Paul Truong (AKA Monocubed)

I'm a Creative Technologist at Google and like to create things with equal parts design & code.

The more I learn from these disciplines, the more I appreciate how similar their processes are.

More importantly, I've come to realise that the most significant results are cultivated in the space where these two meet.

This blog delves into this concept.

Elsewhere, you'll find me chirping on twitter, snapping on Instagram (currently viewable via tumblr and flickr) and uploading work-in-progress on dribbble to name a few destinations.

I also speak occasionally on subjects related to the modern browser - for enquiries please email


A new year and inevitably, a new design. I had a look at the posts written in the last six months and noticed that many of them were code demos. In light of this, I have decided to try (for 2011 at least) to pull these posts out and give them a designated page on the site, named Lab. The slight change in IA should aid users who are only interested in browsing these experiments as they can now be found in one place. At the same time, users who wish to read the regular articles can continue to do so in a traditional list.

As well as introduce the new theme, I’d like to share a bit of my experience with the design preview site, dribbble. I have to admit I didn’t understand the true value of dribbble until I started uploading some of the redesign on twitter (with photos taken on my phone). What I got in return was a lot of unexpected, but very useful feedback from followers. So after experiencing this, I decided to give dribbble a go and thankfully Mr David DeSandro responded to a request I threw out for an invite.

The experience I got from uploading my first shots has changed my perception of how an open design process can work. Specifically in the case of redesigning the Monocubed logo I was able to get it checked against other similar logos from designers who spend much of their time working in just this area alone. After a few revisions, I finally got there. [12.01.11 update: it's actually still ongoing!]

On top of that, dribbble is of course a great place for inspiration too. The 400x300px preview window may seem to be a limitation at first, but it’s great for focusing on the details – these are as Charles Eames puts it, what actually “makes the design”.

Open web gaming has taken off in a big way and to give some recognition to this trend, MozillaLabs hosted a packed out event earlier this week to discuss its future. I was honoured to join the other speakers on stage to talk about HTML5 and share some demos.

It was a great to meet the legendary Christian Heilmann, super talented Seb Lee-Delisle, soon-to-be Friends of Ed author Rob Hawkes as well as the many awesome folks at Mozilla including @cyberdees and @SAHerne. If you’re working on a game yourself you may want to submit it to Mozilla’s competition which closes on the 11th January 2011.

“What’s a cookie? How do I protect myself on the web? And most importantly: What happens if a truck runs over my laptop? For things you’ve always wanted to know about the web but were afraid to ask, read on.”

This is a book about the modern browser and the current progress of internet related technologies. It was written to help demystify the terms (and in parts, the philosophies) behind the technology, making them accessible for people who are interested in knowing what goes on behind the browser.

The app was illustrated by Christoph Niemann and crafted by Fi (a special shout out to @hakimel on development and @repponen on design). It was a pleasure working with you.

Today was the start of Internet Week Europe. Google hosted 3 talks today covering Creative Lab (by Tom Uglow), Google App Engine & the cloud (by Jason Cartwright) and HTML5 (by me).

If you missed the talk, the HTML5 bit has been uploaded here: and there’ll also be a co-hosted workshop with BBH on thursday (details:

Google Jam was hosted at Shoreditch Town Hall on Wednesday and showcased some of the latest products & platforms available for Creative agencies to experiment with. This was my first time working with the UK events team and it was a lot of fun demonstrating YouTube Bubble in one of the breakout booths – particularly as it was on a giant touch screen!

This illustration was created by the brilliant scriberia who were also at the event scribbling live.

Finally, above are the video highlights and here are the official photos from the event.

There’s a lot of discussion going on at the moment about the future of Flash, particularly how it will sit alongside HTML5 moving forwards. Even as I start to explore the potential of the latter tech, a part of me still appreciates Flash as a platform that has matured very well in the past couple of years – giving hybrids a powerful way of realising ideas which up until this point, no other solution came close to offering. More interestingly for me, Flash has been augmented with a wide range of other technologies and ported libraries which again, keeps it a very interesting technology to develop with.

This simple Air app calculates the luminosity of each pixel of a YouTube video during run time, and projects the result into 3D using the height map as data for the z-axis. Credit to the early work created by agit8, which gave me the idea to test with YouTube videos.

The app works with any unrestricted YouTube video – just copy and paste the URL into the bar. There are also some options [+] which allow you play around with some of the variables and show the original video as a thumbnail for comparison. Default video is “Chrome Speed Test”.

Download the app