Diigo Bookmarks 04/12/2008 (a.m.)

April 12, 2008 at 5:30 am | In links | Comments Off on Diigo Bookmarks 04/12/2008 (a.m.)

Diigo Bookmarks 04/12/2008 (a.m.)

April 11, 2008 at 5:33 pm | In links | 2 Comments

    “Exploring social media and public relatons” = tagline. Includes an excellent new / reworked definition of social media by Joseph Thornley.

    The definition Thornley came up with is this:

    Social media are online communications in which individuals shift fluidly and flexibly between the role of audience and author. To do this, they use social software that enables anyone without knowledge of coding, to post, comment on, share or mash up content and to form communities around shared interests.

    tags: socialcomputing, apps, public_relations, pr, thornley_fallis

Urban “big box” stores: Toronto critics head-to-head?

April 8, 2008 at 10:24 pm | In architecture, cities | 4 Comments

There’s a fascinating dust-up of sorts playing out in Toronto’s two major newspapers over a big box store development planned for Leslie Street. From what I can tell, this is the location — not right downtown, perhaps, but certainly very well within the inner core.

And yet the Globe and Mail‘s James Rusk brings out the big guns in the form of architect Jack Diamond, who more or less suggests that NDP leader Jack Layton misled him into initially opposing the development. Diamond now claims that Layton misrepresented the development to him, and that, really, it’s a charming little properly urban project. See Architect gives retail project thumbs up after seeing for himself.

The Toronto Star‘s Christopher Hume, on the other hand, comes out guns blazing, calling a spade a spade in Impose minimum height on big boxes. He writes that this proposal (together with a couple of others) is nothing but a suburban big box being foisted on the city by developers who have lost all sense of commitment to the place where they develop.

No surprise, I’m on Hume’s side. (No surprise to regular readers, who will have seen me point to many of his articles.)

I also have a problem crediting Rusk, given that he calls Daniel Libeskind David Libeskind. Tsk, tsk. Rusk’s article starts as follows:

A prominent Canadian architect has decided to back a controversial development in the old east-end neighbourhood of Leslieville, saying that federal NDP Leader Jack Layton misled him into opposing it.

In a letter to Mr. Layton, who was once the councillor for the city ward in which the project is located, Jack Diamond said that the impression he got about the development from a telephone conversation with Mr. Layton “was of a large box surrounded by surface parking.”

Mr. Diamond wrote that now that he has seen the project’s plans, “they differ in several important respects” from what Mr. Layton described to him, including a failure by the NDP Leader to mention that, along its two main sides, the project is a continuous front of shop windows, store entrances and pedestrian colonnades.

Mr. Layton said in an interview from Calgary that Mr. Diamond did not use the word “misled” in the letter and that was the word used by a reporter to describe the tone of the letter.


While the political opposition to the project at city hall has been spearheaded by Paula Fletcher, Mr. Layton’s successor on council, that Mr. Layton had taken time from federal politics to play an active role in opposing the project was not known until The Globe and Mail obtained Mr. Diamond’s letter.


While the opponents of the project have labelled it a “big-box” development, SmartCentres has said that this is not an accurate depiction of the two-to-three storey red-brick, mixed-use development on a site east of Pape Avenue between Eastern Avenue and Lake Shore Boulevard.

In the letter, Mr. Diamond said that after reviewing the plans of the 700,000-square-foot Shops of Leslieville, he discovered they follow a model that has proved successful in other neighbourhoods in North America and will also be successful in Toronto.

“This development will be a healthy, positive extension of urban fabric and good city planning principles in this community. It represents a significant step forward in building healthy, street-related retail, healthy neighbourhoods and supports the community,” the letter said.

So writes Rusk, citing Jack Diamond. (Excuse me while I toss my cookies.) Good grief, that letter is just full of fulsomeness, isn’t it? It certainly fails to convince anyone who loves cities.

Here’s Hume’s rebuttal. To whit:

We’re talking about the growing suburbanization of the city. In recent years, a whole new layer of suburban-scale development – highway-like roads, malls and subdivisions – has been added to Toronto.

It represents planning at its worse, a failure to take advantage of the urban conditions.

