Web discipline: instructed skid marks

June 30, 2008 at 12:11 pm | In housekeeping, web, writing | Comments Off on Web discipline: instructed skid marks

It’s a day shy of July, and I had hoped that by now there would be a “finish” to some still-open “action items.”  But things are not quite yet falling into place.  It’s not entirely my “fault,” but I confess that I’m skidding into inefficiency myself.

At the same time, I’m reluctant to beat myself up in public (on this blog), so I won’t try, just now, to analyze why I have come to feel like such a drudge.

On a different note (but also, curiously, part and parcel of what contributes to my present discombobulation), here are a couple of items — trails, if you will — that I came across online and that I’ve scattered randoms thoughts into.

First, last night I read David Weinberger’s Government by these people, a brief pointer to an article by Matthew Burton.  Burton’s piece (Why I Help “The Man”, and Why You Should Too) inspired me to leave a long-ish comment on David’s blog.  It’s about government, especially local government.

But what was then more intriguing from my perspective was that I came across an article by the Toronto Star‘s Christopher Hume this morning, For fire trucks, bigger isn’t better, which I subsequently twittered (“Can’t you just see the burning babies already?”) and commented on in my Friendfeed:

The job of service providers (such as firefighters), says Hume, “is to serve Toronto, not alter the very fabric of the city to serve your needs.” The key clause is “not alter the very fabric of the city to serve your needs.”

That’s the key in the relationship between infrastructure (including services) and urban fabric (historical & living thing built up over time): too often, the service gets an “improvement” that destroys what was built over time — as though time, during which the embodied energy of past users accrued, doesn’t matter (is immaterial).

It’s not immaterial: in cities you can see time as matter.

Infrastructure as “embodied” money, cities as embodied time.

To see embodied money in totally new infrastructure, to the point of seeing capitalism’s astral body, go to Las Vegas (which provides a fabulous experience). (Comment to self: Q: why am I making blog/ book/ article notes to myself on Friendfeed? A: Because it’s there?…)

That comment in turn somehow connected with what I had written on David’s Hyperorg blog, as well as with something I’ve been thinking about ever since my first visit to Las Vegas last October.  The thought (then) was that Las Vegas makes capitalism’s astral body visible.  Somehow, in the triangulation between (1) Burton/my comment on Hyperorg and (2) Hume/my comment on Friendfeed and (3) my remnant impression of Vegas, a more firmly defined thought clicked into place.

I’m just a bit depressed by how distractedly it clicks, though.  I’m also worried that the distributed nature of its clicking will mean that it stays dispersed instead of being pulled into a reasoned, written article.

And so we (I?) am back to where I started at the outset of this blogpost: the nature of skidding into inefficiency, as embodied by my undisciplined ways.

Diigo Bookmarks 05/15/2008 (p.m.)

May 15, 2008 at 5:32 am | In authenticity, links, media, web | 1 Comment

    Published on the same date as The new oases (which I bookmarked at the time), I missed this story the first time around (April 10). Saw it now via Wendy Waters’s blog, All About Cities. Like “The new oases,” this article is also about mobile computing, and its effects on our social worlds/ lived lives.

    It’s odd this topic should have popped up for me today, as the other article (The new oases) was one I thought of as seeming apposite to a discussion around video commenting, taking place on Fred Wilson’s blog. The conversation there is about Disqus and Seesmic, which have joined forces to enable users to leave video recorded comments (vs. text scribblings) on blogs. Somehow, when I read about this (also on Dave Winer’s blog as well as Wilson’s — I left a comment on the latter’s, albeit straight text, no video), I immediately thought of The new oases and its points regarding isolation. Disclaimer: my “ruminations” have nothing to do with the conversations taking place on either blog or their comments boards. I’m thinking about this from a more abstract angle, although the question, “what’s the point of video comments?” did come up again and again on those blogs, too.

    What is the point? More information? More immediacy? More …more? If it’s more more (immediacy, intimacy, contact), then you really do have to wonder. Can the technology can ever produce or recreate “nest warmth,” that sense of communal belonging, or isn’t each instance of technological mediation just another way of giving us yet another perspective view on our own selves? Another perspective, which is a slice but hardly an integration, a whole?

    It’s not the case that “communal belonging” or what the Germans call “Nestwaerme” (nest warmth), which is a kind of fusion, is a good thing; nor is it a question of whether getting a perspective (let’s call that slicing or parsing) is a good thing. They’re both good things in their appropriate times and places. It’s more a question of not confusing one for the other, and I got the impression from reading responses that there’s a lot of confusion — and confusing of the two. On Wilson’s blog there’s much discussion of whether or not the Disqus-Seesmic joint venture (video blog comments) will produce better comments/ comments streams/ understanding. I don’t think it will. It will just refract whatever understanding exists or is able to be seen into yet more facets. That’s all. Whether or not those slices and perspectives will be pulled into a new whole will depend on who’s doing the pulling.

