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robertogreco : tomcoates   13

Tomtown ( 8 Oct., 2015, at Interconnected)
"The web is busy now. No bad thing. But much too busy to have a single place to gather my friends around photos, another around status updates, etc. I used to have one community online, and now I've got a hundred. And while I can shard them by app (business on LinkedIn, family on Facebook, my global village on Twitter), it's a lot of effort to maintain that. And it doesn't make any sense.

Until:

Tom Coates invited me to join a little community of his in Slack. There are a handful of people there, some old friends, some new friends, all in this group messaging thingy.

There's a space where articles written or edited by members automatically show up. I like that.

I caught myself thinking: It'd be nice to have Last.FM here too, and Dopplr. Nothing that requires much effort. Let's also pull in Instagram. Automatic stuff so I can see what people are doing, and people can see what I'm doing. Just for this group. Back to those original intentions. Ambient awareness, togetherness.

Nobody says very much. Sometimes there's a flurry of chat.

It's small, human-scale. Maybe it's time to bring all these ambient awareness tools back, shared inside Slack instances this time.

You know what, it's cosy. I've been missing this. A neighbourhood."
2015  mattwebb  ambientawareness  ambient  community  culture  presentationofself  twitter  flickr  slack  tomcoates  email  neighborhoods  scale  groups  groupsize  glancing  jaiku  dopplr  im  instantmessenger  last.fm  openplans  offices  attention  socialmedia  noise 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Strategies against architecture: interactive media and transformative technology at Cooper Hewitt | MW2015: Museums and the Web 2015
"Cooper Hewitt reopened at the end of 2014 with a transformed museum in a renovated heritage building, Andrew Carnegie's home on the Upper East Side of New York City. New galleries, a collection that was being rapidly digitized, a new brand, and a desire for new audiences drove the museum to rethink and reposition its role as a design museum. At the core of the new museum is a digital platform, built in-house, that connects collection and patron management systems to in-gallery and online experiences. These have allowed the museum to redesign everything from object labels and showcases to the fundamentals of a 'visit experience'. This paper explores in detail the process, the decisions made – and resulting tradeoffs - during each stage of the process. In so doing it reveals the challenges of collaborating with internal and external capacities; operating internationally with online collaboration tools; rapid prototyping; and the distinct differences between software and hardware design and production."



"In early 2012 at the National Art Education Association conference at the Metropolitan Museum of Art a group of junior school children working with Queens Museum of Art got up on stage and presented their view of ‘what technology in a museum should be like’. The kids imagined and designed the sorts of technologies that they felt would make their visit to a museum better. None of their proposed technologies were unfeasible and they imagined a very familiar sounding museum. The best invention proposed was a tracking device that each child would wear, allowing them to roam freely in a geo-fenced museum like home-detention prisoners with ankle-shackles, whilst their teachers sat comfortably in the museum cafe watching them move as dots on a tablet. The children argued that such a device would allow them to roam the museum and see the parts of it they actually wanted to see, and the teachers would get to fulfil their desires of just “hanging out in the cafe chatting”.

Often it feels like museums make decisions about the appropriate use of technology based upon short term internal needs – the need to have something ‘newsworthy’, the need to have something to keep their funders happy, and occasionally to meet the assumed needs of a specific audience coming to a specific exhibition. Rarely is there an opportunity like the one at Cooper Hewitt, to consider the entire museum and purposely reconfigure its relationships with audiences, all in one go. Even rarer is the funding to make such a step change possible.

The D&EM team established a series of unwritten technology principles for the new galleries and experience that were reinforced throughout the concept design stages and then encoded into practice during development. At the heart of these was an commitment to ensure that whatever was designed for the galleries would give visitors a reason to physically visit – and that nothing would be artificially held back, content-wise, from the web. Technology, too, had to help and encourage the visitor against the architectural impositions of the building itself.

Complementing a strategic plan that envisioned the transformation of the museum into a ‘design resource’, and an increasing willingness to provide more open access to the collection, concepts for media and technology in the galleries was to –

1. Give visitors explicit permission to play
Play was seen as an important way of addressing threshold issues and architecture. Entering the Carnegie Mansion, the experience of crossing the threshold provided an opportunity to upend expectations – much like the lobby space of a hotel. Very early on in the design process, then-Director, Bill Moggridge enthused about the idea of concierges greeting visitors at the door, warmly welcoming them into the building and setting them at ease. Technological interventions – even symbolic ones – were expected to support this need to change every visitor’s perception of how they were ‘allowed to behave’ in the mansion.

2. Make interactive experiences social and multi-player and allow people to learn by watching

The Cooper Hewitt, even in its expanded form, is a physically small museum. It has 16,000 sq ft of gallery space which is configured as a series of domestic spaces except for the open plan third floor, which was converted from offices into gallery space as part of the renovation. If interactive experiences were to support a transformed audience profile with more families and social groups visiting together, the museum would need experiences that worked well with multiple users, and provided points of social interaction. Immediately this suggested an ‘app-free’ approach even though Cooper Hewitt had been an early adopter of an iPod Touch media guide (2010) and iPad App (2011) in previous special exhibitions.

