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According to Qasim Iqbal, he came across Midjourney a little over a month ago. At first, he was intrigued by the speed and quality of generated images. Like most people, he went down an addictive rabbit hole of generating purely fun and harmless images; like an underwater lost Atlantic city by Michelangelo. However, once this initial excitement wore off, he decided to use it more seriously with an actual purpose in mind. The first serious image he generated was a labyrinth plan by Piranesi; this came about because he looked at labyrinth designs for a competition (until he got distracted by Midjourney).
From this, he moved towards Architecture in the style of some of his favorite artists, which was inspired by Steven Rubio (from Show It Better); this led him down a path where he started generating images influenced by artists such as Olafur Eliasson and Eduardo Chillida, etc. Even though he was more meticulous and directed in his approach. He wasn’t creating anything meaningful it was still just random images with no purpose or meaning. It was only when he started experimenting with ideas and values that he appreciated Architecture; he found a purpose for using Midjourney regularly; if he had to mark this milestone with a particular prompt or series of images. It would be the Persian Treehouse images.
This allowed him to explore the space he referred to as the “in-between” or the “blurred zone” (inspired by Peter Eisenman’s writings); the space where concept and reality collide. The Treehouse images showed him that to make the most out of the current version of Midjourney you want to create images that verge on the impossible and conceptual while making them approachable and realistic enough for viewers to dream with you.The Silk and Stone Baroque Façade
“The Silk and Stone Baroque Façade series” is arguably his best work. He thinks it fits the idea of the “blurred zone” perfectly. For this image, he used his theoretical understanding of Baroque Architecture; its characteristics, and its qualities (such as the undulating façade). He then combined it with something that always amazes me. Bernini’s ability to allow the stone to become the rope in his David sculpture; the detail, tension, and dynamic form mesmerized him each time. He wanted to recreate that moment in Architecture, so he used the idea of fabric and silk Architecture to help merge those malleable and unpredictable forms of the fabric with the hardness and rigidity of the stone.
The image works so well because both materials are in a transition state, transforming into one another, lending each other qualities and characteristics they need to synthesize the juxtaposing façade. The transitional state of the materials also echoes the conditions of the “blurred zone” and “in-between” state between concept and reality, constantly fluctuating between both. There are moments when one must stop and slowly re-read the Architecture to depict what stone and silk are. This is what great Architecture should hold, the ability to make a person stop, look closely, and question.The Blurred Zone
As Qasim Iqbal mentioned, the aim of the work (made in the blurred zone) is to make people stop, look and “see.” It ironically has an element of slowness to encourage caution and closer readings. It gives the viewer a glimpse of what he saw when crafting the prompt to generate the image; for them to learn something about architecture drives him to continue using Midjourney as a tool to dream.Conclusion on Midjourney
As it stands today, Midjourney is a purely conceptual tool. He intends to use it in upcoming projects as a tool to help “sketch” general and specific ideas quickly. This can help create a mood board of sorts for the direction of your project. It can also help students and practitioners to visualize the space quickly; considering the type of lighting and mood you want spaces to have. However, there is a risk of allowing such technology to dictate design. For him, the biggest issue with AI generators is that you need to be aware of your direction and control. Especially when working on actual design work; you don’t want to let the AI control and move your project out of your hands (without good reason).
Another practical use for Midjourney is towards the end of a project when you have visuals of your design made from digital modeling and render software such as VRay, Enscape, etc. It is worth trying to amplify the renders by referencing them in Midjourney and adding prompts to promote your conceptual idea further. He tried this recently on his visuals from his latest master’s project. It was successful he was able to have control over the amount of weighting implied on the reference image, which let him create some super conceptual versions and others that were more realistic but still elevated. The clear issue with this is that dealing with an existing building created problems as it is impossible for Midjourney to replicate parts of an image. So, this proved to be tricky and less successful.
