New Economies of Innovation: Value the Tacit, Trash the Tangible

This is a blog post about economies of technology, it’s long, so let’s start out with 3 concept anec-quotes, and works it’s way to a series of bracketed themes: innovation + enterprise.

# Innovation

In a February 2013 interview with Wired, Larry Page  (Google founder) commented on Google X and paths to innovation:

When I was growing up , I wanted to be an inventor. Then I realized that there’s a lot of sad stories about inventors like Nikola Tesla, amazing people who didn’t have much impact because they never turned their inventions into businesses.

Feb. 2013, Stephen Levy, 7 Massive Ideas that Could Change the World

Let’s ignore that Tesla was in any way slighted as yet another “inventor” who lacked “impact” (WTF) and proceed. This comment led me to question whether we need to monetize to achieve, and how do we create healthy economies for qualities as ill-defined as “innovation” or “integrity.” Maybe innovation alone is an opal not a diamond: beautiful and valuable to be sure, but unless someone contrives rarity or economy (ahem, debeers) around it won’t be nearly as rad. So, can we build a business on intangibles and “values” that as yet have no monetary equivalent?

# Enterprise

Suketu Gandhi comments on this in The Wall Street Journal’s Deloitte Insight , loandefining the “postdigital enterprise”  as one where innovators can either “take your existing processes and apply these new technologies to them,” or rethink the process that technology enables you to enact. In contemporary (apparently “postdigital”) enterprise, maybe the application of technologies to process gives innovation economic weight. Do we need business process to innovate and what do we value in a digital world where lots of interactions and transactions lack the physicality of “real” life? Gandhi also cited “ the big five disruptive technologies,” 3 of which struck me as strangely nebulous, not so much ‘technologies’ as vague ‘values’ of interaction: “social,” “mobility,” “cyber security.” The ability to be social, mobile, and secure seemed to bleed outside the bounds of “technology” as I would typically define it, and venture into the fuzzy region of human interactions and freedoms in the physical world. How do we monetize these, and should we?

# Monetization

To that end, Ecologies of Knowing blogger Pavel asserted that “much of the ubiquity bitcoinbillionaireof computing today is of course driven by opportunities to monetize social interactions and shifts in cultural perception.” As a software architect, I get paid to build things that have no physical product, my work is as intangible as the concepts whose value I’m now interrogating. While part of me is proud that so much of my life is “priceless,” part of me is a bit distressed that that I haven’t founded a business on the obscure intangibles and important aspects of my life. How can we re:define an economy to appropriately capture what we value? Can we bank on innovation, social mobility and security without building an enterprise? Or do ideas lack value when they lack an emphasis on economy?

Taken together, all of these anec-quotes coalesce in the topics at hand for this blogpost: bitcoins, cultural [in]security currency, innovation ecologies/economies, and basically banking on intangibles over bills. Let’s treat each in turn.

## Bitcoin to Begin

A few weeks ago, I hosted a Stereo Semantics radio show about new forms of banking. I’m interested in the development of independent economies, new currencies of exchange appropriate for our internet and IRL environments. Part in parcel to this obsession is my newfound interest in Bitcoins. As per the consistent popularity of Bitcoin in contemporary media, I’ve built a short URList (my new favorite OSStartup) on the topic.

18 Links from: Bitcoins

moonjelly, via Urlist

To take it further, and more topically, a recent NY Times article treated Bitcoin forays into governmental policy and Bitcoin progress toward legitimacy in exchange-traded funding.

The Times tempered this topic judiciously with an explanation of Bitcoin, and my URList includes a series of past and real-time updated publications/interactives focused on the topic. IRL, I’ve attended a few meetups on Bitcoin Startup philosophy and can submit from my cursory exploration that the Bitcoin ecosystem is pretty nascent, warbly in the real world, even now, long-after it’s debut. It’s hard to codify what conditions and cooperation merit my financial “trust” but I find that most startups built on Bitcoin fall in a category of specious, less-traveled by other landscapes of internet innovation.

## [In]security Currency

So, In prefacing with this artificial currency of contemporary fascination, I started privacyIsDeadthinking about other domains where potential economies could be crafted, and I found that defining values like “trustworthiness,” “integrity,” and “security,” also meandered in a nebulous and ill-articulated part of my consciousness. A recent MoMA PS1 panel discussion on Privacy and [National} Security, further forked this thought to consider a slurry of “rights” billed to US citizens but now in question in a post-PRISM world. What do we value? What are our intangible freedoms that form the substrate of our cultural currency? Services like Highlig.ht and Sitegeist would suggest that we value proximous information over privacy. In promotional material, the former markets itself as a “sixth sense for the world around you, showing your hidden connections, and making your day more fun.” The latter bills (ha) as an “the app present[ing] solid data in a simple at-a-glance format to help you tap into the pulse of your location.” Sounds exciting, discovering a secret garden of semiotics and site-specific information? How exhilarating! Until a third party starts tracking it, and determines your habits, patterns, behaviors, your prospective memories, your potential to commit thoughtcrime… so how do we balance an interest in information with a right to resist being polled? Right now, we don’t.

A recent app built by Open Data City in Germany for a local conference tracks bitcoinminerpopulation movements in a timeseries visualization hosted here  and blogged about here. ODC’s sensors detected passive interactions with mobile devices on the conference floor via each devices’ unique mac address. The visualized animation of conference traffic from sensor perception point to point is stellar and stunning but also scary. What’s disturbing about this isn’t just the tracking of these data points, more incriminating and valuable metadata is captured daily by our social applications and email clients, later mined by 3rd party services that sell us products and promotions. What’s disturbing is that unlike those social apps that we opt into voluntarily, if idiotically, on the daily, these sensors were tracking participants without explicit consent; if you had a device (phone, laptop, tablet) you were traceable, part of someone else’s time series art project. Potentially innocuous since mac addresses were probably anonymized by some hash, probably difficult to relate to your identity, but what about the other traffic patterns evident on your device? Could tweets, correspondence, conversations be layered over mac address traffic to trace aspects of your “private” interactions? :/ The project authors allude to this in their blog post:

One thing is clear: The application displays the duality of such records. On the one hand it is clear what data traces you leave, often unconsciously. Therefore, we hope that the application will help to raise awareness for the protection of their own privacy. And is perhaps only once thought about why someone “Free Wifi” offers before you log.

Zur re:log-Website. Realisiert von OpenDataCity. Unterstützt durch picocell und newthinking. Anwendung steht unter CC-BY 3.0.
But is awareness of this enough? And are we more jazzed by the  “Open Data [City]” potential of these apps than by the one-valued privacy we enjoyed in comparative anonymity? Further, how does “freedom” articulate in our ecology of networked intelligence? Is newfound “freedom” afforded by the “open” arrangement of the internet equivalent to the right to hide or the right to expose what’s been hidden? Is it the right to keep secrets or the right to reveal them? Are these even of value? And further how do we re:define value to suit a digital landscape?

