30.6.08

[Future of Creative Technologies - new IOCT journal]

The Future of Creative Technologies is a new journal just launched by the IOCT at DMU. In the first 18 months of the IOCT's lifespan (yup, it's only been 18 months) the IOCT has benefited from a wide range of significant and fruitful partnerships. This first issue of the journal reflects on those relationships and includes "thought pieces" and articles from each of the keynote speakers. Authors include Howard Rheingold, Claudia Eckert, Bruce Mason and Sue Thomas, Wendy Keay-Bright, Pauline Oliveros and Martin Rieser. All the pieces are extremely interesting and as they've been pulled together into this publication you can really see how transdisciplinary the IOCT is.

In the opening editorial director of the IOCT, Prof. Andrew Hugill says:
"The diversity of the content is deliberate, and is intended to stimulate readers not only from the range of disciplines represented herein, but also as a way of exploring further a discussion which lies at the heart of the IOCT: what does it mean to be transdisciplinary? how can we foster good practice in transdisciplinary research? and, what outcomes might we expect from such research?"

These are similar questions which will be taken up in an academic context in the conference I'll be organising (provisionally slated for 2010) and out of which will grow an academic publication.





27.6.08

[university of cambridge: transliterate-ish research associate]

Sounds like a kind of transliterate and transdisciplinary research position:
Research AssociateTranskills Project/ Staff DevelopmentThe Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technologies

Further Details


Click here for Employer Profile




25.6.08

[absolutely amazing ottawa b&b]

I meant to blog about this earlier but...

While we were travelling around Ontario earlier this month we serendipitously happened upon the fabulous Home Sweetland Home b&b. So named for its location on Sweetland Ave. It's in the beautifully leafy area of Sandyhill; a short walk to the city centre, rivers, restaurants and parks. Brian, one of the proprietors acted more like a family friend, welcoming us into his home. He gave us a tour of the beautiful historic (1895) home (which is one of the cleanest places I have ever been!). In the morning we were treated to healthy grilled veg. omlettes, multigrain toast and a platter overflowing with sweet, juicy and ripe watermellon and strawberries. The fruit was so wonderful we think it was a highlight of our trip!

I mentioned to Brian that I'd blog about his b&b. I don't often blog about commercial enterprises but Home Sweetland Home was really more about a comfortable stay in a gorgeous environment with a very friendly host.

When in Ottawa do check it out:

62 Sweetland Avenue
Ottawa ON
Canada K1N 7T6
(613) 234-1871






24.6.08

[interrupt festival hosted by john cayley]

eUInterrupt 2008, to be held at Brown University from October 17-19, is a three-day festival of readings, performances, and symposia organized around the theme of “interruption” in digital art and programmable literary practices. Why “Interrupt”? In computing, a hardware interrupt request or IRQ is used to prioritize the execution of certain processes over others. It is a command sent to the processor to get its attention, signaling the need to initiate a new operation.

In the context of contemporary art, the act of interruption is a performance that redirects threads of process and lines of thought into fields of new expression. Interrupts trigger the moment when a process of creation yields a public manifestation. The cycle of ongoing work is paused by a challenge, calling for the attention of a provisional community: just as we read ICQ as “I seek you,” we can read IRQ as “I argue.” In this sense, interrupts articulate critical thresholds at which formal expressions are offered up to (or forced into) new circuits of communication, countering that which came before and making a case for new artistic and political futures.

We ask you to attend and participate.

Artists in Residence:
* Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries *

Confirmed Headliners:
* Alan Sondheim & Foofwa d'Imobilité *
* Laetitia Sonami *
* Eugenio Tisselli *
* Marko Niemi *

Details and arrangements to be confirmed:
* cris cheek *
* Abigail Child *
* Chris Funkhouser *
* Loss Pequeňo Glazier *
* Talan Memmott *
* Bill Seaman and Penny Florence *
* Patricia Tomaszek *

Critics, theorists, artists and students who would like to attend are asked to contact John_Cayley (at) brown.edu. We will be organizing two or more round table sessions during the festival, and we invite brief presentations intended to spark critical discussions relating to the work of interruption within the context of digitally mediated language practices. Participants will also be invited to instigate discussion at these round tables.

If you would like to attend, and particularly if you have institutional backing, we ask you to consider supporting Interrupt with a registration contribution of $50 (checks only please) made out to 'Brown University' and sent to:

Interrupt 2008
Brown University
Literary Arts Program
Box 1923
Providence RI 02912

For letters of invitation, please contact John_Cayley (at) brown.edu. Register now.

To read more about what we mean by Interrupt and for other details about the festival – including the preliminary program, schedule, location, venues, and accommodation information – please refer to our website: http://interrupt2008.net

Organized and hosted at Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design by graduates and undergraduates from Literary Arts, Modern Culture and Media, MEME, RISD D+M, and other departments.

Funding and support for Interrupt currently includes the following sources: Brown Creative Arts Council, the Literary Arts program, RISD Digital+Media, MEME, the Brown Graduate School, the Comparative Literature department.