Midjourney is a powerful tool that opens new lanes for artists, architects, and designers when used appropriately and correctly. Authorship is a blurry situation with AI, but if people are clear by stating Midjourney (or any other AI) was used; then he doesn’t see an issue. Using the technology with caution and care ensures it remains a tool and not anything more. The key aspect of his view towards AI and design. For he does not see a future where AI can officially replace the mind of an Architect (artist or designer); as long as we do not let it.About Mohammad Qasim Iqbal
Mohammad Qasim Iqbal, 24, a full-time Architecture student at Nottingham Trent University, is currently doing his master’s. His architectural interests lie deeply in studying masterful works of the past. Such as Palladio’s villas, Raphael’s paintings, or Giulio Romano’s Palazzo Te, to learn how the architect thinks and designs. His favorite “styles” are the Renaissance, Mannerism, and Baroque. For him, the architect’s value today lies in their ability to “see” like an Architect; this means they should be able to read and manipulate the language of Architecture. So they can speak (or choose not to speak) through it for others as well as themselves.
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Ever since Twitter went under new management, it has been plagued with countless issues and threats to user experience. Other platforms are hoping to take its place.
Shortly after the Elon Musk takeover, users put their hopes on Mastodon, but the open-source Twitter alternative has not taken off as expected. Now, the strongest contender to replace it as the internet’s water cooler is the decentralized Bluesky.
Backed by former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Bluesky looks a lot like Twitter down to its corporate colors. We spent a couple of weeks there and these are our main takeaways.There are not a lot of people on there
Maybe the biggest hurdle preventing Bluesky from becoming the next huge thing on the internet is the fact that the platform is in a closed beta version. This means it’s a work in progress (more on that later) and that you can only get in there with an invite code. Users without an invitation can join an ever-growing waitlist that’s currently 1.9 million people long.
[Related: Twitter turns to Community Notes to factcheck images]
During our first two weeks on the platform, we kept seeing a low rotation of content and skeets (that’s what they’re unofficially called, much to the dismay of Bluesky’s CEO, Jay Graber) by the same users over and over again.
If you used Twitter to catch up on world events, you might find some of your go-to legacy media outlets haven’t made it to the platform or haven’t built their accounts just yet. For example, The New York Times only just appeared on Bluesky (at the time of writing it has 83 followers and no posts), while NPR has been there for a while, but shows no activity whatsoever.
If you’re a Twitter power user moving to Bluesky, you might miss the endless scrolling and a continuous feed of fresh posts. But maybe the overwhelming amount of tweets is exactly why you’re running away from the bird app, so the small user base could also be a benefit depending on how you look at it.You might find it a nice and fun place
A party you can only attend when invited by somebody who’s already at the party is bound to become an echo chamber of like-minded people. And this is exactly what’s happening on Bluesky right now. Again, this can be a good or a bad thing depending on how you look at it—or which side of the aisle you sit on.
Maybe because Twitter became an uncomfortable or straight-up unsafe place for some users, on Bluesky you’ll find a lot of politically liberal posters who are either part of the LGBTQ+ community or fully support it. You’ll find a lot of cute cat and dog content, memes, and users just nicely saying “Good morning” to the world.
If this is all reminiscent of the early days of Twitter it’s not because having such a clearly defined vibe is a unique experience, but something most platforms go through at the beginning, and a direct result of having such a small user base. It’s possible all of this changes once Bluesky comes out of beta and opens up to a wider audience.It’s still in beta—and it shows
When in beta, apps are usually in a weird stage where they’re nearly formed but not quite there yet. Bluesky is currently in an adolescent phase, so users who have access to it are prone to stumble upon glitches and other aspects of the platform that need some development.
In our experience, this translated into either no new skeets generated throughout the day, to our What’s Hot or Popular with Friends feeds going into an updating frenzy that, if left alone, could go on for minutes. And this didn’t happen once, but repeatedly and almost every day. There is also a delay between you skeeting or reskeeting a post and it showing up on your profile, as well as outdated follower counts. Notifications were also glitchy, and sometimes they don’t go away immediately after you view them.
This is not to throw shade on Bluesky, as errors and interruptions are a normal occurrence in a beta program. But if you’re interested in joining the platform and manage to get an invite code, you should know that your experience will probably not be seamless. If, on the other hand, you have little patience with glitches, wait until the site opens up to the public, as you should expect smoother functionality then.The similarities with Twitter can be confusing at first
Sometimes you’re walking down the street and someone in the distance looks familiar, but you have a hard time figuring out whether it’s that friend you met at your first job or a total stranger. The feeling is akin to when you first migrate from Twitter to Bluesky, mainly because the interfaces are undeniably reminiscent of each other. The colors are very much alike, and the page layout with a main feed flanked by two sidebars, is more or less the same. Even the order of the options on the main navigation sidebar is similar.