## Innovation Economies

In defense of “open data,” my fascination with Bitcoin follows from persistent interest in open source and internet innovations toward replication of analog concepts. Not going to a lie, I’m totally an open data/knowledge/info fangirl. I’ve enjoyed the transition of Encyclopedias to Wikipedias, of gift economies founded in the likes of Burning Man to online exchange platforms like TimeBanks; I can dig it. There’s an intangible quality to trade and barter of “time” or “security” over monetary payment, and perhaps those tacit economies best express in the bit and byte-built world of the internet. Maybe we need to start thinking about cultural economies, the tacit luxuries that we value for their rarity and not necessarily their potential to facilitate purchase. Intangibles like “freedom,” “privacy,” and “security” are governed by their own economies based on contemporary scarcity. If scarcity and control are the determinants of value and weight, then privacy is the gem in our the rough of our current monetary systems.  

bitcointransaction

So what’s new about this? Are bitcoins really that different from current economies? Maybe not, but they’re a provocative start to thinking about tacit economies and the value-making of intangibles. To return to the article that inaugurated this blogpost, I’ll revisit the Larry Page interview, if only to root this endless econ-odyssey in a more agreeable symmetry. In response to what he envisions as successful ideas and company concepts, Page asserted that “[y]ou just need to have the conviction to make a long-term investment and to believe that things could be a lot better.” Will the world be better with investment in a more artificial econ? Will I be more content when currency codifies not as a physical bill but as an ephemeral bit? Will that make me appreciate that money really bears little of the emotional weight that I’ve applied to it,  and that intangible and ill-defined values and virtues warrant a more miserly defense than I’ve ever invested in them? Maybe, a bit[coin]…

## Banking on Intangibles

To conclude, I’m not alone in recognizing the impact of bitcoin currency on our potential economic future, nor am I particularly brilliant at applying economic social science to even more subjective qualities of “innovation,” “privacy,” “safety” and “security,” but it’s comforting to read how new systems of value are developing in tandem with technological innovation. Their access points are becoming increasingly available to a pedestrian public, but new post-digital economies demand an understanding of what we value and how we define the ephemeral.  Do we view privacy and innovation as valuable independent of a price point applied post-facto? And as we’re building these economies, I’m not sure how we’ll incorporate those ethics and morals into the “monetizable” and “business-driven” soup of innovation.

Throughout Who Owns the Future?, Jared Lanier comments on this relationship between economy and digital society, and the cost of “free” information to social and cultural constructs.  As citizens of a digitally-driven society, how do we resist violations of our intangible values via capitalization on our social, mobile, and [in]secure interactions? Should we embrace a new economy that appreciates exchanges of ideas and information, that values innovation without insisting on its monetization? Come check out Lanier’s talk at NYPL in October to find out, and in the meantime, let me close with the indubitable paraphrased prescience of one of my favorite poets:

I like to think

(it has to be!)

of a cybernetic ec[onom]y

where we are free of our labors

and joined back to nature,

returned to our mammal brothers and sisters,

and all watched over

by machines of loving grace.

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Archival Impulses

Lida Moser_Judy and the BoysAs a librarian, it’s rare the occasion when I don’t have archives on the brain. Personal or public, self-maintained or crowdsourced collections have become an almost unconscious substrate of our technological interactions. Any collections management software or CMS from commercial entities like Etsy, to institutional ones like Collection Space or  Collective Access  to social ones like Pinterest or the Retronaut cut from a similar archival cloth.
JamelShabazz_22Inspired by an impulse to preserve, capture and coordinate our collections in an online environment, each of these examples performs an archival function even when privileging contemporary content (re: commercial shopping sights, pinterests, instagram, umpteen social networks). And I’m not complaining, just collating. We’ve developed software to help us manage the overwhelming information on the internet without necessarily acknowledging the dept that practice bears to archival impulse. We’ve adapted social media outlets like Facebook and twitter to record our thoughts and internet actions on a trackable timeline to trace our trajectory from digital birth to present day. So here’s some examples of how we archive in a local context, kind of a hodge-podgey list with a personal bias. To couple with this them and locality, I’ve added some photos from Lida Moser’s (namesake whoot) and Jamal Shabazz’s work (which I had the privilege of cataloging at the Brooklyn Public Library), archives FTW.
Jamal ShabazzThesis: So i finished my thesis, yay, and promised to push it to public criticism, creative commons, accolades (probably !). The title and topic is related to archives, predictably, So feel free to browse it on Git Hub and pull request some suggestions. It’s a bit of a tome, appropriate for somnambulant wanderings into Archival Ether.
 
Radio Show Wrapup: Last week I also wrapped up the second season of my radio show, Stereo Semantics. Check out the archived episodes, tracklists, and semantic node-edge maps for season 2 here and for season 1 here. Stay tuned for Algorhythmic (a math rock and generative music show) and AMSRad.io, my upcoming shows. Props to @jakeporwary for the Math Rock push.
 
emptiness-undated-001Rhizome 7 on 7 Conference: Each year rhizome teams artists and technologists for a day of conversation and innovation, and this year produced some slick archival projects. Read the editorial here. Anyway, friendfracker was a provocative project about automated deleting a bit of your social footprint, Dabit was an admirable donation project soliciitng voluntary charitable donations in a kind of lottery system that caches the donations for the day and awards on random volunteer half of the proceeds (the other half going to charity). For even more peripheral archival talk, one project addressed information “obesity” and “overload” and another called out the “loop” as an attractive and cathartic paradigm in contemporary culture, perhaps one worth investigating as it pertains to how we plan for posterity, how we catalog and store our digital selves.
 
