GPS + Media

[wikilike_img src=|caption=Sorell’s NF1 does GPS, music, and vids|width=131|align=thumb tright|url=]

Another geeky, compelling, and huh-shrug gizmo that Victor Szilagyi over at Ivrea caught on Engadget.

Why do I blog this? It’s a suggestive glom of location and media possibilities in this little gizmo. It’d be cool to play with, certainly. I would like my devices to know more about where they are, where they have been — more awareness of their paths and histories. More blogject frameworks.

I’m thinking lately about what my first blogject project might be with the ADXL203 Evaluation Board I ordered last week. It’s a 2 degree of freedom accelerometer that I’m pretty sure I can turn into a working pedometer. How reasonable that pedometer works is TBD!

Does anyone know of any DIY hackable pedometers? That can be hacked electronically so that I can do what I will with the step counts?

[thx and engadget]


So, what does it mean that yahoo has wrapped into its media cocktail?

While I wouldn’t presume to have any special insight into what it means when and the other properties are mixed in the same stew, I might suggest that is, when you invert it, a rich database of individual’s (and groups, I supposed) self-authored descriptions of their interests, activities, projects — the whole thing.

Why do I blog this? Turning this into a way to create useful indices to people for a variety of purposes seems most obvious. Knee jerk purpose says advertising, but I’m betting that clever heads will find a host of more promising kinds of ways to create vibrant enhancements to existing social formations and ways in which culture is circulated amongst networked publics.

More than tagging pages on the web — tagging “my stuff” in the world is still something TBD. Through, I can provide indices through taxonomies and folksonomies to things that are of interest to me, or related to a project. Some inferences can be made about my personality, or the things in which I am engaged. But that’s a degree removed from an explicit articulation of who I am, what I have, what I want to get rid of, what I want to share, what I need, etc. Think of what a distributed MySpaces might look like, without the hassle of having to manage yet another social software application. That is, rather than a mux of tags of URLs, what about a mux of tags to my own stuff? Suppose the things on my device were tagged sensibly, by myself, and I could see tag clouds of things from other people’s devices. Is that at all interesting?

[via Russell Beattie‘s Notebook]

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Sage Publications: New Media and Society

A new issue of New Media and Society is out, with an essay called Cellphones in public: social interactions in a wireless era.

Cellphones provide a unique opportunity to examine how new media both reflect and affect the social world. This study suggests that people map their understanding of common social rules and dilemmas onto new technologies. Over time, these interactions create and reflect a new social landscape. Based upon a year-long observational field study and in-depth interviews, this article examines cellphone usage from two main perspectives: how social norms of interaction in public spaces change and remain the same; and how cellphones become markers for social relations and reflect tacit pre-existing power relations. Informed by Goffman’s concept of cross talk and Hopper’s caller hegemony, the article analyzes the modifications, innovations and violations of cellphone usage on tacit codes of social interactions.

Another enticing essay is called Email forwardables: folklore in the age of the internetMarjorie D. Kibby

Email communication fosters an environment where messages have an inherent ‘truth value’ while at the same time senders have reduced inhibitions about the types of messages sent. When this is combined with a convenience and ease of communication and an ability to contact huge numbers of people simultaneously, email becomes a rapid and effective distribution mechanism for gossip, rumour and urban legends. Email has enabled not only the birth of new folklore, but also the revival of older stories with contemporary relevance and has facilitated their distribution on an unprecedented scale.

Why do I blog this? This essay appears to be another valuable contribution to the literature on understanding technology in context (technoculture) as it pertains to mobile communications. I’m interested in this topic because I’m trying to understand, from a design perspective, how to be more cogent about the mobile games project I’m presently working on for the netpublics fellowship. Yesterday I presented my topic and got some great feedback from the group. One of the challenges is that I’m in the middle ground between art-technology and emerging-technology. On the art side, I feel comfortable designing from instinct and from seeing things that are compelling to me visually or experientially, and for which I have not (yet) formed a articulate motivation for the work. On the other side, I would like to understand what kinds of social practices from which I am riffing in my current design sketches.

There were two components to the presentation. One was the netmagnet work I did while at Eyebeam Atelier in 2003. The other was where I intend to take that work (both the software and the articulation of that software into a near-future project.)

