I was at the concert of Bjork last month at the Paléo festival, and noticed that two of the guys on stage were using (beside shiny macbook pros) some weird electronic instruments, constantly playing with shapes on giant table screens. I finally found what these things are: the reactable and the Lemur.


The reactable is a collaborative electronic music instrument with a tabletop tangible multi-touch interface. Several simultaneous performers share complete control over the instrument by moving and rotating physical objects on a luminous round table surface. By moving and relating these objects, representing components of a classic modular synthesizer, users can create complex and dynamic sonic topologies, with generators, filters and modulators, in a kind of tangible modular synthesizer or graspable flow-controlled programming language.

See it in action here it’s absolutely fascinating. This might be the coolest interface I have ever seen.


The Lemur is a top of the range control surface for audio and media applications, that breaks from the prior art on several grounds. Its major innovation consists in its brilliant modular graphic interface concept and its exclusive multitouch sensor technology.

The Lemur promo video is youtubed here. Electronic Music is getting very visual, a plus for the booming live industry who is now a 20$ billion business (vs 30 for the struggling recorded music industry as explained in French here).


I am quoted today in Le Temps:

Est-ce à dire que la totalité d’Internet basculera un jour ou l’autre de la 2D à la 3D? «Je ne le crois pas, en tout cas pas dans un futur proche, car il y a encore trop de limitations techniques, estime Laurent Haug, fondateur du Lift Lab à Genève. L’avenir immédiat de la 3D se situe plutôt dans le créneau du shopping, des marques, des magasins en ligne, où la troisième dimension est porteuse de sens. Mais il y a quantité d’autres domaines du Web où la 3D n’amènera rien. Qui a besoin d’un Amazon en 3D?»


The quote says something like “the immediate future of 3D is in shopping, where it makes a lot of sense. But there are other domains where 3D brings nothing. For example, who needs Amazon in 3D?”. Of course as Amazon = shopping you wonder why am I saying something and it’s contrary.

In fact I didn’t really say that. The point I was trying to make is:

– shopping is something where some 3D makes sense (peviously published articles are here and here)
– some retailers are already rolling out 3d stores
– 3D isn’t for everything
– typically, browsing the million of products of an Amazon is less efficient in 3D than in 2D

Are we slaves of Micro$oft?

37 in the morning at the RSR studioThat is the question I faced this morning during an interview (audio archive here) at the Swiss national radio (RSR) after Microsoft announced is was giving away free software to the students of Lausanne’s engineering school. My answer: Yes and No, and it’s getting better.

YES we are slaves, because inside many organizations you get a PC with windows installed whether you like it or not.

NO we are not slaves, because nobody forbids you to buy a mac or get a Dell with Ubuntu, you can use Open Office instead of Word and Excel, and please get Firefox.

II’S GETTING BETTER because we now have more credible options than ever (thanks in part to Mark Shuttleworth‘s work on Ubuntu – a linux version that your grandmother can use, and to mac OSX), and because we are spending the majority of our time inside a browser, i.e. an operating system independent environment.

This debate – who a few years back used to make people prone to irrationality ^ – seems to be less important now. What are your thoughts?

Crowdsourcing vs staffsourcing

Nowadays every organization seems to be tempted by crowdsourcing, this idea of outsourcing part of your processes (creation, promotion, conception) to the public using new technologies. It is surely appealing, and has worked for all different kind of companies like P&G or La Fraise.

But two of the most innovative and successful companies of our time use a totally opposite approach, actually hiding their products from the public eyes as long as they can. I am of course talking about Apple (who is regularly suing anybody talking about products before their official launch) and Google (who rarely speaks about a product before releasing it).

This shows there are ways to survive and try to be smarter than the masses, as “non-web2” as this sentence might sound. Apple does it with common sense and design, Google by relying on workers who are usually the earliest of early adopters. As usual with these tech trends (2005: blogs, 2006: second life, 2007: communities, crowdsourcing) there is no automatic answer, each situation demands a different answer as disappointing as it sounds.

Best places to do business in the wired world

Taewoo Danny Kim of TechnoKimchi is pointing to a Business 2.0 ranking of the 12 most wired cities in the world. Not surprisingly half of them are in Asia and no Swiss city cracked the list.

