Barbasol Can

JurassicPark_Barbasol02

The Barbasol can is a camouflaged container that Nedry uses to smuggle genetic information, i.e. dinosaur embryos, off the island to an unnamed group that is willing to pay him a lot of money for this act of industrial espionage.

JurassicPark_Barbasol03

The exterior case looks identical to an off-the-shelf can of Barbasol shaving cream, and hides a metal cradle for the DNA vials. With a twist, the cradle pops up.  When twisted back, the cradle locks into place.  Dennis uses this under tight time constraints to steal the DNA samples and carry them. Continue reading

Velociraptor Lock

The velociraptor pen is a concrete pit, topped with high-powered electric fences.  There are two ways into the pen: a hole at the top of the pen for feeding, and a large armored door at ground level for moving ‘raptors in and out. This armored door has the first interface seen in the film, the velociraptor lock.

JurassicPark_velociraptorlock03 Velociraptors are brought from breeding grounds within the park to a secure facility in a large, heavily armored crate. Large, colored-light indicators beside the door indicate whether the armored cages are properly aligned with the door.  The light itself goes from red when the cage is being moved, to yellow when the cage is properly aligned and getting close to the door, to green when the cage is properly aligned and snug against the concrete walls of the velociraptor pen.  There is also a loud ‘clang’ as the light turns to green.  It isn’t clear if this is an audio indicator from the pen itself, the cage hitting the concrete wall, or locks slamming into place; but if that audio cue wasn’t there, you’d want something like it since the price for getting that wrong is quite high.

The complete interface consists of four parts (kind of, read on): The lights, the door, the lock, and the safety. More on each below. Continue reading

Jurassic Park (1993): Overview

Release date: 11 June 1993, United States

JurassicPark_title

As with all overviews, ALL THE SPOILERS ahead.

Venture Capitalist John Hammond hires paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant, paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler, and chaos theoretician Dr. Ian Malcolm to visit and approve a novel safari park, named Jurassic Park, he has built on a small island near Costa Rica. He has populated the island with dinosaurs, which are cloned from dinosaur blood harvested from mosquitoes trapped in prehistoric amber. Joining the doctors on their remote-controlled Jeep tour of the park-in-progress are two of Hammond’s grandchildren, Tim and Lex, as well as lawyer Donald Gennaro.

JurassicPark_brachiosaur

Though the tour is troubled with production problems, real trouble starts when a massive storm blows in just as the park’s key developer Dennis Nedry enacts a plan to steal dinosaur embryos—a plan which involves his shutting off the security system to hide his actions. To reboot the security systems, Hammond must shut off the power to the whole park. Without the threat of the electrified fences holding them in, the carnivorous dinosaurs break free and begin hunting everything on the island, including the people. Nedry, Gennaro, game warden Muldoon, and chief technology officer Arnold are each killed. Eventually the remaining survivors take refuge in the visitors center. They manage to restore power to the island and thereby the security system, but not before the vicious utahraptors velociraptors figure out how to *gulp* open doors, and flank everyone to the heart of the visitor’s center. All seems lost until the massive tyrannosaurus rex bursts in, hunting the velociraptors, and as the dinosaurs fight, the human survivors escape in a helicopter to the mainland.

JurassicPark_intothesunset

IMDB Icon

 

Welcome…to Jurassic Park

So…guess what opens up this week? That’s right, it’s Jurassic World, the fourth in the series of epic action dinoflicks that all began with the one that shares the name of the original novel by Michael Crichton: Jurassic Park. Well, since I haven’t yet figured out how to get my hands on screeners of the new pics, we’re going to review the original movie and all of it’s Dawn-of-the-Internet glory. And yes, even that interface.

JPSFI

And looking at the trailer for Jurassic World, it looks like there will be plenty of interfaces to review when it finally comes out to be reviewed.

JurassicWorld_bigboard

And Marvel fans can relax, I’ll still be publishing the ongoing reviews of The Avengers. It’s going to be a busy week here on the blog, but at least it culminates with giant dinosaurs and deadly, deadly museum kiosk interfaces. See you in the cinema.

jurassic-world-JSW_Mose1Sht2_RGB_0416_3_rgb

Portal Monitor

After Loki has enthralled Selvig, enthralled-Hawkeye lets Loki know that, “This place is about to blow and drop a hundred feet of rock on us.” Selvig looks to the following screen and confirms, “He’s right. The portal is collapsing in on itself.

