Picnic08: Internet Of Things

I missed quite a lot of Picnic, mainly due to getting together with the Dopplr team for a rare physical pow-wow – but I did manage to spend a good chunk of the Friday in the Internet of Things special session.

Speakers included Rafi Haladjian of Violet/Nabaztag fame and David Orban of Widetag/OpenSpime, and there were demos from Tikitag, and Pachube (Usman Haque‘s excellent new venture).

Sat in the audience was God-Emperor of Spime, Bruce Sterling which lent it an extra something. I managed to snag a Tikitag start kit, which I hope to have a play with this week – I’ll post some unboxing pics when I have chance.

It was one of those sessions where the palpable sense of the scenius is the thing, rather than the content so much (although there was a lot of good stuff in there too) – I came away with renewed enthusiasm for ‘practical ubicomp’ and all things spime-y.

I wasn’t sure whether the talks where being video’d, so I managed to record two of the speakers on my N95, so the quality of the audio isn’t particularly great.

So, with that disclaimer, here are the presentations by Matt Cottam of Tellart and Mike Kuniavsky of ThingM.

The naming of names

Moleitau's origin

I never new that changing my URL would cause so much frustration to some people. Sorry, some people.

For those who have asked, “Moleitau” is Cantonese slang for nonsense, which I discovered in a 2006 IHT article:

“…a Cantonese genre called “moleitau,” verbal nonsense comedy that relies on quality writing of rapid-fire dialogue, witty ripostes and punning, exemplifies the form even while expanding it to include ribald repartee, broad and low-brow humor, anachronistic gags and biting satire of every social convention and custom.”

And ‘magical nihilism’ is at one level just a pun, and at the same time, an anti-belief belief system that makes me happy and wonderous and curious. Which is what I’d like this place to be.

“We are quick to forget that just being alive is an extraordinary piece of good luck, a remote event, a chance occurance of monstrous proportions.”

The Black Swan, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, p298

Welcome again to Magical Nihilism.