23.6.08

[montreal RFid public bikes 4 rent]

The other day on BBC we were told Bristol has been named as England's first "cycling city" and that Bristol has received a share of £100m from the government in order to help encourage other commuters to take up cycling. An excellent idea I think. Other cities that will get a cut of the funding are: York, Stoke, Blackpool, Cambridge, Chester, Colchester, Leighton Buzzard, Southend, Shrewsbury, Southport and Woking. Sadly...it seems no city in Hertfordshire was chosen and cities here could really do with some money for cycle paths at least.

Now I read via treehugger that Montreal is the first in Canada to offer cycle rentals.

How about this:

Montreal's new public bike sharing system or "PBS," as it's being called, relies on a new bike design, solar powered stations, wireless inventory management, and software to manage it all. The website is wonderful, and we suggest you pay it a visit here.

The entire system was designed from a clean sheet, intended to marry the practical with the aesthetic. World-renowned industrial designer Michel Dallaire was entrusted with the design of the physical components. The bikes themselves feature clean lines and a sleek look that in no way compromises their sturdiness and safety. Design elements are carried over to the technical platforms, bike docks and pay stations. All with the intention making the PBS an enhancement to the urban landscape, not an impediment to enjoying it.
The best part: riders can find the rental bike nearest them via internet. At last, a non-frivolous use for cell phone browsers.
Innovation is another hallmark of the PBS. It employs cutting-edge technologies to their best advantage: the entire system is solar-powered and uses wireless communication. All the components are modular. With no need for permanent installations or external energy sources, the technical platforms that constitute the base of the stations can simply be dropped off at any desired location without incurring expensive infrastructure work. No need to excavate or anchor the platforms to the street. And no need to install electrical or communication cables.

19.6.08

[nlab social networks conference - panel discussion]

Panel Discussion Rounding up the issues of the day with Steve Clayton, Roland Harwood, Chris Meade, Vijay Riyait, Andrea Saveri.

"All our relationships are built on favours...ultimately that's how you make money." (RH)

Distinguishing between the social media platform and the activities, sometimes these issues are conflated (AS)

Emergence of new infrastructure for businesses and on top of that the ways we support client development etc...(AS)



Questions:
How to bridge the gap between all the technical skills and the person/client/community. How do you bring the benefits of social netowkring to more people more of the time?



It is clear that these tools have benefits. It is time to get a little more political (CM) - it's about sharing information and succeeding globally.



Vijay notes that there aren't really many of these kinds of conferences engaging small businesses particularly out of London. We need to get out there and connect with business groups etc... Creative Coffee Club then fits in really well with this idea.



Question:
Caroline from PCM Creative - If you could only keep two social media platforms what would they be and why?



Twitter because it's fascinating and Facebook. Niche social networking is important but the grander interactions with people you don't know are it (RH)



Chris thinks it's a good idea to have only one that can do all sorts of things. That could be more exciting rather than another thing appearing and another thing we need to learn.



For Andrea it's delicious and news aggregator that tracks all the blogs so that she can stay in touch with a whole community of people.



Facebook allows Vijay to connect with colleagues and clients which as a small business helps develop a social relationship which helps build trust.



Question from Karl Craig West: He explains that his clients should use social networking but they come back saying "so." Why should small businesses get into social networking, where's the business incentive.



Vijay: How many people run a small business (half the delegates). How do you get your business (networking). Vijay says social networking can only help. The value in getting to people.



Chris reminds us what Jim said, that online social networking lets you do more for less. What about the tailor who went from "zero to hero" (RH) and Jim Benson solving a problem within 25 minutes after asking the twitterverse. That's got to be important to a business.



There are ways to expand markets, to get that kind of reach with social networking. Also where you need expert knowledge. Using social media to participate in channels where you can get that kind of information (AS).



David Terrar: it doesn't matter what the business is, there are always tangible benefits. Dell using the platform to talk to customers etc... There isn't a killer feature other than collaboration.



Michael: consensus that social networking is worth investing in but isn't it a bit oversaturated and actually aren't consumers way more savvy? Consumers know there's an agenda behind it.



Chris Meade says this is why it's important to pick one kind of platform and stick with it. It's better that people have a focus and know what they are after. Vijay reminds us that there are companies who began a blog under the pretense that it was written but a real, unaffiliated person. We need rules on transparency.



Toby Moores: One question we haven't yet addressed is the dramatic shift in landscape, the fact that India and China are producing more grads than we are producing children. So doing the innovative bit of business is going to shift so the value of social media is amplifying that process. How much do you believe that social media will be adpoted and support this shift in landscape?



Andrea thinks it will. It is a collaborative, open, social platform. It supports emergent swarm activity. But right now China has the greatest number of bloggers around so she wouldn't underestimate their involvement in the creative side of business.



Could we live without the web? RH says we assume it'll be there forever in the shape it is now.



Vijay says the whole thing about social networking is allowing people to be creative, letting go of some of that control. We know big businesses will adopt it but will smaller businesses?



Question from Andrew (?): what is really different with social networking? Moved from relationship marketing to meeting needs of the customer but today, social networking enhances that relationship, makes that conversation much better. Forces traditional thinking businesses into rexaming the way they do business if they have come from a "command and control position." But the younger businesses will do things very very differently. Suggestion from Andrew to FSB and BusinessLink to do some case studies to move this into the real world and out of academia (note: this isn't an academic conference!). Note from Sue: Shani has been working with Creative Coffee Club to do exactly that.


just found social cash - a way to magically monetize?