LISA: the recent Leaders in Software and Art meetups introduced me to some stellar social archives. Exemplary of this, Nick Dangerfield of Part/Particle demoed  a chrome-based creative collage and stencil app called tobe.us. It’s beta but if you’re interested you can create an account here:http://tobe.us/join/lisa. Images and gifs can be dropped from the library or desktop, altered or instagrammed into stencils, music from desktop and video from vimeo/youtube.You can create and share boards, and they’re adding features. I made one to show my apartment to potential viewers, adding in some cat gifs, it’s like dragndrop myspace retro fetishism.
tobe.us
Likewise, Paolo Cirio had a few interesting “disruptive” projects manipulating public data so as to point to that status of privacy in our wwworld.
 jamel_shabazz_boys of brooklyn
Past Perfect: This year’s Tribeca Hacks Festival revealed an ongoing archival project about capturing memories and visually rendering them in an online video archive. Entitled Past Perfect, the project solicits “memories” from craigslist volunteers and then visually rendered them in video form. Check out the project to schedule a memory consultation here.
I love your work: Last week I had a blissful 24hours access to an archive of human emotions courtesy of 6+ hours of footage about nine women who make lesbian porn. A catalogue interviews with these women coupled with an exquisite UI, ‘I love your work‘ made for a really polished web archive. I wish I had a few more hours to explore, and a faceted browse function, but otherwies, I recommend the project, pairs well with Cowbird.
Screen Shot 2013-05-04 at 6.54.54 PM
Science Studio: A recent project I’m proud to have kickstarted, Science Studio provides an archive of science-related multimedia content on the web. I’ve been enjoying the upvoted and crowdsourced podcasts and music selections over my coffitivity since launch. This one was particularly touching about parasites and “holes in the net,” however you might interpret it.
 LidaMoser_alt Judy and the Boys
ITP Spring Show: Lots of rad projects were on display at the typically eclectic, variably impressive NYU ITP Show this year. One of my favorites (#typical) was Matt Epler’s Kinograph film preservation project. Impressive for its utility as much as it’s stellar execution, Epler designed and built a way to affordably digitize film frame by frame.
23 and Me: My long awaited results for 23andMe arrived, clocking me at an X2b genomic profile on my materal side and an “unknown” on my paternal. :/ Perhaps one of the more disappointing personal archives I’ve explored this week, though, the labs projects included a downloadable sonification of my genome, which is now my ringtone.
image
Patents and IP Protection: Maybe one of the more yawn-worthy topics for most, the evolution of software patents and cyber security kind of settle at the same part in my brain where archival impulses incubate. I’m pretty preoccupied by cyber secu and citizen (computer) science. While I won’t bore you as I’ve blogged about this before for Girl Develop It, I think it’s worth mentioning here that our we’re at this beautiful precipice in the reconciling of intellectual ingenuity and open source ethos in developing software. I’m looking forward to participating in conversations about this topic and further witnessing developing  as regulations and practices codify. For a glimpse of internet security history look here. For further research on algorhythmic patenting and happenings, retro-follow the Governing Algorithms conference (and a few of my below-captioned tweets from last week).  And for a way to involve yourself in the immediate, peruse this past week’s happenings here: http://devsbuild.it/devpatentsummit/nyc.
Lida Moser_Street Scene

UpcomingWorld Science Festival inaugurates a summer of promise to bring more exciting things in the coming week.  I’ll also be attending Siggraph-LA and OFFF in the coming months. Looking forward to those post-scripts as they come. 🙂 Thanks for reading. PPS: see public service message below.

The Lab for Robotics Education is hosting a free summer robotics program for high school students in NYC! Applications are now open, for more details visit http://www.thelare.org

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DIY Data Science + De:bugging Biometrics: balancing bioart, sensor intel, and responsive cityscapes

IMG_0297 (1)IMG_0387

A few recent articles about neuro- and cognitive science and last month’s GenSpace Talk have sparked my curiosity about the dual capacity of sensor networks to empower a sentient cityscape and to enable biometric surveillance. The forming being a rather rad consequence of a more digitally developed infrastructure, the latter being the horror storythat hangs on our most distopic scifi futures. So what is the balance when dealing with art and code? How do we manage the development of new technologies which allow us hyper-personal transactions at the expense of anonymity?

IMG_0385IMG_0357

According to an article in Science Daily, researchers at Cornell have started to used fMRI scans to predict not just how a person is processing information and in what neurological buckets the activity is dominant, but even who a person is thinking about. Not to be outdone, MIT recently went public with some MatLab code that uses and Eulerian algo to amplify pixels and detect pulse and subcutaneous activity from video files. Meanwhile, what about the prophesied Google Glass and it’s potential to kickstart ‘surveillance’ as a cinema sub-genre? In all cases, we have new windows to our own biology viasecond-hand technological captures. While primarily scientific, these developments have implications for imaging outside of the scientific realm; what new visual art projects might also be augmented by these processing scripts? How will bioart pick up the scientific slack and use open sourced code to develop critical artscience?

When challenged to hack away and build something in the theme of GodMode for 319 Scholes’ Art Hack Day in Brooklyn this weekend, a few of us decided to tackle thanks MM Moser for the logo aidbiometrics andsurveillance with a spoof film, garnering a bit of nerdfamery and some cool coverage along the way (Creator’s Project | Fast.co). Our project, DIY Spoofing for DNA Counter-surveillance, was shot, edited and exhibited in a slurried 36 hour sprint, adapted some Gattaca-like insecurities about the trajectory of genetic surveillance. Check out the project here, and browse the vimeo links to research participant hackers and our other press pages. The whole experience of hacker/artist immersion was infectiously inspiring and full of smart kids in fancy kicks #godmode. In the open source spirit, we submitted the video as a set of DIY protips on how to blend your DNA with that of a friend, then shed both samples in simultaneity, to scramble surveillance readings. However fun and simple our execution, the themes of human tracking

via biometric analysis and the role of the post-modern bioartist in critically questioning this tracking were clear. We were all amateurs in many ways, but the ubiquity of sensingtechnologies and send-away DNA analysis services in our modern cities points to the validity of our concept. How might a project likethis scale beyond a weekend hackathon and a posting on Instructables? How might these themes persist as they propagate in our cities?

Case in point, this week’s submissions to the NYC Reinvent Payphones project solicited several proposals for more “aware” telephone technologies. My company was asked to develop ways to augment underutilized street furniture and part of this process involved an impressive network of sensing technologies to permit data collection and a more personalized and locally sensitive experience. The implication was the soon these ‘augmented’ booths might permit not only private phone calls but intimate and hyper-personalized transactions, automating and diffusing the pressure of city services such as  polling and election activities, postal services, and the DMV. Oh my.

Check out press: Engadget | the Verge | NYDaily News | the GothamistFastCo !

Please vote for our video here so that we can transform the NYC payphones!

ah_ 2013-03-05 at 4.39.41 PM

But what if authentication becomes biometric? Is that fair? Do we want all of our identification to be linked to our biology? If someone spoofs our biological identity rather than spoofing surveillance, are we comfortable with allowing them access to our civic, political, and personal lives? Probably not, but we probably will be soon enough. Doubtless that many people will opt to log in with their default bio-credentials when possible, forgetting that these features, once hacked, cannot be scrambled or reissued, md5 hashed and emailed again to our ‘private’ accounts  in the physical world as they can in the digital.  Moral of the story? Keep tabs on your preference settings, keep your friends swap/spoof close, and your privacy radar closer.