  • tags: the_economist, nomadism, mobile_technology, mobile_city, technology

  • Wouldn’t it be great to have something like this (based on a virus invading the artist’s computer) be digital/ computer-generated, instead of in the same old technique of …?screen-printed banners? C’mon, so it’s a nice pattern — but if it derived from “a virus that invaded [artist Bratsa] Bonifacho’s computer,” why not make it viral in form?

    tags: vancouver, bratsa_bonifacho, art, art_projects, public_art

Follow me on Diigo, too

April 24, 2008 at 6:20 pm | In web | Comments Off on Follow me on Diigo, too

Aside from posting to Twitter (where there’s a certain art to making posts that stay under 160 characters in length — microblogging as haiku on steroids?), I also add frequently to my Diigo account, which you can see here.  When I have time, I annotate my bookmarks extensively, so there’s actually something to read.

It’s way better than Del.icio.us, in my opinion.

Sometimes I bookmark items because they spark enough to make me comment at length (as Doc Searls’s April 19/08 article, Understanding Infrastructure, did), or else it’s part of my current effort to immerse in urbanism-related issues (if that’s of interest, please take a look at CEOs for Cities blip.tv clip, Chicago’s Green Dividend: totally fascinating).  And sometimes it’s —  urgh! — nostalgia, as triggered for example by this Better Bad News clip.  Ha, innocent days, when whether or not “embedding” a brand name could be considered selling out…  Man, we were all such schmucks…

Follow me on Twitter

April 23, 2008 at 9:21 pm | In web | Comments Off on Follow me on Twitter

In the event that I do have some readers out there, just a heads-up that I’ll be very busy in the next little while, and therefore not able to write to this blog as often as I’d like …but: you can follow me on Twitter! Yup, I have a Twitter account and find that I like that “microblogging”function. If you use Twitter, give me a tweet, and I can tweet right back at ya.

Also check out Twitter Local for your area (punch in your zip or postal code), and see who’s tweeting in your neighbourhood. Lots of little microniche apps in the pipe for Twitter…

Reading Fred Wilson on the hyperlocal

April 19, 2008 at 11:57 pm | In innovation, local_not_global, ubiquity, urbanism, victoria, virtually, web | Comments Off on Reading Fred Wilson on the hyperlocal

I started reading Fred Wilson back in January when one of outside.in’s blog posts referenced Wilson’s entry, Rethinking The Local Paper. Wilson is a NYC-based venture capitalist/ investor who funds start-ups related to new media, social networking, online technologies, …that sort of thing. He’s also quite brilliant, blogs (A VC – Musings of a VC in NYC) regularly, and has all the relevant “social media” accounts (and uses them to learn things).

In his January post on Rethinking The Local Paper, he wrote about his passion for the hyperlocal, which immediately hooked me. My interests in urbanism, architecture, mobile media, locative media, social media — all that stuff — collide at the local level. I love how these things are creating whole ecosystems, webs of interrelated dependencies: economies. In that entry he wrote:

In fact, the first thing we all need to understand about “hyperlocal” is that this is going to be a long slog. It’s simple enough to put up a search field and ask for a neighborhood name or zip code and return a result. outside.in has been doing that for over a year now. (…) …the results are not that compelling. YET.

The thing that has to happen and will happen, I just don’t know when, is that we are going to program our community newspapers ourselves. (…)

But there just aren’t that many people producing hyperlocal content in a form that is organizable into a new version of a community newspaper. Sure there are many people posting photos and more and more of them will get a geotag as we get gps cameras and better web/camera integration. (…) [but:] Where is the relevance?

The people who need to produce the content are the ones who care about the content (the local events), but how do you make that production compelling to them? As Wilson wrote, “there isn’t enough of an incentive to produce hyperlocal content.”

What could help push an incentive along is …well, money. He gets into some detail in the rest of that entry (so click through to read). It could happen, basically, if the local producer could make some revenue from producing (tall order), but the way he describes it, it’s not impossible. His bet is on the local papers, provided they embrace the idea that they can be platforms for local content:

…this is a collaborative effort. We need everyone and everything we can throw at this problem to make this happen. We need every newspaper in the country to embrace platforms like outside.in and everyblock and showcase their content on the newspaper’s pages. We need to find these local voices and amplify them. And we need to attract more of them. And we need to monetize them for their efforts.