But that’s the problem: it’s similar but not quite the same. This will result in occasional confusion, especially while you figure out how feeds work. The structure of feeds, Bluesky’s way to sort content, is the main difference between the platform and the bird app. While on Twitter you have only two feeds (the messy, algorithmically-customized For You, and the old-school Following), Bluesky gives you three feeds by default:
Following: A chronological timeline with all the skeets from the people you follow.
What’s Hot: An algorithmically-curated timeline with the top trending skeets from all over Bluesky.
Popular With Friends: A little bit of both above, this timeline compiles the top trending content among the people you follow.
As a Bluesky user, you can also create your own feeds (for you and other people to follow) but at the moment the process is not streamlined and requires coding know-how. The platform’s goal is to make feed-making more intuitive and create an “algorithm marketplace” so users have more control over what they see on Bluesky and how that content is sorted.Bluesky takes content moderation seriously
Twitter has some very useful content moderation tools but if you’re not a power user you might not exactly know where to find them or how to use them. Bluesky put its content moderation tools front and center, and you can access them directly from the main left sidebar on the homepage—no diving into the settings menu required.
Go to Moderation and you’ll find some useful items. Muted accounts and Blocked accounts are self-explanatory: they’re the lists of the people you’ve filtered out of your feeds, and going here will allow you to edit that roster as you see fit.
Mute lists are an interesting addition—it allows you to create themed blacklists of accounts you can mute and unmute in bulk. For instance, if you identify a handful of users who tend to post spoilers, you can add them all to a list and avoid their posts around the time a season of your favorite show is coming to an end. You can then easily unmute them all in one go once you’re all caught up with the show by unsubscribing to your own mute list. The list will still be there, though, and you can subscribe to it again if you want to.
[Related: How to banish toxic posts from your social feeds]
Finally, Content filtering is an intuitive menu where you can choose the level of filtering of sensitive content in your feeds. You can choose between Hide and Show (an all-or-nothing approach), or set the filter to warn you about certain types of posts. Bluesky offers granular options for sexual content, allowing you to choose the exact volume of Explicit sexual images, Other nudity (this includes non-sexual and artistic nudity), and Sexually suggestive content you’d like to see. The site doesn’t have a help site yet, so it is unclear whether these filters apply only to images or if they also include other types of posts. The platform also offers an option to filter out gorey content (Violent/bloody), but you won’t be able to be as granular as you can be when curating how many sexually charged posts you see in your feeds.
As far as Twitter alternatives go, the lack of a steep learning curve makes Bluesky a pretty good option, even if there are still some details left to tweak. But whether this is the platform that will take the bird app’s place, is still unclear. In the meantime, you can use Twitter to see if you can get an invite code—unless you’re willing to join the waitlist for who knows how much longer.
It was hard to fight off the temptation to make this week’s roundup just a collection of fireworks shots, but we managed to also find the world’s largest crocodile, a massive light installation in Singapore, protests against nuclear power in Japan, and a bunch more of the most amazing science and tech imagery out there.
Aurora over Crater Lake
Photographer Brad Goldpaint took this shot of the Aurora Borealis over Oregon’s Crater Lake a few weeks ago. It’s a gorgeous one. Check out his site for more.
World’s Largest Croc
This crocodile, found in the Philippines, is officially the world’s largest, at more than 20 feet long. It’s suspected of killing two people, which is partly why these people seem so excited to strap it onto a wagon.
All At Once
This year’s fireworks display in San Diego didn’t come off quite as planned–every firework was set off at the same time, leading to a giant explosion of light and sound. This great shot was from the Instagram of an attendee.
As Japan re-opens its nuclear facilities, protesters lined the streets to show their opposition. Understandably, given the recent conclusion that the Fukushima meltdown was the fault of the government and its regulators.
Trees of Light
This shot shows Singapore’s Garden by the Bay, a massive show of light and sound which we wish dearly would come to New York.
Lest you think that running is one of the simpler Olympic events, tech-wise, look no further than Nike’s insane Olympic Camp in Oregon. It took eight months to build and includes a 100-meter Speed Tunnel, head-to-head treadmills, and more LED lights than we’d ever thought necessary for a training facility. Read more here.
