NESTA Futurelab

[wikilike_img src=|caption=NESTA Futurelab|url=|width=85|align=thumb tleft]

NESTA Futurelab is a UK-based educational innovation research facility that “is helping to transform the way people learn.” NESTA (National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts) has a compelling philosophy of supporting risk-taking and creativity in its approach to innovation. Gads, perfect. Anything is better than conservative creativity.

Their latest newsletter arrived in my Inbox this morning. They always seem to have a number of cool projects in the hopper. They range from reports on research projects to insight/innovation white papers on topics that combine education with mobile technology, creative technology and new scenarios and usage contexts.

Their current crop of research publications and innovation reports cover a few familiar and exciting areas, including some workshop insights. There’s a Future Music workshop summary on ways technology can help developing musicians. An “Insight Paper” on Future TV, with insights on participating in the creation of the TV content for a richer kind of interactivity. Another insight paper is on mobile phones in an educational context, and a few other interesting things.

[wikilike_img src=|align=thumb tright|caption=NESTA Futurelab Moovl project|width=120]
[wikilike_img src=|align=thumb tleft|caption=Student work for Moovl|width=200]

Their R&D projects are also quite interesting. Their deployments of the kinds of creative/arts-technology projects you might see at festivals and such all, specifically for use in learning environments. One such project Moovl allows children to draw on a tablet PC then program their drawings to move according to simple physics of mass, elasticity, air resistance and solidity. The research report includes their work with students in the design of the experience — user-centered design.

Why do I blog this? NESTA has a exciting sounding approach to doing research — risk-taking and creativity — and I like those idioms for pretty much most endeavors (except driving on the 405.) I’m also drawn to their approach of creating these “Insight Papers.” I’ve started slowly to create what I referred to as “Research Theme Reports” — white paperish reports that describe a usage context and offer several candidate research questions within those usage contexts as a way to describe work the Mobile and Pervasive Lab could possibly conduct. I also like the way they conduct their research, often amongst the user community. I wonder how the insights, results and artifacts created during research disseminate amongst wider audiences.

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"What's Your Social Doing In My Mobile?" UC Irvine Department of Informatics Talk – Friday, January 13

This Friday I will be visiting UC Irvine’s Department of Informatics and giving a talk on Mobile Social Software — some material I’ve been working on through the Netpublics Research Seminar at the Annenberg Center for Communication.

Title: What’s Your Social Doing In My Mobile? Design Patterns for Mobile Social

Abstract: Making “mobile software� into Mobile Social Software suggests that social beings assume an explicit role in the untethered, software-based experience. If we borrow from the idiom of Social Software, we can say that Mobile Social Software are techniques for articulating social
practices that create, maintain and manage networks of relationships amongst people and encourage the circulation of culture in untethered, networked-based usage contexts. The design challenge for such
techniques is to avoid prioritizing instrumental aspects of mobile terminal devices over the actual social practice that software attempts to facilitate. I suggest herein that this challenge can be addressed by moving to the foreground specific practice idioms as frameworks for design prototypes, avenues for research and development, and contexts for study and theory objects. This design approach is described as a point of view on Mobile Social Software, along with an explication of this perspective through a taxonomy of Mobile Social Software design idioms — Spatial Annotation, Proximity Interaction, and Presence Awareness.

The Informatics Seminar is held on Friday at 3pm at the The UCI Department of Informatics in ICS2 136, followed by a social hour at 4pm.

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Culture and Consumption

There was an interesting Charlie Rose on Friday January 6, 2006. I used to think that if I had 15 minutes of fame, I’d like to enjoy about 5 of those minutes sharing my expertise, experiences and intellect on the Charlie Rose show. Now I’m not so sure.

There is audio of the show available, but I wouldn’t recommend purchasing it.

Rose’s guests for this short segment were John Doerr and Esther Dyson. The topic was a future-think subject related to the general theme of global competitiveness, innovation and flattened worlds. This topic is one I’m interested in, and last summer I put in for an NSF grant to study the relationship between creative technology development (viz. art-technology/emerging-technology) and innovation, my hypothesis being that these practices are a legitimate and valuable component of R&D, yet are not sufficiently capitalized nor accepted within extant R&D communities.

