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links for 2011-09-08

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links for 2011-09-03

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links for 2011-08-29

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links for 2011-08-26

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  • "Lakewood is not a place of anxious striving. It’s not a place where people worry about where they are going to go next. It’s a place where people worry more about where they might fall down to. The American myth is that all of this was delivered to us by men and women driven by anxious striving. And their anxious striving delivered a place where people who are not anxious strivers can lead ordinary lives. An interesting irony. I don’t know–should the next American city be a place of anxious striving or should it be a place of desire satisfied? Should the next American city be a place where people want to leave, or people want to stay?"
    (tags: urban suburban)

links for 2011-08-22

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links for 2011-08-11

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links for 2011-07-25

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links for 2011-05-06

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links for 2011-03-10

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links for 2011-03-03

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  • ‘Window Farms’ are vertical, hydroponic, modular, low-energy, high-yield edible window gardens built using low-impact or recycled local materials.

    Within the spirit of DIY culture and open-source production of Pixelache Festival, the Windowfarms Project offers an ideal case not only for presenting this form of artistic research tackling the aforementioned issues, but also the transferability of this DIY information-sharing and modelling, but also how ‘R&DIY’ projects manifest between communities in different national contexts. What is involved for the inventors to facilitate, and the makers to learn, who are remote from each other?

    This installation forms part of Herbologies/Foraging Networks -programme, exploring the encounter of cultural traditions and knowledge of herbs, edible and medicinal plants, with online networks, open information-sharing and technology.


    (tags: urban garden diy)

links for 2011-02-14

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  • "Despite the cowboy outlaw connotations, black-hat services are not illegal, but trafficking in them risks the wrath of Google. The company draws a pretty thick line between techniques it considers deceptive and “white hat” approaches, which are offered by hundreds of consulting firms and are legitimate ways to increase a site’s visibility. Penney’s results were derived from methods on the wrong side of that line, says Mr. Pierce. He described the optimization as the most ambitious attempt to game Google’s search results that he has ever seen"
    (tags: seo google search)

links for 2011-02-12

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links for 2011-02-04

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  • This is sort of a frustrating summation:

    "But those who do concern themselves with the formal regulation of "technology" might wish to worry less about possible negative effects of innovation and more about the damage being done to our environment and our prosperity by the mid-20th-century technologies that no sane and responsible person would propose today, but in which we remain trapped by mysterious and ineffable forces."

    Stephenson gets there after listing all the very concrete reasons why we might be stuck with non-optimal solutions -- and they are not mysterious and ineffable forces at all. There's nothing mysterious and ineffable about federal regulations, after all. Ending the article on the "mysterious and ineffable" tip is possibly meant to be sarcastic, but it's neither accurate nor helpful in understanding the situation. Better to ask why and how path dependency and lock-in (Stephenson's preferred culprits) came to be.



links for 2011-01-18

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  • "The algorithms are programmed, I believe, to get to know us better over time, and rather than resent the invasion of privacy I have come to feel a grudging respect for, and even a growing sense of intimacy with, my own personal algorithm. You have to admire, for example, the inventive audacity of a program that would read an e-mail someone sent me about “Holocaust deniers” and think that I might be shopping for a Holistic Dentist."
    (tags: algorithms)

links for 2010-12-22

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links for 2010-12-16

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links for 2010-12-03

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  • "Most domestic energy use, most of the time, is invisible to the user. Most people have only a vague idea of how much energy they are using for different purposes and what sort of difference they could make by changing day-to-day behaviour or investing in efficiency measures. Hence the importance of feedback in making energy more visible and more amenable to understanding and control. This review considers what is known about the effectiveness of feedback to householders. The focus is on how people change their behaviour, not on the detail of the technology used. There is considerable variety in the feedback literature, but common themes emerge. ... Thus feedback is useful on its own, as a selfteaching tool. It is also clear that it improves the effectiveness of other information and advice in achieving better understanding and control of energy use."

links for 2010-11-18

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  • "This paper presents results from a study into the production design of SF films, with special focus on the psychological challenges of extended spaceflight. The aim was to provide preliminary insight into the potential validity and application of SF film design in the context of scenario building for space, in particular at pre-phase-A stage of the system development process. The study consisted of two parts: the focus of the first was the systematic identification of a relevant set of SF productions and the description of products, environments and interactions portrayed in the films according to habitability criteria set out in the literature. The second part involved an illustrative case study reconstructing, from previously unpublished archive material, the main conceptualisation stages of the design of the food dispensing system in one particular film from the sample set, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey."

    download PDF by searching page for link.





  • "You've never heard of me, but there's a good chance that you've read some of my work. I'm a hired gun, a doctor of everything, an academic mercenary. My customers are your students. I promise you that. Somebody in your classroom uses a service that you can't detect, that you can't defend against, that you may not even know exists."


links for 2010-08-27

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links for 2010-06-28

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  • "Every so often we’d catch ourselves talking solemnly and straight-faced about some detail involved in building the Learning Room. Then we’d take a step back. “Dude. It’s a talking flower. How the hell did we end up here?” Looking back, there’s no real process or rationale I could outline. It’s a product of many things — our personalities, references to things we like; doodling; tinkering; sketching; prototyping and so on. But, overall, it was born from the material itself."

links for 2010-06-23

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  • "Eric Fischer won’t stop. Following up on his Geotaggers’ World Atlas (previously), he’s separated out the geodata generated by locals from that generated by tourists — locals being defined as people taking pictures of the same city over a period of greater than a month. The idea being to see whether locals (blue) and tourists (red) take pictures (which is to say, visit) different areas, which intuitively sounds right, but it’s interesting to see the hard data (at right, San Francisco)"

links for 2010-06-17

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links for 2010-06-11

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  • "Networks of Design maps a new methodological territory in design studies, conceived as a field of interdisciplinary inquiry and practice informed by a range of responses to actor network theory. It brings together a rich body of current work by researchers in the social sciences, technology, material culture, cultural geography, information technology, and systems design, and design theory and history. "

links for 2010-06-04

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  • "Blinghouses may not necessarily be smart houses, but they are certainly very very excited ones. They emerge during the run-up to the Christmas season each year, as their owners channel their own festive enthusiasm through the medium of various massive neon and electrical lights whcih cover the house.....

    Criticisms of blinghouses often focus on environmental damage, tackiness (and class by association), or one dressed up as the other. For all of this, I am still hugely fond of them: I love the sheer disco exuberance of them, of using the entire structure of your house to create a massive Christmas ornament to send light out into the darkest winter*. The lack of functionality is also fascinating: even at its most overexcited and musical housebling is about being, not doing, in a completely personalised way. Blinghouses are the antithesis of smart homes, whose purpose and design centre on function and practice."







links for 2010-05-28

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  • "This dissertation analyzes the use of images on the Mars Exploration Rover mission... Drawing upon three years of fieldwork with the Mars Rover team... the dissertation contributes to the literature in Science and Technology Studies by advancing the analytical framework of drawing as: a practical corollary to Wittgenstein and Hanson's concepts of seeing as that allows the analyst to explore the work of producing scientific images that draw natural objects as analytical objects to enable future representations and interactions. Further, images of Mars betray the social organization of the mission team and its commitment to consensus operations. Observing how images of Mars are drawn as trustworthy documents, drawn as a hypothesis or as a record of collective agreement, drawn as a map for the Rover and drawn as a public space, the dissertation demonstrates how interactions with and around Mars Rover images support this political orientation, making the Rover's body a body politic."

links for 2010-05-20

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links for 2010-05-19

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links for 2010-05-17

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  • "‘Ethnography and the Corporate Encounter’ sets out to provide “original insights on corporate and organizational life, and renewed considerations of the negotiations of anthropological relations and knowledge” (pg. 23) and it succeeds, overwhelmingly. The motivating passion of many corporate ethnographers is to use their work to get their corporations to adopt a different relationships with their subjects – be they customers, markets or processes. This book succeeds in a similar way: it will, I am sure, be regarded as a vital contribution to the process of ongoing re-orientation by academia towards a not-so-new breed of practitioners wit"hin corporations. But it will also help inform the practice of corporate ethnographers already plying their trade in corporate jungles."
  • "The simplest way of describing the value anthropology is seen to offer to large organisations like Intel is that they increase the probability of creating successful products, services or strategies. According to this line of reasoning, anthropologists are well placed to infuse an organisation, and its development process, with powerful understandings of people and practices. These understanding can be used by strategists, designers, engineers and managers. "
  • "Our goal is to integrate paper-based geospatial data collection into traditional GIS systems by using QR-coded paper map templates & image processing technologies. This "smart paper" will streamline data collection in infrastructure-constrained environments, while allowing rich collection of both quantitative and qualitative spatial data."
  • "In an interview last month, Dan Houser, one of Rockstar’s founders and the company’s creative leader, described the challenge and opportunity quite aptly. “Westerns are about place,” he said. “They’re not called outlaw films. They’re not even called cowboys-and-Indians films. They’re called westerns. They’re about geography.”