[nlab social networks conference - jim benson]

Social Networking Beyond The Dogma: Let's Make Some Money

The application of social networking and social media technologies ultimately should help your business work better. How do you set goals, create campaigns, and execute cost effectively?

NOTE: if you join a social network - twitter, facebook etc...you must give back to the community, answer other questions, participate otherwise you're just a leech.

Img00067
Which social media networks should we be on? Well, can't say but Jim does tell us what we shouldn't be on...Facebook! At least if we're thinking about time vs content...it takes too much time whereas twitter etc...can offer benefit/value much quicker.


Social networking reduces costs of: lead acquisition, product improvement, individual sales, expert information and opportunities

Social networks are like cities by fostering growth, coordination, affinity, voice, realisation

[nlab social networks conference - ken thompson]

Bioteams: what can we learn from nature's social networks?



Ken's current job grew out of his investigation of "nature's best teams." Have a look at www.bioteams.com.

Nature’s teams, such as bees, geese, ants and dolphins, are based on a small number of fundamentally different principles than human teams. Interestingly these “bioteams” seem to bear a much closer resemblance to today’s virtual/ mobile social networks than the traditional organisation teams we all know and love. Ken will explore whether an awareness of these principles can help us get much more value out of both social software and social networks.





Ken Thompson: "Bioteams - What Can We Learn from Nature's Social Networks"



Prizes?! Ken says we're going to be interacting and we get prizes!



Img00066







Most networks are networks of convenience.




Check out Ken's most recent book The Networked Enterprise.



Three principles of swarms: ask the network, all nodes, network invention


www.swarm-pro.com/private/messageboard.aspx - the name of the swarm is NL owned by ken.thompson. to join, text "JOIN NL username to 07786203958



After we've registered Ken asks us a variety of questions to which we respond via sms to this swarm team. We can all see the (often quite funny!) responses to the questions by browsing to the url. Ken is going to add this to his site later.



Apparently we're a collective brain. If there was one question we wanted to ask the room, what would it be?



How any of those constantly twittering get any work done? Ken rephrases: "Does Twitter distract from work?"



Are current group structures natural?
Bioteams share 4 common behaviours:
any group leader can take the lead - nature's groups are never led exclusively by one member. Collective leadership is...the right leader for the right task at the right time. Single leader teams are no longer appropriate.



Pheromone-style Short messaging. Nature's groups use short instant message. Instantly broadcast and received in situ. Short and simple...all species have a message instinct.



Small is Beautiful and Big is powerful



Crowds - everyone does the same thing at the same time...Scale or the Wisdom of Crowds.
Sall groups...everyone can do different things at different times



Read the many through the few. Nature's networks are clustered. Some group members have many more connections than the average. These members have extreme connectivity.



Humberto Maturana on Autopoieses: "a living system is one whose only products are itself." (more on Maturana here: http://www.oikos.org/maten.htm)



Boundary, processes, nervous system, external communications = living network



Check out swarm tribes: http://www.swarmtribes.com/Public/getswarming.aspx?sname=jd4



*The most successful teams on the planet are not human teams.*





[nlab social networks conference - andrea saveri]

Andrea Saveri on The Future of Work: Amplified Individuals, Jobs & Organizations

Institute for the Future - founded in 1968

How to forecast the future, applied to business, government and non-profits

Think about the future though aware of the present

Amplified individual uses twitter to get information out. Thinking of global events and tweets becoming quick and powerful ways to sort, filter and disseminate information.

Amplified individuals are also highly collaborate - work with others to collectively solve problems, tap into an contribute to the intelligence of crowds. Re: businesses this might expand staff without necessarily hiring new staff. Through social media can actually attract people to you to provide people to you without hiring somebody.

Wikis - a great example with wikis on just about everything. Imagine being a small business, putting up a wiki page about a new process, technique or technology you're inviting other people to contribute to that knowledge base. Identify your own need (HR: you get other people to scratch your itch).

Prediction Markets - imagine what it would take for small businesses to do their own market forcasting, accessing intelligence from a broad community about a focused question. See: http://us.newsfutures.com/home/home.html



Another way to use sociology and collective action might be to bring in ludic concepts. Gaming allows different kinds of associations and people get interested in solving puzzles etc...



Amplified Individuals are highly improvisational. Andrea tells us about a group of work-from-home people who band together to work in a real space and share infrastructure and resources.



Amplified Individuals are also highly augmented. They employ systems, tools, and hacks to enhacne cognitive abiCyumbylities and coordination skills. This is particuarly important for small businesses as they are likely to fill many hats, the kinds of techniques and practises to enhance memory, attention etc...is important.



See chumby - way to control information. Have a look at the chumby website. Totally into social media, they have a section where the audience (are they really called customers?) can upload (via flickr) their own photos or videos (via youtube)
of a chumby: http://www.chumby.com/pages/showoff.