Astrophotographer Dieter Willasch created this great shot of the Prawn Nebula, in the tail of Scorpius. It’s about 6,000 light-years away. Read more here.
Not From Outer Space
This image may look like it’s capturing a faraway star or some other celestial body, but it’s not–it’s actually the first-ever snapshot of an individual atom’s shadow. Read more here.
Another great fireworks shot, this was taken in Kansas City, Kansas, where the fireworks and the moon both lit up the sky. For more great photojournalism like this, check out American Photo.
Muslims often use a compass to figure out which direction to lay their prayer mats in order to face Mecca, as they must do several times per day. So why not embed a digital compass and a bunch of LEDs, so the mat lights up when it’s facing the right direction? It’s currently a concept residing on Kickstarter, waiting for funding. Read more here.
Does the number 404 mean something to you? If you have browsed the Internet long enough, you might stumble onto this number on more than one occasion. It shows up every time a site can’t fulfil a user request because of bad links, a typo, URL change, deleted page, or many other possible reasons. While some web owners dreaded the 404 pages, some others decided to use them as their creative outlets and came up with really fun and amazing results.The Concept of 404 Pages
It’s clear that if you want to keep your visitors from fleeing away, you have to modify your 404 page to show more than just an error message.
In his book “Emotional Design,” Donald Norman said that a great design is about how it makes you feel, what it helps you do, and what it says about you. Applying this principle to web design means that a successful 404 page should:
Make the visitors feels positive - You can use funny words and pictures to amuse your visitor, or wow them with amazing images. Make sure that landing on your 404 page is an unexpected but rewarding experience. Make it similar to finding an easter egg or winning a lottery instead of having an accident.
Help the visitors do/achieve something more - Your 404 page is also a good place to do a little bit of promotion. You can put links to your popular posts there or links to other locations on your site that you want your visitors to visit. Don’t forget to include a search box and a way to report the broken link so that you can fix it.
Show the visitors who you are - Branding and personality are important to establish your reputation on the Internet. So why not use the 404 page as another way to achieve that goal? Make the page in sync with the image that you want the world to see.Creating a 404 Page in WordPress
The easiest way to create a 404 page in WordPress is to use a plugin called 404page. This plugin will let you set any page as a custom 404 page. Just build and customize a page, and choose it as your 404.
Since you can use any theme out there for your WordPress, and there are various page builders that can help you make any page imaginable, there’s virtually no limit on what kind of 404 that you can create for your WordPress site.Creative 404 Pages for Your Inspiration
When you are ready to build a custom 404 page for your WordPress site, here are some creative and fun 404 pages that might inspire you.Ford
Ford, a car maker, cleverly use a road to draw 404 and an animated car moving nowhere in loops.Roman Menshikov
This 404 page concept utilizes the lonely atmosphere of the image to show the feeling of being lost.Derek Clark
Another 404 page concept that will fit photography sites.GigMasters
As a site that deals with shows and performances, using a magician to represent a page that disapears shows that the webmaster put a lot of thought into planning the page.The Movie Nerd
This site uses the 404 page as a recruitment page. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, why don’t you write it for us?I Love Icons
Where is it? What is that? It looks like 404. Am I lost?Brendan Pittman
Nobody is in the audience. Maybe it’s because nobody should be here. You’re lost; return home. A great 404 page concept for music-related sites.
Where’s the party? Not on this 404 page.Lego
What can represent the Lego site better than its figures?Umbro
To maintain its identity as a sport-related company, Umbro created a sports-related 404 page.IMDB
It’s fitting of a movie database site to show a movie-related 404 page. The page will show different movie quotes every time you refresh the page.Dilbert
A 404 page showing a funny 404 page comic strip. Which one did Scott Adams create first: the strip or the page?Mark Dijkstra
Sometimes simplicity can go a long way. The page might appear simple, but creating it is not as simportant as its look.magnt
Magnt doesn’t want to shoulder all the blame. You and your inability to type are also responsible for bringing up the 404 page.Blue Fountain Media
Let’s play PacMan. Missing page? What missing page?Huwshimi
Why Ninja? Why not?Wearespry
No, don’t go home. Mom, can I keep it?NotFound.org
And if you are still not sure about what kind of WordPress 404 page that you want to build, you can put that error page to good use. chúng tôi is an organization that helps find missing children. If you decide to participate, your 404 page will always be updated with the latest missing children info. By speading the information, you increase the chance of finding those unfortunate youngsters.