    “We’re talking about a format that is inherently geographical,” Mr. Houser added, “and you’re talking about a medium, video games, the one thing they do unquestionably better than other mediums is represent geography.” "



links for 2010-05-13

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  • "The new corporate green thumb is not necessarily a sign that American business culture is becoming more agrarian-minded, said Peter Cappelli, director of the Center for Human Resources at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. It’s more about the popularity of backyard gardening.

    A National Gardening Association survey done in conjunction with Harris shows that 41 million Americans grew fruits and vegetables in 2009. That’s about 13 percent more than the year before. "



links for 2010-05-12

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  • "The new corporate green thumb is not necessarily a sign that American business culture is becoming more agrarian-minded, said Peter Cappelli, director of the Center for Human Resources at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. It’s more about the popularity of backyard gardening.

    A National Gardening Association survey done in conjunction with Harris shows that 41 million Americans grew fruits and vegetables in 2009. That’s about 13 percent more than the year before. "



links for 2010-05-07

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  • Christopher Walken shows us how to understand the invisible complexities of categorization and counting.
  • "CitySourced is a real time mobile civic engagement tool. CitySourced provides a free, simple, and intuitive tool empowering citizens to identify civic issues (graffiti, trash, potholes, etc.) and report them to city hall for quick resolution; an opportunity for government to use technology to save money and improve accountability to those they govern; and a positive, collaborative platform for real action. Our platform is called CitySourced, as it empowers everyday citizens to use their smart phones to make their cities a better place."
  • "The Citizens Connect iPhone app is part of Mayor Menino's and the City of Boston's strategy for Citizen-to-City transactions called Citizens Connect. The Citizens Connect iPhone app is targeted at enlisting Boston residents and visitors to gather information about the physical state of the city. (We refer to this approach as Citizen Sourcing .)"

links for 2010-05-05

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  • "Organizational change is notoriously difficult to effect. Management consultants have tried it, now designers are trying it. Building on Roger’s description, and offering my explanation of the underlying value system, I now offer an application designing a design-thinking organization."

links for 2010-05-04

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  • "I never knew a designer that got hundreds of thousands of dollars to design a logo. Mostly, designers get paid to negotiate the difficult terrain of individual egos, expectations, tastes, and aspirations of various individuals in an organization or corporation, against business needs, and constraints of the marketplace. This is a process that can take a year or more. Getting a large, diverse group of people to agree on a single new methodology for all of their corporate communications means the designer has to be a strategist, psychiatrist, diplomat, showman, and even a Svengali. The complicated process is worth money. That’s what clients pay for. The process, usually a series of endless presentations and refinements, persuasions and proofs, results, hopefully, in an accepted identity design."

links for 2010-05-03

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links for 2010-04-24

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links for 2010-04-23

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links for 2010-04-21

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links for 2010-04-10

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  • "They placed the Stranger Exchange box in Central Square during the late evening of October 25, 2009. Since then, either John or Chris tries to visit it every other day to see what has been left and taken. They’ve discovered books like A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, as well as movies, photographs, souvenirs, and even letters.

    But what really has surprised the friends the most is the quality—and, in many instances, the effort—that has gone into some of the things that have been deposited. Plus, people are clearly making items specifically, for the box for no other reason than to share."



links for 2010-04-05

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links for 2010-03-18

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links for 2010-03-16

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  • "Attach photos, video, music, text, pdfs, zips, etc to any barcode."

    Thinglink meets Yellow Arrow.





  • "In response to two strong global vectors: the rise of pervasive information technologies and the privatization of the public sphere, Marc Böhlen and Hans Frei propose hybrid architectural programs called Micro Public Places (mpps). mpps combine insights from ambient intelligence, human computing, architecture, social engineering and urbanism to initiate ways
    to re-animate public life in contemporary societies. They offer access to things that are or should be available to all: air, water, medicine, books, etc. and combine machine procedures with subjective human intuition to develop joint forms of observing and knowing that neither system is capable of on its own."


links for 2010-03-14

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links for 2010-03-10

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links for 2010-03-09

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links for 2010-03-03

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links for 2010-03-02

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links for 2010-02-24

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links for 2010-02-18

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links for 2010-02-15

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links for 2010-02-11

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  • "Civic Center champions civic engagment through stories, services, products, and public installations."

    For example:

    “E is for eminent domain!” This coloring book explains urban planning-related topics in a friendly format. Terms like central business district (CBD), urban agriculture, and non-governmental organization (NGO) are illustrated to help young and old alike understand the lay of the land and how they can help shape it."

    and

    "

    Neighborland.org is a crowdsourced matchmaking service between residents who want specific services and businesses who want a viable place to open. Citizens can publicize and pledge for the local businesses they want, reducing the risk for new entrepreneurs and allowing individuals to directly shape the future of their neighborhoods."



links for 2010-01-21

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links for 2010-01-20

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links for 2010-01-19

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links for 2010-01-18

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  • "Soft-Maps (c) are quilted maps of cities and neighborhoods that represent someone's unique place in the world. Wrap your children in them, have a picnic, pull them close during the next Nor'easter. As a keepsake, a Soft-Map serves as an intimate reminder of home: where you’re from and where you belong. In a world that is increasingly digitized and remote, a quilted Soft-Map provides an expressive way to reconnect with your surroundings."

links for 2010-01-13

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links for 2010-01-12

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  • "Another aspect of New Songdo City that is particularly interesting is that it is one of the first genuine examples of what they call the "ubiquitous city" i.e. ubiquitous connectivity between (in theory) all objects and actors in the city, from lamp posts to park benches to cars to buildings. ICT is spoken of as the "fourth utility" in this city, and developers Gale are particularly close to Cisco, with a framework for "Intelligent Urbanisation" signed with NSIC and Cisco. (Note also Autodesk's digital model of the city.) "

links for 2010-01-11

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links for 2010-01-06

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  • "When most Americans think about environmentalism, they picture wild, unspoiled landscapes.... New York City is one of the most thoroughly altered landscapes imaginable, an almost wholly artificial environment, in which the terrain’s primeval contours have long since been obliterated and most of the parts that resemble nature (the trees on side streets, the rocks in Central Park) are essentially decorations. Ecology-minded discussions of New York City often have a hopeless tone, and focus on ways in which the city might be made to seem somewhat less oppressively man-made: by increasing the area devoted to parks and greenery, by incorporating vegetation into buildings themselves, by reducing traffic congestion, by easing the intensity of development, by creating open space around structures. But most such changes would actually undermine the city’s extraordinary energy efficiency, which arises from the characteristics that make it surreally synthetic."
  • "Supporters of Italy's "Slow City" movement are trying to develop liveable cities, banning cars from city centers and blocking McDonald's branches and supermarkets. The movement is spreading across Europe and is now taking off in Asia."
  • "Welcome to the Slow Cities movement, a group of towns and cities committed to improving the quality of life of their citizens, especially with regard to food issues. During the first meeting of Slow Cities, held in Orvieto in October 1999, the Mayor of Greve in Chianti, Signor Paolo Saturnini was elected coordinator of the movement."
  • "You have heard of slow food; get ready for slow cities. It is an outgrowth of the slow food movement and like it, started in Italy. According to Der Spiegel, "Slow City" advocates argue that small cities should preserve their traditional structures by observing strict rules: cars should be banned from city centers; people should eat only local products and use sustainable energy. In these cities, there's not much point in looking for a supermarket chain or McDonald's."
  • How did I never notice this particular cliche?
  • "What do The Bourne Identity, Mission Impossible 3, Mr & Mrs Smith, Children of Men, and Agent Cody Banks 2 have in common? Absurd, futuristic, and totally fake software interfaces, designed in part by one man: Mark Coleran."
  • I wish I had heard about this earlier. Holiday gifts based on online activity.

    "For Christmas 2009 the Really Interesting Group wanted to create a a gift comprising a series of 4 unique decorations based on each recipient’s use of the Flickr, Dopplr, Last.fm and Twitter. Having used a couple of the software APIs they were thinking about using (flickr and dopplr) and with experience of rapid prototyping we worked together to turn the data into something physical."



links for 2009-12-19

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links for 2009-12-18

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links for 2009-12-17

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  • Thoughtful concept work, lovely execution.

    "This conceptual video is a corporate collaborative research project initiated by Bonnier R&D into the experience of reading magazines on handheld digital devices. It illustrates one possible vision for digital magazines in the near future, presented by our design partners at BERG."



links for 2009-12-16

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links for 2009-12-12

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  • "Introducing Zeo™, the Personal Sleep Coach. Developed with leading sleep scientists, Zeo is a new kind of educational tool and motivational program that helps you understand how you are sleeping, reveals habits and behaviors that may be helping or hindering your sleep, and teaches new ways that may help you get a better night's rest. "The soft, lightweight Zeo Headband uses our SoftWave™ sensor technology to simply, comfortably, and accurately track your unique sleep patterns. The headband sends your personal sleep information safely and wirelessly to the bedside display. "The Zeo Bedside Display provides your first window into how you slept last night. The user friendly Zeo Bedside Display shows you an array of personal sleep information that has never before been available to consumers at home."

links for 2009-12-06

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  • FedEx now offers sensors for tracking not just location but condition of packages:

    "SenseAware gives you the immediate information and automated tools you need to respond instantly to unexpected conditions. With SenseAware, you can make smarter decisions and coordinate rapidly with your supply chain partners. It could mean the difference between failure and success, profit and loss.