Key Characteristics:



moddable, influency, ping quotient (measure of your responsiveness to other people's requests for engagment, your propensity and ability to participate), protovation (fearless innovation in rapid, iterative cycles), open authorship (creating content for public consumption and modification), multi-capitalism (fluency in working with different capitals, eg. natural, intellectual, social and financial), longbroading (thinking in terms of higher level systems, cycles, the bigger picture, can you rise above and look at the higher-level system), signal/noise management, cooperation radar (ability to sense, almost intuitively, who would make the best collaborators on a particular task)





Why Important for Small Biz?



This really does amplify scope for info. Individuals have the motivation and know-how to create new strucutres and processes that bypass traditional constraints



Key Ways:



Economies of sociality



Asymmetric power



Responsive resilience



New market niches


***Questions

How to monetize the individual? Go to that multi-capitalisation skill. Understanding of the relationship between building social captial and reputation might be a way to convert that into monetising. What do you give away and what do you charge for? This is a real area of fluidity right now. We shouldn't think about monetisation alone...we should think about other kinds of capital.

If you're talking about micro-businesses and the amount of time that should be spent on this kind of social networking/web. Andrea: it's not just a chunk of time...what is it that they're doing on the web. Are they participating in a discussion related to their job...that would be related to their work. The question is why are you going out there? You need a good reason for using that kind of technology, a way to enhance the staff that actually makes them more productive.









[nlab social networks conference - roland harwood]

Roland Harwood: "Are Online Social Networks the New Cities?"

social networks are starting to fulfill some of the interactions upon which cities are traditionally based

two books that have inspired Roland:
The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs and Emergence by Steven Johnson

Manchester - first formed as a settlement in 76 and 1301 there was a town charter and in 1700-1850 because of industrial revolution it grew ten-fold though not formally recognised as a city until 1853.

People who study urban growth talk about the role of technology (field rotation etc...) on the development of cities. "I think the internet is going to have as profound effect on cities but we're only at the beginning."

See Richard Florida Flight of the Creative Class.

Jane Jacobs talks about the essence of cities, especially cites in which you can walk. In a car you are isolated but on foot you overhead conversations, have encounters and even change your behaviour based on those encounters. The characteristics of good cities:

random encounters, information storage and exchange, communities, space to play, economies of scale, trade/sharing, organised complexity, anonymity.

Diversity drives innovation. We need to create more space to cross-fertilise our ideas (this can feed into my IOCT research on transdisciplinarity).

Roland's just mentioned a really interesting idea of "bothies": random shelters that people can use for free?! See here for more info: http://www.mountainbothies.org.uk/

[nlab social networks conference - steve clayton]

Today is the day for the Social Networking conference hosted by NLab.
First speaker of the day is Steve Clayton: "Social Networking for Small Businesses - Lessons from Microsoft?"

How to establish trust between big business and local consumers?

How do consumers find info? Show of hands - who uses the yellow pages? no one. People use google (and microsoft live search) and blogs. There's a really big difference between a blog and a website for businesses.

Microsoft put a video out for a game Gears of War and instantly it turned into a hugely viral marketing tool. The audience mashed it up and turned the video into a social device, a tool for communication (see here and video mashups here)

Hilarious microsoft ipod video: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4313772690011721857

The best bit about the web, finding something unique to say and start conversations with people on the long tail.

To get high on google: either pay to appear high on the right hand side or have lots of people linking to you to appear high on the left-hand side.

Stats:
*70% of small businesses have a website
*2 out of 10 small businesse websites do not have company contact details or product/service info
*info isn't updated

Think of small businesses that blog and then do well - English Cut, Savile Row - 4 years ago there wasn't much demand for a £3000 suit but bumped into Hugh MaCloud who suggested he set up a blog. Rather than try to sell suits the plan was to talk about tailoring, how to buy cloth, how to cut cloth etc... now sells suits to royalty and has more business than he can manage...all because of a blog which engages conversation.

Microsoft now has 4500 bloggers.

Through constant engagement, linking to others, facilitating conversation Steve moved up in the google listing.

The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman
Small is the New Big by Seth Godin - means you have something unique, you can be agile. The web and blogs in particular give you the platform to do that in an incredibly powerful way.

Twitter - the new pub, a place where all your friends are.

Need to build up the trust quotient.

If the buzzword bingo is a bit tricky, a jungle of new-fangled terms and ideas, Steve suggests common craft for ideas explained in "plain English."

18.6.08

[Creative Writing and New Media MA Showcase]

Another event - 2 in 1 day! - at the IOCT. Following Andrea Saveri's talk on Amplified Individuals we have the Online MA's showcase of the first two years that the course has been running.

Along with the presentations is a pamphlet giving a bit of a context of the first two years of work as well as bios of all the students. Disclosure: I wrote the essay. Tomorrow this will be downloadable from the course website: http://www.creativewritingandnewmedia.com/

From the IOCT Salon blurb:
"The Online MA in Creative Writing and New Media at De Montfort University is designed for writers interested in experimenting with new formats and exploring the potential of new technologies in their writing. This first annual CWNM Salon is a unique opportunity to enjoy the best work from the first two years of the course with installations and talks from some of the students."
Note: Check out Chris Meade's "Digital Livings" booklet which takes a look at how to make money as a writer in the new media world. There is a downloadable version which will be available soon.
****
First Up
Chris Meade - "Drumming Becoming: The Role of Percussion"

Chris's presentation with drumming is here.