Netmagnet is a kind of p2p, zero-configuration, file sharing applet that used semantic tags to identify digital nuggets to share. It purposefully avoided explicit searches for media. In its existing form, you basically tag anything on your device, a catalog is formed based on that tagging, and you start your netmagnet client. Over time (hours, days, weeks — longer than a typical kind of search — it’s meant to be a slow…activity....that you don’ lots of..attention to..) — you may decide to look in your netmagnet grab-bag folder and see what the applet has slurped up over time. You could never precisely anticipate what was gathered because the system used tag ontologies that weren’t specific enough to locate, say, the latest 50 Cent album. (It was suggested in seminar that it might be interesting for a future form to allow for folksonomies. At the time, 2003, the semantic web was the king meme, as Marc T. pointed out, and it may very well have been that the rigid tagging of that “era” was in my head. I also only recently came to appreciate the upside to folksonomies, although my own jury is still at a deadlock.)

The theory that the netmagnet theory object was trying to work through had to do with networked publics that operate based on physical proximity. As people gathered in physical proximity, the netmagnet would establish (zero-conf) connections and begin making queries. If you specified that you were interested in “stuff” tagged “fun”, and someone nearby had “stuff” that was tagged “fun”, then netmagnet would retrieve it for you. Sort of silent, the background.

The near-future take on this is still up in the air. I committed to myself to create an object based on this concept during the second semester of the netpublics fellowship. One thought was to build out the existing application, adding new features and such, perhaps developing it as a theory object to discuss at the upcoming SIGCHI workshop on Mobile Social Software. Another is to “mobilize” it into a mobile device (phone?) application. I’m not sure this precise functionality would be supported on a typical mobile phone, and it only works if that’s the case because it’s not a one-off thing. It’s a social practice being explicated here and having six people in the world who are no where near each other doesn’t make it work well. So, in that case, having it as a “laptop” applet is perhaps more interesting, and even if it deploys just amongst a small tribe of colleagues/friends who, at times, occupy the same physical space, it might make for an interesting trial experiment. (Perhaps linked in with the blogjects concept.)

One possible articulation (perhaps in addition, since it feels like I might be doing this mobile game anyway) is the motility visualization thing that I’ve begun sketching. It isn’t about the swapping semantically tagged media, but it is about movement and interactions based upon objects/people in proximity.

Mimi had some great insights that helped me think about how to think about this. One important consideration was to look at existing social practices, and understanding existing social situations. That’s one of the reasons why the essay mentioned way above stood out for me.

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Motility and The Internet of Things

Read the short essay A Certain Sense of Place: Mobile Communication and Local Orientation by Jochim R. Hoflich.

Hoflich and his colleagues observed patterns of mobile phone use in the Piazza Matteotti in Udine, Italy. They note the ways that gesture, orientation and proximity to, variously, people or architectural features (the fountain, entrance/exits) in the space of the Piazza are used and occupied in ways that indicate privacy (occupied with a call), engagment in socializing and movement with purpose (finding clear areas to negotiate traveling across the Piazza.)

This paper looks at the domain of the mobile telephone and its use in city squares. Squares belong to the interface of people’s whereabouts: they are public spaces in which people come together..These are places where, in contrast with other people signal approachability on principle. Yet this occurs within normed boundaries insofar as the square is a scene in which distance between the actors is indicated with the help of looks and words; they demonstrate a polite availability to others, within the borders of anonymity marked by each person..But what happens when the mobile telephone appears in the square? How does it fit in with the social events of the square? Is it considerate of the square (of its social life)? And conversely: how does the social life of the square change?

Why do I blog this? We might wonder the same thing as The Internet of Things adds an additional interaction syntax to the mix. What happens when “things” are activated, absorbed, retrieved and their semantic contents moved about, shifted, altered, deleted by our movements in proximity to them?

I’ve been wondering about this and have started describing this kind of movement and the associated proximity-based interaction as “[w:motility].” It’s a term from biology, and it’s use there captures the agency of social beings moving about, communicating and electronically interacting, changing the flows, activites and semantics of the embedded electronic world — the Internet of Things.

[wikilike_img src=|align=thumb tcenter|caption=Ecosystem of Things: Mobile Game Sketch|url=|width=500]

This is a sketch of that kind of motility. Lately I’ve begun working on some visualizations through a bit of a bastardization of Processing. Pop open the visualization, or follow this link if your browser prefers not to open pop-ups.