Image Credit: Jonathan Patterson
Jeffry Thurana is a creative writer living in Indonesia. He helps other writers and freelancers to earn more from their crafts. He’s on a quest of learning the art of storytelling, believing that how you tell a story is as important as the story itself. He is also an architect and a designer, and loves traveling and playing classical guitar.
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Data has been the bedrock of all analytics investments. The pursuit for organized data management has veered off into large investments in data warehouses and then in data lakes. A survey by Gartner suggests that 85% of big data or data warehouse projects have failed. More astonishingly, only 8% of successful projects seem to have generated business value. In substance, the de facto path to superior analytics leading through the data warehouse/ data lake has left organizations lost in a maze of concepts relating to data relationships, data lineage, data models, metadata management, and indexing. All investments in these concepts were meant to create a solid foundation that would enable pole-vaulting themselves into future-proof analytics use cases. However, these investments have largely led to an academic enhancement in data frameworks and methods without meeting the on-ground objectives of the end-use case. If the above sounds familiar, you also have probably also seen this script play out over the years- You have either been a part of or heard the whispers in the corridors of the ubiquitous data warehouse/lake project that would be the key to deliver on the promise of superior analytics. This project receives a large budget and a large project team comprising business team members, business analysts, and developers, all geared up to deliver this outcome. Showstoppers keep emerging as the project goes along, which are mostly addressed by more budget allocation and more people involvement. A year or two goes by – these showstoppers continue to exist, the original objective gets forgotten, interest from business wanes, people drop out, and now budgetary questions increase – which often ends up in a decision to ‘shelve it for the time being, which is code for ‘let’s sweep it under the carpet and move on. While this mega project was ongoing, other projects were paused or put on hold on the promise of delivering a centralized data management solution. To be able to make your investments into analytics payback, it is important to re-look and re-imagine the strategy. The strategy needs to follow a ‘do-small-think-big’ approach. Analytics needs to work on a ‘scale-out approach. This ensures the delivery of immediate analytical needs rapidly and also allows an organization ‘ scale out to meet the ever-changing needs of the business in the future.What does an organization need to do?
2. Create a distributed data management strategy: Build a data strategy focused on the underlying data formats and data latency requirements for the different data elements that are required for specific outcomes. Do not attempt to unify data by moving it -unify data only to meet the end outcome. Data can remain distributed but can be called upon to meet the analytical objective on demand. Focus on data streaming, flexible and modifiable data transformations, and building on-the-fly data relationships that meet the specific analytical objective. 3. Invest in an application with a strong data management layer: Most analytics initiatives focus on the visualization capabilities of the application at the time of evaluation and pay very little importance to the underlying data management layer. While the importance of good UI/ UX built on powerful visual capabilities cannot be argued, it is equally if not more important to have a data management layer architected for size and compute so as to scale the analytics as required without compromising on functionality or performance. A data management layer does not mean a data warehouse. It is simply an application that allows you to write dynamic rules, create dynamic data relationships, undertake data streaming and manage APIs to support on-demand analytics at a rapid pace. 4. Architect your data structures to be flexible: Traditional approaches to data modeling need to be replaced with a modern approach where data tables can be created and modified at will. When starting with a specific use case, make sure that data elements that are likely to be re-used for future use cases are clearly identified and earmarked. Ensure that a visual dictionary and search of all data elements are possible whenever new data elements are added. This will ensure that the same data is not present in multiple unrelated tables in the data layer. Focus on data discovery within the data layer rather than on defining a universal data set or universal data model. As per Gartner, barely 20% of analytics projects make it into production. While data is the new oil, data warehouses often end up hampering its efficiency. A scale-out analytics strategy, therefore, helps in converting data into actionable intelligence. The implementation of this strategy requires shifting the focus away from idealistic data models to flexible data structures where data centralization is replaced with virtual data unification and where aggregating data with latency is replaced with data streaming and APIs.Author
Ms. Viraj Shah, Leader, Business Solution, Acies
Looking for a fun way to engage your students’ minds and bodies using books? That’s exactly what my colleague Jubilee Roth and I were looking for last year—a fun activity to wrap up the semester with our students—when she came across the idea of StoryWalks.