An excerpt:
"In the 90s in Birmingham libraries we ran a project about Silence.
A brilliant young percussionist
whose name now escapes me
played in the Central Library, built up more and more sound
around the ambient hum
of escalators, footfall,murmurings, phone bells.
How much could he enhance the sounds of a place that's thought of as silent
without rupturing the hush?"


After the presentation on drumming Chris "reads" his song on the future of the book. Although he knows the words by heart and the rhythm is his own, still while reading live and aloud the rhythm is slightly different from the recorded version. So at times we can hear the live version slightly before the recorded one. It's like a long-distance telephone call.

****

Toni Le Busque on "Miffy Johnston's Toenails and Other Stories - a combination of fiction and non fiction 100 word stories using Sophie ( http://www.sophieproject.org ), an open-source platform for writing and reading rich media documents in a networked environment, created by The Institute for the Future of the Book."

Early on in the MA Toni decided to start writing stories of 100 words. Enough to get her points across but still easily digestible for the web.

Toni's "America" video used free archive.org images. The music is also copyright-free. Check out lebusqe.com for links to all of Toni's work.

Interestingly with Toni's work with flash page-turning software (Sophie from the Future of the Book) a lot of people "had a go at her." Some suggested she was a proponent for the death of the book. Interesting. If anything this kind of tie to print books suggests a respect/awareness of tradition? As a defense to this Toni says she has to pay a lot of attention to design. She is not the "poor man's" novelist.

****
Kirsty McGill - Discussing her ongoing project to develop a next-generation rich-media tour for the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bath.

Realised that existing virtual tours are pretty bland, mostly text and hardly any narrative, just read the wikipedia definition:
A virtual tour (or panaramic tour) is a simulation of an actually existing location, usually composed of panoramic images, a sequence of hyperlinked still or video images, and/or virtual models of the real location. They also may use other multimedia elements such as sound effects, music, narration, and text. As opposed to actual tourism, a virtual tour is typically accessed on a personal computer or an interactive kiosk.

Rather different from a *real* tour guide is the inability to ask the guide questions. Kirsty has been creating a question-and-answer facility with a chatterbot with pandora: http://www.pandorabots.com/botmaster/en/home.

Read Kirsty's blog for updates on her project: Custard Ether.

****
Claudia Cragg
http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/ccragg/ "If you build it, they will come". To what extent does this apply to Facebook and MySpace sites and, if no one comes, just exactly what can you do about it? Claudia will discuss this and other questions in relation to her Aung San Suu Kyi (Burma) Lab research Participatory Media project: http://108presentsforsuu.googlepages.com/home .

Been a journalist since last '70s and asked to help collect signatures and raise awareness for Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi. How to raise awareness? Well the world is suffering from "charity fatigue" so a new media way might be the "sexiest" way to get the word out. First do a vast amount of reading! Second: how do you actually crowd source, how do you get to the crowd?

Note: web 2.0 basically makes the printed word and journalism more "dynamic." Interesting.

If the message isn't enough, need to generate and maintain interest - keep people there more than 10 seconds.

Following Howard Rheingold, it's not enough to just have a website, need to have other ways of sharing info such as Facebook , Twitter and a blog. (link frontline sms as used by Obama).

Background findings - older people won't join Facebook to add their signatures to the petition.
Learnt a number of lessons - thought enthusiasm and demonstrable results would be enough to convince old media journalists - nope, they just don't get it. A blog is absolutely essential. Twitter has been successful but not as successful as Claudia thinks...despite coverage in the Wall Tweet Journal. So telephony based communication is essential for the future of any collaborative projects. Claudia says most of what she has learnt isn't exactly technical but human - she needs a team to create the project.

****
Christine Wilks
http://www.crissxross.net

Fitting the Pattern: or being a dressmaker's daughter -
a memoir in pieces (embroidered)

Cutting through the memories, stitching up the fabrications, pinning down the facts, unpicking the past... An interactive memoir, created in Flash, exploring aspects of my relationship with my dressmaking mother.

Christine reads out exerpts but there's a bit where she talks about being bullied for her "softly tailoured outfits" and does this fantastic "northern" accent.

"How we were turned out was more important than how we turned out."

"In her outfits I didn't fit in I stuck out and felt stuck up."



****

Alison Norrington
http://www.alisonnorrington.com Showcasing Staying Single, Alison's first cross-media work of fictional blogging which gave readers a variety of ways to engage, participate with and receive the story, including fragmented chapters emailed to subscribers, SMS alerts through Twitter, mini documentaries of real-life stories, meet-ups in Second Life and Machinima films. She will also offer a sneak-preview of her plans for her second cross-media fiction I love NY.

For Alison's dissertation project she wanted to give her readers ways of interacting with the story (if they wanted to) and "be more immersed."