Marko Ahtisaari? Meet The WiFi Bedouin..

Here’s an interview with Marko Ahtisaari that Nicolas blogged this morning. When I was at this year’s Ars Electronica, I saw his talk. He was dressed head to toe in white during the talk. When I saw him later during the festival, he was head to toe in black. So, there’s that. I mean, that’s entirely cool — it reminded me about Bruce Sterling’s comments about how designers, as part of their effectivity, create an aura around themselves by distinctive personal affects.

It’s a nice interview, and this stood out in relationship to my own research vectors:

Do you anticipate new kinds of content or communication forms to emerge within the near future?

Well, one thing that we have launched publicly is an application that allows people to have a local Bluetooth web-page while they are walking around. It can be read by other people in their proximity. We are trying it out just by having the software available for the Nokia series 60 phones. I think the software that we are building for the series 60 will allow a lot of innovation in that area that we can’t anticipate.

Why do I blog this? Wow. I had no idea that Nokia was experimenting with this kind of functionality. It’s precisely the WiFi Bedouin concept, only it’s using Bluetooth. Very cool! It opens up into the concept of motility and social meteorology, too. As soon as you create a mechanisms for proximity-based rich networking, you create opportunities for local effects that aren’t just happening off in the non-moving world of the (capital I) Internet.

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Receiver #14 Out —Thanks Vodaphone

Vodaphone’s excellent series of insightful, culturally-aware essays on the mobile society has just released Issue #14. Pick it’s free!

Issue #14
Mobile services are constantly breaching new boundaries, and will have an enormous impact on the logistics of life —both in terms of productivity and social networking. But the one most important basic feature will always be the ability to dynamically connect everybody with everybody else. So the question is: What do we want to bring together, exchange or take with us, and how can we do this when we’re out in the field? This time around, receiver levels a look at applicability issues — how can we work, learn, cooperate and know better using mobiles?

Essays by:
Mark Pesce, Jonathan Donner, Marc Prensky, James Katz (the enticing sounding “The future of a futuristic device”), Mark Lowenstein, Nathan Eagle and Alex (Sandy) Pentland, Lars Erik Holmquist, Sara Price and Yvonne Rogers, Jeff Pierce.

Why do I blog this I enjoy reading the professional conference papers, research reports, etc. They often deliver a few useful nuggets and insights. You often get the sense that the researchers would be much happier focusing on speculative implications and more free-form frameworks for expressing their ideas without having to constrain themselves with methdology and measures of success that are terribly instrumentalized (“how often did they press the go forward button?”) Receiver provides a welcome respite from the small, incremental knowledge contributions of the conference paper, I think.

Cell Death 2010

Local chum and Protohaus boss Eduardo Sciammarella has a piece in Always On called Cell Death 2010: Good-bye, mobile phones; hello, mobile web! captures the general aspirational tenor as well as the “sigh..groan..” ruefulness of many of we who see a great future for mobile and pervasive media but are genuinely puzzled at the oafish way the current mobile media ecology operates. A great quote captures this:

Think about it: Doesn’t your iPod nano look a bit like a phone already? That’s because it’s transitional technology: The memory chips inside don’t need to get bigger; they just need to be Wi-Fi connected to UB. When they are, a mobile music player will become a phone, bypassing the cellphone/MP3 player completely. Don’t ask why your ROKR can’t download songs into iTunes over the ponderous cellular connection; ask why you can’t make a (free) call yet with a nano

Why do I blog this? It points to the future of mobile and pervasive media, content — experiences, really, in a prescient way. Couple this forward thinking with The Internet of Things and you have a map of what the really adventurous Web 2.0 looks like.

I am particularly drawn to the way mobility, motility and proximity-based scenarios might look like, diagrammatically and the new kinds of representational schemas that will arise to support context-smart experience design.

I am also interested in the usage scenarios themselves, of course. The netmagnet project I developed while doing an R&D residency at Eyebeam is a project currently being revived to investigate one operational model for The Internet of Things.

[wikilike_img src=|width=450|align=thumb tcenter|caption=Proximity and Motility Usage Scenarios|url=]

[wikilike_img src=|width=450|align=thumb tcenter|caption=Motility Network|url=]

[wikilike_img src=|width=313|align=thumb tcenter|caption=Motility Network|url=]

[wikilike_img src=|width=450|align=thumb tcenter|caption=Motility Network|url=]

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