Category Archives: Culture

A Little Bit of What We Saw at SXSW

For everything that’s happening in Austin, TX for SXSW, there’s only a miniscule amount of information that can be taken in when relating to the event as a whole. But that’s okay, because everywhere you turn, there’s something amazing to be seen in the sea of brilliant new technologies, information, and ideas. Craig, Alex, and Matt embarked on the journey to Austin to soak themselves in what SXSW had to offer, and they came back with a few things to share.

The team made it a point to learn about the latest from the UX/UI world as well as see what some of the great online innovators are saying about the state of responsive design and preparing for the influx of devices that are being introduced to market. Admittedly, much of what we heard was still being attributed to the birthing era of responsive design, and much of that we are quite familiar with as far as going through the rounds and testing responsive ideas ourselves. A common theme we were hearing was the internet of everything and the internet of things. As we see more consumer products being introduced as “always connected” and “smart” such as the NEST, there comes more thinking and planning on how the experience will be portrayed. It’s definitely exciting times in the world of user engagement.

Apart from the technical aspects of the web, we saw quite a few inspirational talks from peeps that have started some good things. Dark Rye is a small group of people working on unbranded content for Whole Foods Market. The idea is all about storytelling and the end result is a online catalogue full of engaging video and inspirational stories. The budget is low but it all stems from passion – the passion of the stories that are found and the dedication of the team that makes it all happen. It’s a great recipe for an audience to click the share button.

Of course, with the maker movement in full swing, we had to sit in on some DIY talks. We saw 4 ambassadors share their ideas and success stories about their endeavors and the communities they share in. More and more hacker spaces keep popping up and spearhead a growing community of Makers to keep learning and inventing. It’s a lot to chew, but these places offer all sorts of savviness in programming, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer software design to name a few. It’s a great place to hang if you love taking stuff apart and want to hang with others doing the same thing. I’m keeping my eyes on the Steam Carnival up in LA to see what sort of sorcery those makers come up with.

There’s endless tales to be told from SXSW 2014, and some additional experiences may soon get their own blog post. Keep on the look out!

Augmented Reality: “Your Perception Is Your Reality”

Augmented Reality, or AR as it is quickly becoming referred to in the tech space, is currently making quite a splash on the scene, yet has remarkably been within our reach for over 30 years. AR, a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image with our view of the real world using sound, video, graphics, or GPS, enhances the way we perceive reality.

Technically speaking, AR adds layers of digital information on top of physical, tangible items we see in the world around us. A Boeing researcher, Tom Caudell, first coined the term in 1990, referring to a version of the technology used by aircraft electricians. What makes the technology different today is that it can be used by anyone. Developers have the technology to create it and with a smart phone or tablet, we have the technology to use it.

AR is virtually everywhere; you just have to look. Sports coverage on TV, for example, is a form of AR. Slow motion and the virtual image on a TV screen of a first down line in football are older forms of AR that require much larger systems. Now, we can constantly be connected to the internet and have access to devices that fit in our hands, like the iPhone and Android smartphones and tablets with video capabilities. We can easily overlay information on top of a video or picture with just the click of a button.

The app world is a perfect example of where AR is growing and thriving. Whether it is used for applications, like Computer Science professor Steve Feiner and PhD candidate Steve Henderson’s AR project for the military, or used with apps for the sake of fashion, like Cassette Playa’s T-shirts at Paris Fashion Week, Augmented Reality is changing the way we visualize the world in front of us.

At Ninthlink, we’re having a lot of fun with AR. Our designers and developers are constantly researching and tinkering with the technology and we’re currently in the process of integrating AR into some of our projects. One of our clients, Qualcomm, the brains behind the Vuforia platform that enables best in class AR app experiences, is a perfect example of the way AR is escalating. You can check out more about Qualcomm’s Vuforia platform at vuforia.com

Ninthlink Spends the Day with Habitat for Humanity

On January 29th the entire Ninthlink team spent the day volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. This was the second year we worked alongside Habitat’s selfless group of volunteers and donated funds to help the remarkable organization. We specifically donated funds to Habitat to help support this particular build site. The four townhouses have been designed specially and are being built accordingly for disabled veterans and their families. We couldn’t think of anyone more deserving of a new home, than those who risk their lives defending ours.

Make a difference. Donate today!

It was a hot and sunny day out in Santee but the experience was truly humbling. We broke off into teams, working closely with Habitat’s volunteer contractors to saw and nail siding, jackhammer concrete and lay piping, work on the roof and windows and use table and power saws, nail guns and hammers. Many of us had no experience with construction but enjoyed learning how to use the equipment and talking with the volunteers. By the end of the day, the entire front of the structure had siding and there were only a few cuts and bruises!

It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Our Marketing Superman Alex Levine

Introducing our newest newbie, Alex Levine, or as we like to call him, Adam Levine (see what we did there?) — Del Mar, CA native, enemy of spicy food, and new Ninthlink Marketing Wizard (team Gryffindor). Alex graduated with a degree in Finance and Marketing from Gonzaga University and over the past four years has expanded his knowledge in areas like B2B lead generation, PPC, social media and strategic partnerships. Alex brings new and diverse marketing wisdom to Ninthlink and is quickly becoming proactive with every client. His go-getter personality and “24 going on 40” disposition, make it easy for him to work with any team and client. When he’s not learning the latest and greatest in marketing, Alex can be found remodeling his new home, jumping out of planes, teaching ballroom dance, and sailing in regattas around San Diego. We’re pretty excited to have this self-proclaimed dork on our team! Alex’s LinkedIn

Ninthlink Aspires to Maker Culture

For those that have not been introduced to the Maker Movement that is sweeping the hearts and minds of engineers, creatives and more, let me get you up to speed on some cool things happening.

The Maker Movement has become a worldwide phenomenon, inspiring individuals, young and old, to DIY (do it yourself). The Maker Movement is encouraging invention, creativity, and learning-through-doing. At Ninthlink, we’re pretty excited about the Makers on our team and can’t believe the amazing stories shared by Makers around the world!

One of the most fascinating engineering-oriented pursuits of the movement is 3-D printing. We couldn’t resist getting our hands on such a progressive technology and now have two 3-D printers (or MakerBots as they’re called) at Ninthlink. Maybe one day, we’ll print something as fascinating and as useful as fighter jet parts or windpipes!

It’s not just adults or engineering graduates who are gravitating toward the Maker Culture. According to DonorsChoose.org, an organization donating 3-D printers to public schools, children are becoming the next generation of Makers. The Maker Movement is providing young students with an alternative form of learning. For those that don’t excel in the average, public school classroom, getting to be hands-on with 3-D printers, makes learning fun.

Even the White House has jumped on the Maker bandwagon and is hosting its first ever Maker Faire. Maker Faires are held in more than 100 locations around the world and attract Makers of all kinds. It’s been said it is the “year of the maker” and hosting such an event at the White House will only bring more positive awareness to the Movement.

So, why is Ninthlink loving on Maker? We love to stay on the forefront of trends and are always experimenting and testing new ideas for projects. Ask us more about how to collaborate on a maker project.