The most egregious example is an ill-conceived proposal to build a big-box outlet on Eastern Ave. at Leslie St. But they are everywhere one turns – the LCBO on Yonge north of Davisville, the Canadian Tire at Lake Shore Blvd. E. and Leslie, the Shoppers Drug Mart at Queen and Parliament and, worst of all, the Shoppers Drug Mart under construction on Danforth east of Broadview.

None of these buildings deserves to exist. They are an affront to the city, painful demonstrations of what can happen once the corporate agenda is disengaged from the community in which it operates.

Take that, Jack Diamond! Now, Hume calls them single storey monstrosities, and the Leslieville project is supposed to be 2 or 3 storeys, according to Rusk’s account. Regardless, Hume’s critique stands, irrespective of height. It’s the big-box format itself, and the homogeneity it engenders, which are the problem. It’s a format suited for automobile access, but it’s not fine-grained enough for pedestrians, who experience the street at a slower pace. Key point: cities are about people on foot, and the density they create:

These large, bland, thoughtless, single-storey structures are conceived by corporate myrmidons who see no farther than the bottom line.

But the city need not roll over and play dead as usual. Last year, when the Planning Act was amended, the province gave Toronto (and all cities in Ontario) the authority to set minimum height requirements for all new buildings. Even if that were to be set as low as two storeys, it would force the corporations to rethink the way they operate in the city. Most likely, it would require mixed use, which, of course, is exactly what we want.

As the corporations themselves are well aware, the height of the building makes no difference to them. Consider the fact that these same businesses also operate in towers, underground malls and wherever else makes sense. Shoppers can be found in the ground floor of an office tower at King and Yonge. LCBO outlets are all over the place.

Then there’s the most interesting case of all, perhaps, the Canadian Tire in the Ryerson School of Management Building at Dundas and Bay. In its own way, this structure, which opened several years ago, points the way to Toronto’s future. Canadian Tire occupies the ground floor; above that there’s a parking garage, and above that, the school itself.

Thus the density so necessary to the proper functioning of an urban centre has been enhanced. It is a win-win-win; all the players get what they want.

Hume goes on to discuss the proposal at Leslieville, which according to his description is not the 2 or 3 storey development described in Rusk’s article. I have no idea who is right — but Hume definitely has the right idea:

In the case of the Eastern Ave. scheme, which comes complete with surface parking for 1,900 cars, minimum height requirements would fundamentally alter the form of the proposal. It would force designers – if indeed any are involved – to reconfigure these retail behemoths, to make them part of something larger, something more urban in its form and content. Adding one, two or three floors would mean more and varied uses.

After all, the essential difference between cities and suburbs lies in the diversity and density of the former, the lack thereof in the latter. Since most growth occurs in the suburbs, perhaps it’s not surprising that corporate thinking has become lazy and one-dimensional.

Clearly, operating in the city requires they learn to walk and chew gum at the same time. In a city, they can’t just throw up boxes that sit dumbly in the middle of a parking lot. As much as business prefers that model, it doesn’t apply, or at least it shouldn’t. To build downtown is to build within a context. It requires intelligence, creativity and a little sophistication. That may be asking a lot of these corporations, but then, they take a lot from Toronto. That’s why they want to be here.

The insanity of putting surface parking lots on site –and 1,900 of them, at that! — instead of putting parking underground makes this project profoundly wrong. Even Victoria (Saanich, actually) is eliminating surface parking at the Town and Country redevelopment here (which had just over 1,000 surface parking spaces), and frankly, it’s still no prize.

Here are two other articles on the Toronto subject: Hey, Richard Florida, pick up that picket sign in the National Post; Rejuvenating the waterfront, one big box store at a time in Spacing Toronto.

Diigo Bookmarks 04/09/2008

April 8, 2008 at 5:45 pm | In links | Comments Off on Diigo Bookmarks 04/09/2008

WorldChanging: The Worldchanging Interview: Clay Shirky Annotated

tags: worldchanging, interview, clay_shirky, jon_lebkowsky

Worldchanging interview with Clay Shirky by Jon Lebkowsky.

It’s already the week *after* DemoCampVictoria01!

April 8, 2008 at 12:09 am | In DemoCampVictoria, democampvictoria01, victoria, web | 2 Comments

Good grief, how time flies — I promised another update, didn’t I?