Bangalore is first, followed by Barcelona (surprise!) and Helsinki (re-surprise!). Seoul is 6th. No american city is ranked because it is a list for the courageous American white collars willing to risk their life eating live octopus and playing beer dominos abroad.

Fans of “this blog has moved”

I have a very loyal fan base on Technorati as this screenshot will prove.


Thanks to Hugh, Pedro and the anonymous mister sand13 for staying with me through these hard times. Technorati, the measuring stick of the blogosphere’s egological environment, does not offer a “my old blog address equals my new blog address” feature. So moving your blog means losing all your hard earned fame. A new URL is a one way ticket to the hated “authority 0” and “no blogs are linking here” hells.

So here I am, a Z-lister again, back at the bottom of a 100 million blogs pile, claiming this site to start regaining a decent spot on the ultra competitive *g* swiss top 100 blogs list.

Swiss links (updated)

I added the links I had forgotten at the end of the list, thanks for your comments folks!

Thanks to all those who answered my call to find Swiss web 2.0 companies. Here are all – all as in unfiltered – the links I received via email or through the comments. Community Ads marketplace Blogging platform "Swiss Technorati" Blog-Premiumnetwork > Swiss Weblogs Inc. Blogging platform Comment tracking Advertising Event scheduling Students community Media-Trading > Swiss Social music platform Social networking consulting News Community Clothes Advertising Search Blogging platform Cooking Community Community Leisure Social Network Blogging platform Music community Well… tits rating! TV Classifieds Geolocation Social Network Digg clone Restaurant rating TV Digg clone Slide sharing Swiss blogs search engine and portal Second life fun Text Agency 2.0 Community Blog advertising network Blogging platform Community Identity Radio Pictures sharing Security marketplace Community TV Blogging platform Mobile micropayment Music community Blog search engine Students’ community Online community (in development) News search (in development)
Mixin Social activities creation (in development)
Clic Movies Video downloads

Discover Wattwatt

I have been working with the International Electrotechnical Commisson (IEC) for a few months, helping this international organization refine and launch their WattWatt project. Wattwatt is an online community intended to start a global discussion about the role of electricity in changing our habits and reducing the effects of global warming.


The site is an invitation to share your ideas on electrical energy efficiency, and to point others to the interesting resources you found on the web. It is a technologically augmented brainstorm with one twist: the people who are managing the site and reading all the contributions are the ones who can make things happen. It is not just another community, it is an organization started in 1906 getting serious about engaging in a global conversation with the people it is serving, opening a dynamic communication channel with them to get more ideas and links.

Check the site out. It is still in beta and accepting comments and suggestions so don’t hesitate.

Internet and the stresses of rapid modernization

The IHT published a report on the increase in the number of suicides in South Korea, a consequence of the stresses of a (too) rapid evolution worsenen by new technologies. Modernization has brought many uncertainties and weakened the traditional family references while the Internet provides an easy way for suicide candidates to get together or get lethal drugs.

The increase in suicides in South Korea has been especially steep in recent years, almost doubling from 6,440 in 2000 to 12,047 in 2005, according to the National Statistical Office. […]

The government does not compile figures on how many suicides may have been inspired or aided by the Internet. But in an analysis of 191 group suicides reported in the news media from June 1998 to May 2006, Kim Jung Jin, a sociologist at Korea Nazarene University, found that nearly a third of the cases involved people who had formed suicide pacts through Internet chat sites.


Asian societies seem to be particularly vulnerable to this phenomena. Are these countries paying the price of their fast-paced transition from third world traditional societies to modern superpowers? Or is it a wired society problem happening in Asia first, which means our European countries will soon have it too?

Time to look East

Marc LaperrouzaOne of the new authors that is joining the blogosphere thanks to our /think initiative (I’ll talk about /think as soon as we have finished implementing a new design, so far it’s beta) is Marc Laperrouza. Marc is an old friend of mine, and one of the best specialists of China around. His blog is called Time to look east and is starting strong with articles on two drivers for innovation in the next 20 years and national champions and techno-nationalism.

We will soon have even more luminaries joining us, the likes of David Galipeau and Steven Ritchey are announced.