I’m not holding my breath on the local papers here, and would like to pursue some other ideas myself. But that’s all cool, because as Wilson says, it’s going to be a multi-pronged and collaborative effort and “we need everyone and everything we can throw at this problem to make this happen.”

The other day he posted another fascinating idea I’d like to see explored here in a hyperlocal way.  This one involves Twitter. Like about a bazillion other people, I have a Twitter account (I actually opened it just a couple of days before “discovering” Fred Wilson back in January) — but then I let it sit there, “following” no one and being “followed” by none and tweeting nary a note. Frankly, having a Twitter account felt like having some weird virtual Tamagotchi pest, er, I mean pet, that required my ministrations. And I was unwilling to give them. Twittering seemed like a really stupid idea, so I let the account sit idle.

However, after DemoCamp Victoria01, I saw that “tweets” could be interesting from a local perspective, in terms of strengthening connections (and conversations) with other people here. So I tentatively began “following” some Victoria-based folks, which soon expanded to some regional friends, and then naturally had to include a few far-flung geniuses I can’t resist.

But note: for now I’m still keeping my “following” list really really tiny — trying to resist the lure of reading an endless stream of conversation between and with people I feel I have something in common with.  Naturally [sic!], this pristine state won’t last. Promiscuity, linky love, and webbiness is all part and parcel of development online, including of course the development of co-developments, characterized by connections, and things differentiating out from previous …well, differentiations.

Which brings me back to Fred Wilson, who twitters here. (And no, I’m not following him yet, but who am I kidding? The seduction has already started anyway: He’s in my feed reader, so I may as well follow his tweets.) The other day he wrote an entry about Meetups:

I’ve gotten a bit tired of going to events populated by all the usual suspects. I am meeting lots of new people through this blog, tumblr, twitter, etc but I have not been able to say the same thing about the real world events I’ve been attending.

So I’ve decided to do something about that.

One of the things he did (and you’ll just have to click through to read about the other thing, because my blog entry is already too long) is to open a Twitter account for a place, which anyone can “follow” and to which anyone can tweet to say, “hey, I’m going there right now, meet up with me if you’re available.” The place in question is the Shake Shack, and it already has over 100 followers, all of whom will see updates to ShakeShack’s tweets in their Twitter accounts. So, if I were in NYC tomorrow, I could “follow” ShakeShack, send it an @ message that I’m going there for lunch, and then see if any of the other 100+ ShakeShack followers show up — maybe Fred Wilson himself would come!

Of course my question is, what could be the Shake Shack for Victoria? If we ever, ever see nice weather again, I suppose we could create a Twitter account for Red Fish Blue Fish? (Flash mob on the dock!)  Or Sticky Wicket? Or Cook Street Village? (One could easily detail in the @ message which of the 6 coffee shops you’re going to.)

In actual fact, it’s possible to create many places — not even necessarily attached to a specific venue. One could create a “Fort+Douglas” Twitter account, and then specify any favourite watering hole or coffee shop within a 2-3 block radius of that intersection. Or create “CookStreetVillage”; “Old Town”; “Harbour”; “VicWest” (that’d be a good one, with Abebooks and other tech-related companies clustering in the new developments there).

In other words, it’s quite easy to use “frivolous” platforms (which aren’t frivolous at all, really) to knit together actual places and actual people. For my money, that’s a fascinating and valuable thing.

On a related note, read The new oases; Nomadism changes buildings, cities and traffic, in the April 10, 2008 online edition of The Economist.

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!)

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.

Hmmm….

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.]

Whew!

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:

7:29
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…

Information: the new “tea” (so many flavours!)

April 2, 2008 at 2:46 pm | In innovation, local_not_global, web | Comments Off on Information: the new “tea” (so many flavours!)

Mark Lise posted a pointer on his blog today, and then spun out some thoughts:

This morning I read a post from David Crow on “Community Platforms“. It got me thinking about our local community, that being Victoria and Vancouver. I have always been a supporter of community platforms and open source, but I’d like to see that go further into the real world.

Mark’s post prompted me to leave a comment, since I’ve been mulling something over along these lines for a while now. Click through to the entry to read — turns out this is also an interest of Boris Mann‘s, and he’s going to be at DemoCampVictoria tomorrow evening. Sounds like there’s a conversation brewing!

Now I really feel compelled to write the blasted “concept overview” at last — although the elevator pitch still eludes me. I can see it, but describing it is a lot harder!

Mark’s World » Blog Archive » Community Platforms & Community Harmonization

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