Realised that although she had 15 chapters ready (for Staying Single) but it wasn't current or "punchy" enough. By writing it every day instead of uploading before hand she was able to pull from current events (Jordan and Peter Andre) and create more bite-size bits.

Offered:

Daily posts on blogger, e-mail to subscribers, podcast chapters, sophiedilemma.com, youtube documentaries, social networking (bebo, myspace, facebook), twitter, second life, forum, micropoll - with hindsight this was way too much to run.

On MySpace was a bit seedy - the people who approached Alison (as Sophie) were all about not staying single...While Facebook attracted more of the mid 30s-40s crowd.

When Alison went on holiday she wasn't sure how that would work with the story. So decided that Sophie would go on holiday too. Alison then asked if readers would like a postcard from her holiday, 85 real people responded so Alison spent a good part of her day sending out real cards.

Participation: asked readers to send in their best and worst chat-up lines which then appeared online. Some hilarious ones that I'm not blogging here....

Three most popular ways to get to the story: youbtube, second life meet ups and e-mails from sophie

New Story: I Love NY

long distance relationship between and American stoke-broker who is quite laddish and society-like and the fiance who is based in London and is more Bohemian. Right now there is a Facebook profile and youtube. But wants to add an interactive sticker project/game, wedding inviations and justin (product launch of "just in case" special bag with sleep-over necessities like toothbrush etc...). Interestingly for Alison, what all these other outlets provide is more of the "background" story.






[andrea saveri at the ioct]

nb: live-blogged

Andrea Saveri at the IOCT on The Future of Work: Amplified Individuals, Jobs & Organizations

Institute for the Future - founded in 1968
  • How to forecast the future, applied to business, government and non-profits
Think about the future though aware of the present

In terms of business there are 6 key themes that are changing/shaping the future. Accordingly there is a set of new jobs that are going to be important in the future

Collective intelligence officer - oversee the improvisation human resources for the company
Amplification Engineer - improve organization innovation by creating more flexible work styles
Chief Visualization Officer - of Data Whisperer, to devise new ways of visualizing our business
Data Ecologist - design and manage both private and public data clouds
Affinity Agent to build shared values and vision among highly divers collaborates
Junior Catalyst - spark new and experimental collaboration that emphasize diversity as source of innovation
Chief Wellness Officer - implement and oversee a culture of health
Biocitizen Liason - to serves as the primary point of contact between the senior management and individual members of the company's various social health networks
Senior Green Strategist - minimize organizations resource usage while maximising productivity and profit
Ecotect - for a complete and custom sustainability make-over of our work environment
Cognitive Resource Manager - coordinate and augment mental efforts at the workplace
Neurological Training Officer - improve cognitive fitness among employees

But what about the people?

Amplified Individuals - through their access to social media and their practises they are expanding the reach and effect of businesses - amplifying and challenging processes of business

How are they doing it?
Highly social - providing social filters to help process massive amounts of information (flickr - the photo becomes an artifact around which people comment, tag etc...)
classic fm, digg, delicious etc...

Amplified individuals are highly collective, they can tap into knowledge of a group and use it - wikis, twitter, prediction markets etc...

they are into crowd sourcing (see crowdspirit.com, innocentive)

lifehacker - software downloads that help keep you focused (see the anti-procrastination alert!)

cognitive interfaces - think ADHA drug provigil, tested in the military to enhance "alertness" and memory...uni students have been using it around exam time.
Raises the issue - what is "normal" performance
So here you might see the Amplification Engineer and the Chief Performance Officer come together to develop the intelligence of the organisation

Diversity Redefined - instead of diversity as something politically correct now something that is a core initiative, instead of thinking about it as race, income, age, ethinicity...now cognitive diversity, disciplinary styles that appear and add to the workforce. The whole way we describe and characterise people is expanding.

Surowiecki popularised idea of crowd intelligence and it's actually better when the group is diverse, spanning hierarchies etc...HP has used this kind of info when they do their sales forecasts, going across hierarchies in the organization, leverged the diversity of perspective on their question

What IOCT and Transliteracy is - disciplinary, multidisciplinary interdisciplinary to transdisciplinarity - a biologist who can speak math and the language of art. Can create a different perception and different frame of thinking. The is the key to innovation.

Idea - knitting dna and proteins so that scientists get a spatial perception of information

mChek - mobile payments
dispersed innovation networks start to become embedded in urban centres instead of a cloistered innovation park. Idea that innovation and diversity and urbanism combine = future. Here affinity agents and junior catalysts will come into play.

Visible World is changing - sensory perception, bio metric RFID, pedometres - people, places, things and processes are surrounded by this new layer of visible information

Every object and every interaction is really a data point - as we contribute to wikipedia and leave a trace of where we've been, using a thumbprint scanner at disneyworld...we're leaving trails of ourselves all over the place - see Kevin Kelly

What is important is the need for a new kind of literacy - how do we decode/translate all these different kinds and sources of information?!

