Monthly Archives: June 2002

“This isn’t going to be the year of paper/screen convergence. Maybe not even the decade. Sitting next to Steve Gillmor, I dropped my yellow legal pad onto the floor and said: “Oops. There goes $2500.” Absent a digital surface that has the qualities of paper that matter — including being cheap and disposable — I see digital ink as sometimes useful but not revolutionary.”

» Jon’s Radio: Convergence: I’ll take computer/phone over screen/paper

Sitting in LSE liveblogging PRPSnatalie jeremienko is presenting “megabyte” – an aibo-like robodog that has been hacked to to detect radioactivity and other toxic hazards – it’s reward by finding it… makes this invisble hazard, and it’s allied data visible and accesible by all – especially kids.

Saw her talk about this at Voice02, but she’s going into much more detail, and it seems to have progressed more.

it’s a $39.99 toy… but natalie has put up a wiki which explains how to hack them to do weird and wonderful things.

picture of natalie demonstrating megabyte

Now she’s talking about how these things are actually the source of loads of really cheap components to experiment with a-life because of the economies of scale and distribution networks of the toy industry. Plus cannablising from the huge r/c subculture. Opensource robotics. Distribute the code, not the parts.

Now talking about Sony’s pseudo-opensourcing of AIBO’s sourcecode, and the campaign mounted by dog owners to get it opensourced

other memebullets she’s shootin’ from the hip:

  • “the robotic genre of cinematography”: a whole subclass of films where you see lab floors from a vantage point about 8 inches high – most famous example: mars sourjouner films
  • Doing things like robotic dogs that illustrate the invisbile is about democratising and making widespread the “scientific method”. Peer-review in pub lic. Allows people to ask questions of those who are making assertions and policy about the environments: “hey what are those dogs doing” “what do those cloned trees mean” etc. start a diaolgue rather than receiving wisdom.

Hopefully, no time-travelling avengers will comeback and assassinate Natalie for making these things…


Right then. Been a while since the lunch with Loosemore, Hurley and O’Brien, but nethertheless, here’s an idea that wiggled it’s way into existence through talking with those guys.

The idea behind Warchalking is that it breaks the cycle of having to be online to get to the pages that give you the free-wireless node info for the city you are in. Fellow free-wireless travellers or those who maintain the nodes themselves have scrawled chalk symbols on the pavements to indicate the presence of wireless access.

A few people I’ve talked to about this have said “why chalk?” and suggested something more permanent. Well, part of me is a fuddy-duddy who doesn’t want to inflict permanent marks on the pavement (but hey, the utitlities providers do) and the other, more important part, is that I like the idea of the marks having an impermanence, so they have to be renewed and validated on a regular basis by an active community of warchalkers.

The root of this stuff is Hobo languageNadav pointed to some great resources on this a while ago. Like hobo language, hopefully we can evolve a little common symbology and chalk up our cities…

» Let’s Warchalk!!!

I know I’ve been deviating wildly from IA and Design here lately, but it’s all connected to what I do everyday in my head, and hey – this here is my outboard brain.

I think everyone involved in design, particularly experience design is keenly aware of the importance of storytelling, in communicating important ideas in a business context, and also the wider heritage of the storyteller and narrative’s bearing on designing experiences.

I’ve been plugging away at couple of comicbooks for my own pleasure for a few years now, and comics are something I do continously – storyboards and illustrations for work, or for fun.

But i hadn’t written a story as in ficitonal prose with words and nothing else, since secondary school. So, I thought I’d try.

It took me an evening. I didn’t edit it. Didn’t revisit it apart from a spellcheck. I wanted to see what came out. I lucked out, and got it published on

It’s clumsy. It’s a nice idea, but it’s not a great read. It’s too high concept, and there’s no-one or nothing to care about.

But it was fun!!!

I’ve started reading “ender’s game” on the recommendation of many folk I met at ETCON. In Orson Scott Card’s introduction he offers up this on the difference between what I did (and enjoyed) and what he did when he had the idea for the book…

“It was a good idea… [but] I hadn’t the faintest idea of how to go about turning the idea into a story. It occurred to me then for the first time that the idea of the story is nothing compared to the importance of knowing how to find a character and a story to tll around that idea.”

and further thoughts about the craft of telling that story once it has grown from eing a mere idea:

“I learned to separate the story from the writing, probably the most important thing that any storyteller has to learn – that there are a thousand right ways to tell a story, and ten million wrong ones, and you’re a lot more likely to find one of the latter than the former your first time through the tale”

I went through the tale once, and it was probably one of the million wrong ways to tell the story as a result – but I’ve got the bug now, and I’ll try again… See – separation of content from presentation, iterative process… not so far away from being a proper IA blog!!! ;-p

»Books By Orson Scott Card – Ender’s Game

TonyP (who looks a HELLUVALOT like Chief Anderson from Battle of the Planets), after we had a cup of tea and a natter in the BBC canteen, where I mentioned some of Raffi Krikorian‘s stuff knocked up a little bit of code that takes the current weather in London from a public site, and converts it into a background colour for his homepage.

The poetic bit, for me at least, is that little squares of the colour/temp. start building up at the bottom of the page over time.

Cue another natter between Tony, Me, Gid, Caroline and a few others who are looking at the design of the BBC Homepage, about layering information, especially rich, pattern-based “second-order” stuff, beneath or around a very simple, usable page design.

New users, or those in a task-hungry hurry are not impeded from use, and those with subtler or less-directed needs get satisfied by the nuances that build up and reveal themselves over time as a very individual, collective or complex/adaptive infotapestry is built up.

» [vaporum]