    SenseAware is Web-based, so there's no costly software or infrastructure to invest in. It's a single, easy-to-use platform that consolidates and feeds you the most critical data about your shipment, in near real time.

    * Know if it's been opened or exposed to light.
    * Know its exact location in the transportation process.
    * Know if it's too warm or too cold. "



links for 2009-12-05

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links for 2009-12-04

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  • Welcome to the U.S. National Design Policy Initiative

    Design is the world remade in human form.
    The U.S. National Design Policy Initiative advocates for a governmental plan of action to support design in service of U.S. economic competitiveness and democratic governance.

    The U.S. design communities seek to enable through a U.S. national design policy:

    * design promotion to boost the demand for American goods and services,
    * innovation policy to protect American intellectual property and support the People’s entrepreneurial spirit,
    * design standards to guarantee inclusion, sustainability, safety, and quality in the experiences of the human remade world; and
    * policy as designed to address design’s role in making American democratic values tangible to the People.


    (tags: design policy)



  • "These drawings are a methodical interpretation of the first two chapters of A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schzophrenia (Wikipedia link) by Gilles Delueze and Felix Guattari, translated by Brian Massumi, University of Minnesota Press, 1987."

    Lovely.



links for 2009-12-01

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  • "Everywhere you go, there are certain things which play heroic roles in knitting the world together, and which somehow remain anonymous, even unseen. Our first book, Tokyo Blues, is the story of one of them: the common blue PVC plastic construction tarp."

links for 2009-11-25

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links for 2009-11-24

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links for 2009-11-20

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  • "Bond might deploy his licence to trash with worrying abandon, but his motive should be seen less as a grudge against modern architecture and more an extreme form of criticism. He makes a mockery of buildings' functions and pricks the pomposity of their designers. Flat rooftops become platforms from which to dangle henchmen by their neckties; tall chimneys are there to drop wheelchair-bound villains down; corridors become racetracks, balconies vantage points, buildings as a whole turned into giant climbing frames, their carefully designed details relegated to mere footholds and escape routes. Perhaps that's just fanciful thinking on the part of someone who writes about architecture for a living, but as I loosen my bowtie, unholster my revolver and mix a stiff vodka martini, I can't help but identify with him."

links for 2009-11-19

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  • "Topobo is the world's first construction toy with kinetic memory, the ability to record and playback physical motion. Snap together Passive and Active pieces to make a creation. Teach your creation how to dance, walk and move with the press of a button and the flick of your wrist."
    (tags: toys play tools)

links for 2009-11-17

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links for 2009-11-11

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  • "Natural Fuse creates a city-wide network of electronically-assisted plants that act both as energy providers and as circuit breakers.

    Every seemingly helpful device that a human being uses has its own carbon “footprint” which, in excess, can harm other living beings. “Natural fuse” is a micro scale CO2 monitoring & overload protection framework that works locally and globally, harnessing the carbon-sinking capabilities of plants.

    Natural fuses allow only a limited amount of energy to be expended in the system; that amount is balanced by the amount of CO2 that can be absorbed by the plants that are growing in the system.

    In the same way that circuit-breakers are useful for preventing excessive current use, so too can the Natural Fuse plants break the CO2 footprint “circuit”.

    What would you do? Use less energy?Or supersize the fuse?"



links for 2009-11-07

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links for 2009-11-06

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links for 2009-10-27

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links for 2009-10-24

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  • Thoughts on Interaction Design
  • "Seeing oneself as a chicken and being chicken amounts to a minor difference of usage, but the practical difference is substantial. In the first case, you take the person to an asylum, while in the second you stop taking him seriously. It is very possible that privately the first option has crossed the minds of the combatants in the ‘Epistemological Chicken’ debate.1 Are they out of their minds? The written statements resemble the second option. SSK-adherents, Collins and Yearley, and ANT-adherents, Callon and Latour, seem to have stopped taking each other seriously, which is even more devastating for intellectual debate."
    (tags: ANT)
  • Assembling citizenship In Physical Bar Charts, viewers are presented with five tall see-through tubes containing button badges, each with a specific message on. Visitors are prompted to help themselves to badges. As they do so, the levels in the tubes drop, presenting an inverse bar chart showing the popularity of the badges. Alongside the tubes are postcards asking visitors to predict the levels in the tubes on a future date. Depending on the messages on the badges, and the location in which the tubes are placed, the Physical Bar Charts make public the views of anonymous participants. As people walk around wearing the badges, a temporary community is formed. Below: ‘How strategic have you been this week?’ Photo from Imagining Business, June 2008: Physical Bar Charts Participative time-based installation

links for 2009-10-22

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  • Walled Garden conference proceedings
  • Design as Epistemic Culture Interferences between Discourses of Design and Knowledge

    Both design and knowledge claim key positions in current debates as concepts with »medial scope, but high strategic meaning«[1], rather than as terms. In design research discourse, these concepts are joined, superimposed and intersect against the background of new views on knowledge and knowledge production.

    The thesis of Claudia Mareis investigates interferences between discourses of design and knowledge from a discourse theory perspective beginning in 1960 up until today. The thesis examines how design artefacts and practices are transformed and perpetuated into objects of knowledge by discourse. For this purpose, the thesis explores historical aspects regarding the interrelationship between design and knowledge, and elucidates relevant key-texts on design theory, such as Simon (1969), Rittel (1992), Schön (1983), Dreyfus/Dreyfus (1988), Archer (1965) and Cross (1982) in a first general part.





  • Design as Epistemic Culture
    Interferences between Discourses of Design and Knowledge

    Both design and knowledge claim key positions in current debates as concepts with »medial scope, but high strategic meaning«[1], rather than as terms. In design research discourse, these concepts are joined, superimposed and intersect against the background of new views on knowledge and knowledge production. The thesis of Claudia Mareis investigates interferences between discourses of design and knowledge from a discourse theory perspective beginning in 1960 up until today. The thesis examines how design artefacts and practices are transformed and perpetuated into objects of knowledge by discourse. For this purpose, the thesis explores historical aspects regarding the interrelationship between design and knowledge, and elucidates relevant key-texts on design theory, such as Simon (1969), Rittel (1992), Schön (1983), Dreyfus/Dreyfus (1988), Archer (1965) and Cross (1982) in a first general part.



links for 2009-10-15

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links for 2009-10-14

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  • "And this is where the gap resides, in the vacuum between the existing, ideal theories, and the desire to make sense of authentic design activities and cognitive processes. In each field there are the beginnings of this; so far, the design side has come a little further along the way,but also there, the work of filling the gap between should and making sense is still very much in progress.To fill this gap that exists in both fields is the purpose of this book."

links for 2009-10-12

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  • "PATTERNS are how we capture and share some of the common insights we see bubbling up across projects, as well as out and about in the world. They are a foundation for intuition. A way to elevate insights to the level of cultural impact. And a way to tap into IDEO’s collective intelligence to do better work for our clients—even faster."

links for 2009-10-10

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links for 2009-10-02

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  • "In the Ukraine, a country where females are victims of sexual trafficking and gender oppression, a new tribe of empowered women is emerging. Calling themselves the “Asgarda”, the women seek complete autonomy from men. Residing in the Carpathian Mountains, the tribe is comprised of 150 women of varying ages, primarily students, led by 30 year-old Katerina Tarnouska. Reviving the tribal traditions of the Scythian Amazons of ancient Greek mythology, the Asgarda train in martial arts, taught by former Soviet karate master, Volodymyr Stepanovytch, and learn life skills and sciences in order to become ideal women. Little physical documentation existed on the tribe, until recently, when renowned French photographer, Guillaume Herbaut, met the Asgarda back in 2004 in the midst of the Orange Revolution."

links for 2009-10-02

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  • "In the Ukraine, a country where females are victims of sexual trafficking and gender oppression, a new tribe of empowered women is emerging. Calling themselves the “Asgarda”, the women seek complete autonomy from men. Residing in the Carpathian Mountains, the tribe is comprised of 150 women of varying ages, primarily students, led by 30 year-old Katerina Tarnouska. Reviving the tribal traditions of the Scythian Amazons of ancient Greek mythology, the Asgarda train in martial arts, taught by former Soviet karate master, Volodymyr Stepanovytch, and learn life skills and sciences in order to become ideal women. Little physical documentation existed on the tribe, until recently, when renowned French photographer, Guillaume Herbaut, met the Asgarda back in 2004 in the midst of the Orange Revolution."

links for 2009-09-28

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  • Best overview of WikiCity I have found yet:

    "In the past decades, real time control systems have been developed in a variety of engineering applications. In so doing, they have dramatically increased the efficiency of systems through energy savings, regulation of the dynamics, increased robustness and disturbance tolerance. Now: can you have a city that performs as a real time control system? This is the aim of the WikiCity project at MIT, which deals with the development of real-time location-sensitive tools for the city."





