Well we weren’t able to fund our giant flying cupcake with the DARPA Network Challenge, we’ve got a new effort you can help us achieve (and this one should be a bit simpler!) Airigami has been working on- Take a look
You can help by sharing the video on Facebook & Twitter. Here’s a sample Tweet you can copy & paste:
“Cool! Giant Balloon Dinosaurs! Help get #ELASTICPARK on the road with a #pepsirefresh grant! http://bit.ly/6PkxHx PLS RT”
Thanks so much for all of your help & support during the DARPA Challenge. We learned quite a bit, and are hoping to apply that knowledge towards getting this grant & get Elastic Park on the road!
Well we’ve had a day to let it all sink in. Overall I’m still thrilled at how well we did, considering for the most part that only Larry & I were coordinating our group from my dining room table with 4 kids running around. With the help of our pre-existing networks we managed to get the correct coordinates of 6 of the Balloons. 4 were reported, 2 we were about to input- but were out at an event and got distracted by Larry having sold a piece of his art at the Rochester Contemporary Gallery woohoo! By the time we pulled out our iphones, MIT had snagged the prize.
We also were able to accurately weed out false positives with our tight-knit (read: trustworthy) networks. Several balloonhq.com members were called upon to verify sightings in person. We also were taunted with a false report of a balloon up here in Rochester (possibly created to drive us outside and away from our machines) but assist was requested and retweeted by several Rochester-area groups of twitterers. I’ll post a full list of credits/thank yous in the next few days- but I’ve been rocking a nasty cold since last week (so I’ll apologize in advance for the rambling.)
A few other things I’m proud of, I love the DARPA Flying Cupcake video explaining the contest and our strategy that we made at the wee hours of Friday (probably at least partially explains my cold) Larry’s voice was spot on for the delivery, and my visuals- while simple- I believe were quite effective at getting the idea across. People have mentioned how much they love the flying cupcake diagram that we’ve designed a flying cupcake sketch t-shirt available through Larry’s shop online.
It was a somewhat risky strategy, The Register referred to us as being naive and fluffy, but it did what we wanted it to- it made our team approachable by non-techies and unforgettable in a crowd of groups with names that were all riffs of “DARPA, Red Balloons”. We were more marketable to other networks with large reach, like Cupcakes Take The Cake, and getting tweeted about by Jen from Cake Wrecks (which now just leaves getting a project of ours mentioned on the Daily Show for my list…there’s always Monday ) OH! And speaking of news- ABC, PRI, as well as the Register and others that we achieved (thanks Sally!) were a boon as well.
What we didn’t do
One thing we didn’t do was to create false data, even though I am a photoshop goddess and I could have made photos that were truly convincing- and we could have spent last month creating fake online identities to stump other teams- and we have access to thousands of balloon artists who could have at a moments notice put up false balloons across the country- We didn’t. Our goal was to get people working together, and to do so would have tarnished any cupcake we would have made. Larry’s whole drive as an artist is creating community (as was the topic of his recent TEDx talk). We chose rather to use the talents of our fellow artists to create mini-giant flying cupcakes and engage the public outside of the twitterverse. Wynn Bell, a creator of one of our armada of cupcakes and was in Portland, even verified the #9 balloon in person for us.
So will our do-goodedness do in our Giant Flying Cupcake? I sure hope not. There’s still the possibility that the cupcake could get off the ground, but a project of this magnitude requires funding. We were hoping that maybe a national company looking for some positive exposure wouldn’t mind sponsoring a tasty flying treat- or perhaps a town looking to do something unforgettable for an anniversary would be interested- just as the good folks over in Sodus Bay, NY were interested in making a splash with the Fantastic Flying Octopus that Larry and his crew created for them in the summer of 2003. (Yeah, shameless plug, but hey- you never know!)
So it’s late, and I need some sleep. If you’d like to keep in touch with us on upcoming endeavors- you really should follow Larry Moss, @airigami. If you don’t mind the ramblings of an easily distracted, often thoughtful, highly-opinionated woman who likes to make stuff & occasionally brag about her amazing children/yard sale finds, feel free to follow me too @craftyb (you have been warned!)
Well. I feel like we did- What a fun day! I’ll do a full post-analysis tomorrow of the day’s events, but I just wanted to check in before I crashed for the evening. Congrats to the MIT crew, I can’t wait to read what you guys were up to during the day!
