make for better insights. I have begun to believe more in end user testing.

Talking about things make them better. I learned that getting people to critique your idea or talk to them about it is the best way to get out of that creative rut that you find yourself in. When you are working on it all by yourself you will not see be able to see what it is that is not working with your design.

I learned and built my first grid based presentation which was well received by the Jury. Except for my Cognitive Ergonomics work, the rest of what I presented seemed to have been appreciated. This is a big improvement from last semester where I was mostly clueless about the work I was presenting.

I’ve realized that the design process you follow is really important. I still have a long way to go before I learn to use it well. Working on MSR’s Design Expo this year made me realize the value of a good process. When working on Meteorites, I somehow formed a process unknowingly and it did help me to produce the end result. It’ll help you where your skills wont.

And you can learn anything given that you want to. At the end of last semester, I only knew Photoshop which I had largely picked up while at TCS. Now, I am comfortable with Illustrator and I even made a short film on Adobe Premiere Pro. A desire to create things in crunch time really helps me learn faster. Hence deadlines are good.

Hard deadlines are even better. Work only gets done if they are enforced. Most of last semester’s projects did not turn out so well because I kept procrastinating. Maybe because…

I fear big projects especially due to the lack of experience. We have not done anything big academically and I wonder how equipped I will be to deal with full projects all alone. Hope I can confront that fear this semester. Geronimo!

One of my favourite moments of last year was lying on @nid_b’s roof and looking for shooting stars. The cold, the company and the squeals when you spot a golden trail all made that night magical. Also worth noting are the Paldi campfires. This time next year, I shall be lamenting the end of 2 years and I shall miss ‘this’ life dearly.

You can read Rasagy thoughts on ‘Year One’ here.

What I learnt in the 1st Semester at NID_B ?

..and just like that the first semester breezes through.

So what did I learn? Looking back I find that most of my learning was crammed into just a few important days.

  • Everything is design; learn from good design, learn from bad design.
  • Being a student of IID, You should learn to visually communicate your ideas, so that your design speaks and not you.
  • Tune your visual sense.
  • Read a lot to justify your choices.
  • Realize the importance of colour and type.
  • If you choose a medium, do things that justify the medium.
  • Dont fall in love with your first iteration.
  • Sketch, sketch and then sketch some more.
  • Think in Context and use a scale when designing products.
  • Get out of your mindset.

These are the most important things I learnt this semester and most of which was crammed into the 4 days of Jury. I am hoping to make the most of this one month holidays so that i can prepare myself for the next semester.. just noting downย learning’sย is not good enough.

Labs..3rd sem

ok so well i had my two labs for the third sem .. the finals… last week.. on thursday and saturday!! they went on pretty well because i got basically easy stuff and somehow managed to get output ๐Ÿ˜› the correct one ๐Ÿ™‚ ok so the EC lab was first. the thing is that the lab is relative easier except for the fact that you dont usually get easy outputs but it is stuff that you expect from the list of the 12 experiments so you will manage to pass even if you dont get the output. i got Colpitts oscillator. an easy one. a small one. so good for me.. had to design for 100kHz frequency , what i managed was 111.11kHz. a good try. better than what i had got during regular labs!!! so was happy.. finished with my Viva. the external looked kinda hip with a Tshirt from MIT and all… i was sitting right next to the lecturers so i ended up listening to their small talk. well there was not much of anything else to do but wait my turn. the viva went on ok ok.. and i was the first guy outta there ๐Ÿ™‚ Madhu had a slightly more bigger experiment because there’s a lot of calculation and graphs in hers. so had to wait for her.. met the CS guys outside. they had done with their ds labs.

so well saturday came and there i was again … LD lab. not something that you can predict because they give you questions which are more application based and not from the regular list of questions so you need to study all your theory and be ready!! i got a realisation of a function with 4:1 MUX with two parts to it. and also to realize a JK flip flop using only NAND gates.. lot of design work. but i was fairly confident of making it. i did do it. Ma’am told never mind the second circuit. same as first( the output that is) so i finished by 12:30 and then had to wait for the external. had gone for lunch after asking Madhu her viva( she finished first) and then we had a very long wait!!! more than hour, People who i knew passed by the corridor next to the lab. they were wondering what we were doing sprawled on the table. well there was nothing else much to do!! totally bored . nothing to pass the time by!!! a lab assistant commented ” avanu yelli guddege hogidane?? canteen elliye ede alla!” ( where has the external gone>???? to the mountains ?? the canteen is nearby na. ) well he did turn up at about 1:35. and asked 4 questions to me . 2 i answered but the other 2 were completely crazy. never heard about before stuff. but who cares. :/ i was outta there. and thats all i cared about.

its over. now for the theory. can you people believe i have exams -Logic Design on the First of January. Happy New year!!!!