Why do I blog this? It was basically a love fest between Doerr and Rose, with Dyson left to bat her head back and forth like a spectator at a tennis match. At one point, when Dyson was trying to insert a word or two on the topic of where innovation occurs, I heard her say, “..and culture” and my ears perked up. What? Culture has a linkage to innovation? What is this? I think this point translates thusly: too much “Doerr-esque” fetish on the instrumental character of technosocial innovation (faster “pipes”, more handsets with television, increase science and math education, etc.) and less on rewarding and encouraging cultural innovators. I think this is a thorough-going problem in the United States. The linkage between cultural creativity and technical design, development and research is difficult to find and hard to create. A month or so ago I was at a presentation by a large research facility here at USC that has lots of Army money to spend. They described a number of projects and some of the challenges they were facing in creating the technology for the projects. Several of the more notable challenges were ones that have been addressed successfully by a number of art-technology projects already out there, but that world is largely invisible/illegible to the work practices of a traditional R&D community. And I suspect that, even if they knew about the projects and could have conversations with the art-technologists, there would be a difficult translation of idioms and practices, for instance, many art-technologists would be opposed on a variety of grounds from working amongst traditional R&D communities, particularly those that were involved in the military-industrial light and magic complex. (Probably for similar reasons that those in the military-industrial light and magic complex would have an allergic reaction to collaborating within the arts-technology community.)

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Call for Entries: Turbulence New England Initiative II

Turbulence recently announced a Call for Entries for its “New England Initiative II,” a juried, networked art competition.

Three projects by New England artists will be commissioned and exhibited on Turbulence ( and in real space (venue to be announced). Each award will be $3,500. The jury consists of Julian Bleecker, Michelle Thursz, and Helen Thorington. This project is made possible with funds from the LEF Foundation.
PROJECT CONCEPT: Net art projects are “art projects for which the Net is
both a sufficient and necessary condition of viewing/ expressing/
participating” (Steve Dietz). They live in the public world of the Internet.
Recently, however, wireless telecommunications technologies have enabled
computation to migrate out of the desktop PC into the physical world,
creating the possibility of “hybrid” networked art, works that intermingle
and fuse previously discrete identities, disciplines, and/or fields of
activity such as the Internet and urban space. (See the
networked_performance blog —specifically the
categories “Locative Media” and “Mobile Art and Culture.”) Borders are
disintegrating and new identities are emerging. We encourage applications by
net artists and artists working on networked hybrid projects.
Proposal Deadline: February 28, 2006
Selected Projects Announcement: March 15, 2006
Project Launch/Exhibition: October 1, 2006
(1) artistic merit of the proposed project; (2)
originality; (3) degree of performativity and audience participation; (4)
level of programming skill and degree of technological innovation; and (5)
extent of collaborative and interdisciplinary activity.
(a) Your name, email address, and web site URL (if you have one).
(b) A description of the project’s core concept and how it will make
creative use of digital networks (500 words maximum).
(c) Details of how the project will be realized, including what
software/programming will be used. Specs for the Turbulence server are
available at You may request
additional software but we cannot guarantee it.
(d) Names of collaborators, their areas of expertise, and their specific
roles in the project.
(e) A project budget, including other funding sources for this project, if
(f) Your résumé/CV and one for each of your collaborators.
(g) Up to five examples of prior work accessible on the web.
Email submissions (the web site URL) to with NE 2
in the subject field.

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Else/Where: Mapping New Cartographies of Networks And Territories

[wikilike_img src=|url=|caption=Else/Where Mapping, Janet Abrams, Peter hall, eds|align=thumb tcenter|width=415]

Else/Where:Mapping New Cartographies of Networks and Territories is a new book edited by Janet Abrams and Peter Hall from the Design Institute at the University of Minnesota. It features a long list of US and European artists’ projects — 40 in all — that work through the topic of mapping. It looks like it’s richly illustrated , which means it’ll be a fun book not only to read, but to look at, too. PDPal is also in there, which is exciting.