Check out Intel Mash Maker which suggests kinds of mashups based on your web browsing (see also swivel)

Science at work - fMRI that scans people while tasks are undertaken (that's what I'll be exploring for part of my research fellowship at the IOCT)

biocitizen - people are designing ways to become the originators of good health so wellness programmes on the rise in the workplace, new media ecologies (see Daily Strength), biotechnology, risk society (Who is sick) - we are going to want to navigate a personal health geography

****
Discussion:
Andrea asked us which of these future jobs we'd each like to take on.
Talked about discrepancy between language, same words don't necessarily share the same values. A "pattern" for a scientist is very different to an artist.

Question of metrics and evaluating performance is a real challenge, especially for universities and hierarchical organisations.

Visualisation is is key - think of the prius which shows drivers exactly how fuel efficiency is going - also has a ludic quality. But in a general context what kind of data streams would you want to visualise?


My question: who is going to be the person to translate these very North American-sounding job titles into more culturally specific ones?
Also - these futuristic jobs might be important for us (UK, North America) but what about other countries? How will Ethiopia or Afganastan benefit from this...how will they even begin to implement it and is it right for them?



17.6.08

[synesthesia]

I've been reading Cretien Van Campen's The Hidden Sense: Synesthesia in Art and Science. In it Van Campen wonders how it might feel like to "hear music in colour, or to see someone's name in colour." Me too though sometimes when speaking to listening to people speak (not singing though) I imagine words or letters...not sure if that counts. According to Van Campen, synesthetes "perceive the colours of words and letters only when they read themin written or printed form." Brain scans of synesthetes show that even when blindfolded and listening to spoken words, the areas of the brain responsible for hearing AND colour vision light up simultaneously. This is unlike nonsynesthetes where brain activity is generated "only in the areas known to be responsible for hearing."



For those of you who are not synesthetic you might be interested to try the "synesthesia on demand" application at hypertextopia. My attempt as a synesthete resulted in this:




(text from Van Campen p. 58)




16.6.08

[social media in lay terms]

Over at common craft there's a handy video explaining social media in "plain English." Useful for anyone new to social media and in tune with our upcoming (this Thursday!) NLab Social Networks conference in Leicester.

Warning: the video might make you hungry for ice cream:


14.6.08

[job opportunity - assistant prof @ trinity uni, usa]

Multiplatform Journalism
One-Year Instructor or Assistant Professor
Fall 2008 / Department of Communication


COMMUNICATION: Trinity University. Instructor or Assistant Professor of Communication, one-year appointment, Fall 2008, M.A. or A.B.D. (Ph.D. preferred). Teach six undergraduate classes per year (9
contact hours per semester) with teaching responsibilities in multiplatform journalism (reporting, writing, and producing across media; and analysis of the challenges of convergence and technological changes) and either industry analysis (Mass Media) or textual analysis
(Media Interpretation and Criticism).

The department is integrated among media specialties and within the liberal arts and sciences mission of the university. The faculty is committed to linking theory and practice in our teaching, research, and service. Trinity University, a highly selective, primarily undergraduate liberal arts and sciences institution, has an ideal student-faculty ratio, and excellent facilities, equipment, and services. Salary: $40,000-$42,000.

Deadline for receipt of applications is July 1, 2008. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. Send letter of application, *curriculum vitae*, three references, graduate institution transcript(s), and teaching evaluations if available to Dr. William Christ, Chair, Search Committee, Department of Communication, Trinity
University, One Trinity Place, San Antonio, TX 78212-7200, email: wchrist at trinity.edu, Fax: 210-999-8355. Electronic submissions preferred. EEO Employer.


12.6.08

[zaks diner - the best place EVER!]

In between work, presentations and some consultancy work on digital literacy in Ontario I squeezed in a bit of travelling and er...eating! One of the best places
I've ever been to is Zak's Diner in Ottawa. They proudly claim that they've been in business for over 20 years and are a "landmark in the Byward Market." I'll attest to that and add that they do the best pancake breakfast ever...with bottomless coffee and oj and excellent friendly service. Check out their menu, it's in French too - mais oui. Perfect for a leisurely start to the weekend. Now...where do I find a diner like that around here?








11.6.08

[mobile ink-free photo printing]

I am so going to get one of these! A way to print photos without a printer. Tools required: PoGo and a mobile 'phone.

According to Ken Sander at DVICE:

" PoGo, an inkless digital photo printer slightly bigger than a deck of cards that prints 2 x 3-inch snapshots. It uses Zink (no ink) technology, which uses heats dye crystals in paper to create prints. The prints don’t smudge, are water-resistant and are almost tearproof. The PoGo prints pictures from cellphones via Bluetooth in about a minute, with the paper costing about 33 cents a sheet. For digital cameras, it connects easily through USB PictBridge. The colors and clarity of the prints looked surprising good."

Read more at Dvice.

9.6.08

[colouring significance/mapping meanings]

Gerry McKiernan has an interesting idea (sounds a bit like what Alan Liu suggested vis-a-vis wikipedia authority when he gave a talk at the IOCT last July). This kind of chromatographic writing happens in some southern Nigerian groups like the "Benin and Edo people." (See Cornell's online library for more info.) McKiernan's suggestion has some serious implications for tracking the publication of scholarly materials. Is there a kind of googlereader out there that reads for colour?

"I Propose That All Give Serious Consideration To Writing-In-Color(s) , With Each Color Representing A Respective Level of Significance Within A Text.