  • "We can get seduced by an explanation, even a bad one. People often believe explanations because they find them intuitively satisfying, not because they are accurate. Other factors of seduction include: use of technical words, even if irrelevant; longer explanations, which people tend to rate as more similar to experts’ explanations; and people’s bias to look for a simple reductionist structure. "

    (tags: art research)



  • "We are creating a flexible data collection campaigns for the modern, connected citizen scientist
    Citizen Science allows individual volunteers or groups to observe, measure, and contribute to scientific environmental studies. How have we made this experience even better?
    Networked Naturalist is a collection of tools that allows anybody to participate in the growing list of popular citizen scientist projects, all designed to harness the power of people who are not only concerned about their environments but also want to do something about it.
    On-the-go, flexible data collection schemes, tailored to your busy schedule, allow you to use your cell phone text, email, and picture messages for data collection, as well as sending us email or web forms from your computer.
    See your data, see how your data fits in with other people’s data, and see how involved scientists interpret those data — all in real-time."


links for 2009-09-22

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links for 2009-09-12

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  • 'I'm sure I'll take you with pleasure!' the Queen said. 'Twopence a week, and jam every other day.' Alice couldn't help laughing, as she said, 'I don't want you to hire ME - and I don't care for jam.' 'It's very good jam,' said the Queen. 'Well, I don't want any TO-DAY, at any rate.' 'You couldn't have it if you DID want it,' the Queen said. 'The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday - but never jam to-day.' 'It MUST come sometimes to "jam to-day,"' Alice objected. 'No, it can't,' said the Queen. 'It's jam every OTHER day: to-day isn't any OTHER day, you know.' 'I don't understand you,' said Alice. 'It's dreadfully confusing!'
  • "In the summer of 2004, I was approached by my friend Greg Moccia with a unique task: to design a live-action role-playing event at which he could propose to his girlfriend. The resulting game was A Measure for Marriage, a one-session LARP in which players took the roles of nobles and attendants as they attempted to find romance, thwart villainy, and restore true love in an improvised Shakespearean comedy. Of course, designing a LARP about romance that must end with a real proposal is a daunting task, and the success of A Measure for Marriage was a result of careful use of character design, emergent pacing, and player expectation."

links for 2009-09-11

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links for 2009-09-10

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  • "visual voltage is an exhibition which explores the use of energy through smart design. the show is meant to give insight into electricity, energy consumption and environmental issues. the projects on show are all developed by swedish designers and artists, expressing their creative roles as a means to generate awareness and debates on essential issues such as sustainability and energy consumption, shedding new light on how we use electricity. the exhibition is one of the expos which is part of design september brussels 2009 which runs from september 10th to october 2nd, 2009."

links for 2009-09-09

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  • "Please design and build me a house. I am not quite sure of what I need, so you should use your discretion. My house should have somewhere between two and forty-five bedrooms. Just make sure the plans are such that the bedrooms can be easily added or deleted. When you bring the blueprints to me, I will make the final decision of what I want. Also, bring me the cost breakdown for each configuration so that I can arbitrarily pick one."

    I actually think this speaks more to why architecture isn't much like web design than why web design clients are irrational.





  • "Yesterday's gadgets look primitive - and yet look very familiar."


links for 2009-09-08

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links for 2009-08-31

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links for 2009-08-30

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  • "Can we watch decay? Can we see glass as a fluid slowly slumping and deforming over time? Everything is in constant flux, yet we consider many things around us static and fixed. 3.16 Billion Cycles is an attempt to unravel a seemingly unchanging 100 years into a set of relationships in digestible increments."

links for 2009-08-30

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  • "Can we watch decay? Can we see glass as a fluid slowly slumping and deforming over time? Everything is in constant flux, yet we consider many things around us static and fixed. 3.16 Billion Cycles is an attempt to unravel a seemingly unchanging 100 years into a set of relationships in digestible increments."

links for 2009-08-21

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links for 2009-08-20

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links for 2009-08-19

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  • "Thirty-three well-known graphic design practitioners, critics, and educators signed the First Things First 2000 (FTF 2000) manifesto in the fall of 1999, adding their names to a manifesto about the profession of graphic design. The discussion of FTF 2000, which connected professionals across the discipline, was used as an entry into research exploring graphic designers' perceptions of FTF 2000 and networks of power/knowledge."
  • Adventures in the Not Quite Yet: using performance techniques to raise design awareness about digital networks DRS 2008 - workshops on creating physical "webs" to help people understand digital networks

    Authorities/Knowledge/Beliefs/Outcomes: 'Governing' in the Profession of Graphic Design in the US
    A Foucauldian analysis of graphic design in the US

    [Note: This is an AWFUL website for a design research society. Why they couldn't make separately entries with permalinks for each paper is beyond me. Makes bookmarking impossible.]



links for 2009-08-14

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  • A new industry: boutique mobility? Reminds me a bit of Alex and Michele's work on designing for the "unimagined home" (http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1265398) RT @benfu

    "At Love Lane, we have a small selection of classic caravans that we have lovingly restored. Whilst keeping each as original as possible, they have been decorated and fitted out in such a way as to accentuate their individuality and character."



links for 2009-08-08

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links for 2009-07-28

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links for 2009-07-26

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  • "The CNMAT Resource Library is our fast growing collection of materials, sensors, gestural controllers, interface devices, tools, demos, prototypes and products - all organized and annotated to support the design of physical interaction systems, "new lutherie" and art installations. As well as resources typical of comparable libraries in industry (e.g., IDEO's tech-box or Nike's materials library), our library includes a unique collection of working musical and artistic applications contextualizing the materials."
  • "Open Softwear is a book about fashion and technology. More precisely it is a book about Arduino boards, conductive fabric, resistive thread, soft buttons, LEDs, and some other things. We started researching three years ago thanks to the support of K3, Malmö University School of Arts and Communication."

links for 2009-07-25

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  • "Basically, HFT relies on speed. Traders buy and sell stock thousands of times a second and their profits rely on being able make their trades slightly before ordinary traders make theirs. Speed is so important that a key component of HFT — aside from fast computers, big pipes, and rocket science code — is colocation of their servers. That is, they set up their operations physically close to stock exchange data centers so that trading data has less distance to travel before it gets to them. A few milliseconds in reduced latency time makes all the difference."

links for 2009-07-24

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  • "Chances are, you can grow food where you live and have something edible...and beautiful...to come home to. You just need a little help. We're growing an organisation, based in Hackney, that is designed to give you just that: training and inspiration to grow food in your own home."
    (tags: garden urban)

links for 2009-07-19

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links for 2009-07-18

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  • "What if measuring your entire home’s energy consumption was as simple as flicking on a light switch? That’s the idea behind Beverly Ng’s Spark Lamp, a solar-powered device that offers an ingenious approach to household energy monitoring. The sprout-like LED lamp changes color depending on the amount of power that your home has used during the month, providing an easy-to-understand visual cue to conserve more energy."

links for 2009-07-15

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  • "This is the VideoNoteTakerUtility project ("videonotetaker"). You can download it here. The basic function is to allow the user to take notes while watching a computer media file. The program combines a media playback window and a very simple text editor. Keyboard shortcuts can control playback, e.g. pause/resume, skip back, etc. Note that this program can be used for audio or video files, so it's great for transcribing audio recordings. A sample screenshot is below, with me watching a movie and taking some notes in the text editor. "

    Looks like a good simple research tool for video data.



links for 2009-07-13

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  • "All city departments have six months to conduct an audit of unused land - including empty lots, rooftops, windowsills and median strips - that could be turned into community gardens or farms that could benefit residents, either by working at them or purchasing the fresh produce. Food vendors that contract with the city must offer healthy and sustainable food. All vending machines on city property must also offer healthy options, and farmers' markets must begin accepting food stamps, although some already do."

links for 2009-07-03

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links for 2009-07-02

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links for 2009-07-01

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links for 2009-06-30

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links for 2009-06-20

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  • "Your Backyard Farmer works a lot like any other home contractor. Streeter and Smith visit dozens of yards each week throughout the growing season to plant, maintain and harvest their clients' edible crops. With their help, even plots as small as 10-by-10 feet yield a cornucopia of produce. They also offer monthly lessons where DIY families can learn how to make their own food gardens grow. "

links for 2009-06-19

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  • "It is crucial to analyse cities holistically as ensembles of technologies, infrastructures, buildings, institutions and the actors who design, manage and inhabit them as no single discipline can effectively tackle the enormous challenges cities currently face. The emerging field of socio-technical studies of architecture and urbanism is well equipped for such a task. However, as Moore and Karvonen observe, "there has been little emphasis in STS scholarship to date on the design of the built environment" (2008, 29). This workshop provides much-needed coordination between scholars in this field and an opportunity to develop an active research strategy that avoids redundancies and identifies potentials for synergies and future collaborations."

    5-6 November, Maastricht





  • New blog, more focused on sites than people and systems:

    "Veg.itecture is a spin-off site from Landscape+Urbanism, focusing on the representation and implementation of green roofs, living walls, and vertical farming from around the world."