Featuring 40 essays by U.S. and European historians, designers, cultural critics and social scientists, copiously illustrated with over 250 color images in extensive visual “gazetteers” — including specially-commissioned portfolios by artists and designers — ELSE/WHERE: MAPPING investigates:

* how new technologies of navigation and location are emerging to chart “virtual” terrain such as social networks and online conversations

* how these new mapping strategies borrow and reinvent metaphors adapted from the cartography of physical terrain, considered at various scales — urban, regional, continental, global

* how new modes of representation of spatial data are evolving to explore the potential for collective “bottom-up” (rather than “top-down”) mapping

* how cities, communities and social networks are being re-envisioned, as artists and designers use technologies such as GPS, GIS and digital interface design to devise alternative mappings of social and spatial relationships.

Why do I blog this? I’m interested in how territories are represented through maps and cartography and different kinds of non-canonical ways of describing, visually and otherwise, space and the lived experiences of a place.

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So, next month I’ll be attending Lift — check it out! If you can, I’d recommend attending. The list of attendees insures that this’ll be a great one. It’s cheap, compared to other conferences that can run $1000US+, easily.

Tis The Season for Conferences

This just in, for Pervasive 2006 – 4th International Conference on Pervasive Computing May 07-10, 2006 The Burlington Hotel, Dublin, Ireland.

Conference Workshop Calls, Late Breaking Results,
Research Demonstrations, Research Videos, Doctoral Colloquium Calls
May 07-10, 2006 The Burlington Hotel, Dublin, Ireland
Hosted by: Systems Research Group, University College Dublin, Ireland
This email concerns the upcoming deadlines for
calls to the eight conference workshops at Pervasive 2006
along with four open calls in the main program.
Late breaking results and Posters Feb 1st 2006
Research Videos Feb 1st 2006
Research Demonstrations Feb 1st 2006
Doctoral Colloquium Feb 1st 2006
Pervasive 2006 workshops to be held on May 7th prior
to the main conference.
W1 Pervasive Display Infrastructures and Applications

W2 Gaming Applications in Pervasive Computing Env
W3 Pervasive Mobile Interaction Devices

W4 Pervasive Technology applied: Real-World Experiences with RFID and Sensor Networks
W5 Tangible Space Initiative
W6 Requirements and Solutions for Pervasive Software Infrastructures
W7 Combining Theory and Systems Building in Pervasive Comp
W8 Privacy, trust and identity issues for ambient intelligence

Why do I blog this? I’ve never been to Pervasive and I’m wondering how it balances out along side of Ubicomp. What’s the audience? Who participates? I’ll likely submit either late breaking results or the gaming applications workshop around Vis-a-Vis, or my paper-in-progress What’s Your Social Doing in My Mobile? for the workshop on Pervasive Mobile Interaction Devices, although that might be a bit “social” for a workshop titled “Pervasive Mobile Interaction Devices”, in which case perhaps I would submit a lead-in for the flavonoid project. Hmmm..

Ubicomp 2006

Never too early to plan on waiting until the last minute to submit something for Ubicomp 2006! The general announcement just went out. I’ll be serving as co-chair for Demonstrations this year, and it will be fairly “local”, down in Irvine, California.