3. Ensure a ‘look up’ experience

Again, because of the domestic spaces with narrow doorways, encouraging visitors to be constantly referring to their mobile devices was not desirable. There was a strong consensus amongst the staff and designers that the museum should provide a compelling enough experience for visitors to only need to use their mobile devices to take photos with.

4. Be ubiquitous, a ‘default’ operating mode for the institution

The biggest lesson from MONA was that for a technology experience to have the best chance of transforming how visitors interacted with the museum, and how staff considered it into the future, that technology had to be ubiquitous. An ‘optional guide’, an ‘optional app’, even a ‘suggested mobile website’ might meet the needs of some visitors but it was unlikely to achieve the large scale change we hoped for. Indeed, the experience of prior technologies at Cooper Hewitt had been considered disappointing by the museum with a 9% take up rate (Longo, 2011) for the iPad guide made for the (pre-closure) blockbuster exhibition Set In Style. Similarly, only having interactive experiences in ‘some galleries’ threatened to relegate certain experiences to ‘younger audiences’ – something that is common in science museums.

5. Work in conjunction with the web and offer a “persistence of visit”

We were also insistent from the start that whatever was designed, that it had to acknowledge the web, and that ‘post-visit’ diaries were to be considered. The museum was enamoured with MONA’s post-visit reports from The O, and similar initiatives that followed including MOMA’s Audio+ (2013) and others. This idea grew and the D&EM team began to build out a sizeable infrastructure over 2013, the desire to ensure that everything on exhibition in the museum would also be available online – without exception – became technically feasible. As the museum’s curatorial staff began to finalise object lists for the opening exhibitions, it became clear that beyond the technology layer, a new layer of policy changes would be required to realise this idea. New loan forms and new donor agreements were negotiated and by the time objects began to arrive for installation at the museum in 2014, all but a handful of lenders had agreed to have a metadata and image record of their object’s presence in the museum not only be online during the run of an exhibition, but permanently on the exhibition’s online catalogue."



"As a sector we have spent a couple of decades making excuses for why “digital” can’t be made core to staffing requirements and the results have ranged from unsatisfying to dismal.

The shift to a ‘post-digital’ museum where “digital [is] being naturalized within museums’ visions and articulations of themselves” (Parry, 2013) will require a significant realignment of priorities and an investment in people. The museum sector is not alone in this – private media organisations and tech companies face exactly the same challenge. Despite ‘digital people’ and ‘engineers’ being in high demand, they should not be considered an ‘overpriced indulgence’ but rather than as an integral part of the already multidisciplinary teams required to run a museum, or any other cultural institution.

The flow of digital talent from private companies to new types of public service organizations such as the Government Digital Service (UK), 18F (inside GSA) and US Digital Service, proves that there are ways, beyond salaries, to attract and retain the specialist staff required to build the types of products and services required to transform museums. In fact, we argue that museums (and other cultural institutions) offer significant intrinsic benefits and social capital that are natural talent attractors that other types of non-profits and public sector agencies lack. The barriers to changing the museum workforce in this way are not primarily financial but internal, structural and kept in place by a strong institutional inertia."
cooper-hewitt  aaronstraupcope  sebastianchan  2015  design  museums  experience  web  internet  ux  api  userexperience  hardware  change  organizationalchange  billmoggridge  mona  theo  davidwalsh  digital  gov.uk  privacy  identity  absence  tomcoates  collections  soa  servicesorientedarchitecture  steveyegge  persistence  longevity  display  nfc  rfid  architecture  applications  online  engagement  play  technology  post-digital  18f 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Notes from my FooCamp 2014 session: “All of this has happened before and will happen again” | Magical Nihilism
"The session I staged at FooCamp this year was deliberately meant to be a fun, none-too-taxing diversion at the end of two brain-baking days.

It was based on (not only a quote from BSG) but something that Matt Biddulph had said to me a while back – possibly when we were doing some work together at BERG, but it might have been as far-back as our Dopplr days.

He said (something like) that a lot of the machine learning techniques he was deploying on a project were based on 1970s Computer Science theory, but now the horsepower required to run them was cheap and accessible in the form of cloud computing service.

This stuck with me, so for the Foo session I hoped I could aggregate a list people’s favourite theory work from the 20thC which now might be possible to turn into practice.

It didn’t quite turn out that way, as Tom Coates pointed out in the session – about halfway through, it morphed into a list of the “prior art” in both fiction and academic theory that you could identify as pre-cursors to current technological preoccupation or practice.

Nether the less it was a very fun way to spend an sunny sunday hour in a tent with a flip chart and some very smart folks. Thanks very much as always to O’Reilly for inviting me.

