Archive

web 2.0

About a month ago, I woke up and decided I wasn’t getting any value out of using Twitter.

In fact I was getting negative value – it just made me angry, upset and stressed out.

So I stopped using it and deleted my account.

I was user number 821… I joined back in 2006 and it was a lot of fun for a lot of the twelve years I used it, but then it really, really wasn’t. So far, I don’t miss it that much.

Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 9.37.32 AMScreen Shot 2018-08-09 at 2.07.08 PMScreen Shot 2018-08-09 at 1.59.07 PM

To which you could add ‘tardy’: a shameful two months after the event the slides and notes from the talk are now up online here. Sorry to everyone who asked for them – and thanks for your patience!

It was a presentation by Tom Coates and myself on an area that fascinates us both – the coming age of practical ubicomp/spimes/everyware.

Although hopefully grounded in some of the design ideas explored in our respective current projects, it was a whistlestop tour around the ideas and conversations of many.

The title slide shows Timo Arnall‘s everyware symbols and obviously, Adam Greenfield‘s and Bruce Sterling‘s books loom large, as well as the work of Dan Hill, Matthew Chalmers, Anne Galloway, Schulze and Webb, Christian Nold and many others who I’ve been fortunate to meet, mail or read around this subject.

There’s certainly some scenius going on. As if to underline this, Nicholas Nova’s posted his slides from what sounds like a fascinating talk today: “Digital Yet Invisible: Making Ambient Informatics More Explicit to People”.

Looking forward to a summer of more digital/physical brainfood…

The Apes, originally uploaded by ED209uk.

I’m finally getting around to put some of the talks I gave last month in San Francisco online – the first of which being a talk I gave at Adaptive Path’s MX conference entitled: Battle For The Planet Of The Apes. Unfortuntely, slideshare seems to have eaten a few images, but I’ll try and correct that in coming days.
Brandon and Henning of AP had asked me to give a perspective on social networks and some of the design decision’s we’d taken on Dopplr – it ended up a bit more of a tongue-in-cheek critique of some of the prevailing idioms in the current YASNS boom and an appeal to step back to a broader view of social software…
Thanks to AP for the invite, and for the attendees of MX for their attention!

.flickr-photo { border: solid 2px #000000; }
.flickr-yourcomment { }
.flickr-frame { text-align: left; padding: 3px; }
.flickr-caption { font-size: 0.8em; margin-top: 0px; }



Lower lights?!?, originally uploaded by blackbeltjones.

Lots of hullabaloo about Hulu today, but the thing that intrigued me about the design – apart from the wonderful lack of feature-creep and the cleanliness that seems to bring it – was a single button, marked “Lower lights”.

I’m imagining it’s not an X10 controller interface, but rather does something marvellous in order to further focus your attention on the video – removing extraneous buttons or UI features, dimming the ‘computer’ to amp up the ‘telly’.

In other words, a wonderful, evocative rebranding of something very simple, standard and known: “full-screen mode”.

Well, what do you think it does?

.flickr-photo { border: solid 2px #000000; }
.flickr-yourcomment { }
.flickr-frame { text-align: left; padding: 3px; }
.flickr-caption { font-size: 0.8em; margin-top: 0px; }

After reading Jane’s post about using time people spend fiddling with Facebook for solving problems with other (gaming) networks, I wondered whether there were other things you could do with all those idle hands.

What about Folding@home or Mechanical Turk tasks, as shown rather sketchily above.

Back in May, referring to Sony’s announcment that the folding@home client would be installed on the PS3, Alice wrote about “Games that do good”

“Are there games or game mechanics that could be used to fund-raise or awareness-raise?”

My quick mock up is not all that enticing or interesting, though touches like sparklines, league-tables and scoring could rapidly turn such things into more of a playful and engaging activity, turning all those idle hands to good causes.

Know of anything like this going on?

I’ve been using last.fm for a long time, and I’m a fan.

However, there’s one thing I find annoying, which is sometimes it seems to ‘fixate’ on a particular track by a particular artist and heavily-rotate it until it drives me crazy.

While I probably like the artist, and originally liked the track before I got sick of it – I have one option – to ban it.

Instead, I’d like to propose a ‘Snooze’ button for last.fm radio streams, that allows me to ‘rest’ the track or artist for an appropriate amount of time. (Illustration below with sincere apologies to the excellent last.fm design team)

Perhaps the amount of time the track ‘rests’ for based on my usage stats – but that could be presumptuous and annoying.

Better then to use a pattern that’s pretty well understood – a quick pop-up showing a few different ‘snooze’ options exactly like you get in PIM and calendaring software.

It wouldn’t negatively impact my rating of that artist necessarily, just give me a chance to come to the track with fresh appreciative ears a little (or a lot) later.

While I’m on the subject… And I’ve got photoshop open… Perhaps there’s room for an extra feature in upcoming.org too…

.flickr-photo { border: solid 2px #000000; }
.flickr-yourcomment { }
.flickr-frame { text-align: left; padding: 3px; }
.flickr-caption { font-size: 0.8em; margin-top: 0px; }



Continuous-Partial-Apology, originally uploaded by blackbeltjones.

I switched off everyone outside London at the beginning of the month, in what I now know to be the mistaken belief that the value I was deriving from Twitter was geographically-bounded.

I thought what was near me was signal, as often you could act on it. Y’know: “I’m in town and wondering if anyone wants coffee”

It turns out that nearly no-one I know is in town or wants coffee. It turns out – as so often through the twelve or so years of having a digitally-mediated social life – the noise is the signal.

In fact, the cross-time-zone river of mundanity is much missed in the new gig, where it feels a little wierd to be surrounded by mainly brits after such a long time in a multinational group of designers.

As much as I was convinced otherwise – and against previous experience of lists, forums and other digital communities – it’s as much the psychographic as the geographic, for me at least, with Twitter.

I guess the difference of these presence networks is that they can have the geographic so powerfully nestled at their core. It’s both/and not either/or.

So, I will go grovelling back to those I so swiftly removed a month ago and see if they will take me back…

Here begins the continuous partial apology…