I’m a bit surprised that I haven’t come across more blog posts, other than those by Mark Lise, Tris Hussey (great photos, Tris!), and Boris Mann (and the earlier posts from those same folks, see my April 4 entry for details) that discussed last Thursday’s first-ever Victoria DemoCamp, considering the sheer number of people there. But I guess most of us are consumers in the first instance, which means there’s always a reason not to produce stuff that someone else might consume.

I know that the web wants to be fed, too, however — promiscuity rules here, and it’s the way of all evolution, after all. So let me provide some cross-fertilization…!

So… I’ll start with the two people who decided to present somewhat at the last moment, which was great. Gels (one of the very few women at the event) decided to present on the spot. She spoke about a project she’s working on at UVic’s ETCL: Electronic Textual Cultures Lab, which is currently under development. It immediately reminded me of what Diigo does, except that Diigo of course works with web pages, whereas Gels’s project involves taking archival text documents held in university (and private?) collections, hitherto inaccessible (unless you visit that institution’s archives or print room), digitizing them, and then making them available for scholars to work on collaboratively (or not).

For anyone who has ever worked in archives (ahem) or print rooms (ahem), this is fantastic. Forget about the white cloth gloves, the “no pens!” rule (pencils only), and the letters of introduction before any archivist will unearth some archival-regulation container from the bowels of double-locked storage for you perusal …during opening hours (typically, for European institutions, from 9-12 and from 2-4 or some ridiculous schedule like that!)…. Forget the airplane tickets. No, this way you can access the material online, and scribble all over it (digitally, of course) to your heart’s content. Cool. (That said, it is fun going to the archives in the flesh — like so many other things that are fun to do in the flesh! But it’s good to know that we’re moving toward online access, and collaboration, too.)

The other person who decided at the last moment to present was Dylan Leblanc, founder of Skyscraperpage.com. (Here’s a nice photo of Dylan, courtesy of Tris Hussey.) I know Dylan through VibrantVictoria, and made sure those guys were aware of DemoCamp. Well, I think Dylan really blew some people in the audience away when they realized that big old SSP was Dylan’s Victoria-based brainchild ten years ago, and that it now commands what must be one of the biggest databases or information storehouses concerning all things “skyscraper.” Globally. And they sell posters.

Some presenters were too technical for my limited understanding, but I’m willing to bet their work is interesting. Admittedly, Darren Duncan, who will be speaking at OSCon this July, made me feel like I was once again an undergraduate at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich, participating in a pro-seminar about Alfred North Whitehead. Darren develops database software through his company, Muldis Data Systems: A Multiverse of Discourse — and that’s all I’ll say before I embarrass myself. To learn more, click through to his site!

The guys from Flock presented a totally freshly-tweaked (or “turbo’d”) version of their browser — I didn’t make a note of the main guy’s name (sorry!), but when he said he would demo this beta-beta-secret/brand-new version, mock groans of agonized anguish arose from his development team sitting at the back. I gather they felt it really wasn’t ready to go public, but I thought it looked pretty nifty: there was something about dragging and dropping your contacts and friends from various applications and feeds right into the browser environment, so that you don’t need to use tabs to switch between, say, Facebook and Gmail and Flickr and Twitter and what have you. That looked pretty cool.

[Update (4/8/08): Business Week just published a really great article about Flock.  See In Browsers, Flock May Lead the Flock, by Arik Hesseldahl.  Check it out!]

What else? Steven (“Stevo”) Bengston presented Songbird, which he billed as a kind of open source iTunes. This looks like an interesting application, too, although I tend not to have any music playing when I’m working on the computer. That probably shows my age, but it’s my personal barrier to embracing music sites. They make me feel that I need to pay attention, if only to “discover” new music. Hmm, it occurs to me that this speaks volumes (pun) about my driving habits — everyone’s driving habits, I guess: I don’t mind the distraction when I’m in the car. Eeks.