Follow the Art Hack Day Press: Animal | Le Nouvel Observateur

58-pmurl

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Mastering the Wizardry of CS and Edu ++

There has been a dramatic lag in my contribution to this site of late, loads of new projects, full time work plus sporadic thesis guilt conspired to prevent a posting until now.

A few things I’m up to:

Girl Develop IT Code and Coffee (Feburary 5th)

Radio Show (Sundays, 9-10PM)

ArtSec Demo Projection

ArtSec Demo Projection

Conversely, my internet activities are pretty consistent off of this site. Look for my posts here (Control Group, Girl Develop It), some comments in the Google group (Art Sec), and check out my archived radio shows here.  I’ve made a few videos with cool prototypes in physical computing as well, including LED blink programs. Most of the photos in this post cull from recent events and otherwise awesome goings on. With that, explaining, I’ll proceed to some more substantive commentary.

For this post I want to focus on a consistent preoccupation of mine, one that I think bridges all of the above enumerated activities: education. As a librarian, it’s increasingly hard to abandon the idea of research for a purpose, which is pretty ubiquitous in education, the idea of consistent and independent edification. I’ve been collecting articles and thinking about this for a while.

Human Face of Big Data

Human Face of Big Data

At Bloomberg’s World IA Day (February 9th), Rich Smolan talked about positive impact of data analysis en masse, for building the potential of networked intelligence, for translating ugly data into meaningful information and contributing to the global nervous system that the internet provides. With large amounts of collective data about our population and behaviors, we are actively architecting an engine for understanding our world. Education in how to process information of this complexity and quantity is key. So, a consistent topic of discussion was what is the right balance of education in Information Architecture?

But perhaps more pertinent and consistent, the question of how soon to education and in what sequence of curricula we might begin teaching about big data and programming. Should we begin by reinforcing mathematics and logic because they are the foundation of careful thought in computation? Should we jump to scripting, robots, and physical computing because they are the jazzy IRL exactions of programming? Should we leave it to students and promote programming and data fluency in general?

Where should we start? Of late I’ve been engaged in some peripheral education exercises, wrapping up as a metadata T.A. at Pratt left me with a nostalgia for teaching and the above event list is just a catalog of my tangential pursuits in

Education and Outreach: More technicolor data plz!

Education and Outreach: More technicolor data plz!

information nerdery. It made me think about what I might be competent to teach and what I would want to teach, and part of my work with Girl Develop It has only continuously affirmed that I want to work with data and I want to teach people how to use it for the types of progressive applications that Smolan talks about in his The Human Face of Big Data. Programming is inching toward ubiquity even in obligatory curricula, and even a more basic understanding of balance in structuring and formatting data for consumption will soon be a prerequisite for a high school curriculum in CS. This was a topic that I revisited a few weeks ago when I taught a class at the Academy for Software Engineering, a new Manhattan High School focused on teaching programming in tandem with typical coursework. Part of their Functions and Data Analysis curriculum, the class was about teaching 9th graders how to approach the ubiquity and enormity of data output that they unconsciously contribute to on the daily. Most of the class was just straight up Big Data, but understanding how to structure data, how to architect and organize information for usability is an interdisciplinary skill worth cultivating at all educational levels, whether professional (as at World IA Day), collegiate, or early educational.

Check out the presentation here: CGBigData-AFSE-1.3.13

Likewise, at this month’s Open Data Day, I focused on building out a series of collaborative iPython Notebooks in PiCloud to create the skeleton of a collaborative programming curriculum in Python for Girl Develop It. Ideally, the notebooks would allow me to segment blocks of code and wrap them in a user friendly set of READ.ME-like comments in markdown. I could then share the notebooks with students and collaborators who could run the code blocks individually and process the interactive lesson plan before them as a UI-friendly literate programming environment. Developing literacy  at the expense of obscurity here is key to encouraging new programmers.

Working hard at being a nerd

Working hard at being a nerd

So, in considering all of the above, I naturally thought about my own habits of continuous education since college, about how I’ve supplemented my traditional curriculum to afford forays into CS and programming when that was not/never my primary program of study. And also about who encouraged this study and what kept me going.

Were I teaching a college course in information architecture, I would teach my students to…

  • pursue independent study (rare book school/hacker school, code.org, codeacademy, )
  • mentor and expect reciprocal mentorship from your superiors
Collabo-nerding

Collabo-nerding

  • participate in regular portfolio critique as an exercise
  • learn something outside of the nebulous field you participate in professionally, because those soundbites of even abbreviated variety in intelligence are so surprisingly significant for persuade
  • learn a really lean/agile process (aside from the  learning more about accessibility)
  • design for extremity to outperform use cases, you will never be disappointed and can scale this practice with experience

The reality is that most brilliant things that develop from your education after age 21 are probably things you designed and built yourself. Honing your skill set through regular exercises outside of your traditional workflows (extra classes, hackathons, meetups) are

Pitching ideas at Open Data Day NYC

Pitching ideas at Open Data Day NYC

an essential part of the continuous learning process. One of the unspoken (or maybe spoken) refrains of graduate school is that you don’t really need to go to grad school (something you realize inevitably and only while you’re there). Most education is just a framework for realizing your own potential; the older you are the more apparent this becomes, the more you must make independent effort to educate yourself outside of an obligatory education track. Encouragement can help (see code.org video or the Take the Pledge series from CS Ed Week – look out for my cameo!):

As a concluding point, I used to think that people who defended “liberal arts education” where trying to justify their own youthful unprofessional orientation, but I have come to recognize that the peculiar demands of most professions are irrelevant if you fail to communicate and complicate your own ideas. This is something that liberal arts teach you, how to build on your own concepts and inform or affirm them with research and critical theory. Intelligent people are remarkable problem solvers. If you train an intelligent person to approach your problem set, he will make progress toward a solution; diversity in education enriches this capacity. The answer to questions of more creativity and a more informed approach to architecture anchors in an independent and continuous education.

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Absentee Archiving: why autumn is the most Occupied of seasons

Apologies, I’ve been an absentee archivist for the past month, overwhelmed as I am with all of the new excitement that the Fall semester brings. I’m writing now in brief to announce a brief blog hiatus thanks to my thesis (yikes!) and guest blogging activity, which will now be absorbing writing precedence until I submit in (gasp) December. A big part of my recent activity has been some fumble attempts at front end programming and some event planning for Girl Develop It, the non-profit I volunteer for that teaches women how to code in low-cost classes; accordingly, I’ve peppered this post with graphs I’ve charted (thank you Michael for showing me the magic of HighCharts) and female dev-ful events I’ve hosted. As this is an all-over-the-place post, I’ve tagged it up with some tagging refs. If you’ve been following this blog *applause*, you will know my affinity for tags (these, and these, and these) in all of  their semantic iterations (as per previous blog post). What follows are some bulleted updates on upcoming excitement.