Portal_monitoring

This is perhaps one of the most throwaway screens in the film, given the low-rez twisty graphics that could be out of Lawnmower Man, its only-vague-resemblance to the portal itself…

c.f.

c.f.

…the text box of wildly scrolling and impossible to read pink code with what looks like a layer of white code hastily slapped over it, and—notably—no trendline of data that would help Selvig quickly identify this Very Important Fact. Maybe he’s such a portal whisperer that he can just see it, but why show the screens rather than show him looking up to the blue thing itself?

There might be some other data on the left of this bank of screens seen a few seconds later in the background…

Avengers-Wormhole-03_cropped

…but it has more red text overlays, so I’m disinclined to give it the blurry benefit of the doubt.

Fair enough, this is there merely to establish Selvig’s enthrallment, and the scientific certainty of the stakes for the next beat. But, we see his eyes, and the certainty is evidenced by everything collapsing. We don’t need scientific assurance. If the designers were not given time to make it passable, I wish that the beat had been handled without a view of the screens rather than shaky-cam.

Dat glaive: In summary

So we’ve seen how the glaive works as…

On the Twitters Patrick Kovacich made some convincing arguments that the glaive wasn’t really involved in the teleconferencing as much as it was an astral projection by Loki himself, though that raises questions about why it glows so white-hot right as he’s entering the teleconference. So, for arguments’ sake let’s leave it in, but I acknowledge the evidence against is quite compelling if less instructive.

So, with these subtopics covered, let’s turn back to the total question of the glaive: How is it as an interface for these functions? Let’s return to the three values that I hold every show up to: believability, narrative, and as a model for real world interactions. Continue reading

Social stuff

Four quick things to note.

A reader pointed out that I had buried social media links. So now find links to twitter, facebook, and YouTube in the left-hand column of the site. Sign up if you like.

Facebook has implemented a subscription function for pages and local events. If you are a facebook user, and want to be notified when a movie night or talk is planned near you, sign up. Have I mentioned that I’m available for talks about sci-fi interfaces and related topics at conferences and corporate events? Well, now I have.

Additionally, the contact information for 1:1 inquiries had been buried, and on top of that, the contact form it had linked to was no longer working, so I did a little reconfiguration of things, and have a contact email posted to the left as well. Folks are already using it, so I trust it will be useful and not abused.

Additionally, my prior week in London convinced me to reconsider my tweeting strategy, and will now be scheduling tweets around 10:30 A.M. local to San Francisco, London, and Melbourne, rather than all clustered around the California morning. Sometimes it takes fighting with another Jedi’s lightsaber to truly understand their force.

Dat glaive: Mojo Radiator

Loki’s wants to take down the Avengers and the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier, to disable the two greatest threats to his invading forces. To accomplish this, he lets himself get captured and the glaive taken away from him, knowing Banner would study it, fall prey to one of its terrible effects, become the ragemonster, and wreck the place.

That effect goes unnamed in the film so I’ll call it the bad mojo radiator. The longer people hang around it, the more discord it sows. In fact just before Loki’s thralls enact a daring rescue of him, we see all of the Avengers fighting in the lab, for no other reason than they stand in the glaive’s presence.

Avengers-glaive-mojo-02

The infighting ends suddenly when Banner unintentionally takes the glaive in hand as he attempts to silence the group. Because the threat of Hulk + glaive is enough to make other fights seem secondary. Continue reading

Dat glaive: Teleconferencing

Avengers-Glaive-Teleconferencing-01

When his battalion of thralls are up and harvesting Vespene Gas working to stabilize the Tesseract, Loki sits down to check in with his boss’ two-thumbed assistant, an MCU-recurring weirdo who goes unnamed in the movie, but which the Marvel wiki assures me is called The Other.

To get into the teleconference, Loki sits down on the ground with the glaive in his right hand and the blue stone roughly in front of his heart. He closes his eyes, straightens his back, and as the stone glows, the walls around him seem to billow away and he sees the asteroidal meeting room where The Other has been on hold (listening to some annoying Chitauri Muzak no doubt).

Avengers-Glaive-Teleconferencing-09 Continue reading

Dat glaive: Enthrallment

Several times throughout the movie, Loki uses places the point of the glaive on a victim’s chest near their heart, and a blue fog passes from the stone to infect them: an electric blackness creeps upward along their skin from their chest until it reaches their eyes, which turn fully black for a moment before becoming the same ice blue of the glaive’s stone, and we see that the victim is now enthralled into Loki’s servitude.

Enthralling_Hawkeye

You have heart.

The glaive is very, very terribly designed for this purpose. Continue reading