Online music sites often have lots of interesting visual aspects in their UIs, as does Songbird, which has a clean, elegant look to it. But because the visuals are so information-rich, I really do feel that they demand my attention, and like all these new apps, there’s a blog to keep up with, too. Just yesterday and today, I went back to playing around on Fairtilizer, which I joined last Fall, and realized that for me the biggest barrier to engaging fully with online music sites is the time they demand. Well, d’oh, you’re probably thinking. Of course music takes time, d’oh, d’oh, and d’oh again. But there you go: time is the stuff of the attention economy…

Now, on the topic of online music sites, it’s a good idea to read Fred Wilson’s recent post, Something Important Is On The Horizon In The Music Business. On music streaming, Fred (with his VC hat on?) writes:

These services are coming to mobile phones, probably in the next year we’ll all be listening to pandora or last.fm in the gym on our phone instead of our limited library on our iPod. That’s when this new form of listening is going to explode. And that’s when Apple is going to wish it had thought more about streaming and less about file based music. But you can’t feel too badly about Apple because a good number of people will be listening to pandora or last.fm on their iPhones.

Two things happened this past week that may be important to this emerging market. First, MySpace got in the game. They cut deals with most of the major labels to allow them to offer their own streaming service. It’s MySpace, and as Bob Lefsetz points out, they have their own set of challenges with technology and user experience. But music is a HUGE part of the MySpace experience and they have over 100 million people a month coming to MySpace, often for music, and that’s a much bigger audience than anyone else has for a streaming service. And they’ve been in the business of streaming for a long time, not in a particularly easy to use way, but they play a lot of music to a lot of people every day. So I think MySpace will be a meaningful player in the emerging streaming music business.

The other thing that happened is Ian Rogers left Yahoo Music where he had been leading the charge for the past couple years and joined a small startup in LA that has some ideas about this emerging market. Ian is a super smart guy, one of the few people I’ve met in the web music business who really gets where this is all going.

What Ian knows is that the fans are the most powerful distribution points for music. He gets the power of mp3 blogging. He understands that the Hype Machine has built a terrific new age radio station by aggregating all the music that is being posted onto mp3 blogs and he understands that further enabling that kind of behavior, where the fans are the ultimate arbiters of what gets played and what gets popular, is the end game for all of this.


Here’s what we need. We need someone to create an easy to search streamable library of all the recorded music in the world. We need to be able to grab a track and embed it on our blog. We need to be able to see how many people played it. We need others to be able to crawl these user pages with the embedded music and create algorithms based on who posted it, how often it was played, and how often it was reblogged and linked to. The services that do all of that need to be able to play the music that flows out of these social algorithms in the same way. This all has to be licensed and legal and it has to result in money flowing to the artists. If you put the music on your blog, you should have two choices. Allow the ads to be served into your music or your page or both by the service you got the music from. Or deal with the monetization yourself and pay the royalties you owe. Most people will do the former but some will do that latter.

When this platform is built and served up, a million flowers will bloom. Everyone who wants to be a radio station will be one. And it will be simple to do it. And it will be legal. And we’ll be able to listen in our homes on our home stereos, at the gym, at work, at the library, and some day in the car.

That’s the future of the music business. And we’ve made a lot of progress in the past year getting there. I am excited as a fan, a listener, a technogeek, and an investor.

It’s a long quote, but worth keeping in mind. Whoa. The other thing that I find intriguing is how this can be morphed and mashed into local flavors — mixed and matched, “indie” music and your city, your street. To whit, consider Digital Urban’s post from April 1, ipod City: Audio Bubbles & Journeys. Along with a pointer to Here are our journeys, they post their own YouTube video, introduced like this:

A while ago we put up a couple of posts examining the impact of the ipod/walkman revolution on how we perceive and experience the cityscape. Audio devices are standard wear in the city and with them the user is immersed in a ‘MTV World’ where the city is the video and the traditional experience of urbanity is lost to a dub beat or a guitar riff.

To illustrate this point is our walk this afternoon down Tottenham Court Road while listening to Utah Saints…

Ok, back to DemoCampVictoria01…

Need money? But dislike banks? Jay (hope I got that name right — presented a fascinating application called Fortuno, where you can (if you’re in Canada anyway) engage in P2P lending and borrowing. Yup. It’s sort of like Kiva and other forms of microlending, except in this case the lender and borrower find each other, sort like people do on other social networking sites. Keep an eye on Fortuno — it’s just crazy enough to work. As their site explains:

Earn Money as a Lender

For people looking for an innovative way to invest their hard-earned money, Fortuno will give you an extremely safe alternative to more traditional investments such as Canada Savings Bonds, GIC’s, and high-interest savings accounts. The return on your investment will be significantly higher than these traditional products. Plus, your investment will make a meaningful difference and help improve the quality of life for fellow Canadians!