I still stand firm that the challenge could have been completed much sooner (and would have been a better test of the internet as an intelligence gathering tool) if the green eyed money menace wasn’t mucking things up. Though I’m not sure how you’d inspire people to do it without tempting them with $. I’m gonna go sleep on that.
For those of you who are new to this challenge, check out this short video we put together in the wee hours of last night.
Basically we are looking for 10 red weather balloons that look like the ones at left. They will be moored across the continental US at locations near roadways. We need to ultimately get their GPS location, but we can figure that out from a rough street address.
So I’ve gotten wind of people who are intentionally trying to sabotage the Network Challenge by putting up fake balloons. Think yer soo tough, eh? Gonna show those DARPA fellas aren’t you? I betcha a giant baked good that they were really hoping that people putting up false balloons and false data so they could see how teams weed out good information from bad. Not so much fun to do any more is it?
Of course we like to play with the best (and the rest) of them too- so we’re telling you straight out that we’re going to be putting up extra balloons for people to spy- not just plain old big red balloons- but mini-giant cupcakes. You know- so you can get a taste of what a giant one might look like WHEN WE WIN! ha ha ha ha.
And unlike DARPA, we’re going to share the love. Prizes:
(10) FIRST PRIZES: Submit a photo of yourself pointing to one of the mini-giant cupcakes (submit via our flickr group) We will select 1 winner from each mini-giant cupcake location.
(1) GRAND PRIZE: To the first person who submits photos of themselves pointing to each of the 10 mini-giant cupcakes. (Photoshopping allowed & encouraged- we certainly wouldn’t want to add to the carbon footprint of this project by having you drive from say, NY to CA- oh! I’ve may have said too much!) Submit via our flickr group
(1) MOST HONORABLE MENTION: Impress me. Make me laugh- come up with a fabulous flying cupcake themed image (video? baked good?) and submit it to the (submit via our flickr group)
We’ll be sending a tweets out about the fellow balloon artists who will be creating the mini-giant cupcakes- so follow our twitter feeds: @airigami, @craftyb and of COURSE @findredballoons . We’ll let you know what’s in the prize packs once we nail that down. Needless to say, they’ll be lots of fun, and we should be able to get them out to you just in time for Festivus!
Oh and while you’re all looking and having fun messing around with digital pictures, don’t forget the reason we’re here! HELP US FIND THOSE RED BALLOONS SO WE CAN BUILD A NON-MINI GIANT CUPCAKE!!
I think it’s a little too early in the week to be posting photos of the balloons to avoid copycat balloons- but again even with the frosting we’re putting on it, this is a military experiment in social networking, maybe they WANT people to put up decoys…
It will be interesting to see how it unfolds this weekend.
Alternatively, the prize may actually be scooped by some naive and fluffy group like the charitables or the flying-cupcake mob – though a group of the first and darker sort might also credibly pretend to be of this type. (via The Register)
Alternatively, the prize may actually be scooped by some naive and fluffy group like the charitables or the flying-cupcake mob – though a group of the first and darker sort might also credibly pretend to be of this type.
I’ve opened up a flickr group for anyone who feels like playing with photoshop. You can grab a transparent image off of the Flying Cupcake-inator page (it’s already cleaned up so making your own image should be, er, well cake!) upload it to your flickr account and then join the flying cupcake group/add to the pool.
Just do me a favor and keep it clean, there may be children swimming in there. Where will you find a flying cupcake?
So Larry’s on board! He’d love to build a giant flying cupcake- now all we need is your help. To keep it simple, we’re directing people to his website airigami.com to enter in balloon location info. While we wait for the 5th to get here, you should check out the TEDx talk Larry gave earlier this month. In this talk, Larry explains how art has the power to build, unite, and transform communities- much in the way I hope we can bring people to work together on this project.
You know you want to help us!
I truly think this art project is the best way to share the wealth for this contest. But in order for it to “get off the ground” we’ll need the eyes and ears of as many folks as possible.
Be sure to follow our twitter feeds: @findredballoons, @airigami, and @craftyb to get the latest updates, and RT any of our DARPA Challenge tweets. If you’re really excited about our project- post a link on your favorite social marketing site. More info will be coming soon!