The Visible Spectrum Would Be The Basis For The Relative Levels Of Significance Of Given Text WHERE

Text of Least Importance Would Be Highlighted In RED;
Text of Intermediate Importance Highlighted In GREEN;
Text of Greatest Importance Highlighted in VIOLET, and
Text of In-Between Importance Highlighted in Appropriate Colors: ORANGE, BLUE, INDIGO
Initially, TEXT would be COLORED at the PARAGRAPH LEVEL By The Author(s).

Adjoining OR Disjunct Sections of Text Could Have The SAME COLOR.

Upon Publication, The Reader Would Have The Ability To ReCOLOR The TEXT ToReflect His/Her View On The Relative Significant Of Text In His/Her Opinion And/Or Relative To A Particular Purpose.

I also envision a feature by which The Reader would be able to colorlight individual terms and/or phrases.

Readers would also have the ability to assess the value of The Overall TEXT by LABELING THE TEXT with One Color (Color Digg).

The Higher The Color, The More Significant The Text."




NB - what if a reader is colour blind?

5.6.08

[gaming haptics?]

One gamer's view:

"Llwyd Johnson

My first use of the nia was the Calibration panel. Here the aim is to keep your activity readout at the baseline level. During the calibration, a gyroscope is displayed for you to focus on, allowing the software to gauge your idle activity. At first, the activity readout was extremely erratic and did not correspond to any of my deliberate inputs (be it mental or muscular). After some tweaking and practice however, I was able to carefully and accurately control the readout with the use of facial muscles. While this might sound like an unattractive prospect, pulling faces to provide simple inputs, after some practice I was able to manipulate the readout with very little facial movement at all. Instead, just thinking about moving facial muscles seemed to work just as well.

Once I had the hang of this particular input, I was able to use the Reaction Time and Pong practice games. My experience with Pong was similar to that of the calibration. At first, I struggled to have any control over the paddle, but after some practice and settings adjustments I slowly gained far more accurate control. The reaction time tests used the same input but also allowed mouse input for comparison. At first, the times were around the same but as I slowly overcame the powerful urge to click with my hand rather than my face, the times started to come down to the 0.16s mark. Unfortunately the third practice, Glance Practice, was quite an uphill struggle, both for myself and others present. After calibration, it was clear the sensor was able to detect eye movement, but responded completely without regard to glance direction, making its utilization in-game nearly impossible.

From my brief encounter with the nia, I think it is clear to see how much potential this hardware has. It was an extremely surreal experience causing the slightest influence on input with my hands sitting on my lap. In the few hours I was using the nia, it did feel like I was hitting a 'brain training' wall. I found it impossible to control any of Beta or Alpha inputs while in-game and, as I said, Glance was a non-starter, which has left me feeling a little bit disappointed, despite it probably being totally down to me.

Heading down to HQ, I knew the device would have limitations, but the little kid in me was imagining it granting me near-psychic powers. Unfortunately, after several hours of trying and still only being able to control one input, those limitations look to be greater than I thought. That being said though, I have every confidence that had I played with settings and kept the thing on my head for a few hours a day, I would learn to master more of the inputs and utilize them during gameplay. So if you are looking at buying the nia, I urge you to realize that you are buying a heavily scaled-down version of what you have envisaged. It won’t enable you to sit typing an essay for school while eating dinner and it won’t yet be giving you that edge in your online FPS games. It is a wonderfully useful and clever piece of tech, but I really feel that the technology (as a PC input device) is at stage 1 of its development."


Read the entire article at Overclocked.


2.6.08

[rae & metrics 2.0]

The other day I posted about Stevan Harnad's "Open Access Scientometrics and the UK Research Assessment Exercise" and today I've seen the "New-Media Scholars' Place in 'the Pool' Could Lead to Tenure" artile in the Chronical of Higher Ed. In the article Andrea Foster tells us about "Re:Poste, a Web application that encourages academics to pick apart online articles from the mass media." To those in the know Re:Poste is "the Pool," and might well help new media scholars and practitioners "measure" their imput levels. Gerry McKiernan at Scholarship 2.0 says "No college is yet using the site as a way to evaluate professors" but "once open to the public, could be a good barometer of a scholar's influence."

A bit about Pool:

"Titles of new-media projects are plotted on a two-dimensional graph. People log in and post the reviews of projects, rating their appearance, function, and concept on a scale from 1 to 10. As works garner more reviews, they move from left to right on the graph. If reviews become more positive, the works move toward the top.

Accordingly, the most highly regarded and widely reviewed works migrate to the upper right corner of the graph.

The program calculates the ratings and takes into account the credibility of the reviewers. If a reviewer receives a low appearance rating for his own projects, then his assessment of how others' projects look will not be given much weight.

The Pool also allows visitors to bore deep into a project via hyperlinks, in many cases viewing its evolution from conception to finish. They can see its creator or creators and read how others rated the project. They can see the works that inspired it and the works it inspired. Basic information about a project is posted by the developers."


There's more at the Chronicle on how tagging works in Pool and check out Scholarship 2.0 for an idea of future instantiations including maps of how articles fit into the larger landscape.