  • Archives Documentary: Thanks to some friends and recent side projects, I’m increasingly fascinated by 3rd party archive projects. A friend at Eyebeam is on residency to create a documentary around themes of preservation of internet memory (and meme-ory). I recently gave a tour of the internet, and have been following the blog (http://archivefilm.tumblr.com/). If you dig data you should too.

  • Radio Show: My show is now underway *whoot*. Look under the projects tab (Projects > Radio) to find my archived episodes throughout the next few months. Inspired by the Semantic Web and that 70s show Connections, I DJ Stereo Semantics, an experiment in sonic degrees of degrees of separation. Sundays – 9-10pm EST.
  • Art/Education Projects: Game of Phones; I’ve been the lucky lady added to the Game of Phones queue and now that I’m oh man it’s addictive. Rather refreshing to watch actual phone use supersede all of the killer apps that now bog my “smart[er?]” phone (thanks David Lublin). Inspired by some cool open data postings on the ArtSec (Art + Security, you’ll know if from #artstech fame) google Group, I worked with a Miso/High Charts Stack to visualize some Graffiti tagging data from the NYC open data portal (thanks Michael Keller for the R aid). I’ve captioned a few vis examples and am looking forward to plotting this on a map soon.
  • 3rd Party Blogs: Control Group, Girl Develop It. Check out my recent posts @ControlGroup and @GDI: Technology for all: It’s a Gal++ World, relative to my Women in Tech volunteer projects. IA few weeks ago, I had the privilege Todd Park, CTO of the US, to discuss policy related to Women in Technology and their Presidential Fellows program (a fellowship which attracts a paucity of female applicants), with NY Tech Meetup and representatives of women and tech initiatives around NYC. Working with GDI and Hack n’Jill to promote a more egalitarian techscape is ever-fulfilling and certainly an important building block of brilliant and beautiful products in STEM fields. I’m happy to be a part of it.

  • Metadata Course: However under qualified I may be, I’m also assisting with a Metadata course at Pratt on Saturday mornings, designing excercises and curricula to compliment a syllabus of mainly XML implementations of metadata schemas. Of late, I’m a bit frustrated with the kludgyness of the Moodle microblogging system that’s baked into Pratt’s course enrollment and learning management software, so I’ll be migrating class content and posts to a WordPress Blog (to flesh out slowly, stay tuned!).

  • Hackathons: Data Kind/Occupy Hackathon/Hack n’ Jill. While I rarely have adequate bandwidth or energy on my weekends, I recently had the pleasure of contributing remotely to an Occupy Hackathon aimed at making use of the rich data collected throughout Occupy and its affiliated movements. Likewise, I was fortunate enough to learn from the Data Kind Data Dive, visualizing NYC Parks Data a few weeks ago; this introduced me to a pretty brilliant assortment of geo-vis tech stacks, and CartoDB, which I have become subsequently obsessed with and will happily share with whomever I can: http://cartodb.com/. My company and Girl Develop It are also partnering with Hack n’ Jill  to host a 2 day Hacksgiving at Etsy.

Sign up here: http://hacksgiving.eventbrite.com/. and come out the weekend of November 9-10th to see some rad hacks!

  • Conferences: LISA, Strata, Visualized, SIGGRAPH-Asia. If you’re in NYC and want to catch me at some conferences, I’ll be volunteering at LISA and Visualized. I’ll be attending the big data nerd conf in NYC in two weeks: http://strataconf.com/. And I have been graciously awarded funding to participate in Siggraph Asia 2012, so I’ll be off to Singapore in a wee few weeks (h1ph1ph00ray): http://www.siggraph.org/asia2012/en.

So those are the haps! Oh and I was also featured in these random but delightful things: MSN Glo article, librarian conference article. Thanks for reading, friends, join me at any of the upcoming events above, and send in your radio show rec’s to auremoser@gmail.com!

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Consider in Chrome: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark Dark Dark

Sometimes, I have the impulse to write something profound on this  blog, but now, now is not one of those times. Now is the time I want to talk about music and webmagic so here goes with a self-indulgent slurry of the sweet things the web (GL or otherwise) has served me of late. I want to reference a recent Google adventure as well as an upcoming radio program I’ve been daydreaming of late. For visual interest, I’m going to spill some surrealism all over this with a bit of themed imagery, some daydreamy AV to dew drop drizzle  on your day.

The title of this post appropriately sweeps all of those topics under some semblance of unity. I work a lot in chrome, that is, chrome before it was Chrome™. I work a lot in browsers (chromes) now, and as a chem T.A. at an art school, I worked loads with chrom-ium based pigments. It’s a pretty colorful element, chromium, with a Greek root it couples with a variety of suffixes to produce “colorful” adjectives, band names, among other references. Hello, Chromeo, the Chromatics, Sonichrome (honey, please is a swoonworthy track in my brain), and what about the Chromes on It, Telepathe remix? But that’s not the “Chrome” I’m talking about. The chrome I’m talking about is a browser window, and has become the property of Google projects for some time. Though perhaps not obvious now, the reason I digress with all of these references and etymological diversions, is, in part, to preface a discussion of some totally rad google projects, and in part to introduce a semantic web approach to music that I’m packaging as a radio show come Fall 2013.


<  suspense >

Title Part I: Google Chromecacheedansleforet

Firstly, let’s shed some light on the Google stuff and then on to the open source.

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure to beta-test a pretty rad application out of Google’s Data Arts dept. (thanks, Aaron * waves *). Entitled “This Exquisite Forest,” the experiment is a collab webproject where you plant an animated image and watch it grow through a system of crowdsourced contributions that branch from your budding idea (apologies for the extended puns, it is my way). It’s been clocked as a kind of version control for images, that transforms the surrealists’ exquisite corpse drawings into a digital project. Under the username “puddingmaster,” I started an 8-frame animation of a staircase, that was transformed by 5 other users into games of tetris, portraits, and geometric puzzles. It’s pretty cool, and now that it’s public, I feel comfortable gushing about how awesome it is.

Finally there is a weboutlet for my surrealist obsessions and it doesn’t involve youtube or remixes of Luis Buñuel films (nb: the surrealist echo in the featured “cachée dans la forêt” piece above). Most of the animations are pretty impressive in the forest, from DMirada’s enigmatic amoebas called “Evolving,” to RaquibShaw’s rather screensaver-stunning “Forgotten gardens of Xanadu,” the trees range in level of contribution and complexity. But pretty much everyone outdoes my stick-figure staircase and I still scored 4 branches and a rebase (WHAAT? Yes).