UbiComp 2006 – The Eigth International Conference on Ubiquituous Computing
Conference Date: 17. – 21.09.2006
Conference Venue: Marriott Newport Beach, Orange County, California
Hosted by:
Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences
University of California, Irvine
Ubicomp is the premier international forum for research in ubiquitous computing, bringing together designers, computer scientists, social scientists, and artists, to discuss recent developments and future advance. Orange County is located in coastal Southern California, south of Los Angeles and north of San Diego. Typical September weather is sunny and dry with temperatures around 25C.
We invite you to submit original, high-quality research contributions in all program categories, including full papers, demonstrations, posters, videos, and the doctoral colloquium.
Contributions on all topics related to ubiquitous computing are welcome, including:
* tools and techniques for designing, implementing, & evaluating ubiquitous computing systems
* mobile, wireless, and ad hoc networking infrastructures for ubiquitous computing
* laboratory and in situ studies of ubiquitous computing technologies in use
* location-aware and context-based systems for ubiquitous computing
* privacy, security, and trust in ubiquitous and pervasive systems.
The UbiComp conference has traditionally had a strong workshop program. Workshops allow small groups to gather for intensive discussion around focused topics of interest. The goal of workshops is to share understandings and experiences, to foster research communities, to learn from each other and to envision future directions.
NOTE: Ubicomp 2006 will have two days for workshops.
Important Dates and Deadlines:
03/31/2006: Paper and workshop proposals
06/16/2006: Demos and videos
08/18/2006: Early registration
09/17-21/2006: Conference
Call for Papers:
Ubicomp 2006 welcomes original, high-quality research contributions in the area of ubiquitous, pervasive and handheld computing systems and their applications. This conference seeks to present novel research results impacting the design and usage of ubiquitous computing technology that migrates beyond the desktop. Submissions should report original research that contributes to our understanding of ubiquitous computing and help advance the state of the art. Examples of appropriate areas of inquiry include:
Improving natural interaction (e.g. applied sensing, fusion and reasoning, AI and speech technologies for Ubicomp, increasing machine understanding of human action & vice versa)
Constructing ubicomp systems (e.g., systems and toolkit support for constructing, maintaining and deploying and prototyping Ubicomp environments)
Embedding computation (e.g. novel user interfaces, computational and sensing/ actuator platforms, assistive technolgies, applied to Ubicomp)
Understanding ubicomp and its consequences (e.g. conceptual models, lessons learnt, user studies and results from Ubicomp experiments)
Deploying ubicomp technologies (e.g. privacy, security, and trust, real-world and deployment experiences, studies of ubicomp settings)
Ubicomp 2006 seeks papers that reflect the full breadth and scope of ubiquitous computing research, including conceptual development, empirical investigations, technological advances, application experiences, and more. Authors should write for the broader Ubicomp audience, however, and make clear how their work contributes to the whole.
Papers will be evaluated on the basis of originality, significance of the contribution to the field, technical correctness and presentation. Papers submitted must not have been previously published or be under simultaneous review for any other conference, journal, workshop or other publication. We solicit papers up to 18 pages but explicitly welcome shorter papers. All paper submissions will be treated as full papers, but it is important that their length is appropriate for their content. Papers should be formatted according to the Springer Verlag LNCS format. Accepted papers will be included in the conference proceedings published by Springer-Verlag as Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS). Authors are required to attend the conference to present their work.
Paper submissions must be anonymized to facilitate blind review. Authors are encouraged to take care throughout the entire document to minimize references that may reveal the identity of the authors or
their institutions. Relevant references to an author’s previous research should not be suppressed but instead referenced in a neutral way.
All paper submissions will be handled electronically by the EDAS system. Note that submission is a two-stage process – authors need to register their paper first and then submit the final manuscript. Submissions must be in Adobe PDF format and conform to the guidelines specified in the call for papers. Authors without EDAS user names will be required to register with the system using the same link as
Reviewers will be instructed to maintain the confidentiality of all materials for submitted papers throughout the entire reviewing process. Submissions should contain no information that will be proprietary or confidential at the time of publication.
General Chair:
Crista Lopes, University of California, Irvine, USA
Technical Program Committee Chairs:
Paul Dourish, University of California, Irvine, USA
Adrian Friday, Lancaster University, UK
For additional information regarding UbiComp 2006, please visit

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AJAX on Mobiles — MobileWeb2.0?

Sometimes the “convergence” of technical idioms becomes comic in a kind of ironic way. Like, you can see a few wonks noodling about Web2.0 and then they’re, like..trying to predict a trend and, Hollywood-style, say, “Wait just a minute! Web2.0 meets Mobile! MobileWeb2.0 — get it? It’s like Web2.0, only it’s Mobile! Call Vulcan Capital! Tell Paul it’s Sparky, and we got a new one!”


Some wonks see AJAX on the Mobile as the thing for 2006 — avoiding porting hassles and knocking J2ME out of the box. As with most things, this’ll both work and it won’t. I like the idea of not having to worry about porting, especially in the mobile device ecosystem, which is about as habitable a territory as a spring day in Chernobyl.

Opera running AJAX is what some folks appear to be hopped up about. Open Gardens has a long, thoughtful piece on why J2ME is out and MobileWeb2.0 is in. And MobHappy has a short predictive announcement on why J2ME will only get better, and also why MobileWeb2.0 is in — a nice, safe bet and one that I would put my money on.

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This may be completely old news, but I just stumbled across retrievr.

[wikilike_img src=|caption=|width=210|align=thumb tcenter]
[wikilike_img src=|caption=|width=400|align=thumb tcenter]

Sketch a bit, and then search for Flickr images that “look” like your sketch.

Via via MetaFilter

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