A Cheap New Way to Borrow Money

For people looking for an innovative way to borrow funds, Fortuno truly is the winning alternative to high-interest credit cards, personal loans, and lines of credit. Fortuno helps you put money back into your own pocket with lower interest rates oBuyLatern loans as lenders compete with each other to drive your interest rate downwards.

The Fortuno Alternative

We don’t like making the “big” banks even bigger by contributing to their bottom line, and we’re here to change all that by providing real value to all of our lenders and borrowers. If this sounds too good to be true, let us show you otherwise!

I wish I had more information for Matt’s presentation, which was about a wearable device that measures movement and transmits the data to an application on a computer. Who is this for? Athletic coaches, in the first instance. If I find out more about this, I’ll post later…

Ok, and last but decidedly not least, the most lickety-split fast and force-of-nature frenetic presentation was probably Joshua McKenty‘s description of how, over a 4-hour or so period of coding, he came up with BuyLater. As the site says, almost laconically:

Adds a button to Amazon.com webpages, sending you email or tweets when items come back “In Stock”, or the price changes…
Great for Wiis, Kindles, or watching for unannounced “sales” on big-ticket purchases.
Save money and time, while shopping online…

Everyone loved his story, which he started by describing how he practically went broke pursuing what he thought was his best idea (see BountyUp), then building the BuyLater application almost as a lark, and finding that LifeHacker and others thought it was great — and now he’s actually making some money with it. Meanwhile, the brilliant idea of a lifetime continues to languish, but there you go: that’s how the cookie crumbles (sic transit crustulum, or something like that!)

Two random links from my Diigo bookmarks

April 6, 2008 at 5:41 pm | In media | Comments Off on Two random links from my Diigo bookmarks

EDIT: I just noticed now that something in the Diigo Daily blog post functionality must have changed (or I inadvertently changed it?) — everything I highlighted is appearing in the body of my blog post as though it were my text when in fact it’s quotes from the article referenced. I just edited this blog entry to make that clear, blockquoting the bits that are from the Times article. (April 7/08) Further edit, same date: It’s actually too much that all the highlighted bits should get included anyway. I changed the functionality just now to show only the links. Not sure if this will mean that my description of the link (why I bookmarked it) will also disappear, but we’ll see what happens with the next one, which should appear sometime today).

Street photographers fear for their art amid climate of suspicion – Times Online Annotatedtags: freedom, paranoia, photography, public_space, street_photography, terrorism

Here’s a sobering article on the general hysteria over “terrorism,” which has resulted in getting street photographers arrested or detained or questioned. Anyone seen taking photographs, especially covertly or seemingly so, is likely to get in trouble these days. But how can you be a good street photographer if you don’t conceal just a little bit the fact that you’re taking photos in the first place? You want that candid moment, right?

Matt Stuart photographs the unscripted drama of the London streets. Entirely spontaneous, his pictures are made possible by a combination of instinct, cunning and happy coincidence, revealing the beauty and significance of the everyday – what the rest of us see but don’t notice, moments that vanish faster than the blink of an eye.

For his efforts, Stuart has picked up a little collection of pink stop-and-search slips, souvenirs of practising a century-old art form in a city increasingly paranoid and authoritarian.

After 11 years, Stuart is something of an old hand. Using the street photographer’s traditional tool of choice – the discreet and near silent Leica camera – he knows how to make himself invisible, make an image and move on. He rarely runs into trouble; when he does, he knows his rights. (…)

To some, the very idea of covertly photographing strangers might seem “odd”, even distasteful. And yet a proportion of those same people will own a print of Robert Doisneau’s Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville, or have sent greetings cards showing 1930s Paris, as recorded by Brassai. Street photography has given us a lot. More, perhaps, than we know. (…)

Street photography doesn’t just document what our environment used to look like; it shows us how it really looks now, freezing the moment to reveal the weirdness and magic of the split second … Stuart’s photograph of a young dancer, in mid-air, upside-down, in Trafalgar Square … Mermelstein’s of a woman out walking her pet iguana. These images reveal the surreal in the real, force us to appreciate that our city spaces are collages of constantly shifting, surprising juxtaposition.