In addition to animations, you can author your own musical track to accompany the 8-frame image playback, and this feature seemed to correlate brilliantly with some other online obsessions of mine, that have been incubating for a while.

Of late, I’ve been messing around with Chrome’s WebLab Orchestra, which I highly recommend. And the old-school audio cassette on Tympanus allows for some distracting play in html 5. I remember when the Sembeo Sound matrix was my go-to distraction in Flash, reminding me a lot of some incredibox.fr experiments I was running a few years ago. When I started guesting on a radio show in college, I remember thinking how cool it would be to automate call-in requests, allowing people to compose music with keypad menu selection, or at least to select genres and then create collab broadcasts, exquisite-corpse their way through a show, if you will. With all the music genome projects live of late, it seems we have an internet radio infrastructure that people can sample and curate and collaborate without any particular knowledge of how all of these connections and html 5 elements integrate.  The internet and its architects give us the instruments, and all we have to do is google moog our way to play.

Title Part II: Radio DayDreams

And all of this music segues somewhat into a project I’m working on for the Fall. Inspired by my continued fascination with the semantic web, I’m starting a semweb radio series at Pratt Institute when the new semester kickstarts. It’s called Stereo Semantics and the premise pretty simple. I start with a song, I close with it’s cover, I stitch together the six degrees that separate the two.  I’ll be uploading archived episodes to the site along with a RelFinder map connecting the first song to the last, possibly with comments; ultimately I’d like to run my own musical Milgram experiments and see how it spreads. I’ve developed umpteen example playlists for this project, but I thought a shoutout to my daydreaming theme would suit this post. So, here goes….

A. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the ….

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark have been a pretty solid substrate of my Pandora playlist library for a few years. I love the theatricality, the dancehall catchiness, the genre ambiguity and the science references. [Electricity: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sq2vl99iIEc] I played OMD in an embarrassing amount of radio show broadcasts as a wee DJ on student radio…there’s something so relaxing for me about shoegaze and brit pop. They also have a song about dreaming, which has been covered  by everything from glitch to  ukulele online. I’d like to to find ways to connect those tracks, to show how this bass player transitioned to that band, and made music with this beat or this chord progression that you can also here in _this song. Soon the semweb will build these maps for me, beautifully. But there’s something to analog over algorithm, to assembling things manually in stitches of musical nostalgia; Stereo Semantics will tease out that idea.

B. …Dark Dark Dark

After SxSW, I had the pleasure of being introduced to Dark Dark Dark. Among many, many noteworthy others, they have a song called “DayDreaming” which I’ve captioned here:

And what about * scans itunes library *

  • M83–Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
  • The Magnetic Fields–Asleep and Dreaming
  • Chet Baker–Daydream
  • Sonic Youth–Daydream Nation

AND

  • Themselves–Dark Sky Demo
  • Kanye–Dark Fantasy
  • Hot Chip–Made in the Dark
  • Death Cab–I will follow you into the Dark

Even on a completely superficial kw:_  level, this theming is going to be fun.

While I wouldn’t say I’ve progressed beyond the OMD/New Wave music of my more youthful days, I might admit that Dark Dark Dark is more of the hipster tunage that I sample since starting grad school. Sometimes the ridiculous melodrama of “chamber baroque folk music” makes me shudder, but often it just helps me wind down after a long day. I want to build a bridge between those two , and track a timeline of my musical trajectory over the past few years. SSemantics will be a kind of musical scrapbook, and I’m happy to take topic suggestions, or even, yes even call-ins (see my contact page if you think of something particularly rad). Stay tuned!

< / suspense >

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Presentations + Pretty Things: metamodel for library data

It has been a long lapse since my last post and this lo-fl blog is becoming borderline lo-fun. Summer has brought sunny weather and a super-mix of exciting events for me: EVA in Firenze, THATCamp in NYC, Eyeo in Minneapolis, and finally ALA in Anaheim (from where I’m currently crafting this posting). So in honor of Alan Turing’s b-day  * h1p_h1p_H-00-RAY* I am posting a much belated update. As a follow-up to my talk last month at EVA Florence on Preservation Metadata for Electronic Art Installations (#mouthfulofnerdy), I decided to author a summary of my recent program adventures from sunny and swell Firenze, followed by some comments on good design for library data. As per uszhe, I included lot of planets and pictures of space to power you through what promises to be a long posting.

Firstly, my presentation discussed a portion of my thesis topic on preservation Metamatics pdf coverpagemetadata and conservation practice for new media and net.art, coupled with a decidedly New York-centric focus (as was encouraged since I represented ½  of the American constituency in attendance). As I promised to orchestrate a slide-share of sorts, I’ll post an abbreviated but attractive version of my slides, minus some video, citation marginalia, and more advanced descriptive content as a pdf of a ppt. For those who dug my formatting (hello, I love you), sorry, but the Consolas + Calibri typeface magnifimashup does not translate with a downgrade some of my color spaces are also skewed; I think you’re seeing a florescent version of Calibri text.  But I’m sure the people skimming my resource page really could careless than I do about that.

Download the pdf hereEVAPresMetadata

Now that I’m over the conference hump (EVA + EYEO+ ALA ohmy!), this short pocket of blissful break from the blog has made me restless so I’ve decided to pick-up a few pbsdatavis01lost threads that I’ve left trailing along the way. This will be a post about the need for data visualization nerds to jump on the metadata and electronic media bandwagon. In recent news, a few informal speaking engagements within the library community have left me frustrated with the slow pace of cultural institutions in the face of data vis; these organizations have only the best data at their disposal. Modest projects for visualizing and presenting these data exist, to be sure, and are impressive, but a more ambitious push to participate in social visualization tools, or at least to enable these visual devs as open data APIs is needed.

The weighty rhetoric of the library and archives world (I’m looking at you “repositories”) loses a bit of the play and processing snazziness of partner projects in news and advertising environments. As libraries, we’ve become woefully slow on the uptake of participation in animation and visualization initiatives even when the libraries and the github links are there (hello Timeline.js, and Fusion Tables). There’s still a persistent gap between how libraries present and illustrate their data, and how corporate entities organize and manage product promotions by establishing an attractive online presence; libraries lack the visual. There’s a lingering wall of intimidation between the library world and the IA/Developer world, and we need to close that gap.

Case Study: Conference Sites

Look at the ALA-Anaheim conference website: http://www.alaannual.org/

Now try to navigate.