  • official website for the Green Engines workshop in Barcelona this summer




  • Ecosistemaurbano reports on a summer workshop in Barcelona with the evocative title of "green engines":

    "Urban parks can be the future green engines of a self-sufficient urban environment. A productive landscape merges nature for pleasant city escape, with a resource-efficient milieu. The implementation of sustainable ecosystems of community self-organization into new strategic planning, integrates community supported urban farming, with the production of renewable energies, water purification and waste management. This productive landscape strengthens personal and community responsibility, it is a platform for individual creativity, and social organization. The workshop searches how urban and landscape design may establish the main catalyst strategies for the generation of a self-sustained green space. ... The workshop evaluates how a community self-organized productive landscape can embrace existing historical sites, bringing into dialogue different landscape design approaches."


    (tags: urban green parks)

links for 2009-06-15

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  • "On a recent rainy evening in Brooklyn, I was at a friend’s house playing (a bit sheepishly, given my incipient middle age) Call of Duty: World at War. Scrolling through the game’s menus, I noticed a screen for Xbox Live, which allows you to play against remote users via broadband. The number of Call of Duty players online at that moment? More than 66,000.

    Walking home, I ruminated on the number. Sixty-six thousand is the population of a small city — Muncie, Ind., for one. Who and where was this invisible metropolis? What infrastructure was needed to create this city of ether?"



links for 2009-06-12

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  • "Aston Farm in Exmoor National Park has been owned by the Halliday family for over 150 years. Using the Power Predictor, George Halliday has been able to discover that his back yard could help not just to reduce George with Power Predictor mountedhis carbon emissions, but also save him nearly £7000 every year!"

    "To reduce interference and turbulence from surrounding trees and buildings, George mounted the Power Predictor in a local field using his own, handmade, 10 metre mast. (For those of you not quite as ambitious with the DIY as George, a range of masts for the Power Predictor are available.) Having recorded a month's data and uploaded it with 'no problems', George viewed his power report to reveal his energy saving potential. "

    "George also hopes to sell his surplus electricity back to the grid, making his yearly cost savings ever greater!"

    tagged from a tweet @pachube, @jamieandrews





  • "The Typekit team has been running experiments with web fonts, so we’ve spent a few days reading through End User License Agreements (EULAs), and we’ve been surprised at how inconsistent they are. In fact, they’re all over the map. The main thing we’ve discovered is that free isn’t always free — there are often all kinds of restrictions on what you may and may not do with “free fonts.”




  • Jono's design framing bibliography for his dissertation (also available as Zotero pdf)


links for 2009-06-11

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  • "Within participatory design and co-design I position critical artefact methods as using stakeholder participation to inform design activity rather than as co-creation. In reference to Ehn & Kyng’s mock-ups (1991) and Gaver’s cultural probes (1999) exemplars, I show that critical artefacts do not fit the description of ‘prototypes’ (suggestive of design direction or destination) and that my critical artefact methodology depends upon a progression from presenting stakeholders with critical artefacts (that provoke critical reflection) towards more ‘prototypical’ artefacts expressing relevant needs (for evaluation)."

    Haven't read it. Would be interesting to see how he reworks critical design to serve the needs of constituencies that critical design supposedly attacks (cough).



links for 2009-06-10

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  • "All over the country, the underground fruit economy is growing. At new Web sites like neighborhoodfruit.com and veggietrader.com, fruit seekers can find public mulberry patches in Pennsylvania and neighbors willing to trade blackberries in Oklahoma. "

    If the NYT does a story on something, then you know it's not marginal (or rather, not marginal to Times readers.)



links for 2009-06-09

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  • Manhattan's High Line park is now open! I've been excited about this new park for years - it's the renovation of an old elevated rail line through the lower west side of the city. A beautiful example of urban re-use. I had some fears about whether NYC could pull it off in a non-cheesy way, but the photos look very attractive.

    Although, time will tell -- I wonder how the High Line will age?

    "Like a lot of fans of the High Line, the opening of the first section a day early was a welcome surprise. It surpassed any hype that I had put on it myself. But to be honest I would have been happy with just about anything that gives a walking path with a new view of New York City that hasn’t existed before. "



links for 2009-06-04

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  • Lovely piece from Smart Design's Carla Diana. The examples are particularly well-chosen.

    "If so much of our personal history is getting compressed into data, and digital imaging, cloud computing, and streaming media have become an integral part of daily experience, being sensitive to the physical presence of these devices is an important responsibility. Creating distinctive, engaging objects that help people manage and understand the nature of data—an imperceptible property that is at once fragmented, modular and flowing—is a new and challenging opportunity."



links for 2009-06-02

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  • "The anecdotal pleasure in the author's account is complemented by a compelling theoretical framework and analysis. Gelber astutely recognizes hobbies as occupying a middle ground between work and leisure. More than a casual pastime and less than a paid task, he locates hobbies' origins in the attitudes and values encouraged by capitalism, not industrialization. He is largely convincing on this point, even though his story properly begins within the rise of Victorian collectibles during the heyday of metropolitan industrialization in the 1830s with signature and then spoon and stamp collecting. As Gelber notes, "Hobbies have been a way to confirm the verities of work and the free market inside the home so long as remunerative employment has remained elsewhere." (4) "
  • "Findings from the National Gardening Association’s (NGA) new survey, The Impact of Home and Community Gardening in America, indicate that food gardening in the U.S. is on the rise. Seven million more households plan to grow their own fruits, vegetables, herbs, or berries in 2009 than in 2008 — a 19 percent increase in participation. This anticipated increase is nearly double the 10 percent growth in vegetable gardening from 2007 to 2008 and reflects the number of new food gardeners emerging this year."
    (tags: gardening)
  • A detailed look at the visual explorations for Up.

links for 2009-05-29

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links for 2009-05-27

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  • "The use of personas as a method for communicating user requirements in collaborative design environments is well established. However, very little research has been conducted to quantify the benefits of using this technique. The aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of using personas. An experiment was conducted over a period of 5 weeks using students from NCAD. The results showed that, through using personas, designs with superior usability characteristics were produced. They also indicate that using personas provides a significant advantage during the research and conceptualisation stages of the design process (supporting previously unfounded claims). The study also investigated the effects of using different presentation methods to present personas and concluded that photographs worked better than illustrations, and that visual storyboards were more effective in presenting task scenarios than text only versions."

links for 2009-05-17

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  • "Graphs shows the yearly ridership at each station, with the shaded grey area spanning 1952 (same overall ridership level as today) to 1977 (nadir system-wide). Station names appear as map is zoomed in (eg: midtown, wall street, south bronx, williamsburg, park slope). "

    It's a nice idea; I just wish it were more attractive/usable. The damn thing takes so long to load I'm not even sure how / where it works. Lazyweb, please remix?



links for 2009-05-16

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links for 2009-05-07

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links for 2009-05-01

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links for 2009-04-30

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  • "The How They Got Game Project at Stanford University is currently seeking for papers that explore the connections between mapping, cartographic practices, electronic gaming and virtual worlds for an illustrated book that will be published in 2010. Specifically, we are interested in essays that address the notion of representing spaces in video games and virtual worlds through the aid of maps and mapping tools. Video games and virtual worlds establish new topographies and geographies that - while often making references to preexisting models - create a new understanding of the fictional worlds that we explore. Our goal is to show and explain how digital spaces are being mapped by a new generation of cartographers."

links for 2009-04-29

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  • "The program's ultimate objective is to transform the human-computer interaction experience, so the computer is no longer a distracting focus of attention but rather an invisible tool that empowers the individual user and facilitates natural and productive human-human collaboration."
  • Power Hungry: Reinventing The U.S. Electric Grid Visualizing The Grid

    The U.S. electric grid is a complex network of independently owned and operated power plants and transmission lines. Aging infrastructure, combined with a rise in domestic electricity consumption, has forced experts to critically examine the status and health of the nation's electrical systems.



links for 2009-04-28

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  • "Greenbox is a web-based solution that enables households to track, understand, and manage their home energy usage and environmental footprint."
  • "THIS SITE CONTAINS full text of papers presented at the conference, "Reconceptualizing the History of the Built Environment in North America," which brought together the several generations which have contributed to the field. The conference discussed the current state of built environment studies and set an agenda for future work. Keynote speakers outlined the history and evolution of the field. Three paper sessions followed, each addressing a cutting edge issue in built environment studies. The first panel investigated racial dimensions of the built environment, the second considered the North American built environment in comparative perspective, and the third analyzed how the built environment has been disseminated to public audiences. A final roundtable discussed with the audience the future of built environment studies in the United States."

links for 2009-04-24

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links for 2009-04-23

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  • "We intend to build a conditions-aware planning and advising, web-based software system which we will deploy to our study participants. Using the system, which will use their location in conjunction with weather data to estimate soil composition, temperature, and rainfall, users will be able to plan a garden from the ground up. Alongside user preferences and the time span that the user intends to maintain the garden, the system will provide recommendations on types and number of plants as well as varieties. It will also provide them the necessary information about the amount of light the plant requires, the depth and time of year at which it should be planted, pruning instructions, watering alerts, and other useful advice.... Additionally, the software will assist the users in tracking their environmental impact, and their money saved versus the grocery store, as well as provide them with alerts when their intervention is required."
    (tags: gardens hci)
  • "Pacific Controls is in the forefront of U-City initiatives in the UAE helping to foster the interplay of people, technology and e- Governance, while the concept of U-City is still in its conceptualization stage.