I ask Mermelstein whether he’s ever hesitated before recording a complete stranger. He says he has … “but I believe firmly that if something’s in the public domain then one has the right to render them photographically. That if you’re out on the street, you’re in public.

  • – interesting, how that compares to France… – post by lampertina

(…) But aren’t there times when he’d rather not be photographed? “Living in London I’m filmed 300 times a day by CCTV, so I’ve got over that quickly.”

(…) “In France, traditionally one of the great centres of street photography, the law now says you own the rights to your own image, so street photography’s become a dead art. In London there’s a growing community of photographers, using digital technology, not just cameras, but blogs, too, to document the city and give each other instant feedback.” (…)

“I’m not going to belittle the issue of terrorism, but this is paranoia. And unfortunately, since Lady Di and now this link with terrorists, photography’s seen by many people as something that’s a little … cheap.”

Street photography on the net

A showcase of contemporary street photographers, including work by Matt Stuart, plus a “masters” section, featuring the brilliant and influential Joel Meyerowitz.

An international street photography collective, with a newsletter, and links to interviews by and films of masters of the art.

A German-based collective, including galleries, news and book reviews.

Work by Jeff Mermelstein, chronicler of New York.

The world’s most famous photographic agency includes work by some of the pioneers and masters of street photography, including Henri Cartier-Bresson and Elliott Erwitt.

Videos (and slides) of keynotes available – The Mobile City » Blog Archive »

tags: mobile_city, reference, locative_media, video, cities, architecture

Michiel de Lange posted keynotes and slides online from the recent Mobile City conference.

(Edit: sorry, this last link is a duplicate — I got mixed up over what was getting sent to my blog automatically, etc. )

Daily Diigo Public Link 04/07/2008

April 6, 2008 at 5:39 pm | In links | Comments Off on Daily Diigo Public Link 04/07/2008

Videos (and slides) of keynotes available – The Mobile City » Blog Archive »

tags: mobile_city, reference, locative_media, video, cities, architecture

Michiel de Lange posted keynotes and slides online from the recent Mobile City conference.

Mobile City must-reads on locative media and location-based services

April 6, 2008 at 11:38 am | In cities, ubiquity, virtually, web | Comments Off on Mobile City must-reads on locative media and location-based services

The Mobile City blog is on a roll with four fascinating posts on locative media. The first three (from March 29) are by Michiel de Lange, while the fourth (from April 4) is by Tijmen Schep.

In Mobile phone access for Cubans: the “mobile” as rhetorical force de Lange points to a key theme that’s hyped around mobile technology: its alleged ability to deliver freedom. As de Lange writes, even a cursory glance at the news stories reporting on Raul Castro’s lifting of a ban against owning cell phones shows that “a paradigm – with enough people ‘in’ it – inevitably means basic concepts (like ‘mobile’) are accepted as validation and legitimization in themselves for working on them.” The critical distance between what’s getting developed and those who are developing it shrinks, in other words.

Here in Canada we’re soon going to be behind Cuba when it comes to being able to leverage mobile phone technology, as our service providers lock users into silos, corrals, and limitations. So I’m looking at this from both sides: yes, I can cast a critical glance on the rhetoric (I didn’t study the Frankfurt School for nothing), but simultaneously, oh yes, I can get behind the rhetoric, too, as I contemplate outside freedoms from within the walled Canadian garden of telcom service providers.

The next item by de Lange, Hackers attack epilectics forum: crossing digital borders (first reported in Wired Magazine here), is downright creepy, fit for a William Gibson novel perhaps. And yet it’s not science fiction, it’s the real and actual bleeding through of the virtual into the physical:

A cruel yet fascinating example of the blurring between online space and the physical, and how the ‘virtual’ is creeping (or in this case seizing) into the world we formerly knew as ‘real world’. Of course, examples abound of people carrying their online avatars with them outside the (MMORPG) game, or people making hard cash out of virtual real estate, etc. Yet what makes this case special I think is the intention of the attackers to target this specific group in this way, in order to inflict bodily harm on actual persons through digitally mediated ways. No doubt they must have imagined epileptic patients getting fits and seizures behind their computers when crafting their attack. It’ precisely this intentional aspect of breaking out of screen space, stepping outside of the bounded online world with its own rules that thrives on willingly forgetting that there are actual people in flesh and blood sitting behind their screen (in their underwear picking their nose), that makes this a special case.