#yikes

I’m not going to hate too much, since criticism should beget solutions rather that pbsdatavis_take2whine and cheese. But in comparison to Eyeo [http://eyeofestival.com/] and SxSW [http://sxsw.com/] (which boast a pretty profound data set of events and information), the libraryland conferences are a cocktail of cumbersome and creatively-challenged. To soften the brutality of that screencap, I am also peppering this post with some pretty attractive data vis coming out of a pbs program you may have heard about: America Revealed.  Mapping arial data about internet usage and across the US produces some beautiful swirly planet patternings. Even the pizza delivery routes in manhattan looke brilliant in blue light:

This echoed some other swell projects I’ve been seeing including this map (author unknown…maybe Jer Thorp?) of weather eruption patterns over time, projected in pbsdatavis_take3circular plumes (best if viewed in Chrome): http://vizzuality.github.com/HTML5-experiments/earthquakes/index.html#2/39.5/-74.0

The first lesson in Processing is an education in how to render circles with animation software: http://processing.org/learning/gettingstarted/

…so starting out with creative code and attractive vis is not that difficult, and as pbs and git can attest is furthermore pretty appealing on a universal scope. People like ellipses and curves, there’s a particular attraction to bubbles and bobbles as nodes of information, as planetary points on our navigation through an interweb solar system of impacted data sets. Even static vis shares a love of swirls and circles. See: http://www.howtogeek.com/92976/50-years-of-space-exploration-infographic/

NB:

We Feel Fine [http://wefeelfine.org/]

The Dumpster : [http://artport.whitney.org/commissions/thedumpster/]

Bloom/Hodgin’s Planetary app: [http://blog.bloom.io/]

Take the above as examples of that. There are ways to render library data in pbsdatavis_take3informative bubblesets, There are ways of illustrating the popularity of certain dewey  100 blocks visavis checkouts rates, ways of ranking library “departments” and charting them as a newsmap  (hint: dewey just became RDF-enabled: http://dewey.info/).

There is so much potential bundled in library data, and so much feasible datavis to build. There is a programmatic learning curve for some software applications, and it’s unfair to demand better datavis without acknowledging the limited budgets and programmatic expertise that affects library projects; but if Code for America can mobilize volunteers to push  government data out of cmd-line prison, there must be a comparable movement in America’s libraries * call-to-action face*. And anyway, perhaps I am a bit biased, but I am BIG on pedagogy in programming, less on the pretense. Some of the most fascinating things I’ve learned have been through free online tutorials and ad hoc apprenticeships with my coder friends who knew way more than I did and were willing to chaperone me as I tumbled my way through projects; and that includes data projects conducted at library venues. We no longer occupy a world of lone-gunmen genius…more a collaboration space where several geniuses combine skills to build brilliant things. Computers, with their open-ended potential as platforms for n projects foster that kind of networked intelligence and collaboration in obvious ways. So let’s go libraries, let’s collaborate and create pretty things!

Last month’s THATCamp Museums touched on new ways to make collections visible; harnessing the power of the timeline to create visualizations of information that map content to concrete nodes in time, and visualize those points:

http://timeline.verite.co/examples/user-interface/

http://blogs.loc.gov/digitalpreservation/2012/03/sxswlam-libraries-archives-and-museums-in-an-interactive-world/

So as a wrap-up to what has become a long read, let’s just close with some symmetry and some Alan Turing shout outs [http://www.legoturingmachine.org/]. Just because we deal with ugly data sets doesn’t mean our representation of that information has to be likewise hideous. Even Turing’s most impressive mathematical and computational outputs (including ACE among others) were the product of design. Arguably, everything within the range of human interface is the product of design, and there’s no reason to promote unattractive and empty data vis, no reason to de-sign our signifier-rich data in libraries. HBD Alan Turing, HBD.

LEGO Turing Machine from ecalpemos on Vimeo.

Check out the following and give visualization a whirl:

http://processing.org/

http://libcinder.org/

http://flare.prefuse.org/

http://fellinlovewithdata.com/guides/data-vis-beginners-toolkit-2

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Digital Preservation: an ongoing aside


Area 51 profile for Aurelia Moser

Without bracketing this in anything particularly profound, I’d like to offer the following plug for Area 51’s Digital Preservation Forum. A Stack Overflow dish sesh site for librarians and cultural heritage professionals grappling with the data deluge and preservation concerns of our New Media-driven collections. It’s currently at the 11% committal rate en route to 100%. Help out by committing or contributing if you can: http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/39787/digital-preservation?referrer=RSIIIoYsakUl8-Pye4BdZw2