    Pacific Controls is taking leadership and mobilizing its resources and competency in developing Ubiquitous City technologies and is undertaking the implementation of U-City projects. The Dubai (U-City) initiative is currently taking center stage and enjoying strong support from the government and private sector.

    UAE has the potential in leading the way to building U-Cities, which will take on leadership around the world. UAE has been first in many things. It was one of the early adaptors of e-governance, it's the first to use digital multimedia communication technology, it's one of the pioneers of a cashless society, and now it's again leading the pack in U-City. "





  • "Imagine public recycling bins that use radio-frequency identification technology to credit recyclers every time they toss in a bottle; pressure-sensitive floors in the homes of older people that can detect the impact of a fall and immediately contact help; cellphones that store health records and can be used to pay for prescriptions.

    These are among the services dreamed up by industrial-design students at California State University, Long Beach, for possible use in New Songdo City, a large "ubiquitous city" being built in South Korea."





  • "As maps have become more complex, they have become our native medium for analyzing environments and societies, essential parts of the decision-making process in policy making. Climatologists, biologists, epidemiologists, transportation engineers, urban planners, community groups, and many others rely on geographic information systems (GIS) software (such as ESRI'sArcGIS) to understand data and to make arguments. To take a vivid example from this election year, the red-and-blue map that depicted a divided country in 2004 has given way to the "magic map"—based on Jefferson Y. Han's Perceptive Pixel multi-touch screen technology—on which CNN's Jeff King illustrates the complex interrelationships in American voting patterns, breaking down the political landscape county-by-county and precinct-by-precinct. "


links for 2009-04-21

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  • "For Ma Cheng and millions of others, Chinese parents’ desire to give their children a spark of individuality is colliding head-on with the Chinese bureaucracy’s desire for order. Seeking to modernize its vast database on China’s 1.3 billion citizens, the government’s Public Security Bureau has been replacing the handwritten identity card that every Chinese must carry with a computer-readable one, complete with color photos and embedded microchips. The new cards are harder to forge and can be scanned at places like airports where security is a priority.

    The bureau’s computers, however, are programmed to read only 32,252 of the roughly 55,000 Chinese characters, according to a 2006 government report. The result is that Miss Ma and at least some of the 60 million other Chinese with obscure characters in their names cannot get new cards — unless they change their names to something more common."



links for 2009-04-20

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  • "This is an on-going project to rediscover the work of cybernetician Gordon Pask and reconsider Pask's relevance to the construction of "interactive environments" by producing new embodiments that richly explore the human meaning of "interaction" and "conversation" in an actual built space.

    We will develop a conceptual framework for building interactive systems that deals with the natural dynamic complexity that "environments" must have without becoming prescriptive, restrictive and autocratic. As such, the work also functions as a critique of conventional ubiquitous computing practices which ignore the poetries of interaction that architecture (in its widest sense) affords."





  • "Borrowing its name from a class of marine invertebrates, Siphonophora consists of a collection of small reactive devices that float in one of Gunpowder Park's lakes, tracking light, temperature, audio, pH levels and other pond life activity. We are researching ways to enable the population of devices to evolve their behaviour organically in response to specific site conditions including the local bird population, insects in and around the water and human interaction from visitors who come to see it from the existing bird hide."




  • "Natural Fuse harnesses the carbon-sinking capabilities of plants to create a city-wide network of electronically-assisted plants that act both as energy providers and as shared "carbon sink" circuit breakers. By sharing resources and information between the plants energy expenditure can be collectively monitored and managed."




  • Largely academic case studies.

    "Ubiquitous Computing: Design, Implementation and Usability highlights the emergent usability theories, techniques, tools and best practices in these environments. This book shows that usable and useful systems are able to be achieved in ways that will improve usability to enhance user experiences. Research on the usability issues for young children, teenagers, adults, and the elderly is presented, with different techniques for the mobile, ubiquitous, and virtual environments."



links for 2009-04-19

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  • "A central challenge in interaction design has to do with its diversity. Designers, engineers, managers, marketers, researchers and users all have important contributions to make to the design process. But at the same time they lack shared concepts, experiences and perspectives. How is the process of design-which requires communication, negotiation and compromise-to effectively proceed in the absence of a common ground? I argue that an important role for the interaction designer is to help stakeholders in the design process to construct a lingua franca. To explore this issue, which has received remarkably little attention in HCI, I turn to work in urban design and architecture."
  • "There is burgeoning population of 'effectively invisible' computers around us, embedded in the fabric of our homes, shops, vehicles, farms and some even in our bodies. They are invisible in that they are part of the environment and we can interact with them as we go about our normal activities. However they can range in size from large Plasma displays on the walls of buildings to microchips implanted in the human body. They help us command, control, communicate, do business, travel and entertain ourselves, and these 'invisible' computers are far more numerous than their desktop cousins ...Shall we be able to manage such large-scale systems, or even understand them? How do people interact with them and how does this new pervasive technology affect society? How can non-computing people configure and control them? What tools are needed for design and analysis of these constantly adapting and evolving systems? What theories will help us to understand their behaviour?"

links for 2009-04-18

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links for 2009-04-17

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  • "The small, US$3000 ($5150) robots, which move through the garden on a base similar to a Roomba vacuum, are networked to the plants. When the plants indicate they need water, the robots can sprinkle them from a water pump. When the plants have a ripe tomato, the machines use their arms to pluck the fruit."
  • "Environmental art or ecological art (a.k.a. ecoart) has evolved from the earth-art and land-art movements of the 1960s and early 1970s, and has been greatly influenced by the work of Joseph Beuys and his environmental actions "in defense of nature," defined by him as social sculpture. Ecological art now provides a context for environmental education, and is achieved hand-in-hand with communities. Ecoartists seek to gain access to and become advocates for communities, working as both co-learners and co-creators. Their work is collaborative and supports both natural and social ecosystems. Ecoartists can be thought of as midwives for the earth, facilitators of environmental education, consultants for environmental restoration and visionaries for transforming ecological communities."

links for 2009-04-16

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links for 2009-04-11

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  • "So far the investigation of spatio-temporal patterns of people mainly rendered a quantitative understanding of the city. In our study, we intend to leverage implicit spatio-temporal data (i.e. latitude, longitude and timestamp) with the richness of people-generated information. Our approach is to consider that uploading, tagging and disclosing the location of a photo can be interpreted as an act of communication rather than a pure implicit history of physical presence."
  • "We are doing this breeding work and releasing this material into the public realm for everyone. Thus, you may only request this seed if you agree to not patent, legally protect or apply for breeders rights over the resulting varieties. Nor will you in any way restrict anyone else saving seeds of your variety for their own home or farm use." (link from Amanda Williams)

    We see food plants as part of our common human heritage. And we do not think it is correct to patent them.

    So, we are doing this breeding work and releasing this material into the public realm for everyone.
    Thus, you may only request this seed if you agree to not patent, legally protect
    or apply for breeders rights over the resulting varieties.
    Nor will you in any way restrict anyone else saving seeds of your variety for their own home or farm use.





  • "The journey the Tweenbots take each time they are released in the city becomes a story of people's willingness to engage with a creature that mirrors human characteristics of vulnerability, of being lost, and of having intention without the means of achieving its goal alone. As each encounter with a helpful pedestrian takes the robot one step closer to attaining it's destination, the significance of our random discoveries and individual actions accumulates into a story about a vast space made small by an even smaller robot."




  • "this is all everyday technology - embedded in, propped up against, or moving through the street, carried by people and vehicles, and installed by private companies and public bodies. Each element of data causes waves of responses in other connected databases, sometimes interacting with each other physically through proximity, other times through semantic connections across complex databases, sometimes in real-time, sometimes causing ripples months later....

    Yet how much of this activity is obviously perceptible on our streets when viewed through conventional means?"



links for 2009-04-10

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  • "Vast quantities of energy are required to heat or cool buildings to provide what are now regarded as acceptable standards of thermal comfort. Paradoxically, likely responses to global warming, such as greater reliance on air-conditioning, threaten to increase energy demand and emissions of CO2 and exacerbate rather than mitigate climate change. This project examines the link between global warming and the technologies and conventions of indoor environmental management. Starting from the proposition that concepts of comfort are socially and technically constructed, it examines the ambitions and approaches of practitioners and policy makers currently involved in specifying the indoor climates of the future. What assumptions of human 'need' are constructed and embedded in the built environment and with what consequences for conventions of 'normality' and associated patterns of resource intensity?"
  • "Green the Grounds was created to bring attention to the other changes that need to be made on these highly prominent landscapes - starting with the White House but including governor's mansions and official residences of mayors, in ciites that have them. "

links for 2009-04-09

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  • "Oh, the possibilities. You can document the growth of just about any plant and make a cool time lapse video. Or you can find out exactly what goes on in the garden when you’re gone. Who’s been snapping the buds off your hellebores? Or worse, stealing your tomatoes? It needs to happen from dawn to dusk though, at which point the camera switches off automatically. I found it via Neatorama and Hammacher Schlemmer, which is still a great place to find cool stuff."

