Friday, September 8

Moving right along

I can no longer settle on a title, and the structure continues to change shape, but here's where I'm at today:

Part 1 - Urban Tapestries and the mobile public

[This is my major case history, focussed on the entire duration of the UT project and its transition into Social Tapestries.]

Part 2 - After method

[This is the methodology bit, building off John Law's fluid results, elusive objects and unconventional forms, it critically evaluates my own qualitative methods.]

Part 3 - A brief history of pervasive computing and locative media

[This is the lit review bit, a comprehensive but necessarily selective account of technology research, art and design cultures.]

Part 4 - Play in the networked city

[These are my minor case histories (Sonic City & Tejp, Passing Glances, and Mobile Bristol) focussing on pervasive computing as materials and means of playing in, and with, public spaces.]

Part 5 - Mobilising publics

[Part of the major critical analysis, this situates the technologies, art and design practices at hand within the sociological literature on publics and mobilities.]

Part 6 - After the hype

[I close with my evaluation of future potentials for socially relevant technology research and design.]

Thursday, July 27

This week's task

Finish _Urban Tapestries_ case history


1.1 A Brief History of Proboscis
1.2 Mobile and Location-Based Technologies
1.3 Reconfiguring the 'Mobile User'

2.1 Collaborations
[2.2 The Scale and Speed of Change?]

3.1 Designing Urban Tapestries
3.2 Prototyping and Testing Urban Tapestries
3.3 Evaluating Urban Tapestries
3.4 Engaging Partners and Public

Wednesday, July 26

God help me, it's true. Part 3

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Travel writer Bruce Chatwin walked around Australia as he researched and meditated on the indigenous people's beliefs about what the land was like in the ancient past. He wrote: "Aboriginal creation myths tell of the legendary totemic beings who wandered over the continent in the Dreamtime, singing out the name of everything that crossed their path--birds, animals, plants, rocks, waterholes--and so singing the world into existence." Given the fact that you're now primed to create a new domain or two, Leo, may I suggest the aborigines' approach? You'll infuse everything with extra beauty if you play around with *singing* it into existence.

Wednesday, July 19

God help me, it's true. Part 2

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): The Hebrew word "shalom" is both a hello infused with a goodbye and a goodbye leavened with a hello. That's why it would be wise and fun for you to make it your word of power in the coming days. You'll be spinning through a transitional zone in which it won't always be clear which direction is up. You'll be coming and going simultaneously, embarking on new journeys and ending old ones. Whenever you say "shalom," whether it's a greeting to someone else or a mantra uttered in solitude, you'll remind yourself that the threshold you're in is pregnant with a thousand possibilities.

Tuesday, July 11

God help me, it's true. I've reached the point where I'm turning to astrology for motivation. And I think it's working.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): "Nature loves courage," said visionary philosopher Terence McKenna. "It shows you it loves courage because it will respond to your brave commitment by removing impossible obstacles." While I believe this is always true, Leo, it's especially apropos for you right now. You've fallen short of your potential because you have not yet summoned more than a fraction of the boldness that lies within you. But this is a turning point when you finally have what it takes to tap into your dormant reserves. I hope you rise to the occasion, and so does nature.

Friday, July 7

Like sea monkeys, everyday a little more real

Wow. I hadn't realised that an entire month had passed since I was last here. (Moving house is more disruptive than I remembered.) So here we go again, but with a few reminders to start.

Remember that the dissertation is a License To Practice, not the Greatest Thing Ever Written or Proof Of Human Value.

(Do you even know what your favourite scholars wrote their dissertations about? Nope. No one cares.)

Remember that this is not a prelude to Real Life, it already is Your Life.

(Spend time daily with friends and loved ones. Stay physically active. Eat well. Sleep regularly. You know. Take care.)

Remember to write something every day, and to set Small Tasks instead of trying to finish the Entire Thing At Once.

(Better to stay focussed on accomplishing something every day than never accomplishing everything. And heed Baudelaire's words: "No task is a long one but the task on which one dare not start: It becomes a nightmare.")

And now for something more concrete: People Who Know Things say that tracking progress is instrumental in Getting Things Done.

So try starting each writing day by posting one or two very doable tasks. Like one section or one sub-section of a chapter. (One idea. One interview.) When the task is complete, go back and post your favourite sentence of the day.

Watch your dissertation grow like a sea monkey! A little more real everyday.

Thursday, June 8

It's okay

I've tried to be as dedicated as Jane:

"I am writing roughly from 8 AM to 10 PM every single day. Later when I am facing a chapter deadline. I have filed 240 pages with my committee and will file the final 160 later this month, I hope. Although that will probably entail writing until 1 AM instead of 10 PM."

But I just can't do it. I don't have near as much to my committee. I'm moving house. I've got other things pressing on me. Working like this fucks me up.

So I'm ditching the deadline. I'll finish. Maybe a week later, maybe a month later, maybe two months later. It's okay.

Wednesday, May 31

The perils of individualism

"If a goal of ethnomethodology is to get at how people make sense of things, how they structure relationships, how they order things, then it immediately has something in common with computing and communications. Both have only one variable: the individual. On the other hand, cultural and critical theories take collectives or assemblages, and the power relations between, as their subject matter. "

Interlude II

I never leave my house without my shuffle. In fact, I'd be damn happy if someone could make me a mobile phone that is as sturdy (i.e. droppable, even screen-free) and simple as that device. In any case, I've noticed that while I prefer randomised playlists for walking and travelling, I sit at my desk and do my best writing when I listen to full albums, in their recorded order. Every so often, I'll include in every post the album of the day, and a sample song that will be available for a couple of days. Enjoy.

Thursday, May 25


Not without a sense of humour, I do appreciate the irony of living an essentially sedentary life in order to write about mobility. But it's entirely unsustainable physically and emotionally.

So before I gain another twenty-five pounds, completely destroy my muscles and joints, and spend any more time in emotional turmoil, this week is all about me.

My skin. My head. My mind. My neck. My shoulders. My back. My arms. My wrists. My heart. My chest. My belly. My groin. My hips. My hips again. My thighs. My calves. My feet.

And laughing. Lots of laughing.

Tuesday, May 16

Design studies

Monday, May 15

Strategies and tactics

"Collaborations always already involve strategies and tactics, and sometimes all the players believe they won the game."

Sunday, May 14

Technological inevitablity

"Yet social and cultural researchers and artists described their work in relation to technological inevitability. In other words, all actions and collaborations were predicated on the understanding that technology would 'happen with or without them,' so better with them."