Stack Exchange Q&A site proposal: Digital Preservation

Requiem for RSD: Technostalgia and Ephemedia

On this auspicious RSD, delightfully coined as a ‘nerd’s Black Friday,’ I thought I would craft a post on our current cultural fascination (and my eternal obsession) with old tech. From the vinyl swoonage of my inner hipster streams an affection for older media formats. In the spirit of my typically mashup blogstructure, I’ve peppered the following with a dose of nerdery, John Hughes refs (Pretty in Pink record store heyyah) and a decidedly-dork link drop.
Elsewhere on the internet, T Berners-Lee (#semweb<3) issued a rather relevant press dispatch providing some worthwhile, if informally articulated,  perspective on legislation to limit piracy as piloted by record labels (see: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2012/04/berners-lee-dont-let-record-labels-upset-web-openness.ars). One wonders in retrospect how the internet inspired these legal concerns, how old music media slowed legislative headache in its low-tech limitations, and for this among other reasons, I’ve defaulted to a rather luddite posting.
I write this with a pang of resistance, as it is with rarity that I self-identify as old It's hot, White Hot(*shudder*) but the current technological timeline chronicling our collective [te]Xistence demands a certain comfort with the realization that the ’90s were a while ago, that the internet dawned a while ago…and that we’re now in the swelling season of rapidly appreciating generations of hardware. How we will grapple with this ephemedia has become a buzz topic in the archives and art worlds alike, as projects in net.art and new media demand a new approach to conservation, and a particular perspective on the romance of technostalgia to support those programs and projects we choose to preserve.
I’ll begin with an anecdotal <aside>
When I first considered art restoration as a career path, I accepted that chemistry and art history would have to blend in an rather bizarre educational program defined by my own crosswalk of departments and operated on a platform of optimism + obscure nerdery. With time, my interest in contemporary art favored an education in code over chem, and it is with honesty that I acknowledge the importance of technology for long-term preservation of our postmodern cultural memory, conducted in the catalogs and crosswalk metadata maps of colloquial web archive known as the internet. Our affection for the grooves and snapcracklepop of vinyl, for album art and liner notes in the age of paperless playlists à la Pandora coordinates well with our nerdy re:interest in former formats, and the now obsolete storage devices of our early internet da[ze]. What some of my undergrad students reference as “old school” now collects in a rather pathetic category that includes Mac products with the rainbow apple-logo, and the dial-up tones that at one point audio-tuned the boot-up. #betTheresARingtone. We have a whole tag vocabulary that equates 10-year old techologies with “vintage” and “retro”, and a rather anachronistic attraction to self-identifying as “analog”  All this is fascinating in such a collapsed timeline…tech tempis fugit indeed.
</aside>
Rhizome epublished a blog post about this type of phenomenon, entitled Projected Projects: Slides, Powerpoint, and a Sense of Belonging, and my own recent treatment of it can be attributed to a techcrunch article about Prince of Persia complimented by BIG computer geekthis lecture by Doug Reside (digital palimpsests…see previous postings). All of the aforementioned in some way contributes to a contemporary catalog of our attraction to old media, and the attempt to both preserve previous formats and furnish persistent platforms to host those products that defined how we all grew up with the internet, that characterized our carousel through technoyouth. Those of us who recall the pluckiness of a polaroid or the plastactile quality of  the floppy now watch as these filter to the techvogue of a new generation. Consider the current cool of “retro” gaming like “5th avenue frogger” or the techno trope of the wizard/princess single player set-up (see photo).
But with companies like Kodak sloowwwwly retiring from the media memory-making that has so long been their default domain (I’m looking at you microfiche), we must also confront this nostalgia with caution, and potentially with alarm.
Fred Kilgour: Microfilm will be “one of the most important developments in the transmission of the printed word since Gutenberg.” Christian Science Monitor Magazine (9/14/1940)
Steve Paul Johnson: “End of Microfilm?” on census information and microfilm obsolescence (12/19/1999)
It remains near-impossible to predict the success or failure of any-one medium (case in point: quotes below; case in point the undulating popularity of all music/movie media, vinyl included). The thumbdrives and cartridges of our techmemory are not immune to that same obsolescence, in fact, they might be the most vulnerable carriers of our culture to date. What of our digital memories? Wherewith our technochronology preservation protocols? Will the fbook journals be our only catalogue of online identity in the 2000s? Will our digital anecdotes and assets be clustered in a dubious Cloud? Will we even want memories, or will we allow our historic [hyper]texts to devolve to droplinks and the deepweb darkrooms of archival ether. Remember the Eloi and their apathy about intellectual memory (if you remember the book). If not (*gasp* *feelsAncient* *sulks*): remember that Wishbone episode where Weena laughs when HG Wellsbone paws through the crumbling pages of the archives (oh look, here’s a lo-fi reminder: http://www.colemanzone.com/Time_Machine_Project/BarkFuture(2).htm)  yep, that’s the state of things.
I’ll punctuate this with a pile-up of unanswered questions and some “retro” screen captures featuring the old tech that some of us know, and many of us miss. On this record store day, I’m compelled to re:member technology’s incarnations in my lifetime, as I’ve watched photochemical captures transition to media memory banks that might just be bankrupt in the space of a decade. RSD and other affections for old media, I salute you.
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Let’s all go to the ZUI

For about two weeks, I’ve been mulling over a best of blogpost for SxSW;  I attended the ending awards show and thought why don’t I try to do this better? But some of the best ofs have morphed into tweets and internet babble so I thought I’d issue another shoutout to Sx (but the 2011 version): in praise of the ZUI (zooo-ee). Remember http://2011.beercamp.com/? It was a Sx experiment a bit back, which allowed for some JS and CSS transform magic to make for a limitless dive into cool content, and its zoom functionality has been on my radar of late.

In sweeping generalities, the ZUI (Zoom User Interface) is a vector graphic environment that allows users to approach and access content in a fluid sequence of zoom and pan through a seemingly infinite internet space. I’ve captioned David DeSandro’s GitHub mockups to illustrate the type of code layering patterns it uses executed through CSS scaled transforms among other masterful flourishes. Golly it’s cool, and before I get all-gooey-(or all-GUI? too much?)-gush about how brilliant it is when the content auto-adjusts to fit the resized container objects (semantic zooming *swoon*), let me stumble through some examples…
  • ChronoZoom: I tweeted this a while ago…visually stunning
  • 3D Topiscape: Personal knowledge management, filemapping in vis.
  • Scale of the Universe: Also tweeted, shameless replug.
  • Piccolo: Historic Java/C# toolkit that now operates/updates with small-scale upkeep. Long-live piccolo.
  • Impress.js: Prezi optimized for CSS3 transforms and more modern browsers.
  • Prezi: I’ve always found the Prezi to be a particularly engaging. The swoop and zoom function has real potential to mask even unimpressive content. It’s rather immersive, like an IMAX movie v.s. a Netflix download. In fact, I just staged a GoogleFight between Prezi and ppt. and hot damn if it didn’t own Office like WHOA.

Tertiary, but maybe worthwhile is an <aside> on the application of the ZUI to mobile devices and media. The agreeable tactility of a touch interface gives the ZUI more gestural bang for its buck: pinch to shrink, spread to expand, jump on the scroll event in JS and go wild….seemless, genius, when your code doesn’t break. #notthatihavethisproblem

Fusing ZUIs with the architecture of a mobile app demands a kind of immediacy in feedback that we are increasingly demanding as users. With dialup and the rainbow spinner roll, we were forced to support delays. Now if some JS or fancy Flash takes more than 2 seconds to load, I’ll close the tab and work on one of the 4 (read: 10) other browser windows i’m paging through.   With mobile, it seems we have 0 willingness to wait. When we navigate with our fingertips, feedback must be continuous for morale to improve. HTML5 echoes back with some pretty impressive support for meh computers with fancy graphics/vid cards (AKA mobile devices!), and the kind of global visualization and manipulation capabilities of WebGL lend themselves to the propagation of the ZUI. Ultimately, adding transforms and scaling = math that I am not prepared to execute but am happy to consume. The layering is learnable though, githubable, so I’m going to pencil it in for my pockets of “fun” time in the future. For now, I’ll start brainstorming means of sustainability and preservation as art installs migrate from the gallery to the ZUI. AND what if our pinterest boards could be revisualized as networked swatch samples in a ZUI? Or our Flickr accts could be nested into piles of photographs browseable in zoom.
Oh the places we’ll go!
And thus the ZUI becomes the big-kid zoo of overstimulation in an interface where there are no “documents” “or windows” because the objects are live and mobile and moving, and we’ve this intimate scope with our antelope. Our virtual zu-scapes are immersive. and so the kind of gated interface that we’ve maintained with windows no longer keeps us from a diving (or div-ing – see caption code #shameless); in sum, we’re not prisoners of our position (outside the zoo or in). And though we’re probably not at the Command-line ->Graphical UI precipice with the GUI->ZUI gravitation, we’re pretty close to considering the technology of the ZUI as integral to our demands of daily mobility and device dependence.
Some space ZUI’s, befitting our final (?) frontier….
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