links for 2009-04-03

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  • "BakerTweet is a way for busy bakers to tell the world that something hot and fresh has just come out of the oven. It's as simple as turning the dial and hitting the button. All of the baker's followers get a Twitter alert to tell them that it's bun-time. Or bread time. Or whatever." RT from @kickerstudio
  • "Weeds Aliens and Other Stories began as a sketchbook of drawings and ideas exploring the English obsession with the garden and irrational relationships between people and their plants. We wanted to encourage people to play out their eccentricities within their urban homes, homes with very little or no garden at all. These unacknowledged behaviours become legitimised through new types of furniture. (In collaboration Michael Anastassiades)"

links for 2009-03-31

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links for 2009-03-26

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  • 'Soft infrastructure superpowers': Lift09 presentation
  • "Urban computing generally encompasses the study of people experiencing the city with technologies. Our approach is to benefit from people’s experience of these services, to gain a more thorough understanding of urban environments. In the recent years, the large deployment of mobile devices led to a massive increase in the volume of records of where people have been and when they were there. The analysis of the accumulated archives of such spatio-temporal data can derive high-level human behavior such as the estimation of mobility mode. Evidently, urban planers, traffic engineers, tourism authorities could profit from the pervasive deployment of new technologies to increase the understanding of how people and crowds explicitly consume space. "
  • "Velib is a community bicycle rental service in Paris (similar to the Vélo'v service in Lyon and Bicing in Barcelona). The stations deployed in the city offer bikes people can use for their small and medium daily routes within the city. As part our Tracing the Visitor's Eye project, and as follow-up to the work on Bicing in Barcelona, Mathieu Arnold granted us access to the infrastructure status (i.e. number of available bikes for each station) over several weeks. The resulting animation shows the spatio-temporal state of the system and the mobility patterns of its users. One intention behing these visualization is to explore how accumulated data can help people to grasp the availability and quality of the system over space and time (e.g. do not expect to encounter available bikes the different neighborhoods at certain hours). In addition we aim at revealing Paris, the life of its different neighborhoods, specific areas, their topologies and dynamics through its bike system."
  • "Originally commissioned for the exhibition “Wouldn’t it be Nice” at the Somerset House in London in 2008, The MacGuffin Library proposes the foundations for a library of MacGuffins, produced by first authoring a series of film synopsis’ which are used to inform a collection of sixteen objects, addressing themes stemming from a disparate range of interests and inspirations: Re-enactments, unorthodox fantasies, Borges and Carver short stories, forgeries, urban myths, the defining of high and low brow cinema, alternative histories, and the relationship between media and memory. "

links for 2009-03-24

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  • "San Francisco will, via SFpark pilot projects, evaluate parking-based congestion management. This is expected to improve public transit service, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve neighborhood livability, enhance San Francisco’s economic vitality, and make parking more convenient. Sound parking management is a powerful means to help achieve goals for the transportation system as whole and, therefore, the City’s overall goals for quality of life, sustainability, and economic vitality."
  • Welcome to the website of SFpark — the SFMTA’s new approach to parking management. As of March 2009, no info on sensor-based parking enforcement

links for 2009-03-23

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links for 2009-03-22

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links for 2009-03-21

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  • "Experiments in Biosensing uses methods of synthetic biology to alter the color of yeast cells and bacteria upon exposure to CO and NO2. This enables them to visually function as "un"-natural organic sensors designed to increase public awareness with respect to urban air pollution. These preliminary experiments are the first steps towards the creation of sterile plant sensors changing color in response to CO and NO2 exposure. These plants would be placed in urban neighborhoods visible to anyone walking down the street. Whereas the scientific research ambitions for this project are significant, the primary inspiration comes from a critical interventionist perspective. How might the topic of urban air pollution, which by now has reached main-stream status in many countries be reframed so that knowledge not only results in "well-meaning" but behavioral change?"

links for 2009-03-20

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  • "This research project examines the changing role of public space in the context of increased information flows. It explores the way data networks affect our notions of community and investigates the potential this holds for the formation of communal space. Rather than viewing the physical as a mere backdrop for the delivery of data, the research project seeks to develop crossovers where physical form and digital information directly inform and shape our urban environment. "

links for 2009-03-18

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  • "The LANDSPLOITATION Podcast hosts experimental video and audio documenting the social experience of the human landscape, including but not limited to the spaces of the built environment, vernacular architecture, proxemics, human interaction, and political boundaries."
  • Podcasts on history, infrastruture, the built environment, capital, and of course, landscape. Curated by Jo Guldi.

    "In the era of modern building, the secrets of landscape are constantly hidden in plain sight."





  • "Welcome to Pachube, a service that enables you to connect, tag and share real time sensor data from objects, devices, buildings and environments around the world. The key aim is to facilitate interaction between remote environments, both physical and virtual."




  • "This theme investigates the impact of pervasive technologies on the spatial environment in urban space, both within and outside buildings. As a theory of society as modified by the spatial environment, we will develop space syntax to respond to novel pervasive modes of communication, transaction and exchange implied by pervasive technologies. This will be achieved in Cityware by means of a continuous process of analysis of empirical data on people's use of and relationship with the urban spatial environment as this is affected by the intervention of pervasive technologies."

    (tags: urban pervasi)



  • "In this paper we report on ongoing research in which the implications of urban scale pervasive computing (always and everywhere present) are investigated for urban life and urban design in the heritage environment of the city of Bath. We explore a theoretical framework for understanding and designing pervasive systems as an integral part of the urban landscape. We develop a framework based on Hillier?s Space Syntax theories and Kostakos? PSP framework which encompasses the analysis of space and spatial patterns, alongside the consideration of personal, social and public interaction spaces to capture the complex relationship between pervasive systems, urban space in general and the impact of the deployment of pervasive systems on people?s relationships to heritage and to each other. We describe these methodological issues in detail before giving examples from early studies of the types of result we are beginning to find."




  • "Architectural programming began when architecture began. Structures have always been based on programs: decisions were made; something was designed, built, and occupied. In a way, archaeologists excavate buildings to try to determine their programs."




  • "What if our buildings could respond to change as easily as we do? What if buildings never became obsolete, but instead could keep up with our own speed of adaptation and change? What if they were Always Building? Could technology reinvent our environments?"

    If our habitats were programmable, what would we ask of them?



links for 2009-03-17

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links for 2009-03-16

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  • Park Interactives, 2000
  • "But here's the most important part. In the end, the viewer is likely to leave this film having been sensitized to what is perhaps its strongest invocation (and something I am forever yelling at my design students about): the notion of intention. Sure, you learn about the designers' dreams and desires, their motivations and peculiarities. But at the end of the day, this film is a testament to how damn intentional all of these people are."
    (tags: design)
  • "Doiron spent nine months weighing and recording each vegetable he pulled from his 1,600-square-foot garden outside Portland, Maine. After counting the final winter leaves of Belgian endive, he found he had saved about $2,150 by growing produce for his family of five instead of buying it.

    Adriana Martinez, an accountant who reduced her grocery bill to $40 a week by gardening, said there's peace of mind in knowing where her food comes from. And she said the effort has fostered a sense of community through a neighborhood veggie co-op.

    "We're helping to feed each other and what better time than now?" Martinez said."





  • "Toronto is a city of towers. There are over 1,000 residential apartment towers found all across Toronto. Between the 1950s and the 1980s, concrete apartment towers were the most popular building type. Thousands of units were mixed in with single-family homes, industry, shopping, and vast open spaces.

    Today, these concrete slab towers are aging and inefficient, while the open spaces that surround them are underused and poorly maintained. Mayor's Tower Renewal will combine green technology with neighborhood revitalization to make stronger, greener communities across the city."





  • "However the “place of spaces” was not, as some have argued, superseded by the space of flows. Along with the “smoothness” and the placelessness of the shopping mall, the airport and multiplex, new localities were produced both as sites for work and imagination. The urban became the site for new disruptions and ruses by those rendered placeless in the Smooth City. New struggles and solidarities emerged, once again lacking the mythic quality of the old movements, but adapting, innovating and gaining knowledge through the practice of urban life. Within the new constellation of ruin and danger of the contemporary city, strategies of living, as one of the essays in this volume suggest, often tend to be physiognomic, where detective-like strategies of masking and unmasking help negotiate the urban crowd. "




  • "EnergyIP was designed from the ground up to support all aspects of smart meter network implementation and ongoing operation for the mass market as well as C&I. EnergyIP helps turn utilities into the real-time knowledge-driven enterprises they need to be to handle increasing political, social, and economic demands of a more conscious customer and regulator. EnergyIP captures the complex relationships among assets, premises, customer accounts, users, applications, and services that must be managed in any successful smart meter communications network. Incorporating automated business processes and workflows, EnergyIP maintains these relationships throughout smart meter network implementations and the routine changes in customers, meters, and services."