It is just a matter of time before hackers launch similar attacks on the digital infrastructures of the city, be it the RFID transport system, CCTV surveillance, the various wireless data networks, or any combination. The first attempts are already there. The physical seizure this may cause to the city is hard to imagine now.


I think from here I’ll jump to Tijmen Schep’s post, The cell-phone, which includes a fantastic juxtaposition of a diagram showing a plant cell in cross-section next to a photo of a Star Trek hand-held “communicator,” flipped open and looking for all the world like a cell phone.

Why the connection between Star Trek “fantasy” and plant biology …and cell phones, you ask? Schep’s entry starts with a pointer to How William Shatner changed the world, which is a two-hour documentary that “explains how the concepts created for Star Trek laid the basis for a kind of self-fulfilling prophesy. …during one segment Motorola’s Martin Cooper, proclaimed inventor or the cellphone, claims he got the idea for the phone from those cool communicators captain Kirk and his crew always carried around.” At the same time, as Schep notes by pointing to a March 26 Reuters article (Mobile phone inventor dreams of human embeds), “When Martin Cooper invented the cell phone 35 years ago, he envisioned a world with people so wedded to wireless connections that they would walk around with devices embedded in their bodies.” Hence the clever reference to the plant cell… Talk about bleeding the real and the virtual together into the information body.

And so finally let’s go back another entry by de Lange from March 29, KPN & Hyves cooperate: proximity-based social networking, which is about the Netherlands’ largest telcom, KPN, striking a deal with Holland’s most popular social network Hyves. The idea? To add locational information to text messages sent by Hyves users to one another.

Sounds like a logical idea based on the fact that so many cell phone users almost reflexively tell or answer questions related to where they are. De Lange writes:

KPN customers can switch the service on by first registering for this service on Hyves. Whenever they send a text message containing information about what they are currently doing to a specific number, they will be positioned on a Google Maps application within Hyves, which may be seen by other Hyves users.

This is just another step in the field of LBS (location based services) that telcoms are seemingly desperately trying to develop. LBS had been a buzzword for some time now, but the real “killer-app” hasn’t come up yet. I’m curious to see how this will develop, since these are very strong partners indeed.

But he throws in a couple of caveats worth considering. Questions like “where are you?” and “what are you doing?” are, as he writes, “often just a sign of reciprocal involvement with the life of the other person, a type of mobile gift exchanges.” And by providing a technology that makes the gift redundant, you could end up a party pooper…

DemoCamp Victoria 01

April 4, 2008 at 9:03 am | In DemoCampVictoria, democampvictoria01, victoria, web | 10 Comments

I’ll post more later when I have time, but Boris Mann and Tris Hussey are first past the post getting info about last night’s DemoCamp Victoria on to the web.

This first-ever session was organized by Mark Lise, and hosted at the Juliet Presentation Centre (834 Johnson St.) by Dave Chard (Chard Development), Wendy Pryde, and Jessica Pryde (Juliet Living).

Tris was really fast with flickr photos and a liveblogged session and Boris posted an interview with Wendy last night to utterz.com, which you can find on his page (right sidebar). [Edit: Boris just posted a direct link to his interview with Wendy Pryde, here.]


There must have been well over 60 people there — 48 chairs, all filled, plus a whole bunch of people standing room only, and 7 people presented (which is a lot).

I’ll write some more (with links) about those demos, but for now, check out Tris’s liveblog transcript — which ends thus:

Wow this space is being offered for free for future events! Â Talk about great support for the Victoria tech community! Â Props to them!

Yikes, Kudos to Dave Chard!

Here’s a photo from Tris’s flickr photo stream. That’s Jessica pouring libations in the first photo …ah! Check out the rest, too…

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