Below is my photo of the final flip charts full of everything from Xanadu to zeppelins…"

[See also: https://medium.com/product-club/interacting-with-a-world-of-connected-objects-875b4a099099 ]
mattjones  design  futurism  2014  foocamp  retrofuturism  excavatingthepast  tomcoates  mattbiddulph  recyclingideas  ideas  theory  thetimeisright  timing  readiness  zeppelins  dirigibles 
june 2014 by robertogreco
A New Sincerity — I.M.H.O. — Medium
"So what is the New Sincerity? It’s a belief and commitment to truth. It’s arguing for truth, not aggressively as a weapon, but in order to illuminate. It’s thinking critically. It’s being fair. It’s being open to having our own ideas questioned and to incorporate what we learn into our world view. And it’s holding public figures and journalists to the same standards. It’s about attempting to abandon ironic detachment and embarrassment and embracing the world for what it is. But most importantly, it’s about abandoning the idea that the truth is something bendable, flexible, relative, unreal.

Truth is not something that everyone has their own particular special equally appropriate version of. It’s much more than that.

It’s one very real, beautiful thing, unfathomable in scope, unknowable in its totality, revealed in part by the combination of our billions of perspectives and by the employment of our minds…"

[Alternate URL: https://medium.com/i-m-h-o/1de355cf573b ]
values  habitofmind  criticalthinking  openminded  irony  ironicdetachment  society  2012  tomcoates  truth  sincerity 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Visiting dConstruct 2010 | Coldbrain.
"That kinda sums up the past few years of my life. I’ve been collecting all these new interests and passions and obsessions and trying to get myself beyond ‘advanced beginner’ in all of them. It’s taking time, because being a generalist means soaking up so much information from so many areas. It’s exhausting, and I wish I had this mindset 5 or 10 years ago, so I could be that much further down the line. I have to remind myself that it is as much about the journey, though."
matthewculnane  dconstruct  2010  generalists  brendandawes  tomcoates  merlinmann  davidmccandless  samanthawarren  johngruber  daringfireball  hannahdonovan  jamesbridle  nerds  learning  process  journey  journeynotdestination  constellationalthinking  timcarmody 
september 2010 by robertogreco
plasticbag.org: Should we encourage self-promotion and lies?
"I'd never argue that we should forcefully reject anyone who manifests confidence, skills in self-promotion or who is cocky enough to sell themselves. But what I want to strongly resist is the idea that it is these attributes that we should be promoting - either in women or in men.
tomcoates  marketing  promotion  clayshirky  webdev  design  web  business  community  creativity  beauty  creation  tcsnmy  self-promotion  society  social  value  lies  work  methodology  advice  gender  identity  inspiration  psychology  women  culture  selfpromotion  feminism  vision  men  webdesign 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Vodafone | receiver » Blog Archive » Ambient Intimacy
"So, all of this is leading us to the 'why bother?' of ambient intimacy. Why do we bother participating in this kind of communication with others and why do we bother to keep track of others in our social network, or even have a social network at all? The following is a list that I first saw in Tom Coates' excellent presentation on social software. It shows four key reasons why people participate in on-line communities. I think it's pretty self explanatory and it works really well when you think about why we've participated in methods of communicating with each other, right from back when we were picking fleas, through to now, when we check our phones for messages from Twitter:

1. anticipated reciprocity
2. reputation
3. sense of efficacy
4. identification with a group"
lisareichelt  ambientintimacy  twitter  connectivity  infooverload  online  socialsoftware  socialnetworks  technology  tomcoates  community  reputation  identity 
june 2009 by robertogreco
WorldChanging: Web 2.0, Ubiquity, Sustainability and Consumer Rights
"If we are going to interact with companies in intimate ways -- in ways that impact our deepest life choices -- those interactions ought not only to be held to a higher standard of transparency and public accountability; they ought to be safe-guarded in formal ways as well by having corporate decision-making structures that protect the user rights of the people involved."
sustainability  servicedesign  mattjones  tomcoates  ubicomp  everyware  socialmedia  worldchanging  dopplr  environment  ethics  informatics  privacy  unproduct  innovation  urban  web 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Blackbeltjones/Work » Polite, pertinent and pretty: a talk at Web2.0expo SF, April 2008
"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."

[Now at: http://magicalnihilism.com/2008/07/01/polite-pertinent-and-pretty-a-talk-at-web20expo-sf-april-2008/ ]
mattjones  tomcoates  personalinformatics  ubicomp  spimes  informatics  information  mobile  place  fireeagle  dopplr 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Fire Eagle
"Secure & stylish way to share your location w/ sites & services online while giving you unprecedented control over your data & privacy. We're here to make whole web respond to your location & help you to discover more about world around you."
fireeagle  yahoo  location  location-based  geography  geotagging  geolocation  gps  mapping  maps  software  tomcoates  webapps  webdev  location-aware  locative  api  webdesign 
march 2008 by robertogreco
OLPC Review - ICONEYE
"In every area, this object is an attempt to refashion the world in the image of the dreams of its creators – noble, vigorous, creative and expressively utopian dreams. As a project and as a device, it’s beautiful and revolutionary."
olpc  tomcoates 
february 2008 by robertogreco
plasticbag.org: On the OLPC Movement...
"easy to adopt pose of scepticism & cynicism about any attempt to change things, push them forwards...naysaying is sure-fire way to look sensible & intelligent w/out effort of actually having to think...OLPC project has had fair share of this kind of thin
olpc  tomcoates 
february 2008 by robertogreco

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