  • "As a participant walks through the city, wireless networks are sensed by the PDA. Each time a new network is encountered, a new vertical bar is drawn. As each new network is encountered, its marker moves along the color spectrum. The first network is always red and on the left hand side, the last one is always purple and on the right side, and networks along the way get new colors as they come within range. The height of each bar represents the combined strength of the wireless networks currently in range."


links for 2009-03-13

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  • from Shawn, thanks.
  • "Designers find themselves today at the center of an extraordinary wave of cross-pollination. Because of their role as intermediaries between research and production, they often act as the primary interpreters in interdisciplinary teams, called upon not only to conceive objects, but also to devise scenarios and strategies. To cope with this responsibility, designers need to set the foundations for a theory of design and become astute generalists. At that point, they will be in a unique position to become the repositories of contemporary culture’s need for analysis and synthesis, society’s new pragmatic intellectuals. As scientists increasingly embrace this role of the designer, and also recognize in designers like-minded innovative thinking, science will become design’s most precious ally. "
    (tags: design science)

links for 2009-03-11

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links for 2009-03-10

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links for 2009-03-09

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links for 2009-03-08

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links for 2009-03-04

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  • "Now, my larger suspicion here -- let's call it a hypothesis -- is that there is some grand unified theory for speculative cultural activity. In other worlds, "speculative culture" is not a crazy-quilt, it is a nexus. Every creative discipline has methods to shake up its preconceptions and think inventively. I want to catalog, compare and contrast those methods. I surmise that they have some inner unity, a consilience. If there's no such thing, then that's a useful discovery, too.

    Since I am a writer, the first deliverable for this project is a book, the book to be called "User's Guide to Imaginary Gadgets." Composing a book is my own way to test the waters: to create a work that would be a typical "Speculative Culture" book. The very act of writing books creates culture. So, perhaps we'll do some useful work here."

    ...echoes of the Whole Earth Catalog as discussed in _From Counterculture to Cyberculture_ -- a catalog for speculative future technologist lifestyles?



links for 2009-03-03

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  • "My research interests are organized around the history and practice of design and the notion of the ‘user’. Through these empirical prisms I explore sociological questions around the following: design as a prospective practice; design controversies, the politics of technology; object-centered practices; user-involvement in design especially participatory and user-centered design; associations between design and social science. Conceptually and methodologically I draw upon science & technology studies (STS), particularly developments in actor-network theory (ANT) and the sociology of expectations. "
  • "One of the key objectives of user research is to identify themes or threads that are common across participants. These patterns help us to turn our data into insights about the underlying forces at work, influencing user behavior."
  • very pretty. infuriatingly unusable for anything but aimless browsing. no back button, no feedback on what will happen when you click on a mysterious squiggle. so frustrating, but nice consistent aesthetics.

links for 2009-02-27

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links for 2009-02-26

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links for 2009-02-21

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  • "At first glance, Chicago’s latest crime-fighting strategy seems to be plucked from a Hollywood screenplay. Someone sees a thief dipping into a Salvation Army kettle in a crowd of shoppers on State Street and dials 911 from a cellphone. Within seconds, a video image of the caller’s location is beamed onto a dispatcher’s computer screen. An officer arrives and by police radio is directed to the suspect, whose description and precise location are conveyed by the dispatcher watching the video, leading to a quick arrest."

links for 2009-02-17

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  • "It has been 25 years since the desktop, with its files and folders, was introduced as a way to think about what went on inside a personal computer. The World Wide Web brought other ways of imagining the flow of data. With the dominance of the cellphone, a new metaphor is emerging for how we organize, find and use information. New in one sense, that is. It is also as ancient as humanity itself. That metaphor is the map."

links for 2009-02-13

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  • "Argues design practice has moved from hand-craft to service-craft and that service-craft exemplifies a growing focus on systems within design practice. Proposes cybernetics as a source for practical frameworks that enable understanding of dynamic systems, including specific interactions, larger systems of service, and the activity of design itself. Shows development of first- and second-generation design methods parallels development of first- and second-generation cybernetics, particularly in placing design within the political realm and viewing definition of systems as constructed. Proposes cybernetics as a component of a broad design education."

links for 2009-02-04

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  • "Today, after more than a year of planning, 2000 square meters of rooftops have been covered with photos of the eyes and faces of the women of Kibera. The material used is water resistant so that the photo itself will protect the fragile houses in the heavy rain season. The train that passes on this line through Kibera at least twice a day has also been covered with eyes from the women that live below it. With the eyes on the train, the bottom half of the their faces have be pasted on corrugated sheets on the slope that leads down from the tracks to the rooftops. The idea being that for the split second the train passes, their eyes will match their smiles and their faces will be complete."
  • Enhancing Scanned Texts with Context

    A demonstration of how scanned texts can be enhanced with links to contextually relevant resources. Using the output of an optical character recognition (OCR) process, line and word locations can be determined, allowing interactive selection and highlighting of references to people and places. These references can be detected automatically or manually added as annotations. Part of the Contexts and Relationships: Ireland and Irish Studies project.



links for 2009-02-03

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links for 2009-02-01

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links for 2009-01-31

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  • "First, services may be made mobile–ready, as with special mobile interfaces for library services, alerting services, and so on. Second, mobilization continues the restructuring of services, organizations and attention that networking has brought about. Think here of how to socialize and personalize services; how to adapt to collection and service use which spans personal, institutional, and cloud environments; how to position and promote the library ‘brand’ as services become atomized and less ‘visible’ on the network; and more complex questions about what best to do locally and what to source with collaborative arrangements or third parties."
  • "I saw you standing all alone in the electrostatic rain I thought at last I'd found a situation you can't explain with GPS you know it's all just a matter of degrees your happiness won't find you underneath that canopy of trees if the green grass is 6 the soybeans are 7 the junebugs are 8 the weeds and thistles are 11 and if the 1s just hold their place the 0s make a smiley face when they come floating down from the heavens" - from Andrew Bird, "Masterfade"

links for 2009-01-30

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links for 2009-01-29

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links for 2009-01-28

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links for 2009-01-27

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links for 2009-01-22

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links for 2009-01-20

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  • "Keywords: urban gardening, civic renewal, integrated design, participatory environments, artificial intelligence, virtual ecosystems, design for public spaces"
  • Still more theory:

    "Developing a single cross-disciplinary body of theory about designing and designs has been of persistent interest in the field of Design Research over the last 50 or so years. In spite of the obvious benefits and the substantial volume of research undertaken, a coherent body of theory and knowledge has not yet emerged.

    It has recently become clear that this failure is closely linked to weaknesses in the philosophical foundations of the field. This paper focuses on identifying and resolving some of these weaknesses. "





  • Dense, but perhaps useful.

    "This paper focuses on the structure and dynamic of theory in design research. Problems with existing theory are explored, and a new meta-theoretical method is suggested for assisting the critical analysis, comparison and formulation of design theories and concepts. This meta-theoretical method contributes to building a simplifying paradigm of design research by providing a means to clarify the existing state of design theory in the field, to assist with the establishment of coherence and compatibility between concepts in disparate theories, to validate theory and concepts, and to uncover ‘hidden’ aspects of design theories."





  • "Sensing is going mobile and people-centric. Sensors for activity recognition and GPS for location are now being shipped in millions of top end mobile phones. This complements other sensors already on mobile phones such as high-quality cameras and microphones. At the same time we are seeing sensors installed in urban environments in support of more classic environmental sensing applications, such as, real-time feeds for air-quality, pollutants, weather conditions, and congestion conditions around the city. Collaborative data gathering of sensed data for people by people, facilitated by sensing systems comprised of everyday mobile devices and their interaction with static sensor webs, present a new frontier at the intersection between pervasive computing and sensor networking."


links for 2009-01-06

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  • Looks fantastic:

    "Living with Things provides an account of consumption in terms of its centrality to our dwelling practices. Its focus is on the home, particularly on the movement of people and things within and through it in everyday habitation. Here dwelling is seen as an activity, as doing things with and to the things to hand around us. Being 'at home' is achieved through living amongst things, as well as amongst people and other non-human presences, such as pets and gardens. Being at home is achieved through what we do with objects, the things that are acquired and stored, that linger around in our homes, sometimes for decades, and which we may eventually get rid of. These ordinary things make dwelling structures accommodating accommodations; they make them homes. Based primarily on a former coal-mining village in North-east England, this book explores practices of inhabitation, from moving in or being modernised, to the daily accommodation of sleep and children."



links for 2009-01-05

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  • "Ubiquitous computing technologies will have a wide impact on our daily lives in the future. Currently, most debates about social implications of these technologies concentrate on different aspects of privacy and data security. However, the authors of this paper argue that there is more to consider from a social perspective: In particular, the question is raised how people can maintain control in environments that are supposed to be totally automated. Hinting at the possibility that people may be subdued to machines’ autonomous actions we introduce the term “Technology Paternalism”. We elaborate a working definition and illustrate the concept by looking at different examples based on current and future technology. We also dwell on the impacts of ubiquity and control of technology and suggest some approaches to assure a reasonable balance of interests such as a general “right for the last word”."

links for 2009-01-04

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  • Compostmodern is fertile ground for sustainability. Presented by the San Francisco chapter of AIGA and the AIGA Center for Sustainable Design (CFSD), this interdisciplinary conference explores the range of design thinking necessary to create a socially and ecologically responsible society. Designers, manufacturers and business leaders come together to find inspiration, share knowledge and explore real world opportunities for transforming products, industries and lives.

links for 2008-03-24

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links for 2008-03-21

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links for 2008-03-20

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