The StoryWalk Project was created by Anne Ferguson in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier, Vermont. Ferguson was looking for a way to get kids and parents active together, and thus the StoryWalk was born. Since then, StoryWalks have been installed in over 300 public libraries in the United States and even worldwide in such countries as Malaysia, Russia, Pakistan, and South Korea.
Reading isn’t generally considered a dynamic activity, but students who participate in a StoryWalk get to not only hear a great story but stimulate parts of their brain that are normally at rest when they sit down with a book. Instead of snuggling up in a cozy reading spot, readers are presented with colorful pages from an illustrated book, displayed one-by-one on stakes as they stroll along an indoor or outdoor walking path. Readers are able to take their time and reflect on the subtle nuances of the story, make inferences about what may happen next, and have co-constructed conversations with any walking partners.
How to Set Up a StoryWalk
You’ll need two copies of whatever book you choose because the pages of most illustrated books are double-sided. After taking the books apart, laminate them and mount them. Make sure you get stakes that are high enough that the pages can be read without crouching down, then place them at a relaxed distance from each other along the path of your choosing.
It’s really important to consider where you place your StoryWalk path. I did not take into consideration, for example, the closeness of my StoryWalk to our third-grade portable classrooms, which had the windows open because it was warm. Not only was the StoryWalk disruptive to that classroom, but all of the third-grade students knew the ending of the story.
Choosing Books for a StoryWalk
The right book at the right time can make all the difference. Since books bridge the gap between what readers know and what they have yet to experience, careful book selection can make StoryWalks even more powerful. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Picture books are ideal for this activity because they’re short and captivating.
Social and emotional learning can be supported with illustrated books that include themes like self-awareness, self-management, self-efficacy, and social awareness.
It’s important to keep readers interested so that they continue to the end of the path. Try choosing a book with a surprise ending and keep them guessing!
It helps to choose a book with readability and possible relevance to the community.
Here are some of the books I chose:
Baghead, written and illustrated by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Weezer Changes the World, written and illustrated by David McPhail
One Cool Friend, written by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by David Small
Sheep Take a Hike, written by Nancy Shaw, illustrated by Margot Apple
Although we tend to think of fiction when choosing books for a StoryWalk, nonfiction can also be effective. Imagine learning the parts of a cell as you walk between pages or reading a how-to instructional story or the biography of a prominent historical figure.Behavior During a StoryWalk
Managing behavior during a StoryWalk can be a bit tricky if you don’t provide students with some expectations ahead of time. Much like a field trip, StoryWalks involve a lot of space sharing, which requires a different set of social norms. I found that younger students especially were not accustomed to traveling in a large group.
Explain to students how to ensure that everyone has a view of the pages as you walk. The front row will need to crouch down so the back row can see. Students need to form a half-circle around each page. You can, of course, arrange your StoryWalkers into multiple smaller groups as opposed to an entire class, which could make it easier.
It is also important to show students how to walk and talk about the story, so they are not just quickly walking through the StoryWalk, missing the benefit of reading together in this way. Have students raise their hands to read a page aloud. Ask stimulating questions between pages to help them relate the story to their own experiences, further drawing them in. Encourage students to take their time and interact with each other, sharing their thoughts about the story and characters.
After completing a StoryWalk, extension activities can provide a deeper understanding for students as well as keep the conversation—and therefore the learning—going.
Students can try to write an alternate ending or even add to the story’s original ending. Our youngest students can draw their responses to these prompts, while we transcribe the words to go with them. Older students can do peer reviews, co-write responses, or illustrate them and even use media to animate.
Invite students to share about a time when they did something that was featured in the story. Before we did our StoryWalk for the book Baghead, I held up a paper bag that I had cut holes out of to make a face. I asked students, “Why would someone wear this?” Students wrote down their predictions. After our StoryWalk, they came back to their predictions to write about what came true or didn’t, and any surprises in the story. Some chose to write about a time when they tried to cut their own hair, as the protagonist had, and what happened next.
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